The He[art] of Writing

Today I skipped my daily hour or more of writing. A discipline I’ve maintained for many years, it has resulted in four traditionally published novels, as well as a poetry collection (All This) and a hybrid memoir, Dreaming Myself into Old Age: One Woman’s Search for Meaning, to be published by Shanti Arts in 2023. Shanti Arts will also release my new poetry collection, California Dreaming. I’ve also published numerous short stories, poems, and essays in 165 venues.

Not writing today made me think of a toddler I dreamt of last night. He told me he didn’t feel emotionally connected to me. At the moment, that’s how I feel about writing. Since I’m currently not immersed in writing a novel or poetry, I feel emotionally detached from the process, but not because I’ve stopped producing. I’m working on a manuscript that starts with my days as a high-school drop out—a memoir that is also an analysis of the genre.

Continue reading “The He[art] of Writing”

Is there such a thing as blind poetry?

Some time ago, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine describing the author’s experience with blind contour drawing. The process involves looking at the subject and drawing its contours without looking at the paper. Instead of carefully rendered replicas, the drawer ends up with fascinating interpretations of what s/he is looking at. They may not resemble exactly the person or object, but they exude personality and offer another dimension to what is being viewed. Continue reading “Is there such a thing as blind poetry?”

Heading into 2021: An endless cycle

I didn’t start out to include Trump in my end of year poem. He’s taken up enough psychic space during the past four years, and I need a complete break from him. But my poetry self apparently had unfinished business, leaving me with the following poem, “Recycling,” which speaks for itself! Continue reading “Heading into 2021: An endless cycle”

Thanks to the writing gods!

cat-1045782_1920Someone asked me the other day why I chose creative writing as a career. The truth is, I didn’t choose it. Writing chose me. If I wanted to continue living, I really didn’t have a choice. Okay, I know, this sounds esoteric, and it is! In most careers, we feel a calling: doctors, lawyers, athletes. If we’re tuned into ourselves at all, the need to follow a certain path starts early in our lives. Continue reading “Thanks to the writing gods!”

The Poetry in Dreams

treetop-1351038_1920I’ve been thinking a good deal about dreams and the role they play in our lives. I’ve also been thinking about how they relate to poetry. When I was teaching freshman expository writing classes, many students admitted having trouble reading poetry. I discussed this difficulty with them. “Why,” I asked, “in a class of twenty literate, intelligent young men and women do only two or three read or write poetry—even occasionally?” Continue reading “The Poetry in Dreams”

How does language shape us?

5d9cf373-e31c-400e-9fe0-1655625ab9b2Recently, my husband and I got into a discussion of poetry and our different approaches to it. His training is in new criticism. Mine embraces more contemporary work, though I’m eclectic and like many different styles, including John Ashbery’s method of disjointed narrative. Continue reading “How does language shape us?”

Read this interview on my blog with guest author Terry Tierney who believes “Writing is breath. Never stop breathing.”

0Terry’s bio:

Terry’s stories and poems have appeared in over forty literary magazines, and his poetry collection, The Poet’s Garage, will be published in May 2020 by Unsolicited Press. He taught college composition and creative writing, and he later survived several Silicon Valley startups as a software engineering manager. Lucky Ride (Unsolicited Press), an irreverent Vietnam-era road novel is set to release in 2022. His website is http://terrytierney.com. Continue reading “Read this interview on my blog with guest author Terry Tierney who believes “Writing is breath. Never stop breathing.””

Blind Drawing vs Blind Poetry

I recently read an article in the New York Times Magazine describing the author’s experience with blind contour drawing. The process involves looking at the subject and drawing its contours without looking at the paper. Instead of carefully rendered replicas, the drawer ends up with fascinating interpretations of what s/he is looking at. They may not resemble exactly the person or object, but they will exude personality and offer another dimension to what is being viewed. Continue reading “Blind Drawing vs Blind Poetry”

What goes into launching a book for publication?

With a poetry collection (All This) and three novels published, I’ve experienced what it’s like to release a book into the world. Each work offers its own peculiarities. Partly it’s the difference in publisher (Little Red Tree Publishing released All This, Regal House Publishing put out my novel Curva Peligrosa, and Pen-L Publishing gave birth to Fling! and Freefall: A Divine Comedy), each having its own approach. But it’s also the difference in genre. While poetry has a more limited audience base, fiction is another animal, appealing to a wide range of readers. Consequently, in many ways, a novel has to be packaged differently. What ends up on the cover must stimulate a potential reader’s imagination and seduce him/her into buying the book. Continue reading “What goes into launching a book for publication?”

The Mystery of Language

I see a relationship between impressionism, some kinds of abstract paintings, and the poetry I want to write—of just suggesting something. Giving only enough information/detail to set the readers’ imagination working. I don’t want everything spelled out. I want mystery in my poems (and my prose)—new worlds.

Here’s an example: Continue reading “The Mystery of Language”

Poetry & Perception

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Many of my poems reflect a continuing interest in perception and how we try to capture fleeting moments with language. The art that comes closest to what I’m trying to do in poetry is photography, the exploration of things in the world (and in ourselves) from various angles. The attempt to penetrate surfaces by using the very surfaces themselves.   Continue reading “Poetry & Perception”

Is Poetry as Necessary as Food?

landscape-1629977_1920As a poet, I recognize poetry’s tremendous importance to a society. Still, I can get caught up in the complexities of modern life: I have classes to teach, papers to read and grade, writing projects demanding equal attention, a family to care for. Therefore, it’s easy to forget that poetry is as necessary to our well being as food, though when I say this to my students, they look at me skeptically. Continue reading “Is Poetry as Necessary as Food?”

Reflections on How Poems Mean

sunrise-2899850_1920I’m always a puzzled by how writers can plan out a poem or story before even attempting the first sentence. Some do complete outlines, right down to the actual ending. Others have ideas they want to develop into a poem or story, which suggests control over the content. To me, these methods feel too engineered, preventing the unconscious to have much play in the process. Continue reading “Reflections on How Poems Mean”