Celebrating Lyric Poetry

Stan Sanvel Rubin’s third collection of poems, Hidden Sequel, the winner of the 2006 Barrow Street Poetry Prize, contains this opening epigraph: No, my heart is not sleeping, It is awake. Awake.” –Machado Right from the start, in the beat between two awakes, we are roused as if by a hypnotist who is letting us … Continue reading

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LiveJournal Blogging

My daughter Emily is a Computational Linguistics Professor. One thing this means is that she spends a lot of time on the computer. She has found a way to keep a diary about her two little boys and the life of her young family using blogging software available free on the Internet. She’s given her … Continue reading

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Sailing the High Seas of the Publishing World

Caroline Arnold graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa where she majored in art. After graduate school at the University of Iowa, she worked as an artist and art teacher for a number of years. Her writing career began in the late winter of 1976. She was living in an old farmhouse in upstate New York. … Continue reading

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Community and the Work of the Poet

At this past summer’s Writing It Real in Port Townsend writer’s conference, Susan Rich spoke to the conference group about building a writer’s community and finding a place in the world based on one’s passion for poetry. This week, I’ve interviewed her about the development of her books of poems and the ways in which … Continue reading

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On Cures Include Travel, Poems by Susan Rich

Susan Rich taught for the Writing It Real in Port Townsend’s summer writing conference last June. At the conference, she read from the poems that were soon to be published by White Pine Press in the volume entitled Cures Include Travel as well as those in her previous, The Cartographer’s Tongue. She introduced attendees to … Continue reading

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On Lurches and Launches: Narrative of a Book Launch

Everyone wants to help. Everyone has advice. My audiences split along the divide of wanting to know more about Louisa May Alcott, wanting to know more about me or wanting to know more about the genesis of the book (that’s what I get for inventing a new genre, the “bio-memoir”). Some people also feel compelled … Continue reading

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Getting Around Concord

From Miss Alcott’s E-mail: Yours for Reforms of All Kinds by Kit Bakke. Reprinted by permission of David R. Godine, Publisher Copyright 2006 by Kit Bakke It was a wild, windy day, very like me in its fitful changes of sunshine and shade. — Louisa May Alcott, 1865, age thirty-three December 14, 2005 Dear Miss … Continue reading

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Miss Alcott’s Email: Yours for Reforms of All Kinds by Kit Bakke

Miss Alcott’s Email: Yours for Reforms of All Kinds is a remarkable memoir by Kit Bakke about a political activist, mother, nurse and management consultant’s midlife review interwoven with a biography of her political and literary soul mate Louisa May Alcott. From the start of the author’s introduction, I knew that reading the book would … Continue reading

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Dealing with Toxic Feedback

Last week, we shared a chapter from Joni Cole’s book, Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive, published in 2006 by University Press of New England, Hanover, New Hampshire. This week, I talk with Joni about writing the book. Sheila Joni, I have read Toxic Feedback with great interest. You have written an informative and … Continue reading

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Getting Feedback – Twenty-Two Years

Reprinted with permission of the author from Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive, University of New England, 2006 Chapter Two: Getting Feedback — Twenty-Two Years By Joni Cole One time I went with a friend of a friend to lunch, my treat, so I could pick his brain about feedback. This man was a … Continue reading

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The Pocket Poetry Parenting Guide

Last March, I attended the annual National Association of Poetry Therapists conference in Boston. Browsing the vendor tables, I discovered Jennifer Bosveld’s offering, The Pocket Poetry Parenting Guide. It presents a short but impressive collection of poetry for use in helping parents with the most important and perhaps hardest job of their lives. The collection’s … Continue reading

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Thoughts Upon the Birthday of My Son Seth, 1975-2000

My son Seth Bender, to whom Writing It Real is dedicated, would have turned 31 this October 1. He died in a snowboarding accident December 27, 2000, the year he was 25. In the months following the tragedy, the only connection I could feel strongly was to the sun. Certainly, it could have been because … Continue reading

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Making Metaphor Run Deep

Writing from our experience gives us the opportunity to know more after the writing than we knew in the experiencing alone. When we can combine our experiencing of outer events with our experiencing of inner events, using the outer as metaphor for the inner, we craft new tools for illuminating ourselves. Each of the tools … Continue reading

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Decoys

This week, we offer a third essay by Brenda Miller, in which she skillfully uses an chance meeting to draw a metaphor that allows her to more deeply reflect upon herself as a writer. Again, the weaving of the outer world with the inner world yields a rich essay and a transformative experience. The other … Continue reading

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On Thermostats

Last week, we posted Brenda Miller’s essay about how making metaphor both removes us from the moment we are in and sets us more deeply into meditation, helping us know ourselves and our inner worlds. In “On Thermostats,” she once again weaves the outer world of a writing retreat with her inner world as a … Continue reading

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The Case Against Metaphor: An Apologia

“Writing it all down,” is the phrase that ends Brenda Miller’s essay. That’s what we strive to do as writers. It is an ambitious striving, a striving that forces us to question our experiences and ourselves–can we possibly write it all down? Can we possibly get it down right? What would it feel like if … Continue reading

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Teens Have Gifts to Offer

A few months ago, I received an email request to help spread the word about Scrap Paper Press’s worldwide call for creative writing submissions from teens. I went to the project’s website, was impressed with the effort, and posted the submissions-wanted information on the Writing It Real community page. I also enthusiastically emailed my teacher … Continue reading

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Take Some Time for Playful Journaling, Part II

In a journal, writers write without knowing where their writing is going. They unload thoughts, explore obsessions, record insights and observations, and sometimes imitate other writers, noticing how their perceptions come across in the voice and sentence structures of those writers they admire. Sometimes they address their writing to others with whom they feel resonance … Continue reading

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Take Some Time for Playful Journaling

As a writer, I use my journal to both play with strategies I pick up from other writers’ work and test strategies I invent. In combination with observing the “show don’t tell rule” (use imagery and detail that appeal to the senses rather than intangibles that tell the reader how to feel — i.e. “the … Continue reading

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Digesting World News August, 2006

Every time I open Yahoo on my computer, I look at the upper right-hand corner of the screen to type in what I am searching for and avoid looking at the left-hand area with its news images of death and destruction. When I listen to radio news or watch news on television, I feel too … Continue reading

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