Grace Notes — Singing the Poetic Line

February 15, 2012



Each line a poem, each line reaching out beyond its line break into an uncertain endlessness – and so each line earning that sort of honor. Or not. In a sense, this installment is more impressionistic than specific. But its intentions nevertheless have to do with very specific qualities of attention and regard, somehow achieved […]

Posted in: Poetry

In a Single Breath

January 12, 2012


first snow

Enough of cake and cookies, out with the stale macaroons, the spent candles, the oddments of wrapping paper and ribbon behind the couch, under the couch, between the sofa cushions. Days lengthen, at first almost imperceptibly, and although there is so much winter yet to come, the soul begins its slow thaw, urging us in […]

Posted in: Poetry

On Poetic Gesture and Emotional Commitment

December 20, 2011



Here we are as poets, in search of primordial forms that pull our imagination beyond the strict confines of the world as we’ve grown used to seeing it, picturing it, describing it – figures of the bird, the fish, or some other unknown prehistoric creatures. It doesn’t matter, really, whether that vision is all elegance […]

Posted in: Poetry

Making Better Poems, Part II — with sample annotations

December 6, 2011


mountain meadow

       In my last blog entry, I spent quite a bit of time and space talking about space and time, as well as (importantly) the role of resonant diction and “correspondence” (the tethering of image to whatever is correspondingly human) in making a poem come alive. Somewhere in the midst of that entry (in the […]

Posted in: Poetry

How resonant diction and correspondence propel a poem: Part 1 in what we look for at Tupelo Press

November 16, 2011



    In my last post I promised a discussion of the “craft annotation” and, by extension, an explanation of why the meticulous work of annotating poems is so very valuable to the further work of the writer. The value of a craft annotation derives from the way it closely examines the inner workings of a […]

Posted in: Poetry

Contest Manuscripts: Behind the Scenes at Tupelo Press

November 4, 2011


tupelo loft

The doorkeeper’s feet are seven armlengths long five oxhides for his sandals ten shoemakers worked on them –Fragment of Sappho (110) translated by Anne Carson (If Not, Winter, Knopf, NY 2002) Why are these lines, fragments of lines—all that remain legible on a papyrus, a song of Sappho—sitting here atop this short piece on what […]

Posted in: Poetry

The Night Sky in Black & White: How the Poem Listens

October 27, 2011


galaxies nasa

Where do poems start? Where do they finish? What do they hear? The problem, as Olena Kalytiak Davis points out (or rather, as her invention, the speaker points out) in one of those astonishing poems in her Brittingham Prize-winning book, And Her Soul Out Of Nothing, is that “the brain sits right next to the […]

Posted in: Poetry

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