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Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational Paperback – December 4, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 62 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449948243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449948245
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,221,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

This little award-winning chapbook in the Celebration Series of poetry chapbooks is coauthored by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball. Magdalena runs the online book review site, The Compulsive Reader. Her short stories, editorials, poetry, reviews, and articles have appeared in a wide number of printed anthologies and journals, and have won local and international awards for poetry and fiction. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from CCNY (New York), an MBA from Charles Sturt University (NSW), and has studied literature on a postgraduate level at Oxford University (UK) and marketing at Newcastle University (NSW). She lives in on a rural property in New South Wales with her husband and three children. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment and two poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup. Carolyn's first novel, This Is the Place, won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, won three. She was an instructor for UCLA Extension's world-renown Writers' Program for nearly a decade and has several multi award-winning how-to books for writers to her name. Her chapbook of poetry Tracings published by Finishing Line Press, was named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads list and was given the Military Writers' Society of America's Silver Award of Excellence. She is the recipient of the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award. Her community's Character and Ethics Committee awarded her their Woman of the Year for her work promoting tolerance with her writing and its Arts and Culture Commission gave her their coveted Diamond award. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly's list of fourteen "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen." Carolyn’s website is . She blogs writers resources at Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best Websites pick Visit Magdalena's website at and The Compulsive Reader at Vicki Taylor's floral watercolors illustrate this chapbook.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
It is a great holiday stuffer!
Joyce White
Vivid images and poignant language make some of the poems memorable.
Amazon Customer
I highly recommend to poetry lovers of all ages.
Sheri A. Wilkinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa J. Lickel on January 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
Just the subtitle made me curious to read this little stocking-stuffer of a Christmas book of poetry. Ball and Howard-Johnson each contributed thirteen poems of various lengths and attitudes.

I confess I'm not as much of a poetry fan as an arm's length admirer, but I certainly picked up on the emotion in many of these poems.

Carolyn's poems touch a glancing blow toward the commercialism of the holiday. One in particular, Test of Faith, is an intriguing study on societal quirks. I mean, how ironic is it that of all the characters of the crèche scenes sold in stores, the infant Christ-child is the most purloined?

Magdalena's poetry uses darker punchier words to describe the harsher side of Christmas. In Infinity in Red, for instance, she asks whether bad dreams count against you if St. Nick sees you when you're sleeping and knows if you're naughty or nice.

These are poems to ponder, not necessarily read aloud with the family on Christmas Eve. They encourage a thoughtful attitude about the reality of American society.

The poems are free-form with a lyric visual grace.

Magdalena Ball is the owner of, and Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the guru of all things Frugal at
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Logie on January 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
"Blooming Red" is the first collection of poems that I've read by these authors and I like it a lot.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's poems show her to have an eye for vivid, unusual imagery and an ear for memorable language. Her style manages to be colloquial (and therefore intimate) without being pedestrian; modern and accessible while still being elevated. She also displays the ability to balance the bleak with the cheerful, thus ending up powerful or poignant (as in "How Daddy Untarnished My Twelfth Christmas" and "Out of Malibu: America's Fulfilment of Prophecy"). Sometimes I find her style just a little formless and slightly too complex, occasionally making me do a "double take" when reading, but this is probably just my personal taste.

Of her poems, I particularly liked : "Out of Malibu", a gritty, moving poem about a destitute family's trek to Malibu to commemorate the birth of their son, which somehow manages to avoid being sad or depressing; "Christmas Reinvented", a poem about how our experience of Christmas changes over the years, conveying the poignancy of these changes as we get older (especially as our children develop and age); "How Daddy Untarnished My Twelfth Christmas", another poem about hard times at Christmas (there is a touch of sadness here but it doesn't overwhelm, and it was so well written I could feel the 12-year-old narrator's joy, and extra love for her father, when she feels he is finally treating her as an adult). Overall, very good.

In this collection, Magdalena Ball's poems are decidedly bleaker than Carolyn Howard-Johnson's (which I think is a bit of a mistake in a Christmas collection), but they are well-written, some superbly in my opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joyce White on November 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Review for Blooming Red

Reviewed by Joyce White

Award winning and happily espoused poets, Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball, have teamed up once again, to help celebrate their love of the holidays with their new book of poetry, Blooming Red. Carolyn is the Frugal Book Promoter and the Frugal Editor. You can find Maggie at the popular Compulsive Reader.

Carolyn and Maggie work together virtually as Carolyn lives in California and Maggie lives in Australia. It fascinates me how these two poets team up and get the best out of each other. Each contributed 13 individual poems to this festive holiday collection of wit, family charm, and myth. If you're wondering, they also collaborated on Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future in the same way. All can be found at Both of these women enjoy a common interest in celebrating their sexuality and sensuality in poetry during the holidays.

Carolyn experimented with abstract and form in her poetry, and some of her one-liners, are:

"Christmas is always a surprise one wants to decorate a tree pushing a star to the top of a 14-foot high vaulted ceiling..."

"Christmases all to soon pass us by as others laid claim to our progeny..."

"we have more time to remember while "all the gremlins and ants...cleverly disappear until it is Christmas time again..."

Carolyn turned to Google to help her find an anteater to adopt or rent out for the holiday...Google's keyword elf gave [her] the best gift of all Christmas gifts...the idea of making-dinner-reservations...out!

Carolyn writes "Natures best gifts and ours never silent...blessed by no human sound.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Margaret L. Fieland on October 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Blooming Red
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball

Looking for a holiday stocking stuffer? Want something to read aloud at holiday dinners, something the whole family can enjoy? Then treat yourself to is delightful collection by poetic collaborators Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball.This is a delightful little volume, 58 pages consisting of thirteen poems by each poet. I love reading poetry aloud, and this volume is full of delight. A couple of favorites:

Christmas Magic Wrought by Google's Keyword Elves
by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

which begins with

At the stroke of dawn on November first
gremlins tired from their Halloween

and ends with

That's when Google's
keyword elves gave me the gift of all

Christmas gifts. It's called
the make-dinner-reservations

system of revenge.

.You're sure to recognize yourself in this holiday tale of woe. The poor narrator is having a hard time at the holidays.. Ants attack her turkey, the oven thermometers are on the fritz and the Kitchen Aid has died just as its warranty runs out. And are more disasters to come. I laughed but, like the narrator, we, too, have contemplated just chucking the whole thing and going out to a restaurant.

And another, this one by Magdalena Ball - fond memories, Six Million Years Ago, from six million years ago, when we were kids.

Six million years ago
when we were just kids
upright in thin desert air
bi-pedaling in anticipation
of holiday seasons yet to come.
Time was different then.

and ends

the first law of thermodynamics
what cannot be created or destroyed
your burning

Do yourself a favor, and create some memories of your own by buying this book and then sharing it with the whole family over the holidays.
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