Issue 23

Issue 23 | 05.30.2019 | Holland, MI

A black and orange admiral butterfly sits atop a purple lilac bloom.
A red admiral butterfly feasts on lilac near Prospect Park. Photo credit Holland Weekly.

Judy Garland as Dorothy and Toto pose in a black and white still from the movie The Wizard of Oz.
Holland Weekly Feature Article: Tornado Safety 101

A gray bearded poet leans against a chainlink fence.
Holland Weekly Arts: An Interview with Poet Jack Ridl

Black and white cat peers up at camera.
Holland Weekly Shelter Loves: What’s That, Toto? There’s No Place Like Home?

A beige bowl with bright green pureed peas inside.
Holland Weekly Recipe: Fresh Green Pea and Mint Dip

Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Holland Weekly Horoscope: Sylvia Reads The Stars

Judy Garland as Dorothy and Toto pose in a black and white still from the movie The Wizard of Oz.
We’re not in Kansas, but we still get twisters. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Tornado Safety 101

By Kathleen Schenck
May 30, 2019

Tornadoes ranging in intensity from EF-0 to EF-3 touched down in Indiana on Memorial Day, according to the National Weather Service.

Severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings, accompanied by town sirens, sent many of our Hoosier neighbors from their backyards to their basements this past Monday. Funnel clouds were also spotted but not recorded as tornadoes since they did not touch down.

While Holland was spared the severe weather this time around, it’s a good time to review tornado facts.

The National Weather Service explains that a Tornado Watch means conditions are possible for a tornado to form. Be prepared. A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been spotted, is occurring, or will shortly occur in your area. Seek shelter.

First and foremost, heed watches, warnings and especially the town siren. Take these seriously and take cover. Choose the lowest interior room of your home or business, and stay away from windows. If in a mobile home or vehicle, find the nearest substantial shelter.

Do not scoff at warnings. For example, an EF-0 does not sound too scary. But its winds can top 85 mph–enough to throw branches into windows, push over shallow-rooted trees and cause damage to a chimney. An EF-1 can blow a car off the road.

Since severe thunderstorms also bring great danger, take these watches and warnings seriously, too. From the National Severe Storms Laboratory: Under the right conditions, rainfall from thunderstorms causes flash flooding, killing more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes or lightning. Lightning is responsible for many fires around the world each year, and causes fatalities. Hail up to the size of softballs damages cars and windows, and kills livestock caught out in the open. Strong (up to more than 120 mph) straight-line winds associated with thunderstorms knock down trees, power lines and mobile homes. 

We are fortunate to live in the Midwest for so many reasons, but tornadoes are a part of our reality. Give nature the respect it deserves–your life may depend on it.

A cat lies across papers and pen on a table.
The poet at work. Photo courtesy of Jack Ridl. And his cat.

From Voice and Vision: An Interview with Poet Jack Ridl

By Kathleen Schenck
May 2, 2019

Interview conducted via email. Notes in brackets [… ] are the interviewer’s.

My process is to start writing and see what happens, to be welcoming, to no more know ahead what the poem will say than what a dinner guest will say next. ~ Jack Ridl

You’ve got a new book out, Saint Peter and the Goldfinch, released during National Poetry Month. What keeps you writing? How do you find inspiration?
My response will sound flippant but I am dead serious. Nothing keeps me writing. It’s there all the time. And I have never believed in inspiration. I write out from voice and vision, both of which bring about a poem for which I have no preconceptions. That doesn’t mean what appears is worth reading. Rather than writing out of inspiration I try to write out of care. I may notice something or have something come to mind and if I notice a feeling that I care, I follow where that leads.

Your parents appear in the lines of your poems from time to time (such as in the poem, Scrub). Do you find it difficult to approach the topic of parents? Necessary?
Not at all difficult. Parents live within us. So, there they are. However, I hope any revelations about them are respectful. It’s a moral reality.

How did your parents respond to your desire to write poetry?
Indifferently because they were taught, like the majority of Americans, that they didn’t know “anything about it.” Sad.

I’m not sure if it’s a conscious choice, but you write about the juxtaposition of Masculinity vs Gentleness, as if the two at times stare down each other across a slot canyon. Can you speak to how the idea or ideal of masculinity has changed for you?
How it’s changed for me. Forty years ago when asked about composing poetry I would always say, “And I’m an athlete: shortstop in baseball, point guard in basketball.” Now I think the very word masculinity is stupid, meaningless, harmful.

Related to that, perhaps: What was your first car? First dream car?
I always liked those kinda square Mercedes. My first car was a yellow Camaro with a black vinyl top, 1967.

1967 yellow Camaro with black vinyl top.

What advice would you have for people writing poetry today? 
Dare the sappy. Learn the damn art for heaven’s sake. It IS an art. Artistry has to be learned. It’s what amplifies the creativity. Don’t you somehow have to LEARN to play the guitar? There are 14 ways to break a line. That gives you fourteen ways to work with to bring about an effect at the end of something as simple as the end of a line, 14 ways to have more fun. And write with musical phrasing.

Is it helpful as a poet to share one’s work with others, as in a workshop situation, or in publications? 
Only if they first respect your poem by attending to what IT is and not what they think it should be. And only if they know what they’re talking about.

How does a poet–or any writer–keep from becoming discouraged when those rejections roll in one after the other?
If one can keep from being discouraged, then one will extinguish empathy, turn cold, and become just another opinion carrier. One must assume being discouraged about most everything. Once one discovers discouragement as an affirmation of one’s being humane, one finds it a Friend.

A dog rests her chin on a couch pillow.
Vivi Ridl. Photo courtesy of the poet.

Can you take us into your process of writing a poem? What’s that like? Where does the magic happen? 
Magic doesn’t happen. It’s the essence of everything. Nothing can be explained. Magic goes by many names: mystery, the numinous, faith, ineffable. My process is to start writing and see what happens, to be welcoming, to no more know ahead what the poem will say than what a dinner guest will say next.

When’s your favorite moment: when the idea or inspiration for a poem hits, the scribbling of notes, the lines taking shape, the revising, the acceptance email, or something else entirely?
Something else entirely. But I do love learning from the poem. It has so much more to reveal than I will ever have.

And having a poem on a pillowcase! [Author’s note: Jack Ridl’s poems appear as rolled scrolls tied with pretty ribbon atop pillowcases in a vacation home up north. It’s the literary equivalent of mints.]

What’s your favorite thing about living along the Lakeshore?
Knowing it’s always there when I need it.

Metaphor time! If you were a Johnny Cash song, which one would you be? 
Folsom Prison. Did I spell that right? [Yes.]

If you were a planet? 
Pluto when it was.

A trout? (Lake or River? Rainbow or Steelhead?)
Definitely Rainbow.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I wouldn’t be alive were it not for Julie, for whom I get to be a husband.

And I wish I could have made it to the major leagues or been a carpenter.

A dog and a woman stop along the beach on a gray day in West Michigan.
Vivi and Julie Ridl comb the beach. Photo courtesy of the poet.
A gray bearded poet leans against a chainlink fence.
Photo of the poet. Photo credit Julie Ridl.

Bio: Jack Ridl’s newest collection is Saint Peter and the Goldfinch from Wayne State University Press. Practicing to Walk Like a Heron (Wayne State University Press, 2013) was awarded the National Gold Medal for poetry by ForeWord Review/The American Library Association. His collection Broken Symmetry (Wayne State University Press) was co-recipient of The Society of Midland Authors best book of poetry award for 2006. His Losing Season (CavanKerry Press) was named the best sports book of the year for 2009 by The Institute for International Sport, and The Boston Globe named it one of the five best books about sports. In 2017 it was developed into a Readers Theater work. Winner of The Gary Gildner Prize for Poetry, Jack has been featured on public radio (“It’s Only a Game with Bill Littlefield,” “The Story with Dick Gordon,” and Garrison Keillor’s “The Writer’s Almanac.”) Then Poet Laureate Billy Collins selected his Against Elegies for The Center for Book Arts Chapbook Award. They read together with Sharon Dolin in NYC at Christmas after 9/11. He and Peter Schakel are co-authors of Approaching Poetry and Approaching Literature, and editors of 250 Poems, all from Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. With William Olsen he edited Poetry in Michigan in Poetry (New Issues Press). Jack’s poetry has been nominated for 19 Pushcart Prizes. He has done readings in many venues including being invited to read at the international Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, and was one of twelve people in the arts from around the U.S. invited to the Fetzer Institute for their first conference on compassion and forgiveness. In 2014, Jack received the “Talent Award” from the Literacy Society of West Michigan for his “lifetime of work for poetry literacy,” and The Poetry Society of Michigan named him “Honorary Chancellor,” only the second poet so honored. After the presidential election in 2016 he started the “In Time Project,” each Thursday sending out a commentary and poem. Christian Zaschke, the NYC based U.S. correspondent for the leading German Newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, wrote a feature about his work. Jack and his wife Julie founded the visiting writers series at Hope College where he taught for 37 years. The students named him both their Outstanding Professor and Favorite Professor, and in 1996 The Carnegie (CASE) Foundation named him Michigan Professor of the Year. Nine of his students are included in the anthology Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25 edited by Naomi Shihab Nye. More than 85 of Jack’s students have earned an MFA degree and more than 90 are published authors, several of whom have received First Book Awards, national honors.

In retirement Jack conducts a variety of writing workshops, welcomes readings, holds one on one sessions, etc. For further information about Jack and these activities, check out his website at

Black and white cat peers up at camera.
Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re in Michigan! Photo courtesy of Allegan County Animal Shelter.

Adopt Toto!

By Allegan County Animal Shelter
May 30, 2019

Each issue of Holland Weekly features a local shelter animal who is available for adoption. For more information, and updates on whether or not the pet is still available, please contact the shelter at 269-686-5112.

Meet Toto

Toto is now in the house! And what a presence he is! Born in April of 2016, he’s a big boy–as in structurally big–and very interactive with people, clearly speaking his mind. He’ll make a wonderful companion for someone who wants an affectionate, funny and playful cat who wants to take part in whatever the household is up to on any given day. He is on alert at all times. However, he is probably not the cat for anyone already having a feline in their home, as he wants to be Number 1.

Toto is a Domestic Short Hair & Tuxedo Mix from Allegan, MI. 

  • Adult
  • Male
  • Large

HOUSE-TRAINED with Vaccinations up to date, spayed / neutered.

If you are considering a forever adoption into your home and would like to see this very special boy, please visit the Wishbone-operated Allegan County Animal Shelter and/or fill out an adoption application online at

A black and white cat looks upwards.
What’s that, Toto? You see something in the sky? Photo courtesy of the Allegan County Animal Shelter.

A beige bowl with bright green pureed peas inside.
Fresh and bright, this dip will be the perfect thing for your next garden party.

Fresh Green Pea and Mint Dip

By Kathleen Schenck
May 30, 2019

Fast. Fresh. Elegant. I enjoyed this dip at a writer friend’s small but stylish dinner party up north. With peas just about ready for harvest here in Holland, this is a great way to enjoy them. As with pesto, pine nuts are the go-to nut of choice. But I use walnuts since they are local and cheap. I would think raw sunflower seeds could also be substituted. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Yield: 6 servings

Time: 15 minutes, including garnishing and making it all look pretty


3 cups peas (frozen can be used if fresh aren’t yet available)

About 1 cup and a half of water

3 tablespoons raw walnuts (toasted can be substituted for a richer flavor), roughly chopped

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (do go to the trouble of grating it yourself for this)

½ teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup chopped fresh mint, more for garnish

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a cup and a half of water to a low boil. Add peas and cook until kelly green and just tender but still firm, about 1 minute for fresh and 2 minutes for unthawed frozen peas.
  2. Either use an immersion blender or place peas in a food processor or regular blender and add some cooking liquid to start the purée. Then add walnuts, cheese, garlic, mint, salt, pepper and olive oil.
  3. When the purée is relatively smooth, transfer it to a bowl. Add any additional salt and pepper to taste. It may be necessary to stir in more liquid to achieve desired consistency.

Serve with small slices of French bread, melba toast, pita triangles or pita chips, flatbread, water crackers, bruschetta, carrot and other raw vegetable sticks and slices, or an assortment of these items. Garnish if you like with thinly sliced radish and mint leaves–both about ready for harvest, too. Can be refrigerated in container with tight-fitting lid.

Madam puppy dog astrologer, Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.
Madam Sylvia. Photo by Michael Tuccini.

Sylvia Reads The Stars

Week of May 30, 2019

Gemini May 21 – Jun 21

Gemini, you will welcome summer with a grin. My reading of the stars says something new will bring you joy, and it’ll be a secret that puts a smile on your face all day long.

Cancer Jun 21 – Jul 23

Tiny crab, put down that root beer and pick up a spoon. Everything’s coming up root beer floats!

Leo Jul 23 – Aug 23

Lioness and Lion, sorcerer and sorceress. You have powers beyond the five senses that will help you see something in a different light.

Virgo Aug 23 – Sep 23

Valor is yours, Virgo! Your bravery in speaking the truth with kindness will be rewarded this week. Take it in. Take it all in.

Libra Sep 23 – Oct 23

Lovely Libra, Libra maid! Where would we be without you? Give us a wink and make us think of you. (Or, any Beatles song of your choosing that involves the giddiness of love will be your guide this week.)

Scorpio Oct 23 – Nov 22

Sit still and gaze upon what may seem trivial to you, but is a job well done. This week is a good time to pat yourself on the back so that you can acknowledge the good in others, too.

Sagittarius Nov 22 – Dec 23

All isn’t lost, Sadge. You had a minor setback this past week. So what. You are loved, you are understood. Take it all in stride and put yourself back on that pony.

Capricorn Dec 23 – Jan 20

Capricorn, where would we be without your focused efforts to get the job done? This week you will find new helpers where there didn’t seem to be any before.

Aquarius Jan 20 – Feb 18

Aquarius, unlock that heart-shaped box of yours and meditate on what’s inside. You can take this literally or metaphorically: this week is a time to reflect on old treasures.

Pisces Feb 18 – Mar 20

Pisces, soon you will be swimming and playing in the waves. This week I predict is a good time to find fellow fish for upcoming summer fun.

Aries Mar 20 – Apr 20

Aries, most people think of weapons and angry men when they think of warriors. But I’d like you to focus on the warrior pose in yoga. Whether meditating on an image of the pose or trying it yourself, the stars say you will better understand what it’s all about.

Taurus Apr 20 – May 21

Taurus, there is a chipmunk in the ceiling. Not. Cool.


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