Review: A Must Read for Poetry Lovers and Those Looking for God

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.

Things I Do to Stay Sane: Read Poetry (Lots of It)

     One of the things I’ve been most surprised by, as I enter in to the world of professional poetry and writing in general, is how little beginner writers tend to actually read. Especially poets. A lot of the times when I go to poetry groups, clubs, or readings and I’m talking to people afterwards, it’s hard for me to get an answer to the question: who is your favorite modern poet? 

       I’ve got to admit, I was definitely one of these kinds of poets when I was in high school. I read only the poetry assigned, as I believed that all modern poetry was just a bunch of hokey, beat-style hooey that could never recapture the magic of seventeenth-century poetry while being able to relate to modern sensibilities. I decided that only I, with my passionate sixteen-year-old soul, could write the poetry of my generation. 

     Which was absolutely ridiculous, of course- but I didn’t know that until I actually decided to suck it up and read some modern poetry, dang it. (And of course, by modern, I meant anything written after Shakespeare’s time in my mind). Sure, there was some of that beat poetry that I didn’t like, and the abstract modern poetry that I still don’t like because it’s too pointlessly obtuse. But there were other things too- there was sprung rhymes, spoken word slam, new ways to play with line breaks that read more like a conversation between souls than just a normal conversation. There was poetry from the point of view of refugees, minorities, people with different physical and mental disabilities, from different genders, sexualities and cultures. There was so much beauty to be admired in these new, modern words that I could have never even imagined! 

       To think I had once thought myself alone! Some times, the sheer amount of wonderful modern poetry made me doubt my own abilities. Could I ever become as good as these people? But then, reading more poetry has made me much more capable of recognizing the individuality of the poets- to celebrate the places that they are coming from, the insights that they bring, without feeling that my own talent or career or wellbeing is at stake just because I can see theirs! Even with the small moments of stress professionally, it still is overall much more beneficial for me to be well read in poetry. I love being able to try out new trends (or old forgotten trends) in my own writing, to see what new or old topics are being talked about by other poets, to see where I fit in not just as some individual, unique artist, but as one artist in a sea of talented people creating an ocean of emotion and creativity. It keeps me grounded, it keeps me lifted, and it keeps me going.

     Some of my personal favorites recently include Warsan Shire’s Teaching my Mother to Give Birth, Nayyirah Waheed’s salt., Kathleen Norris’ Little Girls in Church, Joanna Kurowska’s The Wall and Beyond, Lang Leav’s Love and Misadventure, anything by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and SETH’s Black Odyssey, and Simon Ortiz’s from Sand Creek. What are some of your own personal favorite modern poets? 

Pre-Order Alert: Freedom Verse

Freedom Verse: Patriotic Poetry in Celebration of the American Spirit is now available for pre-order for $10! I have two poems included in this anthology- ‘Fort Hood’ and ‘Independence Day’.

A cool initiative by this specific publication is the commitment to get the anthology in the hands of the vets and active duty soldiers that the anthology honors, commemorates, and supports. You can either donate to the cause, or select an option in which you buy one copy for yourself, and one for vets. You can even include a ‘thank you’ to a vet or active duty soldier in your donation!


Here’s a little blurb about the anthology:

 50 Poets put work into this anthology focusing on true patriotism in remembering the founding values of a nation.

The poetry in this volume is not blindly patriotic, but instead focuses on America not the country, but the philosophy. The idea that freedom is something worth fighting for, both abroad and domestically, and that an “American” is not simply someone born on American soil, but an individual who stands up for their own rights and the rights of others.

Nothing ever moved forward to bigger and better things by focusing on the negative. It is by looking at the positive, believing in the great things that have been and can be accomplished and looking forward to how we will all shape a bigger and brighter future that we honor the vision that the founding fathers put forth when they gave the world the opportunity to experience the pursuit of happiness. Freedom Verse hopes that its poetry will inspire and empower its readers so that they might know that great things are still being done.
Can’t wait to get my copy!

Video Reading: Lord of the Dance

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’.

Acquisition Notice: Patriotic Poems

Just received word that my poems, ‘Fort Hood’ and ‘Independence Day’ are being included in “Freedom Verse: Patriotic Poetry in Celebration of the American Spirit”, an anthology out of Local Gems Press! Whoo hoo!  I’ll let you all know when that comes out (just got editing notes back for my acceptance into DOXA, that should be coming out soon!)

100 (Blog) Followers!

Whoo hoo! I’ve now reached 100 blog followers (and well over two hundred posts!). It might not seem like much, but it’s a far cry from the several dozen I had this time last year! I really am grateful for each and every supporter that I have, no matter if its in the form of getting my poetry collection or simply tuning in to read what I’ve posted online for the day. It keeps me going on the days when I feel like I’m not doing anything important or relevant with my writing, and helps me strive to continue making more of a difference with my work!

To that end, I will confess that I have not written much new poetry in the past couple of weeks. My new nanny job prevents me from attending my university’s weekly poetry meeting, which used to keep me well on top of things with its new and exciting prompts. Additionally, most of my creative free time has been taken by either a) editing my undergraduate thesis or b) continuing with more of my fiction projects. Even in my lag time, however, I keep writing- I’ve posted two or three recently in the feedback forum that I edit them in- so don’t think I’ve given up! Everyone goes through their periods of lag- heck, my down time in writing fiction lasted from middle school to now! I won’t ever be able to give up poetry, but I won’t always be on fire for it either. Hopefully soon, though, I’ll catch a little blaze!

Acquisition Notice: devozine

The devotional magazine for teens, devozine, has acquired a second poem of mine. This one, titled ‘Are You Listening?’ will be published in the MA 2014 issue, under the Art of Listening theme. I’m so honored to be able to be a part of this ministry again!

Four Star Review for ‘Drunk Dialing the Divine’

A short, yet positive review from Cecilia Lester, a participant in last month’s Book Blog Tour, titled ‘Avant Garde Poetry from a Young Poet’:


Amber Koneval has written a collection of avant garde poetry. The poems are in the free-verse style. Her style is unique to me. She goes deep with her  thoughts with each of her poems speaking of God as she sees Him. Her choice of title speaks of the times a person will call out to God and not know why he or she does it. On the back cover, she writes: “Drunk Dialing the Divine is an attempt to capture a glimmer of the emotional struggle of the deeply faithful. Though each poem begins in a negative space, they resist both the angry and the naively optimistic ending—instead finding a ray of hope in the maxim ‘Things are because God is.’”

Thank you for the feedback, Cecilia!


Speaking of feedback, today I also received an e-mail from Janet Kalmadge, one of the winners of the June Book Blog Tour giveaway. She has told me that “it really is wonderful” and that my “writing is captivating”; due to her Catholic upbringing, it also “touches a chord”. Thank you for the encouragement, Janet! It means a lot to someone as new to the industry as me to see people who appreciate the collection, and it gives me a real sense that I am truly on the path I am meant to be on!

If you ever feel like dropping me a line to tell me personally what you think of my poetry, whether you want to enthuse or critique it, feel free to e-mail me here. I’m never too busy to talk about poetry!

Guess What?

I’m havin’ a giveaway! As part of the book blog tour for this month, I’m giving away five signed copies of ‘Drunk Dialing the Divine’- all you have to do is like my Facebook page, tweet about the giveaway on Twitter or follow this blog!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.