200 Candles for Ivan Turgenev!

It's hard to keep up with family birthdays, much less venerated writers' birthdays. You stumble across them by accident on the Internet, however. How else would I know that Ivan Turgenev just turned 200 on Nov. 9th? Like many bibliophiles, I have fond memories of my Russian phase. In fact, if my literary leanings were to …

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Random Thoughts: August Edition

Yes, it's time for some Random Thoughts (Copyright and Patent Pending) for the month of August, named after the formidably crowned Caesar Augustus: Speaking of August, summer is fast running out of real estate, at least for teachers. It officially ends on September 23rd, yes, but for educators, it ends on the first day of …

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Random Thoughts: July Edition

Summer vacation giveth and summer vacation taketh away. Yes, there is more time for reading, which is why you carried that extra piece of luggage to paradise, but there are also more family and friends buzzing about, sometimes visitors for a day (or two) and sometimes visitors for a week (or two). Company and reading …

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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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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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Poetry Pays in Strange Ways

Writing is work--a craft as much as the handsomely-paid job of carpentry. Too bad payment for writing is nowhere near that enjoyed by the lads of lumber. Poetry specifically pays poorly. Most often, when you submit to a journal, your compensation is (ta-da!) a complimentary copy. Which brings us to today's conundrum--what to do with …

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Of Wu Wei, Idylls, and Other Escapes

Idyll. It's one of my favorite words, bringing to mind, as it does, a perfect and simple world, pre-industrialization, pre-technology. Heading out to the country always sounds like good advice, like the perfect escape, like Huck Finn lighting out for the territories at the end of his book. Then there's its homophone, idle. Yes. When …

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