Mining the Synergy of Opposites

Contrast. Nothing tells a story quite like it. Consider the juxtaposition of junk car parked next to new Porsche, of grandmother in her wheelchair posing with her 5-year-old granddaughter for pictures, of homeless man sleeping under cardboard against the smooth base of a financial-district skyscraper. In poetry, contrast can work its magic, too. Past and …

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It’s Giving Tuesday. You Know What THAT Means!

Yes, it means you are supposed to be giving, and that explains why you are getting all of these e-mails from journals and magazines that once (or three times) rejected your poetry but now promise NOT to reject your money. I could get jaded and do a narrative eye roll here, but I fully understand …

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Wanna Buy an Overpriced Book?

Book prices are a funny thing, except to your wallet. Alcoholics may suffer from cirrhosis of the liver; bibliophiles' wallets and pocketbooks may suffer from cirrhosis of book purchases. Where do pricing decisions come from? My first book, 98 pages of poetry, goes for $15.95 retail, which is publish-speak for $16, thank you (consider gas …

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Teaching Poetry: A Better Way

As a poet, I'm not shy about sharing my own poems for teaching purposes in the classroom, and if you teach, you shouldn't be, either. Yes, my work is published, but that doesn't matter. I shared my poems before I was published, and you can, too. Students like seeing their teacher's own work, and it's …

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Random Thoughts: Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Memorial Day Weekend. It gets quiet around here. People leave for the Cape. First, for the stop-and-go traffic heading to the Cape. Eventually for the stop-and-go traffic returning from the Cape. All this for sand in your bathing suit and a sunburn. Nota bene: You can get sunburned on your back patio. No gas, no …

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Choosing Poems for a Poetry Reading

When you first begin the task of choosing poems for a poetry reading, it's like walking into a grocery store's cereal aisle where the choices are so vast they overwhelm the shopper. In the case of poetry, do you choose funny poems or contemplative poems, fancy poems or simple poems, poems with sound devices or …

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Work in Progress — A Better Way

We all know the joke by now--the sign on the road reading MEN WORKING. It's how we learned the word "oxymoron" as the car sped past workers in hardhats leaning on shovels, sipping Dunkin Donuts coffees, chatting each other up. "Work in Progress" is another matter, one with greater meaning and impact. As my third …

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What Does “National Poetry Month” Actually Mean? I Found the Answers.

I almost forgot, but it's National Poetry Month. How I ever went a full week without realizing it is beyond me, but here we are and here I am, apparently unscathed. What the heck does National Poetry Month mean, anyway? Is it more inept political meddling on the part of our Do-Nothing Congress led by …

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When Poets Make Cameos in Your Poems

It stands to reason, if you read poetry as much as poets do, that sooner or later famous poets will enter your poems. The cameos are not restricted to poets, however. Prose writers rise to the occasion as well. It's a reimagining of their imagined worlds in your own imagination, if you will. In my …

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