Monthly Archives: March 2014

Judging Poetry prizes

Why do I write? This makes me ponder my purpose for poetry, but in the best way. When we consider why we’re writing it helps us refill our passion coffers.

Kate Gale: A Mind Never Dormant

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I believe in the state of American poetry. I believe in the story of it, the waft and weave of it. I love the way the narrative and the dramatic and the lyric mix themselves.

I love poets who are not working the “system,” not working for tenure track jobs, not playing the game, not working on a career. Poets who don’t believe in poetry careers. Poets who enjoy writing but write seriously. Poets who stop writing because they eat like hobbits and poets who can’t stop writing because poetry pulls at them.

Poets should have the ability to surprise, awaken, deafen, and absolutely to insist on being heard, on being read again and again.

I have a friend who writes these amazing poems that throw Jesus and John Lennon together on the road to Damascus. She wrote these poems because they were clawing at the back of her throat…

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Erasing a French Icon

I’ve recently become interested in trying erasure poetry. I had always thought of it as an esoteric exercise, but after an excellent lecture by a fellow student in my MFA program I decided to give it a go. 
At first, I found myself reading My Antonia and mentally deleting words to highlight Cather’s beautiful phrases, but creating poems from it seemed too large an undertaking. Then I found a copy of Colette’s “for a flower album” I had received as a gift (in lieu of a bouquet to celebrate my chapbook’s publication). Each essay in this collection features a different garden variety and is already lyrical and poetic.
As I erase these essays I’m finding that what I’m doing is exploring my journey as a woman and poet coming into my own. At turns sensual, angry, and contemplative, my voice is coming out with words and phrases I don’t think I would make if I wasn’t forced to choose them. 
This project is an exercise in exploration and I’m falling in love with it. It’s also been a great way to make me write when I feel hopelessly blocked. When the words are already there, the pressure eases. I just have to pick which ones I like best rather than forcing my lexicon into submission.

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