Archive for the ‘Poetry and Writing’ Category

My fifth Wordsworth book in my Wordsworth the Poet series is here. I’ll be in Hawaii for book signings, talks on Wordsworth and other workshops. Stay tuned for dates. Hilo friends, I’ll be at Basically Books on June 24th at 2:00 p.m. I’ll be discussing how I wrote all five Wordsworth books and Wordsworth promised to make an appearance. Please drop by to say hello.

My Oahu events are still in pencil. I will post them when they’re in ink. I’ll be speaking on caregiving and will do a poetry writing workshop along with book signings.

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DW coverFrank Graham of Sacramento Poetry Center will be interviewing me on:

Sunday: August 20

10 a.m.

Brickhouse Gallery

2837 36th St


I will be reading selections from my forth-coming poetry book: Dangerous Woman.


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Hey Frances, you forgot my frontal view.

I’m going to Hawaii soon to visit their classrooms so schools in Sacramento, let me know if you’d like a visit; I’ll have you writing poems in ten minutes.


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At our last poetry writing support group for caregivers, caregiver Bob shared the following poem:


I Began to Write


I began to write because I was angry.

I began to write because I was hurt.

I began to write because I needed to vent.

I began to write because Fran could not.

But along the way an epiphany.

I fell in love, I fell in love with words.

I find joy in finding the right word and

Like a jigsaw puzzle only one word will fit.

I love the richness and simplicity of the right word.

It has elegance and beauty in its own right.

I love the harmony of words together

With meaning greater than the sum of its parts.

I see stories unfolding to make you weep.

To laugh and move you to action.

This is the power of words.

©Bob Oyafuso

Bob confessed how he pondered over each word and of the time  spent
searching for  the right word. “It’ll take me 35 years to write a book,” he laughed. He explained so well the process of writing poetry.

Driving home, I thought of …
It took me years of reflecting and over six months of actual writing to write the following poem. When the episode happened, ( I was a young new teacher, I noticed a first grader missing…I panicked and went outside and saw him running across the playground with arms all out…running into the fog. I stood and watched him until he returned; he merely said “I couldn’t touch it.” We walked back to class without a word, my arms around his shoulders.)
I knew I had to capture it so I wrote a short story.
Somehow the story just didn’t do it. I wrote the story in various forms and finally settled on the following:

Run, Run, But Not Into the Fog

A little boy
Runs into the fog
As it slowly creeps
Over the field,
Softening edges
Into mists.
He runs and runs
And soon is swallowed
By the mysterious giant.
Then slowly, quietly
He returns to me
With wooden legs
And puddled wings.
“The more I ran
The more it disappeared.”

from The path of Butterflies.

No one ever said writing is easy.

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I Am SomebodyIt’s here!

My new book, I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving, is available for purchase direct from my publisher at http://www.bookshawaii.net or at Amazon.com (use this link or search for my name to find it faster). It is just in time for National Alzheimer’s Awareness and National Family Caregivers Month, both of which are November. If you are new to caregiving or you know someone who is, I hope you will find this book helpful. If you have been a caregiver for some time, this book is different from my earlier ones because I also include chapters that discuss the end of caregiving. (If you are looking for it in the bookstores, it will take a few more weeks.)

Here is the official book description:

The challenges of Alzheimer’s disease—the physical burdens, financial costs, emotional turmoil and family strife—can reduce our loved one to a “he” or a “she,” a person almost devoid of humanity. As caregivers, our lives revolve around the basics, like doctor’s appointments and dressing, feeding and cleaning up after our loved ones. Their life becomes our life; our life becomes theirs. But who are they now that this disease has taken over? And just as important, who are we? In I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving, dignity-in-caregiving advocate Frances H. Kakugawa presents a new vision of caregiving.

And here is a list of the chapters in the book to give you an idea of what topics I cover:

  • ONE | Welcome, Caregivers!
  • TWO | I Am Somebody
  • THREE | Our 24-Hour Day: Days and Nights in the Lives of Loved Ones and Their Caregivers
  • FOUR | Caregiver into Poet-Caregiver
  • FIVE | Two Normal Worlds
  • SIX | Conversations: Can We Talk?
  • SEVEN | Cultural and Social Beliefs
  • EIGHT | Humor, Imagination and Storytelling
  • NINE | Family
  • TEN | Put Me in a Nursing Home
  • ELEVEN | On Death and Dying
  • TWELVE | Life After Caregiving

I must thank the eleven other caregivers who have generously and bravely shared their poetry and journal entries with me and now the world: Linda Donahue, Jason Kimura, Rod Masumoto, Jody Mishan, Eugenie Mitchell, Linda Nagata, Elaine Okazaki, Bob Oyafuso, Red Slider, Mary Swisher and Setsuko Yoshida; and I extend my deepest gratitude to their loved ones as well. Thank you for allowing me to share your experiences in the hope of helping others. Your willingness to take us into your private world to help preserve the true essence of what it means to be a caregiver is indeed a gift to all.

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Yes, please make a line twice around the block.

from: a shameless dreamer

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Two of my favorite “quotes”

There is no poetry for the practical man. There is poetry only for the mankind of the man who spends a certain amount of his life turning the mechanical wheel. But let him spend too much of his life at the mechanics of practicality and either he must become something less than a man, or his very mechanical efficiency will become impaired by the frustrations stored up in his irrational human personality.
An ulcer, gentlemen, is an unkissed imagination taking its revenge for having been jilted. It is an unwritten poem, a neglected music, an unpainted water color, an undanced dance. It is a declaration from the mankind of the man that a clear spring of joy has not been tapped, and that it must break through, muddily, on its own.
– John Ciardi

Poems are not written to sing of the moon and flowers; they must speak of our hearts in response to the moon and flowers. We must never forget that in our hearts are the seeds of our poems. If we merely speak of the moon and flowers, poems become simply poetical forms, whatever the human heart may be. If these things become a part of ourselves, then we may admire them in verse.
– Okuman Kotomichi
   19th century


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Cover Art Flattened.indd


The Purple Place
363 Green Valley Road, El Dorado Hills, California 95762


NCPA: Northern CA Publishers & Authors is launching this book on May 28, Tuesday night at 6 p.m.

at The Purple Place. Please join the authors and poets whose stories and poems appear in this anthology. Yes, I have a piece

titled: Junkyard for Writers. If you can’t  join us for an autographed book, they are available at:





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fhk bn   Book Signing for Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

1 P.M.

Barnes & Noble

6111 Sunrise Blvd

Citrus Heights, CA

Ph: 916-853-1389

It would be sooo embarrassing if no one came…..

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Wordsworth and I made the Hawaii newspaper today:

Honolulu Star/Advertiser

February 9, 2013

“Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!” by Frances H. Kakugawa (Watermark Publishing, $10.95), tells the tale of Wordsworth, a small Hawaii mouse, and a few of his friends who use poetry in their attempts save a koa tree grove.

Wordsworth is troubled when he finds a load of fallen trees on a truck bed and a bulldozer ready to plow down the last remaining tree, the one where he and his best friend, Emily, had carved their initials. As the tiny friends struggle to make a difference and preserve the forest, one of Wordsworth’s poems becomes a rallying point as two groups of adult mice debate the trees’ importance.

The friends find their “Save This Tree” poems taped to pine, mango and coconut trees. Young children might get lost in the words, but the message is endearing.

Tree in a Box kits, which can be purchased at www.bookshawaii.net for $14, include seeds to start a milo tree (a type of tree from the hibiscus family, similar to hau) along with a “Wordsworth” book.The activity of planting a tree may make the environmentally friendly message clearer for younger readers.

Colorful illustrations by Andrew J. Catanzariti bring the tale to life.

Write an ode to your favorite tree . Have a favorite tree that inspires you to write poetry? Watermark Publishing and Hawaii-born author Frances Kakugawa invite keiki in grades K-12 to participate in the “Wordsworth the Poet Poe-TREE Contest.” To enter the contest, kids are invited to follow the example of Wordsworth and write a poem that celebrates their favorite tree. Six prize packages — two per grade division: K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 — will be awarded. Each package includes a copy of the three Wordsworth series books, a child’s gardening tool kit and Koa Legacy Tree from the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative donated by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods. Download the entry form at bookshawaii.net and click on News and Events. By March 1, send entries marked “ATTN: Wordsworth’s Poe-TREE Contest” via email to wordsworth@bookshawaii.net or to Watermark Publishing, 1088 Bishop St. Suite 310, Hono?lulu, HI?96813. Winners will be notified April 15.

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