Thursday, October 6, 2016

Letters from a Poet

Do you know Rainier Maria Rilke?  A very lyrical German, Rilke was renowned for his delicate depiction of the workings of the human heart—a man after my own heart.  This is one of my goals—this delicate depiction—especially in poetry, but as part of my life and ministry in spiritual formation for artists. Perhaps it’s why I resonate so much with Rilke, and use his poems in my work. 

Recently I received a “letter"--an email:

“Patricia. If you send me one poem from Transplants, and I drool over it in awe and don’t puzzle over it due to its complexity, I will contemplate purchasing the whole book.”—F

Challenge accepted. 

We began an email thread that was positively delicious.  He appreciated my guided tour through 2 poems, as much as I appreciated his way with words, and final enthusiasm for the poems.  He decided to order Transplants (happy dance). 

Our correspondence reminded me of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet—“written to a young man about to enter the German military. His name was Franz Kappus, he was 19 years old, and he wrote Rilke looking for guidance and a critique of some of his poems. Rilke was himself only 27 when the first letter was written. The resulting five year correspondence is a virtual owner's manual on what it is (and what is required) to be an artist and a person.”—Billy Carrothers***

The idea was born, in the midst of our email flurry, to create my own “Letters," following Rilke’s lead.  My friend is not alone. Poetry is so foreign to most Americans, and FOAS (fear of appearing stupid) inhibits many rich, fruitful and enlivening conversations. 

Can I dare you not to dwell in FOAS, but ask a question.  Ask me what a poem means! 

Better yet, I’ll be posting some of the poems soon and how they came to be.  I hope it whets your appetite for more poetry in your life, hopefully including mine. 

***If you don’t want to order the book, you can read it online at Carrothers’ site.  

“Drawn by some sympathetic note in his poems, young people often wrote to Rilke with their problems and hopes. From 1903 to 1908 Rilke wrote a series of remarkable responses to a young, would-be poet on poetry and on surviving as a sensitive observer in a harsh world.”--Amazon blurb 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Press Release: Live from Costa Rica!

Well, almost.  I wrote this post in Costa Rica, but, derailed by a volcano, am only now posting it.  Apparently my publisher was derailed too, as I only last night got the word that my next poetry chapbook, Transplants is now 'live' in advance sales.  So off we go!  I'll keep the post, and and the poetry is yours for the ordering!

It's a rainy day in the tropical rain forest in mountainous Santa Ana, where I am here with a collection of international artists, writers, dancers and musicians, figuring out how to combine art, faith and mission.  The colors, sights and sounds have us all overstimulated, not to mention the Costa Rican coffee! The rain forest itself is visually stunning, with the birds, bugs, and hosts of unseen critters adding their own aural walls of sound. 

Upon arrival, I received the happy news that my 3rd poetry chapbook, Transplants, would go 'live' in advance sales today!  Well, why not?  Life is never neat and as I land in Costa Rica to begin this conference, I wonder how to integrate my poetry with the Latin culture that loves it ("For us, it's a sport!" as I've been told.)  

The theme of Transplants is transition.  Who hasn't been in one?  Transplants records poems written in the aftermath of my transition from France to Georgia, 10 years ago.  What one are you currently in? 

One of the happiest parts of that transition was seeing my first set of poems make it to publication, through Finishing Line Press.  FLP has published my previous two chapbooks, through their creative business model: a 6-week advance sales period determines the marketing potential of each chapbook; FLP then determines the press run, and 'pays' me in free copies, in a number proportionate to the sales.  I make income from sales of these free copies, usually through word of mouth, or the readings, book clubs and workshops I organize.  In this way, as many small literary presses go under, FLP remains in the business of helping emerging poets. Gracias FLP!

We've done well together over the past several years, and I'm looking forward to another sprint through the publishing challenge!  Sales are live now until Nov. 18.

Be the first to click here and order!   

Copies will ship as we transition into the New Year.  Maybe poetry will help us all.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Press Release: The Aurorean

Haiku by Pat Butler
Spring/Summer issue of the Aurorean
Available online.

Photo: ”Allium, Heritage Museum & Gardens"
©2014 Cynthia Brackett-Vincent.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Press Release

"Titus the Titmouse" by Patricia Butler has been awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Peach Jam Poetry Contest, sponsored by Peachtree City Library Friends.

Mark your calendars for Friday, April 24th, for the reading and award presentation of the 2015 Peach Jam Poetry Contest chapbook.

This will be an "after hours" event and take place in the main part of the library (to the left as you come in the main entrance).  Dulcimer music will open the program at 7:00 p.m., and the fifteen poems chosen for publication and awards will be read by their authors.  In addition, some guest poets will be reading their own or other poets' works. It will be a fun and relaxing evening.

Come help us celebrate National Poetry Month and support the literary arts!

--from the Peachtree City Library Friends

Thanks to the PTC Library friends!  Always a fun gig, and pleased to have “made the grade” again this year.  Unfortunately, I won’t make the events, as I’m in the State of Connecticut this month. 

Happy National Poetry Month! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Great Peach State Book Tour

As the sun set slowly on I-85 northbound, I  drove home from Newnan, the Great Peach State Book Tour officially over. 

In the CD player: One Sweet Day by Tom Watts, our musician for the American Pie Tour.  We had just reprised the Tour at the Corner Arts Gallery: Sara DeLuca and Paul Lentz reading, along with yours truly, and Blue Donkey Coffee providing the stellar coffee for our pies.

Jenny, our hostess, was a gem--not only for opening up her gallery to us to perform, but locating chairs, moving space heaters, letting finances go through her system, taking photos and pushing PR.  Thank you, Jenny!

Tom's wife Rebecca, who facilitates our writer's group, closed the afternoon by declaring us a bonafide group, that needs a funky head shot, and to go on the road through the 50-odd libraries in Georgia. What do you think?! 

A great idea that will have to wait...I'm about to close the boatyard for the season...the season of new adventures! 

On January 1, my sister and I began edits of my brother Peter's novel, and we are having a great time!  Who knew how much editing fun we were missing en famille?!  While Mary and Pete hunt for dangling participles, adverbs and passive verbs, I'm tackling structural and character issues.  We're all on grammar police duty.   Grateful for the workout with fiction for a change, and hoping for a writers' retreat this summer with the peeps.

We also took time to edit my chapbook submission "Squibs"--
produced during the November PAD Challenge--now at Poetic Asides, awaiting final judging--due today!  Either way it goes, I'll begin submissions of individual  poems in other journals and see how I do. 

I'll leave a note on the door, while I head out to sea...well, over the sea...four months in Europe await me, and you'll have to shift over to my travel blog if you want to read about those.  Among other things), the trip will include continuing edits on The Culture Shock Poems--with maybe a few additions.

So stay tuned, shift if you like,  and track the continuing adventures of an urban clamdigger in a foreign land.

Ciao for now!  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Southside Review

For those of you who visited this blog only to find an empty space where the Southside Review should have gone, here it is for real :)


Reviews Of Books Recently Written By Southside Authors Compiled by: Forrest W. Schultz 770-583-3258 

Blog Address: 

November 20, 2013 

Pat Butler Contributes Poetry to the Southside Scene: 

A Review of Pat Butler The Boatman's Daughter 

(Finishing Line Press, 2013), 36 pp $12.00 ISBN: 978-1-622229-424-4 Reviewer: Forrest W. Schultz 

The boatman in the title does not refer to a sailor or a captain of a boat, but to a builder of a boat. Half of this chapbook is the poem ("The Scent of Poplars"); the author has written about this builder, her father, and the analogy it has with life, which is striking because the boat was not finished, which is parallel to that of our lives -- they are not finished here; they only start here. This is the best poem in the collection. The others are short -- some of them very short -- and most are about life on the seashore -- egrets and crabs and the like. The meanings of some of these are clear and others are not (at least to me), which is also like life -- some things we understand; some we do not. Butler, who lives in Fayette County, is involving herself in the local literary scene: she recently appeared at Dogwood Gallery and participated in the recently held Books Down South Festival, where she had some enjoyable conversations with a fellow Fayette poet, Brigitte Byrd. Information is available at,

Thank you, Forrest Schultz, and hope to meet some day in the local literary scene!

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Polar Vortex & Other News

The Polar Vortex...a good time to hunker down and finish edits on the November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge.  This was a family affair, with 2 of my favorite editing peeps--bro Pete and sista soul twin Mary.  The manic marathon editing began New Year's Day, and finalized hours before the deadline (Jan. 7).  With a bow to the Polar Vortex, the celebration drink was Mexican Hot Chipotle Chocolate.  It's a rare winter when we actually get weather cold enough to warrant hot chocolate in the Great Peach State, so it was a treat to put my feet up, sip, and contemplate the next poetic challenge.  

Results will be announced on Groundhog's Day (gotta love it).  Looking forward to seeing how I did in this very competitive venue.  Whichever way it goes, I thoroughly enjoyed the workout with my peeps, and got a new batch of poems to market around. Some of them will go to the upcoming...

Friends of the Peachtree City Library
Fourth Annual Poetry Contest

You might remember I scored first prize on this last year, which would be nice to reprise, as there is a lovely cash prize awarded to the winner. 

(The Friends have received donations toward the prize fund, but still need $100. Additional donations would be much appreciated. Please leave donations at the library circulation desk in an envelope marked “Friends Poetry Contest” or mail to P. O. Box 3641, Peachtree City, GA 30269. Thank you!)

American Pie, Reprise: this was such a successful event, we decided to take our show on the road!

From the press release: 

"Corner Arts Gallery, 14 Jefferson Street, Newnan, invites you to American Pie: a Tour in Words and Music from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 18.  

"Pat’s autobiographical chapbooks, 'Poems from the Boatyard' and 'The Boatman’s Daughter' take us to the New England Coast. Sara’s poetry has been published in numerous regional and national journals. Her latest collection, 'Shearing Time,' paints vivid pictures of farm life in the Upper Midwest. Paul writes of rural Georgia during the Great Depression in his coming-of-age novel, 'The Gospel Truth: Tales from Ty Ty.'  Original music will be performed by Tom Watts, and will include selections from his recent album, 'One Sweet Day.' Refreshments by Blue Donkey Coffee (and pie will be served)."

This will conclude (temporarily) the winter book tour, while I move on to another this space!