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End of an Era: Celebrating Poet Linda Blaskey

Poet Linda Blaskey will be editing a new journal Quartet, which launches in January. Keep your eyes peeled for information.

Poet, Katherine Gekker had this to say to Linda:

"Linda, you have been a constant supporter of poetry, for me and for this whole community. You accepted some of my poems for The Broadkill Review at a time when I doubted the value of everything I was writing. Ever since, I have felt your gentle presence at my side, supporting me, and sometimes prodding me to experiment and go beyond what I have believed is possible. Thank you for everything. "


A seasoned composer, organizer, and literary activist, The Broadkill Review Poetry Editor Linda Blaskey will be embarking on a new venture, editing, Quartet, a journal for women of a certain age, an underrepresented group of writers in the worldwide literary community. Quartet will launch in January. Blaskey's last batch of curated poetry will be featured in our November-December issue before we transition to a quarterly schedule.

A tough no-nonsense poet, Linda Blaskey's verse rises out the rural landscape, lush, flush with strength and music; a quality that has not gone unnoticed by her peers and admirers. Her frankness resonates. "My favorite photograph of Linda shows her holding a falcon on a gloved arm. Her smile is fearless, her eyes are full of respect for the bird. This is how Linda brought me to poetry—she took me out of my comfort zone, showed me when to use restraint. Because she’s not afraid of experimenting with techniques that might fail, she encourages me to do the same. But mostly, she pushes me to read poets who make me uncomfortable, and that’s where the real learning begins." Poet Gail Braune Comorat on Linda Blaskey.

Fierce. Uncompromising. Both words describe writer Linda Blaskey's work and personality. An accomplished writer of stories, nonfiction, and poetry, Blaskey’s work has been turned into a staged reading and has been included in anthologies, including the esteemed Best New Poets Series. She’s the winner of two Delaware Division for the Arts Fellowships, the Dog Fish Head Poetry Prize, as well as had her poems included in North Carolina Poetry on the Bus series. Linda Blaskey’s acclaimed debut collection, White Horses, from Mojave River Press, was released the same year as Walking the Sunken Boards, a collaborative collection from Blaskey, and poets Jane C Miller, Gail Braune Comorat, & Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll.

And being a writer means one must engage in reading, to learn from other writers and poets, and also engage in the work of being a part of a writing community, to share with other writers and poets. By that measure, Linda's influence stretches across the Delmarva peninsula, internationally, through her work with first The John Milton Poetry Festival and then The Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. Jamie Brown, founding editor of TBR, and festival progenitor said Linda "helped organize and staff the fourth annual event. She became a key player for the next seven or eight years until the Theater closed and was sold, and the event moved to the Milton Memorial Library." Shortly after "I was able to persuade Linda to take on the additional role of Poetry Editor for The Broadkill Review." You can read Jamie Brown's full tribute here.

And as time passed, Blaskey's leadership in regional literary circles expanded. Poet Sherry Chappelle calls Blaskey " the lynchpin holding the many spokes of the Delaware poetry community together with her passion, extraordinary work ethic, and expansive love for the genre and its practitioners. She's a poetry Energizer Bunny!"

Nancy Mitchell, Poet Laureate of Salisbury, Maryland witnessed Blaskey at work. "I saw first hand how her critiques had earned her the reputation for being honest and outspoken, qualities that have served her well as an editor. She has an uncanny ear and eye for precision and calls them as she sees them." You can read Nancy Mitchell's full tribute here.

"She made me feel like what I wrote mattered—because it mattered to her," said poet Jane C. Miller, one of Blaskey's collaborators in Walking the Sunken Boards. "Her commitment and care has made TBR a haven for poets at all stages of their careers. And her personal connection with countless writers has broadened both the quality of work in TBR and the audience across the globe that enjoys it." You can read Jane C Miller's entire tribute here. TBR Fiction editor HA Maxson agreed, adding "Jean Burden was the long-time poetry editor at Yankee Magazine (before they foolishly ended that feature). Just as Jean gave their readers top-drawer poetry in every issue, Linda Blaskey has done the same for TBR. Her taste is impeccable, she has shaped many readers' sense of poetry."

Poet Alice Morris praised Blaskey's community organization, "As a poet, I have often been one who benefitted from the many outstanding workshops Linda took the time and effort to organize, always bringing in wonderful leaders." You can read Alice Morris's entire tribute here.

"I walked into the Acorn Bookstore in Dover, DE several years ago, and found myself becoming part of a poetry critique group where Linda was a member. This tough, no-nonsense poetry editor scared the crap out of me," said Kari Ann Ebert, who takes over the mantle of Poetry Editor. "I thought she would tear me & my poetry to pieces, but she turned out to be the biggest mentor I’ve ever had in my writing life. She’s concerned with quality and staying true to her voice. She’s taught me to find my own voice as well. No matter the subject matter or form, her poetry is always relevant & engaging. I'm so grateful for her friendship. Thank God I walked into that bookstore!"

Jim Bourey, a regular contributor to The Broadkill Review, also first encountered Linda Blaskey at a local writers group, I first met Linda Blaskey several years ago at a poetry group meeting in Dover. "Most of us were new at critique groups, several of us new at poetry, and all of us a bit nervous about sharing our work in such a public setting...But she wasn’t leading this group. She just shared her poem, listened to our non-expert critiques, offered expert critiques of our work, and was unfailingly kind and patient." You can read Jim Bourey's full tribute here.

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