Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading in front of City Lights Books

A Literary Light: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A beautiful literary light passed on February 22, 2021. He inspired a love for books, poetry, and art. Ferlinghetti strove to create a social environment where people could gather and discuss their passion for poetry, books, and the arts. And he succeeded when he founded City Lights. He’s an inspiration to me and what Eve Poetry Magazine represents. I encourage you to read further about Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I’ve linked each of the passages to their sources.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, distinguished American poet, artist and founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers in San Francisco, died February 22. He was 101 years old. In a tribute, City Lights noted that Ferlinghetti “was instrumental in democratizing American literature by creating (with Peter D. Martin) the country’s first all-paperback bookstore in 1953, jumpstarting a movement to make diverse and inexpensive quality books widely available. He envisioned the bookstore as a ‘Literary Meeting Place,’ where writers and readers could congregate to share ideas about poetry, fiction, politics, and the arts. Two years later, in 1955, he launched City Lights Publishers with the objective of stirring an ‘international dissident ferment.’ [His own Pictures of the Gone World] was the first volume of the City Lights Pocket Poets Series, which proved to be a seminal force in shaping American poetry.”

Shelf Awareness | Obituary Note | Feb. 24, 2021

Ferlinghetti and City Lights

In 1955, Ferlinghetti launched City Lights Publishers with the Pocket Poets Series, extending his concept of a cultural meeting place to a larger arena. His aim was to present fresh and accessible poetry from around the world in order to create “an international, dissident ferment.” The series began in 1955 with his own Pictures of the Gone World; translations by Kenneth Rexroth and poetry by Kenneth Patchen, Marie Ponsot, Allen Ginsberg, and Denise Levertov were soon added to the list.

From: A Biography of
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Home » Article

Outbound for Sea

Outbound for Sea by Michael Kmetz

The North African sun, still and glaring from a cloudless sky, beat down mercilessly on the little launch and its occupants. The puny engine struggled against a gentle current as it lazily cut its way through the anchorage at Suez.

Just a week earlier I was sitting in a Tampa office building interviewing for this job, which was starting to feel like a dream. But there I was, flung to the other side of the world with my shipping documents and a little duffle bag, preparing to sign aboard my first ship.

The days before arriving in Egypt were a flurry of activity, seeing doctors for inoculations and a series of thorough physicals. So much was done in a short span of time that it all seemed like a great blur, actions which had taken place in a cloud traveling at light speed. The SS Gulf Trader was returning from East Africa in ballast and was anchored somewhere just outside the canal awaiting formation of the northbound convoy to the Mediterranean Sea. She had completed discharging cargo in Sudan and was scheduled to be at a lay berth Texas in a week or so, where she would be cleaned before loading wheat for Bangladesh.

My eyes struggled to find her in the anchorage, dotted with vessels of all different types and sizes from all over the world. The tonnage amassed in this relatively small area was impressive, a tangible example of mankind’s capabilities and intelligence when determined to transform ideas into living machines.

We slipped quietly in between these sleeping giants, as if to not awaken them. In contrast to my awe and interest in this strange place, the two other onsigners with me were lost in deep conversation, to the point where it seemed they were not aware of anything around them. Both were engineering officers, engaged in dull small talk of company policies and the negative effects it had on their machinery. Occasionally they would open up a spot in the conversation, letting me in on what they meant by certain criticisms and jokes, though I understood none of it. As their dialogue rolled on, so did my scanning of the anchorage for my new home. My thoughts began to swirl around a central theme of nervous fear – imagining all the different ways one could get in trouble as a green officer on their first ship. Very few of these imagined scenarios (if any) were plausible, but convincing myself of this fact at the time was nearly impossible. Drifting in and out of this self created and untenable debate with my own imagination and cursing the flesh broiling sun, I was barely able to summon up the will to be there.

As the launch slowed and its engine quieted, my attention focused on a ship perhaps half a mile ahead of us, at rest near some containerships in a less populated section of the anchorage. Contrary to the glorified paintings in museums of proud vessels pressing doggedly through the high seas, the ship before me was simply unremarkable. Her blocky white house looked almost too big, perched atop a rusting red hull behind four neatly stowed pedestal cranes. Atop the raised fo’c’s’le deck, a puny foremast with a sunbaked anchor ball wearily announced her status. The closer we got, the more apparent her flaws became. Aside from the bridge, every deck was dotted with portholes weeping rust like sad old eyes. Topping her off was a red, white and blue stack from which a thin trail of smoke gently streamed. Despite her sad appearance, she was very much alive and waiting.

We made our approach down her starboard side and slowed to allow the seaman on watch to lower the accommodation ladder to the water’s edge. As we slid gently along her beam, her four 25-ton cranes cast intermittent shadows upon the little boat, allowing me to examine her a little more clearly.

As a “handy size” bulk carrier, she was considered small and thus versatile enough to transit any waters or canals in the world. At that moment, and from up close, she looked to me like a floating titan.

After some jockeying by the launch captain, we were positioned alongside and ready to transfer personnel and belongings across. Glancing up, I was greeted by strange faces staring down at me from the main deck and bridge wing. My knees felt weak. Grabbing the rails, my adventure began one step at a time until my boots struck the hard steel of her deck. Looking towards the stern I could see the winches of the aft mooring station, which would be my main area of responsibility during arrivals and departures, waiting silently for our first of many future encounters. Looking forward, the Number 4 crane was already released from her cradle and hoisting our luggage aboard.

Heading to the Master’s office to sign on, a huge grin spread across my face, thinking about where I was and where this journey would take me in the coming months. The realization that I was now well outside the city limits of my comfort zone raced like thunder across the great plains. My heart raced! The thrill of adventure renewed a spirit the likes of which I had never known existed within me – and I felt at that moment like pieces of myself missing since birth had been reunited.

<strong>Michael Kmetz</strong>
Michael Kmetz

Born and raised in Shelton, Connecticut and educated at Sacred Heart University and SUNY Maritime College. I satisfy my wanderlust sailing around the world in the Merchant Marine.

When I’m not working, I still enjoy traveling (the urge to explore never ends with me) photography, reading and writing about my experiences, travels and thoughts. 

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

Find your domain and create your site at!

Writers Conferences

Writers Conferences

Writers Conferences: 5 Reasons Why

Writers Conferences occur all over the world. In this article, I will share my first-hand experience and reasons all writers should attend them.

This year, I attended my second writers’ conference hosted by Willamette Writers. After each, I left the conference more confident in my writing, more prepared for the current publishing climate, and better connected to industry professionals who can make a difference in my writing career. Bonus: I also made new friends.

If you’re embarking on your dream to be a writer, I encourage you to read through this article. Comment with questions, then verify with your own research.

#1: Valuable Workshops

Willamette Writers may be unique in that there was literally something for every type of writer. Some writers’ conferences focus on specific genres. Some examples of this: Sleuthfest, for mystery, suspense and thriller writers, RWA Conference, for romance writers, and The Writer’s Hotel Poetry Weekend.

If your writing focus is singular, genre-specific conferences are a great option. If you’re like me, and write a variety of things, I recommend attending a general writing conference.

Here are examples of the courses offered at this year’s WWC:

  • Conversation: Travel Writing
  • Current Themes in Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Dastardly Deeds: Writing Mystery (I attended this one taught by Dana Haynes, Hallie Ephron, Phillip Margolin, and Leslie Hall.)
  • Developing and Pitching an Idea for a TV Series
  • Diving into Social Media Analytics
  • Personal as Political
  • How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon
  • Understanding and Negotiating Publishing Agreements
  • Suspense Five Ways
  • Structuring the Romance Novel for Success
  • The Work: Poetry Writing

The above is just a sampling of the variety of courses that help writers dive deep.

#2: Education by High-Caliber Industry Professionals

This one is hand in hand with Reason #1, but deserves its own spot. The authors and educators selected for conferences have proven track records of success. You get to learn from them in an intimate environment with opportunities to ask questions and glean knowledge that you can apply to your work or writing journey immediately.

These are best-selling authors, literary agents, editors, professors, etc. The face-to-face opportunities with these individuals, alone, make attending writers’ conferences worth every penny.

#3: Pitches

Many writers’ conferences provide the opportunity to pitch literary agents who actively seek new authors/poets with new material.

Literary agents are inundated with queries daily. One way to push your manuscript to the forefront and avoid the slush pile is to attend a writers’ conference and sign up to pitch agents. Not all conferences offer this option. If you wish to pitch, verify the conference you attend offers them.

Pitching agents is an additional cost to the conference fee, but 100% worth it if you dream of traditional publishing. But if you’re interested in indie publishers’, they accept pitches too! And pitching indie publishers pushes you to the top of their inbox and guarantees your work gets read by the right person.

Bottom line: if you want your work published (regardless of “how”), pitch agents at a conference!

Here are articles I found helpful to prepare for my pitches:

How to Pitch Agents at a Writers Conference by Jane Friedman. **A MUST-read before you pitch.

How to Pitch a Literary Agent in 5 Easy Steps by Tomi Adeyemi.

5 Literary Agents Reveal the 9 Pitching Mistakes Authors Make by Bushra Rahmani. This article touches on querying agents via email. This is a “what not to do”.

#4: Keynote Speakers

One of my favorite experiences at conferences are the keynote speakers. These are individuals who are living the dream. They’ve found a level of success in writing that we all aspire to. They inspire, encourage, and share first-hand knowledge writers can apply to their journey.

At an in-person conference, they speak on stage, then follow their speech with a book signing. The virtual experience (courtesy of COVID-19) takes the book signing element away, but I found a different and positive intimacy by attending the keynote via Zoom, and still left the keynote inspired, encouraged, and with new knowledge.

Here are some keynotes from Willamette Writers 2020. They are examples of the caliber of keynotes you may experience at your first conference.

Alex Dang

Cheryl Strayed

Zoraida Cordova

Mitchell S. Jackson

Good keynotes aspire writers to see their future selves. I’ve not attended a keynote that didn’t do this for me.

#5: Connections

The most valuable take-aways from writers’ conferences are connections. Writers make lifelong friends, receive valuable resource recommendations (for editors, indie publishers, etc.), and exchange contact information with industry professionals that can change their lives.

There is no other experience like it. At both conferences, (both live and virtual) I’ve made new friends. Who else can understand your journey better than another aspiring writer?

When you attend your first conference, I encourage you to make friends too. Be open to conversations with people you don’t know. It may feel scary or uncomfortable, but I promise you it’s worth it, and you’ll quickly feel the fear melt away.

Upcoming conferences as of 8/2020:

Please do your own research when vetting a writers’ conference to attend. Find the right fit for you.

Final Tip: Local Writing Associations

I highly recommend you research your local region for literary associations. These usually require a minimal fee and offer discounts on, and free, workshops, clubs, and networking opportunities. In Portland, Oregon, we have Willamette Writers and Literary Arts.

Often these associations will host the regional writers’ conference and offer discounts to its members, and volunteer options to attend the conference for free.

If you’re ready to get serious about your writing I implore you to PLUG IN to your local writing groups and organizations.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Are you creative? Check out RedBubble, where you can exhibit and sell your art to the world – for FREE! The #1 Writing Tool

A Mindful Sunday

A Mindful Sunday by Arundhati Thaker

We have been slackers for most of our lives. Weekdays are sometimes incredibly hectic and blood-sucking awful and the Sundays go in vain. Waking up late is what Sundays are for, right? Skipping breakfast, not showering, binging Netflix, detoxing after Saturday shenanigans, putting away that book for another day. Its what keeps us going through rest of the weekdays – all this time to do nothing.

But next Sunday, I want to get up early. I want to scrub myself clean and light up some candles. I want to wear something that keeps me cool on the inside and warm and welcoming on the outside. I want to take a generous amount of time to water my plants and make myself a hot cup of tea – something that the morning hassle of weekdays doesn’t always allow. I want to surround myself with the people I love and go out but not for shopping this time. I want to do something different to make memories and fill my heart with love and warmth than filling my closet with fancy pumps and dresses. I want to forget all the worrying that comes with the work load and make it a Sunday to remember!

I want to walk and not sit on raging wheels this time. I want my body to sweat to cleanse itself of all the fatigue within me. I want to go places I’ve never been to. I don’t want city lights and bright sites, I want green turf beneath my feet and night skies. I want to be able to hear the squawks and coos than the vroom-vroom and clinks. I want to sit by a cascade and dip my feet in. I want the cold water to calm my mind and heal the gashes on my sole. I want to capture the panorama not just on my camera but in my psyche.

I want to dart through the long, soft blades of grass and smile at the sun as it lightens up my guise. I want to not care about all the eyes on me and dance my fears away. I want to explore what the lively town streets offer. I want to not care about how I look but feel content to at least be standing on my feet.

And at the end of the day, I want to make myself unbothered about everything that lowers my will. I want to sleep that Sunday night with no remorse and dismay but only hope and solace. I want to stay optimistic for the week ahead and vow to take care of myself one Sunday at a time.

<strong>Arundhati Thakur</strong>
Arundhati Thakur

Writing is something she has loved doing for years because of her love for Literature, Philosophy, Psychology and History. Having not taken it seriously earlier in life, she went ahead with Computer Engineering and landed a job south of the country, away from friends and family and totally burying the part of herself that loved writing.

And now, a year and half later, having quit her hectic job in the city, she’s aspiring to be a language teacher and an author someday! It was not until March 2020 that she started sharing her work on Instagram! You can check out more of her work on her page and support her if you enjoy it.

Instagram : @ofpoetryandpeople

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here. 

Get Exclusive, Limited Time Offers At The Official Sally Beauty Site

A Reflection

A Reflection

A Reflection: Making Myself Available To Difficult People by Meghan McAllister

My pastor finished a sermon series titled, God With Us. One of the main ideas was, sometimes, human beings withhold themselves from others by not extending the good they have to offer. They close themselves and make themselves unavailable to people in generosity, kindness, etc. He encouraged us to make ourselves more available to others and to trust God as our source, so we can give without anxiety in words and/or deeds.

This prompted me to think about making myself available to difficult people. Difficult people aren’t very pleasant and are hard to understand. Sometimes circumstances may dictate that I am better off shutting my doors, and we go our separate ways.

Difficult people are still people even though that is hard to see. They have their own lives, struggles, and issues. I don’t have a full view of their life, so I can’t write or read their story. I can only write mine.

However, making myself available to jerks is a bit—well, difficult. My reasoning is simple: They are not good to me. They deserve my judgment and cold shoulder but don’t deserve my acceptance, kindness, or forgiveness.

And maybe they don’t.

Maybe they do not deserve it, at least not from me, and that’s fine. There are 7 billion people on this planet. Let someone who likes them make themselves available. However, they are people, and people aren’t impervious. They are vulnerable to hurt, but they are also vulnerable to kindness.

Get it. “Kill them with kindness.”

Side Thought: Life will hand everyone a difficult person at some point because life is a bitch. Ain’t it great!

I knew a woman who wasn’t very kind to me, and I think she took pleasure in making me upset by putting me down every chance she had. A friend of mine once said, “Some people just love knowing they bother you.” I believe she was definitely one of those people. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the skills or resources to protect myself. She knew that and took advantage, and that’s a shame. The hurt was deep, and I’m working to overcome that hurt.

Don’t feel too bad for me though because when I got the opportunity, I wasn’t very nice to her either.

However, for Christmas one year, I gave her a present. I don’t know why, but I felt led to, and she really liked the gift. That day, we got along unusually well, and I believe I saw something genuinely good in her. However, that only lasted a day, and then it was business as usual.

Occasionally, my mind goes back to that Christmas season. That memory is like a crack in the hardening of myself towards her. I believe with time that crack will grow and that hardness will shatter. Since nothing was lost that can’t be replaced in time and in season then I say—

let it break.

There was value in making myself available to a person even though I never wanted to see that person again. The value was being able to appreciate a side of that person I wouldn’t normally see for whatever reason. Furthermore, I think the gift gave her joy, and perhaps her life has been a bit stingy with that. All in all, I was just glad to see her happy. Well, at least for that day.

<strong>Meghan McAllister</strong>
Meghan McAllister

Meghan McAllister is a graduate student at Campbell University pursuing her MA in Mental Health Counseling. She is originally from the crystal coast of North Carolina. She loves the beach, artwork, writing, and dance. Her cat’s name is Myra, and she approves this story.

Insta-handle: @mazz101593

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

See more &amp; save with iVenture Card San Francisco Attractions Pass


Thanksgiving 2019

Thanksgiving 2019 | Family, Loss and Forgiveness by Deanna Ramirez

Trigger Warning: Touches on childhood abuse and death.

Last night, I learned my grandfather passed away. I said my goodbye on Monday morning. His eyes, narrow slits, peered at me briefly. I think he saw me, though I don’t know for sure.  

I haven’t seen my grandfather for nearly two years. He and my grandmother lived with my aunt. She and I had a falling out years back.  She doesn’t like me around. So I’m no longer invited to birthdays or holiday celebrations.

Family history

I come from a family of enablers.  Many family members who protect and huddle around those who do bad things.  It’s a systemic issue, starting at the top.  That’s how disease is.  It begins at the pinnacle, then spreads as far as it’s allowed to reach. If nothing fights it. If no one uses antibiotics or anti-viral practices, it spreads its infection everywhere.

The vicious cycle of abuse continues in families so long as enablers are present. So long as enablers don’t acknowledge their part in it. This cycle distanced me from most of my family. Family that I moved to Oregon to be near. 


I wrote a micro-poem months ago and shared it on Instagram: “Silence. The most underrated weapon.” 

I know this to be true.  Sickness. Evil. It flourishes with silence.  In abusive families, it’s silently demanded. My experience with this broke my heart. My family rewarded the silence and shunned the truth when I spoke out. Speaking out, talking about it at all, met with discomfort, curiosity, judgment, and nothing at all.  

As a child, I experienced the worst violation. Never did I speak of it. Guilt and shame kept me quiet. Confusion and the inability to understand why it happened kept me silent too. I’ll spare you the unnecessary private details and include only those aspects surrounding it.

Breaking my silence set me free. And it didn’t set me free. It was not an instant band-aid. Speaking the truth was messy and confusing in ways I couldn’t expect.

In fact, breaking my silence at twenty-six years old led to the destruction of a marriage and my family as I once knew it. Instead of relief, it filled me with a fear of people “knowing”, and many unexpected emotions for me to process.  I didn’t process them. 

The problem with silence is that in its power, it creates a habit of it.  I became great at burying my feelings. Making them go away completely.  It wasn’t real.  I needed to believe that. When things aren’t real, they can’t hurt you. 

Cousins and Truth

A few years ago we had a “cousin retreat” at the beach. I’m the eldest of eighteen cousins, most of which live in Oregon. We rented a large beach house. Many of my cousins and their families showed up, and all was fun and light-hearted. Until…

One cousin asked me about my childhood. About the thing I kept silent about. My stomach flipped when she asked. But I saw her eyes. I don’t know how long ago she learned of it, but she had questions and concern and I could see she needed answers. I did not owe her answers. But I love my cousin and don’t want her to speculate on details of that nature so I answered each question she asked. Other cousins trickled into the room we occupied. They had questions too.

The next day, a family member that wasn’t part of the private discussion said something to me at breakfast. He felt it was inappropriate that I talked about my childhood trauma during our happy gathering. He seemed to think I started the conversation and offered the gory details of my childhood unsolicited. His side remark punched me in the gut and I felt embarrassed and ashamed.

An aunt who joined our cousin beach retreat stepped in to comfort the family member who shamed me. “If you want to talk about it, for some perspective,” she said, concerned. She ignored me standing there in the kitchen. Standing there in disbelief. Everyone else quiet, eyes down at their breakfast.

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs that day. It hurt me deeply. Instead, I’ve only screamed in dreams. Vivid dreams where I screamed everything I never knew I wanted and needed to say. Just writing this – the pain is there still.

Family Shame

Remembering that moment at breakfast with my cousin, whom I love, still makes my heart ache. It chokes me up. How could he not understand? How could he blame me? Why would he shame me by scolding me like that?

It wasn’t his fault. My aunt shielded him from the truth.  A family of enablers protecting the wrong people. In doing so, many of my family members had the wrong information. Can’t fault them for that. 

Still, it hurts.  No family member outside my immediate family (except for one aunt who sent a text message) expressed compassion for what happened to me.  No sympathy or empathy. Only judgment, questions, and now, separation and exclusion.  No invites to Thanksgiving dinner.  

And I buried it. For the past few years, I have replaced disappointment and hurt with anger and no shits given

I’ve spoken of the beach house incident twice to family members. Or tried to.  Always, it came out in this feverish, don’t-know-how-to-say-it way. I searched earnestly for an understanding response. A sign of support. Both times, it left me feeling worse than I did before. Sorry, it was inappropriate of me to bring it up.

Now, I save this topic, in any capacity, for my entrusted circle. It consists of few people. They know who they are. (My sisters, especially. I love you!)

This is my first time writing about it. My vague it. Because I still don’t like to call it what it is.

The reason I share now, with you…

Because Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. My grandfather just died and my brain is on my family. As death does, it claws reality up to the harsh surface and forces you to face it.

My whole life, people preached grace and forgiveness to me. “Forgiveness sets you free.” “Forgiveness is for you, not for them.” My small, developing brain hard-wired itself to silence. As a child, the only way I could forgive was to pretend it never happened at all. “Forgiveness” is an enabler’s favorite tool. It’s evil’s favorite control device.

Not to say forgiveness has no place. However, if someone violates you, forgiveness is a default expectation. It should not be. We should not force forgiveness down throats of little girls and women, young or old. It’s confusing. It is harmful.

Thanksgiving 2019 – Empowerment

This Thanksgiving I’m taking back my power. Yes, it’s cliché, but dammit, it’s a good cliché!

I’m thankful for the family I have that supports and loves me unconditionally. My brothers and sisters. Mother and stepmother. My husband and children. They know my truth and never judged or shamed me for it.

I believe in forgiveness.  This Thanksgiving I forgive myself. The little girl who silenced herself to survive. 

I forgive the young woman that broke her silence, changing the dynamics of her family forever. I forgive the single mother who believed she failed her children time and time again.  A mother who wasn’t always emotionally or mentally present in the months and years following divorce. 

My forgiveness of self won’t happen overnight.  I type this and share it with you to make myself accountable. I have much healing to do and it won’t be easy. Not with the ease in which I fall back into the bury-it-and-forget-it mode.  Not with the small hurts that occur from extended family who open up old wounds.  My wounds require serious naturopathic therapy.  Deep cleansing and flushing out of toxins.

Forgive yourself this Thanksgiving.

Now that I’ve shared personal information in vague detail, I hope to inspire you to contemplate forgiveness and what it means for you. 

This Thanksgiving, I implore you to focus on YOU.  To those who experienced abuse, for those who suffer in silent guilt, it’s not your job to forgive your offender.  It’s our life’s work to forgive ourselves.  To reclaim our power.  Erase the stigma we have of ourselves. Practice true self-love.  It’s the only way we can be free. And the only way we can truly give love to those around us who deserve it. 

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for you. Thank you for reading my words and my truth. Thank you for your support and love. xoxo, Deanna

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.

Poetry Beads Rock Candy Collection – 20% Black Friday Sale

Strawberry Rock Candy bracelet stack Thanksgiving 2019 sale
Strawberry Rock Candy Bracelet Stack
Blue rock Candy Bracelet Stack Sale Thanksgiving 2019
Blue Raspberry Bracelet Stack

Blurb’s Black Friday deal: 50% Off With Code BIGFIFTY

Summer Haze on Canvas

Summer Haze on Canvas

Behind the poem Summer Haze

Poem and the article by Deanna M Ramirez

I wrote my poem Summer Haze last spring as an ode to my childhood in Somerville, Massachusetts. Raised in the Mystic Housing Projects as a child, I spent summer days playing outside from morning till night.

Fueled largely by free lunches delivered to our neighborhood. I had no clue as a child it was charity. I relished the convenience of not having to leave the parking lot where I played. And the free lunches always had chocolate milk!

We lived in a third-floor apartment and I didn’t even know what air conditioning was. Summers in the eighties were hot and humid, and I recall drinking in the moist air when it rained. We called them sun showers. The large raindrops splashed off hot rooftops, as depicted in my poem. I can still smell the rain.

Steam rose from the hot concrete. My friends and I played in the puddles that quickly became warm in the sun. The warm puddles felt soothing on my bare feet.

Richie’s slushies.

Richie’s slush truck visited the Mystics daily. He’d drive up, jump out of the driver’s seat, then open the back filled with white tubs of Italian ice. My favorite is still watermelon. Ma loved lemon. I think it’s still her favorite, too. Cooling down with delicious slushies is a fond childhood memory.

My mother put change in a small plastic baggie, if we had one. She’d drop the bag out the window after I yelled up to her asking for a slushie, “Ma, ma! The slush truck is here! Can I get one?”

If we didn’t have a baggie, she’d just toss change out the window! Richie’s truck didn’t waste time, and I rarely had time to run up two long flights of stairs to get the money.

The coins bounced off the concrete scattering, and I’d chase them down. I remember the immense relieve when my hands held my watermelon slushie. It tasted amazing in the blazing summer heat.

Summer Haze will forever hold a special place in my heart. I’m grateful to have a beautiful quality canvas, thanks to Canvas HQ, to showcase the poem.

Summer Haze Canvas Contest

In honor of Summer Haze, I’m having a seven-day writing contest. The winner will receive a canvas (same size as mine)! Keep reading!

Summer Haze on Canvas

Write a short piece (poetry or prose) about home. Write something that inspires thoughts of home through your eyes. It can be a new sense of home and belonging, or fond nostalgic memories.

Share your piece on Instagram using the hashtags #evepoetrycontest and #canvashq. Deadline is October 31, 2019.

Visit the contest post on Instagram. Like the post and tag two friends in the comments to qualify.

I’ll announce the winner on November 2nd.

I’ll announce the winner on November 2nd on Instagram. The prize canvas is the size shown in the photo of Summer Haze on canvas above. Dimensions are 24″ x 36″ x 1.5″.

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.

CanvasHQ special promotion.

Order your own canvas and receive 35% off plus free shipping and handling on US orders. Click here and use the promo code: eve poetry.

The Child Finder

Book Review by Deanna M Ramirez

The Child Finder (Naomi Cottle, #1)

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Child Finder moves effortlessly. I couldn’t wait until I had free moments to read this book.

I wanted to find out where Naomi went next. To discover what happened to Madison and Snow Girl. The story unfolds, allowing you to get to know the characters just the right amount.

Naomi is brilliant. A strong female protagonist who kicks butt and creates her own path. The mystery of her past is provocative and intriguing. I want to read the second book to learn more about Naomi, and I think anyone who reads The Child Finder will feel the same.

In a nutshell: It’s a page turner. Has a great momentum to the climax. Solid ending. I have closure as a reader, but want to read more. Empowering read for women. I highly recommend it! My goal for my first novel (just completed) is to turn pages for the readers the way I turned pages reading this book.

View all my reviews

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.  This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Instagram Algorithm

Instagram Algorithm

Instagram Algorithm for Writers

By Deanna M Ramirez

Follower hide-and-seek.  Only ten percent of followers see your posts.  10%! Thanks to the Instagram (which includes Facebook) algorithm.

I get 2% of likes to my number of followers.   This makes me believe less than 10% of my followers see my posts in their feed.  The alternative explanation is that my posts did not capture my followers’ attention.  Therefore, not giving any likes

What can I do to improve this?  How can I get more followers to see my posts?  If you research the Internet, these same general bullet points turn up to these questions: 

  • Better photo quality
  • Publish consistent stories
  • Publish video content
  • Go live, and often
  • Answer DM’s
  • Craft better captions – add a call to action or question.
  • Have a contest or giveaway
  • Refine hashtag usage
  • Post when your followers are online
  • Avoid shadowban hashtags

I’ll share what I’ve learned on my Instagram journey from the perspective of an author and poet. 

Instagram’s algorithm is unfavorable to words.

Did you know Instagram is unfavorable to words? When I created my Instagram account to feature my written work, I did not understand this! 

In the beginning, it didn’t matter to me. I used my poetry account as a small creative outlet.  I wasn’t thinking in terms of “likes” and “follows”. But once I took myself seriously as a writer, I looked at my use of social media differently. 

I’ll address this unfavorable word topic below. But first…

Do you take writing seriously?

Do you call yourself a writer? A poet? An author?

If your answer to any of those questions is yes, GOOD!  If it is not, why? Now, if writing is your hobby, then worrying about followers and likes is irrelevant and this article might not be for you.

However, if you care about this topic.  If you want people to read what you write, you must resolve these issues. Admit to yourself that you’re a writer. Admit you’re a poet. Say it out loud. Tell someone. It’s okay. 

Instagram Algorithm for writers.  Say it out loud. You are a writer!

Here’s a little secret – the people you think will judge you, don’t! The support surprised me when I told friends and family about my poetry and writing. You aren’t alone in hiding from shame. 

You’re in good company.

This topic came up at a writers’ conference I attended. So many people admitted to hiding it. A keynote speaker encouraged everyone to say it out loud. I am a writer.

It was the best advice! I had already outed myself as a writer. But it affirmed in my heart something I had wanted to shout over Instagram, Admit what and who you are! Be proud! Embrace it!   

Okay, now that you’ve admitted you’re a writer. Now, what?  One of my college professors said, “You must market yourself as a writer.”  

Writers must market themselves.

My professor was a published author who wrote an award-winning children’s book. She taught my Professional Writing class that writing success was our responsibility. 

Unfortunately, I took this course prior to Facebook and Instagram.  Authors then lacked concern for social media. Social media was irrelevant for writers then.  

Swipe worthy marketing.

Today our world is different.  The business of writing looks different.  More competitive than ever. With the reader’s attention distracted by other, new stimuli offered immediately at their fingertips.  People favor fast fulfillment.  They want posts impressing them in ten seconds or less.  

This century’s writers must capture readers in a finger swipe.  As I write more on each point, keep this in mind. Ten seconds.  A finger swipe

Instagram algorithm.  Thirty seconds. A finger swipe.

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.

Quality matters. 

Poor quality, spelling and grammar errors, and anything visually displeasing turns off fast eyes scanning an Instagram feed.

Use a spellcheck! Capitalize. I see a wave of people using lowercase EVERYTHING. Please, for the love of words, cut it out!

This is a fad that will fade, then die. As it should. It’s lazy. If your art is words, become a master of words.  You can’t move from apprentice to master when you’re too lazy to capitalize and use proper grammar.  

Now, I didn’t say perfect grammar.  No one is perfect. Books make it to store shelves with mistakes in them.  But this is the exception, not the rule. Accidents happen. People forgive happy little accidents. (Side thought: Could I become the Bob Ross of writing? “Let’s make this lowercase i into an I. There, now that’s better.”)

Help abounds.

Feeling rusty? That’s okay. There are tools to help you. We’re all using them!

Google Docs corrects your spelling and grammar for free.  I use ProWritingAid.  It made revising my novel possible. ProWritingAid catches spelling errors. It flags repeat words, or if the writers used too many glue words. It catches passive voice versus active voice. It’s freaking amazing.

Using ProWritingAid is like taking a refresher English course. In fact, I’m using it to write this article.

Highly recommend ProWritingAid, or Grammarly.  Both offer free services. Use their free grammar checks. Try both free. I heard multiple authors say they use both during the revision process at my last writers’ conference.

This post was proofread by Grammarly

I promise these resources will help you become a better writer. Remain a student of your craft and it will shine through your words.

The #1 Writing Tool

Have out-of-focus posts turned you off?  I’ve read well-crafted poems I didn’t feature on @evepoetrygroup because the words were fuzzy.  Well written but “blah” to the eye. You can’t do that on Instagram and expect follower growth. For good reason, too.  

It’s all about aesthetic these days.

Don’t know how to make eye-catching, beautiful posts? Good news! You don’t have to be a graphic designer and a great writer. Use apps. They’re awesome. They make life easier.

My recommendation is Canva.  You can use Canva for free. Upgrading to Pro opens access to premium gorgeous fonts and stock photos.  But again, you’d do just fine with the free version too.

Pick a look for your feed. Brand yourself. If you create a look and feel and decide you hate it, change it. That’s okay too. I’ve gone through a few phases of testing different looks.

Your brand.

Creating a brand is a process. You, the writer, have a brand. Make it look and feel you. Your brand is the message you wish to send. It should look the way you want your audience to feel.

Test things out. Change your mind. Eventually you’ll find your aesthetic. Your brand.

Do this, and people will follow you. They’ll like your posts more often. Because they will instantly recognize your post in their feed from your branding. It will happen. You’ll get there.

Instagram algorithm for writers.

How often do you post? 

Consistent posts are important for account growth. Anywhere from one to four posts per day are okay. Too many posts will flag you as spam.

Find a happy number that works with your schedule. There is no magic number of posts. Bummer, right? Consistency is key. Not posting all day long.

People desire reliable Instagram accounts that post consistent, quality material. Bottom line, yo! (Sorry, on a Breaking Bad kick ever since El Camino came out.)

Instagram algorithm for writers.  Sorry, on a breaking bad kick!

The what. Words, Words, Too Many Words.

More words on an Instagram post (or caption) means fewer likes. That’s it. The short and sweet. And it sours your tongue, right?

How do writers deal with it? Keep reading. This may cause debate. But if you want to be a professional writer, you need to throw away any purist notions you have about sharing your work on social media.

First thing to understand: They created Instagram for people to share photographs. It has a simple scroll feature for this purpose. This feature, by design, is unfavorable to posts filled with words.

The why. Why do they hate my words?

Casual scrolling is lazy. Reading is work. Casual scrolling and reading a post, then reading the long caption that goes along with it, doesn’t mesh super well.

Avid readers (who read books, not Instagram posts) or your supportive writer friends read your longish posts. However, you’re not capturing followers in droves because you’re not thinking of your audience’s mindset.

Instagram algorithm for writers. Know your audience.

The who. Know your audience.

Mothers, fathers, teenagers, baristas, foodies, the Kardashian’s, white collar business men looking for love, every race, religion, and creed. Just about every type of human is on social media. Except people with something to hide. But I digress. That’ll be a different, festive article.

Your audience is a beautiful mix of people who log on social media for moments of escapism.

They check Instagram in the bathroom at work. Yeah, that’s right. They read your flowery sonnet squatting on the toilet. Sitting in traffic (not safe, but you people do it!). Social media checks occur in line at the grocery store or in a doctor’s waiting room.

Short wisps of time. That is your audience’s mindset.

Make your follower smile in the short 30-seconds you have their attention. Make them giggle. Embarrass them while they wait in line at Starbucks. Cause them to snort with laughter from the brilliant photo you picked to illustrate your short narrative.

Keep it brief. Little word appetizers. Teasers. The happy hour menu. Make them want to stay for dinner. Now I’m getting ahead of myself.

The How.

Create posts incorporating everything mentioned above. If your poem is long, include a portion of your poem in the post. Ensure the stanza or portion you include displays in high resolution.

The post should be crisp and clear. Dazzle the eyes. Use resources like Canva to do it.

Instagram algorithm. Dazzle them.

Include the full poem in the post’s caption or guide people to your website for the full read. Use the post as a teaser. But be sure the post itself is complete. It should stand on its own.

Break it down.

It’s okay if they read, like and scroll on. A few dazzling nibbles later, the reader will read further. They’ll investigate your profile.

Using the caption for the full poem can be tricky. Someone may love a post but scares off by a lengthy caption. Short attention spans. Remember, the mindsets of brilliant people changes for social media.

Using Instagram’s carousel option works too. Breakdown your writing into two or three images for one post.

Use high-resolution graphics and smaller fonts. Poems appear more consumable to the eyes. It’s strange, yes. But it worked for me on my post shown below.

Instagram Algorithm

If concise wording is key in both post and caption, then a website is even more important for writers. Use social media to draw fans of your writing to your website.

Use your own judgement regarding the format you use. I’m leaning toward shorter posts and non-wordy captions and directing my followers to read my website content. (Except for contests, etc. That’s different.)

If you build it, they will come.

Don’t have a website? Why not? These days it’s super easy to slap a blog together.

Use your website to display your long form poetry. Then you can play around as much as you like. It’s your dang website! Instagram can’t tell you what to do there!

Plus, you can link all your social media channels to your website to solidify your brand.

Believe me, if I can start a website, so can you. Weebly is a great option.

Find your domain and create your site at!

You can’t buy popularity on Insta.

Many sources recommend paid promotions through Instagram when I researched increasing post reach. So I tried this theory. A theory that claims paying for promotions increases reach on the algorithm because it reassures Instagram that you’re not a bot. That you don’t sketchy things to gain likes or followers.

Instagram cracked down on scandalous tactics people use. Buying likes and followers: Don’t do it. Accounts disappeared in the past six months because of Instagram’s crackdown on fake likes and followers. Did you notice it too?

Instagram algorithm. Don't buy popularity!

Many legit accounts (like mine and yours) suffer because people shirked the system. They bought social media popularity. It didn’t work out for them. Because of it, the rest of us must work CRAZY HARD for visibility. Changes Instagram implemented reduced our post exposure.

Paid Promotions

The process. First, I selected a post of mine to promote to test the theory mentioned above. Next, I set up the post and selected my target audience. I recommend picking your target audience versus letting Instagram do it for you.

In selecting my audience, I honed in on where I needed growth most. I picked locations where I wanted exposure. After making my selections, my potential reach was at 83,000,000. That’s huge!

Finally, they have you pick your budget and duration. I picked two days and ten dollars for the budget. Doing so reduced my reach. By a lot. Instagram will show you the number of reach in a range based on budget and duration.

It makes sense. Instagram provides instructions in their Help section, if you need them.

Instagram Algorithm.  They are in control.

This process added to my awareness of the amount of control Instagram has on who sees our posts. If I pay more, they let more people see my posts. The more you spend, the more exposure they let you have. Otherwise, screw you, Eve Poetry! (Again, I digress.)

Once the promotion began, I received an email from Facebook. In fact, I received three emails from three different posts that I paid Instagram to promote.

The Instagram Rub

And by rub, I mean a real gnarly carpet burn. They informed me, “your image contains too much text”. In the subject line of one email, ” Your Ad Is Not Delivering.”

I’ve included screenshots of these emails below for your viewing pleasure.

Instagram Algorithm
Email received after trying Instagram promotion.

After the above promotion, I experimented with different text styles, font size, and the number of words. Adjusting the standards in ways I thought would please Instagram. Then I received another email.

Second email received from Facebook.

Want to know the worst part? Instagram won’t allow you to edit a post once promoted. Facebook emails telling you to fix the problem. Then Instagram won’t let you. Even after the promotion is over, you can’t edit the dang post!

On both posts, I opted to delete the promotion. Because I couldn’t edit my post. If I can’t “fix the problem” as instructed, I won’t waste my money.

Instagram (Facebook) blamed me, a writer promoting my art form, for using too much of my art in my post. Ultimately, they blame the user to create an excuse for the debacle that is the algorithm. The algorithm controls viewership. It’s censorship. They censor who sees what.

Censorship in disguise.

In saying this, I realize there are reasons for their censorship. Many iterations of the algorithm were to protect people from harm or bullying. This is important. I respect safety. Online bullying is unacceptable. No one should be unsafe on social media.

Using an algorithm to censor artists is not the answer either. Limiting how many people see our posts is censorship. They mask their censorship with their algorithm. That sucks. Nothing we can do about it but quit Instagram or learn how to use this tool, obstacles and all.

Instagram Algorithm censorship.

The obstacle is invisible, and writers have it worst!

The transition from what you’ve been doing to implementing any suggestions I’ve made requires patience. Be patient with yourself. Don’t try everything all at once. Practice self care. It’s frustrating. So be kind to you.

Take it in small bites. Just like the saying, how does a mouse eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Try small changes and see if your likes increase or decrease. If they increase, keep doing it! If you don’t see improvement, adjust something. Small increments.

Did you lose likes? Something didn’t work the way you hoped? It’s not a failure. Don’t think you failed by trying something new.

Instagram algorithm.  Try and try again.

Even recently, I’ve tried new things that failed. I expect it. I lick my wounds and try again. Licking wounds is gross, so I get a little better with each new attempt.

Unless you explode overnight and become the next Atticus, it’s a process. I have posts that bomb. I’m in a process. Still finding my groove for Eve Poetry on Instagram.

Comfort zones are danger zones.

Use Instagram Live. It’s another layer of exposure. All video features for Instagram help you increase reach. If you hate Lives, then make appearances through your Instagram story.

Don’t use Insta Stories only to share your posts. Change it up. Show a piece of your life. Connect with your followers. Be a real person. People want a connection.

Connection matters.

Recently, I saw Margaret Atwood on stage. I’m a huge fan of The Handmaid’s Tale. However, once I saw her live in person, I became enraptured.

My fan status jumped up a huge notch seeing and hearing her discuss her life and her work. She is wonderful. She was wholly herself.

My husband wasn’t a fan, but he turned to me fifteen minutes into her interview and said, “I want her to be my grandma!” This is a testament (pun intended) to the importance of connection.

What it’s all about.

Seeing someone. Hearing a voice. It creates a real connection. Connection creates real followers. Real followers create real engagement. Real engagement creates authentic accounts with real growth. Strive for this.

Comment with Questions

Don’t fear my dear, there will be more of these. This is long enough, yet there is still so much I need to tell you!

If I left something out, comment and I’ll include it in my next article! Thanks for reading. Please let me know if this helped. If you found it helpful, please share it!

The #1 Writing Tool

Instagram Templates Landing Page

Find your domain and create your site at!