Judy Light Ayyildiz

Judy Light

Judy Light Ayyildiz has taught creative writing to all age groups and education levels for many years. For 13 of those years she was an editor and board member of Artemis, Artists and Writers from the Blue Ridge and she was a founding board member for the Blue Ridge Writers Conference. Judy has a BA in Music Education from Marshall University, an MA in Liberal Arts & also an MA in Creative Writing from Hollins University.

Her books of poetry are First Recital (chapbook, Leisure Publishing), Smuggled Seeds (Gusto Press Poet Discovery Winner) and Mud River (Lintel Press, republished by Authors Guild). She co-authored four supplementary texts for students and teachers with Rebekah Woodie: Skyhooks and Grasshopper Traps (Skyhooks Publications), Creative Writing across the Curriculum, Easy Ideas for Busy Teachers (Frank Schaffer) and the Writers’ Express (TS Denison). These textbooks for students and teachers grew from her extensive work in educating students of all ages to write creatively. She received numerous grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts as a “Writer in the Schools.”

Her memoir Nothing but Time (XLibris) focuses on the importance of story within to bring courage and healing, and it highlights Judy’s West Virginia youth and her life as a Southwest Virginian. Some of My Ancestors are Ottomans and Turks (Greenhouse Books, Istanbul) was her first children’s book.

Judy Light Ayyildiz has published poetry, short stories, articles, reviews, in anthologies and in literary magazines such as New York Quarterly, Mickle Street Review, the new renaissance, Sow’s Ear, Piedmont Literary Review, Pig Iron Press, Lonesome Travelers Publishers, Clique Calm Books, Turkish Times, Turkish Torque, McGuffin Magazine, Hawaii Pacific Review, Artemis, Black Water Review, Roanoke Review, The Northeast Journal, Kalliope and others. She has been the recipient of various grants, honors, and awards.

She has completed her first novel, Forty Thorns, based on the life and times of her Turkish mother-in-law. In 2007, a short story and a poem of Judy’s were translated into Italian for an international women’s anthology, published in Italy. She has been a fiction finalist for the Summer Literary Seminars, St. Petersburg, Russia, Roanoke YWCA 2007 nominee for the “Women in the Arts” award, winner of the Turkish Forum award, the Daughters of Ataturk “Distinguished Service” award, a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a Virginia College Stores Association Annual Book Award Finalist. An essay on the inner-weaving of Judy’s life, with selections of her published work, was included in the 2-2008 international women’s anthology Women Dialogue (Cambridge Scholars Press) and was a 2009 award and published winner of the Nazim Hikmet Festival poetry contest.

Please visit her web site: http://www.judylightayyildiz.com

November On the Rim of Southwestern Anatolia

Evening cascades onto Patara’s ruins. Sun,
a fierce florescent ball, lingers a while
above the stretch of gun-powder blue
that the Turks call, “The White Sea.”
Scanning wide beach to hills, I envision
thousands of years gone, harbor docks,
a metropolis haven between Cyprus and Rome
before earth shifted and the great sea shuddered back,
leaving Patara to withdraw itself into a shroud
of gaping beach and vaulted dunes. Paisley lakes
remain in the skeleton, enclosed by a ribcage of reeds.

Today, among motley stone gardens with lemon,
mandarin, pomegranate, olive, and between palms,
pines, willows and thorn weeds, the archeologists
pick out chunks of fine-honed marble: world’s oldest
lighthouse and congressional hall, towers, Lycian
tombs. Polished by nature’s breath and spit,
like hordes of huge mushrooms, chards wait,
lodged in the dirt. Blooms on prickly cacti
contend with neon bulbs laced along the village park.
Feathery pine trees drip orange bangles.
Birds nest in frowsy ivy that droops from tile roofs.
Walls surrender to the patient whispering
persuasion of the water-colored bougainvillea lips.
Roosters over in the cove complain up to the dunes
all day long, clocks a doodling away the hours.

The sun pours out its sanguine heart in short time
and then fades from the horizon, swathed in waves.
Cool wind settles the dust and scatters mosquitoes
that rallied in the early afternoon. A rusty bird flits
from latticed eucalyptus leaves onto an electric wire.
An imam’s recording calls the faithful to submit.
Here’s the season again for burning satin eggplants
in the sundown, painting next summer’s pots,
for drinking sweet, steaming salap, an old remedy
of orchid roots, cinnamon, goat’s milk. The season
has come again to sit near hearths in stone cottages
concocting tales about the blazing seasons gone.

*Anatolian Turkey is a large finger pointing west and is cradled by the adjoining waters of the Kara Deniz (Black Sea), the Bosphorus Straits, The Sea of Marmara, Ege Deniz (Aegean Sea) and the Beyaz Deniz (Mediterranean Sea).

For other contributions by Judy Light Ayyildiz, please follow the links below:

Poetry in this post: © Judy Light Ayyildiz
Published with the permission of Judy Light Ayyildiz