Poetry requires stripping oneself
to the bone--and beyond--as both
the reader and writer of it.

Please Enjoy and Share
My Tracings!


Quick Links for This Page
Sample Poem from Tracings Poetry Readings
Published Poetry Buy Links for Carolyn's Books
Review of Tracings

Tracings was designed by its publisher, Finishing Line Press.
It has sparkly end papers and a satin ribbon bookmarker.

More reviews and information on Tracings.

Click here for Carolyn's first person essay, "Beating Time at Its Own Game."

For a growing list of links about tolerance.

For a sample of Carolyn's Short Stories.

First Poetry Chapbook

Compulsive Reader's
Top Ten Reads

Palms to Pines
50 Favorite Books

Tracings is a chapbook published by Finishing Line Press.
She is also the author with Magdalena Ball of the Celebration Series of chapbooks.

Tracings is a Multi Award Winner

Military Writers Society of America named Tracings for Excellence,
Compulsive Reader.com named Tracings to their Top Ten Reads list,
Dawn Colclasure named Tracings one of her
50 favorite books
in her
Palms to Pines blog.

For an excerpt from Tracings

Click here for reviews on the multi award-winning poetry chapbook Tracings.
Cover photography by art by Leora Krygier.

Sample Poem
From Carolyn's File of Hundreds of Poems in Waiting

This poem,  a mild rant;
gives readers an idea of the accessibility
I reach for in most of my poems.

Eavesdropping at the Writers’ Fair (c)

Two words only. Bon mots.
so lovely our language adopted

them, our authors aspire
to deserve their application

to their literary efforts.
 I hadn’t heard

them since French I and II
but here, with liquid amber

leaves fallen at my feet, writers
at my elbow, I hear them twice.

Repetition makes me think
a translation of “good words”

not up to scratch for the efforts
of their countrymen Flaubert

or Malraux, equally deficient
for even Faulkner’s folderol

Hemingway’s doodling. Duped
by Francophiles once again!

The bookish and bogus
impressed by the echo

of vowels in their noses.
say belles lettres,

hold them in their mouths
as if they were bon bons,

relish their crème.
We English do better with words

rooted in blunt Germanic
soil. Bons and belles, simulated

pearls, do nothing for an aging neck
that the real thing wouldn’t do as well.

                                          CHJ © 2007

Unsolicited Endorsement

Dear Carolyn:

Wanted you to know that I received Tracings , have given it a first reading, really, really enjoyed it and was moved almost to tears by some of the pieces.

You have a lovely, natural style, a unique voice. I remember your saying that you didn't want to be known primarily for your "promotion" book (which is truly valuable!) but that you are a literary writer and you hoped people wouldn't lose sight of that.

Having read your poetry, I want to read more of your writing - and I hope you will find the time to exercise your true talent. Maddening that having to promote one's work takes so much of our creative energy.

Look forward to seeing you before too long.

Monica (Morris), author

Early Review
from Compulsive Reader.com

These are ordinary days, and ordinary recollections, make extraordinary by the power of Howard-Johnson’s observation and the tension between sensation and hindsight. Peppered with imagery that is heady and evocative, this is poetry both historical and psychological.

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball, reviewer for Midwest Review

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Finishing Line Press
$12, paper, October 2005

Tracings is a relatively small collection of poems--only 29 in total, but the impact belies its size. Carolyn Howard-Johnson has chosen well, producing a quiet and evocative collection which goes deep under the surface of everyday life and recollection to muse on such subjects as life, death, love, and loss. At first glance the poetry seems light, but the moment’s respite--a wild holly hock or dead insect on the carpet, becomes a melancholy epiphany, looking coolly into the fragile, tenacious nature of life:

Tracings. Echoes. Deeds done
and undone, transformed
existence, loved ones here and gone. (“An Apparition”)

The poems are heavily rooted in place and time, from the claustrophobia of Utah in the 1940s to the lonely airspace of a flight between Utah and Los Angeles. These are ordinary days, and ordinary recollections, make extraordinary by the power of Howard-Johnson’s observation and the tension between sensation and hindsight. Peppered with imagery that is heady and evocative, the poetry is both historical and psychological. Howard Johnson conjures Utah during World War Two from a child‘s perspective, uniting the dark “velvet“ night with the loss of a father, an air raid siren, a ***** cap, grosgrain ribbons and the smell of gabardine. The impact is immediate:

Oh, nothing, an air raid
my mother answers
as if her words were lyrics
she wanted to forget.
Would the lights return
charged with that sound that split
my father’s hand from mine. (“Earliest Remembered Sound”)

Most of the poetry tends towards the iconic, full of American symbols like Wonderbread, Lux, Barbasol, Kerr canning jars, Keds, Barbie, Guess jeans, Chevrolet, Hershey’s Kisses, Jell-o, or a 1940s Fostoria Bowl, each evoking a certain time and place, and lending a concrete visual image in the midst of introspection. The landscape is deftly portrayed through a child’s eye, from the impact of war on a child left behind, or the helplessness of a child facing a lie about her parents’ divorce. The poetry manages to be simultaneously immediate and distanced, as if we were in the mind or heart of an older, wiser observer, at the same time as we are experiencing the moment firsthand. It is an eerie combination of voyeur and participant, as we watch an older man and younger woman come together in “From the Observation Deck,” or LA burn in “Faith in LA”:

Peaks protrude through
an undulating mix of cloud and smoke
and I, even knowing my home may be
charred timbers, see how lovely, lovely
this masked inferno is.

There is melancholy, but also a kind of muted joy, in revisiting places, people, and times now gone. The past is a series of sensations, images in a snapshot (“Portraits and Poses”), or sensory impressions, which in a Proustian way, reveal themselves only with distance. The landscape of youth, lost innocence and beauty is mourned, but at the same time, there is pride in wisdom and age, and the development of a new kind of beauty:

Our observations are
time congealed; we believe our
bent perceptions, that an event begins and
ends, that time separates one from another.
I reason (if I can trust my reason still)
that my metaphors, squashed like putty,
pulled like taffy, piled line on line
in a mixing dish, transparent or not,
are clear and real today and yesterday
if only because I thought
of them that way. (“Poetry, Quantum Mechanics and Other Trifles“)

Tracings is a warm and wonderful collection of poems. None of the poems are overtly ornate or rhetorical, and however melancholy the memory. Howard-Johnson resists the urge towards sentimentality. The poetry is always slouching towards the bigger meaning, turning the micro perspective of the moment into the broader macro perspective of the poet-god. The poems are immediately accessible and will appeal to readers from all backgrounds, but their simplicity belies the fact that these are profound pieces, worthy of re-readings.

Honored Poets


Sona Ovasapyan, Rita Gabrielyan, Carolyn Howard-Johnson
and Christine Alexanians (l. to r.)
show California State Legislature Certificates of Recognition
issued by Paul Krekorian
at an event at the Glendale City Library
where Howard-Johnson introduced
Ovasapyan and Alexanians as emerging poets.
Garbrielyan, a young poet, was an aide.



Several radio hosts including Lillian Brummett, Kim McMillon, and Lois P. Jones have featured Carolyn's books and poetry readings on radio. Most are suitable for slots in seasonal programming schedules.


Copperfield Review: Poem “Peril,” 2003.

Sparks Magazine, Subtle Tea: The Feminist Journal: Poem “Woman’s Day:” 2003.

Yarrow Brook Review: Poem “Where I Am,” 2002;

Poetic Voices: Villanelle “Adaptation” Sept. 2003.

Lunarosity: Poem “Pleading for Sylvia”, March 2004.

Mochila Review: Poem “Big Screen Snack,” May, 2004.

Long Story Short: Poems “Bon Sai,” Jan. 2004; “Woman’s Day,” March 2004; “Shopping on Robertson,” June 2004; Poem, “Children Today Don’t Have Enough Leisure Time,” Nov. 2004, “Musing Over a New Calendar,” and “New Year,” Jan. 2005.

Apollo’s Lyre: Poem “Deciphering Sound.” May, 2004.

The Pedestal Magazine: Poem “Olvera Street Tutorial.” April, 2004. Winner Readers' Award

The Journal of the Image Warehouse: Poems “The Dangerous Lizard of Gabon,” “Poetry by Damned,” and “Perfectly Flawed.”

Re)verb: Poem “Faith in LA,” spring, 2005.

Mindprints: Allan Hancock College, Santa Maria, CA., Poem “Bon Sai,” Annual 2005.

Edifice Wrecked: Literary Journal, fall 2004, poem “Shelf Life.”

Sunspinner Magazine: Poem, “Olvera Street Tutorial,” 2005

Mary, Mt. St. Mary's College Journal, Spring 2005.

Niederngasse, an international journal "Eavesdropping at the "Writers' Faire," July, 2005, www.neiderngasse.com.

Penwomanship, Poem, "Antigua's Hope," Aug. 2005.

Barricade, Edited by John Newmark, "Upon Safety, Illusion and a New Way to Think, December, 2005

Travelers' Tales, Excerpt "Every Heard of Terezin?" 2006

A-pos-tro-phe: Poem "The Lecture: Incomplete and Considerately Abridged,".http://www.a-pos-tro-phe.com/v2n3/thelecture.html

Riley Dog: Excerpt from a poem "The Lecture: Incomplete and Considerately Abridged." June, 2006.

Subtle Tea, edited by D. Herrle, Poems, "Learning About Sex When All Else Fails" and "Another Day." Aug. 2006.

Under the Roc, Poem, "Shelf-Life," 2007.

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal , "Dandelions in Autumn," fall 2007.

Coffee Press Journal, poem, "The Fragile Art of Warfare." Nov. 2007.

Coffee Cramp; Poem "The Fragile Art of Warfare" Nov/Dec 2007 issue.

Pear Noir, poetry journal, "Death by Ferris Wheel." January, 2009.

Wine, Cheese & Chocolate, Manzanita Press and Calaveras Country Humanities Council; poem "Big Screen Snack.

"Carolyn's poem "Endangered Species" won the
Franklin Christoph prize for poetry, 2010.

See some of Carolyn's fun travel/recipe poems.




Buy Links for Carolyn's Books


Great Fiction
HARKENING at Amazon in their new and used feature.
Both of these books are out of print. They are available only on Amazon's New and Used feature for about $1.

Great Poetry
Purchase TRACINGS (Finishing Line Press) at Amazon.
IMPERFECT ECHOES: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters,
lie and oppression with Small

Give the gift of poetry with a chapbook from Magdalena Ball's
My Celebration Series

CHERISHED PULSE: Unconventional Love Poetry
IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions
SHE WORE EMERALD THEN: Reflections on Motherhood
BLOOMING RED: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
DEEPER INTO THE POND: Celebration of Femininity
SUBLIME PLANET: Celebrating Earth and the Universe

HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers
Second Edition

Survive and Thrive Series of HowToDoItFrugally Books for Retailers

Most of Carolyn's books are also available for the Kindle reader.
Did you know that with the Free app, Kindle can be adapted to any reader--even your PC

 "Careers that are not fed die as readily
as any living organism given no sustenance." 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Studio photography by Uriah Carr
3 Dimensional Book Cover Images by iFOGO
Logo by Lloyd King

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Read past issues of Carolyn's Newsletter. 


Kindle E-Books Aren't
Just for Kindle Anymore

Did you know that Amazon’s Kindle e-books are a low-cost/no-cost way to access books even if you don’t have a dedicated Kindle reader? You can read Kindle's e-books on smartphones, desktop computers and any e-device in between. You can even store the books on the Amazon cloud.

~ Quote from Diana Schneidman, author and marketer


Other Links


Carolyn's Commercial Acting


Celebration Series of Poetry Chapbooks


This is the Place, a novel



Tracings, a chapbook and memoir in one

Harkening, true short stories

Carolyn's Poetry

Helps For Retailers

Helps For Writers

Full Published Works Almanac

Travel and Poetry

Published Shorter Works

Subscribe to
Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Sharing with Writers Newsletter

and get a FREE copy of
Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers

"I have been a professional writer 40 years, and am also a tenured full professor of journalism. Carolyn's Sharing with Writers newsletter is  most useful for me--and for my students. I emphasize to them that while research is 90% of writing, and the actual writing is about 10%, there's another 100% out there called promotion. Carolyn shows numerous ways to get the message to the mass media."
~Walter Brasch, author and educator

Find Carolyn on the Web

  writers retailers

Social Media

 Click here to find join me on a bunch of my social media pages.


Poetry Contests You Can Trust

Google "Winning Writers newsletter" for a great way to keep up with poetry contests that are vetted!

The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood is available both digitally (for greenies who want to save paper, postage and airline fuel) or as a lovely to have-and-hold book for those who still have room in their hearts only for the real thing. And the book is still no more expensive than some of the fancier Mom's Day cards! Click the widget above to purchase.

Find at least one tip on writing, promotion, or tech on every page of this Web site


Unsolicited Endorsement:
"I loved your poem 'deja vu?' in the latest issue of Writer's Advice/Flash section. Breathtakingly beautiful images. I finished reading it, then immediately read it again, to savor it.
  Dallas Woodburn, founder of Write On! For Literacy

Endorsement of Carolyn's poems from an editor:
"I'm a fan of winning lines rather than overall poems. (TRACINGS) delivers heartfuls!"  
~  David Herrle, Editor of Subtle Tea

Poetry Chapbooks Instead of Greeting Cards

Cover art by Vicki Thomas, Poetry by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson

"Cherished Pulse is full of poems that describe love from the eyes and hearts of young and old. We see love in its youthful stage, stirring the hearts of man and woman alike and tying a bond that even death cannot break. As we continue reading, we understand that love deepens into an awesome, but quiet joy as the couple grows older. These poems renew our faith in love as they remind us of our own experience with this most sought after emotion."
~ Lucille P Robinson for Alternative-Read.com


Third in the Celebration of Chapbooks with Magdalena Ball, Imagining the Future is written expressly for fathers "and other masculine apparitions."

She Wore Emerald Then is a book of Moods of Motherhood: thirty poems by award-winning poets Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, with original photography by May Lattanzio. A beautifully presented, tender and strikingly original gift book, ideal for Mother's Day or any day when you want to celebrate the notion of motherhood in its broadest sense.  Share this collection with someone you love.

More on Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational on this Web site.

Sublime Planet is an e-chapbook and paperback published in the time-honored tradition of poets everywhere. This collection of ecologically oriented poems traverses a wide terrain, moving from the loss of species to the beauty of the natural world, from drought to the exploration of alternative planets. It's an exhilarating collection that breaks boundaries and leads the reader deep into the personal heart of perception. Released by award winning poets Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball to celebrate Earth Day, this is a collection of poetry that weaves the personal with the universal. Photograpy by Ann Howley.

“Whatever your age these poems celebrating women will speak to you of times to look forward to or to remember. These are not poems to be read once. They will stay with you forever.” ~ Nancy Famolari, author.

Also by Carolyn:

Tracings is winner of the Military Society of America's Award of Excellence and named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads of 2005

Imperfect Echoes is Carolyn's newest poetry book. Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small. 

Cover and interior art by Richard Conway Jackson
All proceeds go to Amnesty International

Carolyn's  Social Media

Find my favorite social media on the
social media page.

Published Works Almanac

Other Interests



Carolyn's Poetry

Imperfect Echoes
Celebration Series

Carolyn's Literary Works

This is the Place
Published Shorter Works

Carolyn's How to Do it Frugally Series

For Writers
For Retailers

Easy Access to Resources for Writers

Find Carolyn on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

Authors! I repin your books to my boards when you repin mine to yours!

Proud to Support

World Wild Life

with Sublime Planet
book of poetry
Earth Day

Featured in
Pasadena Weekly
Arts and Entertainment Section

All Proceeds to be donated to the World Wildlife Fund

Proud to be Instrumental in Helping Other Poets

Poetry Mystique: A modern text edited by Suzanne Lummis with commentary from the editor.

Poems by selected students from Suzanne's many poetry classes.


The Ultimate Aid
for, Yes!, Even Poets!

Carolyn's multi award-winning
Frugal Book Promoter takes poets and other writers from the reluctant marketer stage to a fully participatory partner for powerhouse publishers or publicists. You'll also be equipped to go it on your own!


Editing Booklet

Like Carolyn's Great First Impression Book Proposal, Great Little Last-Minute Editing Editing Tips for Writers, is also only $6.95. Each of them take less than an hour to read.