Earlier this week, I visited a poetry class that was reading my new collection of poems, The Feast Delayed. I enjoy talking with readers, especially college students who are discovering the elements of craft and writing toward a better understanding of their voices and identities. A few of their questions surprised me with their levels of complexity about individual poems and the collection. One student asked why I move backward and forward in time without calling attention to the shift. Are these moves intentional? Is it okay if readers feel disoriented? My response was briefer than the question deserved, but I explained how experience, image, and memory sometimes work as one force in a poem. When the three together spark language that will be the poem, the blurring is the constellation of experiences that Denise Levertov defines in “Some Notes on Organic Form.” If we’d had more time, I’m sure we would have talked much more about the origins of a poem.
This week also brought exciting news in the poetry world. Poets & Writers recognized The Strategic Poet (Ed. Diane Lockward, Terrapin Books, 2021) as one of its Best Books for Writers. It’s a bottomless well of strategies for writers by writers. I contributed a sample poem to illustrate apostrophe, and I’m inspired by the range of poems within and across sections. The collection is structured by the elements of craft (descriptive detail, diction, imagery, and more), so users can follow the sequence or move around according to interest. With craft talks, prompts, models, and sample poems, The Strategic Poet is that essential book to have at a writing residency, for writing groups, and near any poet’s desk. It’s an ideal holiday gift for writers.
As always, some new publications and events are in the works, including a limited series new artist’s book. Check back for details. Wishing you a calm and safe December.
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