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The Flapper Press Poetry Café: ACT TWO Welcomes Back Ute Carson

By Annie Newcomer:


So how do you write an interesting second act?

How do you make sure your audience stays captivated as well as keep the story going?

Callum Scambler, "Writing Act Two: The Conflict—An Essential and Simple Breakdown"


These are the same questions our editors wrestled with in the Flapper Press Poetry Café as we sought ways to encourage our previously published poets/writers to know that they are welcome to continue sharing their work with us.


Our answer? The ACT TWO initiative.


When you see the ACT TWO qualification in the Poetry Café, it immediately informs you that a poet has a previous interview on the site, which you can always find at this link or even by simply Googling "Flapper Press Poetry."


In ACT TWO, a poet can update us on their work, share new poems with backstories, and even ask for a second interview if they have additional ideas on their craft they would like to share. Their poems will also be eligible for Best of the Net and Pushcart nominations. Since one of our mission statements is to educate and assist our readers in the joy of "coming to poetry," we value the wisdom and experience poets share as a means to spread our love of this artform.

 

With that in mind, we begin the ACT TWO initiative by welcoming back Ute Carson.


A writer from youth and an M.A. graduate in comparative literature from the University of Rochester, German-born Ute Carson published her first prose piece in 1977. Colt Tailing, a 2004 novel, was a finalist for the Peter Taylor Book Award. Carson’s story “The Fall” won Outrider Press’s Grand Prize and appeared in its short story and poetry anthology A Walk through My Garden, 2007. Her second novel, In Transit, was published in 2008. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines in the U.S. and abroad. Carson’s poetry was featured on the televised Spoken Word Showcase in 2009, 2010, & 2011, Channel Austin. A poetry collection, Just a Few Feathers, was published in 2011. The poem “A Tangled Nest of Moments” placed second in the Eleventh International Poetry Competition 2012. Her chapbook Folding Washing was published in 2013 and her collection of poems My Gift to Life was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Award Prize. Save the Last Kiss, a novella, was published in 2016. Her poetry collection Reflections was out in 2018. She received the Ovidiu-Bektore Literary Award 2018 from the Anticus Mulicultural Association in Constanta, Romania. In 2018, she was nominated a second time for the Pushcart Award Prize by the PlainView Press and a third time by the Yellow Arrow Press in 2021. Gypsy Spirit was published in 2020, as was her essay "Even A Gloved Touch." Her chapbook Listen was published in 2021.


Ute Carson resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband. They have three daughters, six grandchildren, and a clowder of cats. Visit her website for more about her work.


We reached out to Ute to talk about her work and passions.

 

Ute Carson

AN: Welcome back to the Flapper Press Poetry Café for our Act Two Series, Ute. Where do you find the strength to write about intimate and personal experiences? What recommendations would you offer to our readers who might want to write about difficult situations and are not sure where to begin?


UC: If you write about intimate, confessional experiences, think foremost about your readers. Will they be able to sympathize? Might they share similar events? When you submit personal writings, go to non-fictional publications. To write poetry or fiction, you will need the imagination to lift the writing to a different creative realm.


AN: You are such a prolific poet. Congratulations on all your published work. How do you determine where you will place your work? Do you set goals for yourself?


UC: I try to place my work with various publishers to reach as wide an audience as possible. I am also loyal to publishers who have previously taken my writings.


AN: Who are some of the contemporary poets whose work feeds your soul?


UC: I admire Mary Oliver, Sharon Olds, and Billy Collins. I am generally influenced by the Romantic Poets.


AN: Do you enjoy the experience of reading your work to audiences? Might you share why this is important for the poet and the audience?


UC: Reading your work connects you with your readers in a direct, face-to-face way that the written word cannot. And poems have a musical quality, so chant them!


AN: What projects are you working on now?

UC: I am working on a story about a friend who was born during the Great Depression in South Texas.


AN: Ute, thank you for visiting with us. Now it is time of me to ask you to share your quartet. We appreciate you sharing these four poems with our Flapper Press readers.

 

The symbolic meaning of breasts



Mother’s Milk


Breasts are giving organs.

Suckling babies,

cushions for comfort

a delight to behold,

joy to a lover.


The sun, shrouded in gray clouds,

cannot lighten the breast-imaging center

where a gray silence prevails.

The faces of the gowned women are gray,

and fear, a raw lonely gray,

has wandered into the eyes of the waiting.

Will the lump be benign or malignant?


Solace is offered

by a smile, a consoling word,

the squeeze of a hand.

Recalling mother’s giving milk,

each drop a healing hope.


 

Finding a suitable treatment plan


Doctorly Gifts


The medical table is laden with presents,

carefully labeled for this treatment or that. I am making choices,

not always sure I am right

but because they are mine to make.

The doctor’s brow puckers

as I appraise his initial recommendation.

When I pass over his next,

he fiddles with his stethoscope.

I wish I could spare him disappointment

as the struggle continues between his expertise

and my cherished beliefs.

Fervently I hope

he will consider my dissents,

turn his frown into a smile and say,

“Let’s begin this conversation again.”



 

The need for support


Before the Operation


Let kisses rain down on waiting nipples

as desire once more electrifies the body.

Then with the milk of love on your palm

soothe the anxious skin.

Comfort is embedded in touch,

the memory of countless caresses.

Your body will need such a bolster.

During the procedure you’ll be alone.



 

Acceptance and Recovery


Awakenings


Like a mole I tunneled

from mammography to biopsy, from lab to lab,

oncology to cardiology to lumpectomy,

waving away the more radical interventions.

The morning after my surgery

I scraped and scratched through darkness

and scrabbled away from my night vision.


I woke from a fog of anesthesia

to a changed body image.

Was I once symmetrical?

I gaped at the wound, an insult to my body.

What about the scar under my arm

snaking down the left side of my breast?

My breast had shrunk and tilted sideways.


But worse had been avoided.

I still had two breasts.

When the sun dispatched its tiny rays

through the morning mist

I heard birds cheerfully cheeping

and realized that the world around me

was just as it was before I went under.

 

Annie Klier Newcomer founded a not-for-profit, Kansas City Spirit , that served children in metropolitan Kansas for a decade. Annie volunteers in chess and poetry after-school programs in Kansas City, Missouri. She and her husband, David, and the staff of the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens are working to develop The Emily Dickinson Garden in hopes of bringing art and poetry educational programs to their community.


Annie helms the Flapper Press Poetry Café—dedicated to celebrating poets from around the world and to encouraging everyone to both read and write poetry!

The Flapper Press Poetry Café

Presenting a wide range of poetry with a mission to promote a love and understanding of poetry for all. We welcome submissions for compelling poetry and look forward to publishing and supporting your creative endeavors. Submissions may also be considered for the Pushcart Prize.


Submission Guidelines:

1. Share at least three (3) poems

2. Include a short bio of 50–100 words, written in the third person.

(Plus any website and links.)

3. Share a brief backstory on each submitted poem

4. Submit an Author's photo and any images you want to include with the poems

5. Send all submissions and questions to: info@flapperpress.com