The PK Featured Poet 11 – Carol Sircoulomb

"I started writing so my grandchildren and their children would know me, and my parents, and my grand-parents." - Carol Sircoulomb

As this feature presenting the work of Carol was being prepared, it was announced that she was the winner of the Poetry Super Highway Favourite Featured Poet for 2001. This is an award voted for by the thousands of people who use the Poetry Super Highway site on a regular basis. To those of us who know her work and have watched it develop as she worked with various forms over the years it came as no surprise, but it is nice to see a talented and inspirational poet get the recognition she deserves. (Jim Bennett)

Featured Poet 11 – Carol Sircoulomb


My name is Carol Reed Sircoulomb, and I am a Professional Photographer. I always said I belonged to someone else, first a daughter, then a sister, girlfriend, wife, mother, and now a grandmother.  I was born into a middle class family in Oklahoma, a place I always felt was wilder than other places.  As a child I lived in Texas ,Oklahoma and Indiana.My parents still live in Indiana. I have been married almost 30 years.As an adult we have lived in Oklahoma, Germany ,Maryland ,Virginia.,we did not mean to end up in Kansas but we did . I have 2 adult daughters, and a son 13, a granddaughter, a step grandson and a new grandchild on the way

How/when did you start writing?

 All of my creative endeavors, except photography, began in earnest about 6 years ago.  I have told people that I had my mid life crisis with a mental breakdown and then started writing, sculpting, throwing pottery, and gardening .
In reality it was not a breakdown but an undiagnosed pituitary brain tumor.  I began to think in a different way, my mood was sometimes high and sometimes low.One of my sisters told me that I could not do everything I wanted to do in life and be good at it.I have tried to prove her wrong. I started showing my writing to  close friends and one told me to get out of the closet and submit something to a publisher.  Instead I joined a couple of Internet lists.  I really enjoyed one list and was learning poetry history and different styles.The list manager took it private, you could only participate if you had beenpublished and send him a list of published works.  I had none, and I was summarily declined entry on the list.This turned out to be the best thing to happen to my writing.  I submitted to an American E-zine and was accepted.

Was there anything that particularly influenced you?

One of my greatest influences was reading the work of Jane Kenyon.  I discovered she was dead after I had read two of her books and I was devastated.  I knew then so many words, important words, were lost. I also have been impressed with the poet Phillip Levine. I do not beleive I ever was taught poetry in school. I just found it on my own. I like to write short form poetry, so I started studying Asian forms.  My favorite book on Asian form is The Ink Dark Moon.  I also like to put poetry and photography together and I have had several local public showings. One even sparked some local controversy.

How do you write? Do you have any particular method for writing - time of day?

I write in the car, in the store, in my bed just about anytime anywhere. At least one year was spent with my brain constantly thinking of words,
beginning lines, etc.  I was obsessed!  I hate losing thoughts when I do not have time to write them down, especially haiku moments.

 Why do you write poetry?   
Why do I write? I do not know....because the words are there looming in my head. Just like when I sculpt I start and it creates itself. Oh I know this sounds crazy and illusive. I talked to a lot of artists, with a friend, grassroots artists. I asked all why they created, trying to figure out why I do, what I do. They all just thought of it without thinking, I am going to create something today. My words just happen. Last night in my yoga class I kept thinking about the blue sky ,my mind was supposed to be on nothing.

 Is there anything else you would like to add?

I started writing so my grandchildren and their children would know me, and my parents, and my grand parents.  I often write dark things that have nothing to do with my real life. The words just arrive and I write them down.  Sometimes I will cry the whole time.



Yoga class
Breath in breathe out
to the count of five
relax your feet
your calves
your groin
I laugh to myself
what a word groin
clear your mind
of the past and the future
I breath in and out relax
think of the water
pounding on the round rocks
of lake superior
the sky line infinite blue
my husbands eyes
he kisses me
lips so soft and moist
deep breathes
in and out to five
stretch from the tip of your fingers
to the tip of your toes


A child of violence
She was locked
up in the closet
at the age of eight
by her mother the awful woman
She was locked
up in her bedroom
frequently with him
his machette at her throat
as he invaded her small body
She danced and smiled
danced some more
in small confines
the awful woman watching
She kicked the door in
screaming her rage
at her mother
the awful woman
She was dragged by her hair
in the vortex of the tornado
twisted arms
head banged till she bled
by the awful woman
She dances now
in the fetal position
of the closet
the awful woman smiling


I led a very sheltered life. I did not know true meaness. I know now from several encounters with abused kids. I wrote this poem on an old door with a hand on the knob, a ceramic hand (pale white with black cracks) and ballet slippers. It nearly got me thrown from the library plus a photo of KKK graffitti I wanted people to know racism is here even if we do not want to know.

falcon cry
on the cumulus

This was published in Echoes and Voices, Haiku Society of America Members Anthology 2001

 Published in the best of miniwords 2001 Anthology - Charnwood Arts Competion. Although it did not place in the competition it was selected for the publication.

spring on the range
burnt black grasses
waiting for green


A poem I wrote before I knew of the Lady Tanka writers of Japan this one is very similar to several written in the eleventh century

Orange and blue,
Dancing around the wind
Licking the frost in the air
Keeping my body warm
Soon I will be this.


 I walked outside one summer evening and I heard the rythem of the heart

evening heat
cicadas sing
to my heart beat

Winner of Charnwood Arts Miniwords competition 2000

The bucolic meadow
purples yellows greens
bruises from you


Sijo - a Korean Form

My mouth loved to bite your neck and taste your masculine sweat
We would giggle in our passion, rolling and touching in ecstasy.
Now we stare at our computer screens never wanting to touch.


The large mountain rock, teetering above the winding road.
Roots twisted like human legs, holding the rough rock to the mountain.
Our bodies intertwined, earthy passion unrestrained.


I walk over the wooden bridge, a big space between each board.
A fog from the stream rises, water races over rocks with a roar.
Our steps quicken to a run, as my heart leaps towards you.


Published on the internet E Zine  Prairie Poetry November 1999

Car Phone

"You got one of them car phones do ya?"
"Take the rock road not the dirt one,
 why didn't ya turn at the sign"
   we laughed in the truck
   this was our third call
   five story buffalo loomed on the hill in front of us
   two miles away

  We were women from the city
  looking for the meaning of life
  and art
  laughing until we cried

 We had found it
 wrong turns blue sky
 prairie grasses
 concrete buffaloes
 and a car phone.