Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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poetry

Joe Safdie joins me on my blog today to discuss the complications of being a writer. Join us!

Joe Safdie has been lurking in and around the poetry world for 50 years; his first chapbook, Wake Up the Panthers, was published in 1974, while he was still an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz. His ninth book, published last year by Spuyten Duyvil, is The Secular Divine, a hybrid chapbook of poems and an essay. It was preceded in 2021 by The Oregon Trail (from the same press). This year two books will appear: a collection of his essays, Poetry and Heresy, will be published by MadHat Press, and a Selected Poems featuring Greek mythology, Greek to Me, is on tap at Chax Press. His talk on Charles Olson and Brooks Adams for the American Literature Association is on YouTube; other poems, essays, and reviews can be found in Jacket, Jacket2, Rain Taxi, Caesura, and Dispatches from the Poetry Wars. (more…)

Read on to learn how language shapes the writer as s/he writes!

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. My husband recognizes I’m onto something that Melville was alluding to in Moby Dick—the gap between language and what it tries to depict…how language organizes and creates our way of seeing. (more…)

The Poetry in Dreams

colorful-1868353_1920I’ve been thinking a good deal about dreams and the role they play in our lives, especially during the time I was writing my hybrid memoir, Dreaming Myself into Old Age: One Woman’s Search for Meaning (it will be published this summer). I’ve also been thinking about how dreams relate to poetry, a topic I discuss in my new book.

In an expository writing class I was teaching, 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?” (more…)

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.

(more…)

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. (more…)

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! (more…)

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. (more…)

The Importance of Poetry Mentors

peony-2438192_1920Recently someone asked me which poet or poets influenced me the most in writing poetry and why. It would be great if I could just name one of two, but it’s impossible. Many different poets have been important to me at each stage of my development in that medium. (more…)

NO MORE KINGS

This collection of poems was written when my husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer (he’s currently in remission). The poem I’m sharing in today’s blog post , “The Future,” could apply equally well to what we’re experiencing in response to coronavirus. Take a look! (more…)

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?” (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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