In Memoriam to Tammy Daniel
The Ekphrastic Review extends sympathy to the family and friends of Tammy Daniel.
TER will miss her contributions, which have included two poems: “The Book of Better Things” and “Cracking-Up Under Writer’s Block.” Tammy has been too ill fighting cancer for a few years to keep up with her poetry submissions, but she continued to read, enjoy, and compliment the work of other poets at our review. Her health had a brief rebound last summer, when she submitted her interview with poet Alarie Tennille.
Because we appreciate how artists live on in their work, we are pleased to share her work with you again.
It is the end of March
and last week’s spring tease
has left the lone jonquil
buck-naked and shivering
under the spit then spatter
of rain turning snow.
But that’s how it is for some.
No encore. No repeat performance.
One lousy shot to get it right.
And while the snow continues
to fall like accolades, I can’t help
but think of the understudy,
waiting in that dark, cold wing
of the earth, rehearsing her lines,
questioning the director
as to why she should even bother
to wear yellow.
First published in I-70 Review
Tammy Daniel was a lifelong Missourian and had a knack for all things arts and crafts. She was selected as one of New Voices of 2015 by The Writers Place in Kansas City, MO, and was a finalist in the Davis Grove Haiku and Nature Poetry Contest. Her poetry has appeared in I-70 Review, Touch: The Journal of Healing, The Ekphrastic Review, Anthology on Aging: The Shining Years, Dying Dahlia Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Red River Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Rusty Truck, and the Johnson County Library.
Remembering Tammy Daniel, by Alarie Tennille
She called me “Yoda.” Few compliments have ever touched me more. Tammy Daniel and I met at work. I was on the Writing Staff, and she was our Administrative Assistant. In 2005, I began sending my poems out into the world after hours. Like most new poets, I was rather obsessed with my passion. Actually, I still am, in part because I’m fueled by every new poet friend I make.
I noticed how well Tammy wrote. Can you imagine the pressure of having to write a newsletter for writers? I told her how good she was and began sharing my poetry publications with her. She shyly admitted that she loved to write haiku. “Please share them with me,” I said. Then I urged her to enter a local haiku contest, and she was one of the winners. “No surprise,” I said.
Tammy began writing longer, stronger poems, full of grit and tragedy, but also with wicked wit to balance them out. She asked me to critique her, and she was a quick study. Soon I felt I was no longer the mentor, but learning as much from her as she did from me. It wasn’t just about writing. I also chaired a poetry book club that met six times a year. Tammy’s critiques of other poems were always fresh and insightful. That’s why I asked her to do my interview for Three A.M. at the Museum. She didn’t just read a book of poems carefully, she lived in the book for weeks and went back for regular visits. She could toss quotes from them into a conversation – a skill I’ve never mastered.
I was lucky to have her in my corner, reviewing my books, proofreading my manuscripts, and spreading love, smiles, and hearty laughter everywhere she went.
I can’t stand the thought of Tammy’s poetry being forgotten too soon, so I’ve asked her family to allow me to continue sending it out to publishers.
Rest in peace, Tammy. Loved you are.
I wrote this poem about Tammy before I retired in 2012. Why was I chopping garlic at work? For a department salsa contest that I won, the proceeds going to charity.
I teach a poet
how to separate
from a head of garlic.
So easy when fingers
already know how to pry open
fissures beneath the skin,
feel their way through paper
and take things apart.
She welcomes the pungent
taste of discovery – even the way
the smell stains her hands.
“I can’t believe I’m just
learning this at my age,” she
says, and our thoughts sting
with other regrets.
The Ekphrastic Review
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