Great Poetry Reading Day

 

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The Raven Pop-up by Edgar Allan Poe, Christopher Wormell (Illustrator)

 

Read a great poem
Don’t let it be ho hum
Poetry opens doors
The world can be yours

No – never
Will I endeavor
to read whatsoever
Quoth the child evermore

NaPoWriMo Prompt Day 29 – Today, I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

Good Morning! Yes, it’s still Saturday morning here in Arizona. As I was contemplating the napowrimo prompt for today, I went over to my wordpress following reader page. I saw a post from elPitchford aka Bryan that today is National Great Poetry Reading day. It helps with today’s prompt as most people will pick a poem from a well known, shall I say great, poet. Then I told Gretchen it’s national great poetry reading day so go find a poem to read. To which she responded, no, never. And of course, I thought of The Raven. And yes, I know nevermore isn’t a noun, but I did stick in door for chamber door. 😉

My Favorite Space

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Librocubicularist

Person who loves to read
lying down in bed
nose in a book
escapism
cocooned in cozy blankets

NaPoWriMo Prompt Day 25 – In 1958, the philosopher/critic Gaston Bachelard wrote a book called The Poetics of Space, about the emotional relationship that people have with particular kinds of spaces – the insides of sea shells, drawers, nooks, and all the various parts of houses. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

Welcome back to day 25 of NaPoWriMo. What better way to describe my favorite place than a teacup dictionary poem defining the word for my favorite activity snug and warm in my favorite space. When I first learned the word librocubicularist, I wrote a septolet about it. Love how I can use one word to describe my favorite activity in my favorite space.

Interview – Jessica Piazza

As I’m sure readers are aware, I’ve been following the platform challenge at Writer’s Digest. One of the tasks was to interview an expert. Many of the platform building tasks are already part of my routine. I’m on Facebook and twitter. I even participate in live twitter chats. And because of this, I knew of a few published poets I could email about interviewing, but it meant I actually had to come up with questions. Ugh…

Enter Jessica Piazza, I’ve been following her Poetry has Value project all year. Ms. Piazza has decided she wants her poetry to pay off. She’s tired of the starving poet syndrome. At the start of the year, she began submitting poems to paying markets only. She has kept a blog on her poetry has value experience here. Ms. Piazza has also interviewed several poetry editors from different journals, sharing their expertise with her readers. I thought since the year was winding down, I could see how she felt about her poetry has value journey. She was kind enough to answer my questions. Thanks, Jess!

1. When did you start writing?
I won a poetry contest in fourth grade with a poem about the Holocaust.  That probably doesn’t count.  Like so many high school kids, I wrote bad poetry in my teen years, too. I think I actually started getting serious about it through creative writing classes in college. I went to Boston University and had some amazing poetry professors that were passionate about poetry, and it made me realize it could be a real pursuit and not just an angsty source of expression.  I ended up working in the intern office of the U.S. Poet Laureate at the time, Robert Pinsky, who taught at BU.  It was amazing.

2. Why did you begin the poetry has value campaign?
I was actually inspired by a friend, another poet named Dena Rash Guzman. She had been talking to me and some other friends about trying to send poetry to more paying journals in 2015 because she, like so many writers, had to be serious about budgeting and was tired of seeing her hard work published without getting compensated for it.  It really started a fire for me. I’d not really thought about how much work I’d given away to magazines, and in fact how much money I’d spent on submission fees, submitting in general, all that. It didn’t feel fair, really. And it felt radical to propose an experiment in which I’d only send to paying markets for a whole year. I was curious and I was a little exhausted and I wanted to see what would happen if I insisted that others value my work monetarily.

3. What are your writing goals?
My writing goal is writing! Ass in chair. Write like a motherfucker (thanks, Cheryl Strayed!) Just do it. Get it out. Create. Make art. I’ll do that forever and my first and foremost goal is living that life.  My publishing and career goals, of course, are a bit more complex. I have a new collection coming out with Red Hen Press (Obliterations, co-written with Heather Aimee O’Neill) in April, and I’d love to start serious work on my next solo collection. I teach at the university level and would love to continue doing so, particularly in creative writing. I want to write, publish in a lot of magazines, advocate for other writers and teach. A full writing life: that’s the goal.

4. What kind of feedback have you gotten throughout the campaign?
It’s mostly been positive, which makes me very grateful. A lot of people have said they feel empowered by the idea that someone should value their art both monetarily AND spiritually.  The negative feedback I’ve had hasn’t been too bad, and all of it has been understandable. The truth is, journals struggle as much as writers, and are mostly run by volunteers. So many of them barely stay afloat that some people think it’s unreasonable for them to pay writers. The question, then, of whether they should stay in business is a real one. If they are businesses and not non-profits, what does that mean? What should the best practices be? Those are questions I get from some people who question the campaign, and they’re good ones. The very worst feedback comes from those who imply that I care less about my writing or art in general (or that I’m taking away some spiritual worth) by hoping for payment. The classic sellout insult. I don’t worry too much about it, though.  When Eric Fischl starts giving away his paintings for free because he doesn’t want to be called a sellout, then I’ll worry.  The very best feedback I get is from other poets who write to tell me they’ve submitted to a paying journal who accepted their piece and they’re getting paid for their poetry, sometimes for the first time. To hear that they’d never have submitted to a paying market without the Poetry Has Value project is amazing.

5. Do you believe the poetry has value campaign has helped with your author platform?
I honestly don’t know.  I hope so, of course, but that isn’t the reason I did it. Advocacy for poetry and poets is important to me because I already am a part of this field, not because I want to be a greater part of it.  If people seek out my work because I’m an advocate, I’m very grateful to them.  But I haven’t seen that happen too much yet. Of course, it’s possible I’m not privy to how many people find my work through the PHV project. If advocating for ALL poets helps bring people to my specific poetry, I certainly won’t complain.

6. Would you consider the campaign a success?
That’s an interesting question. Maybe I’m not sure what I would consider success yet, in terms of the campaign. I wanted this pledge and project to spark conversations about poetry, money and worth…and I think it has. I’d definitely like to see more of that: more transparency and more debate.  To that end, I’ll keep going.  But, again, people have written me saying they were inspired to value their work, or they got paid for poetry, or they feel like they’re empowered. And that’s a pretty good definition of success in my book.

NaPoWriMo Day 29

Who Am I

Review
Doctor Who book
Dead of Winter James Goss
Doctor reveals his secret name
Rory
TARDIS crashed on Italian beach
Scrambling companion’s
Brain inside out
The end

Jack Vettriano’s The Singing Butler NY Times Image

NaPoWriMo Prompt – And now, for our prompt (optional, as always): today, I challenge you to write a poem in the form of a review. You can review either animate or inanimate things, real places or imaginary places. You can write in the style of an online review (think Yelp) or something more formal that you might find in a newspaper or magazine. (I imagine that bad reviews of past boyfriends/girlfriends might be an easy way to get into this prompt, though really, you can “review” anything in your poem, from summer reading lists for third graders to the idea of the fourth dimension).

When Mimi and Poppo were here in March we trekked to the bookstore. Gretchen did not go because she wasn’t feeling well.  After Rachael and I checked out the young adult lit section, I brought her over to the sci-fi section. I picked up a new Doctor Who book for Gretchen. Rachael saw several more books she was interested in reading as well. Gretchen finished reading Dead of Winter awhile ago and gave me a spoiler. Also she told me how it was written in letters (epistolary). Yes, mom saw a teaching moment. Dead of Winter is part of the Doctor Who history collection. My two favorite genres – sci-fi and historical fiction. Plus Gretchen’s spoiler made me want to see how everything works out in the end.