“Navel-Gazing” and Other Writing Hazards: Interview with a Poetry Editor

Today, in our last entry before Christmas, we share the partial transcript of an interview conducted with the editor of a small poetry journal. This excerpt focuses on the controversial concept of "navel-gazing."  FVL stands for this website ("Free-Verse Life"), as in some writer looking suspiciously like me conducting an interview. PE stands for physical …

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Random Thoughts, December Edition

With the Winter Solstice now securely in the rearview mirror, people can take good cheer: The days are getting longer! (Not that anyone notices at this hectic time of year.) Here in New England, the Solstice was celebrated with sheets of rain and pillowcases of wind, temps in the 60s Fahrenheit. All fore of our …

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A Certain, Lovely Ghostliness

There is more poetry in autumn than summer, it would seem. Traveling from the congested highways of an overcrowded Commonwealth to the quiet shorelines of a Maine lake proves as much. Last night we arrived to high winds and whitecaps. This morning I arise to clear, Canadian air, sun, calm. That coupled with the possibility …

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Random Thoughts: September Edition

Humidity has made New England its home these past few weeks. The eviction notices don't appear to be working. According to translators Kazuaki Tanahashi and Peter Levitt, the famous Cold Mountain poems appear to have been written by more than one person over time. Is that as shocking as Shakespeare wasn't written by Shakespeare? Not …

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Meghan McCain Makes Good (and Uses Some Time-Honored Writers’ Tools)

Watching Meghan McCain's eulogy for her father, John McCain, has refreshed me in an unexpected manner this weekend---as a writer, as an American, and as a man. As a man, I'll say this: When we are dust, ash, or worm motel, may we all have children who can sing our praises so well before a gathering of family, …

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Writing Is a Solitary Pursuit, But…

Writing is a solitary pursuit, yes, as well it should be. And it seems best suited for the early morning hours. But first things first. If you have a dog, you have a perfect excuse to walk it in pre-dawn darkness. Only this morning there was the full moon, making the headlamp unnecessary, and that …

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News Flash: Poetry Matters Again!

The September 2018 issue of The Atlantic --- a bit briny as usual --- just beached itself in my mailbox and lo, there was a feature article on poetry in it! What's more, it's headline proclaimed ("Dewey Wins!"-like) "How Poetry Came to Matter Again." Which means, in case you haven't been paying attention, that poetry hasn't …

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“Free” & “Publicity” in the Land of Poetry?

When it comes to wonderful cities, you can have New York City. I'll take Free Publicity every time. Of course, the terms "free publicity" and "poet" are strange bedfellows. It takes a perfect storm of coincidences, personalities, and planet alignments. Yet that's exactly what happened last week to Anders Carlson-Wee. On the 5th of July, …

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