In a Single Breath

January 12, 2012

14

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

6

DSC05173

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

11

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

12

hinge

    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

17

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

5

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

On the Idea of Order: A Western Key

October 19, 2011

20

chaos

All criticism is argument, of course, and critique (as in criticism) by one blogger of another blogger’s blog is the urging of a particular way of seeing the world. Curtis Faville, who blogs at The Compass Rose, has written this rather energetic critique of my advice, not on his blog, but to mine: If the book […]

Posted in: Poetry
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