on poetry

October 31, 2022

“I have over the years come to believe in the poem not as a singular entity, precise, refined and complete in the space of its words on its page, but more an accumulation of the experiences those words encourage. The processes that flow in and out of them, the sonic experiences, the interior experiences, the social experiences. But even the actual things keep falling apart.”
Joshua Beckman
(b. October 31, 1971)

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photo by Christopher Franko
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on poetry

October 25, 2022

“I start with sound first. I don’t have line breaks when I start. It’s just a free flow of writing that takes me all the way through. Then I have a score. The next stage is the images.”
Gary Copeland Lilley
(b. October 25)

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on poetry

September 1, 2022

“I’m not an extraordinary worker, I’m an extraordinary daydreamer. I exceed all my fantasies — even that of writing.”
Blaise Cendrars
(September 1, 1887 – January 21, 1961)

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on poetry

June 20, 2022

“I write something every day. It might be a line of a poem. It might be a line of a song. It might be a sentence of a lecture. It might be a response to a question. Each takes a long time. I have no facility with language. I work hard at every sentence. Including this one. I’m still working on it!”
Paul Muldoon
(b. June 20, 1951)

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on poetry

June 16, 2022

“I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card…and somehow the activity of writing changes everything.”
Joyce Carol Oates
(b. June 16, 1938)

on poetry

February 18, 2022

“I always said I’m a teacher who writes or an editor who writes. But I never said the real thing until after I’d written a third book. It’s the sort of thing that women frequently do. They sort of need permission to tell themselves that this is the work they do.”
Toni Morrison
(February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019)

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quote from the documentary film “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am”

on poetry

February 6, 2022

“That poem, ‘from organic acts,’ actually continues in several of my books, so, in a sense, they are never ‘complete.’ But in terms of knowing when a poem is ‘ocean-ready’ (publishable), it’s usually when the words can carry the story across silence and when the form can carry the content across to the reader. It’s an intuitive process.”
Craig Santos Perez
(b. February 6, 1980)

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from organic acts

on poetry

November 4, 2021


“Poems have a different music from ordinary language, and every poem has a different kind of music of necessity, and that’s, in a way, the hardest thing about writing poetry is waiting for that music, and sometimes you never know if it’s going to come.”
C.K. Williams
(November 4, 1936 – September 20, 2015)

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the poems of November

October 25, 2021

November (coming up before you know it) is National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo. Each November since 1999, NaNoWriMo has put forth a challenge: write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. More than half a million people participated in 2020.

But not all of them were writing novels. Some were writing poetry.

Fifty thousand words of poetry would be a lot (approximately 1666 a day). (For reference, Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” is about 1400 words.)

But the poet’s goal does not need to be a word count. It could be to write a poem each day (as during National Poetry Month), to complete enough poems for a chapbook, to write a series of poems on a theme, or to explore a different form each day. It could also be a time to rediscover and edit previously written poems.

November is right around the corner. What will you make of it?

For prompts, structure, accountability, and encouragement, sign up at NaNoWriMo (it’s free).

on poetry

October 2, 2021

“If I’m writing a long book, I stick only to that — unless a poem happens to come along. (I always stop everything for a poem.)”
Diana Hendry
(b. October 2, 1941)

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