Welcome to “Good Universe Next Door” — a blog that features poetry prompts, book reviews and musings about the creative life, which I thankfully find impossible to separate from regular life. I’ve been blogging since the mid-2000’s, cutting my teeth as a poet and literary citizen at a time that preceded social media. Back then, poets and writers connected via comments on blogs and collaborated on generative projects that were also blog-based. As detailed below, my blogging journey has had a few twists and turns, but at its core is my full heart — what I love about the writer’s life and where I struggle creatively and personally. At every juncture, publishing on a blog has gone hand-in-hand with my understanding of and connection to my work and the work of other writers.
about carolee bennett
Carolee Bennett is a painter, collage artist and poet living in Upstate New York. She has roots in northern Maine, where she was born and raised in a paper mill town along the Penobscot; in West Virginia, the college “home among the hills” where she received an undergraduate degree in journalism; and Portland, Oregon, where she learned to cultivate a stronger sense of herself.
Her poetry is published locally and nationally, has won Best of the Net distinction from Sundress Publications (2018) and is part of The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection & Joy anthology. She earned an MFA in creative writing (poetry) from Ashland University and was the “almost” poet laureate of Smitty’s Tavern in Voorheesville, New York, placing as first runner-up in the inaugural contest.
She works full-time as a writer in social media marketing.
there’s a hell / of a good universe next door, let’s go — e.e. cummings
“good universe next door” is from the last line of e.e. cummings‘ poem xiv (pity this busy monster, manunkind). I’ve co-opted it for the title of my blog not only because I love the line break after “there’s a hell” but also because a good (new) universe represents where I stand. And not by accident.
This universe (blog) (life) is next door to the old one. (If you read the entire poem xiv, you’ll understand it’s an inhospitable place due to man’s misappropriations.) Cummings ends the poem by saying, “let’s go.” And I did. I took the leap. I jumped. I fell. Or, I landed. In this spot. A brand new life. Carolee 2.0. And it’s beautiful here. Yes: I still struggle with many things. But it is good, good, good.
cumming’s intent with the poem — which seems to me to question the idea of society/progress (capitalism?) — also resonates with me. we’re busting our asses to get where, exactly?
In 2012, after a 2-month absence from the blog that had been my “home” for three years and nearly 500 posts, I admitted defeat with it and created this space. The previous blog had been a productive creative outlet for me most of the time, but it was too closely associated with my married name, and I moved on. The focus of *this* space is similar to the old one — poetry, place, the creative life, relationships. Previous blogs/websites (a.k.a. a long trail of restlessness) include: caroleesherwood | a fine kettle of fish | big tent poetry | i am maureen | read write poem.
ABOUT THE PHOTOS
All photos used in my posts are mine, unless otherwise noted/credited. The one above is a photo of the dragon my youngest son made out of clay when he was tiny. It guards the wine.
ABOUT THE COMMENTS
I moderate comments. It’s just the way it has to be.