Alice D’Alessio, Susan Godwin, Jerome J. Jagielski, Joan Wiese Johannes, Jackie Langetieg, Mariann Ritzer | WISCONSIN POETS’ CALENDAR 2012

1 10 2011

POETRY DISPATCH No.353 | October 1, 2011

Alice D’Alessio, Susan Godwin, Jerome J. Jagielski, Joan Wiese Johannes, Jackie Langetieg, Mariann Ritzer

Editor’s Note: I am pleased to say that The Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar for 2012 continues to accomplish its mission for poets and poetry here on the home-front, annually showcasing some of our most respected poets (books and publications to their credit) as well as introducing newcomers to its pages,

I continue to commend the long history of the Calendar for this open-minded approach, as well as the co-editors of the publication this year, Jeffrey Johannes and Jean Wiese Johannes, for their superb efforts in putting together another handsome volume featuring the work of over two hundred Wisconsin poets, not to mention the beautiful cover art and watercolor illustrations of William Karberg of Port Edwards.

Here’s to everyone responsible for the project, including, business manager Michael Farmer, and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets who published this work.

Though I have read and enjoyed all the poets, regretfully (time, space, etc.) I present a mere six to give some idea of the range and talent to be found here. No other explanation as to why these six poems other than the way a poem calls attention to itself and settles for good somewhere in the reader’s psyche. No other measure of personal choice except perhaps a smile, a heartbeat, a related memory …something in the poem whispering ’yes’ in those late-night hours I consign to reading, when a particular poem won’t let me go. The next night could very well be some different poems entirely. — Norbert Blei

What I Learned From the Important Poet

That it’s not enough
to let the Poem out for a quick pee
you’ve got to take it
for a long walk
on a frost-filmed morning
let it tangle its leash around your legs
yanking for attention
…….sniffing for lagniappe.

Or perhaps
you should consider
turning it loose to roam
through city alleys
on a sultry night
to acquaint itself with abandon
with those who wrap themselves
in newspaper blankets
clutching their shoes and bottles
let it nuzzle the pizza crusts
needles condoms.

If there’s still no leap or whimper
drag it if you can
across the highway
to a gnarly clump of oak.
Encourage it to snuffle
leftover nature coax it
to remember
it came from the wild from weeds and rot
birdsong and blossom. Let it wallow
dig deep.

Warn it about the traffic. Let it find
its own way home.

—Alice D’Alessio

Dreaming in the Midst of a Madison Winter

I’d like to be that man who visits celebrities
in their homes, except the houses I enter
must be flawed as well as beautiful. And their beauty
hold herb gardens of thyme and rosemary
and the spice of cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

The sun will blaze through a skylight
to a faded red terrazzo floor; I’ll lie limp
on the fainting couch and dream of muscular Italian men
who sit at my side,
stroking my toes and humming Neapolitan songs.

I found one today—in a Mound Street co-op
filled with cats, paintings and a musk of mystery.
I stayed the afternoon, drinking lemon grass tea
and sharing sensual looks with the cats

then drove home on Regent Street satisfied with my life
behind the wheel of my ’89 Oldsmobile
both of us growing more obsolete each day.

–Jackie Langetieg

Oak Hill Cemetery

………..Comfortably they walk
……………… graceful steps
……………….a slow movement
………...among the community
……….of hallowed tombstones
a congregation of wild turkeys

–Jerome J. Jagielski

Things To Do Around Port Washington

an homage to Gary Snyder

Peel the fog
Count and climb the steps to St. Mary’s Church
Smell smoked fish; eat smoked fish
Collect dead alewives on the beach
Count children in Catholic families
Find your brothers’ graves, your father’s grave
Listen for the Angelus bells at noon and six o’clock
Wash your hair in Lake Michigan
Imitate the one o’clock whistle
Find Mile Rock
Dig your toes in Sauk Creek mud
Swing from vines on Moore Road
Watch old Dula mumble on her porch
Find God in stained-glass windows in St. Mary’s Church
Slap through Lake Michigan waves at midnight

–Mariann Ritzer

early autumn sunlight
streams through birch leaves
honey on my toast

–Susan Godwin

Come Closer

Heavy air wanders
around the corner of the barn
bends into evening
and staggers through the peonies

to meet me under the porch light
where dizzy moths flit
and midges swarm
around the naked bulb.

Tonight I wonder why
I once thought love darkens
too soon in June
when days are too long

and nights too eagerly late,
when stems grow spindly
weak from
too much too fast too soon.

A night-blooming blossom
luminous as the moon
reminds me of something
I should have done.

–Joan Wiese Johannes

To Order Calendars:

Michael Farmer, Calendar Business Manager
P.O. Box 555
Baileys Harbor, WI 54202

Phone: 920.839.2191

jackie langetieg | jazz

2 06 2010

Poetry Dispatch No. 322 | June 2, 2010


Jazz *

I don’t want to go to Chet Baker’s house

Let him come to me, lean his back against
the scene of ancient Chinese mountains in my living room
Let me serve him Metaxa brandy in a water glass

Don’t let the smoke leave the room—nothing should fly out
on the wings of notes coming from his horn, his voice, his hands
words left hanging on black clefs of minor chords

I’m loose on the sofa, robe slightly open hoping he’ll notice
baby grand ready for the touch of his fingers
like the counting of my ribs, each finger placed surely
on the steps of my spine

I feel his concentration on the music
I’m just a body temporarily in his way for tonight
The old serrated trees on the panel behind me sway
and fantasy fills my head. The music trails off and he joins me

We speak little, lie to each other, talk of insignificances
Soon dawn is opening the curtains of night and he drives off leaving
me lost in the smoky night music still at play in the room.

Editor’s Note: * First publication of this poem

About the Author: Jackie Langetieg, Verona, Wisconsin, is the author of three books of poetry and has been published in journals and anthologies, most recently in “Love Over 60: an anthology of women’s poems,” edited by R. Chapman and J. McCormick and published by Mayapple Press.

jackie langetieg | one book

15 01 2010

PoetryDispatch No. 308 | January 15, 2010


Jackie Langetieg

From age 6 when I punched letter by letter type into a neighborhood newspaper, I have written something—In my teens through an understanding English teacher who looked beyond the surface of my tough-girl attitude and acts, I entered into the joy of writing—both prose and poetry. My first book of sorts was done then—probably filled with mash notes to some boy or other but the words wanted to have their proper place. Then came the alcoholic years—mostly blurs but yet poems by the cartload from such phrases as the soul cried tears of blood to bucolic ramblings, usually ending with holes in the paper from frustrated pounding of pen or pencil. For years when I worked in State Government, I penned anonymous responses to bureaucratic bullshit memos about how to turn on the radiators or to keep the blinds drawn in place of air conditioning. I had a following; people enjoyed my sense of things. Two marriages and two children softened my edges as did the passing years, but still I was seeking the inner smile of writing accomplishment—The Book.

Enter The Clearing [Ellison Bay, Wisconsin]: I was looking for a quiet place to “find myself” in some safe place mentally and the music week was full—so the writers’ week it was. Every writing theme and effort I’d had became a legitimate benchmark on my journey. I began to tell people I wrote poetry, put work into little books so I could carry it around and savor it. What a high! Over the next 15 years, I wrote all the time and admitted to it; three books and two that I was working on, all lovingly typed, copied and stapled together with a cover carrying My Name.

It would be difficult to select a favorite book from those I’ve put together over the years—beginning in 1984 and having one I’m working on now. All these little books say something different about me—my first stumbling steps in writing poems; coming out of the poetry closet in the 1990’s and joining a group.

I tried sending poems out to little magazines as everyone seemed to be doing, but I was less than successful and each rejection was a death knell for that poem—I had no confidence at all when it came to accepting rejection or criticism. Reading helped; I began to enjoy the company of poets and began to read my work out loud at coffee houses. A great venue for being told I had a great poem, or many times, “a great reading voice”!

The real book, the book that made me a poet was White Shoulders. A real press published work, with credits and acknowledgements. This was my truth—I’d begun it as an exercise in different genre—a transition between poetry and prose. All my adult life, I’d given my mother the back-handed remarks that made me who I became—the teen who acted out, got drunk, the failure at marriage and alcoholic—all her fault. Suddenly, it became important to me to give her the chance to respond to my accusations—difficult because she had died 12 years earlier. So began the book, originally titled, Mother’s House. It is a lovely book with a beautiful sensitive cover and a content of absolute honesty, much of which tears away the years of excuses I made for my screwed up life. It was cathartic writing it, editing it and finally seeing it as a finished beautiful product, and I had begun to hear her voice explaining to me what her life was about during those years—I’d write something bitchy, and she’d respond by telling me of her fears and life as a single parent; this was a revelation to me and my truth began with the telling of that story, which became White Shoulders, a conversation between a daughter and her deceased mother, published beautifully by Cross+Roads Press. At last I had a legitimate book of my own to hold close and share with others, and the absolute thrill when I first saw it come alive through the brown paper packaging will remain as the most exciting and emotional event of my life.

The important part of my writing is keeping the truth of the poem and my own dignity in the writing. I’ve never considered myself anything but an individualist, feminism is grand for those who have carried me along, but I’ve had my hands full staying true to me. I’m a decade past the baby-boomers and have had to bear the guilt of the fifties ingrained in the back of my left knee whenever I’ve tried to be a woman of the times—usually overdone with my lack of perspective. I’ve recovered from most negatives in my younger years, abuse, alcohol, tobacco, divorces. I live alone now and enjoy every minute of it—and it’s safer than getting involved with the old people-pleasing games of my youth.

There have been two more books since White Shoulders, and one: Just What in Hell is a Stage of Grief? is my story of losing my 33 year old son to booze and sleep apnea. It was important to me to have a written dialogue with him and myself about the days following his death and I’m very pleased with the book; it’s not everyone’s choice for reading, but the purpose has been completed. I hope to complete another book within this year and perhaps if I write again about The Book, it may be about one to come—but for now White Shoulders defines my library and influences each poem I write with truth.


  • Bar Code, Little Eagle Press 2008, and Peninsula Review, Sister Bay, WI 1989: “The Staring Contest”
  • Rosebud, Cambridge, WI, Issue #1, Winter 1993-94: “Choices”
  • Women’s Recovery Journal (?), 1993: “My Name is Jackie”
  • Cats’ Meow, Maine Rhode Publ. Woolwich, ME 1996: “Business Venture”
  • Tasty Morsels, Lonesome Traveller Publ. Madison, WI, 1996: “Camellia” and “Role Model”
  • Poetry of Cold, Home Brew Press, Fish Creek, WI, 1997: “Darkness of an Early Morning Snow”
  • Detours II, Lonesome Traveller Pub.1998: “The Shoji Screen”
  • Coming Home to Door, Home Brew Press 1998: “The Dinner Party”


  • Three Legged Cats and Other Tales, Wheels Press, 1989
  • Private Thoughts, Wheels Press 1991
  • Coming of Age, Wheels Press, 1992
  • White Shoulders, Cross+Roads Press, Ellison Bay, WI 2000
  • Just What in the Hell is a Stage of Grief, Ghost Horse Press, Verona, 2008
  • Confetti in a Silent City, Ghost Horse Press, 2008


  • 1988: Joyce Web Poetry Award, Wisconsin Regional Writers Assoc. “Shoes”
  • 1997: First Place Poem, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Trophy Award. “Living Separated from Him”
  • 1999: First Place Poem, Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Sciences & Letters Annual Award, “Tai Chi in Four Movements”
  • 2000: Jade Ring, Wisconsin Regional Writers Assoc. “Casals’ Cello”


  • Barefoot Grass Journal, Vol 1, Fall/Winter 1997: “Stone,” “Invitations,” “Generations”
  • Writing Across the Boundaries Between Poetry & Prose, Lonesome Traveller Pub., 1999: “Mother’s House”
  • Reflections on the Train, Detours: Poems of Travel by Land, Sea, Air and Mind, Lonesome Traveller Pub., 1997; RobinChapman’s Blog, 2006: “Reflections on the Train”
  • Poems of Love, Lonesome Traveller Publishing,1998: “If I Were to Take a Lover”
  • Wisconsin Academy Review: Summer, 2004: and RobinChapman’s Blog, 2006: “Father Writes to Mother From California”
  • Wisconsin Academy Review: Spring, 2003 and RobinChapman’s Blog 2006 “Letter to My Daughter”
  • Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Sciences & Letters: Spring, 1999 and Taijiquan Journal, Minneapolis, 2004: “Tai Chi in 4 Movements”
  • Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Sciences & Letters: 1996 “The X-Ray”
  • Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Sciences & Letters: 1998 “Ablutions”
  • Word of Mouth, May 1993 & Spondee Internet:“Jason at 23, White, Adriatic Sea”
  • Poetry Dispatch #118 Norbert Blei, Ed Internet 2007, “Once Again I Fail To” and Excerpt from White Shoulders
  • 100 Words, University of Iowa, ** “Second Sight”
  • Midland Review, University of Oklahoma, May 1993 and Spondee Internet Site “Jewels”
  • Looking Out the Window, The Writers’ Place, 1994 and Spondee Internet Site “In the Party Room at the Nursing Home”
  • Peace Project, 2003 Exhibit: “Women Drumming”
  • Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Calendars 1991-2010: Various poems –
  • Slender Thread, Little Eagle Press, Bailey’s Harbor, WI 2008: “Universal Sorrow on City Street,” “Old Woman Lays Husband to Rest,” “Paper Pink Iris”
  • Tiger’s Eye, Tiger’s Eye Press, Oregon, 2008: “Old Woman Lays Husband to Rest”
  • The Aurorean, Encircle Publications, ME, Vol. XIII 2008-2009: “Seasons”
  • Silk Road, Pacific University, Oregon, Vol. 3 Spring 2008: “Pentimento II”
  • Chaffin Journal, East Kentucky University, 2009: “Aneurism”


  • Volunteer and President of Board of Directors for The Writers’ Place, Madison, WI 1996-98
  • Editor, Looking Out the Window, The Writers’ Place First Annual Literary Anthology, Madison 1995
  • Co-Editor, 2004 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Annual Calendar

jackie langetieg | once again I fail to

28 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 118 | November 3, 2006

Jackie Langetieg is one of Wisconsin’s better/but lesser known poets for all the reasons or excuses any writer may be better at it than those seemingly ‘more successful’ (more acclaim, more books, more invitations to read, etc.) yet remains in the shadows. Some are more comfortable there. Some (many) doubt their own talents. Some are just plain lazy. Some accept obscurity as fate. And some claim ‘writers block’. And may in fact even flaunt it. A term I hate because it’s really just another form of good old fashioned depression, which many writers deal with on a daily basis and sometimes, pushing hard enough, render their deepest blues into art.

Jackie has published any number of times in any number of places. Won her fair share of Wisconsin’s literary awards (will undoubtedly win more) and published her fair share of small books. She has a good following of friends and readers who are always waiting for more. Cross+Roads Press published her book, WHITE SHOULDERS, in 2000 which soon sold out. She’s been through good times, and some extremely bad times when silence seems the only way to address anything. This is a brand new poem. Putting in all down in words the way only Jackie can. Norbert Blei


Once again I fail to by Jackie Langetieg

keep an important appointment.
It goes into my memoirs
under “Pussy,” excuse number
one million and three.

Instead I call and blame diarrhea
with all the drama of discovering cancer.
I chat a bit, lively lilt inappropriate, add the hope
of a get together before she flies back to her state.

Meanwhile my state has improved
I can sit in my own disarray another day
surrounded by good intentions and small bowls
filled with shame without regret.

The cats show their approval by jumping
onto my lap instead of the tables, head-butting
and wet-nosing my cheek instead of whacking
everything from the table to the floor.

I briefly remember the girl I used to be
become the woman I still try to be;
she bet her life on beating down the urges
to fill up any chapter not titled integrity.

jackie langetieg | I sent my song to find you

9 10 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 30 | November21, 2005

I sent my song to find you by Jackie Langetieg

life has become the dream, the one where I can’t catch anyone or find anything. It goes speeding by while I stretch my empty hands after it. Train windows, back lit, reflect lost loves, dead parents, and those giggling boys racing up and down the aisle past laughing friends who go nameless in my present confusion. In the background, an orchestra plays the Liebestod from “Tristan and Isolde” at each station platform as I limp by, feet worn down to ankles digging small graves in the sand I must pull away from, each time more slowly.

Lately, I have trouble escaping the sound of wind day or night, inside or out, like a storm at sea, roiling, eddying into the spongy labyrinth of my brain—or signals from a short wave radio, thoughts I can’t decode, they, too, just wind; if I catch a word or two, it’s run, or escape, or away. I’m an expatriate, hunched down in the swamp’s tall grass straining to hear footsteps through the breathing of night and cicadas, wanting, yet not wanting to be left in my quiet place of no explanations.

Yet, daughter, you unlock your computer with my name every morning at your work, and in the evening, at home, you call me again. Do you know that you were doing this long before we began this dialogue. Without thinking, you think of me.

from WHITE SHOULDERS, Cross+Roads Press