The Poetry of Questions (and Possible Answers)

Poetry serves many purposes, but one of my favorites is as facilitator of questions and possible answers. Why? Because the answers are often novel concepts. Even better, they're often new questions in answer's clothing. Sure, they might not pass muster with a scientist, but who's worried about scientists when reading poems? Not this guy. The …

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The Trouble with Spring

Ah, spring, inspired by the month of May, which brings to mind May baskets, the maypole of old, and flowers encouraged by rains of recently departed April. Spring inspires not only birds and bees, but poets. Any survey course of poetry will show you as much. Spring is icumen, cuccu (or something like that). The …

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Random Thoughts for March (i.e. Madness!)

Every once in a while, I write a Random Thoughts post (copyright, patent pending). As advertised, it is random. The equivalent of blathering, often with the intent of being humorous. Think funny raft floating on a stream of serious, then don't take it too seriously. Streams of Consciousness are on the protected conservation lands list, …

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Thanks, I Needed That!

Once upon a time on a television far, far away, there was a strange series of commercials for Mennen Skin Bracer that featured the catchy byline "Thanks, I needed that!" Those words quickly entered the lexicon of everyday America, with people, for various reasons, offering sincere or tongue-in-cheek gratitude under the precedence of Mennen's advertising wisdom. …

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Selling Poetry Books: What Works

Selling poetry books, they say, is like selling space heaters in Hell. Or ice cream cones in Antarctica. Or the truth at the Orange House. Honestly, as the reports stream in from fellow published poets, I begin to wonder. That may be because I am not on email terms (alas!) with any heavy-hitter poets. I …

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Scoring an MFA in 10,000 Hours

And again. From the beginning, maestro! Remember the Maine! And, better still, remember Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000-hour rule," which states that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in anything will lift you to professional status. Of course, that claim has since been debunked, but pretty-sounding studies (and the power of repetition) give anything legs, even since-disproven rules, …

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Poetry Myth or Truth? You’d Be Surprised.

Myth or Truth? Buying a poetry collection in the Kindle version may save you money, but it's just not the same experience as reading the poems in book form. Truth: Based on wide-ranging experience (once), I found that trying to read poems on an electronic device was an antiseptic experience at best, one which took …

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The Mysterious Equations of Narrative Poetry, Where “Less Is More”

Story. Cavemen loved them, apparently, as do the so-called civilized types we call ourselves today. Tell me a good story, and I'm your captive till the happily ever after. Words to live by. Especially if your name is Sheherazade and your pretty life depends on it. The last entry from my reading of Gregory Orr's …

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The Siren Call of Submittable: Part 2

Yesterday I wrote at length (for me) about ways Submittable has shifted the playing field for writers and literary magazines alike. Today: How Submittable fosters bad writer habits. For literary magazines, Submittable giveth (to the bottom line, as magazines keep 62% of reading-fee proceeds) and it taketh away (the ability to staff readers who can …

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