Artwork by Lola Gentry-Dey. All rights reserved.
It feels good to blog again about my poems and art. Although I have been blogging since 1996, I feel like a stranger blogging again and reaching out and meeting new bloggers here at WordPress.
I pen mostly free verse poetry—poems written in open forms sometimes called “Naked Poetry,” a term coined from the anthology books Naked Poetry: Recent American Poetry in Open Forms (1969) and The New Naked Poetry (1976) by Stephen Berg and Robert Mezey. My maternal grandmother had them and other books about poetry in her library. Robert Frost was my favorite poet when I was old enough to read, but I soon favored the “naked poets” and their open form styles and began creating my own free form poems at nine years old. I won a few awards when I was a teenager and at college, but winning accolades and gaining fame was never my motivation for writing poetry. And honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever been motivated by anything more than a calling to write down the words that fill my mind day and night and to structure them into forms that please my sight, tongue and hearing.
I write fiction, too, but not often. Storytelling involves rules of structure that restrict me from developing anything comparable to the sight and sound of open poetry. In that sense, I’m probably more of an artist than a writer. And I do enjoy making art, whether I’m drawing or painting.
Like every kid growing up in North America during the 1980s, music surrounded me, whether it was on the radio, TV, or thumping from my dad’s stereo with speakers as large as our refrigerator. My dad taught me how to play guitar, so I turned some of my poems into songs. That’s when I created my nom de plume Colleen Ackerman from my middle name and my mom’s maiden name. I liked it better than my real name. I went through a phase when I despised the name Lola because of (1) the song Lola by The Kinks, and (2) the song Copacabana by Barry Manilow. The Kinks’ song is about a man falling for a transvestite named Lola. The Manilow song is about a showgirl named Lola with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there. She danced at the Copacabana north of Havana where she and Tony the bartender were lovers until some guy named Rico came along, killed Tony and sent Lola on a 30-year downward spiral into depression and alcoholism. People still make comparisons of those songs and me. If I had a nickel for all those times someone asked me “Are you a dude?” and then laughed, I’d be a millionaire. And I’m still a little irked at my cousins who set me up on two blind dates on the same night when I was 16. The one date’s name was Tony. The other date was a boy named Rico (if that was his real name—I have my doubts). Anyway, when two boys show up at your house at the same time to take you to the local dance, it’s painfully awkward and embarrassing and not very funny.
I began blogging my poems and art when I was a girl in California so I could stay connected with my relatives and friends around the country. (Anyone from the old Geocities’ Paris neighborhood? If so, Lola Fae/Colleen Ackerman says hi.) I met many people in many guises whom I termed the friendliest ones as “blog pals” and spent countless hours reading their writing and looking at their art and photography. That’s when I fell in love with the Internet. And that’s why I’m here twenty-one years later—I’m still in love with it!
As I mentioned, it feels good to publish my poems and art again. I hope to do so for a long time.
Love and peace to all.