Madame Sosostris Explains (a poetry patchwork)
Clarissa Simmens
About the Author:

Retired as an Assistant Director of Financial Aid at a Florida community college, I have become a self-published author (what fun!). Growing herbs and experimenting by concocting healing salves and infusions is part of my spiritual life. As a 75% Romani, I learned to create my path, The Drom Ek Romani, from my grandmother, a drabarni, or herbalist, while growing up in Philadelphia. My books include The Way of One Gypsy, The Gypsy's Book, Drab Lil: A Gypsy's Medicine Book and Madame Sosostris Explains (a poetry patchwork). Married and living in Florida, my two sons and granddaughter live at least 995 miles north but cell phones and eMail bridge the distance daily.


THE TITLE: At the age of seventeen I discovered T.S. Eliot's poem “The Wasteland.” The only part of the poem I could relate to was about “Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante.” Four of the tarot cards are invented by Eliot (Drowned Phoenician Sailor, Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks and the Lady of Situations). Having invented my own Drom Ek Romani cards as part of my heritage, I could appreciate his imaginary cards with their mystical names. My first poem explains each tarot card and the second one details the Drom Romani although I make no claim to be a “famous clairvoyante.” The other poems are a patchwork of subjects including tributes to Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and other writers of music and poetry.

THE POEMS: With the exception of several free verse poems, the others are a mixture of Shakespearean Sonnets, Terza Rima, Rima Royale, and, well, more sonnets. The poetry forms are very confining yet I attempted to make them all-encompassing in their little world. When writing the 22 sonnets for the Drom Romani I began speaking in rhyming iambic pentameter in my dreams. Does that make me a poet? I hope so. Failing that, a sonnet a day keeps senility away. I am hoping that whatever your age, you find enjoyment in my poetry.

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