A Guest Post + 2 Poems

Hey guys,

It feels weird to continue on in such horrible news. First Boston and now West, which is a small Texas town about an hour and a half south of where I live. Everyone I know is sad right now, myself included. These are days to go dark, spend time with loved ones, and reflect. But of course I have no control over the timing of tragedy, so I hope you’ll understand where my heart is when I share my news and publications with you.

[I’m no expert, but I imagine that unless you’re a first responder or a trained disaster relief worker, staying away (physically) is probably more helpful than driving down to West right now. Last I heard they have serious traffic problems with all of the emergency vehicles. The best information that I’ve gathered, if you’re in the area and wanting to help: you can donate blood at any of these locations or donate funds to The Salvation Army. If you’re around Denton, you can also drop off water and goods at UNT.]

I have a guest blog up today at Deep South Magazine. It’s called “The Poetry of Place,” and it’s all about what we often call “landscape poems.” I talk about why poets are drawn to them, what makes them good or weak, and a few tips on how to get inspired to try one of your own. I hope you’ll join me there.

They’ve also published the second of my poems accepted in Southern Voice. “Rust Never Sleeps” is a small poem from my manuscript The Alcoholic’s Daughter, a collection about my dad that I hold close to my heart. Unlike “Nights in Texas,” this one isn’t free verse. It’s actually a single stanza of a form called the ottava rima. The ottava rima is traditionally used for long, epic poems, and using a single stanza is an unusual choice on my part. I hope that you’ll go read it, and that perhaps you’ll agree it served this poem well.

Maybe these Texas poems and post are not so irrelevant, today. Personal and public are all tied up in knots. My heart goes out to West. I think of how every time we drove through we’d eat kolaches at the Czech Stop, where the culture of the area was celebrated through food (is there any other way?). Like so many tiny Texas towns settled by Czech and German farmers, West embraced its heritage. My heritage. I’m Czech and German and I come from Texas farming stock – Neugebauer (the name I got from my dad; yesterday would have been his 58th birthday… knots, see?) actually means “new farmer” in German – and these are my people. These are my people and they’re hurting.

I wish I could do more.

Love and peace,


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  • Enjoyed your poems, Annie and appreciate your timely comments about Boston and West. I especially enjoyed, “Rust Never Sleeps.” Our family worked a farm in central Texas for a few years. So much farmland these days has become plots for bedroom communities.
    A few years back I worked with a fellow whose family was among the earliest settlers of West. I even photographed a wedding for the family. This tragedy strikes close to home but then again, I guess all of them do to a degree.

    • Thank you, Rich. Did you grow up on the farm, or was that before your generation? I’ve visited both of the farms (I get it from mother’s and father’s sides of the family), but I never worked them or lived on them. It’s such an amazing life; it’s hard to imagine sometimes. It does indeed strike close to home. Thanks for the comment, Rich.

      • Thanks for your question about working the farm, Annie. Yes, as the oldest son I did most of the farming tasks; plowing, harrowing, mowing, caring for livestock and picking fruit in our orchards. As farms go, ours was small ~ only about 220 acres. Loved the lifestyle and the small town environment, etc. It was a special life and one that is in decline, Annie. A couple weeks ago I had a chance to reconnect with former small school classmates.

        • I didn’t know that about you, Rich. You’re right; it is in decline. How wonderful, to have grown up in that life.

  • Regina Richards

    The terrible events in Boston and West do have me feeling down, but I enjoyed the poems. Thanks for a little bit of brightness on n a sad day.

  • Pingback: Guest Post With 2 Poems from Annie Neugebauer | Rich Weatherly - Author()

  • TrudieMarie

    I wish we all could.

  • Paula Harvey

    I’m so sorry Annie, you and your neighbors are in my thoughts and prayers. My heart goes out to you all.

    • Oh don’t worry about me; we’re far enough away to be safe. It’s them who are struggling. There were a lot of people giving blood the next day, though, so that’s good.

  • Left you a comment at Deep South. You’re totally rocking the lit mags!

  • Cynthia Robertson

    Oh Annie, how exciting for you!!! Best wishes. Hope it all goes smoothly and we are reading your novels soon!