New Years, Always Bittersweet

A new  year. Always a bittersweet thing. Having 2018 on the doorstep, left by someone who wants no part of it, all swaddled and innocent-looking (for now), is a scary thing. Isn't it every year? Been there, done that, know better. And it all gets you thinking... thinking about stuff you've thought a lot about …

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Unearthing the (No Longer) Hidden Stuff

One feature of the WordPress platform (don't look down--you're standing on it!) is its "STATS" section, wherein you see how many "hits" each page on the blog gets. As you might imagine, the winner each day is whatever is new. But in the Blogosphere, "new" ages faster than an overripe avocado. What gets neglected? The …

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A Few Words from St. Billy of Collins

Returning to the book, Light the Dark (see yesterday's post), let's look for illumination in Billy Collins' essay included in that collection. In it he references an earlier essay he wrote called "Poetry, Pleasure, and the Hedonist Reader." I sought it on-line and instead found the essay that's in this book, which was originally written for The …

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What Lights YOUR Muse’s Campfire?

It's a fact of life: Famous writers inspire famous writers. Don't believe it? Doubting your inner Thomas? You need only read Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process, edited by Joe Fassler, wherein dozens of writerly-types share snippets of works that lit their muse's campfire. Curious, I read the book--mostly--and here are a …

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Season’s (and Spices’) Greetings

Season's Greetings--and thank you--to my readers. I could take those seasons and spice it up with specificity: Cinnamon's Greetings, maybe, or Allspice's Greetings, or the lovely Clove's Greetings (sounding so close to Love's Greetings). Or I could be more inclusive altogether: Garam Masala's Greetings! (A little black pepper never hurt anything.) Whatever it is, I …

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Writing Workshop: 10 Holiday Poetry Prompts

Today is the Winter Solstice, the official day for holiday poetry prompts. Yes, it's winter for all of us northern hemisphere types and officially summer for all of those people laughing at us from the southern hemi. Are we jealous? No. We have writing to do, and enough cozy indoors to do it in. Here …

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The Story of the “Last Poem In”

As your publisher's deadline approaches for the final version of a manuscript, decisions must be made. Is a poem too weak? And, if you pull it, do you have something stronger to replace it? These sound like easy questions, but when you consider how unpredictable tastes in poetry can be and, more importantly, how difficult …

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A Second Trove of Literary Trivia

I've finished David Markson's Reader's Block, yes, but no--I'm not done sharing some of the neat trivia found in this unusual "novel." Here are more, all taken directly from his 1996 book: _______________________________________________________________________ Yeats once asked Hardy how he coped with the endless copies of his books sent to him with requests for inscriptions. Hardy …

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