Posts made in March, 2012

Writing on Demand

Posted by on Mar 28, 2012 in Archive | 0 comments

Writing on Demand

Sometimes I’m offered a “project,” an assignment, which I accept. I admit my collusion. But something feels amiss from the beginning. The word “project” for one. My soul has an ambiguous relationship with projects. I like them because they give me something to start with. I can think of it as an assignment in English class. I used to love essay assignments. They would bring out the competitiveness in me. I would start out to write the best damn essay on earth. Sometimes I’d write a really good one and the teacher would hold it up to the class and tell them why it was good. I would...

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Becoming a Poet

Posted by on Mar 21, 2012 in Archive | 1 comment

Becoming a Poet

We’re approaching National Poetry Month, a good time to take stock: I suppose at the most mundane, I became a poet when the poet-part of how I see myself began to take precedence over other parts, when I had a few good publications and saw that if I continued to write poems, there might be a future for me. But “being a poet” feels to me more a condition than a vocation. It’s not even about loving words. “How did you learn to love words?” is an easier question to answer. I learned to love words because my father loves words. He’s 93 now and he writes me one or two 3-5 page...

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Quotes I’ve Saved #4: Clive James on Poetry

Posted by on Mar 13, 2012 in Archive | 0 comments

Quotes I’ve Saved #4: Clive James on Poetry

There is a “clear division between poets who are hoping to achieve something by keeping technical considerations out of it, and other poets who want to keep technique out of it because they don’t have any.”  (from his essay in Poetry magazine). The second half of his “division” recalls to my mind, of course, the legions of students I’ve taught who start by knowing nothing of craft, nothing about the stream they’re swimming in, students who disdain studying meter and form because it doesn’t “fit” their ethos. How many of us have assigned exercises in meter to develop some...

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What We Must Not Write

Posted by on Mar 7, 2012 in Archive | 3 comments

What We Must Not Write

Quotes I’ve saved and am trying to figure out why, # 2: This one is from  Stephen Corey, the inimitable editor of The Georgia Review: “The best writing we do is that that lies closest to what we must not do.” I’m thinking about that “must not do,” as meaning “Uh-oh, this will expose my father, my mother, this will get me into trouble with my ex-husband, etc.” Or maybe Stephen has in mind something else. Maybe he means that what I must not do is fall over into un-truth. What I must not do is let sentimentality stand for what actually is the case. Or, what I must not do...

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