Publisher GlenHill Productions, Ron Pickup, Praises River by the Glass in his Introduction


I first published Monika Rose’s poetry in the Mindprint Review, a literary journal of regional and international writing and art published back in the late 1980s. And even then, I was taken with her whimsical wit and metaphysical humor in poems such as “Carp” and “Eye.” Today, she has evolved these skills into the biting imagery but sensitive and haunting verse found in the likes of “Drowning in the Kern, ”  “Chester and the Bluebird,” and “On the Fence. ”

This is the ethereal yet concrete fine poetry of a master poet. In “Chester and the Bluebird,” a spirited bluebird standing in for a beloved pet steer, just reduced to sizzling steaks on the family barbecue, is Rose’s respectful reply to the classic, important image of a “red wheel/barrow/glazed with rain/water/beside the white/chickens,” written by the pillar of Objectivism, William Carlos Williams.

The poetry in this collection has been forged and tempered over decades of writing, while also teaching English at the secondary and college level; attending numerous workshops with some of the best writers of our time; and promoting and showcasing the work of her fellow writers and artists through founding Writers Unlimited and editing and publishing the Manzanita anthologies and other publications.

With the publication of River by the Glass, we at last have the collected poetry to date, of the hardest working poet I have been privileged to know. GlenHill is proud to present these fruits of her long labor.

Ron Pickup

March 23, 2011


Yeats and the Sculpture of Self: A Critical Essay by Monika Rose

Yeats and the Sculpture of Self: A Critical Essay

                     — By Monika Rose

W.B. Yeats’ progress as a writer was shaped by deliberate plans of self-improvement and exploration, especially as it pertained to his development of craft. His “passion for making and remaking himself led him to revise his early work…to conform to a later pattern” (Kermode 1683). Yeats cross-referenced his themes in several different modes of discourse–poems, essays, journals, plays, fiction, etc.–and worked on them continuously. The amount of material regarding the researching of his methods of composition is vast, ranging from detailed studies of his prosody and versification, to exploration of his writing influences and associations with people who would become symbolic emblems in his work. The most valuable and provocative of Yeats’ ritualistic writing practices, however, stem from his recording of occult experiences such as those experienced via his involvement in the Order of the Golden Dawn, Rosicrucianism participation in seances, ritualistic ceremonies, dream recording, automatic writing through mediums, and other activities. Luckily,  his methodical habits of composing prose, drama, and in particular, poetry, that involve compulsive, rigorous, methodical  cross-referencing and extensive notes, editing, and revision kept him “hammering his thoughts into unity”(qtd. in Kermode and Hollander 1680). These two areas seem radically different, yet in order to control and shape the evolution of his ideas, I believe Yeats needed the system of careful composition he devised in order to channel the mystic visions and experiences into unified forms of expression.  According to Kermode and Hollander, he sought a place called, after Plotinus, “There,” some center where everything came together, and “what he was trying to get together, for the sake of major poetry, was himself” (1682). And as Yeats said in a letter to Dorothy Wellesley, “I live in my own mind and write poetry; can go into a dream and stay there” (qtd. in Kermode and Hollander 38).

Yeats had a system for recording experiences and ideas that would seem challenging to the average person at first glance, but it was a system that afforded him opportunities to document material recurring in various genres, and it would become a method that would serve as a sort of cyclical reincarnation of ideas. He kept various bound journals and notebooks, and later, loose-leaf journals, which provided a vast workshop for his reveries and musings, as well as a place to store his observations that would become a basis for his text be it a dramatic work, a poem, or even a passage in his autobiographies (Bradford 3). Studies of his manuscripts provide the insights to his textual changes, which were frequent, before and after publication (Bradford Preface” vi-ix).

In light of Yeats’ constant self-construction, Daniel T. O’Hara summarizes Jahan Ramazani’s book, Yeats and the Poetry of Death: Elegy, Self-Elegy, and the Sublime, by concluding that “the poet is the one who is reborn as  ‘idea,’ perfected, become complete…”(qtd. in O’Hara 547). Yeats’ poems are “ecstatic acts of intellectual and imaginative deliverance, a wresting of order from the chaos of life” (549). Thus, Yeats creates himself as an entity in his notebooks and works, documenting the evidence of his identity, and he becomes a director of his own life, acting on the stage of his own tragedies (Neuman 56). In his reveries, mystical musings of the past as recorded in journals which would later become part of his Autobiographies, Yeats reports that he was, at puberty, first attracted by the thought of determining his life’s form as he would “shape a poem.” This process was influenced by the works of Shelley, as Shirley Neuman reports. Yeats stated that he “began to play at being a sage, a magician or a poet…as I climbed along the narrow ledge. . . (60). He “shaped his life as he might a poem….” Thus, this deliberate self-shaping began early, with Yeats trying out different poses and masks of himself, Hamlet-like (60).

As Vereen Bell relates, Yeats knew that “poetry and even thought are fictions, but he believed in the power of such fictions to shape and direct human life and in the ability of narrative logic to give coherence and dignity to the erratic human enterprise of becoming,” thus the Collected Poems of Yeats stood  for his own life story (495). Bell explains that Yeats was not really suited for the job of being a “cutting-edge modernist,” since the realm of his life experience included Yeats claiming to have had a meeting with a queen of a band of fairies who discussed the fairy kingdom with him.  Another incident, in which Yeats told Dorothy Wellesley that the immortality of the individual soul could be proved and upheld in a court of law, reiterates a tie to the ancient relics of the past, not to mention the practice of consulting daily astrological charts worked out by Yeats and his Uncle George to forecast events (Bell 496). “Hammer your thoughts into a unity,” one spirit had instructed Yeats (Bell 497) and by Yeats’ own desire to create a reality with its own qualities, he believed he could “call, declare, make, summon, tell,” and continue shaping his life as a poet in a physical sense (498). Natalie Crohn Schmitt reports Yeats’ statement, “Whether it is we or the vision that create the pattern, who set the wheel turning, it is hard to say, ” and that Yeats continues by saying that he is full of uncertainty, not sure “when he is the finger or the clay” (174). Thus, Yeats struggled with identifying the nature of his soul as a writer and as a Magi, a role he so much wanted to acquire, continuing his process of self-shaping (Croft 135).

Writing was painstaking for Yeats, and by 1895, he had developed the habit of writing many drafts of his prose and poetry, staying with a work until ‘much hammering’ had worked it into shape. But it was a tedious process, writing in a slow longhand, working mainly in the early morning hours on his poetry from 9 until noon (Wellesley 38, 44),revising as he went along. In his later years, he would often get up at 4 A.M., work at proof sheets until 5:30, then go back to bed until breakfast at 7:30. Then he would write poetry until noon (Wellesley 82). His handwriting was nearly illegible to others, so he dictated from his manuscripts and notebooks for a typist, sometimes his wife George. If he were interrupted during dictation, he would be disoriented and his secretary had to write what she thought she heard, going back later and correcting errors in the transcribing of his poetry, misreading his writing, with Yeats often missing the corrections needed, himself. Yeats’ writing contained atrocious misspellings, horrendous over-punctuation of commas and dashes, and his sentences were hard to discern due to lack of end punctuation and capitalization. He would do such things as trail off at the suffixes, so that those wanting to examine actual manuscripts for prose style had a difficult if not impossible task of trying to decipher his process (Bradford “Preface” iii).

Later on, after marriage to George Hyde-Lees, Yeats’ work was less graphically demanding, writing in loose-leaf notebooks so that he could rearrange the order of his material while composing, tearing or cutting out pages he wanted transcribed, and then rearranging them again more easily.  His wife would type these sheets out while he continued to revise in his notebook–thus, he would have continuous clean copies with which to work (xiii).  She often typed carbon copies so he could continue to correct the copies, revising such things as repetitive images that he could not get out of his mind, reducing them to “echoes”(Bradford 93). In his notebooks, or his “daybooks” which were literary musings and observations, in which he would write infrequently but regularly, he would write down phrases and statements, putting phrases that he would want to use in a poem in quotation marks, so that they could easily be seen.

Yeats would also complete some of his poems, such as “The Wild Swans at Coole” in these journals (Crawford 8). He would, in addition, develop musings on ideas he would have about news of the day, with reports of seances and psychic investigations, as well as autobiographical material in these journals.  For Yeats, this working record of ideas provided a fertile place for the genesis of ideas as well as the continuous working of that idea to its end as a publishable work, and these works included various forms.   On the nature of his repeated revision process, he remarked to Dorothy Wellesley, “The correction of prose, because it has no fixed laws, is endless; a poem comes right with a click like a closing box” (qtd. in Wellesley 24).  He even put minor essays through multiple drafts, and he worked for years on his Autobiographies.  One could say Yeats was a compulsive self-editor, but he seemed to work his material like a sculptor until that work of art conformed to his expectations of expression (Croft 54-55)

Yeats did not stop at just creating the shaping of his poetic self, as his association with Dorothy Wellesley, a fellow poet, demonstrates. He foisted his skills upon others. In one letter to Wellesley, Yeats had talked about the revision of one her poems: “Ah my dear how it added to my excitement when I re-made that poem of yours into a single being.  We triumphed over each other”(Wellesley 82).  It seemed as if his Pygmalion tendencies were not always self-directed but spilled over onto others.  His system included frequent letter writing in which he stashed and worked on some of his ideas for his autobiographies, another method of shaping himself (Kermode and Hollander 1683).

The individual pages of composition within his notebooks and loose-leaf manuscripts had a system as well, indicates Bradford.  Yeats liked having a two-page layout or spread in which he would compose on the right side, leaving the left free for revision, drawing arrows to the right-hand page and corresponding lines. The particular works may not remain in sequential order, either. Later, in the 20’s and 30’s, Yeats would complete his writing on the first typescript page.  When he finished a satisfactory work, he would initial it or sign in full, with a date. This method provided students of his work clear tracings of his process, especially watching actual lines emerge from the mass of ideas.  His process usually was an adding-on task, with works “accumulating slowly, as a coral reef accumulates” (Kermode and Hollander “Preface” iii).

Bradford relates that Yeats’ modus operandi in beginning a poem or any prose work, usually, was to sketch a subject in prose–for drama it was a scenario. These were brief images, but many of them laboriously developed into poems, most continued to a draft form that same day in which a sketch was begun. Yeats often complained that it took a long time to “set into a pattern” or find the rhythm of natural speech or utterance for it.  He had to pick his suitable form for the poem, then most often write a list of rhyming words at the top with which to play, select his rhyme scheme, and invent descriptive correlatives or symbolic objects to represent his ideas. Sometimes he obsessed over a conflict in a poem, which evoked dreams in which symbols and workings of the poem manifested themselves (Wellesley 86).  He worked until he got the poem right in this manuscript format, carrying on revision processes even after printing (Wellesley “Introduction” 8-9), however, it may have taken months between intermediate and final drafts which were working drafts that he continuously revised as he went along (12).  One favorite technique in his later years, in the 1930’s, was to “undertake different tasks in order to give birth to new poems,” states Tim Armstrong (50).  This was to force him to produce new work.  In a letter to Wellesley, Yeats says that his prose version of “The King of the Great Clock Tower” was written to “force myself to write lyrics” (43). At the same time, Yeats was concerned with his own approaching death and loss of sexual strength and desire, as evidenced by his interest in a surgical procedure called the Steinach operation (a vasectomy). This procedure was purported to be a restorer of the cardio-vascular system and supposedly provided a renewed vigor in men due to its inward properties of “self-insemination” (Armstrong 49).  Yeats, who related poetic creation and power with physical male potency, was aware of the theory behind the operation, and he would relish this “second puberty” (50). What might this have to do with his poetic prowess?  Armstrong analyzes that for a self-made poet, this procedure would give Yeats a rebirth, channeling his faculties inward during a time when he could balance the sexual energies and his creative output together. Yeats was involved at this time in his own “self as a focus for incarnation,” connecting with this idea of Yeats, indicates Armstrong,  as a “self-begettor” or self-generator and his fears that he would never again be able to write poetry (50). This is why the automatic writing, along with his marriage to George, and alliances with younger women such as Dorothy Wellesley, provided such a fresh source of new direction for his writing. He thrived on these new areas of exploration (50). The occult experiences that Yeats recorded, as well as his “esoteric investigations,” which occupied about one third of his time, became the types of activities that were an integral part of his writings. He does not say much of the studies, since he was sworn to secrecy about the rituals and experiences with Madame Blavatsky, MacGregor Mathers, his psychic teacher, and the ceremonies of the Order of the Golden Dawn (Bradford 309).  Included were his conversations with the spirit Leo Africanus, an explorer of the 17th century, with whom Yeats conversed initially at a seance in 1912, then over a period of years in which this ‘daimon’ allowed Yeats to understand his true self, as he thought it to be (Neuman 43-44). This experience would prepare him for his later automatic writings with his wife, which would inspire the basis for his grand scale description of the workings of the universe, A Vision (O’Donnell 1).

In the book, Yeats’ Golden Dawn, George Harper tells of Yeats’ accounts of experiences with thought transference, his meticulous records of his spiritual marriage with Maud Gonne, seances, dream recollections, and rituals connected to visionary events. In these events, Yeats would hold an object in his hand and begin to envision ideas and events related to that object, or the use of mediums would assist with this (102-3). Yeats had not been the only writer to have ideas come to him via a trance-like state: he had studied Blake and Coleridge extensively. The automatic writing, of which he participated even before his married life, as well as the other psychic experiments he conducted with friends of the order, kept him in good standing with the metaphysical tradition of his predecessors (103). Yeats also wrote occult essays based on his practices, such as one called, “Magic.” His most famous work, Vision, which Yeats labeled as “philosophy” but is in reality a group of images based on one symbol of the universe, the Divine Essence, stems from his automatic writings with his wife as the medium.  Through her, spirit “Controllers,” those that spoke to and gave insights to George, and the “Frustrators” who attacked his health and caused illness, or confused the manuscript text, communicated to them in response to Yeats’ questions on various subjects.  The actual text or writing of the automatic script is difficult to decipher, so Yeats went back and transcribed the questions and answers in his notebooks, trying to unravel for himself the mysteries he only “half understood”(Croft 166).

Some researchers, such as Kathleen Raine and Virginia Moore, among others, explains Croft, have discovered some of the symbols and rituals from the occult experiences, many of these related in closed notebooks not for public viewing.  For instance, when Yeats was initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn, he wore a green robe, red shoes, and a rope belt. Being blindfolded and told to repeat oaths, he was led around to symbolic points in the room.  His path was barred, but then he passed between two pillars and learned secret steps and salutes. In another ritual, he was “suspended on a cross by means of ropes, while the Second Chief of the Order held out the Rose Crucifix and said, ‘The Symbol of Suffering is the symbol of strength,’ to which Yeats replied, ‘I, Demon Est Deus Inversus, a member of the Body of Christ, do this day spiritually bind myself, even as I am now bound physically upon the Cross of Suffering, that I will to the utmost lead a pure and selfish life’”(Croft 137-8).  It is suggested that these rituals became a part of actual life for Yeats, then embodying the realm of symbol in his writing, especially since these symbols, forms, colors would reappear in his works, further evidence of the deliberate shaping of life and work in his integrated system (Croft 138).

Yeats saved most material involved with the Order of the Golden Dawn and other spiritualistic data, except the early personal writings.  In writing of his occult experiences, he sometimes admitted he called up the wrong symbol or had distorted visions, making errors in his evocation (Croft 137).  Some examples of symbols found in his documentation include a dagger, a wand, a pentacle, and a broken lotus, as well as a rose cross, a black silk sash, several cardboard seals and pentagrams, a huge diagram of the Sephirotic Tree of Life (about 3 ft. square) and a diagram of the Phases of the Moon on oiled silk, etc. (Harper, Golden Dawn)  The sword he was given by a Japanese visitor also worked into the symbolism of his poetry. There are several notebooks that document more diagrams, sketches of gyres, phases of the moon, sleeps (dream recordings of the spirits speaking through the medium while asleep), automatic script, and working notes, some of which are illegible.   There is an index card file of over 700 cards of the automatic script, as well as envelopes with recorded information in the collection, showing the elaborate organization Yeats devised  (Harper,  Yeats and the Occult 4-5). The automatic script is an incredible body of work on psychic research, conducted from October 20, 1917, to March 28, 1920, with more than 3,600 papers in 450 sittings that were recorded (Harper, Making, “Preface” x). Harper relates that other modes of dictation include a writing in which Maud Gonne wrote down notes and conversation for Yeats about the investigation of the bleeding miracle, an oleograph of some sort of religious figure (Harper, Yeats and the Occult 3-4). In addition, some of the exercises in the Golden Dawn materials are concerned with the Celtic Mysteries, horoscopes, Talismanic experiments, and Tarot exercises (Harper, Yeats’ Golden Dawn 8). There are letters and sealed records of the business meetings, petty quarrels, and lectures of the Order of the Golden Dawn, all of which were carefully saved by Yeats, I think, so that students could later clarify his participation in the occult. Yeats stayed with the Order of the Golden Dawn in hopes of eventually becoming a Magi, or spiritual figure (O’Donnell 56).

Thus, through Yeats’ deliberate attempts to train himself in his various literary and dramatic undertakings, shaping his realm of thought, the poet had some control over his own genesis as a writer. If he lacked control elsewhere in his life, where women slipped away, politics wavered, losses overwhelmed him, as in Lady Gregory’s death, and as his own impending death loomed nearer–he at least could take satisfaction in the constant visible changes in the editing and shaping of his manuscripts. Balancing that with exploration of the world of the dead via communication with spirits, and the formulation of a cyclical system of the universe, perhaps he could engender some hope that he would retain a position in the earthly literary system. Perhaps he would return to complete some of his projects, continuously revising some them, as was his habit, from beyond the grave.













Works Cited



Bell, Vereen. “Yeats’ Nietzschean Idealism.” Southern Review 29 (July 1973): 491-513.

Bradford, Curtis. Yeats at Work. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University     Press, 1965.

Croft, Barbara L. Stylistic Arrangements: A Study of William Butler Yeats’ ‘A       Vision.’  New Jersey: Associated University Presses, 1987.

Harper, George Mills.  The Making of Yeats’ ‘A Vision’: A Study of the Automatic Script. Vol. 1.  Carbondale: Southern Illinois University     Press, 1987.

—.Yeats’ Golden Dawn. London: Macmillan Press, LTD, 1974.

—.ed. Yeats and the Occult. Canada: Macmillan, 1975.

Kermode, Frank, and John Hollander. “Autobiographies.” Oxford Anthology of    English Literature. Vol. 2. New York: Oxford University Press,1973.1721-  1723.

—.“William Butler Yeats.” 1679-1683.

Neuman, Shirley. Some One Myth: Yeats’ Autobiographical Prose. Republic of    Ireland: The Dolmen Press, 1982.

O’Donnell, William H. “Yeats’ Adept and Artist.” Harper, Occult 1-10.

O’Hara, Daniel T.  “Poetry and Phantasmagoria.” The Virginia Quarterly Review 67

(Summer 1991): 547-551.

Schmitt, Natalie Crohn. “Ecstasy and Peak-Experience: W.B. Yeats, Margharita Laski, and Abraham Maslow.” Comparative Drama 28 (Summer 1994): 167-   181.

Wellesley, Dorothy. Comp. Letters on Poetry from W.B. Yeats to Dorothy.       Wellesley.       London: Oxford University Press, 1964.



Bull Pine in the Window

Bull Pine in the Window  from River by the Glass,

A Collection of Poems by Monika Rose

River by the Glass front cover small





Bull Pine in the Window



Nothing dangerous will occur here inside

the kitchen, listening tightly for sudden snaps

in a passive pastoral


An open crown of a looming grey pine frames

wild cucumber and clumps of mule ear

that could pass for daisies

Split trunks brush blue-iced sky

like a loose broom on a winter window

clearing morning crystal


fingers borne in clusters of three

orchestrate wind with needle precision

and string the same sighs as an entire

stand of ponderosa, or a shadowy ravine

in an updraft of late afternoon


The Miwok call it ghost pine

non-Miwok call it the digger

defining backs of bent people

who gleaned its base and found

just enough sustenance.


This bull pine is generous in its offering:

resiny spiked cones shaped like pineapple

to roast scales open for sustaining seed,

sweet kernels like prizes nestled in pairs

at the base of each husky segment

first-year cones seal spicy inner cores

as sap droplets ooze and harden into rock candy.


This landscape leans into worry as

My need is the collection of parts:

bark, needle, cone—

a shadow hangs above me in balance

one hovering split-trunk limb haunts

every bone in my basket


The window will, for now, hold. 


Authors Praise River by the Glass

River by the Glass front cover smallHere are what other poets and writers say about River by the Glass:

Pattiann Rogers, poet, says:

The poems in River By the Glass are rich with the details of the earth moving moment by moment from death to life, from life to death.  Monika Rose understands the union of these transformations and records them with the energy, contemplation, and originality of finely composed poetry.  Like glass, her poetry offers both a reflection of the physical world and a window into our human experiences of its shifting beauty and mystery.

       –Pattiann Rogers

Kathy Isaac-Luke, poet, says:

In her new collection, River by the Glass, Monika Rose shows her
formidable range. By turns meditative, profound and imaginative, her
poems are always, at their core, genuine and unflinchingly honest.
Whether rooted in landscape or familial memory, these poems are rich
in metaphor and finely crafted. With the precision of a scalpel and
the clarity of fresh water, River by the Glass takes the reader on a
journey of discovery.

           —Kathie Isaac-Luke, author of Chrysalides, 2010, Dragonfly Press


Kevin Arnold, poet and director of the San Jose Poetry Center says:

Monika Rose inhabits the Mother Lode country, a geography that produces poetry.  Down the highway from where the Squaw Valley Community of Writers winter with Gary Snyder, her poems grow out of local soil.  No wonder Monika is dedicated to bringing out the best of her community.  These fine poems could have been written nowhere else.

        –Kevin Arnold

From Mary Mackey, novelist and poet:

“Rose’s poetry captures the texture and currents of the river, translating water into words.”
           –Mary Mackey    

Vulgarity on the Rise

A recent controversy arose, with a good friend of mine doing battle with a barbaric element so prevalent in modern day speech–the expletive.  How necessary is it to bombard a reader or listener with a barrage of the seven dirty words you can’t say on TV or Radio that George Carlin made so humorous?  We used to save the uncontrollable outburst of words for something special — a particularly bad moment of desperation — so bad that no descriptive set of words could describe its depravity.  Now, it seems as if bleeping is fashionable — and verborrhea is the language of choice.

My friend who hosts a radio show decided, and with good reason,  not to air an interview with a writer, another friend, who read a peppered passage aloud on the air. The passage included sexual references, and it  included three of the seven words you can’t say on the radio or on TV, with an assortment of  graphic violent images.  Now the writer who was interviewed says that the public wouldn’t be bothered by them. He wants it aired in the name of free speech. The argument concerns whether a broadcaster and show host controls the creative content of his/her own show and has the right to not air material.  The answer is yes.   My friend decided not to air the show and I support her decision to maintain the quality and flavor of the show she designs.

It’s her show, her idea, her script, and her decision.

Why not bleep out the offensive expletives and content as is done in TV reality shows, such as the bounty hunter shows, or the Repo show, in which every other word is bleeped out? We still know what the word is that is bleeped out, so in effect, the attention is called to that word in its deletion.

An interview is not the property of the person interviewed, but it belongs to the broadcaster who designed and recorded the show and provided the venue. Much like a photo is taken of someone and kept, shown to others…the photo is not the property of the subject of the photo, but of the creator of the photo.

Should someone being interviewed for a show assume that at say, 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning, or at any time during family hours, children will be listening as they ready themselves for church, or family activities? Yes. Families having a leisurely, relaxing morning at the breakfast table, turning on an enriching, artistic show about writers and their craft are listening, and are not prepared for expletives.  Most people do not want to hear crass language while they are preparing for a daily homily or listening to a show about authors, or while they are having a family breakfast on the weekend.  

Offensive language mars the artistic sensibilities of listeners not prepared for it. Especially on a Sunday morning. And tell me when the big seven unbleeped expletives are heard on AM radio? I think most broadcasters are classy about keeping the air waves listenable  and spare the listener  crassitude.

My friend, the host, has an  analogy for this situation and it is a good one: You’ve invited guests over to your home, and they behave badly, swearing and cursing up a storm, which insults and offends your sensibilities. Can you kick them out? Hell, yeah. Pardon my French. A radio show or any interview with invited guests is similar. The content belongs to the artistic, designer/host,  to edit or to not use, if he or she chooses, whether it be due to poor quality of the recording, or due to  inappropriate or uninteresting content.

Long story short: when you are invited for a radio or TV interview and you have selections to read from your book,  keep the broadcaster and audience in mind, and show him or her, as well as the host and audience, some common courtesy.  Think of it this way: You are an invited guest. Demonstrate good manners.  Select passages that the general public will be interested in, as well as children, the elderly,  the infirm, readers from all walks of life. Honor those who would love to just quietly eat their morning roll and have their coffee without the vulgarities of the world intruding into the comfortable air space of their home.  

Do interviewees want people to turn the station and not listen to the rest of the interview? It comes back to this: Know your audience. If it’s a late night show catering to college kids, then there may be some laxity there, and a shift in expectations, depending on the nature of the show. But generally speaking, for a public arena, such as a reading, interview, media presentation, or show, keep that general audience in mind.

Remember those nostalgic, free-wheeling ’60s? Some of the free speech advocates of the ’60’s, those who thought they could say and do what they pleased,  myself included, just grew older and matured.

But a few, hung onto the need for shockarrhea.  Ho hum. As if we’ve never heard the words before.  In appropriate context, and at the appropriate venue, when people know what to expect, no problem. But don’t shove them down our throats. Keep the potential bleeps to your bleepin’ self.

Now that all of that ranting is over….have a wonderful, non-bleeping day!






Order River by the Glass!

River By the Glass Cover Front and BackRiver by the Glass is ready to ship! Monika Rose wants you to sip and dip in! It’s your glass and you can cry if you want to. But you won’t cry ~ most of the poems will make you see aspects of life once again, from your own buried memories. Bring up those shards and hold them up to the light! There are pieces for everyone, encompassing a wide swath of subjects. You will be awash in reflective delight. Poetry is meant to shake you and make you think about what is really important. Forget the movie you had planned. Sit down and swim in the important aspects of life that you will create within yourself. And enjoy the beautiful river photos by Ron Pickup, Tuolumne County renowned photographer and writer and photographer for Sierra Seasons.  In fact, there is a mysterious thing you can do with the cover that will astound you! Ron’s cover photo is absolutely astounding when you hold the book in your hands. 216 pages of a two-decade span of poems, polished and shining ready for your reading.

Order now!  Mail a check made out to Monika Rose c/0 Manzanita Writers Press for $26.50, to cover 21.95 sales price, plus tax, plus shipping. PO Box 632, San Andreas, CA 95249. In fact, order extras for your friends and family for gifts and the upcoming holidays! Allow 3.50 for shipping costs per volume and 8.25% tax per volume.

Many of the poems spin around the river themes and flow of life and love and death and explore absurdities and wonders of experience. The kinetic energy from “Tuolumne River” in which a mother’s childbearing cycle winds down into memory, blending with the water, sand and boulder life of the river’s cycle, and her once-productivity, reflects on our time in this world and what we are here to do. “Cleaning Fish” evokes an Elizabeth Bishop kind of experience, but darker. “Variations on a Skipping Stone,” takes you back to your skipping stone days and then turns on you.  “Carp” is a hilarious depiction of fisherman wisdom with a twist.

And there is that word reflection. River by the Glass ~ depicts mirrors, windows, watery reflections, kaleidoscopic bits of meaning, camera and digital lenses, videorecording lenses, eyeglasses, car windows, glass on art frames, purity of water that should be drinkable but often, isn’t….in any glass, and more.  Refractory and reflective ~ visual and visceral ~ the poems force us to see, whatever it is we see or want to see, in a new light. It’s similar to picking up a piece of old glass from another century, and straining to see through its cloudy, hard membrane. We see what we’re able to see, what we construct for ourselves.

Read poems about clashes and meldings with nature, elegies to those who have passed before us, quirky poems about life (like “How to Spot a Serial Killer” and “Yellow the Dead Canary” or “Venial Sins” and more. If you’ve ever felt guilty about eating beef, or had sympathies with the rancher’s dilemma, dare to read “Chester and the Bluebird” and/or “Animal, Vegetable, darkly humorous poems with a twist.  These are not greeting card poems. Their particular images will evoke your own memories and bring them up to the surface in a bubble of haiku moments.

There are romantic or sensual poems like “The Ritual of Coffee Making,” or “Harmonica” or “The Long Dance” and “Coming into Love” and a love of the wild in “What is to Wilderness” –“Deer in the Road” or “Bull Pine” —  or even a love poem gone sour, based on ironically sweet-sounding language from the business pages of the Wall Street Journal, called “Love and Finance.”  Maybe you’d like to contemplate the metaphysical, with poems like “On the Fence,” in which a fox hanging on barbed wire fence from a child’s memory, linked to a dead fox found in the underbrush, evoking a strong gut-level reaction. “Worms” explores death wriggling from under the concrete walk, and friends who have passed, communicate out from beyond the grave in a universal call of beautiful sadness. Or “You Can Take It With You” makes a person think about the hereafter, with its series of exhibits of life and death.

There is the “Estate Sale” and another, “Food for Thought,” searching for meaning in everyday events, as well as “The Other Side,” a touching dialogue between the collective family narrator at a distance, and the dementia-laden speaker who just wants to go home, wherever that may be. Yes, there are poems about death – many of them. The opening poem, “Drowning at the Kern,” provides one of the strongest, lyrical visions of a honeymoon couple separated by the waters of the eternal reality, with the call of a bride echoing eerily in the canyon, while seeing her draped in the algaed strands of river tangle. The Kern River is a dangerous lover.

The poems are whimsical, touching, and artistic. Yet, if you’d like to be cheered on, and laugh along with the poet, why not read a narrative poem about a teacher’s mistaken thought that what she teaches, likeThoreau, and the Crucible,  is actually relevant to teens lost in the throes of their own private worlds,  in “Transcendental Perch.” Or poems about art, like “A Poet” or “Slowpitch Poetry, or “Eye Think.”

There are poems dedicated to fathers — one having the words, Prenatal, Parental, and Paternal, all containing the same letters, as sections framing the movement of a daughter’s love for her father contained in a poem. There are poems dedicated to mothers and daughters, exploring genetic traits passed down the line. There are elegies like “Desert Bloom” and “Navajo Traveler” and “Need Fire,” combining Clampus E. Vitus rituals with a departed friend. There are poems dedicated to children and eternal guilt in parenting ~ “There is a Cough” and “Nails” and in the mysteries of animals ~ “Black Dog” and the “Gift of the Fat Dalmation.”

Or dip into poems of conscience, “Navajo Gifts” and “Leper Lady at Swiss Park” or “Beauty and the Beast: The Movie.” Squaw Valley experiences include “Marimba Mountains,” or “What is to Wilderness” (a question posed by Jane Hirschfield of a nature panel) , or “Four Levels of Mist” and “Top of the Mountain.”  Photographers will wonder at what is going in “Eye for and Eye” or “Glass” or “Yoga at the Y.”

Anyway, I won’t give it all away. There are 85 poems in this collection.  You should see the ones that got away! Or rather, dove into the depths.  Hid in folders! Dipped down under the waters, chilled to the bone, and looking for cover from boulders and shoulders!

Please write me comments!

Delightfully yours,



Paul Stein’s New Book

Be sure to check out Paul Stein’s web site as he has a new novel out called The Fourth Law. At first I thought it was the typical guy’s guy book, with commandoes breaking into a lab through the roof of the Stanford facility, Navy Seal style, but then, as I read further, I discovered it was more than a sci-fi thriller, with two brilliant, competing cousins going too far in trying to one-up each other, moving into the dangerous destruction of their lives.

It is a book about family relationships gone awry, as life sometimes forces things to go. I told Paul I cried three times in the novel – my heart aching for the family split into so many fragments. It’s a good read. The very cool part is the scientific writing and plausibility of the anti-gravity machine designed by one of the cousins–the Stanford professor.

You’ll like the book. Go to Paul’s web site:

River by the Glass just released!

River of Glass just released! by GlenHill Publications. Ron Pickup, Editor at GlenHill has something to say about Monika’s work!

My book of poems has a mix of subject matters ~ anywhere from the unpredictable and puzzling world of nature, to the equivocating nature of human kind. Metaphysical poems and whimsical and witty turning over of stones abound. Read a poem a day ~ or two.  Read a poem to your child, your loved one, and to yourself.  Think of the book as a kaleidoscope and each poetry bit as a smooth shard of colored glass tumbling in the mix. When you stop turning the tube, the glass bits fall into place and form a beautiful design. View that as the poem.


You will be able to listen to my interview coming to the site soon,  in which I talk about the book and the process of writing poetry, then I read poems from River by the Glass, and more, in the new author interview program called Manzanita Voices ~ hosted by Linda Field, fiction editor of Manzanita Writers Press and Director of Manzanita Voices. This recording is archived from the Manzanita Voices program, which can be heard every first and third Sunday, streamed live at 9:00 A.M. at Or, if you’re in the area of Calaveras or Amador counties, tune in live that morning at 1340 AM. Contact her at and let her know how you like the show.