Trembling Toward the Sun by Scott Thomas Outlar

My poem “Trembling Toward the Sun” from the Essential Existentialism anthology available through CTU Publishing…

Creative Talents Unleashed

How much distance and difference is there

between a mountain and a molehill?

And how far are you determined to climb

to insure your problems amount to blessings in the end?

How tenacious is your will to peace?

How deep is your reservoir of faith?

When you weep with me

do so not out of sorrow

but exultation

and know that even in our suffering

there shines a light of salvation.

How many skeletons are there living in your closet

that rattle bones when you can’t sleep at night?

And how tired are the dragons that guard the secrets

hiding in the shadows that haunt your soul?

How dedicated is your tongue to truth?

How strong is your resolve in the fire?

When you dance with me

do so not in half steps

but full measure

and know that every movement

guides us closer to the stars.

How many millstones…

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Songs of Selah: Featuring Catfish McDaris

Songs of Selah
July 1, 2019
9-11 PM EST

Catfish McDaris joins the program tonight to talk about his work, and phone lines will be open in the second hour for anyone who’d like to call in with questions or to read a few poems of their own. Hope to hear from you.

Tune in live at the link below, or listen to the archived version later at this same spot…

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/17numaradio/2019/07/02/songs-of-selah-with-scott-thomas-outlar

Showcase Spotlight #14: Dime Maziba

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Scott Thomas Outlar: Thank you for joining me here at 17Numa for this interview, Dime. Can you start off by talking about the area where you reside in South Africa? What is the poetry and art scene like there? 

Dime Maziba: Thank you for having me.Well.., it’s split down the middle as most things are. You get black poetry and white poetry. The poets you are taught about in school all wrote about depression, history, the wildlife and flowers. Black poetry deals with themes such as slavery, communism, socio-economic questions and colonialism as well. The scene itself – from what I know – is very self-inclusive. It’s a scene that revolves around itself. Publishers shy away from it so it makes it hard to make a living from it. Be that as it may; South African’s scenery is an amazing one to own. There’s never a limit to the number of themes or concepts available for your imagination to tinker with. I also feel We should therefore be founders of literature that is very communicative as it is the only way reliable we can engage our audience without having to write what’s foreign and too metaphoric and fabled as not to make sense with them. It is time we understand writing is a way to engage our leaders and address them effectively and thoroughly without having to go to politburo or parliament. 

STO: What initially attracted you to poetry, and when did you take up the craft in a serious manner?

DM: As far as I’m concerned, Poetry has been very therapeutic to me. It has helped me to deal with anger, frustration, heartbreak, headache, hopelessness, isolation, depression, and more. Actually, it has helped me be human. It’s hard to talk about my beginning without sounding pretentious but my work is inspired by injustice. If I see or hear something that affects me or anyone else, I have to put pen to paper. I’m from Democratic Republic of Congo; a country which is experiencing one of the biggest genocides in the history of mankind with more than 10 million people killed and women raped over the 20 past years. And this war is supported financially by western powers in order to loot mineral resources and facture all the gadgets people are using. So I think it’s a heavy untold story which I can’t carry alone. I had to express it through poetry.

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STO: Your new book, Flames of Revolution, was published earlier in 2019. What are the major themes that the collection addresses?

DM: Flames of Revolution is a compilation that covers poems from a wide range of themes as it is addressing such topics as politics, colonialism, nature, war and xenophobia, religion and racism, the war in the Democratic Republic Congo, the imperialism of white supremacy. Each piece stands alone coming alive with deep emotions portrayed in a poetical manner that it’s easy to relate to. This book is also for anyone who loves deeply, has bad days, and searches for happiness in the world around him. It’s also for those who have been hurt and have scars to prove they are still alive. Poems range from romance to issues such as stigma, women abuse and marginalization in the African society.

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STO: Have you noticed any changes or evolutions in your style of writing that have developed through the years as you have progressed in your personal life?

DM: My influences have changed over the years. I used to love reading the great philosophers of the Lumières movement such as Voltaire, Kant, Montesquieu, Gobineau… until I discovered they were actually white supremacists, especially when I read their racist statements about the Black people and Jews. Now my writing style is influenced by names like Aimé Cesaire, Leon Gautran Damas, Cheick Anta Diop, Tchikaya Utam’si, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka and all the Harlem renaissance writers. I think I’m more attracted by revolutionary writers and artists. Those who refused to sell their dignity for some recognition. In that perspective, I can spend all day reading contemporary writers like Mutabaruka, Eugene Skeef, Blaise Ndala, Matamba Lukasu, Alain Tito Mabiala, Musa Masombuka, and Luvuyo Plum.

STO: What is your general process when writing? Is there a certain time or setting you prefer? Any specific routines you adhere to?

DM:  I don’t always know, particularly at the time. I just feel an intense and passionate interest in something or someone, and a desire to build a poem or write something down. But usually in order to push my work I prefer writing during the night as I have a lovely little study-snug, more like, where most of my books are in shelves lining the walls and I have a desk and an ergonomic chair, a filing cabinet. I also love to write in coffee shops. I find the soft music and the aroma of good coffee particularly conducive. Having said that, though, I can write anywhere and often do – at the tram-stop, on the bus, in a queue. If I get an idea, I have to write it down.  I don’t have a particular time as I believe that inspiration is Godly. It’s like a prophecy. It comes unexpectedly.

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STO: Please give some details about the Pan-African Party for Progress which you co-founded. What were your motivations for launching the party, and what is your main hope that it can achieve?

DM: The Pan-African Party for Progress (PPP) is a revolutionary political party that draws inspiration from the broad Sankaro-Nkrumaist tradition and Fanonian schools of thought in their analyses of the state, imperialism, culture and class contradictions in every society. The PPP takes significant inspiration from Thomas Sankara in terms of both style and ideology. We believe that the best contribution we can make in the national and international struggle against global imperialism is to rid our African continent of imperialist domination. It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social, and political progress and aims to unify and uplift African people as well as African descents.

STO: What other projects are you working on at the moment, and what plans do you foresee reaching fruition in 2019 and beyond?

DM: The Pan-African Party for Progress (PPP) believes that solidarity and education will enable the continent to fulfill its potential to independently provide for all its people. In that perspective, we are honored to welcome Mr. Alain Daniel Shekomba, former presidential candidate in a conference which will take in Durban on 29 June 2019.

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STO: Once again, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Dime. If there is anything else you would like to leave the readers with please feel free to do so now…

DM: Writing is a skill which can be developed over the years. Do not be discouraged by criticism. Remember that many successful writers were once rejected by publishing houses. As Langston Hughes once said: “I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.” And anyone who would like to purchase the book can do so by e-mailing to info@classicagepublishing.co.za or contact me via social Medias for any literary projects.

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Culture Cult Press Anthology

I’m excited about the opportunity to guest-edit a new poetry anthology that will be released later this year through Culture Cult Press. Full details and submission guidelines are now available here, and please feel free to share the link with those who might be interested…

http://culturecult.co.in/anthology-submissions/

A new episode of Songs of Selah airs tonight starting at 9 PM EST. I’ll be joined in the first hour by poet, Robert Frede Kenter. Phone lines will be open in the second hour for an open mic segment. Call in with questions for the guest and/or to read a few pieces of your own! Listen live on 17Numa Radio…

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/17numaradio/2019/06/18/songs-of-selah-with-scott-thomas-outlar

It’s not that the world has gone mad, just the minds of some of its people. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise to most of us at this point. Shake your fist if you feel that’ll offer a solution. Eh. It does occasionally work in a short-sighted, ham-handed, three-ring circus sort of way. Mostly illusions that slip through fingers when clutched too tightly. True change is more delicate, deliberate, and subtle. Seek your peace. Fade to silence. It’s in your belly. There is plenty of time yet to feast, scream, and sing. Cheers to an inspired new week ahead, my friends!

Culture Cult Hope Anthology

Good Clean Living by Scott Thomas Outlar

Thank you to Raja Williams at CTU Publishing for featuring this excerpt from my book, Happy Hour Hallelujah…

Creative Talents Unleashed

A tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar

to break the fast each morning,

followed by freshly squeezed lemon juice

in a glass of water enhanced with trace minerals

to help flush out the toxins

from the day before.

Twenty minutes of deep mindful breathing

while stretching under the clear blue sky

with bare feet in the grass

helps to oxygenate the blood,

increase circulation,

and balance out the electromagnetic charge

that pulses through the earth, atmosphere,

and human organism.

Then a mile long walk up to the local park

to sit in the woods and write poetry

such as this, as well as to relax

and prepare the mind for a full day ahead.

A nice long jog under the sweltering Summer sun

sweats out more toxins and breaks down muscles

so that they can be built back up stronger –

order out of chaos and all that jazz.

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Five-Year Anniversary

Yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of when my first poem was published by Dissident Voice in 2014. I’ve remained a weekly contributor on the site’s Sunday Poetry Page ever since. I’ll be forever grateful to Angie Tibbs for the confidence she has continually shown in my work.

It has been an exciting five years so far on this journey. More than 1,700 of my poems have appeared in over 340 different venues around the world. Selections of my writing have been translated into Afrikaans, Albanian, Dutch, Farsi, French, Italian, Kurdish, and Serbian. I’m thankful to all the amazing editors, publishers, and other artists I’ve had the pleasure to connect with, collaborate with, and work alongside during the ride. I do my best to remain calm, steady, and centered in my lane.

A special thank you to everyone associated with these presses that published my six books: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015); Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016); Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016); Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017); Abstract Visions of Light (Alien Buddha Press, 2018); and Of Sand and Sugar (Cyberwit, 2019). Independent publishing is truly a labor of love.

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Thank you also to all the owners, coordinators, and hosts who help organize events that I’ve had the pleasure of attending and participating at. Some of the great highlights of my life have been the opportunities to read my work here at home in Georgia, and in areas of Alabama, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Canada, and the UK. Two recent occasions during 2019 were presenting a speech at Georgia State University for the Atlanta Writers Club and being a part of the Setu Mag Bilingual Lit Fest held in Toronto.

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I’m thankful to the publishers where I have served in an editorial role for their journals and other projects through the years, including the 2019 Western Voices special edition for Setu Mag and the upcoming anthology on the theme of hope & hopelessness for Culture Cult Press.

I’m thankful to all the writers whose words I’ve been able to publish and to all the people I’ve interviewed on my podcast (Songs of Selah) and here at my website (17Numa). You have helped keep me motivated, inspired, and focused.

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Most of all, I’m thankful to the incredible soul friends I’ve met in the literary scene and other areas of life. Each of you has affected me in a positive fashion, and I appreciate the lessons you have taught me. What else can I say? The path is seldom easy, it’s not meant to be, but it’s always beneficial, and it’s almost always fun. I am thankful, and I believe that the best is still to come.

Songs of Selah: George Weinstein

George Weinstein - July 2018

George Weinstein is the author of the Southern historical novel Hardscrabble Road; the novel of forgotten U.S. history The Five Destinies of Carlos Moreno; the contemporary romance The Caretaker; and the Southern mystery Aftermath. In October, his suspense novel Watch What You Say will be published. George is the new President of the Atlanta Writers Club—15 years after first serving in that position—and has helped thousands of writers on their quest for publication through the Club and the twice-yearly Atlanta Writers Conference, which he has directed for 10 years.

A new episode of Songs of Selah featuring George can be listened to here:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/17numaradio/2019/06/02/songs-of-selah-with-scott-thomas-outlar

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Find out more about George and his work here at his website:
http://www.georgeweinstein.com/

Atlanta Writers Club:
https://atlantawritersclub.org/

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