Saturday, March 26, 2011

Moving ->

The Poe-query blog is moving to its new home:

I know, it's harder to spell. But I hope you'll join me over there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Coming soon: Spring class at Hugo House

What: Building the Long Poem: Writing in Sequences
When: May 1, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Here are the full details from the Richard Hugo House site:

What's the difference between poetic sequences and series? How do you extend metaphor and imagery across long-poem sequences? How do you maintain compression and build tension, creating an arc without depending on narrative? What roles do form and structure play? In this class, we'll investigate poetic sequences and how they build the long poem. We'll look at examples from Charles Wright, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Kate Fagan and others—and we”ll write, generating our own sequences. If you've wanted to dig deep into an idea and explore it, this class is for you—and you”ll leave with drafts you can build on.

To register:

(Note: When I say, "we'll write," I mean a lot.)

Monday, March 21, 2011


I am always thankful for a Monday, because it's a kind of fresh start. That doesn't mean I love Monday's, per se--but I do love fresh starts.

I am thankful that we now have a rear windshield wiper for my car that I mostly don't drive but my daughter does drive basically daily. This took three trips to the auto parts store, and for one of those, it was closed and we ended up at the Blue Moon listening to Chele's Kitchen and sitting at the Walt Crowley memorial booth and I'm grateful for that but also glad that we now have the wiper ready for the rest of March.

I am thankful for writing and the hummingbirds and chicken dinner tonight. But mostly, I'm thankful for friends and my family.

Open the door. Open my heart.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Morning questions

It's 6:45 on the East Coast. Often, in the morning, I finish my journaling, move my thouhts ahead three hours and back a few thousand miles, and I wonder, "What are the East Coast editors doing?"

Are they getting another cup of coffee? Are they sifting through poems? Are they grading papers, teaching classes, going to meetings? Are they, like me, holding down a day job and looking at submissions on the weekends? Are my poems still in one stack or another?

Will I hear from them today?

Then I remember to "be careful what you wish for"--but I know what I'm wishing for, among other things.

And if I sent poems to Hawaii, those editors would probably still be asleep.

One of those other wishes: A good Thursday for the world.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wracking, see Nerves

I have a project at work that's making me nervous. When I feel nervous about something, I want to avoid it, do something else. This is a good way for me to get other things done, but that elephant (could it be a giraffe?) is still in the room.

Most new things make me nervous--certainly anything new. It's the unknown.

If I avoided everything that induced anxiety, everything new, I would not even have this job. I would not be working on crazy long poems. I would not have made my daughter a triple-layer chocolate birthday cake filled with hazelnut buttercream and chocolate mousse.

Clearly, the rewards can outweigh the anxiety.

I've been trying to breathe through it--which is good, but it doesn't necessarily create any movement, any forward progress.

So I then I try to break it down, really take it one step at a time while trying to hold that end vision in my head. For the cake, I had to make one component at a time.

For the poems, I have to look at one section at a time, or look only at how the sequences string together, or examine just the verbs. Verbs are good.

And for other projects, like this one, I need to map the path that will get me to the X with the treasure, move past the anxiety by focusing on those steps, one at a time.

What makes you nervous? How do you move through it?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gratitude, on a gray Sunday

This Gratitude Journal comes with a confession.

I confess that I spent the weekend hoping to hear some poetry news (I did receive one rejection), and I felt guilty with all the tragedy in the world right now--the devastation and human loss in Japan, and the ongoing conflict in Libya. And the loss in Wisconsin. Closer to home, and who knows how large that will loom in our future?

So much sorrow, so much to mourn. Such long roads.

This is when it's hard to feel thankful. Maybe this is when it's most important.

I'm thankful our family could come together last night--both sides--to celebrate my daughter's 18th birthday. I'm thankful one son made it up from Olympia. We'll catch up with the other son later--although there won't be any cake left.

I'm thankful the cake I made turned out--and I'm thankful my husband did all the rest of the cooking so I could focus on that cake.

I'm thankful for the dance class I took this morning--first time in more than two years, and apparently I can still walk.

I'm thankful for some time to write today, to try to make the poem I want to make.

Open the door. Open my heart.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Poor Misha

I confess that blogging about the sun hunters has started to feel like a chore. Is it because the days are longer now? Or is it because I'd rather be working on my long poems, happily immersed in sequences and pulling together threads and narrative and then breaking up that narrative.

But then, there's Misha, Sevario, Lydia. And there's Misha's family in South Bend, Washington--where you can eat a lot of oysters. I want to find out what will happen--and this is me, who is somehow missing the plot gene.

This could take a while.

Then I'll be back to poem-ing, free and clear.

Okay. Thanks for listening.

And while I'm feeling bad for my stranded character, I feel much more for the people in Japan and the people in Libya and the people in Saudi Arabia.

(I'm awaiting the U.S. State Department's statement on that last one.)

Two questions:

How do you make things happen in your writing?

How do you help things happen in the world?