Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Hearing Voices in the Canyon

Maybe I was hearing voices in the Canyon because I was wasted. Nah, my poem, "Get Wasted," is in Canyon Voices vol. 24, Fall 2021, with audio. That's me reading (wait until 1:17 of the audio file to begin). And the little poem is on page 132. It's what I call a "Bad Voices" poem, spoken by someone in the backstory in my mind. I'm putting together a whole collection of Bad Voices poems. Did you think that was me speaking? Maybe so too. Did you think "getting wasted" referred to something other than drugs? Maybe so too.

But that ain't all! There's another poem of mine, "Fascination of Destruction," back on page 153. Again with me reading it in a Youtube audio file. It's another vicious poem about some awful things, almost a terrorist poem, but then ... So, was I hearing voices again? You go to a canyon in Arizona and tell me you don't hear voices. I dare you.

Canyon Voices is a beautiful publication, showing how talented the people involved are. Most of them are students at the School of Humanities. Arizona State University must be a great place to learn. Read the whole issue and you'll see what I mean. 

I'm very grateful to the bosses, Julie Amparano Garcia and Sharon Enek, for including me in Canyon Voices. 


Thursday, April 7, 2022

Flapper Press Poetry Café: poems and an interview!


Thank you Annie Newcomer! Thank you Elizabeth Gracen! What a joy to see my poems and an interview in Flapper PPC! Thank you for the wonderful context to the poems, the photos and intros. I've never really been interviewed like this before. What a kick! Thanks also for the link to my cousin Dan's blog and books. He died last year.

I think a lot of editors would not touch the Gull Eggs poem because they don't know where Seward is or who Rockwell Kent is, too outdated. The other poems have some prickly elements too. That means it took courage (and excellent taste) for Flapper PPC to publish this stuff. Kudos.

Hello, is it Spring yet? Has renewal started? Are we still lost in a virus fog with the smoke from Ukraine burning our eyes? I still feel Winter sadness, but I got a nice present today from the Flapper Press Poetry Café. Again thanks.


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Odyssey of Mediterranean Poetry

Mediterranean Poetry is a young themed journal of ... you guessed it. It's run by Anders Dahlgren, a very nice guy. In the latest issue, I have a few poems you may have read before: "It's Not Late," "Tourists," "Broken Aqueduct," "Going to the Edge of the Land," and "One Sweltering Day on the Caronte." You can read them at the address below and read the other poets work as well. Quite a trip.

I have lived by the great sea for most of my life; I can see from my window the site of the legend of the Sirens and how Odyesseus made his way between Scylla, the monster, and Charybdis, the whirlpool. I'm on the Charybdis side. I knew a fisherman who actually did drown when his boat got sucked under. It's dangerous where the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas meet.

Like the King of Ithaca, I have been trying all these years to get home to San Francisco, however this 'go/stay' thing has been a tug-of-war with me pulling on both ends. For now, I'm here, I'm glad to be right here. Still writing my personal odyssey.


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Open the Door to Poetry

OpenDoor Poetry Magazine is big, bright and beautiful. It has a lot of color and warmth and flowers. I am a featured poet in the Adoration issue. That's a thrill and an honor.

Thanks a billion to the bosses: Kassie J. Runyan and Mel Haagman. Some of their work is at the beginning of this issue. Mel and Kassie put a lot of heart and soul into the magazine.

My poems begin on page 53. They are all about walking. "Friendly Greetings" is about meeting someone real or unreal. "Ice Lake"is a frozen dilemma. "Walking on Alligators," well, that's it. And "Hitchhiking" is something that's illegal on freeways in central California. I end with "March!" explaining why I quit the Boy Scouts at age 13.

On page 63, there's even a poster of my book, Exile's Choice, in case you haven't read it yet. 

It's really exciting to be treated so kindly! Long live OpenDoor!


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A Few Short Poems in Clips & Pages

Rhyme is a bit out of fashion in poetry these days. But I also write songs, so rhymes are essential sounds to me. I sent a group of short rhyming poems to the young literary collective, Clips & Pages, and kept my fingers crossed. Fortunately, they published them all. Not only that but they matched them with wonderful pictures (the last one's mine) on a fabulous layout. I love the whole page, and I'll read the whole blogazine. You should too.

I received an additional honor with this:  "Clips and Pages celebrates the Auspicious Occasion of World Poetry Day with these short and beautiful poems by our esteemed Writer, E. Martin Pedersen."

My thanks to the generous Clips & Pages team. Thank you and continued Good Luck.


The more FB likes, comments and shares I get, the more likely C&P are to publish my work in their next anthology, so ...


Monday, March 21, 2022

Aethlon: uh, Greek for, uh, Sports Literature

Sports literature? Like a poem about baseball? Is that a thing? Aethlon is a widely respected journal of sports literature, poems and stories (and nonfiction) about all sports: baseball, boxing, racing, rugby, play. I studied play in education as a grad at San Francisco State, a program ahead of its time in 1978. Children/people grow in so many ways while playing together. It's essential.

The poem I have in the latest issue of Aethlon is called "King of the Hill." It includes a note about the true story origin of something I only saw once on television back in the no replay days. The poem seems to glorify violence, I hope it doesn't. However, baseball is a game of unwritten rules, and they include when a pitcher can intentionally hit a batter and what his reaction should be.

Does violence in American sports lead to violence in American society or reflect it? I think so. Americans often don't realize how violent their culture is compared to others. Maybe we should all go abroad for a year or two to see how peaceful people live. We could make that a trade-off for free college, volunteer like the Peace Corps. I'll propose that. After the baseball season gets underway.

My thanks to editors, Joyce Duncan and Ron Smith, and the Sport Literature Association (though headquartered in Tennessee, they use the British singular) for this publication which to me is an honor.

Join the Association and get the journal. Or try Amazon -- Aethlon: the Journal of Sport Literature XXXVIII: 1 Fall 2020/Winter 2021, page 75.

Monday, March 14, 2022

SurVision, put on your crazy glasses

Surrealistic Vision: when you walk down the street does it resemble a Dalì painting? Do you see weeping clocks and long-legged elephants? Is it you or is the world around you distorted? Life is but a dream? Disturbing, bizarre, and marvelous -- crazy art to tame a crazy world.

SurVision is a journal of surrealistic poetry. My poem, "In the Bowels," is in the latest issue. What's it about? What's it saying? I don't know. That's the beauty of surreal poetry. Read it to see what I mean. Read the entire issue, lots of weird and wonderful stuff here.

Anatoly Kudryavitsky is the boss. Check his wikipedia page, very impressive. He's Irish/Russian/Ukrainian. Check him out on Facebook too for the latest on the too-real Invasion. My thanks to him. Slava Ukraini!


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Phenomenal 2-for-1 Literature deal!

Phenomenal Literature is a great journal out of India. It is run by Dr. Vivekanand Jha, a very nice man. He also runs another journal called VerbalArt. That's why you get 2-for1. Because I have poems in both!

My poem, "Our Magic Carpet," is in Phenomenal Lit (page 17), while my poem, "The Realize Tree," is in VerbalArt (page 36). The magic carpet is imaginary play between father and children. It seems like fun, but something is missing. The Realize Tree is a simple poplar but also a symbol of a country which I have strong mixed feelings about.

Thanks to Dr. Vivekanand Jha for this opportunity to reach such a vast and diverse audience with my modest contributions. You can thank him too by reading and supporting his fine journals.



Monday, February 14, 2022

Are you Gonzo! No, I'm an April Fool!


My poem, "April Fool's," is featured in the current The Gonzo Press online journal. The Gonzo Press is the work of enigmatic editor, K. Joseph. My thanks for including me. 

Ever since reading Hunter S. Thompson (introduced to me by Tom Wolfe), I've wanted to be Gonzo without knowing what that meant. I still don't know, but at least I'm an April Fool as well.

Look here. From the photo of Gonzo the Great, the Sesame Street hero, you can see that he dresses just like me. And from the photo that accompanies the poem you can see that I've lost my hair and several decades of age, a worthy trade-off.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Discretionary Love is the best love.

Discretionary Love is also a literary journal. There you'll find my poem, "If a Lot of Stuff."It's a love story, but maybe not the kind you're used to.

Many thanks to the boss, Jessica Frelow, for putting together such an interesting and rich one-theme journal. 

I bet you'll fall in love with this journal and keep reading it. 

As Ringo says: Peace and Love!


Monday, February 7, 2022

The Pangolin & The Challenge

The Pangolin Review is a beautiful and rich African literary journal. It publishes poetry from all over the world. Please read it.

My thanks to editor, Amit Parmessur and his team, especially Jane Mayflower.

In issue 20 you'll find my poem about men and women entitled, "The Challenge." That may sound ominous, but read it to see if it's what you expect.

And enjoy the wonderful pangolin, a critically endangered animal that needs our help. Can we save them? Will we save them? That is the real challenge.


Thursday, February 3, 2022

Raise your hand if you have FEVERS OF THE MIND!

Fevers of the Mind, aka Brain Fever, is an antiquated term for emotional distress which can lead to serious illness. If you don't have that about now, you're not paying attention. Being human in 2022 means suffering from emotional distress most of us have never felt before. Here in Italy the old-timers say it's similar to the feeling they had every day during the Big War. Like a bomb might come down on you at any moment. And then there are the lasting effects and serious related illnesses still to come, other brain fevers. Wow, not an easy time.

Fevers of the Mind is also an excellent no-nonsense Poetry & Art magazine. The boss is David L O'Nan, my thanks to him. Right now in Fevers of the Mind you'll find SIX, that's 6, of my recent poems dealing with the pandemic. The accompanying picture is of the Plague Doctor Reaper with the classic Beaked Mask, that covered the face and kept the infected breath at a distance, but also started the legend of the Grim Reaper who comes to gather souls. The Black Death lasted 7 years and killed maybe 200 million people. Our current plague has already killed over 6 million (maybe several times that) and has lasted 2 years, but we're still in the thick of it. Mercy.

So, people like me can't create a vaccine to cure the virus, but we can express something in writing. Maybe that something can reach out to another person somewhere out there. Maybe to hold hands virtually. Read these poems and all the others in Fevers of the Mind to find out. Find out what's going on, what's going on inside our collective consciousness. Then say it with me:

We are alive. 


Monday, January 31, 2022

Five Willows = Four Poems

1. The Beauty of Books on a Shelf

2. The Chill of the Sierra

3. Curse Immortality

4. A Life Saved is a Life Earned

Thanks a million to poet-editor, Koon Woon, for his kindness.

See wikipedia for the fascinating story of Mr. Five Willows (Tao Yuanming).


Thursday, January 27, 2022

You say Uppagus? I say Uppagus!

Uppagus is a literary journal, sweet and simple. In it you'll find my poem, "The Heavy Bear." It contains the word 'erection'. Does that make you want to read it or not? 

The editor who wrote to me is Ziggy Edwards, obviously a very cool dude. The other is Jude, probably equally cool. A big pandemic-sized thanks to both. 

I read the other poems and flash fiction pieces. They're good. Better than mine. Check 'em out.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Triggerfish Critical Review, Poems with Audio and Reviews!!!

My poem, "Coccodrillo," is in the latest issue of Triggerfish Critical Review. I had to look up triggerfish, here's what I found: "popular in the marine aquarium trade, they are often notoriously ill-tempered." Not true of editor, Dave Mehler, who was very kind and generous. Thanks Dave. So you get the prose poem.

But that's not all! You also get an audio version recorded by yours truly. It makes me sound half-crazy. Well.

And finally, two readers were very kind and wrote critical reviews of my work. Martha Zweig begins: "I favor enjambed line breaks ..." and continues with some very specific and helpful points. I've rarely had feedback for my poetry before. It's a kick. And then, Pat Anthony wrote a wonderful review that begins: "I found this piece to be pure joy ..."

Besides all this, there's an accompanying collage painting, beautiful and bizarre, by Dale Champlin called Madonna Stacked. You got to see it.

All this for one very low price. Check it out.


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

THE POST QUARANTINE CHRONICLES (pg. 107) -- Published!!! in Ginosko Literary Journal

I never thought anyone would have the guts to publish this collection of five poems or a five-part poem written in five days in June 2020. Robert Paul Cesaretti proved me wrong! Ginosko is King! This is spicy hot stuff, lots of raw political opinion and sentiment. As I wrote this I was angry, it shows. 

Maybe this is not just a poem sequence but also an historical document. We need more people telling what it's like right as it's happening because looking back always takes the sting out of a moment. Young people can read about or see films about: Kennedy's assassination, King's I have a dream speech, the moon landing, the Beatles coming to America, the Vietnam War, the No Nukes movement, Watergate, the AIDS epidemic, Gay Rights movement and a hundred other things that if you were there, if you lived through it, you get it, you still feel it, otherwise it's lifeless. Now journalists debate Nixon and his presidency in a blahblah bothsides way, for us he was the Devil! The Devil! So poets get to work, write what's happening right now. Be angry, find brave publishers like Robert Paul Cesaretti and Ginosko. We'll need the record when we're old.

I posted online my 100 daily outbursts written during total lockdown here in Sicily as the QUARANTINE CHRONICLES, and these five are about the period directly following that. We were afraid, I was afraid, to go out, to do anything, the virus was still rampant. It was also the period leading up to the US elections and also the time of the George Floyd murder / BLACK LIVES MATTER protests. It felt overwhelming and still does.

Quiz: what book/series of poems was I reading when I wrote section 5? Winner gets a free book.


Sunday, January 2, 2022

Don't Make Me Talk about the Blue Lake Review

"Don't Make Me Talk," is in the Sept. 2021 issue of Blue Lake Review. 

My thanks to Diana May-Waldman who takes care of the poetry (Mitchell Waldman does the fiction). They seem like nice folks committed to sharing good literature. Give BLR a read.


I took the picture of Crater Lake in July. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Modern Literature on a dark and stormy night.

Double Wow!! The excellent international literary journal, Modern Literature, has just published four of my poems along with an intriging and perhaps disturbing photo of a girl and a glass. 

Modern Literature is based in Chennai, India and run by Mr. Rajesh Subramanian. The worthy goal of the publication is to be: "a platform for Literature that stretches and redefines the boundaries of its form, content and imagination." What better than that?

Please read my poems and all the work in Modern Literature. As you know, India is where Modern Literature is happening right now.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

In Verse or the Inverse? (In versi o l'inverso?)

Inverse Journal, run by Mr. Amjad Majid, is a Kashmir-based publication. It is exceptionally beautiful. I was already thrilled to have my poems accepted, but when I saw the lay-out ... WOW!!! The photo of the Madonnina at the port of Messina, the symbol of the city, is something most people see every day. Spectacular!

Mr. Majid wrote a glowing introduction to my poems and even gave the set a title. Here's what he said:

"All the way from Italy, Martin Pedersen presents four poems that explore memory and experience in four unique ways. From memories of a mother and a grandmother to the experience of thirst and the experience of solitude, Pedersen’s verses are characterized by a purity that arrives with age and silence." 

I don't know what this winter season means to you. I rarely see my family, certainly not this year. So while everyone is HoHoHo, I wait it out. January is welcome, as the days get longer and life returns to normal. And this year add the weight of covid.

This year, however, I can feel satisfied and realized by the excellent presentation I received in Inverse Journal. Thanks again to Mr. Majid, and now I need to delve into the other work in Inverse Journal and read about the artistic and political situation in Kashmir too. You should too. It's a big world.


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Grey Sparrow watching

In number 38 of the Grey Sparrow Review I have a poem called, "Everyone I Ever Knew is Dead." That sounds pretty dire. I'm not sure the poem is what you expect from the title, so you should read it to find out. 

Grey Sparrow is no-frills. I like that. The quality is in the works published. It's an honor to have my poem there.

Diane Fuller Smith is the editor. She's very nice. She works very hard. I've never met her, but I like her.


Thursday, December 2, 2021

poems on anger and fear

Jonathan Penton, the editor of Unlikely Stories Mark V, called these two poems of mine: "poems on anger and fear." I love that. What else would you write these days?

The titles are "You act like this is a game," and "Sunflower Seeds of Indignation." I read them again. You can too. Then read all the others.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

W-Poesis, What?

A wonderful poetry journal used to be called Poesis and now is W-Poesis. I think the W stands for Whatever, as we say about everything in California.

Adrian Flett and Silviu Craciunas are the editors and they are great. Thanks for consistently providing excellent poetry to the world. Oh, maybe the W stands for World. Or winners. Whatever.

Check out my three poems here:


Thursday, November 11, 2021

How I got committed to the Harbinger Asylum

I stood on the street corner broadcasting like a radio host. "The End is Here!" I yelled. But it wasn't quite the end, so they threw me in the asylum. There I wrote a poem called, "God Left Holding the String." It deals with perpetual spinning and dizziness.

Z. M. Wise, a poet and editor from Houston, saw the poem and decided to include it in the Winter 2020 issue of Harbinger Asylum. You can get it from Amazon for seven bucks. If that's too much we could say $6.99 plus a magic penny. Anyway, there you go. Let me know what you think.


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Where do you live? Down in the Dirt.

I've been published before in the explosive poetry journal, Down in the Dirt. My latest contribution is called, "The 20 Random Questions." Let's see if you can find the thread, or are the questions truly random? Janet Kuypers is the force behind D.D. Many thanks and kudos to her.

The issue my poem appears in is called Three Things, v. 186. What are the three things and are they the answers to the 20 questions? Do answers even exist? Is this the age of doubt? I doubt that. Sometimes seems like it though. Maybe three things is all we know. Maybe all we need.


Monday, October 18, 2021

From the land of Cacti, Fur, and Waves

Cacti Fur Magazine printed my poem, "Waves," about a month ago. They always do a nice job of matching a picture, this one features a happy dog. Is "Waves" a happy poem ... unlikely.

Many thanks to Jim Thompson, editor and supporter of my work. I'm always thrilled to appear in Cacti Fur, a gold star for me. There's lots of great stuff at Cacti Fur. Go to the site below and surf!


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Shorts Weather


Shorts Magazine published my poem entitled: let's see if I can get this right: "Both Quickly Ignoring a Mumbled Declaration of Eternal Love." Nope, muttered, not mumbled. Same difference. It's a duet. A he said--she said thing. I use lots of other voices and characters in my work. Takes me a step out of self-pity confessional mode.

Thanks to editor, Marnie Devereux. For being called Shorts the magazine sure is Huge. About 120 pages of wonder.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Poetry Drawn and Quarterly


Poetry Quarterly, winter 2020, is a beautiful paper journal for sale on the Prolific Press website below. It's a doozy: "Hand-selected poems by today's finest poets." My contribution is called "No Closure," a modern family drama from a different point of view. 

So, your call, if you're curious or intrigued, get a copy and let me know what you think.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Tredici merli indiani

Thirteen Myna Birds is a snazzy blog-journal of poetry run by Juliet Cook. It was a kick to be included in the list again. Thirteen poets are featured and then move down as they're replaced.

The poems are: "The Bully," no TFG reference intended or maybe it is, and "L.A.", which is not about Los Angeles or maybe it is. What can I say? Read your way down the page till you get to mine, then pause, then continue. Thanks Juliet.


Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Metaworker goes to and fro

My poem, currently featured in The Metaworker Literary Magazine, is called "Turning Back, Going Forward," which seems like an expression of confusion in movement. It has that in it and some other stuff. The photo that accompanies it (by Louis Reed) is incredible. How did he do that?

My deepest gratitude to Melissa Reynolds and all the Metaworker staff. I'm thrilled to be in such great company. Start with mine and then click and read all the other poems, they're wonderful. All that metawork pays off!


Friday, June 18, 2021

Welcome to the Agony Opera

Come on in, be ready for anything. The Agony Opera is a literary journal that can seem a bit odd at first. Give it a chance. For one thing it's produced in India, so about half of it is in lingo. Read the home page message and you'll either love the wild ride or feel like you missed the joke. The image with my poems is, frankly, provocative. But that's the point, I think. Push the boundaries and poke the reader to get a reaction. I like it. 

I have four poems in the latest issue, which are also a bit disturbing, entitled: Mother Tongue, Pain After It's Gone, Scars, Yes We Can't. What to make of it all? Who cares? Go with the roller coaster! Arms Up! Scream your head off!


Monday, June 7, 2021

Poet of the Week: oh, yeah.

Guess who's poet of the week at the Poetry Super Highway, along with John Sweet? Yours truly. It's very exciting and an honor to be picked again by Rick Lupert. The poem is called, "In the Junkyard." When I reread it, I went: what the hell does this mean? For a second I couldn't read my own work. Then I think I got it, but I'm still not sure. Maybe that's a good thing, a bit of mystery reflecting existence. Plus a bit of confusion reflecting these hard times.

So, get on the road, check out John Sweet's poems and all the others from past weeks and take a drive across the country of the PSH website. If you see Rick Lupert hanging out at a truck stop, thank him for me.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Am I more millennial or more pulp?

Millennial Pulp is a new literary and art magazine. It's so full of good words and art that'll you'll want to walk on your elbows. Something I do frequently. In fact, that's an image of me on the cover. 

The poem of mine contained therein is called, "Two Strangers Meet in a Bar." The title's banal, let's see if the poem is. Salamanders?

The editor is Isaac Russo. Seems a decent chap. Thanks Isaac.

The one possible drawback or draw to about MP (nice initials) is that it is for sale only. 12 bucks will get you 150 pages of goodies, is that worth it? Is that so unaffordable? Come on, you can find that much in the pockets of your old jeans. Take a chance. Buy MP and relish!


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Two thumbs up: Adirondack Review

The Adirondack Review is a fine poetry journal, and they recently published my poem: The Bartleby Dictum. The reference is clearly to the short story by Herman Melville (read it). My poem should end with a sentence in Chinese characters, but it doesn't. There's some other stuff in there, if you're curious. And while you're on the page enjoy the whole Spring 2021 issue.

Nicholas Samaras is the poetry editor, and Colleen Ryor is the editor-in-chief. Thank you both for this opportunity. Your journal is as rich as the mountains it's named for.


Friday, May 21, 2021

I Missed the Bad Weather and All

Major Oops. Just discovered a poem of mine published by Abstract Magazine last year. How did I miss it? There's a beautiful albeit disturbing picture with it and it's called: Bad Weather and All. The poem is alright. I like the line about bran flakes and beets, but I'm worried because I barely remember writing it. Am I losing my mystery?

Thanks a year late to JL Jacobs for her kindness. Check out my poem and then check out Abstract Magazine (tv.com) for a bunch of other stuff.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

What They're Saying About Exile's Choice, part three

Mike Bausch, a friend with whom I've shared many adventures over the years including presiding at my wedding, wrote this about Exile's Choice: 

"This collection of selected poems highlights Martin Pedersen's gift for keen observation and quirky description of the ordinary and the poignant. Writing on a boundary, with one leg in Sicily and the other in California, Martin Pedersen watches relationships as they unfurl and then takes a photo of a moment, capturing it with a phrase, and inviting us to see and feel something new. These poems/stories/life encounters are so vividly expressed that they will linger with you once you're finished with them, simply because they're not finished with you."

Thanks Mike

To order see: Amazon, Kelsay Books or write me at martinpedersen1255@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

What They're Saying About Exile's Choice, part two

Enrico De Lea, a friend, poet and lawyer that I met in Messina working with the local Partito Radicale back in the 1980s, wrote this about Exile's Choice: 

"Pedersen's choice speaks to us essentially of a common experience, a state of exile that manifests itself in many ways, from one place to another, from one age to another, from one human encounter to another, even from one self to another self. His exile confirms the almost-physical residency of a poetic voice in whatever country/language he migrates to, with verses of rare lyrical quality and effective communication, through the idyll and the epos, memory and self-analysis, blues and irony, by which readers feel not merely involved but recognizable in their own movement through their inner lives. That's the choice that chooses us."

Thanks Enrico.

To order see: Amazon, Kelsay Books or write me at martinpedersen1255@gmail.com

Saturday, May 8, 2021

What They're Saying About Exile's Choice, part one

Elli Sandis, a friend and fellow English teacher that I met at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, wrote this about Exile's Choice:

"In a time when more of us than ever know what it feels like to experience an impossible distance from our own normal lives, this collection provides a nostalgia for a familiar former life with the joyful normalcy of growing at home within a new country. Pedersen explores the merging of cultures and memory through every-day experiences: the sharing of meals, memories of childhood moments that feel as alive today as they did then, the introspection and bargaining that comes with grieving the loss of a dear friend our own age. Pedersen captures these moments like snapshots, allowing us to travel with him through the touching, simple moments and memories that make up a life."

Thanks Elli.

To order go to: Amazon, Kelsay Books, or write me at martinpedersen1255@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Dancing with Skeletons

Danse Macabre is a literary journal where five of my poems are currently on display, but it's also the Dance of Death, very popular in the Middle Ages and in about the last year. Famine, war, the Black Death and SARS-CoV-2. Either cry or dance or both.

But back to the literary journal, part in French, German, Latin and possibly other tongues, there's even music -- it's like WHOOHOO! Take the wild ride, read my weird poems (Monkeys Three, Passing Thru Rooms, Shootout at the PSA, Superficial and What I Eat at the Cemetery) and then all the other stuff.

Adam Henry Carrière, the boss, is very nice and generous, not a skeleton at all. Merci beaucoup, Adam.


Saturday, May 1, 2021

Better than Starbucks? Italian coffee: a love poem.

My poem, "Love Poem," is in the latest Better Than Starbucks Poetry Journal (May 2021). I don't know how the journal got it's name, but from my vantage point here in eastern Sicily, yes, Starbucks can do fun coffee drinks, but Italian coffee wins. Most visitors go for the tiny sips from tiny cups in tiny bars, but I say the best coffee is homemade, either from the Moka or an espresso machine. You determine the strength, the length and the mix. You find your favorite brand. You buy the cup that fits your lips.

However, I'm not a coffee fanatic. I prefer tea that's left in the pot to get cold, strong and bitter. To each their own drink. In the US, I tried the Starbucks cold brew, but it knocked my socks off. Good for commuters.

"Love Poem," what a lousy title! Better read it to see if you like the poem. And explore the BTS universe of poetry on the site. Thanks to editor Vera Ignatowitsch for the thumbs up.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Look Look in the Literary Yard

Today five poems of mine were posted on Literary Yard. My humble thanks to the boss, Onkar Sharma, who has been a huge supporter of my work. I love Literary Yard. It's so modern. If Onkar likes it, it goes straight onto the internet same day. 

The poems are: "Confess to What?" a sort of Kafkian piece about a man covered with ice cream; "Credibility" includes Sicilian blood oranges; "Falling Backwards" continues with dream imagery; "Hello" is about text messages, but they are gruesome; and "Killed for being too happy" is from a news story, one of my most recent poems and one of a series I call the Limbo Reports.

I'm thrilled to share these poems with you on this wonderful platform. Plus, there's a fantastic image to go with them (reposted above). Check out the L-Yard today and every day.


Friday, April 23, 2021

On the Airwaves

I'm on the air! My voice can travel from my shack on the beach at Furnari into your home wherever you live. What a miracle! I can hardly bear it.

As part of a podcast by Brief Wilderness, hosted by editor, Gordon Purkis, I read my poem, "Casting a Net, Catching Dismay." It sort of deals with living abroad, something I should know about after 42 years in Sicily, though I always have doubts. Maybe it's a poem about doubts.

I'm in good company with other poets and fiction writers reading their work. This is really fun, a first for me. 2021 and I'm finally on a podcast! Follow the link to Spotify and enjoy some audio literature.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Go Fast to the Open Arts

My poem, "Links," is up right now on the Open Arts Forum website, featured with a disturbing photo of a military cemetery. Appropriate because the poem is about death, but it's not a sad poem (I got plenty of those). It's a poem about loss, the loss of people who lived in the past. What did we get from them? What is gone with them? 

Open Arts Forum is not just a publisher of poems but a meeting place for people who like poetry. I got some very nice comments on mine, something I'm not used to, being so far away and all. Thanks to the editors, especially Jay Dougherty who kind of moderates.

My advice: go to the website, check it all out, join in the fun.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Casting a Net in a Brief Wilderness

This spectacular photo accompanies my poem, "Casting a Net, Catching Dismay," in the web journal, Brief Wilderness. I left San Francisco 42 years ago at age 24 and never went back, so this poem tries to define that here-and-there lifestyle. Sorta. You figure it out. And give all of Brief Wilderness a read.

It's a longer poem than most. I'm really pleased that poetry editor, Leanne Hoppe and general editor, Gordon Purkis, took a chance on this piece and published it in their no-frills journal that explores the "(seemingly empty) space between ourselves and the other, whether it be another person, the natural world or maybe even another plane of existence." Yes!

They've asked me to record a version for a podcast they're starting. I will and will let you know when that comes out. It should be exciting.


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Look Out, Here Comes the Big One!

The Big One being my latest book of poetry: Exile's Choice. I published two small books of small poems recently, and I hope you liked them or will like them, but now here is my super-sized, loaded, extra-large book of recent published poetry. Actually, it's a chapbook, so it's not as big as the collection which should be coming out later this year, but I'm excited and thrilled to have this already available in a beautiful edition by Kelsay Books. The people I worked with there, Karen Kelsay and Delisa Hargrove, were very friendly and professional.

I got another big boost from some friends who were willing to write blurbs for the back cover or Exile's Choice. I'll print them for you in another post. Elli Sandis, Enrico De Lea and Mike Bausch are all great writers and did me a huge favor. I owe them tacos.

Exile's Choice is a group of poems obliquely centered around my experience as an ex-pat. I've lived in Sicily for over 40 years and have always planned to return to California. Now that plan is on hold, and since I moved to a small house near the beach with the birdsong, the rolling breakers, and a garden to tend, I might not return to the city, here or there. We'll see.

As I said in the introduction to Exile's Choice:

They say that the difference between exile and expatriation is the choice. When I came to Sicily in 1979 and stayed and stayed until today, that was my choice, right? Or did the island choose me? Between Scylla and Charybdis, the Sirens sing: run from/run to, familiar/strange, stay/leave, shoobie doobie. So, when living out of the red backpack lost its charm, I easily slid into a family-home-job so cozy that return became impractical, undesirable, near impossible. In a sense, I exiled myself. The choice I made made me.

"To go native" -- is that the passage from ex-pat to exile? Am I denying my daily decision, imagining myself a victim of fate, the starry-eyed wanderer who can't find his way home? I don't know. The expression I hear most often from the locals here in Messina is: 'why don't you go back?' Back? Back in time, you mean? The San Francisco of my youth no longer exists. Neither do I as I left it.

I hope you will buy this book. Not because I receive any monetary reward but because I want as many people as possible to read it. It's cheap. Buy some copies for your friends too. It's a young book by a young poet just learning to ride a bike. Push me along those first meters, and I'll wave and smile later when I come around the block smoothly cruising by. Thank you.

Go to the Amazon or Kelsay Books (.com) or write directly to me and I'll sign your copy (martinpedersen1255@gmail.com). 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

What are SMART PILLS? I need some.


SMART PILLS will make you smart. Unless you don't believe that claim. Then you don't need them; you're already smart.

SMART PILLS is a new book of mine containing micro-poems. They look like haiku, but I prefer to think of them as proverbs. Of course, real proverbs are developed over centuries and contain the wisdom of an entire culture, so these are pseudo- or nouveau- proverbs, or maybe something else I don't understand. Anyway, here they are.

The poems in this book, in contrast with Bitter Pills, are all unpublished. New just for you!

Like with the older brother book, Bitter Pills, you can Get Smart from Amazon or Cyberwit.net or from me, and I'll sign it for free. If you open the Amazon page, type in e. martin pedersen, and you'll find my books. Then click on my name to go to my Author Page where all the fun stuff is.

Are you sick of pills making you sick to make you well? The next book has a different chemical composition, different artificial flavor, and different side-effects. Coming soon.

Thanks for your support. If you can write a review or give some copies as gifts or do anything to help me promote my little works, I'd be very grateful. Most of all, thanks for reading.


Thursday, March 4, 2021

SMART PILLS, available now without a prescription


My latest book, SMART PILLS, is out and ready to catch fire. I found out yesterday that it's already been reviewed. Here's the very nice review by LB Sedlacek in Pegasus Literary (pegasusliterary.com):

“Smart Pills” is a new collection of haiku poetry.  Each haiku is contained on its own individually, but easily fits along with the others.  There are three haiku per page.  If you enjoy this shorter traditional form of poetry, you will find much to like about Pederson’s poems.

From page 9:  “television is on us / as smallpox blankets / to native tribes.”  He uses no capitalization and sparsely uses other punctuation throughout the poems. 

The cover photo of a seaside at sunset incorporates the author’s photo as if he’s floating in the surrounding clouds.  It’s quite a striking effect drawing the reader to it. 

In the opening to his book, Pederson declares that you the reader need to take a smart pill every day to become smart unless of course you don’t believe in them.  It gives quite the introduction into the thought producing poems on the page.

From page 10:  “artists intrigue / by hiding the I am / under layers of color.”  He skillfully presses you into thinking more, producing that a-ha moment when a line really gets to you.

Pederson is originally from San Francisco, but he has lived in Sicily for the past several years.  He teaches English there at the University. 

With these haiku he delves into the pitfalls of money, drugs, deadlines and marriage, puppies, ointments and more.  His poems stay to two to three lines, each line containing minimum syllables.  Many of the poems could be quoted on those ever popular Quotes sites online or on social media.  Several of them sound like good solid advice someone might give you, perhaps even a professional.  Pederson is definitely trying to up your intelligence with these poems.

Here’s one about a vegetable you may or may not eat, from page 18:  “artichokes – two hours to prepare / ten minutes to eat.”  Of course the poem is talking about cooking and eating an artichoke, but such as this layered plant looks is their more beneath the surface?

Haiku can be unique with its ability to articulate simple things or moments.  These types of poems can bring quick pointed enlightenment with only a few words, syllables and lines.  In this book, Pederson’s haikus become experiences that cause us to ponder, to pause, or maybe to become passionate about all at the same time.  He may speak of the everyday, but he does it in such a way that it uncovers what lies beneath. 

Pederson presents 66 haiku in this collection.  With them he shows creativity and perception while exploring the world all around us.  It is a tapestry of flowing thoughts and words punctuated by the enlightenment they bring.  Simply put, this is a harmonious group of poems and yes you will feel a little bit smarter after reading them!

Pederson is quite a noted author.  He also has another poetry collection available entitled “Bitter Pills.” 

LB Sedlacek




Sunday, January 24, 2021

Blacktop Passages -- poetry on the road

I'm thrilled to have a poem featured in Blacktop Passages, a journal of poems about traveling, mainly by car. The poem (The sea storm comes ashore) is unusual for me as it is based on an actual occurrence. I did drive to the ocean during a storm and a wave did crash right over my car. It did scare the bejeezus out of me.

I'm in lockdown now in Sicily. We can only go out for necessities or exercise close to home. Fortunately, the beach is 50 meters away. I can stare into the calm waters flapping onto the sand. But after my experience in Point Reyes many years ago, I know that the sleeping tiger can still strike; the sea can rise up and swallow you whole whenever it wants.

Thanks to editor, Thomas John Nudi, and in particular to Claire Nelson for help with edits that took out some clutter. And to William J. Stribling for the photo.

First we need to crush the virus, then we can get back on our favorite road, in my case the freeway between SFO and my home in northern California. Stay strong, stay safe.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

An Absurd Gift

An absurd gift for absurd times. Instead of a practical gift like scissors or a chainsaw or a feelings-based stocking stuffer like heart-shaped post-its or a flashing I Love You pen rolled up in unsigned divorce papers, you could go completely crazy and get a copy of my book (or ten). Bitter Pills are only bitter enough to be good medicine. It's a tiny book of tiny poems, in other words, an absurd waste of money. Go for the big bomb books to get your money's worth: Clarissa by Sam Richardson (almost 1,000,000 words) or Miss MacIntosh by Marg Young (750,000 wds). You can use these and others as counter-weights or deadly weapons. Bitter Pills will blow away in a strong wind.

If you do want to waste some money on an absurd gift for your best friend, worst enemy or your-own-self, Bitter Pills is what you need. Send me your address, put $15 or 13€ in my PayPal account: martinpedersen@tin.it. I'll get the books to you as fast as the Sicilian postal system can travel (they still use delivery donkeys here). Should be in time for Christmas or some other equally bittersweet annual holiday. Contact me for other arrangements, discounts for bulk orders. Be happy to autograph. You can get it from Amazon too, but that's no fun.


Can you imagine your love or kids or parents opening this present: "What The Hell kind of present is this!? I wanted more socks! But then on second thought, hmm, these are not bad. And you really know the guy who wrote these? Poems in a pandemic. Whatever. Now I can't wait for his next book to come out." That could happen.


Happy Holidays,

Stay strong, stay healthy, and please stay home,






Thursday, December 3, 2020

Scrittura. Si! L'hai detto, amico!

Scrittura Magazine printed one of my poems in the latest issue. It's called, "Driving the Love Train into the Tunnel of Death," on page 46. A thousand thanks to editors, Valentina Terrinoni and Yasmin Rahman. 

The mag is spanking beautiful! You need to check it out for the contents, but the design makes everything better. My page is eerie black and red, smoky and seductive. You have to see this, the whole Scrittura, I mean. I'm really pleased to be included.