The 2015 Big Poetry Giveaway

How are you celebrating National Poetry Month? There are so many ways, but one way is to simply read more poetry! (That sounds easy enough, right?) I am once again participating in The Big Poetry Giveway! See my website to sign up!

Pennsylvania Reading….

To celebrate the record low temperatures in my part of the world (can one really celebrate that?), I have been catching up on some of my reading about books from my homestate.  Take a look at my Book Picks for reviews on Cinderland by Amy Jo Burns and Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman.


Welcome, 2015!

Happy New Year! Welcome, 2015! Are you making your resolutions yet? If one of your goals for the New Year is to read more, then try some of these books. I have compiled three lists of great reads from 2014. Authors include Elizabeth Blackwell, Natalie Harnett, Emily St. John Mandel, Roxane Gay, Beth Peyton, and Nicole Walker. Poets includes collections by Rochelle Hurt, John Repp, and January Gill O’Neil. The complete lists are listed here.  Happy Reading!

Best Poetry Collections of 2014!

Every year, I make a list of the best poetry books I have read that have been published. Check out my news link for this year’s selections, and keep these poets in mind if you have not read their work!

Summer Reading List

Are you looking for some great summer reads? I have posted my summer reading list — take a look! There’s a wide variety, and I am sure there is something for everyone!

The 2014 Big Poetry Giveaway!

For a chance to win free poetry books, stop by my new website and leave a note with contact information. The direct link is here!

CFS: Help Wanted, The Poetry of Work

The Floating Bridge Review has issued a special call for submissions on the subject of poetry and work (obviously, one of my favorite subjects!). Stop by and take a look at the guidelines.  Submissions are due on March  31, 2014.

New Year, New Home

I am officially blogging at my new website. Here is the direct link to my blog — please join me there! I will be updating the general website as the new year moves along.

Welcome, 2014!

I, for one, am sincerely happy that 2013 is over.  So many of my friends and family members had a rough year that it seemed that everyday I had bad news.  Sure, there was good news, too — but perhaps I got too overwhelmed in all the Apocalypse madness that I only seemed to focus on the bad.

On the writing front, after a great 2012, I had a slow publishing year.  I sent out a lot of submissions but also got a lot of rejections.  Most of my major accomplishments came out at the start of the year, so I had a long dry spell where my work just didn’t seem grace any journals. I have been actively writing and publishing for about 10 years now, and most of the time I brush rejection notes off the table (or out of the inbox!) But when I get a whole slew of them, I start to have doubts about my talent as a writer.

But 2014 is already showing promise.  To celebrate that promise, I have moved to a real website. Yep, Karen is ready to join the new year.  Besides incorporating links and my general information, I will have a blog on this website.  I do plan to keep The Scrapper Poet up for a while, at least to share links, but for now, you can find me at

(Keep in mind that this is a work in progress.  I know there are dead links and other snafus — but building a website has actually taken me longer than I thought it would!)



The Best Poetry Books of 2013

As a sequel to my previous post that outlined my choices for best chapbooks of the year, I have included a list of my best full-length poetry collections of the year.  If you haven’t read all these collections, make it a New Years Resolution to do so!

O Holy Insurgency by Mary Biddinger (Black Lawrence Press) Biddinger’s newest collection turns the broken Midwest landscape into a utopian world, a place where heroes and heroines could be children buying cigarettes or lovers relishing the feel of broken glass and the smell of gasoline.

Burn This House by Kelly Davio (Red Hen) Davio’s debut poetry book is a collection of quiet observations about the intersections between secular life and spiritual awakenings.  See here for my more complete review here.

In the Kingdom of the Ditch by Todd Davis (Michigan State University Press)  Davis returns to the natural world in his fourth full-length collection of poetry that explores grief and healing through the Pennsylvania rural landscape (which of course, is my favorite landscape!)

Unexplained Fevers by Jeannine Hall Gailey (New Binary Press) In her newest collection of poetry, Gailey returns to the Fairy Tale World, with new narratives that reach beyond the boundaries of make-believe places. See here for a more complete review of this collection.

Render: An Apocalypse by Rebecca Gayle Howell (Cleveland State University Poetry Center) At first glance, Howell’s Render reminds us of a survival manual for a future apocalypse, but a closer read reveals that her poems teach us how to navigate and survive the everyday – even those days that don’t seem disastrous.  Read here for a more complete review of her book.

Render by Collin Kelley (Sibling Rivalry Press) In Kelley’s latest collection, he explores the past through stories blending narratives with historical events and pop culture, reminding us that we are shaped by what has already happened, his work haunted by the presence of Margot Kidder, Fred Rogers and Three Mile Island.

The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths by Sandy Longhorn (Jacar Press) Longhorn’s second full length book of poetry is a collection of coming-of-age Midwestern narratives disguised as contemporary fairy tales. My favorite poem, “Cautionary Tale for Girls Caught Up in the Machinary” depicts the demise of a young girl, pulled into farm equipment, leaving only “a scrap of cloth” proving “she hadn’t simply wandered off.”

The Stick Soldiers by Hugh Martin (Boa Editions) Many readers will likely think of Brian Turner’s poems as they read Stick Soldiers, a powerful collection of work that explores the turmoil of the warfront as well as the difficult return home.

Scoring the Silent Film by Keith Montesano (Dream Horse Press) Montesano’s second full length collection of poetry explores our world through the viewpoints of minor characters in movies.  Whether we are reading about a high school physics teacher who watches one of his students get shot, or seeing the reactions of a man who is ducking bullets in Total Recall, we are part of an exploration of the human condition and how we interact with the often violent world around us.

Some Kind of Shelter by Sara Tracey (Misty Publications) In her debut full-length collection of poetry, Tracey details the stories of two cousins – one who leaves Rust Belt Ohio and the other who stays – while intertwining their narratives with other portraits of the working-class world. Whether she is narrating a story about a couple who finds a comatose teenage girl in a trash bag of garbage or reciting a hymn-like mantra praising a town that is “a call girl knee-deep/in raspberry Jell-O” Tracey brings beauty and hope to a world that seems void of both.

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