A common question I get, since I wrote poetry and creative nonfiction, has to do with how I know what genre a piece of writing should be in. One answer I have given to this question is to say that the work will teach you its form, to just write, and see what shape it takes on. But there are other ways to think about genre, form, and what that thing you are writing wants to be.
I was really delighted to have the chance to do a reading and conversation with John Gallaher about conversational rhythms, tones, and rhetorics as sources of inspiration towards poetic forms. Before the reading, John and I put together a list of books that have influenced our thinking about talk.
I’ve had a few requests for materials I can share with book clubs reading RUE so I’m making the book group discussion guide for RUE available here for anyone to use. And I also want to share a couple resources for book club organizers who might be wondering how to have a great discussion about poetry.
I spent this week attending the thesis defenses of my graduate students. I don’t love the word “defense” in this context, as it implies an adversarial stance between mentors and student and suggests that an authority’s approval of a creative work matters. I tend to think to think the task of an artists is to imagine a way through and beyond what has been done before; “defending” requires very opposite impulses. But I do love defenses!
Whether or not you are seeking publishers for your work, studying the publishing landscape can be a really helpful way to imagine how your work might speak to its readers. There are so many fantastic magazines with such a diversity of aesthetics flourishing right now. But this abundance can make it hard for emerging writers to find the writers, publishers, and readers who will be most inspiring to them. To help navigate this terrain and find their place among the many writers flourishing right now, I give students the following assignment…
I’m a recent convert to Instagram — I missed the pictures-of-food years — but I have loved transforming my private practice of spotting and researching plants into a more public one that incorporates photography into the exercise. This practice has been reminding me how much the craft of poetic imagery overlaps with photographic techniques.
Last week I wrote about the Docupoetic tradition, drawing on lecture notes and reading lists from a graduate seminar I taught last year. I thought folks might be interested in seeing some of the generative writing exercises the students and I did in that course as well.
Maybe the latest wave of researched poetry has you curious about the docupoetic lineage? I’ll share here a little overview of the evolution of the docupoetics, which I gave as a lecture on the first day of the seminar, followed by a reading list from the course.
I developed a habit of talking to the plants in the pasture behind my house to ease this loneliness. My ways of listening in these conversations took the form of observation, research, sustainably harvesting wild foods and medicines, and learning the stories cantankerous hags and witches like me had been whispering about them for as long as people and plants have been friends.
I have been developing a new exercise in writing and living to create connections and a feeling of connectedness on the road. I thought maybe other poets would find it fun to try. Or that folks using Rue as a text in their creative writing classrooms would like to share this exercise with their students…
I recently had a chat with a talented poet working on a first book. This writer was in an ad hoc workshop group and wanted to know what I thought about some advice on voice that had been given. The advice wasn’t given carelessly or cruelly, but it did reveal that the giver of thatContinue reading “Exercises in Creative Revision + Some Notes on Running a Revision-Focused Workshop”