“I Cut Off My Head and Threw It in the Sky”

Poets point the way to poets point the way to poets. This is a corollary of Gertrude Stein’s famous “Rose is a rose is a rose,” a.k.a. “Three ways to hit readers over the head with a dictionary.” Anyway, while reading Victoria Chang’s Obit, I noted in her acknowledgments that one poem was inspired by …

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“I Love So Many Things I Have Never Touched”

This week I read, then reread (a habit I've developed when I discover a particularly effective poetry collection), Victoria Chang's 2020 outing, Obit. I love it when a writer strikes on a good idea, takes it, and runs with it. Chang does exactly that in this book. Below I share the review I wrote for …

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Annotations of a Chapter on Revision: Part II

As a follow-up to the post before this, here are the remaining annotations I made in the "Revision" chapter of Stephen Dobyns' estimable book, Next Word, Better Word. "Rilke said in a letter, during the writing of New Poems, that subject matter is always pretext." "A different sort of change of perspective is to write …

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Bad Words: They Creep In

Bad words. They lose themselves in the crowd, but they are more prevalent than you think. Some of them are obvious, like the word "closed" in the expression "closed fist." Modifiers are always guilty until proven innocent, and a better noun or verb always trumps an unnecessary modifier, so until they prove themselves good, adjectives …

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Submittable Q & A

Periodically I like to send questions to my fellow submitting Submittable Warriors, also known as "writers." Their answers show that we all share a similar range of experiences using this technological convenience. Here's a sampling of the Q & A's. What is it like waiting for RECEIVED submissions to flip over to IN PROGRESS submissions, …

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Random Thoughts, Election Cycle

It's been a while since I've given the green light to one of my occasional random thoughts posts, probably because I've been preoccupied by things political, and this blog is supposed to be more about writing and poetry and (insert British accent) LIT-er-a-chuh. I'll try to keep it to a minimum, then, but if you …

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