Tag Archives: poetry

Looking for Good Writing

How much or how little “natural” ability anyone has is nearly impossible to gauge. When Emily Dickinson composed the lines that filled the pages she kept in her lonely desk, she could not know that her pure apprehension of the language, her immutable style and breathtaking line breaks would forever change the landscape of American […]

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Short Saturday: The Paradox of Voice

I’ve written some about finding your voice (there are links below). Many people have. And you’ll hear lots of different opinions … which makes it difficult for young or inexperienced writers to figure out. What is voice in writing? And how do you identify yours? It’s a mystery until you one day find yourself writing […]

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Short Saturday: Beautiful Sentences

This has happened to you, I’m sure: you’re reading along and an exquisite sentence stops you in your tracks. Sometimes it’s in a novel full of perfection; sometimes it’s in a novel where it shines like a diamond in a pile of coal. This list came across Facebook this week, and I couldn’t resist taking […]

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The Deep Gratification of Poetry

So many people are denied the deep gratification of poetry. Their educations have trained them to read for information. When I told my uncle that a book of my poems had been published, he said, “Poety is Greek to me.” He did not open the pristine white covers of my first book. The same pople […]

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Short Saturday: Bram Stoker

About this time every year, articles about Bram Stoker appear, and I’d saved one just for curiosity’s sake (“Bram Stoker: 9 things you didn’t know about the ‘Dracula’ author” from the Christian Science Monitor): • Stoker was a sickly boy up to age seven. • He admired Walt Whitman and they later became friends. • […]

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Yeats Comes Home

It was a fine celebration. He had told us that ‘dizzy dreams can spring from the dry bones of the dead,’ but we were not in the mood to speculate thus with him last Friday. There was too much going on; the day was crowded, and sometimes even clangorous with public and private pride. And […]

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Short Saturday: An Extraordinary Moment

There’s just something about poetry. It’s like a mini-memoir, zooming in to describe one extraordinary moment. Last fall I heard this one on the Writer’s Almanac (read by Garrison Keillor, of course), and was struck by the sweetness of it. I’ve bought more books of poetry as a result of hearing the Writer’s Almanac than […]

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Short Saturday: The Joy of Editing

I just sent back a first pass edit on a well-researched novel set in the Middle Ages. I can tell you this only because it rang true; the few facts I know about medieval life could dance on the head of a pin with room to spare for several angels. But I knew enough to […]

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Poetry of Place

It’s that time of year when one’s thoughts turn to Ireland, even if one isn’t married to an Irishman—so when mine sent me a link to a recitation of Louis MacNeice’s poem “Dublin,” I decided we were about due to talk more about poetry. National Poetry Month is coming up, you know. It’s lovely. Watch. […]

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Walk On By: That Book I Haven’t Read

If you’ve been around here long, you know I tend to resist reading best sellers. Sure I’ve read some (like this one), but generally speaking, unless I’ve found it before its 277th week on the NYT Best Sellers list—well before—I probably won’t. Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, therefore, […]

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