Get Serious About Your Poetry in 2011

January 25, 2011

You write poetry. Maybe you even get brave and go to poetry open mics. Maybe you even get up the courage to actually get up and read. You like to write your poetry, but you feel a bit like Emily Dickinson, a hidden poet.

Well in 2011, come out as a poet and join a critique group. My Saratoga Poetry Focus Group has been running continuously for 21 years and counting. Our maximum of six poets per monthly meeting gets 30-45 minutes to read their poems, hear their poems read to them, get round-table critique for each poem, ask questions of the group, even tell the group what kind of critique they want. For example, when, like now, I am working on my poetry books, I ask for a 1-5 number on each poem I read only once. 1 is best trashed; 2 needs a lot of work; 3 needs work; 4 almost finished; and 5 finished. I can plow through lots of poems this way and get a feel for the response, especially with five people writing their numbers on each poem.

Some people ask questions about where to start getting published, where to find a printer, how to create a chap book, how to get a mainstream pubisher interested in pubishing them.

If you are local to Saratoga Springs, New York, give me a call and let me know where you are with your poetry and how the Saratoga Poetry Focus
Group may be able to help you move forward in the direction of your goals. Contact: Barbara Garro at


Celebrating 21 Years Running The Saratoga Poetry Focus Group

December 30, 2010

Imagine we poets coming together around the cherry table for 21 years and counting! And, wow, have we poets published poetry books, some handmade, some illustrated with art, some with seasonal themes in sets of four, some for family and friends, most for sale.

What makes the group special is the poetry and the wonderful round table critique to polish the poems for publication.

All poets are invited to submit ten pages of poetry to be considered to join the group that meets the third Wednesday of each month, barring holidays, from 9-Noon sharp! Call 518-587-9999 if you are interested.

Now, for some exciting news! Dystenium will be publishing its first ever poetry/art book of my poems and fine art together in January 2011. I am beyond excited to see my two creative activities paired. Stay tuned. I am waiting for the galley expected in December and I am hoping to see it tomorrow or Friday.

What Makes a Poet Great?

August 13, 2010

Sitting in Fastig-Tipton’s beautiful facility in Saratoga Springs, New York, at the annual National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony, I listened to the greats among the greatest trainers, jockeys and owners. I discovered that greatness is achieved in the very same way by those who aspire to it whether they are writing poetry or racing horses.

Garro on Greatness–

1.  Greatness is not a moment, but many moments of greatness of never being satisfied that begins in early childhood with those who provided inspiration or at least did not get in the way.

2.  The greats have the ability to work through challenges and not screw up.

3.  The greats possess the motivation of the force of hard work to bring out the best in themselves.

4.  Mere talent is not enough. The greats possess talent, toughness and tenacity with enough endurance to achieve success, however long it takes.

5. Most of all, the greats have a desire to say about their lives at the end of their days, “Well done!”

Life is a horse race. At any given moment or second, anything can happen. Those who have prepared are ready to deal with it.

Poets Need a Poetry Group

May 19, 2010

For over twenty years, I have run a writing group. Currently, I run the Saratoga Poetry Focus Group, which meets every third Wednesday from nine to noon with from four to six poets who get from 30 to 45 minutes each to read their poems, hear their poems read to them and get a round table commentary about what works and suggestions for improvements.

We met today with four poets for three hours and I heard really good poetry from three good poets and got feedback on my own poetry. Currently, I am working on five full books of poetry, so I asked for just numbers 1-5 for a big stack of my poems that I read only once while the group had copies in front of them. 5 means finished, 4 almost finished, 3 needs work, 2 needs a lot of work, and 1 is crap that does not deserve my time.

Why do poets need a poetry group? Because poets need feedback on the poems they are writing to understand how others perceive them. While writing in a vacuum may have worked for Emily Dickinson, know that she chose her reclusive life.

Not a groupie? Don’t want to join a regular group? Then, be brave enough to get yourself out to open microphone  poetry readings and learn what poems work for people by assessing their reactions when you read your poetry.

Garro’s New Book: From Jesus to Heaven with Love: A Parable Pilgrimage

April 21, 2010

My book From Jesus to Heaven with Love: A Parable Pilgrimage will be published in May 2010 by and I have attached a cover sample, which contains my painting, Jesus, Lord, a watercolor.

The publisher is and can be ordered directly with a $6.95 price. The soft cover will be out in late fall 2010 and will be published by Cambridge Books.

This book’s research actually spans 60 years and covers 33 of Jesus’ parables in an easy-to-read format that allows for personal spiritual growth. The target audience is Christian, but it is friendly anyone curious about Jesus or Christianity. Another exciting aspect is that families can read one chapter at a time together and discuss it.

Some information about the benefits of reading Barbara Garro’s new book From Jesus to Heaven with Love: A Parable Pilgrimage:

  1. Jesus’ parables provide a prescription for suffering souls.
  2. Follow Garro’s exercises to fine tune your faith.
  3. Garro shows you the way to make 33 soul walks to God.
  4. Use From Jesus to Heaven with Love: A Parable Pilgrimage to hunker down and get serious about your salvation in the special Salvation section in each of the parables.
  5. Jesus’ parables help us today; discover the parable where Jesus teaches you how to be honest with dishonest wealth.
  6. In Jesus’ Special Messages within each of the 33 parables teach you new concepts; discover the message where Jesus warns you against trying to take from God His rightful choices.
  7. Be able to answer Jesus’ questions to all His disciples: “Who do you say I am?”
  8. Bring the wisdom of Jesus from the New Testament alive, even for those who have never read the Bible, don’t consider themselves Christian or belong to any organized religion.
  9. Use From Jesus to Heaven with Love: A Parable Pilgrimage as your devotional book, family faith discussion book by reading a parable a day, week or month.

Some Endorsements

This hand-written endorsement comes from Father Joseph F. Girzone, best-selling author of the “Joshua” and other religious books: “Barbara Garro has done a remarkable, thought-provoking analysis of Jesus’ parables in her new book. It is quite different from other books on the parables and makes refreshing reading.”

Father John Weyand provides this endorsement: “Barbara is an eclectic writer who treats each subject with captivating skill. The parable stories are timeless wisdom tales inspired by God. Readers will learn and be entertained by Barbara’s powerful imagery.”

“Early on in From Jesus to Heaven with Love, Barbara Garro tells us, “You are not like anyone else,” as she prepares us to revisit thirty-three parables told by Jesus during his ministry. This is good news for readers who seek to find themselves in Jesus’ parables, for each reader can identify personally with at least one character in each of the stories he tells. In “The Prodigal Son,” am I most like the wasteful but repentant younger brother? Like the forgiving father? Or am I painfully stiff and self-righteous like the older brother, who refuses to celebrate with his father the return of the prodigal? Am I more like the Pharisee or the tax collector–or is there a bit of each of them in me? The author encourages us to take another look–or perhaps a first look–at our own faith journeys.

Barbara Garro has written a devotional guide accessible to any reader, thoughtful and well-organized, inviting study and prayerful reflection. I would encourage readers to take it a bit at a time, a parable a day, for instance. The book will be a useful text for Bible study, particularly among Roman Catholics but within reach of every thoughtful Christian, not to mention those who are eager to become thoughtful Christians.”

From Joel W. Tibbetts, PhD., Emeritus Professor of Religion, Rockford College, Adjunct Lecturer in Religion, Skidmore College

Some Commentary:

Barbara Garro allowed me to look at 33 of Jesus’ Parables in a whole new way. She helps me see how Jesus was a master storyteller with each character in each parable playing an important role, no matter how small. For example, The Prodigal Son could also be called The Forgiving Father or the Two Proud Sons.

From Jesus to Heaven with Love: A Parable Pilgrimage helped me to understand how to get Jesus’ message for me in parables that always puzzled me. For example, The Parable of the Unjust Steward.

I loved thinking through all the themed sections of Love, Healing, and Salvation that focused my understanding, asking me questions that allowed me to get messages for me in my life right now.


***** 5-Star Rating
Midwest Book Review from Oregon, Wisconsin
“Original, practical, ‘reader friendly’. Grow Yourself A Life You'll Love
In Grow Yourself A Life You’ll Love, Barbara Garro outlines a new approach to life satisfaction … Grow Yourself A Life You’ll Love shows that when we understand why we are the way we are, we will be kinder to ourselves. When we understand others better, we will like them more and become less critical …”

How can you become more accepting and less critical of yourself and those around you? How do you unlock the subconscious door to reveal your life experiences that form your perceptions of others? What can you do to build more satisfying relationships with the love of your life, your parents, children, siblings, other relatives, friends, co-workers, and neighbors?

In Grow Yourself A Life You’ll Love, you’ll discover that the reasons you do the things you do come from seeds planted in your non-conscious or subconscious mind from the time you were very small. These seeds — or beliefs, presumptions, assumptions, and events — drive your behavior and remain hidden from your conscious awareness.

Grow Yourself a Life You’ll Love contains exercises that are designed to take you back through your life to root out outdated and invalid, belief-driven programming that causes problems for you now.

  • Discover information in your subconscious mind that can explain your behavior, fears, worries, and automatic or default responses.
  • Understand what makes you and those in your life do the things they do.
  • Get in touch with your spirit and recognize that humans are spiritual as well as physical and mental beings.
  • Gain new, exciting and useful information about the dynamics of personality, thinking styles, communications, and attitudes that make you and other act in a particular way.

Buy the book today.


Seasons – Haiku & More

Barbara Garro wrote her first poem at 14 and a harsh Sister Angelita critique stopped her poetry until age 40 when the grief from her mother’s sudden death poured out in a poem. The poem was published in the “Maple Shade Progress,” and Garro has gone on to receive 16 poetry awards, publication in 21 poetry anthologies and her biography was included in the 2004 “International Who’s Who in Poetry.” In 2005, Electric Envisions published Garro’s Seasons – Haiku & More, which includes Garro’s pen and ink illustrations. Garro hosts a 3-hour monthly Saturday morning critique group for advanced poets, teaches poetry for adults, and works with poets to polish their poems and create poetry chapbooks, which Garro illustrates.

What people are saying about Seasons…

“Powerful and strong, Garro’s poetry can shake you to your core. ‘Haiku and More’ serves up simplicity in form along with Chinese brush drawings to complement the thoughts.” Merlin Balducci

“Barbara Garro certainly has a gift for the haiku poetic form where she frames her pictures in words.” Sheila Poe Roberts

“Garro’s poetry is wonderfully expressive.” C.S.

“Barbara Garro is the quintessential artist. She lives her art and the result makes her a beautiful and vibrant creative talent.” M.J. King, editor of “Lies, Boasts and Feelings.”

“Wonderful verse.” M.E.M.

Compassion for Mothers Children Reject

April 20, 2010

Mother’s Day becomes a sad day for mothers who love their children who ignore, reject, defame, criticize and feel no gratitude for their sacrifices to raise them. The Bible says, “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother.”  Some children do not abide by that and Mother’s Day becomes a day when they see so many mothers honored by their children, hear about so many mothers honored by their children, and find it hard to tell people who ask that their children will not be spending Mother’s Day with them.

A Mother’s Lament

What made me become small in your eyes, child?

How I strain to keep up my hope

to feel dear and gently addressed.

I seek connection of breadth and scope—

to feel by your love again caressed.

Still, even with abandonment’s horrors,

I see more to my life than this wait.

I come to my days arising, sans sorrows,

and, most days, I allow your hate.

I hold a mother’s love that never dies,

refusing to join you in your rage,

disciplining myself to secret cries,

finding strength in God, my Holy Sage.

Will I ever again grow large in your eyes, child?

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers. Know that you did the best you could. Keep praying for their stone hearts to soften.

Living the Life of a Poet

April 19, 2010

A poet’s life is different. Thoughts happen and they just don’t go away until they get put down into a poem. That’s the only way. What demands to be said could be a feeling, a surprise, an emotion, a confusion, or the intrusion of a character like Seamus MacDougall who came at 3 a.m. with his story. Being a poet means thinking about people, places, things, opinions, beliefs, emotions, feelings, and animals deeply enough to become one with them in the writing of the poem.

Here, you will find some raw thoughts, the way the soul likes to receive them. The mind struggles with raw, so often leaping into denial, in the midst of the smoke of the fire of the stream of consciousness.

Here’s one I wrote while trying to decide if the new running craze of some decades ago would be right for me–

Sedentary Sloth’s Soliloquy
To run, or not to run; that is the question:
whether ‘tis better on the streets to suffer
the storms and stones of suburban nature,
or to stay plump amid the sleek and the svelte,
and by sloth not increase them.  To tire, to sleep—
more; and rise late and not become prey to
cars and dogs and physical injuries
that runners are heir to?  ‘Tis a growing trend
devoutly to avoid.  To tire, to sleep-
to sleep, stay in my dreams:--ay, there’s the rub,
for in a sleep of aches what dreams may come
when I have limped from my fitness folly
must give me pause;  there’s the safety
that makes time in the tub more desirable:
for who would bear the pounding hurts of roads,
the bully’s wrong, the risk of robbery,
the pangs of hollered jeers, the awful dust,
the insolence of cars, and the taunts
the patient virtue of the runner takes,
when I myself might stress relief attain
with my leisurely bath?  What runners would
grunt and sweat along dangerous roads,
bear the risk of falling, or even death—
the slowly building suff’ring, from which pain
the idle sloth remains free, puzzles the will
and makes me rather bear the build I have
than to run to others that I know not of?
Thus road fear doth make cowards of a few;
And thus the noble need of resolution
is sickled o’er with a pale cast of thought;
and road runners of great courage and moment
are spared the burden of yet more runners
who would render their physiques less awesome,
and pale their renown as physically fit.

In another post, I will share with you the story of how poetry became my way of understanding
the twists, bumps and dark forests of life.

Saratoga Springs, New York, Poet Barbara Garro

April 19, 2010

Hello and Welcome to The Poet’s Place!

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April 19, 2010

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