Hugo House has announced the lineup for Word Works: Writers on Writing 2020–2021. “Word Works craft talks focus on writing as process rather than finished product, examining how language works to inspire and provoke new ideas through lectures and live close readings of the writer’s own or others’ work.”

Each program features a different presenter and topic:

  • Porochista Khakpour: Writing Toward & Against Identity – December 4, 2020
  • Lauren Groff: Fiction’s Hidden Architectures – February 5, 2021
  • Jericho Brown: Nonsense and Senselessness – March 5, 2021
  • Melissa Febos: In Praise of the Confessional – April 9, 2021
  • Joy Harjo: Our Songs Came Through – April 23, 2021
  • Russell Banks: Memory, Abandonment, and Betrayal – May 14, 2021

All Word Works events this season will be held online. Series passes and single-event tickets are now available. See the Word Works page for details on the presenters, topics, and tickets.

NaNoWriMo 2020

November 1, 2020

It’s November (somehow) and along with everything else, that means it’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Launched in 1999, the project’s idea is to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. In 2019, 455,080 writers participated in NaNoWriMo programs, including 104,350 students and educators in the Young Writers Program.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, NaNoWriMo “believes in the transformational power of creativity.” If you sign up (it’s free), you get prompts and encouragement and become part of a community that stretches past the 30 days of November.

Many poets participate, using the daily-writing structure and prompts to draft enough poems to fill a book. Will this be your year for NaNo poems?

. . . . .
graphic by Tyrell Waiters

on poetry

October 31, 2020

“At first, when an idea, a poem, or the desire to write takes hold of you, work is a pleasure, a delight, and your enthusiasm knows no bounds. But later on you work with difficulty, doggedly, desperately. For once you have committed yourself to a particular work, inspiration changes its form and becomes an obsession, like a love-affair… which haunts you night and day! Once at grips with a work, we must master it completely before we can recover our idleness.”
Natalie Clifford Barney
(October 31, 1876 – February 2, 1972)

. . . . .

on poetry

October 25, 2020

“One doesn’t have to be constantly looking over one’s own shoulder asking, ‘Can I say this? Is the reader still with me?’ I think you have to go with the faith that there are readers who are with you. You may not know who or where they are but you have to take that risk.”

Nathaniel Mackey

(b. October 25, 1947)

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photo; quote

on poetry

September 25, 2020

I started writing
to save my life.”
Cherríe L. Moraga
(b. September 25, 1952)

. . . . .

Montana Book Festival

September 9, 2020

The Montana Book Festival goes virtual for 2020 and it starts tomorrow, Thursday, September 10. There’s a whole slate of events scheduled all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, both recorded and live, plus a handful of workshops and consultations. Jory Mickelson, Susannah Nevison, and Molly McCully Brown will offer a Friday afternoon workshop, Dear Friend: Writing Letters, Writing Poems. To see a list of books by presenters, visit the Featured Titles page.

on poetry

August 2, 2020

“You write in order to change the world … if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”
James Baldwin
(August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987)

. . . . .
photo by Allan Warren

on poetry

July 29, 2020

“Publishing a book of poetry is like dropping
a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.”
Don Marquis
(July 29, 1878 – December 29, 1937)

. . . . .

on poetry

July 16, 2020

“Mine is not an obedient writing. I think that literature as any art has to be irreverent.”
Reinaldo Arenas
(July 16, 1943 – December 7, 1990)

. . . . .
photo: Nestor Almendros

how we write

July 12, 2020

Not long ago, we mentioned Rob McLennan and his latest project, Periodicities. Not one to rest on his laurels, McLennan started another new series of essays (“Talking Poetics”) on the ottawa poetry newsletter blog, inviting poets to talk about the nuts and bolts of writing. “I like hearing how different writers consider structuring poems, and the decision-making processes that go into poems starting, continuing and going further,” he says. The writers allow us to peek into something that is otherwise quite private and unseen.

Have a look at the 22 (to date) short essays on Talking Poetics.

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