Happy second week of National Poetry Month! I hope you are are in a poetic rhythm that delights you!
Want some good company this month? I’d like to invite you to check out a publication I edit and publish: *Writing the Life Poetic*, a free, bi-monthly e-zine that delivers information and inspiration about the life poetic from these legendary, Portland-area poets: Brittany Baldwin, Kristin Berger, Dale Favier, Dave Jarecki, Christopher Luna, M, Toni Partington, Shawn Sorensen, and Steve Williams.
Below, I’ve dipped my cup in a bit of each April column to give you a quick feel for the WTLP e-zine. Check out the e-zine to read each column in its entirety.
NaPoWriMo by Dale Favier
Poetry on the assembly line? The whole point of poetry is that it’s lovingly crafted, not slapped together. Oh, everyone has luck sometimes, a poem that comes out, first time, exactly right, but most good poems are worked, over days or weeks or years. What’s the good of churning out a whole slew of raw, or at best half-cooked, poems?
April Poetry Prompt by M and Steve Williams
Many of us feel nostalgia, particularly when we realize that an ordinary object from our past, one that was commonly found or commonly used by many people, even whole populations, no longer exists in that particular form. Following is a poem (which we found in Rattle #31, Summer 2009) that addresses nostalgia for an item that most young people today, chatting and texting on their cell phones, have only heard about from their parents, read about in books or seen in movies.
One Man Band by Kristin Berger
A blooming pink night light holds darkness at bay, crickets rubbing a convincing lullaby from the sound machine. Everyone is asleep, but he is writing a poem about Great Things: Rain. Puppy. Pond. Treats. Black ball-point letters appear, his 4-year old fingers forming whole words before they have been tested by his tongue, teeth and lips. Maps and sketches fill the margins. He tells a story in one of the only ways he knows how.
Giving Means Getting, Sometimes by Toni Partington
When I’m coaching clients who feel frantic and exhausted, they chalk it up to lack of control over daily life. Hours are gobbled by commitments, last minute requests, and chaos. Even with a plan, the hours are fleeting. I ask, who is deciding how you’ll use your energy? They balk, “Really, I’m in charge of my mental and physical energy.” Yes, I nod, but do you get sidetracked and end up wondering what happened? How about determining what to use it on, and what truly doesn’t need all you give?
Solitude Still Burns by Brittany Baldwin
Snow is falling this morning and it brings me back to my mornings writing in Colorado during my early twenties. Before the business I had one art to master that I had been working on furiously since childhood. Those mornings were just me, the cat, a cup of tea. I purposely holed up my junior and senior year in a studio apartment writing, listening to music, haunting the library and the ongoing foreign film festival. In my workshops at school I spoke little to avoid the arrogant and competitive back and forth that occurs in college workshops, it also kept the silence I was building between them and me.
Discover New Poetry Markets and Get Published by Shawn Sorensen
I just finished the how-to classic A Poet’s Companion by Dorianne Laux and Kim Addonizio (see my review on www.goodreads.com). One of the big messages in the book is the more feedback, the better. It doesn’t mean we always want, like or need feedback – you’re the final decision-maker regarding your work – but being open to feedback increases the chance that you say what you want to say on the page.
The Etiquette of the Featured Reading, Part 1 by Christopher Luna
Everything changes for a poet once she lands her first featured reading. Although the open mic is crucial to developing one’s voice and performance acumen, being invited to read is an important milestone. The featured reader is acknowledged for having created a body of work that is cohesive and worthy of additional time. This extra time is, in fact, necessary for understanding the poet’s thematic concerns and her relationship to the craft.
When in Doubt, Write by Sage Cohen
Of course, there are dozens of “practical” reasons not to pursue poetry or a writing life of any kind. It’s not likely to pay the rent or mortgage, at least for a while, and no one at your job may give a whit about your affinity for Whitman. The good news is this: No one needs to care about the writing you love other than you.
Read the April issue of the WTLP zine here!
View the Writing the Life Poetic Archives.
Learn more about the WTLP zine and its spectacular columnists. And, sign up to receive your bi-monthly issue by email.