I met Linda Blaskey when I helped adjudicate Poetry Out Loud in 2014. She asked me to submit to The Broadkill Review and later accepted two poems. I had few publications at the time and so appreciated her support. She made me feel like what I wrote mattered—because it mattered to her. 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.
I consider myself very lucky to call Linda a mentor and friend. But I know I am not alone. She is generous and direct, always seeing the best in people and their poems. Who else can fillet a poem with the precision of a Ginsu knife—but kindly? Who else can find the holes in your work, but fill them with explanation so clear that you come away from a critique with more understanding of your work than when you wrote it? Every time Linda looks at one of my poems, I learn something.
If nothing else, the value of a true friend. She invited me into her retreat group that meets twice a year. From hours spent writing, reading, laughing, and discussing poetry, Linda has opened my life to so many opportunities and good times. Our collection, Walking the Sunken Boards would not have happened without her.
She also is also very forgiving. I arranged for us to attend a fair at which we would give a reading. It was held in a tent with no mikes, by a road with traffic and near a railroad bell that tolled every 15 seconds as she read. Let’s just say it was a learning experience. And she is still my friend.
Jane C. Miller’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals. She won first prize in the 11th annual Naugatuck River Review narrative poetry contest. Two poems were recognized as honorable mention and finalist in the 2020 Sandy Crimmins Prize. The National Federation of Press Women recently awarded Miller first prize for a single poem and 2nd prize for the poetry book, Walking the Sunken Boards (Pond Road Press, 2019), of which she is a co-author. She writes to avoid housecleaning and exercise, but is a decent cook.