Submissions invited for Out of the Fire Anthology of the Mother Lode: Butte Fire Memories

Cate Culver: Mixed Media art stemming from the Butte Fire in Calaveras County, 2015

Out of the Fire

Editors invite submissions of Butte Fire stories, poems, photography, art, and all media invited for inclusion in the website online ezine titled Out of the Fire. The September 9, 2015 fire destroyed over 500 homes and another few hundred structures, many of them dwellings, displacing families and individuals permanently, forcing them to relocate and to start all over. The collection commemorates a disaster that devastated several small communities in the beautiful foothill region of the Sierra, the Mother Lode, one that continues to reverberate change. Reflection and insight on the event, one of many historic fire events in our area, brings great art and writing and creativity into the mix, aiding the healing process and providing solace for many.  Go to the website, and find Cate Culver’s phoenix image. Below that mixed media art work are links that give more information about the project that nonprofit Manzanita Writers Press is sponsoring. There is a submission form, so just fill it out, scan it and send it back with your attached submission. Follow the instructions and send us work that adds to the many voices communicating a love for this region, its natural beauty and the wonderful people it nurtures,  and providing a sense of looking back and moving forward at the same time. Send us your inspirational creations. We will help you edit the work, so don’t agonize if you are nervous about grammar, usage, and whether your work is good enough. Call us if you have any questions, or email us.

Gift-giving: Write a poem!

Dear Writers,

In shopping for the perfect gift comes a bit of stress in contemplating what to buy that special someone, or that distant relative, long lines at super stores and gift shops,  wrapping gifts once you get home, and then waiting to mail packages at the post office or mail store.  Avoid all the hassle and try this activity on for size: Write a custom poem, type it up and add it to a power point presentation slide or two, put it on a decorative background using publisher or some other program, add some photos to the slide show that you have personally taken, to share, put the entire power point in a digital photo frame, and then send it off to relatives and friends.

What a delightful gift that will sit on a counter or on top of the piano, or mounted to the wall, and remind them of you!

You can have the powerpoint transfered to a flash drive and send that little gift in a padded envelope. Add some original music or taped/transfered favorite music to the mix, and you can have them play this on their laptop or computer at will.  What a thoughtful gift.

If you need feedback on your poem, contact me.




Formatting a Poetry Manuscript – Saving and Preparing Files and Text

Preparing Your Poetry or Other Manuscript for Publication   © Monika Rose April 2011

A few tips from Monika Rose, Editor  –

These are not conclusive…many more things to think about abound, but these are a few….

Manzanita Writers Press

1. Saving your Files:

  •      Keep a working folder with your book project name.  

It is important for you to save your drafts and document changes, as well as to save your files in folders that indicate the final draft and date of each poem. Some day, it will be useful to view your drafts and process. Back these all up to a CD or DVD disc, external hard drive, flash drive (which can corrupt). If anything, it keeps MA candidates busy if your work is studied in the future.

  •     I keep a folder for each poem. Inside of that folder are two folders. One has draft documents of the poem with dates, and they are numbered in succession. Each time a change is made, the document is given a new number added to the title and a new date for revision. This tracks any changes made to the poem. The other folder has the one final draft of the poem going to press.
  •     Copy final poetry files that you have labeled to the section folders in your main folder. Do not move them, but COPY them.
  •     When it is time to copy these final drafts into a folder for the publisher, then they are copied in succession from the final draft folder of each poem, into the section folders ready for the publisher.  

2. Organizing your files for the publisher:

  •      Front Matter materials organized in a folder called Front Matter- copyright page, dedication, etc.
  •       Back Matter materials also organized in a folder called Back Matter – author bio, photo, credits, etc.
  •      Sections numbered or saved with titles- with section titles and any quotations/photos
  •      Poetry matter is saved inside each section.  

3. Preparing ancillary materials:

  •       ISBN number – some people advise to purchase your own ISBN # for the book, but publishers do this and they are listed in Ingram and distribution sites – if you self-publish, or partner with another press and exchange printing favors, then purchase your own as well as the bar code afterwards, from the Bowker site online. This takes about a half hour for the process.
  •       Library of Congress Catalog # – obtain this free. It takes about a week or so to get it back via email.
  •       Copyright page – retain copyright of the book – list your name as copyright owner on the copyright page.
  •       Attributions and Credits – where your poems have appeared in print – give publication and dates if possible for every poem
  •       Acknowledgements page – front or back – thank you’s
  •       Dedication – short – usually to one or two people
  •       Blurbs for the Back – quoted lines from other writers and editors or readers to whom you have sent your manuscript to read and give commentary for the back cover
  •       Author page: bio and  photo with photographer caption – saved as a larger tiff and as a jpeg  and name them so you know (two types) – this goes for all photos and images used. 5 or more megapixels camera used(larger files with good resolution are needed – the jpeg files are used for smaller files, web sites, newspaper photos, etc.)  

4. Preparing the text for the manuscript

  •       Fonts – use Times New Roman – or other serif – don’t use a sans serif font

Do not change font styles for titles or anything – don’t bold your lines or use all caps

Some fonts have strange italic styles, or letter configurations. Don’t use different ones.

Stay consistent.

  •        The typesetter and editor will select fonts/depends on the arrangement you have with your publisher. If self-publishing and you want to do your own layout, take Tom Johnson’s class. Learn about fonts and sample them. Some of the fonts don’t print well in a large run and are hard to read.

 5. Use a style manual and study it carefully – Chicago Manual of Style is best

  •       Use Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary -or latest one
  •       Check those darn hyphenated (or not) words! I never realized how tricky these were until putting words in print. Edit carefully. It will cost you a lot of money if you send the typed manuscript to the editor and publisher, and then once it is laid out, you discover many changes you want to make to it.

 6. Check your manuscript in Word.

  •       Note spacing issues, spelling, grammar, capitalization of lines  do go through and check to see if your own format is consistent to the lines in the printed poem. Check contractions–are they needed? Get rid of them if possible. Check line length and evenness — visually and rhythmically. Check for best words. It is never too late to revise your poems. W.B. Yeats did this constantly in various printings.  But I would advise that you do this before the book is printed.
  •       Also, set your tools in Word to catch all your errors, including passive construction, grammar, style, etc. Check all spelling options if the word is in red. This saved me several times, and I’m an English teacher! I knew that the word maize was not spelled maise. But I didn’t pay attention to the cute little red line.Good thing we caught it just in time!
  •       Check punctuation carefully. Do you need the extra commas and periods? Get rid of them if they are not necessary. What about those colons?
  •       Use M-dashes for those long dashes poets love to use – Emily, this one’s for you!

            Sometimes, Word will change those double hyphens for you, sometimes not.

Go to insert symbol—look for the M-dash (the longer one). The shorter one is the N-dash.  Do not use that one. Set cursor to the spot and click the dash. Voila! There is no space on either side of the M-dash. However, there is a space after each ellipsis. . .

  •       What style do you want your numbers to be if you have sections numbered in your poems Roman numerals or other? What other styles do you prefer? Page number location, etc.
  •       Check your titles – are they too long?  Do they give everything away too soon?
  •       Epigraphs: These are those dedications after poem titles, or extra information about the place or time the poem references. Indent with an M-dash and then italicize them. Be consistent.
  •       Line length: Depending on the size of your book, your lines, if too long, will automatically be shifted to the next line and will split, depending on spacing
  •       Do this yourself before the heartache comes. Shorter lines are best. Measure your space. For a 6 x 9 formatted book, leave about a 1 and 1/2 inch margin inside and outside, to be safe. Then see if your printed poem fits inside that frame. If not, you need to think about how to split your lines and reform your stanzas. It may mean rewriting. Think about this as you write your poems to save you heartache later. See what editors do with Walt Whitman’s poems and their very long lines.
  •       Speaking about lines, VERY IMPORTANT:

Most poetry is flush left margin, not centered. Think very carefully as to whether you want to center any of your poetry. Unless it’s a concrete/shaped poem, leave it conventional flush left.

  •       Watch stanza consistency. There may be shifts in your lines once the stanzas are laid out, with lines dropped and moved to the next page. Carefully proof your galleys.

 7. Seasoned poets have formed typing habits that can hinder a typesetter:

  •       eliminate your two spaces after a period – only use one space as the computer program adjusts the spacing after a period automatically – difficult to change typing habits practiced over the years, I know
  •       don’t use the space bar, use tabs, to place words in shaped poems or poems that have creative spacing,  and don’t space over to the end of the line. They show up when a typesetter goes to place your poem.   
  •       single space your poems and double space between stanzas – if a stanza is split at the bottom of the page, then indicate the stanza break or indicate the stanza is continuous if it goes to the next page – best thing is to keep stanzas intact.
  •       turn off your system’s hyphenation if you have prose poetry
  •      don’t justify (don’t full justify – the block symbol in the tool bar) 

8. For more book manuscript information, check this site online:


Contact MWP local layout designer as a reference: Joyce Dedini

For any other advice, contact Manzanita Writers Press. We would be happy to help.


Monika Rose, Editor

Joy Roberts, Business Manager, Editor

Linda Field, Fiction editor, Events Coordinator

Copyright 2011 – Monika Rose

How to Write a Sonnet by example – two poems by Monika Rose


 Here is how Monika Rose converted a free verse poem to a Sonnet form — see the poem titled “Father” below the sonnet titled “Fish”, which was transformed from the free verse form.

                                                Conversion to an English Sonnet     (time: 2 hours)

Start with a situation and a statement of a condition, situation, or event which begins a plot or set of complications or logical argument—there should be a motive behind the speech:


The Fish


My father taught me how to swim to life

He must have seen my sudden fetal crawl

My body slicing membranes like a knife

While gasping, choking, wriggling in the squall


Continue with elements or aspects of that condition or situation and be sure to further the story — there should be a complication or advancement of the narrative:


How I kicked my legs and leaped into his world

Beginning struggle at an early stroke

And like a butterfly in flight unfurled

To wings of infant innocence he spoke


Add the volta (9th line — a turn or some kind of complication or reversal)

Then an explanation or elaboration . . .


Push off the heart he warned when leaving home

And turn like silver lest you lose retreat

Keep moving under water and its foam

So journey take you back where all ends meet


Add a resolution or solution to some aspect of the situation set up:


The backstroke takes you far into the start

The breast stroke brings you back into your heart.


 Finished! Fait accomplit!

 Finished sonnet:


— from River by the Glass, A Collection of Poems by Monika Rose


The Fish


My father taught me how to swim to life

He must have seen my sudden fetal crawl

My body slicing membranes like a knife

While gasping, choking, wriggling in the squall

How I kicked my legs and leaped into his world

Beginning struggle at an early stroke

And like a butterfly in flight unfurled

To wings of infant innocence he spoke


Push off the heart he warned when leaving home

And turn like silver lest you lose retreat

Keep moving under water and its foam

So journey take you back where all ends meet



The backstroke takes you far into the start

The breast stroke brings you back into your heart.

 — from River by the Glass, A Collection of Poems by Monika Rose



 He watched from the outside

As I swam inside

The breast stroke

The butterfly

He watched

As I swam out






This is the crawl he spoke

The fastest stroke

Kick your legs

Pull your arms

Cup your hands


This is the breast stroke

Push out from the heart


This is the butterfly

Unfold your wings


This is the backstroke

Retreat sometimes



 My father the fish

Who taught

Me how to

Stroke ripples

Blow bubbles

Gulp quickly

Push away

And swim back


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


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    

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,



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.