Friday, 9 August 2013

My Own Horn

I can't seem to help cranking up the search term fun. I'm thrilled to be sneaking in to Gracey's Literary Stylings link-up at Fashion for Giants with not a book (yet?) but my series of tobacco-farming poems, BRIGHT: Tobacco Butts, Behind the Needle, and Baleful Tales of Barn and Bunkhouse, recently published online at Numéro Cinq Magazine (content notes: photo of worker wearing Confederate flag t-shirt, language). Douglas Glover generously included a snippet of his memoir, and you may also find everyone's favourite tobacco-farming song. 

fish milagros necklace with orange glass beads: a gift from my mother and father, Rio Bravo Gallery (Port Isabel, TX), worn here
cropped denim jacket: Smart Set, worn here
grey t-shirt: Michael - Michael Kors, thrifted
giant grey flower pin: a gift from my mother, worn here
plaid maxi dress: BCBGeneration, Dillard's
grey leather belt: brand forgotten, Beyond the Rack, worn here
silk recycled sari skirt: Alchemy Eco-Fashions, The Circle Game (local shop), worn here
ancient grey leggings: Jacob, worn here
orange suede shoes: Fluevog Starboard, worn here

If poetry is not your thing, there are some old family photos to look at too - pop over to see if you can spot a certain surly 17-year-old wearing a Rocky Horror Picture Show t-shirt at the helm of the tobacco tying machine. These days, I take my blog photos in the well-windowed former "strip room" of my barn, which was used for sorting / grading / "stripping" the dried ("cured") tobacco.

I felt farmer-licious (happy to be not wearing actual farm gear) in this outfit with denim, plaid, and heather grey, which I wore on a celebratory afternoon outing with my mom: I was lucky enough to win a ticket to the 2012 Vintage Red Wine Release Party at the Burning Kiln Winery, which is a fantastic re-purposing of tobacco land, buildings, equipment, language, and legend. My family donated an antique "boat" (horse-drawn wooden sled used to transport loads of tobacco leaves from the field) to the winery a few years ago. Burning Kiln wines have experienced tremendous success in a short time, and my favourites at the event were the Broken Needle Rosé, Strip Room, and Kiln Hanger - The Sequel. 

Back to literary matters, I'm honoured to be among very fine company at Numéro Cinq, which I'd been enjoying for a while (even more since the shuttering of Coilhouse) for its wide-ranging curiosities including art and music as well as its anthology series. Check out Childhood and Fathers for great short prose.

For more tobacco farming history, I love the National Film Board of Canada documentary The Back-breaking Leaf (30 min.). And there is another poet in our midst - visit the amazing Emalina at Kiki and the Gypsy who has made a stunningly beautiful post called Summer Story: A Mermaid's Tale. Thanks for reading!


  1. I love your artful layering, the orange bits and those SHOES...they are funk-tacular!

  2. Your poems are very strong sensory experiences - the sights, sounds and smells of a typical day in the tobacco harvesting industry. Congratulations on this collection - further documentation of your marvelous word-smithing.
    On a style-related note, I do love the pairing of gray and orange, in multiple lengths and layers.

  3. You are a beautiful modern pioneer woman.

  4. Your first photo made me catch my breath!! So, so beautiful and graceful. Love all the colors and patterns, layering etc. the shoes are fabulous. I wanted to see your 17 year old self but couldn't find the link? I don't have time or bandwidth to enjoy all your links but I'll definitely be back. Love you so much! XXOO

    1. You are such a love - it's the one starting with "BRIGHT" near the top of the post, and I've put in another on the phrase "old family photos." xoxoxo

    2. Thank you! I'm sitting in the airport getting ready to go home and I have a moment to revisit your post, albeit on my phone. Your poetry is so evocative, intrducing me to a world I've never experienced directly but can feel from your words and pictures. Xxoo

  5. Oh your family photos and poems are so marvelous. You're a crafter of words, what a gift you have! And your modern/vintage look today is gorgeous too. xoxo

  6. That plaid maxi is downright magical. I love seeing your old pictures, especially with your current ones! I'm having a major sleepy moment, so I'll book mark your links for future reading!! thanks for always showing us interesting stuff. I love learning from my blogging buds.

    1. Beyond the 75% off, it was that single orange button in the loooong line of grey ones that got me!
      Rest well! xo

  7. What an interesting post, and a chance to get to know you better. The poems do indeed conjure the feeling and the essence of that kind of work - I can almost smell the leaves and feel them on my hands.

    I'm glad you mentioned the orange button in your response to Megan - I hadn't noticed it, but it's a nice touch! And that first photo is so elegant with the movement and regal posture. You're a poet of words and images!

  8. Wow Amber, you really opened up my eyes in this post. I went and read your poems and there is a lyrical quality that I now see (or should that be hear?) in your blog. The photos were really interesting in that it is clear that so many people were involved. So different from our isolated lives today. I love your outfit and all the layers and the colours all work well together. Those shoes are amazing. Thank you for sharing - I am really glad I read this post.

  9. I love your reinvention of plaid and the farming aesthetic - palpitating over your red shoes here! I love poetry too - so will be visiting your poems - congratulations on being featured!

  10. I knew when I first found your blog I have much in common with you and now reading your poems I know it. I also grew up on a farm where neighbors worked together to harvest seed corn. There is a mystery to the connection/dependency in everyone doing their jobs, hot and sweaty in all types of weather.

    Love the drama of this outfit. I feel as though I can hear the prairie wind blowing. Beautiful colors and your shoes are a delight to see. The plaid feels right, practical in it's pattern yet dramatic in the way you wear it. After reading more of your writing, the barn where you take the pictures feels right too.

    blue hue wonderland

  11. I love poetry and I love that outfit!

  12. your poetry just painted pictures on my mind--i could SEE it and SMELL it!! and the old photos are lovely.
    The outfit is just amazing from top to bottom--the bit of orange with the grey is gorgeous!

  13. Your writing has always felt poetic to me, and now I see that you are a poet in real life. So many talents! One of which is an eye for the most gorgeous shoes on earth.

  14. In high school, one of the ways I made money to buy school clothes was priming tobacco. Up before the sun, being soaked in tobacco juice, and getting paid in cash every day are actually good memories of my youth.

    I lurve this maxi and its swirl in first photo.

    Peace & grace,


Thank you for your comments!
- Amber