“Catching Grain Through Spread Fingers”

You may think it strange that I annotate magazines, but sometimes, thumbing through them afterwards, I enjoy revisiting certain lines. The sentences and paragraphs I choose are not necessarily pithy like an adage or purposeful like a sage. Sometimes they just strike me and the reason is, as the French say, je ne sais quoi. …

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The Humbling Beauty in Reading-About-Reading Books

Every writer is a reader, and every reader indulges himself now and then in a good "reading about reading" book. This is where I'm at now as I amble through Peter Orner's Am I Alone Here? (The answer is, Clearly not, P.O.!) The thing about reading-about-reading books is how expensive they can be. No, I don't …

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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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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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Rules for Writers: A Baker’s Dozen

Here are some suggested daily habits for writers. It's OK if they are broken because that's what resolutions in habits' clothing are meant to suffer! Still, let us amuse ourselves as if rules are hard and fast: If you have little or no discipline around technology, keep a writing notebook. Buy the best damned notebook …

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Try Non-GMO, Organic, Locavore Poetry!

Recently I read a sad statistic. The average print-on-demand book (the typical publishing model for poets who do not self-publish and who do not have the name recognition of the big boppers) sells only 35-40 copies. Why? Because that number happens to match the average number of friends and family members in the POD poet's …

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Cold Comfort: Poems That Make the Big-Time

Reading published poems--especially poems published in the heavyweight division, where you find periodicals like The New Yorker--can be both frustrating and edifying. Before I count the ways, let me share a poem published in the The New Yorker's Aug. 28th issue: SON by Craig Morgan Teicher I don't even know where my father lives. I …

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