Tune In To June

A woman with long dark hair and glasses in summer clothes sits in between a radio and an orange striped cat, reading a book. The text above reads "tune in to June; 2023; kelsay books blog" and there are flowers in the background and a playback graphic in the middle.

Why We are Here

by Lisa St. John

Why can't we wonder
about what
Too close, this
magnificent reality
of existence? 
We focus
on the destiny of starlight,
the dank history of gravity.
We invite wars
to decide who deserves
to live and whose sacred
text to read.
We debate whether or not
robots and clones and AIs are
human; we string together "what ifs"
like a necklace or
a noose.
We write books (and then read them)
about our purpose in life, our destiny;
our inner dialogue with free will
chatters on for decades and 
is it not,
is it not enough 
to know that
the first sound every
human being hears
is the orchestra of the womb? 
The mother's beating heart,
air moving in and out of her lungs,
song of her blood through
the umbilical cord. 
Is it not enough 
of a miracle that
every human being
shares 99% of their DNA
with every

We can transfer a living
human heart from one body
to the next; we can print
a heart from a machine. But
we don't know
why we laugh,
or why cats purr.
We know that black holes
can swallow entire stars—that
the Magnus Effect makes balls fly
instead of fall.
Why not wonder why the gray
of a rainy autumn afternoon
is different than the gray
of a snowstorm?
We don't stop 
in astonishment
at the ray of sunlight
caressing a child's face,
or the graceful power of
hummingbird flight.
We want a reason
for our objective reality,
and then
we want to argue about it.
And all the while
there is the tender blue
of morning and the raging violets
of evening and the scars
of our individual little lives all
waiting, waiting for us to see.


Kelsay Books has enjoyed a spectacular month so far. We started summer off with our annual poets' showcase reading on Zoom last weekend. Catch up with some of the poets in this edition of the blog, and stay tuned to watch the reading on our YouTube channel. Scroll to the end to submit your feature for the next blog!

Meanwhile, check out our latest book trailer for Frogs Don't Sing Red by Sandi Stromberg, now available in paperback and hardcover options. 

Sandi Stromberg lives in Houston, Texas, after spending more than 20 years in Europe as a freelance writer, contributing editor, translator, and columnist. During that time, she published travel pieces, human interest stories, the ups and downs of raising and moving a family from country to country, and she reported on advances in the construction and crane industries from Finland to Italy. She remains an ardent lover of art, music, food, travel, and languages.

On arrival in Houston, she worked at the Jung Center, then was executive director of Brigid’s Place, developing programming around feminine creativity and the feminine divine. From there, she returned to her love of writing. As an award-winning magazine feature writer and editor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, she edited and wrote for the institution’s high-profile magazine, Conquest and its Annual Report. For four years in a row, 2010–2013, she was named Public Relations Communicator of the Year in the Lone Star Awards.

She came to poetry originally as a translator, Dutch to English, while living in the Netherlands and only began writing her own poems after moving to Houston. Since then, she has received several awards, been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, twice for Best of the Net, been a juried poet in the Houston Poetry Fest eleven times, and received a Fantastic Ekphrastic Award from The Ekphrastic Review—whose editorial staff she has recently joined.

She served as guest editor of Untameable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston and co-edited Echoes of the Cordillera, ekphrastic poems in response to the photography of Jim Bones.

Her work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies (see Acknowledgments). Additional information is available at:

or www.instagram.com/sandistromberg

She has been a member of The Authors Guild for thirty-three years. For ten years, she served on the board of Mutabilis Press, a poetry press dedicated to publishing poets living in Texas and the surrounding states. For twenty years, she facilitated popular writing classes, “Writing a Woman’s Life,” at the Jung Center in Houston, at Brigid’s Place, and at the International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG) Summer Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York. She also led journaling classes for patients and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

She has two sons, two daughters-in-law, and two grandsons. One threesome lives in France and the other in Singapore. Her beloved husband, Bill Turner, died in 2021. His presence nourished her poetry for 25 precious years.

Poets Showcased KB Talent in Annual Reading

Over sixty of you registered and showed up for KB's annual poets' showcase! 13 poets from across the country and the globe gathered to share selections from their KB books, to the delight of all whom devoted their Saturday afternoon to deep listening. Featured reader Laurie Kuntz, author of Talking Me off the Roof, said afterward,

There were a plethora of such talented voices, and I am thrilled to have been part of the chorus of poetry today.

It was a joy attending as tech support. We kept a great vibe going, navigating any bumps in the road with ease, and recorded the whole thing. Whether you performed a reading, lit up the comments section with your reactions, or were otherwise present for the occassion—thank you for making our annual showcase a success.

Subscribe to Kelsay Books on YouTube to revisit the reading of the summer! Stay tuned to see it in the next blog.

Featured This Month

Preface: Lisa St. John, author of Swallowing Stones, read "Why We are Here" and other selections at the annual showcase.

Lisa St. John is a writer living in the Hudson Valley of upstate New York. Her poetry appears in many journals and anthologies such as 2Elizabeths, Misfit Magazine, The Poet’s Billow, The Ekphrastic Review, Light, Entropy Magazine, The Poetry Distillery, Poets Reading the News, Boomer Lit, and Chronogram Magazine. The poem “There Must Be a Science to This” won The Poet’s Billow’s Bermuda Triangle Contest. “Particle Song” was a finalist for the 2017 Rash Award in Poetry by Broad River Review. Her poem “The Whens of Now” was selected as a finalist for the New Millennium Writings 44th Literary Awards. Ponderings, her first chapbook, was published by Finishing Line Press. Lisa’s travel articles are published on GoNomad.com. Her memoir excerpt, “I Still Exist,” was published by Grief Digest, and her essay, “DIY Apocalypse,” was published in Sleet. Her essay “Of Mothers and Other Demons” appears in Tales to Inspire: Moonstone Collection Book 2.

She can be reached at lisachristinastjohn.com.

Here's what our poets have been up to lately: 

The Big Indignity author Peggy Gerber discussed the book on Meisterkhan Pod — watch here:

A poet and writer of short stories, Peggy Gerber is thrilled to have been chosen as the winner of the 2021 Open Contract Challenge with her book Stumbling in CrazyTown. When she is not busy writing poetry, Peggy likes to indulge her love of speculative fiction by writing stories of time machines, friendly aliens, and creepy dolls. Her stories and poems have appeared in many publications including Daily Science Fiction, Better than Starbucks, The World of Myth Magazine, and many others. Peggy lives with her husband David in Northern New Jersey and enjoys reading, traveling, and playing with her four grandchildren. Peggy would like to give a huge thank you to her daughter Jessalyn for being both her harshest critic and her technology expert.

Charles Rammelkamp reviewed featured reader Laurie Kuntz's KB book, Talking Me off the Roof, for the London GripRead it here.

Laurie has had many new poems and poems which appear in Talking Me off the Roof published in literary journals as of late; here are some links to
recent publications:

Gyroscope Review
Third Wednesday
Poetry Breakfast
Live Encounters
Sparks of Calliope

Laurie Kuntz is an award-winning poet and film producer. She taught creative writing and poetry in Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines. Many of her poetic themes are a result of her working with Southeast Asian refugees for over a decade after the Vietnam War years.

She has published two poetry collections, The Moon Over My Mother’s House (Finishing Line Press) and Somewhere in the Telling (Mellen Press); and two chapbooks, Simple Gestures (Texas Review Press) and Women at the Onsen (Blue Light Press); as well as an ESL reader, The New Arrival, Books 1 & 2 (Prentice Hall Publishers). Moment Poetry Press has published a broadside of her poem “The Moon Over My Mother’s House” on their website. Her poems “Darnella’s Duty” and “Not Drowning But Waving” have been produced in a podcast from LKMNDS, and her poem, “Darnella’s Duty” is published in a new Black Lives Matter Anthology from CivicLeicester. Her two ESL books have been featured on the podcast ESL for Equality.

Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and her chapbook Simple Gestures won the Texas Review Poetry Chapbook Contest. She was editor-in-chief of Blue Muse Magazine and a guest editor of Hunger Mountain Magazine. She has produced documentaries on the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Law, and she is an associate producer for a documentary on the Colombian peace process and reintegration of guerrilla soldiers in Colombia. She is the executive producer of an Emmy winning short narrative film, Posthumous. Recently retired, she lives in an endless summer state of mind.

Visit her at: https://lauriekuntz.myportfolio.com/home-1

Poets, shout your successes to jenna.kelsaybooks@gmail.com to celebrate them on our blog!

Wishing you a spectacular summer,
Olivia – KB Social Media Coordinator & Assistant Editor

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