Sunday, October 30, 2011

We Love the Ones that Won't Open Most

So, the years go by and we find a few doors and windows.
Some are always open, some were never open.
Because we are crazy and stubborn,
we love the ones that won't open most.
     - from "Able to Say It" by Naomi Shihab Nye

These four lines have been haunting me for days...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Carrying #Poetry

I was searching through YouTube this morning in hopes of finding a clip of Naomi Shihab Nye reading from her recent book Transfer.  No luck there, but I happened upon another clip of her talking about inspiration and carrying poetry with you.

Nye carries a note about Philip Levine's thoughts about the muse and William Stafford's poem "The Sky."

Do you carry a poem with you?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Your Heart Knows What Your Head Don't

"When you give someone a book you're giving them the most imaginative of gifts, because you're taking a personal interest in what interests them." - W.H. Smith ad in Observer

The Writers' League of Texas posted the above quote on their Facebook page this morning, and I couldn't think of a better quote with which to begin today's post.

My mom recently gave me a copy of Lit by Mary Carr to read.  Each minute dares me to put it down but I can't.  I read a few sentences as I chew my morning cereal, sneak in a page when my boss isn't looking, try to read a chapter before I go to sleep.  This book won't let me go.  There is so much within this book that calls to me.

"What hurts so bad about youth isn't the actual butt whippings the world delivers.  It's the stupid hopes playacting like certainties."

"He never gave up on me, I only stopped being matriculated."

"Your heart knows what your head don't.  Or won't." (The heart as a metaphor discussion reappears...)

"It was dawning on me how uphill a poet's path was, and I confessed to her that if I had to be the choice between being happy or being a poet, I'd choose to be happy."

When was the last time you received a book as a gift?  What significance did it bring to your life?

Books you've never written can hold your secrets.  Years ago I gave up writing, yet, here I am with fingers poised upon a keyboard.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Portable Poetry Workshop Project: Generating Content - Substitution

A poem can travels through both vertical and horizontal levels of meaning by way of substitution. The poet can chose to substitute the literal for the figurative or the abstract or vice-versa. Substitution can even become a poet's overall strategy or "organizing principle" whether employed as a technique or happening unconsciously.

There are a number of poems offered in this section as examples, but the one poet whose work comes to my mind is Matthew Zapruder. "Global Warming" and "White Castle" are two fine examples when it comes to substitution and the movement of meaning within poetry.

A substitution exercise from Jack: "Find some literal images in your poem and then add an abstract quality or specific detail to those images.

Happy writing, Andrea

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Turning NO Around

I don't know why some rejection letters come so early in the morning. You open your inbox and a "no" is the first thing to greet you. I'm sure I have more of these in my future's pipeline and in more than just the poetry realm.

I don't know where I first heard the expression, "Turn that frown upside down." I've always admired the clever saying.  Now when I open up an email from a literary journal basically saying it's a NO, I'm turning this around and saying, "It's ON." 

Read, Revise, Resubmit.  Turn that NO around.

How do you cope with rejection?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Losing The iNNOVATOR

"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." - Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement address, June 2005

The world lost Steve Jobs yesterday, the true iNNOVATOR, an artist who helped to create our future, the ways in which we communicate, the ways in which we SEE one another.  May he now rest peacefully.

A poem for Steve: Science by Robert Kelly

Echoing Steve's words: Stay hungry. Stay Foolish.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Portable Poetry Workshop Project: Generating Content - Logopoetics

TECHNIQUE. Jack ends this section with a statement I feel is more of a question: "It's just a matter of whether the techniques are being invented in the making or are being applied more consciously as devices a book such as this can teach."

I'd like to know what he thought about Anne Sexton's Transformations. There are many varied streams of consciousness and clever uses of literary devices throughout her collection. Were these poems carefully crafted or had they already been created in her mind, longing for the page? The layers in Sexton's poems are exquisite. "The White Snake" comes to mind...

I tried my hand at the exercise this section concluded with entitled "Twenty Little Poetry Projects" by Jim Simmerman.  I feel as if I've channeled John Ashbery in my attempt (think "Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape") and am still chuckling about my hen and her impending frying.

I think you can create a poem from each one of these "Twenty Little Poetry Projects."  Have fun!