Now that you’ve suffered through some of my “poetry,” maybe you want to read some real poems, huh? By real poets. (She says as if she knows what that means.) Anyway, I think these poems are good. I hope you do, too.
“Lula” by Maggie Smith (the woman who wrote “Good Bones”–the one poem you’ve ever seen take over your news feed).
“Alpha Zulu” by Gary Copeland Lilley
“Milk Drunk” by Jessica Lakritz. (This is a cool project: Skin on Sundays. Very short poems written on skin, with a bit of a back story at the bottom. I’m particularly fond of this one because, well, I get it.)
“A Dream of Trees” by Mary Oliver
“April Aubade” by Sylvia Plath
When I was in grad school, some of the poets challenged themselves to write one poem every day for the month of April, which is National Poetry Month. They called this WriPoEvDa: a nod to the more popular NaNoWriMo.
I struggle with poetry. I’ve asked poets for reading recommendations, I’ve taken poetry workshops, I’ve tried to get it–but I guess I don’t. Continue reading “National Poetry Month”
For writers of all genres, “writer’s block” is as inevitable as death and taxes.
All artists experience this. The brain needs its rest, the muses need their vacations, and everyone who’s ever been serious about creative endeavors has sat staring at a blank page, canvas, brick wall, stage or computer page and thought, “I can’t do this.”
But did you notice that I put “writer’s block” in quotation marks? That wasn’t a typo. I “know” how to “use” “quotation marks.”
Seriously, though: I believe that the phrase “writer’s block” is a crutch we use to make our creative clogs seem more serious than perhaps they are. I’ve known writers who treat it as an illness; when they’re blocked, they can do little more than sit around drinking soup and binge-watching Netflix. They spend a lot of time nursing themselves back to health, so to speak. This can last indefinitely.
Of course (to extend my metaphor) there are people who vegetate through an illness and there are those who just keep truckin’. Then there are those of us who used to vegetate but have had to learn to push through. Continue reading “How to Get Through a Writer’s Block (or, How to Be a Healthy Writer)”
I have one tattoo, which I got when I was nineteen years old. It’s on my hip, it’s hidden, and to be quite honest has been ripped apart by my two pregnancies. It took me a long time to decide what to imprint on myself and where. We don’t need to get into my tattoo or what it means or whatever, but I will tell you that the runner up was a poem by Emily Dickinson, which I wanted tattooed on my shoulder blade. Continue reading “My Favorite Poem”
When I started submitting to literary journals, it was mostly ink and paper. I must have filled hundreds of manila envelopes with my manuscripts, stamped so many self-addressed envelopes, at least half of which were never returned. What was returned, when the editors bothered to respond, was a paper slip: “We regret to inform you,” blah blah blah. On a rare occasion, there’d be a note from the editor–we really liked this but the ending falls apart/we love your voice/we can’t accept this piece but please submit to us again.
Nowadays, it’s all online. Some places kept paper submissions going longer than others, but I’m pretty sure they’ve all phased it out now. This actually makes it a lot easier for writers to submit; the various online submission managers are easy to use and help you keep track of what you’ve submitted and how it was received. You no longer get rejected with a paper slip, which, if you’re one of those people who makes the best of rejection by turning it into art, is probably pretty disappointing. But think of all the trees it’s saving! Because, man, do literary magazines get a lot of submissions. Even the small ones. The pile of paper would be staggering.
Anyway, like I said: submitting is easy. You don’t need me to walk you through the steps it takes to get your work to an editor, because the internet will do that for you. However, as a former fiction editor and assistant managing editor for a literary journal, I can offer you some insights on how to help make sure your work is well received. Continue reading “How to Submit to a Literary Journal”
April is National Poetry Month, which means–well, nothing, really, to most of the world, but to me it means for one month a year I actually read a little poetry and thanks to my former grad school classmates, I try to write some, too. I don’t remember why–something in response to NaNoWriMo, based on the name–they decided that in April they would write a poem every day and thus designated it WriPoEvDa. Super genius, huh? Well. It’s a good idea, anyhow. And it comes at a particularly fortuitous time for me as I have recently hit a wall with my fiction. It gives me a writing assignment. Plus, working that poetical side of my brain often helps get the blood flowing in the prosaic side, too. And things work best when they’re both working at once. Like CrossFit, maybe. For your brain.
So: planning on writing a poem every day this month. Who’s with me?