Sunday, September 27, 2009

Guest Blogger: Poet Franklin Abbott

Please welcome my dear friend Franklin Abbott as guest blogger today! Franklin and I were members of the same writing group, The Ninth Muse, for many years. Franklin is a poet who has several books of poetry in print. Franklin has a wonderful habit of writing poems on the spur of the moment and then emailing those to all his friends. Several years ago, I started a file in my email just to save all of his work. I often go back and re-read his poems.

Franklin's latest book of poetry is PINK ZINNIA, available now at, through Amazon and Barnes and Noble and through special order from your favorite independent bookstore. Franklin will be giving readings at three of them this fall, as well as at Outwrite in Atlanta on October 6th, DogEar Books in Madison, GA on November 14th and Charis in Atlanta on his birthday, December 8. Soon to be operational: .
Leave a comment below and Franklin will have a drawing at the end of the week. One lucky person who leaves a comment will receive a FREE copy of PINK ZINNIA!
Q: Welcome Franklin! Please tell us about your new book, Pink Zinnia.
A: This is my first book in a decade. I started writing in earnest again after joining our writing group, The Ninth Muse. Thanks to you and the current muses for giving me encouragement, inspiration and a forum to begin again after a long dry spell. The book is a collection of different kinds of writing: meditations, stories, word portraits, lamentations, humor (lots of humor), politics and dreamscapes.

Q: You have been writing poetry for a long time, and I'm often amazed at how your poems resonate with something that is going on in my own life. Talk some about your poetry-writing process and where you get your inspiration.
A: I am inspired by all kinds of things, nature, relationship, the big events of life from falling in love to dying, travel, the news, the need to connect. I rarely write unless a stroke of inspiration falls me. I can write purposefully if moved by an event like my grandmother's funeral or to eulogize a friend. Only one poem, "Miss Monroe," was written at the request of a publisher. Often the poems come out 95% the way they end up. I just sit down and write like I breathe, it is that essential. It is also relational. Being a psychotherapist for thirty years has tuned me into the people I know in profound ways I often don't understand. I write about my psychic friend, Kay Harrison in one of the stories. I once asked her how she knew what she knew and she said,"It's easier than you think." I am often tuned in to others in ways I am not fully conscious of and don't quite understand. Its like having an extra band on the radio, AM, FM and PM (p for psychic and my psychic doesn't give readings but writes poems).

Q: Pink Zinnia was inspired by your grandmother. What was she like? Was she also a poet?
A: My father's mother who I called Nana lived to be 101 and was independent until she was 98. So I had the great good fortune to know her into my 50's. She was a simple woman with little more than an elementary school education. She wrote very little but was a poet in the kitchen and in the garden. She loved to cook, grow things to eat and grow and arrange flowers. Pink was her favorite color and she grew more zinnias than any other flower. I am currently working on a film about my grandmother that should be on YouTube soon, called, of course, Pink Zinnia.

Q: What is the hardest part about being a poet? What's the best part?
A: It is the same thing. Poetry is no way to make money and therefore poets are free to write as they please, as little or as much, as good or as bad, as often or as seldom. To be sure, some are driven but the riches they seek are usually teaching positions or tenure, maybe a prize but no one makes much money except maybe Rumi who died 500 years ago and is en vogue in translation.

Q: Can you share a favorite stanza or entire poem from this latest collection?

A: This one is a favorite of my nephew John Abbott:
It is about a "good death."

like a lump of sugar
in a cup of milk
when my time is nigh
may I dissolve
into the mother light
that gave me birth
(where I belong
in the Milky Way)
when I see the light
may I not blink
in the face of love
but let myself go
all of me
every particle
into that
abiding wave

Thank you for being with us today, Franklin, and good luck with PINK ZINNIA


  1. Ah, Franklin, when I read your poems I experience truth I knew but didn't know I knew and that become apparent in ways that take my breath away. Knowing you is a joy.