Right now, hundreds of fires are burning in the Western United States. The air in Washington and Oregon is the worst in the nation. Every morning, the sun shines an eerie bronze light over the land. The sky over Eugene, Oregon, where I live, reminds me of the smog-choked summers of my youth in Southern … Continue reading Fire Season
I’m an inveterate recycler. I have a compost pile and six chickens so I can turn food scraps into soil and eggs. I love repurposed items: quilts sewn from old clothes, wind chimes made of bent spoons, collages of torn magazine pages. Therefore, I was delighted to discover that poet Eileen R. Tabios has created a … Continue reading How to Create a Poetry Database
I’ve been so excited about my new poetry project, Field Notes, that I forgot how difficult it is to organize a poetry collection. So far, the 40-odd poems I've assembled fall into the following themes: Tree, Plant, Weather, Flowers, Seed, Insects, Earth, Grass, Compost, Bird, Stone, Ocean, Animal, Desert My first thought was to put the poems into seasonal categories, i.e., Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. … Continue reading Organizing the Field
During much of this spring, I’ve been in a creative lull – not exactly writer’s block but a definite slowdown. I wrote a few poems, I kept up with my twice-a-month blog posts and the newsletter, I wrote daily entries in my journal, but the energy I normally bring to my creative writing felt muted. … Continue reading Field Notes
My first encounter with Terrance Hayes’s poem “The Blue Terrance” occurred in my car. It was the spring of 2009 and I’d been listening to a CD of an episode of “The Playlist,” the Poetry Foundation’s podcast, on my way from one teaching job to another. The drive from Saratoga to Cupertino took about ten … Continue reading An Appreciation: Terrance Hayes’s “The Blue Terrance”
Definition: An abecedarian poem is one in which verses or words begin with the successive letters of the alphabet. I recently wrote my first abecedarian poem, and while I enjoyed the process, I nearly stalled out when I got to the letter X. Hardly any useful words begin with X. My crumbling, 1965 edition of … Continue reading What About X? Writing the Abecedarian
Last Friday, as I spent several hours getting batches of poems ready for submission, I started thinking about the word "submit." Meanings include “give in,” “yield,” “defer,” “succumb,” and “surrender.” If you're a writer hoping to publish work in journals and magazines, these words aren't likely to inspire confidence. Submitting work is an uncertain, often … Continue reading Rejection Brings Out the Best in Me
I have a little game I play in bookstores. First I find the poetry section. Then I run my eyes along the shelf, head cocked to the right so I can read the books’ skinny spines. I’m looking for book I’ve never read by an author I’ve never heard of. I’m looking for something new … Continue reading The Bookstore Game
The first issue of Sticks & Stones went out to subscribers on January 1. It features my very first book review of the year: Jenene Ravesloot’s Sliders. If you’d like to subscribe to Sticks & Stones, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Newsletter.” A few years ago, I wrote a column titled Sticks … Continue reading Happy New Year
The first issue of Sticks & Stones, my bi-monthly newsletter, will be delivered to subscribers on Monday, January 1, 2018. Issue 1 features a review of Jenene Ravesloot’s poetry collection, titled Sliders, a random poem from the bookshelf, notes from the reading life, and a pithy quote or two. To subscribe, send me an email at email@example.com with the subject “Newsletter.”
Erica Goss recently told me about a new poetry email newsletter she’s starting for 2018, so of course, I needed to know more! See my interview with Goss along with how to sign up for the newsletter below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about why you decided to start a poetry email newsletter?
GOSS: During one of my long drives between Oregon and California this fall, I had an epiphany: besides word-of-mouth…
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