Thursday, October 7, 2010

Introducing gifted poet, Magdalena Ball

This month, I'm honoured to be able to feature fellow poet, Magdalena Ball, on my blog and her latest book Blooming Red.

Blooming Red is a poetry chapbook that explores the holiday season as you have experienced it, but rarely read about it. It’s real, insightful, beautiful, sometimes intense poetry that cuts deep into the emotions, nostalgia, loss, love, greed and goodwill. There’s nothing syrupy or overly mystical here, though there is plenty of wonder and mystery. It’s Christmas poetry for the rational.  

The book is co-authored by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, both award-winning poets, and features original watercolour artwork by Vicki D. Thomas. The book forms part of the celebration series that the authors have been producing. These are small, beautifully presented and illustrated books of themed poetry priced very inexpensively, with the aim of providing a much deeper, more powerful alternative to a card for special occasions. The books make wonderful gifts (no need for an additional card), and can be paired with flowers, chocolate, or small toiletries to make a perfect, budget friendly gift. Other books in the series include Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions for men, Cherished Pulse featuring love poetry (ideal for Valentine’s Day), and She Wore Emerald Then for mothers and other women.

I, myself, have been privileged to read She Wore Emerald Then - a book that has a marvellous variety of poetry about what it means to be a mother (and a daughter). Maggie's poems in the book have a wonderful cosmic quality to them and, at times, combine both the sublime and commonplace, which had me smiling. Maggie is a very gifted wordsmith and has a brilliant understanding of the art of poetry. If you are looking for an unusual Christmas gift, then Blooming Red would most certainly suit the bill. Here are a few poems to whet your appetite!

Memory Trick

I wanted to manufacture a memory
knit with organic yarns of kid mohair, boucle, alpaca
in colours like blue sky, mulberry, ecru, lime
knubbly and pathological
wrought with nostalgia and wrung
through time’s dryer
waving and flapping
cobblestones and chimney path
in the tired hours when your eyes
strain to bring back what you’ve lost.

A Christmas memory, perhaps
green scented and fresh
rosy cheeks, winter of course
though inside there’s warmth, abundance,
fire and care.

Down deep
where the plaques and tangles of
dead brain cells
mix with the living
we click our needles
in sync
wrapping wool round godlike fingers
mixing reality with invention
until, there
before your startled eyes
the scarves and stockings
bright weaves
cashcotton history
soft, inflationary
so real, you touch it.

Carol to the Universe
Take down the tree
tinsel trash tidied
broken baubles swept
garbage bag wrappings
through greedhaze
glitter snowglobe
lights off
into the new
A carol to the universe
held in one breath
between motion
and inertia
kiss of the godless
earth mother lump
to her quantum
every tap of the keyboard
a newbie springs forth.
No need for
leather clad rulebooks
ark over flood
fatherly edicts
no sacrifices in blood
This is a rational zone
so many years on

Find out more about Maggie at


Check out this post tomorrow at for useful writing tips and information. A really informative blog!


  1. As a poet myself I will certainly check her blog out.
    Thank you for sharing this it made pleasurable reading.


  2. You're welcome, Yvonne. Thank you for dropping by.

  3. Helena, thanks for the interview. Maggie, love the poems.

    Margaret Fieland

  4. a very interesting blog, please visit my blog too ... thank you

  5. I enjoyed the poems. Very nice blog, Helena.

  6. I am always in awe of Maggie and Carolyn's poetry. The imagery is startling in its ability to paint a portrait with words. I already have someone in mind to give this to as a Christmas gift - myself!

  7. What wonderful poems, Maggie. Your book looks like it will be a great holiday gift - I love the cover. You and Carolyn are a powerful duo!

    Thanks for sharing with us Helena.

  8. Lovely poems. Best wishes for your continued success!

  9. Your poems are thought provoking. Thanks for the brain exercise.

  10. Using a poetry gift book instead of a card is a creative idea and I'm sure lots of people will want to do that with yours.

  11. Thanks for the lovely comments everyone. The cover is beautiful - I agree - it's an original painting by artist Vicki D. Thomas, who is extremely talented and I'm so proud to be working again with her, and Carolyn. The breaking news is that the book is now available (at a greeting card price) from It should be on Amazon very soon.

  12. Maggi, you're such an inspiration. If only I could write poetry the way you do. Alas, not one of my talents. Thank you for sharing you thoughts and poems with us.

  13. What a great way to start my day. The poems are just wonderful.
    Martha Swirzinski

  14. Thanks you Helena for giving Maggie's and my book such a wonderful welcome! We loved writing it. I love working with Maggie! Think some of you might even enjoy some of the humorous poems therein! (-:
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Multi award-winning poet,

  15. Carolyn, you're welcome, and thanks to everyone who dropped by to comment!

  16. Gorgeous poems! Thank so much for sharing!

  17. That was pleasant to read. I've tried writing poetry but am not very good at it. I should schedule 15 minutes slots a couple evenings a week and write more. I think this would help in fiction writing. You know, expand my horizons and such.

    Stephen Tremp