Now or “Now”, What’s in a When?

In Japanese Haiku, Yasuda talks about the seasonal word coming from the Renga, he talks that the hokka needed to be referencing now—the season they were in. 

That linked the poets’ experience as they made linked verses—they shared “now” as a frame of reference. 

“Now” is always an interesting thing for poets as we will often write about now later. Using the present as inspiration, but adding time to reflect. 

But there is a certain romantic ideal involved with this season observation—that the poem has more weight that one that was written later, after reflection. 

That “spontaneous overflow” all over again. 

Words have power—sure, but does the generation of those words also have power? Would a poem be the same, composed about war, but not in war? About love, not in or out of love? If the Irish shoreline weaves into a poem, does the distance between it and where I am sitting change the verses? 

Or do we simply search for the true names of gods that only have one name: the final product?

A Day Off

It was 4 am when the puppy decided it was time to get up, followed by the cat deciding that I could not go back to sleep until I fed him, despite the early hour.

I read some submissions around 6, later tried and failed to go back to sleep (after I fed everyone at the correct time, Mr Cat)

And then I decided to do something. To take the day off. Like. For real.

For those of you who do this, you understand. You see I have two jobs: the one that pays for things; the one where I make books.

Which means my days off of one are days on for the other. And yes. One of those I choose for myself. Most of its stresses, deadlines, and todos are of my own doing.

But when I made this hobby public, started publishing, involving other people it was no longer a hobby, it was a business. One I love. One that I enjoy. One that still stresses. That still takes my time.

So I took today off. Of everything. And did something I’ve only done once this year: I read a book for fun.

So far the only novel I’ve read in 2020 is Mexican Gothic, which I highly recommend. I’ve not had time. Or energy. There is emotional labor in reading submissions. And it can drain you as you go through them.

Add on the time it takes to go through a packet of nearly 1,000, the time and desire to read can be nearly empty.

(Funny enough, I still seem to buy new books…)

I’ve had a few readers over the years and one thing I try to do with them is help manage this—it’s burnout, let’s not dance around that. The thing is, I’ve not done a great job with myself.

I frankly don’t have that luxury most times. The magazine is mine, and, for now at least, my labor is how it exists. No amount of burnout changes that.

So I took today off. No emails. No computer. No submissions. Sunlight. Some tunes and a book—The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo.

Get the well filled up even just a little to keep going because LampLight is worth it. The writers in LampLight are worth it.

#BLM – Poems from

Amidst the unrest that started late May started not just a daily poem from Black writers, but re-promoting older works from their history.

It may look minor to promote poetry, but giving a voice, a space to speak is essential. And history shows poetry has been used to be that voice for as long as humans have needed to speak.

These are some of my favorite poems from the month. They are powerful, sweet, painful, personal and so beautiful.

If you like this, I recommend supporting these poets, not just now, but always. I also recommend connecting to either on social media or their poem-a-day mailing list.


Poems from

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