Organizing the Field

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

An Appreciation: Terrance Hayes’s “The Blue Terrance”

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”

What About X? Writing the Abecedarian

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

Rejection Brings Out the Best in Me

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

FREE Poetry email newsletter + interview with Erica Goss

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 Continue reading FREE Poetry email newsletter + interview with Erica Goss