April 30, 2014
Over the course of the WIR experience, I’ve often used my morning writing time to work on that day’s blog. This is sacred time when I shut the door on all distractions, from phone calls to my cat ...
April 29, 2014
Questions Not to Ask While Facing a Blank Page
Is enjambment supposed to be pronounced with a French accent?What do you do when you unpack a line and can’t figure out where you thought you were going in the first place?Is a metaphor just a simile ...
April 28, 2014
Shake It Up
Range is something to aim for – a poet’s ability to go multiple, whistle one minute, moan the next. Sound like a basset hound, then go for a high-pitched squawk of geese. Try tender, then bold; try ...
April 26, 2014
The Most Important Skill
Someone asks me what’s the most important skill a poet can have and I start to say the power of observation. The world awaits us with all sorts of small truths that can’t easily be seen. When I lose ...
April 25, 2014
A Poem Can Be About Anything
I came across a cat writing contest on the internet. At first I thought that the poems had to be written by cats and was sure that my Iris Belle had a stanza or two inside her just waiting to creep out ...
April 24, 2014
Tell a classroom of wannabe writers to try their hands at a poem and the stilted, strangely wrought language that ensues can be alarming. It’s like they’re being told to write in some World War II ...
April 23, 2014
A friend confesses that he could spend the rest of his life revising a handful of the same poems. One change leads to another. It’s like a glassblower unsure whether to make a swan or a squirrel, the ...
April 22, 2014
It was a minute-and-a-half since I finished toying with a poem that hadn’t been working for weeks; I had that submarine feeling that it was sinking out of sight. But I had no time to dither with the ...
April 21, 2014
Some days I want to tear chunks off the alphabet, chop up syllables, sink my teeth into the gristle of grammar. I discovered a ferruginous hawk up a tree in my backyard the other day with the peeled pink ...
April 19, 2014
I’ve been thinking about the difference between facts and details, how so many of us cling to something that isn’t quite working in our poems because it’s real, the way it actually happened. Changing ...