Here’s a new four-star review of Drunk Dialing the Divine from Shane on Goodreads:
A rather beguiling find, a book I sculpted and stained into a peculiar shape and grotty hue , by carrying everywhere. The poems are an interesting exploration of youthful ,wounded humaness and religious certainty/ uncertainity -which becomes fresh when filtered through the eyes of someone wilfully distinctive in her abrasive dialoguing and defense of seemly fading traditions, and thought patterns, all mingled with unresolved deep human aches.
I’m honored by your reflection, Shane. Thank you for carrying my words with you everywhere- it means a lot.
Want to read what he’s talking about? Catch your copy of Drunk Dialing the Divine today!
A five-star Goodreads review from Raelee Carpenter, Christian author of Kings and Shepherds and The Lincoln High Project, states:
I can’t pretend to know much about or have extensive experience with poetry, but this volume was beautiful to me, gritty and profound, drawing tears from my eyes.
Thank you, Ms. Carpenter! I really appreciate knowing when I have been able to impact my readers, and am grateful that you took the time to review my first collection of poetry.
If you haven’t read Drunk Dialing the Divine yet, now is the time! Order now from Amazon or straight from the publisher. (If you order a paperback copy from the publisher, you automatically get a free eBook copy as well!). I would love to see what you think about it- don’t forget to review on Amazon, or Goodreads.
After thinking through some things, I have decided that I will now be posting on a bi-weekly basis, so every other Sunday. Pray that I will be able to keep up with this schedule.
So to start this off, have a fresh new poem written by yours truly. This was written way back in December 2014, on the Feast of Holy Innocents, which happened to also share a Sunday with the Feast of the Holy Family. This poem is a reflection of that juxtaposition of the suffering of innocent children with the impending suffering of the Holy Infant, as I was captivated by a young child in the pews in front of me at Mass.
I haven’t posted personal work in awhile and I figured I probably should, seeing as this is a poetry blog. Recently I’ve been running into a qualm with the idea of ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’, namely people believing that the sentiment holding true having some kind of say in whether or not love is true. I wrote a newer poem about the idea, and then realized that I had already written a poem about my feelings on the sentiment back in high school. So to parallel the two different points of my life, I have decided today to post the two poems one right after the other.
This first one was written when I was eighteen, so back in 2010:
And this one was written this week, at the age of twenty-two in 2014:
What are your ideas on this well-used idiom?
Edit: I had to re-do the poems in graphic form as the post editor isn’t letting me put the correct line-breaks in the poems.
Recently on Goodreads, a fan named Shane reached out to me via messaging to discuss Drunk Dialing the Divine. These kinds of things usually make me super anxious (did they like it? did they not like it? will I be able to answer the reader’s questions? will I be able to handle the reader’s questions?), but Shane gave me a gift in sending his own analysis of the title poem, ‘Drunk Dialing the Divine’, which had led him to order the collection. I have gotten his permission to share his analysis here, which he apologizes for being “impulsive and impassioned…soul bypassing head…[with a] heartfelt scruffy photoflash quality to it”.
“Drunk Dialing the Divine” from the excerpt online…. the title reminded me a St John of the Cross line about God being a hidden wine cellar in the heart. Or in this case the tragic consequences of heart and/or world intoxicated by every thing else apart from God… the phone call echoes the alienation and dislocation of modern relationships with each other and God. The narrator (Mediator????) is interesting because she voices a Pauline concept that when we come face to face with the supreme holiness of God it will be “terrifying”. The sheer righteousness and ultimate goodness of God demands that even angels must avert their eyes and I could witter on about cheap grace and the cost of refusing grace for pages and the blasphemy of this world.
I like the ‘lasso’ line- its bold and dramatic, suggesting Christ’s suffering but is also about control,(you lasso animals) Man tries to domesticate God… but here is the thing, the last line “staving off prayer” also points to the fact the narrator/”mediator” is out of step with God. He/she’s ( I’m assuming its a woman) vision of God seems smug, shrill and narrow, he/she has domesticated God. I scribbled down- can you Drunk Dial God? I mean how many sinners have in a moment of despair screamed out to God and found in the morning they didn’t have to apologize to God. That’s the radical vision of redemption right? Jesus is the “mediator” between God and man he came for sick not the well. The narrator seems dulled to the possibility of mercy in some subtle way . The poem had me thinking of the Pharisees concept of God and the publicans God “forgive me I’m a sinner”.
As we never know what the drunk is saying in the poem we can’t work out if he is at rock bottom and truly contrite( what has he done? what is there relationship??) or as implicit just a another repeat offender. The poem is wrestling with the difference between piety and love, mercy and justice. Oh I really, really liked the change in gear or flow just after ‘lasso’-‘rope’. It had the effect of looping the poem back on its self like a lasso . There was also some nice lyrical flashes contrasted with pungent spikiness.
I really enjoy when people respond to my work like this. Shane touched on a lot of nuances that I intentionally put into the poem as I was writing it, as well as pointing out possibilities in interpretation that I hadn’t even thought of yet- but can accept as being a completely valid, and strangely refreshing, reading.
I am extremely grateful for this first in-depth analysis of my own work, and look forward to more in the years to come! Have you read one of my works and wanted to tell me how it made you feel (whether for good or ill?) Always feel free to either comment or contact me via e-mail. I love having these kinds of discussions with my readers!
A five star review today from reader Janet Kalmadge- personal reviews like hers just absolutely brighten my day!
I started following Amber on a poetry site. Then I found her blog. She is so open about her life and writing projects. This book is an extension of that openness. Of what she is seeking and questioning. When it comes to God and religion, that is not always easy to do. Her poetry is beautiful, often raw. This book is filled with deep meaning, pondering and answers. I shall always treasure this book.
Thank you, Janet, for the kind words! I hope I’ll only be able to get better as I continue to write, and keep being able to give more of myself to my readers. I treasure your support.
Posted in Drunk Dialing the Divine
- Tagged amber koneval, catholic poetry, christian poetry, colorado poet, denver poet, drunk dialing the divine, eLectio publishing, female poet, modern poet, modern poetry, reviews, young poet
As a victim of teen dating violence, the message of the No More movement hits very close to my heart. This is an issue that has always been at the forefront of my activism, to the point that my first novel under my fiction alias is entirely about relationship abuse, and 10% of my own royalties are donated to battered women’s shelters locally in Colorado.
While I don’t have a ton of money to add to the campaign, I would love to add my support to #NoMoreWeek through what I do best: writing. In honor of this week, here are two poems I wrote recently regarding my own road to recovery. We must remember in discussions of domestic violence and sexual assault not to forget about dating violence, including teen dating violence, as well as date rape.
If these in any way move you to action, please consider donating to No More, or to your own local battered women’s shelters. Get informed. Don’t make excuses. Stand up for the victims in your own lives. No more.
Posted in In a Voice of Amber
- Tagged amber koneval, artist for women, artists against violence, colorado poet, dating violence awareness, denver poet, domestic violence, domestic violence awareness, domestic violence poetry, female poet, no more, no more week, teen dating violence
Fulfilling a request from Janet Kalmadge, here is a video reading of my poem ‘Lord of the Dance’, which was originally published in the March-April issue of devozine, the devotional magazine for teens. I know I was asked for a raw poem, but after mass this morning I have been filled with an overwhelming sense of joy that cannot be contained, and my current mood better fits this poem. I’ll be posting a new ‘Things that Keep Me Sane’ about my experience today, which will hopefully explain some things. In the meantime, enjoy a video reading of ‘Lord of the Dance’.
Posted in In a Voice of Amber
- Tagged amber koneval, catholic poetry, christian poetry, colorado poetry, dance poetry, devotional poetry, joyful poetry, lord of the dance, modern poetry, religious poetry, video readings
Following through on my promise of filling requests, here is a new, original, unpublished poem about my life for Amanda Miguelgorry:
The Windows of the Store I Used to Work At
the mannequins are different now
dressed in clothes my baby sister wears
I remember dressing them
starching the hairs on my arm
pricking with pins the cute boy with the wire rim glasses and
to get him to notice me.
He doesn’t work there anymore, either
new faces with glazed smiles
walk where we walked
and we don’t step inside. The clothes I used to
fold after school
are too expensive now.
and my boy’s hips are loud.
He notices me, with strong, clear eyes.
but in the windows of the store
I used to work at
are pockets of time that he can never have.
Nostalgia in a capsule.
we move on.
Coming up next will be a video reading of my newest faith poem, to be published this month in two journals, ‘Salve Regina’.
I haven’t posted my own poems in awhile, and I figured it might be nice to repost some of my older works so that you all can enjoy them. So following my most recent ‘Why Do I Write’ post, have a poem written during my summer mission trip to Kakamega, Kenya, originally published in the More Informed in October of 2010.
Repairing Koko Tutu’s Hut
soot shakes down on my face
like soft, dry rain
covering my sunburnt cheeks
until I am black as them
pulling down the ruined thatch
to replace her roof with fresh green
as she replaces our meager work
with fresh, sweet bananas
from her own tree
and her neighbor’s as well
the children shout with cleverness and joy
you have made me long so achingly