Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
1. Can creativity be taught?
Yes – an emerging writer can learn many how to’s from reading literature, poetry, and well-written articles in established magazines and journals. The student can also learn under a good writing teacher who gives the student writing prompts, deadlines and appropriate feedback. Once the new writer has acquired this creative tool kit, then she will have an easier time generating new work instead of feeling like all of her good ideas flow through her like a sieve.
2. Do you write the majority of your poems in one sitting?
Yes, I draft my poems all of the way through in one shot, but my revision process has been known to take me days, weeks, and years. Additionally, I use my poetry critique group to help me revise my poems.
3. Do you read more than you write?
Right now, it’s about 60/40, with 60 being the reading which includes books, writing magazines, writing books, newspapers and other magazines. In the weeks when I can’t find time to squeeze in my own writing, I find that I can draft poems and fiction as my students do their timed writing exercises in my workshops.
4. Is it possible to live off of being a poet anymore?
After my book, Right Lane Ends was released last year and after getting several poems published, I was given more opportunities to conduct writing workshops within the Triangle community and I was also invited to judge several poetry contests, most notably The Independent Weekly’s contest. I was also invited to help Cary Academy with their poetry slam event. During all of this poetry productivity, I received a grant from the United Arts Council and I gained several new writing/editing clients. I also believed I’m now teaching English at Raleigh Charter High School because of my poetry and writing workshops. My writing business is now making money and I’ve only been in business a year. So to answer your question – yes, you can make money as a poet if you market yourself vertically, which is what I’ve done -- and be willing to teach.
5. Is today’s poetry lackluster compared with “classic” poetry?
No. I’d say today’s poetry is more accessible to the general public. There’s also so much choice out there. For instance you can choose to read language poetry, narrative poetry, experimental poetry, etc. For me, I prefer the narrative poets such as Ai, Yosef Komunyakaa, and Frank O’Hara Robert Lowell. I also enjoy the so-called confessional poets such as Dorianne Laux, Robert Lowell, and Sharon Olds. I also enjoy and try to emulate the rich density and details in the poems of Federico Garcia Lorca and Lisa Jarnot.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Back Row: (left to right)
Tonja, Alice, Sally, Selene
Front Row: (left to right)
Pat, Niki, Juliet, Jane, Angela and Amy
I felt honored to be in a room with so many talented poets ready and willing to share their words with stangers (well, not strangers by the end of the week).
I wrote about 12 new poems and now just have to revise them and rework them -- it feels great!
Thank you classmates, Juliet Patterson, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and my generous grant from United Arts of Wake County Regional Project Grant for making this week possible for me!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The next day Keith and Daniel dropped me off at RDU, neither early nor late at Terminal A, where US Air is located. There were four people in front of me and the agents took at least ten minutes to process them. When it was my turn, the agent said I was in the wrong terminal, since my flight was a United one and it would leave out of Terminal C.
“What! Will I make it?” my temperature rose.
He said, “You can hope that the plane will be late.”
My suitcase and I rolled down the stairs and through the parking garage. Upon arriving, I recognized a couple that been in Terminal A and they had had the Terminal A agent on the phone for at least ten minutes. I slid in next to them, while a quick, bald agent asked us if we were headed to Chicago. I piped up and my bag was checked after another agent had to verify and verify that I was indeed on this flight. My original flight was wiped clean by United and I was given another flight in its place. I hate United (and I’m on two United flights bound for home).
Turns out that Chicago flight was oversold and maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if I had made it through the security line in thirty seconds or less (I had to take off my belt and bracelet), as well as unpack my laptop. As I ran to the furthest gate possible, clutching my fanny pack like a football and only dropping my cell phone once, I squealed to a halt at the gate agent desk, with a few other folks waiting to see if they could fly standby. No luck for any of us. I didn’t have priority since I was behind the other ticketed passengers who had assigned seats and printed out boarding passes. I had neither. Our plane rolled away. Have you ever seen the plane you were supposed be on fly away? Lucky for me, I got another flight with American at 2:40, which meant that I would be late for the Iowa Registration/Welcome dinner, but I would still make the first class and orientation if I arrived in Iowa City at 7:30 pm.
At least I got a free lunch from United at any of the food places in Terminal C. After picking up my dry sandwich, chips and chocolate milk for Daniel, Keith picked me up. “Hi, again!” and we had lunch together and later I lathered Daniel up with sunscreen and got him ready for their pool date later that afternoon. I printed out my new boarding passes and made certain I had assigned seats.
Then everything went like clockwork. I insisted on getting to the airport early. My number came up in the security line and I had to be patted down, but at least I left plenty of time for this, right? We left Raleigh on time, made it to Chicago and then to Cedar Rapids. I had to wait for the shuttle for a half hour, but then we were soon on our way. Boarding the mini van was a lady in her forties with a cane and a shoulder sling who sat next to me. She immediately spoke to me and I found myself relaxing. Turns out Susan, my new friend, was headed not only to the Festival, but she was in the same poetry class as me! Unfortunately, her mother-in-law had recently passed away, so she had to leave for Dallas on Tuesday, missing most of her writing week. She also was missing her bags since a woman in California (where she’s from) had picked them up by mistake. Susan’s travel days were much much worse than mine. I told her things can only get better and then they did.
Next: a summary of Iowa Week with pictures!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Before we knew it, it was 7pm and Homer had to start speaking. There was a big crowd for a Friday evening and all I can say is that I'm glad I got a good space in the signing line, or I would have been there till close. Homer's warm, personable and is so generous with aspiring writers.
You rock, Homer!
My next posting will be a dispatch from the Iowa Summer Writing Festival!
Monday, June 11, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
First, Kevin gave a brief overview of Press 53, which is his favorite number. He also read a short story from his collection, "You Can't Meet Jesus Wearing Sneakers." Then Joe read from "Somewhere During the Spin Cycle," his poetry collection and the audience laughed after each of his punchy poems which all end with a flourish. Doug closed out the show with excerpts from two stories from "Croatan," his most recent book. It thundered several times during his talk and always when he paused, so we never missed a word!
I support Press 53 whenever I'm able since their mission is to publish quality literature that might be passed over by the big publishing houses in New York. So check them out next time they're in town!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
The Marines of Montford Point Book Review
The funny thing is that I don't have time to read anymore except if it's "work." Most of my free time is taken up by my editing projects, meeting new editing clients, preparing for my workshops and reading/critiquing my students' stories. I also spend a lot of time e-mailing folks and marketing my work. I do remember a time when I would read for Book Club or I would check books out at the library and actually read them! Now what's on my nightstand has been sitting there for over a year!
My magazines are also piling up. The Writer and Allure are the two I always read and I do read the newspaper and Newsweek to keep up with the world. But sometimes it takes me the entire week to read Sunday's paper.
I hope to have more time to read and to even write when I go to Iowa for a weeklong poetry class at the Iowa Summer Writing Workshop in 3 weeks. After I return to Raleigh, I will attend Meredith College's Focusing on Form for the fourth straight year. This year I'm taking the weeklong fiction class with Louise Hawes. I also have a new laptop which will ensure my mobility and hopefully not make me less productive (I need to shut off my e-mail from time to time).
Till next time,
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I had the priviledge of meeting Dorianne Laux when she came to NC State to judge the 2007 NCSU Poetry Contest. I'm happy to say my poem, "Ghostcards," made it to the top 5 out of 793 entries! And I got to meet Dorianne to boot. She's an excellent reader, she's warm and genuine and you're automatically pulled in. Plus, she lives in Oregon, where my husband once said to me, "This is a town full of Alice's!"meaning eccentric, REI-wearing types like myself. All of Dorianne's books sold out - lucky I snagged "A Poet's Companion" (she's the co-author) before everything was gone.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
On Wed. Jan 17th 10 writers gathered to share stories, coffee, laughs, fellowship and encouragement. The Free Prompt Writing Workshop was held at Write More Educational Resources in N Raleigh off of Old Lead Mine and Lead Mine roads. It's a good sign when you see folks hugging each other at the end of the night (and they didn't know each other before the workshop!)
Thanks to everyone who came out! The next free prompt writing workshop is Wed. March 14th from 7-9:30 pm at the same location.
till next time,