An epiphany — no, let’s just call it a moment. I had a moment recently (yesterday) where every poem I’d written looked, well, wrong. Not one — not even the one nominated for the Pushcart Prize — appealed to me. I would open one file, move some words around, then close it in disgust. I… Read More That Sink-or-swim Moment
I remember my first encounter with exceptionally written assonance in poetry. I was in a writers’ group in my hometown, and a friend of a friend joined the group for just a few meetings. She read her poem and I fell in love with the sound. We begged for more. Twenty-one years later, I still… Read More Knowing Your Assonance from a Hole in the Ground
Lately I’ve been bumping against an unusual problem. In reaching deep to get to some of the best emotions I can convert to prose, I’m in danger of exposing things to the light that could come back to bite me. It started with a poem I wrote about a childhood experience. I had acted like… Read More How Open is Your Book?
I was going over a few of my earlier poems last week, and I noticed something interesting. These poems, ones I’d considered little jewels when I’d written them, no longer appealed. In a few cases, I thought the writing sucked. Is that growth or is that person/place/time filters? Probably a little of both. So I’ve… Read More Trimming the Fat
It’s been an interesting, exciting few weeks for me. I was rifling through unread emails and came across one from a journal I’d been published in. I nearly deleted it unread thinking I’d go to the website and read. Good thing I opened it — My poem was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Wow. Really?… Read More Favorite Poetry Books
It happened again — writers critiquing my work told me they didn’t see a clear picture of what I was representing. I didn’t leave enough clues, they said, to help them understand who and what I was talking about. Right there — my biggest dilemma. Had they told me the poem was vague, I’d have been… Read More How Accessible Should Your Poetry Be?
My dad is retired. He spends his summers in Ontario fishing and enjoying a simple existence he’s worked hard to acquire. But that’s not the story. He’s spent a lifetime doing for others — his children first, wife second, himself last. I remember Christmases where we had presents under the tree, but looking back, I don’t… Read More What to Do When You’re Hurting
Here’s the thing about prompts: they don’t have to be serious to be turned into something serious. I remember a friend of mine had been given four words — one included mouse turds — and she was to write a story including those four words. Her essay blew me away. The seemingly hilarious “mouse turds”… Read More Writing Prompt: Say What?
Digging through a box the other day, I came across photos from long ago. The photos brought back some painful memories of relationships past. You know what that means — poetry in the making. It’s no secret that poetry is a great mechanism for working out our shit. As Robert Frost said, “Poetry begins with a… Read More Must We Suffer? Emotional Upheaval as Inspiration
It’s true that life inspires art. However, what if the occasions that inspire also embarrass? Like many writers and poets, I find that some of my best writing is coming from negative experiences. Bad relationships are a recurring theme, and often I know if a poem is published, someone is going to be mighty pissed.… Read More Dredging Up the Past