Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thank Ewe.

Dear Reader, Thank you for your attention to Day Poems. 
I'm resting this site. Please browse the existing posts for ideas for your own writing.
For good poems to read, hop over to  Yoga Stanza

Friday, February 7, 2014

Poetic Mind Tip #5: Take Local Poetry Classes

Learn from others. Identify poets in your town offering classes. These may be available through a college, community center, or out of a private home. 

You'll be prompted through creative exercises. This poem, "Halfway," emerged from a class offered by Sacramento's Susan Kelly-DeWitt. Susan encourages creative leaps in writing and revision. She had us pass our poems through an online translation program that placed the poem in Russian, then back into English. 

In "Halfway," I had started with the word "noon." The translation led to the notion of a midpoint, which opened the poem to new possibilities. 

It's never too late to start writing poems. Teachers welcome new and seasoned writers. When thinking about how a poem happens, all experiences contribute to the discussion. SIgn-up for a class. Create. Support your local teaching artists.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stories on Stage-Davis

Saturday evening, February 8, actress Analise Langford-Clark will read my story "Learning to Swim" for Stories on Stage - Davis. For more on the event, please see a preview article in The California Aggie. Hope you can attend!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

News & Poems

Writing a poem is unpredictable. A poem may be delivered by the muse to receptive ears within hours. These are a gift! Another poem may take decades to complete. Once completed, a poem's destiny is uncertain; it may never be heard by anyone other than the poet's sleepy cat or tolerant friends. Very few poets attain such stature that they have a ready audience for their work.  

Journalists, on the other hand, usually work quickly and know their work will be widely read. Their stories are archived.

Mary Akers, editor of r.kv.r.y. quarterly, invited journalist Matt Weiser and me to have a conversation about the processes of writing news and poems. Click here to read the exchange. Mary has a field for comments if you want to weigh in.

Eliza Griswold is a contemporary poet and journalist.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Daily Prompt: A Poem about Letter Writing

To improve, writers reflect on the process of what happens as they write. On Day Poems, I've offered up the value of having a pen pal, sending a postcard, and making a card to give to someone. Try writing a poem about writing a letter. Doing so requires you to consider audience, setting, and character. 

Writing is a solitary act. You enter into a relationship with your reader that is imagined before it's realized. Somewhere I read that a relationship exists before the people are there to fill it. In this way, writing is an act of faith. Writing a letter exemplifies that faith: you compose in the present moment something you hope will reach the hands of another at a later time. (If you've ever sent a letter and had it returned to you months later, then opened and read what you'd intended for the recipient, you've had that somewhat surreal experience of interiority, gotten a peek into your internal workings.)

Daily Prompt: Write a poem about writing a letter. For an example, read "Preparing a Missive," a poem I wrote while thinking about my Ohio pen pal. My thanks to elephant journal for publishing it this week.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Poetic Mind Tip # 4 : Keep a Notebook

Thanks to elephant for publishing my poem "On the Island of Recollection." While culling old journals in December (an annual ritual) I found the poem scribbled on a final page. It needed some reworking. Since I had started the poem years ago, I've written about rubber boots and read Krishnamurti's writings on memory and Lewis Hyde's on gifts. All that ended up in the poem, this time around. 

This leads me to...

Poetic Mind Tip #4: Keep a notebook. 

It doesn't have to be a journal or diary, meaning you don't need to write in it daily. But keep a pad handy, jot down ideas, let them sit, and reread them occasionally. You may find an idea you want to pursue. There are lots of great books on journaling. Kay Adams's Journal to the Self is one. And I recommend Terry Tempest Williams's When Women Were Birds for an unusual perspective on journal keeping and the creative self. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Daily Prompt: Not Too Late

One of the best things about Sacramento is the Third Sunday poets. Anyone is welcome; the venue varies; participation is free. Group members take turns creating prompts. Last fall, I volunteered to facilitate. I arrived at The Book Collector with pages of poems and ideas. And waited. And waited. Would no one show? I bought a good book (M.C. Richards) and packed to leave. 

Then, Nancy hurrying toward the door. We sat on the floor and got started. The day became like one of those cloth dolls that changes when flipped. We talked and wrote...and another woman arrived. I have heard church-going friends quote, "Wherever two or three are gathered...." It did feel as if our little group was granted inspiration. 

Nancy Wallace wrote this beautiful poem.

Why I Was late

When I came into the dark hall with pomegranates 
from the market and called his name,
the french toast and coffee and a new bundle of herbed eggs 
 had already begun in the bright kitchen needing only 
the radio tuned to Duke Ellington and the fork 
 in my mouth with buttered eggs on it to 
 begin an October Sunday breakfast oh



Daily Prompt:  Been late somewhere, sometime? What happened? Borrow Nancy's title, "Why I Was late."
To read Nancy's "Winter in Detroit," visit Yoga Stanza.