Archive for December, 2014

December 29, 2014

Webinar on

Historias: Stories of Survival

December 3, 2014

Rachael Ikins’ new poetry collection:

Not so many years ago, my mother saw an ad for art lessons in our 
local newspaper. Perplexed as to what unique gift to find for me for 
Christmas, she called me to ask would I be interested in art classes.

I had been creating pen and ink art trading cards for several years, coming out of decades of belief I could not draw. I said, ” Yes.”
When classes began, the teacher who had survived the loss of her husband to cancer when she was only a young mom with 2 toddlers, one day made a comment that has stuck with me: ” It is not enough to survive. You must thrive.”
Life is, without doubt, about loss. These poems and stories in this collection talk about loss of all kinds. They share with us how important it is to make good choices after the loss and how to put one foot in front of the other when your heart is broken.
I am thankful for the many teachers who influenced me in the creation of this book principal among them poet Patricia Smith and fiction and memoirist 
Ethel Rohan, both of whom I met in the castle in Lismore, Ireland a year ago. Both Ethel and Patricia offered a unique direction to travel. “Find the thing in your mind that is a wall over which you would never climb, the thing you would never write about…now write it.” 
At the end of a weeklong workshop with them, I read ” 40 Years Later, the Slumber Party” from this collection to the assembled audience of Pultizer prize winning authors of all genres, publishers, agents and students and Irish staff from the castle. I never would have had the courage to read it if not for Ethel and Patricia.
This summer past reknowned poet and novelist, Marge Piercy advised me to slow down, revise, and to submit, submit. She gave me the courage to pull out of storage poetry I never would’ve dared read aloud anywhere let alone at
Wellfleet Public Library to a packed house. The result of all my summer revisions and submissions has astonished me.
Most recently I had the honor of introducing my 8th grade English teacher, 
Elizabeth Patton, a fine poet in her own right at a reading. The spring of my 14 th year, she read the poem I was reworking over my shoulder one day and said, ” You are a poet.” 
They say ” Those who can do and those who can’t teach.” Couldn’t be more ignorant or wrong. Those who can, teach, pay it forward, and they do and do and do. They stand up and celebrate their students. If they are all lucky, student and teacher go on to become friends. 
I must also give a nod to my 4th year college Spanish professor who was a native of Argentina. I wrote poetry in every language I spoke or studied and so it was only logical to bring him my Spanish poetry. His support and joy resulted in the pieces I chose for this book. A young woman reader from Colombia wrote me in recent years when several were published: ” I feel like you know MY life.”
I can’t think of a better thing for a poet to hear.
So, I invite you to travel the paths within these pages, and to watch how the people in the stories face their losses and what happens next. Climb the wall you would never dare and find out what is on the other side. Thrive.

From Finishing Line Press

December 3, 2014


In praise of Rachael Ikins’ Historias:

The poems in this new collection by Rachael Ikins, a few in Spanish, most in English, sing out of survival and perseverance. From A Fairytale to Historia to Survivor, and more, the poems are vivid and true with “la profundidad de una nube.” Her voice will stay with you, like a “mermaid’s song” with the call to “vivir: sentir y palpitar” life to the fullest.

–Treanor Baring, Poetry Editor, National League of American Pen Women, & The Pen Woman Magazine.


Rachael Ikins’ poems are about the small and the large moments in our lives, the nuance, the crises and the sorrows. Her voice is a deluge of playfulness, naughtiness, heartbreak, and triumph. Ikins unravels her most private thoughts and reveals the wide physical and emotional geography the poet has traversed
—Dorothy Alexander, poet, storyteller and country lawyer. She and her wife, Devey Napier, own Village Books Press of Cheyenne, Oklahoma..


Histories: Stories of Survival introduces the reader to lyrical poems in which aging, the sense of our own mortality, and the fraility of the mind and body threaten to overwhelm the speaker. These paeans to life—always freighted with emotion and moving in their pathos and insight into the human–are also lovely constructions whose rhyme and verse form symbolically mirror the human need for inner support in dealing with these issues. Ikins’s love of the sea and animals, especially cats, provides ballast for her journey here. And the last poem, in which she and a young girl in her building share secrets—just “two girls”—is beautifully characteristic of the grace that comes in small moments throughout this collection.

—Jane Chance
Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, Rice University