A Writer's Moment: 'Writing, Publishing - two separate things' : “I always tell students that writing a poem and publishing i...
A Writer's Moment: 'Companions in One's Life' : “Man was very fortunate to have invented the book. Without it, the past w...
A Writer's Moment: Learning Through Experience : “The world is the true classroom. The most rewarding and important type of learning is...
“I envy those writers who outline their novels, who know where they’re going, but I find writing is a process of discovery.” – Jay McIner...
A Writer's Moment: Making Reading Fun : “Kids enjoy laughing and are seldom bored when they find something funny. They also ask questi...
“I think a lot of people can write poems that are howls of anguish. I think I've probably written such things and th...
Saturday, April 29, 2023
“Poetry is, first and last, language - the rest is filler.” – Mark Strand
Born in April 1934 on Prince Edward Island (where Anne of Green Gables was set), Strand moved to the U.S. in the 1950s and had a distinguished career as a poet, essayist and translator. He died in 2014 at age 80.
In 1990 Strand was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and in 2004 he received the Wallace Stevens Award, given to "recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.” Known for his highly personal touch, he said "Pain is filtered in a poem so that, in the end, it becomes pleasure." For Saturday’s Poem, here is Strand’s,
The Everyday Enchantment of Music
A rough sound was polished until it became
a smoother sound, which was polished until
it became music.
Then the music was polished until
it became the memory of a night in Venice
when tears of the sea fell from the Bridge of Sighs,
which in turn was polished until it ceased
to be and in its place stood the empty home
of a heart in trouble.
Then suddenly there was sun and the music came back
and traffic was moving and off in the distance,
at the edge of the city, a long line of clouds appeared,
and there was thunder, which, however menacing,
would become music, and the memory of what happened after
Venice would begin, and what happened
after the home of the troubled heart broke in two would also begin.
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
“A writer is a spectator, looking at everything with a highly critical eye.” – Bernard Malamud
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Nelson’s poetry collections include
the terrific The Homeplace, which won the Anisfield-Wolf Award and was
the first of three of her books to be finalists for the National Book Award.
In 2012, the Poetry Society of America awarded her the Frost Medal “for
distinguished lifetime service to American poetry,” and in 2013, she was
elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Soft spoken and thoughtful in all she says and does, Nelson said a person’s voice is as important in presenting a poem as are the words on paper.
“Many performance poets seem to believe that yelling a poem makes it comprehensible,” she said. “They are wrong.”
Monday, April 24, 2023
Saturday, April 22, 2023
My Heart Leaps Up
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
Friday, April 21, 2023
Thursday, April 20, 2023
Faulks advises writers to be "strong readers" first. “I don't know how you can understand other people or yourself if you haven't read a lot of books," he said. "I just don't think you're equipped to deal with the demands and decisions of life, particularly in your dealings with other people.”
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
She said she prefers the ‘Creative’ world. “It's just so much fun to make up characters, situations, and everything else about a story,” she said. “I have so much freedom and flexibility to do whatever I want.”
Monday, April 17, 2023
“Sentimental music has this great way of taking you back somewhere at the same time that it takes you forward,” Hornby commented about the songs he enjoys. “You (can) feel nostagic and hopeful all at the same time.”
Saturday, April 15, 2023
the time to polish a pun or fine-tune a practical joke is a way of saying, 'I'm
thinking about you and I want to please you.” – Andrew Hudgins
Born into a military family in April 1951, Hudgins moved around the American South for much of his childhood, attending Huntingdon College and the University of Alabama and earning his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first book of poetry, Saints and Strangers, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and his third, The Never-Ending, was a finalist for the National Book Award. For Saturday’s Poem, here is Hudgins’,
Day Job and Night Job
After my night job, I sat in class
and ate, every thirteen minutes,
an orange peanut-butter cracker.
Bright grease adorned my notes.
At noon I rushed to my day job
and pushed a broom enough
to keep the boss calm if not happy.
In a hiding place, walled off
by bolts of calico and serge,
I read my masters and copied
Donne, Marlowe, Dickinson, and Frost,
scrawling the words I envied,
so my hand could move as theirs had moved
and learn outside of logic
how the masters wrote. But why? Words
would never heal the sick,
feed the hungry, clothe the naked,
blah, blah, blah.
Why couldn't I be practical,
Dad asked, and study law—
or take a single business class?
I stewed on what and why
till driving into work one day,
a burger on my thigh
and a sweating Coke between my knees,
I yelled, 'Because I want to!'—
pained—thrilled!—as I looked down
from somewhere in the blue
and saw beneath my chastened gaze
another slack romantic
chasing his heart like an unleashed dog
chasing a pickup truck.
And then I spilled my Coke. In sugar
I sat and fought a smirk.
I could see my new life clear before me.
lt looked the same. Like work.
Friday, April 14, 2023
“Quite often,” Cleary noted, “somebody will say to me, ‘What year do your books take place?’ and the only answer I can give is, ‘In childhood’.”
Thursday, April 13, 2023
Welty went on the trail of such writing and self-discovery in the early 1930s, diving into journalism and photojournalism to help care for her family after her father died from leukemia. Ultimately, she became one of America’s premiere writers about the American Southern Experience. Honored just before her death in 2001 with the Medal of Freedom (for her life’s work), she also won a Pulitzer for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter.
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
“Whether I'm critically well received, whether or not I sell books - of course it becomes progressively harder to get them published - nevertheless, it's what I do, every day.” – Tama Janowitz
Born on this date in 1957, Janowitz is part of the celebrated “Brat Pack” group of authors – along with Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney – from the 1980s. A novelist, short story writer, and close friend of artist Andy Warhol, she first gained acclaim through her short story collection Slaves of New York, later adapted into a film starring Bernadette Peters.
Author of 7 novels, that short story collection, and 3 nonfiction books, including a celebrated memoir, she lived in both Manhattan and Brooklyn before settling near Ithaca, NY, where she continues to write and sometimes teach.
Among her many awards are the graduate fellowship that led to an MFA degree from Columbia, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship in the Humanities at Princeton University, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. While she’s been chastised for her seeming obsession with money – a focus of many of her works – she says it’s just the part of life she’s chosen for her writings.
Her book, Scream: A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction, not only touches on that but also her somewhat “wild child” early life that often put her into the gossip columns and (some say) helped her book sales. But Janowitz has no deep desire to relive those years. “I did not particularly like being semi-famous,” she said. “I did not write books to be liked.”
Monday, April 10, 2023
Saturday, April 8, 2023
“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.” — Barbara Kingsolver
Kingsolver’s poems are (one critic said) “songs of hope and longing as opposed to howls of protest and despair.”
As for why she sometimes writes poetry, she said, “In my opinion when you find yourself laughing and crying both at once, that is the time to write a poem. Probably, it's the only honest living there is.” For Saturday’s Poem here is Kingsolver’s,
There are days when I am envious of my hens:
when I hunger for a purpose as perfect and sure
as a single daily egg.
If I could only stand in the sun,
scratch the gravel and blink and wait
for the elements within me to assemble,
asking only grain I would
surrender myself to the miracle
of everyday incarnation: a day of my soul
captured in yolk and shell.
And I would have no need
for the visions that come to others
on bat’s wings, to carry them
face to face with nothingness.
The howl of the coyote in the night
would not raise my feathers, for I,
drowsy on my roost, would dream
of the replicated fruits of my life
nested safe in cartons.
And yet I am never seduced,
for I have seen what a hen knows of omnipotence:
nothing of the miracles in twelves,
only of the hand that feeds
and, daily, robs the nest.