Rants

Against the fall

There are wisps
of sound
beyond the plosives
and sibilance of artifice

Drones whistling
through pine needles
that muffle urban
suburban
grinds of sawteeth
and dental clinics

Notes ascending
Jacob’s Ladder
past the roofing sign
askew on rebar legs

Why do you write poetry?

The question “why” is always loaded, especially when it deals with poetry. The inquirer always expects a lofty response. “I write poetry to satisfy my muse…”“I must write poetry, it comes from my soul…”“Poetry is the true language…” To me, any answer like this, or anything flowery, contrite, haughty, misses the point. Poetry is not an end but a means. Poetry is a tool, a structural element to just plain writing. It provides a framework to isolate Or maybe juxtapose elements that needjuxtaposition to show somesimilarity When looking at line breaks, line lengths, stanzas, really focus on the reason. Does … Continue reading Why do you write poetry?

Voice Over Everything

The most important aspect of writing is voice: that feel, sound, or signature thing that makes a piece identifiable as a particular writer’s work. Inevitably a writer just starting out will copy a mentor’s voice — subconsciously or not — to start understanding what makes it interesting. Then, through craft, experience, more reading, more experimenting with different mimicry, the writer begins to sculpt a signature vibe. Because it can only develop through careful, calculated practice, true voice may take years to articulate. Read some of your own juvenilia; does it sound different? odd? bad? not like you? Most likely, that old writing … Continue reading Voice Over Everything

Circles, Silos, Niches

Creative writing for the likeminded — and ONLY the likeminded I sometimes take the opportunity to rant. This is a rant. It appears that the entire intent of ‘literature’ and ‘poetry’ is to create and define niches. Because the world — read: virtual world — is so vast, everyone is trying to cut a little piece of the landscape and call it ‘home.’ But, there are only certain guests that can and will be invited into these ‘homes.’ Open call for writers from ___ with experience in ___ and a ___ background. The creative writing world is laser-focusing on the … Continue reading Circles, Silos, Niches

Traceable Genesis

Wherever your ideas comes from, be it image, fact, lie, it is interesting to have some type of documentation surrounding those ideas. Maybe there is a biographical link, a creative link, an environmental link, a detail that someone, somewhere, sometime will pick up about your piece. Because the original ideas are oftentimes NOT the core of a story or poem, they can add a certain depth for the serious reader. Having the ability to “uncover” these gems can be very rewarding to the parsers. To others, this type of backstory doesn’t matter. That’s great. Writing should be for different audiences. … Continue reading Traceable Genesis

Wading in sameness

Lately I’ve noticed a surge of statistics and articles on increasing popularity, discoverability, readability. This idea also seems to be trickling down into the creative writing world, especially poetry. It seems that content is being replaced by style, message by findability. Ok, so this isn’t new, but the sheer volume of noise behind the movement is disconcerting. Every title of every article is the same, and some of these pieces even offer exact formulae for proper title wording. To me, an old school writer just wading into this new world, it seems self-defeating. It is the definition of vicious cycle: … Continue reading Wading in sameness

5 reasons to write slowly RIGHT NOW!

There are different opinions on handwriting (longhand) vs typing. The arguments boil down to either personal preferences about speed and efficiency or theories about retention and immediacy. I’ve used longhand for decades, and I’ve used laptops, tablets, phones for years. The analog and the digital both have their advantages and disadvantages, but for me, personally, based on my experience, the old pen/pencil and paper wins every time when it comes to drafts, notes, ramblings. Here are 5 reasons why I think everyone should use longhand (or cursive, or print, or whatever works, as long as it’s pen(cil) on paper). The … Continue reading 5 reasons to write slowly RIGHT NOW!

Never erase

We have always been told to learn from our mistakes. It’s a simple enough concept: don’t repeat things that don’t work or things that are bad for you. Wear shoes when you walk on gravel. Don’t stick your tongue to the pole in the schoolyard in winter. Simple. When it comes to writing, the concept is a little more confusing. Picture the stereotypical frustrated writer, sitting alone in a room, staring at a blank page. Then inspiration strikes! Frantic writing… then, a page is torn, crumpled, tossed across the room in disgust. Zoom in on the pencil. This time, the … Continue reading Never erase