Carl Sagan Called Our Planet – Carol Smallwood

Carl Sagan Called Our Planet

a pale blue dot—since most,
being covered with water, made
it look blue in space—
but what makes water blue?

The answer follows more
patterns than why the sky’s blue:
a question often asked by
young children.

Carol Smallwood returned to college to take creative writing classes and has founded humane societies. Her 2017 books include: In Hubble’s Shadow (Shanti Arts); Prisms, Particles, and Refractions (Finishing Line Press); Interweavings: Creative Nonfiction (Shanti Arts); Library Outreach to Writers and Poets: Interviews and Case Studies of Cooperation; Gender Issues and the Library: and Case Studies of Innovative Programs and Resources (McFarland). 

When I Was Little – Sara Smith Andress

When I Was Little

we were so poor
my mother would water down the ketchup
and I learned that there are two options:
to leach the last remnants from the bottle
and risk being spread too thin,
or leave the clumps behind,
and eat eggs plain.

Sara Smith Andress lives in the Florida panhandle with her husband, two daughters, and fifteen chickens. She teaches composition and literature to community college students.

Women Writers We Love – Alarie Tennille

This week we catch up with Alarie Tennille, author of Waking on the Moon.  Her poem Still With Me was featured on Dying Dahlia in October 2016.


What inspires you the most? 

I’m inspired by many things, from family memories to quirky news, but looking at art is my surest cure for writer’s block. I’ve learned that art without a strong narrative works best for me, even abstract works I don’t understand. It’s easier to create something new when I’m not rehashing a Bible story or Greek myth that the painter has already told. Reading is also a great inspiration.

Since I retired five years ago, I honor my biorhythm and stay up to the wee hours when the house is quiet. My cats and I commune with the moon. My latest poetry collection, Waking on the Moon (Kelsay Books, April 2017) pays homage to Luna for her help, even though it also contains my usual art and family poems.

Who is your favorite woman writer?

I adore so many women writers. A few of my favorite poets are Jo McDougall, Jane Kenyon, Andrea Hollander, Maryfrances Wagner, Margaret Atwood, Lucille Clifton, and my critique group, Tina Hacker and Teresa Leggard.

What does your writing process look like? 

Because I’m a night owl, I write mostly after 10:00 p.m. I don’t pressure myself to write every day since I did that for almost 30 years on the job. Retirement gives me more leisure. (Leisure means reading.) I do look for ideas every day. If I go more than a week without writing a poem, I force myself to sit down with paper and at least try. That rarely fails me. My critique group tells me I’m prolific. They wouldn’t be happy if I brought in 30 poems each month.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

My advice to all writers is the same. READ. Too many people fancy themselves as poets when they don’t read good poetry. By reading, you learn a lot about the craft and what you may be doing wrong. When you discover poets who write the way you want to write, cultivate them. Often the journals where they publish will also like you.

My second piece of advice is to join or start a CRITIQUE GROUP or at least find a couple of readers willing to tell you when a poem goes astray. It’s important that you find a group that suits you. They should be honest and offer helpful suggestions without making you give up hope. My group has only three writers, which is the ideal number for me. Too many poets can cause more confusion than help.

Women are more likely to feel all the family organizing and nurturing falls on their shoulders, so they often have trouble carving out time to write. Set aside some time twice a week if every day is too difficult. The good news is that most writing happens in your head. You can plan what you want to say between errands. If I think about a poem for a few days before I get to paper, the writing goes more smoothly.

What are you currently working on? 

My next poetry collection started before the last one was published. Each new book begins with poems published too late to go into the previous book. Once I collect 20 or so, I inspect them for common themes to see how to direct more writing to the project. I’m also going to try publishing some poetry reviews in 2018.


For more information on Alarie, visit her website at

Letter from the Editor


Dearest Dying Dahlia Readers and Writers —

DDR is off to a fabulous start this year! We have been receiving some wonderful submissions and featuring some great interviews with talented women writers in our newest segment, Women Writers We Love.

Speaking of love, let me share some… Dying Dahlia Review just celebrated its 2nd Birthday! *Hooray! Cake for everyone!* I’ve said it once (or a few dozen times) but let me say it again: thank you all for your love and submissions and contributions and for following along. From the beginning, we’ve wanted to feature creative women at their awesome-est (not a word, but just go with it) and we definitely have.  DDR is around because of all of you. So thank you dearest readers and writers. Continue reading “Letter from the Editor”

Women Writers We Love: Catherine Moore

And here we go – another interview! This week we are catching up with the talented Catherine Moore!   Her latest collection Ulla! Ulla! was released in November 2017 and includes two poems that were featured on Dying Dahlia – “Venus Without Nipples” and “The Broken”.  Learn more about this amazing writer and her latest collection.

What inspires you the most?

That one red spot in a lush field of green. The kids who sit by themselves at lunch. A candy tablet in a box of Good & Plenty that didn’t get completely coated. Every moment in the midst of holiday fun where I want to cry.


Who are your favorite women writers?

This feels like a difficult question, because there are too many. Seriously. So, I’ll choose the less traveled answer and say, myself. Shouldn’t we favor our own writing? And for that matter, I like the women writers in my critique groups. There is nothing more inspiring than being along for the journey as we create art.

What does your writing process look like?

I generally have a genre-free approach to writing. Creating unidentified writing objects (UWO’s) that fill my journals. Yes, most of my writing is done with pen and paper. When I have a block of time to “write” then I dive into my journals and see what sparks my interest. Often, I don’t decide on genre or style until I have a first draft. Then, whatever is on page informs the revision.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Applaud your fellow women writers. Like their stuff and share it. Promote their work with no expectations. The best way for women’s art to be recognized is to spotlight it ourselves. And positive energy has a way of finding its way back.

What are you currently working on?

I am focused on small fictions and short stories at the moment. Along the lines of “Burnt Springs, Alabama,” which The Tishman Review graciously nominated to the VERA awards and the Best Small Fictions anthology. I do have poems leak out every now and again, so I’m certain to have another collection, someday.

About Ulla! Ulla!
Ulla! Ulla! is a collection exploring themes of suppression— social and domestic, earthly and human, self-censoring and oppressive. The collection gets its title from The War of The Worlds’ Martian death noise, “Ulla!,” which was censored since the alien cries were deemed too frightening.
For more information on how you can get yourself a copy of Catherine’s book Ulla! Ulla! visit the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.