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Category: Blogging & Poems

The purpose of this category is sort-of implied, but this is meant for the day-to-day, more general literary thoughts and reactions in life that do not specifically “fit” into the other categories. This is life at its “roundest,” where writing and literature finds their way into the daily.

My 24-hour Crash-and-Burn and My 30/30 Project

Hi friends!

April is only a few short days away, and I want to share a little about what I’m committing to in my own writing life.

First of all, yes, I am going to complete the 30/30 challenge: aka, 30 poems in 30 days, or, write daily.

BUT, to also raise money for my organization Write around the Bend, I’m going to write for 24 hours straight on Friday, April 1, through Saturday, April 2, 6pm to 6pm! If you would like to pledge an amount per poem or per hour, or offer a flat-rate donation, ALL proceeds will go to the needs of Write around the Bend. Let’s make something happen.

Thank you all so much for your support, and I’ll see you back here on Friday!

Until Later, Best ~ from me.


National Poetry Month Goals!!


Hi everyone!

I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy the first day of spring a little bit yesterday. It was about 40 degrees here, with beautifully crisp air. We wound up barbecuing out with some friends, so it was a great time. It gave me a chance to pause, and to think about my writing life a little bit, too.

I haven’t really had the chance—or given myself the time—in the past to plan for National Poetry Month, but since I have ten more days, I thought now would be a good time to make some commitments!

First, I’m going to get back into the swing of posting a poem each day. That has been a really fun venture and one that I haven’t stuck with as well as I had originally hoped. So April will be a great time to recommit!

Second, I’m going to do NaPoWriMo and write one poem per day, BUT I’m putting a special twist on it—I have started a blog called “April and May” to invite writers to attempt to write one poem per day throughout April… but if they can only write every other day, or every few days, they’ll have May to make up for it. So I’m hoping to write a poem per day, or every other day, throughout the months of April and May, and I am inviting other writers to do the same.

And third, my largest plan is to review one book of poetry per day. It’s a big venture, and my reviews may not be QUITE as long as usual, but they will be as detailed. If any writers would like to take this challenge up with me, or if anyone would REALLY like to see their book reviewed during April, please be in touch with me (this would also be a great opportunity to get some author interviews in!).

Thank you all for your support! I can’t wait to hear from some of you, and to see your writing popping up around the web! Until Later, All Best ~ from me.




A Poem with a Gun Inside


It beats. It hums. My heart—

what else could beat so cold and low

as this : make me a list. give me

a kiss : Kalamazoo, I love you. Paris,

Baghdad, and Beruit, I love you. What more harm

can we inflict than gunfire

on a summer’s day, a winter walk, what life

can we take but ours : for every trigger

that’s pulled, down falls another mother,

another son, and I don’t think you’re ready

for that, I don’t think you’re ready

for what that calls up

in the hearts around the world—but take it.

Pull the trigger. There’s nothing more

I can hide from you, no secret,

no immortality spell, just me

and my skin and my heart

and what’s inside it : I believe

you have the power to stop. So stop.

So choose. Because darling, I love you too.




Black & White Poetry Jam This Weekend!

Black and White Poetry Jam

Hi everyone! I have a great event to share with you! This Saturday, right before the Bowl, is the Black and White Poetry Jam at the Potawatomi Greenhouse Conservatory, right across the street from Indiana University South Bend, backed up against Kids’ Kingdom.

Here is all of the information I have on the event, as it is distributed on Facebook:

“The subtlest and most pervasive of all influences are those which create and maintain the repertory of stereotypes. We are told about the world before we see it. We imagine most things before we experience them.” -Walter Lippman

Do you find yourself questioning why some things are dubbed as ok while others are not? Do you ask yourself “who cares” or “why is no one addressing this” when seeing the news? Are you one of the few who is not afraid to speak out or simply listen about the many injustices happening in our world? If you answered yes to any of these, then the first ever South Bend Black and White Poetry Jam is where you need to be at. On February 6th, 2016 from 8:00pm to 10:30pm at the Potawatomi Conservatories, 15 local poets will perform poetic pieces on injustice. We will gather to change opinions, broaden minds, push boundaries, and overall escape the herd of sheeple so many of us have been sucked into. It’s time to paint a Black and White picture and address the elephant in the room.

– Free Admission
– Ages 21+ only (*ID’s will be checked at the door*)
– Open Bar (Please be prepared to tip the bartender)
– Dress to Impress: Semi Formal, Black and White colored attire
– On-site photography
– Donations towards the event and preceding events accepted (Please contact Jamelle Beavers or Allison LaPlace)
– Sponsorship opportunities available (Please contact Jamelle Beavers or Allison LaPlace)

If you’re looking for someone to hang out with for the evening, look for this girl with thick, wavy brown/blonde hair and a black dress. Hope to see you there!




Two Poems up at Birds Piled Loosely Today!


Hi all! Just in case you haven’t heard elsewhere, my poems, “You Fill another Page” and “Gunshots and Fireworks are Sort of the Same in the End.” are both up at Birds Piled Loosely today!

Dear Editors, thank you so much for this recognition and giving these poems a home; I am so happy to be a part of this issue… Here’s to many, many more!

And readers! Please take a little break and sit back to read this issue; I’m sure you’ll love it. And thank you so much for reading my poems!

Until Later ~ Best, from Me.




big poem, small poem / new poem sure / longer poem, brighter poem / birds birds birds


Hello all! It’s been a while again, I know. I’ve been missing writing in the worse way but otherwise wrapped up in my new job, writing a new bio: McKenzie lives and writes in South Bend, where she works at Indiana University, etc. It’s been a blast, but I’ve only been writing what I call “snippet poems” lately: small snapshots, quick thoughts, that I can get down on the page and keep going. I miss meandering through a longer poem, perfecting an image, an ending, the title, working on my full-length. Below, you’ll find three new snippet poems, from a selection of poems I’ve been working on about nighttime and the truths of home, as well as my very first “spam poem,” invented from, you guessed it, creating erasures out of spam messages—mostly from the ones that pollute my website space (but goodness, they’re fun). I hope you enjoy these, and I promise to post more often—and get back into the reviewing rhythm—very soon.

Also, P.S. You know how sometimes a song gets stuck in your head? Yep, it’s “Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty.” Now in poem-form. Help me.

Until Later, Best ~ from me.




Come night, every night

is the same : I close the shades, tuck

the bed sheets tight at the head

against our night noises, loose

at the foot so he may slip

from the covers : foot bare

in the afterglow.




Dear child, close your eyes—

my heart, my limbs

are tired. Your tears wake us

in our separate cities & at times,

yes : I get lost in the haze.

In you, my fog. Go to sleep.

My love, my rest, I promise:

all will be better with the light.




dies in a fire in a movie

from the ’80s. Hardly enough

to search & discover the movie’s title

but there it is : my sake. Her hair color,

her age, I do not know, but this

is how I imagine the story ends : black smoke

or at least the froth of it, cries choked out

on what I imagine black sky : fires never rise

in the middle of the day, unable to compete

with the sun. I ask you again the name

of the film & again, you falter, say it was

a good one, strange, its focus

on family : my name spelled to reflect

the one Irish branch of our family tree, that which

I have fostered long after you left

for more Grecian- & Sioux-like skin, how strange :

this focus on family roots.




now I am completely full

of honey—sometimes

I drink beer

in public. others cannot

do this: fireflies. what light.

what nonsense.




Two Poems up at New Mexico Review today!


Hi all! Just in case you haven’t heard elsewhere, my poems, “Excavation,” and “Passing through My Neighbor’s Backyard,” are both up at New Mexico Review today!

Dear Editors, especially Tyler Mills, thank you so much for this recognition and giving these poems a home; I am so happy to be a part of this issue… Here’s to many, many more!

And readers! Please take a little break and sit back to read this issue; I’m sure you’ll love it. And thank you so much for reading my poems!

Until Later ~ Best, from Me.




Poetic Donations! #poeticdonations


Hi, all! The holidays are upon us, and for many of us, so is the winter chill (with or without the snow yet), and I have an idea just in time for the holidays that could be beneficial to everyone!

Contact me, either over on Facebook or at mcklynntozan (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will write and send you a poem, for you or a loved one. You can specify the title you want, the theme, a line you want in it, who the poem is for, anything! Within 24 hours, you will have a nice, new poem to savor or give away.

Here’s the catch, though: When you request a poem, I will ask you for a monetary donation. Of any size. It can be 5 cents, it can 5 dollars, it can be ANY amount, and all of those proceeds will be donated at the end of December for meals and winter coats and warm clothing for families in need.

I have included the original flyer below, which is already circulating on Facebook, as well as the hashtag #poeticdonations. Please help, please share, please donate; it’s for a good cause.

Thanks, all! All my love and warm wishes, this holiday season and every season.

Until Later ~ Best, from me.


Poetic Donations FLYER




Poem up at Whale Road Review today!


Hi all! Just in case you haven’t heard elsewhere, my dinosaur poem, “Shopping for T-Rex,” is up at Whale Road Review today!

Dear Editors, thank you so much for this recognition and giving this poem a home; I am so happy to be a part of your premiere issue… Here’s to many, many more!

And readers! Please take a little break and sit back to read this first issue; I’m sure you’ll love it. And thank you so much for reading my poem!

Until Later ~ Best, from Me.




“Where I Write” Feature in Rogue Agent Today!


Hi, everyone! In case you haven’t heard elsewhere, I was featured in this month’s “Where I Create” gallery, up at Rogue Agent. I sent in a snapshot of where I write most often in my home, as well as a picture of my most-constant writing companion, Kovu. Here’s another picture of him “helping” me with my work.




Dear Editors, thank you for calling me back into Rogue Agent for this feature; you are pulling together such wonderful work, and I can’t thank you enough for the recognition.

And thank you, readers, for taking a look, and be sure to read the rest of Issue 8! It’s lovely.

Until Later, Best ~ from me