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Improve Your First Person Villanelle - L MILTON HANKINS's Blog

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I was born and raised in the south-central West Virginia. I graduated from Nuttall High School, Lookout, WV in 1959 and went off to Berea College, Berea, Kentucky. After my freshman year, I enlisted in the United States Air Force, where I served for four years in the beautiful state of Hawaii. While there, I attended Jackson College and the University of Hawaii.

Upon my return home to West Virginia, I married and had two exceptional children, Emily and Adam Hankins. Unfortunately, that marriage ended in divorce after about seven years. During those same years, I graduated from the University of Charleston, Charleston, WV, receiving my baccalaureate degree in history.

About this time, I published my first chapbook of poetry, The Lady in the Pink Hat. It was published by Candor Press in 1969.

Between 1968 and 1981, my poems appeared in Christian Century, Writer, The Poet, Cameo, Grit, Quintessence, Author/Poet, Tangent, The American Poet, Prairie Poets, The Baptist Leader, and Parnassus. My poems appeared in the following anthologies:  Major Poets Anthology #6, Prairie Press Books, The Soul and the Singer Anthology, Young Publications, Field of Daisies, Nina Brewer Henry, Editor, Prairie Press Books, and Yearbook of Modern Poetry, 1981, Young Publications,  

Articles and short stories appeared in Hoosier Challenger, Housewife/Writer's Forum, Capper's Weekly, Vegetarian Times, Writer's Digest, Equipping Youth, The West Virginia Hillbilly, The Mountain Laurel, Christian Education Today, Leadership, Christian Leadership, The Final Draft, Writer's World, A Better Life For You, Lifeglow, The Messenger, Collector's News and the Antique Reporter, Writer's Gazette Newsletter, Animal Press, The Central Virginian, Pocket Inspirations, The Preacher's Magazine, Chips Off the Writer's Block, Huckleberry, West Virginia--Then and Now, AIM Magazine, Appalachian Heritage, Fiction Forum, and i:The First Person.

(More recently) I obtained my master's and doctoral degees in Theology at Trinity Theological Seminary. I served churches in West Virginia, Ohio, and Virginia before retiring in 1997.  A compulsive writer, my poetry, articles, short stories, and theological writings have appeared in numerous national journals and periodicals, mentioned previously, and including Biblical Illustrator and the renowned Pulpit Digest. In 1992-1993 I was selected for Who's Who in Religion. I was also elected to the international poetry society, Y Escambi Internationale. One of my poems was read into the Congressional Journal of the United States. I am also a member of Pi Gamma Mu, an honorary sociological fraternity. 

(Even More Recently) I published a book of Appalachian short stories, Ashes on the Snow, and, A Sensible Theology for Thinking People (A retired Southern Baptist minister talks candidly about the Bible, Theology and Contemporary Concerns). For about eight years I wrote a weekly column for the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch.

In the past couple of years, some of my poems have appeared in PS: It's Poetry, Arczis Technologies, Inc., Nursery Rhymes & Stories, Eve Roper, Compiler, Kindle Direct Publishing, and PS: It's Still Poetry, Volume II, Arczis Technologies, Inc.

My "A Sensible Look at Genesis" and my autobiograph "A Pedestal in the Closet" remain unpublished. I have edited three doctoral theses and continue to edit poetry chapbooks and short stories for family and friends. 

I have been interviewed on both radio and television. For two years (2016-2017) I published and edited my own website, "A Columnist With a View."

My wife Deborah and I moved to Catlettsburg, Kentucky to operate The Presidents' House Bed and Breakfast, where we remained until we retired a second time and moved to Ashland, Kentucky. My wife Deborah of 35 years died November 22, 2018. In the years since her death, I have been very active on the Poetry Soup and All Poetry websites. 

I continue my work as a freelance writer and editor. I am available for editing projects by contacting me at:

Improve Your First Person Villanelle

Blog Posted:8/6/2022 8:47:00 AM

My Dear Poets - If you are (or have) entered my First Person Villanelle Contest, here are a few hints on how to place or improve your Villanelle's chances of placing. I am finding these turn-offs, so check your poem and re-submit, or, take your poem back and re-write. Keep checking here throughout the contest for more alerts on issues needing more work.

1) The first two lines of the ending quatrain must keep the rhyme scheme and rhyme with the first two lines of your poem. If not, then your villanelle is not a proper villanelle!  A villanelle is a nineteen-line poem, five (5) tercets and one (1) quatrain. You must stick to this form.. If your poem has more than five tercets or your quatrain has only three lines, you need to re-write!

2) Check your line length. Although there is no set requirement, your lines should be approximately equal in length. Longer lines intermingled with shorter lines generally break the rhythm of your poem. Not a good thing!

3) PROOFREAD! Please, please proofread. Typos and spelling mistakes are always a turn-off!

4) The subject matter of your poem should not change in the middle of the poem; nor should the "person" change, and all of the lines in your poem should make sense in relation to your theme or subject.

5) Watch your punctuation. No punctuation at all is better than misplaced commas, periods, dashes, and exclamation points. Last contest, a two really fine poems did not place because of overuse of dashes and exclamation points.

6) Capitalization is important. Days of the week are proper nouns and are capitalized, i.e. Monday, Saturday, Sunday, etc., although the seasons of the year are common nouns and are not capitalized, as a general rule, i.e. spring, summer, fall, autumn, and winter. The word "holidays" is not capitalized, while the words "Christmas," "Easter," and "Thanksgiving" are always capitalized when referring to the holiday. Unusual and erroneous capitalizations in a line of poetry can be quite distracting.

7) A poem which has won a trophy in a previous contest is ineligible for entry in my contests. After all you can't have two trophies! It has come to my attention that some people change the date on an award winning poem and enter it, but this is not to be done. "New, originally-written" poems means exactly that! If I find out a poet is violating this rule, their poem will be automatically disqualified.

Thanks, Milt

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My Past Blog Posts

First Person Villanelle Contest
Date Posted: 8/17/2022 5:31:00 PM
Top 100 BEST Poems of all Times List
Date Posted: 8/14/2022 1:20:00 PM
Notes for Villanelle Contest
Date Posted: 8/11/2022 4:29:00 PM
Improve Your First Person Villanelle
Date Posted: 8/6/2022 8:47:00 AM
Edward Ibeh's Poetry Book
Date Posted: 7/31/2022 1:08:00 PM
Helpful Suggestions for Terza Rima Contest
Date Posted: 7/17/2022 12:48:00 PM
My Terza Rima Contest
Date Posted: 7/15/2022 9:15:00 AM
Date Posted: 6/18/2022 7:22:00 PM
My Books Are Available
Date Posted: 6/18/2022 8:51:00 AM
Date Posted: 6/2/2022 1:50:00 PM
Date Posted: 5/5/2022 7:54:00 AM
Some Prophecies Came to Pass
Date Posted: 4/10/2022 7:31:00 PM
Villanelle Contest - Caution!
Date Posted: 2/24/2022 8:07:00 AM
A Planned Vacation - Contest Slots Open
Date Posted: 2/3/2022 1:39:00 PM
Okay, Listen up!
Date Posted: 1/23/2022 5:11:00 PM
Date Posted: 12/22/2021 1:17:00 PM
Date Posted: 11/10/2021 10:10:00 AM
Judging My Couplets Contest
Date Posted: 9/27/2021 5:55:00 PM
Date Posted: 9/24/2021 2:40:00 PM
Date Posted: 8/23/2021 1:45:00 PM
Date Posted: 8/15/2021 7:44:00 PM
"Trionet" Contest Finalized
Date Posted: 7/2/2021 8:38:00 AM
A Personal Message from "Milt"
Date Posted: 6/21/2021 7:43:00 PM
Date Posted: 6/2/2021 9:03:00 AM
Date Posted: 5/9/2021 8:46:00 AM

My Recent Poems

Date PostedPoemTitleFormCategories
9/24/2022 A Brief Word on Punctuation in Poetry Free versepoetry,writing,
9/24/2022 Because Ignorance Is Bliss Rondeau Redoubleeducation,how i feel,pers
9/24/2022 Autumn's Reminder Quatrainautumn,
9/24/2022 On My Last Nerve Coupletfeelings,how i feel,patri
9/24/2022 Fanning the Flames Quatrainanxiety,bullying,hurt,per
9/24/2022 Embrace the Night Quatrainnight,sky,stars,universe,
9/23/2022 Empty Nest Trioletbird,flying,growing up,me
9/23/2022 Sunrise Tankahope,today,
9/23/2022 Desire and Aversion Didacticcharacter,desire,feelings
9/23/2022 A Little Verse Rhymethanks,together,
9/23/2022 Connie Marcum-Wong Rhymeautumn,memorial,tribute,
9/23/2022 A Note on Mortality Quatraindeath,life,
9/23/2022 Tribute to Connie Marcum Wong Rhymememorial,poetess,tribute,
9/22/2022 The Greater Treasure Rhymehappiness,health,philosop
9/22/2022 The Musing Well Trioletinspiration,metaphor,muse
9/21/2022 autumn leaves Haikuautumn,
9/21/2022 Dangers of Drink Epitaphdrink,farewell,
9/21/2022 A Word on Love Rhymefeelings,lost love,love,l
9/21/2022 Spectrum of Ignorance Sonnetfeelings,pride,self,
9/21/2022 Such Good Results Narrativebooks,imagery,memory,plac
9/21/2022 Musing on Myself Rhymehappiness,i am,image,self
9/21/2022 Enough Already Coupletfeelings,perspective,poli
9/21/2022 Loose Lips Ottava rimatruth,
9/20/2022 This Worn Cliche Monorhymeperspective,word play,
9/20/2022 Mystical Message Narrativedeath,dream,mystery,relat
9/20/2022 Why Is Love So Often Shadow Dizainlove,perspective,
9/20/2022 That Evening Star Free versehome,journey,night,star,t
9/20/2022 Old Tower Clock Rhymedeath,nostalgia,time,
9/19/2022 Seasonal Love Trioletlove,metaphor,summer,
9/19/2022 Transparent Hearts Pantoumconfidence,friendship,hea
9/19/2022 cloud collection Haikunature,sky,
9/19/2022 I Wandered Lonely As a Swan Lyricbird,feelings,me,parody,s
9/19/2022 Road Trip Pantoumautumn,car,travel,
9/13/2022 The Human Spirit Quaterninspirational,uplifting,
9/12/2022 Backhanded Apology Light Versefeelings,humorous,irony,s
9/12/2022 A Fool's Game Villanellemoney,
9/12/2022 When the Cannas Droop Sedokaautumn,christmas,holiday,
9/12/2022 Wish For an Ordinary Day Free verseday,how i feel,peace,
9/11/2022 Who Knows Quintain (Sicilian)adventure,africa,death,ha
9/11/2022 Communication with God Tankaprayer,spiritual,
9/11/2022 Food Supply Shortage Haikuautumn,bird,food,
9/11/2022 Give a Royal Flip Rhymeanxiety,food,health,irony
9/11/2022 Repressed Desire Pantoumangst,anxiety,desire,how
9/11/2022 27 Club Rockers Quatraindark,death,memory,music,t
9/11/2022 Wonder Woman Couplethero,
9/11/2022 Ten Days I Remember Listamerica,day,history,memor
9/11/2022 Two Memorable Days Coupletamerica,history,memory,re
9/10/2022 Changing Our Attitude Trioletcaregiving,character,chee
9/10/2022 Searching for the Facts Rhymeintegrity,truth,
9/10/2022 Arthritis Is Back Light Verseage,body,health,pain,
9/9/2022 BIRTHDAY Acrosticbirthday,
9/9/2022 The Ever-Swelling Tide Villanelledestiny,fate,motivation,w
9/9/2022 This Metaphor of Life Blank verseflower,garden,life,metaph
9/8/2022 Thoughts on Back to School Coupletchildren,education,school
9/8/2022 The Undertaker Light Versehumorous,
9/8/2022 Clouds in Autumn Haikunature,sky,
9/8/2022 Better Living Through Chemistry Tankahealth,
9/8/2022 Pin Oaks in Autumn Terza Rimaautumn,september,tree,
9/8/2022 Junk Mail Light Versehumorous,
9/7/2022 Rik Mayall Clerihewdeath,farewell,
9/7/2022 High Water Dangers Haikuenvironment,nature,water,
9/7/2022 Halloween in the West Virginia Hills Free versechildhood,halloween,mount
9/7/2022 Wants vs Needs Quaternconflict,desire,judgement
9/7/2022 Avoiding Conflict Rhymeanti bullying,conflict,pe
9/7/2022 The Challenge of Poetry Forms Pantoumpoems,words,writing,
9/6/2022 HEAVENLY Versehow i feel,patriotic,trut
9/6/2022 Today Is a Repeat of Yesterday Rondeau Redoublehistory,how i feel,perspe
9/6/2022 Autumn Blues Shadormaautumn,color,holiday,how
9/6/2022 End of Summer Triolethalloween,september,summe
9/6/2022 On a Sour Note Pantoumfeelings,how i feel,humor
9/5/2022 My Computer Has Fallen and Can't Boot Up Pantoumcomputer,humorous,miracle
9/5/2022 A Wiser Generation, I Hope Free versechange,environment,nature
9/5/2022 Forever Is Much Sooner Trioletchildhood,imagination,tim
9/5/2022 Walking Along the Shore Quatrainboat,city,ocean,places,
9/4/2022 An Apple Is Always an Apple Rhymefamily,fruit,metaphor,
9/4/2022 Happy Birthday, Mom Free versebirthday,mother son,tribu
9/4/2022 Brand New Joints Light Versefun,humorous,
9/3/2022 Write the Poem You Like Terza Rimairony,poems,poetry,writin
9/3/2022 Cycles of Seasonal Changes Rhymechange,nature,seasons,
9/3/2022 Forever in My Heart Sonnetlost love,love,
9/3/2022 Laurels of a Certain Win Sonnetconfidence,encouraging,pe
9/2/2022 Watching Dog Sedokaanimal,care,dog,home,
9/2/2022 Sycamores Shadormaseasons,tree,
9/2/2022 Unmitigated Disdain Triolethow i feel,jealousy,
9/1/2022 Beyond the Sea Quatraindream,fantasy,
9/1/2022 Autumn Breeze and Burning Leaves Pantoumautumn,
9/1/2022 An Open Window Rhymechange,character,destiny,
8/31/2022 Changing My Mind Trioletchange,how i feel,
8/31/2022 On Donald Trump Pantoumhow i feel,perspective,po
8/31/2022 When the Mind Plays Tricks Villanelleanxiety,break up,memory,
8/31/2022 Seeing Is Believing Light Versesilly,
8/30/2022 The Tortured Mind Quaternanti bullying,conflict,me
8/30/2022 Getting the Job Done Light Versejobs,success,
8/29/2022 A Snarly Response to a Stupid Request Quatrainhumorous,
8/29/2022 Someday I Shall Fly Higher Pantoumadventure,future,hope,how
8/28/2022 Bittersweet Morn Free versedeath,grief,lost love,pai
8/28/2022 Triolet on Reading Between the Lines Trioletfantasy,imagination,words
8/28/2022 Final Parting Epitaphhumorous,
8/28/2022 The Creative Mind Villanelleart,culture,inspiration,m
8/28/2022 I Like Me Light Versefun,humorous,me,silly,

My Photos

Fav Poems

VERSE FREED to couplet Coupletnostalgia,word play,
A Man Called Leo Quatrainanxiety,emotions,father s
A Song of Three - Favorite Rhymefun,
Statues In The Park Rhymehistory,
The Last Supper Limerickjesus,
Q Tipping Political Verseabuse,america,angst,discr
The Holy Road Free versewar,
It Was a Good Morning until Free versedad,fun,kid,
Spring Rhymeflower,spring,summer,sun,
Don't Go To L Rhyme10th grade,
It Was A Good Morning Until Rhymehumor,
Baxter Bug and the Purple Orb Rhymeinsect,
Another Lifetime Versework,
My Government Tis of Thee Rhymedeath,humor,
this old building Versehome,
Cowboy Shooters On Motor Scooters Rhymehumorous,native american,
I Won't Try Again I Quit Limerick2nd grade,3rd grade,4th g
Miss Amelia Havisham's Garden Shed Rhymedeath,garden,literature,
Lazy Bones Rhymework,
This Beautiful Brown Eyed Boy Narrativeblack african american,bo
Charlies Boarder Rhymeanimal,
Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday Rhymeday,
The Legs Are Last To Go Rhymefamily,fun,humorous,life,
Again Verselove,snow,
silence Free versechild,conflict,death,phil
PS - IT'S POETRY Rhymehow i feel,poetry,writing
I REMEMBER SMOKEY Quatraincat,childhood,
Howling Good Night for Pumpkin Fight Monorhymecat,halloween,
Stand in a Field and Scream Villanelleanxiety,betrayal,depressi
In Sandy On A Sundy Rhymehumor,
I Felt An Ache Inside Rondeau Redouble11th grade,12th grade,ang
Majesty of Fall Verseautumn,beauty,
As Free as the Long Grasses Free verseself,wind,
The American Indian Rhymeappreciation,beauty,histo
Better Choice at the End Rhymehumor,
ILL REPUTE Rhymehumorous,lust,sin,
Nobody Knows the Rubble I Have Seen Light Verse2nd grade,3rd grade,4th g
Winter's Fantasies Free versefantasy,snow,winter,
I Almost Pooed My Pants Rhymefishing,
Together in This Prose Poetryscience fiction,
Crazy Animal Poem Monorhyme1st grade,2nd grade,3rd g
My Whiskey Was Dumped Into the Well Rhymedrink,water,
How Do You Like Them Apples Rhymehumorous,
To The Temptations Free versemusic,tribute,
Shh, I'll Make It Go Away Rhymechildhood,how i feel,love
Man's Enduring Gift Rhymecreation,humanity,power,
Overexposure Free versechildren,education,growth
In My Dreams Free verseanimal,
Blue Ridge Nights Free versepoetry,
Huskey Mountain Ode Rhymehome,
Crumb Coupletsuicide,
Lost and Found Coupletadventure,fantasy,flower,
Talking to the Storm Prose Poetrystorm,
Try Me Sometime Personificationfantasy,humanity,technolo
Joy in the Emptiness Free verseeaster,
HOT,HOT,HOT Rhymefunny,hilarious,humor,hum
Old Women of Southside Knew How to Sing Rhymeage,women,
The Winter Maker Rhymewinter,
Greener Rhymeanimal,metaphor,
I Want To Be A Poet Rhymefun,funny,poetry,words,
Some With Faces Rhymeappreciation,friend,frien
Shadows of Somber Skies Alliterationangel,dark,
That's When the Fight Began Coupletfun,funny,humor,humorous,
Give Me Some Space Rhymemusic,
The Virginia Hermaphrodite Dramatic Monologuehistory,
An Hour Glass Spirit Free versecelebration,
Petites And Faeries Rhymehope,love,magic,together,
Flagpole Fannie -- POTD Rhymegrandmother,humor,humorou
I am Childlike Not Childish Free verseme,
Lend Me Your Ear Rhymecharacter,integrity,peopl
always books Free versebooks,imagination,inspira
Show me God Rhymegod,
Contemplation Free verse10th grade,11th grade,12t
Worries For Another Day Rhymehappy,how i feel,inspirat
Where Daffodils Grow By The Sea Rhymebeauty,daffodils,sea,
Dead to Me Means More Alive than Ever Narrativegrandchild,grandmother,
Universal Holidays Rhymeappreciation,chanukah,chr
Heaven On Earth Free versehumor,
Gertie Reports Glory of Lazy Eye Rhymehumorous,
On Wings of Imagination Verseimagination,
The Big, Fat Fairy Rhymecheer up,fairy,fantasy,
A To-Do List Rhymeme,
I Chose The Life That Was Chosen For Me Rhyme9th grade,angst,appreciat
B U L L I E S Acrosticabuse,anti bullying,
Cutting Ties Rhymehurt,
Esoteric Fox and His Wisdom Narrative10th grade,4th grade,5th
Timeout Rhymebeautiful,change,image,im
Piper in the Woodlands Free versenature,
I Am But a Grain of Sand Rhymecharacter,how i feel,phil
In July Rhymejuly,
An Endless Spring Versenature,
Watching Amos Plowing with Horses Narrativehistory,nostalgia,
bard's-eye view Iambic Pentameteranalogy,metaphor,poetry,w
Survivors Guilt Narrativedeath,grief,how i feel,
The Bus Stop Rhymelonely,lost,mystery,silen
Where Have All the Flowers Gone Free versemusic,
MOONSHINE SHUFFLE - Moderate Country Waltz Lyricmarriage,
Clear, Cool Musings Terzanelleearth,inspiration,moon,mu
Speaking with Shakespeare Rhymehilarious,
Precious Black Night POTD Rhymebeautiful,color,dark,moon

Fav Poets

Laura Leiser United States Flag United States Read
John Hamilton Canada Flag Canada Read
Eric Ashford United States Flag United States Read
Janis Thompson United States Flag United States Read
Sandra Haight United States Flag United States Read
Suzanne Delaney United States Flag United States Read
Thomas Wells United States Flag United States Read
Linda Alice Fowler United States Flag United States Read
Jones Muta Tanzania Flag Tanzania Read
Charles Messina United States Flag United States Read
Maurice Rigoler United States Flag United States Read
Richard Lamoureux Canada Flag Canada Read
Stanfield Major United States Flag United States Read
Wendy Watson United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Rico Leffanta United States Flag United States Read
Caren Krutsinger United States Flag United States Read
Virginia Gelok Canada Flag Canada Read
Carolyn Devonshire United States Flag United States Read
Regina McIntosh United States Flag United States Read
Emile Pinet Canada Flag Canada Read
Chantelle Anne Cooke United States Flag United States Read
Andrea Dietrich United States Flag United States Read
Terry Miller United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Ken Rone United States Flag United States Read
David Walker United States Flag United States Read
Barry Freeman United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Gary Radice United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Panagiota Romios United States Flag United States Read
Bill Baker United States Flag United States Read
Mike Gentile United States Flag United States Read
Jenna Logan United States Flag United States Read
Delice Arleen Skelly Ireland Flag Ireland Read
Sotto Poet United States Flag United States Read
Sally Eslinger United States Flag United States Read
Paula Goldsmith United States Flag United States Read
Tania Kitchin United States Flag United States Read
L MILTON HANKINS United States Flag United States Read
Victor Buhagiar Malta Flag Malta Read
Valsa George India Flag India Read
Marikate Kingston United States Flag United States Read
Mark Koplin United States Flag United States Read
Lin Lane United States Flag United States Read
Avery Won United States Flag United States Read
Carolyn Marie Baatz United States Flag United States Read
Marco Chies Brazil Flag Brazil Read
Tom Cunningham United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Edward Ibeh United States Flag United States Read
Jeff Kyser United States Flag United States Read
Indiana Shaw United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom Read
Sara Etgen-Baker United States Flag United States Read
John Anderson Australia Flag Australia Read
jason azazadiz _Not Listed Flag _Not Listed Read
Jeff Connelly _Not Listed Flag _Not Listed Read
Michelle Faulkner United States Flag United States Read
Ann Foster United States Flag United States Read
Margarita Lillico Canada Flag Canada Read