Tag: Charles A. Waugaman

Salvaging Hope by Charles A. Waugaman

Salvaging Hope

Like truth out of living
I salvage blueberries, one by one,
From the tangled mat of the meadow.
Small as they are,
The grasses fight for them,
Vetch maneuvers in camouflage,
And wild rose claws at my wrists.
Birds spy from the hedgerow
And sing indifferent melodies
Hoping to lure me away
From their succulent repast.
Why this surprising demand?
Blueberries are wealth:
They are something of sun
And something of soil;
They are sky and wildness;
Beauty and wine,
Winnowed from weedy worthlessness,
Blueberries glow in my palm
As welcome … as hope.

By Charles A. Waugaman

All Rights Reserved


Welcoming Hope: Poems for those in need
Lora Homan Zill and Ellen G. Olinger, Editors
Charles A. Waugaman, Art Editor, Illustrator

Elin Grace Publishing, 2007
Oostburg, Wisconsin
ISBN 978-0-9729848-4-3

This is a book with TIME OF SINGING (TOS).  Please see their Books Page for ordering information, or simply more info in general.  All proceeds benefit TOS.

This lovely poem by Charles was published first in 1974:  Jean’s Journal Anthology, These Are My Jewels.  

Post updated on August 15, 2015

The Story Of Elin Grace Publishing, A Story Of Hope

Margie’s comment in response to my previous post inspires me to share more about the name, Elin Grace Publishing. Her wonderful site is Latebloomerbuds: http://latebloomerbuds.wordpress.com.  I enjoy her photos, haiku, and uplifting approach to life!  Thanks, Margie!

Following my 20 years of full-time study and work in special education, I experienced my own challenges with major surgery and a chronic illness.  I was in my 40s then.  I am well now, but it took some time. My recovery overlapped with the precious caregiving years with my mother.  She went through so much, for a long time.  Her spirit grew ever-strong and more loving.  She worked hard to stay with us as long as she could, but had no fear of death.  It was amazing to witness.  My energy was low during these years.  I often looked back at my career in Chicago, among other places.  But teaching is also hard physical work and I no longer had the stamina.

So I watched a lot of TV with my mother!  She didn’t want silence.  No matter how ill she was, she followed and anguished over wars, all the news, every individual human story.  Even on what turned out to be her last full day on earth, we watched C-Span for a short time.  I remember reading to her from the Psalms and also Robert Frost.  Many many people helped her–family, in the medical profession, her pastors, friends, people who took care of her home and yard.  Each and every one of us was special and unique.

These are my most precious memories with my mother.

Mom called me Ellen Grace.

So now The Story Of Elin Grace Publishing.  I retired from publishing some years ago, but am still promoting our last book, the Welcoming Hope book mentioned in the previous post.

The name is in honor of my grandmothers:  Elin and Grace.  Elin is a Swedish name, for my father’s mother, whom we called Nanna.  She and Poppa Ernie came to Wisconsin from Sweden.  My parents gave me the American spelling of Elin, my name Ellen.  Grace, my mother’s mother, died exactly a year before I was born, to the day.  I feel I know her though, through her art.  She made aprons, needlepoint and other crafts.  I did not meet Walter, Grace’s husband, either.  But in 1993, I went to a family reunion in southwestern Wisconsin and met many of their family.  I also understood my deep love of the land and water, and why I was called to leave Chicago and return to my home state.  And I still miss Northern Illinois too!

I found Time of Singing through a Poet’s Market book I found at a store, on the way home one semester, after turning my grades in at NEIU, over 20 years ago now.  Charles Waugaman was the editor then and was one of the first to take my poetry seriously and publish it, beginning in 1990.  We became friends and corresponded after he retired; we did not meet in person, but I feel I know him well.  Like blogging friends.  We share our hearts through our art.

Through Time of Singing, and other resources, I found other poetry journals and began sending out my work.  Rejections are all part of the process–it can take time for a poem to find its true home.   I also ordered chapbooks from other poets.  I found the simplicity of haiku and tanka books fit well too, with my life.

I wasn’t writing much, though, during my 40s; especially when compared to my 50s and blogging with WordPress.  But I had the skills and the support of other artists to make a few little books, which I could not have achieved without the help of Charles Waugaman and Lora Zill from Time of Singing.  

So Elin Grace Publishing is a tribute to my grandmothers, for whom I am named.  It was always non-profit and low-key, but it sure filled some empty spaces with friendship and creativity.

Lessons learned:  we do what we can.  As the saying goes, if one door closes, another opens.  Sometimes we need to REST for a good while.  We don’t know how long we have to make a contribution somewhere.  But my faith has grown.  And as my mother said, “God works in mysterious ways.”

Welcoming Hope: Poems for those in need was my last book.  My mother paid the costs and all proceeds benefit Time Of Singing.  I wanted to say thank you to TOS, for helping me begin my life in poetry, and for being a lifeline during some tough years.  www.timeofsinging.com

Our Books And Other Art

In the spirit of poetry month, please feel free to share about your books and other art projects in the Comments.  Thank you for your generous Comments in the previous posts, and may the discussion about language continue here and elsewhere.


Under the name, Elin Grace Publishing, I published a collection of poems with Time Of Singing (TOS), which includes many excellent poets!  The title is Welcoming Hope: Poems For Those In Need.  Lora H. Zill and I were Co-Editors of the book, and Charles A. Waugaman was the Art Editor and Illustrator.   Charles was called Home in 2010; yet his art remains ever-new, as is true of all good artists.  All proceeds for the book benefit TOS.  Elin Grace Publishing is non-proft.

The TOS website also includes guidelines, sample poems, and other information.  I was pleased to see recently that Lora Zill, the editor for many years, is also posting her “editor’s arias” on the website.

Post updated on August 15, 2015

Friendship – Seven Short Poems


for Charles A. Waugaman

Thoughts of a friend
Who always loved and grew
I wonder . . . Has the sky
ever been this beautiful a blue?

* * * * * * *

fragrance of leaves
in the gardens
what good friends
we became
as we grew older

for Enola and Harold Borgh

* * * * * * *

new growth
on evergreens
dinner with old friends

for friends from NIU and NEIU

* * * * * * *

home from mailing
poetry notes
monarch butterfly
greets me
at the back door

beloved penpals and now blogging friends too!

* * * * * * *

river of light
along the evergreens
the friends who stayed

you know who you are and I love you

* * * * * * *

after many
good conversations
one bird
sings the day
to sunset

in honor of family gatherings

reading the poets
of my parents’
their voices

authors through the generations…could not live without them!

Photos of forget-me-nots by Karl in 2011.

I posted these poems on this blog and/or Poems From Psalms And Nature. http://elingrace.wordpress.com

Print journal credits:

“Thoughts of a friend” was published in TIME OF SINGING (Spring, 2011). www.timeofsinging.com

“reading the poets” and “new growth” were published in SMILE (Summer 2010).  This is a large print journal with a special outreach to “shut-ins” and nursing homes.  My mother was in their “Circle of Roses” for prayer for years.

Grateful.  Ellen

Beginning My Third Year With WordPress

By God’s grace and a lot of help from others, I am now beginning my third year with this blog and WordPress.  I was a classic over-achiever when growing up.  I tried so hard in so many ways and landed in the hospital for my 40th birthday (1993).  My 40s were mainly about getting strong again, caring for my mother, and saying good-bye to many dear relatives.  The illness I had changed my energy level and required some clear choices.  I am profoundly grateful every day.

I started over in new cities, new jobs, and new creative endeavors many times.  But we can grow deep roots over time.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve had to grow my roots an inch deeper, and sometimes a foot deeper.  God does the growing.

The women who cut my hair so well now are young enough to be daughters or grand-daughters.  We get involved in conversations.  I don’t mind sharing if it encourages someone to slow down a little, get enough sleep–AND/OR to believe they can succeed at new things at any age!  Once a teacher, always a teacher.

Blogging got me writing more again.  At first, I retyped poems that had been previously published in print journals.  Then new poems began arriving.  When I was not completely well, I discovered haiku and tanka.  The short forms were poetry I could read.  They are challenging too, and no one would ever claim to master them. 

One nice thing about poetry is that you can share in a way that helps others while also respecting everyone’s privacy.  Authors like Luci Shaw, Madeleine L’Engle, Charles A. Waugaman, and others showed me how to do this.  Others reading this can speak about poetry and other art forms far better than me.

Still learning always…

Karl’s photo of the Trumpeter Swans on Lake Michigan is a favorite.  So here it is again. 


Used Books And Forget-Me-Nots

I found early copies of used books by favorite authors, Charles A. Waugaman and Luci Shaw, online and ordered some copies.

I ordered from sellers who work with Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com–am just beginning to learn about this online and decided to work with sources I know.  I also buy old books from Mead Public Library in Sheboygan and have some of their discards.

Packages are arriving from different places in the country, promptly, and the books are wrapped with such love and care.  All the books I need for some time!  I plan some thank you notes and gift copies of the Welcoming Hope book I mention in the Pages (a non-profit book with Time of Singing).  This may be a project I save for a rainy day or our next long winter.  It is fascinating to think of the life books have when they go out into the world.

Charles went to Heaven last year.  I love reading poems of his that are new for me, as well as enjoying his unique illustrations.  He found his voice young, and then grew as a poet.  As I put together some dates, I see that he had depth beyond his years.

I wrote about my special admiration for Luci Shaw on May 28, 2011.  She posts current work on her website:  www.lucishaw.com.

Perhaps old books that become new again are like flowers that grow between bricks.  Karl took this photo in our garden yesterday: forget-me-nots and flowering ground cover that spread from a planter I bought several years ago.  This kind of image inspires me greatly.