Tag Archives: Patrick Ross

Poetics Serendipity: Review of a Writer’s Guide

7:27 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Snow Patrol singing Lightning Strike

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

Hello, all. Ready for Spring? Or, Fall? No matter where we are we should all be watching as colour paints our landscapes. Here, in Atlanta, the plum and the dogwood are going nuts. Around every corner we are surprised by clouds of white, or pink, blossoms.

I had been going to list participants in April’s National Poetry Month as I did last year, so people know their options, but things seem to be gearing up more slowly this year. Robert Lee Brewer is back and so is our Miz Quickly. I’ll check in the coming days and if it seems useful, post a list next week. Meanwhile I shall bring forward next week’s original topic.

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing a new book, ‘a first-of-its-kind writer’s guide which bestselling novelist Wally Lamb is calling “an effective primer crafted by a writing community on how to build your own writing community, and other fundamental elements of success as a writer.”  Although this guide was originally created with Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) graduates in mind, the reality is that the content can be leveraged by all writers.

Now What? The Creative Writer’s Guide to Success after the MFA is the first multi-genre writer’s guide authored, edited and published entirely by writers for writers.

Now What? provides dozens of articles, essays and resources; contributors share wisdom, advice, instruction, inspiration and time-tested tips for making writing a permanent part of one’s life, whether as a career, a hobby, or anywhere in between. Topics range from adjunct teaching, corporate careers, and creative inspiration to blogging, freelancing, and health insurance.’ [Lisa Diane Kastner — one of the contributors].

Hang on. Don’t stop now. You say ‘I’m not a novelist’ and ‘I don’t have and am not getting an MFA’ [although several of you are working on novels and a few of you do have MFAs]. Having read the book, I can tell you that it is chock-full of useful information and ideas in its two parts and fourteen chapters.

The first part is short, two chapters that address an MFA’s life before receiving the degree and immediately after. Even here there are interesting items that can be of use to us who are non-MFA writers of poetry. The other twelve chapters deal with items such as, finding support within our community, whether that be local, or online; writers’ groups; workshop options; having a writing buddy; the AWP experience [which many of you can identify with]; associations, memberships, subscriptions we should have; writing problems and strategies; getting our writing out there; writing while holding down a job, or raising a family [or both]; careers for writers; the writing industry; publishing — self, or otherwise; literary agents; contracts; copyright; things that writers should, and shouldn’t do.

The detail is incredible. What I enjoyed most as I read, are the different voices. There are dozens of writers and editors and other members of the writing community contributing. The book is easy to dip into. Even the choice of quotes the editors set off made me want to copy each one. This is a guidebook of extraordinary breadth and depth for all writers.

I have been following Patrick Ross and his blog The Artist’s Road longer than any other blog. Over the years I followed him as he took a deep breath, and mid-career went for an MFA. This book echoes everything he has written about his journey.

After the craziness of April, I shall be going through a couple of chapters a week, in more depth. Let me know, in comments, which topics interest you, about which you are curious.

I shall see you tomorrow for Friday‘s roundup of prompts; Tuesday for our image prompt; and next Thursday for a pre-NaPoMo post.

Happy writing, everyone.

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Posted by on 20/03/2014 in miscellanea, poetry, writing


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Poetics Serendipity

8:04 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Mick McGuire sung by The Clancy Brothers

Hello, all. New people, welcome. Thursdays are off and on, depending on whether I have links for you, or a point of discussion. I am more than happy to have you send me either, or both. For today: Many of us have been grousing about dry spells [I don’t even know where my daily notebook is], so I have two articles that might help, and a laugh for you.

1] We have read many of Patrick Ross’ posts, on his site The Artist’s Road. This particular one caught my eye because of its title: Turning Your To-Do List Upside Down. Okay, I bit. The article is short and to the point: how to have your to do lists not be a source of stress, but a source of support. He makes an interesting point and if it helps, then Hallelujah. If it isn’t for you, at least you have read a beautifully written article.

2] This next article is about a topic we are all familiar with, but may not have really worked at, in a while: How To Create An Inspirational Workspace For Writing, written by Laura Carlin and Alison Forbes and posted at Write to Done, another site you see often, here. It’s presented as a 12 step program and has a couple of points I hadn’t considered. I write out of my recliner so many of these points would have to be adapted, but I like the idea. Hie your way over and see whether you can spring clean your work space.

3] Okay, grammarphiles, this next site is a gallery that shows grammar and punctuation art. I am not kidding. Oxford comma fans, you’ll need to click on the painting to see what it says… chortle. Grammarphobes, you can’t stand it, can you? You have to go look.

That’s it. I will see you tomorrow for the weekly roundup of prompts; and, Tuesday for the first in a series of body prompts.

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 06/02/2014 in links, writing


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Poetics Serendipity

7:41 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Dumbarton’s Drums sung by the Corries

Hello there, everyone. We’re almost there. You just have to get through a day, or two, and it’s the weekend. We don’t usually do anything particular on Labour Day weekend, but we have close friends in Ohio. Ohio has proved too hard to get to, so far, so a compromise halfway point turns out to be Berea, Kentucky. Berea recently made the list of top 17 most hippy cities in the United States. I can’t wait. Meanwhile, we have links.

1] A brief post: How I Came to Embrace Goodreads by Patrick Ross. I know, two weeks in a row of Patrick seems like too much goodness and I considered adding this post to my list of future stuff, but not a day goes by that someone isn’t now my friend, or following me, on Goodreads, despite the fact that after my initial listing of books, years ago, when it started, I have done absolutely nothing. And still they come. Patrick’s viewpoint gave me pause, so you can read it, too.

2] I think I mentioned The Poetry Circle when it began. I join all the writing networks, in order to see what’s happening. I don’t actually do anything at any of them — no time — but I like to keep abreast of the poetry world and this is one way to do it. When you land on this page, you’ll find a clean, clear listing of the things incorporated in the group, on the left. Check them out if you are looking for a writing group.

3] TED talk [Yay!]: Actually, I’m posting the TED blog post titled, ‘The power of daydreams: 4 studies on the surprising science of mind-wandering‘ but the talk is part of it, so hey! Interesting material on wandering minds and as most of us confess to some degree of it, at least read the post.

4] Debbie Ridpath Ohi time!

Mimi's Book Purge

Mimi’s Book Purge

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at

I will see you tomorrow for the roundup; Tuesday for a borrowed prompt; and Thursday for links and stuff.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 29/08/2013 in poetry, writing


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Poetics Serendipity

7:36 a.m. — Atlanta

Listening to Judy Collins (doesn’t that take some of us back!) singing Both Sides Now

Hullo, everyone. Are we ready for some looking around? I’m diving deep into my archives. Back in a moment. A long moment. It’s 8:08. What’s that? Um, sometimes I know the links ahead of time. Not knowing adds a certain piquancy to my task.

1] Patrick Ross, who keeps the blog The Artist’s Road, one which we have followed here for many years, offers MFA Nugget: An Entire Residency in One Tasty Bite, a wealth of information on what he has learned over the past four years. You can pick and choose, read all now, come back later, but you will learn a lot about writers and writing, and not have to leave your house, apartment, office, cave…

Hmm. 8:41. I keep stopping to read stuff. 2] How about an article that includes a video? I adore the title, What is Your Lizard Brain Telling You Today? by Lisa Rivero. Ignore the date. I told you I was going into the depths. I have quite a vault. Lisa speaks to that part of us that says: “Nope. Not good enough to submit. Nope, not yet. Nope. No-one will read it”. She includes a talk, Quieting the Lizard Brain by Seth Godin who says, ‘The genius part is getting the lizard brain to shut up long enough’.

3] Aiee! 9:20. I keep distracting myself. Final piece, How To Deal with Conflicting Critiques by Jennifer Blanchard. I don’t know if, when you ask people to comment on a poem, it drives you nuts when the advice/suggestions seem to come from polar directions. It’s not something that bothers me, but I can see it bewildering someone. Blanchard has good points and the article is short, if you resist her links (save them for a down moment). The image at the top of the article does not show on my computer. If it doesn’t show on yours, click it. I had a good laugh.

I think we had better stop there, or it will be lunchtime, and I haven’t had breakfast. These three are meaty and will keep you going for a while. I shall see you tomorrow for the roundup of prompts; Tuesday for found poetry; and next Thursday for more links to things.

Happy writing, everybody.


Posted by on 22/08/2013 in poetry, writing


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Poetics Serendipity

7:35 a.m. — Atlanta

Hello, all. I hope you are well. First, a reminder that summer is coming [unless it’s winter is coming, where you live]. During the summer, Thursdays go dark. For some reason, I still give you Fridays. Hmm. We’ll see. Tuesdays I give you ahead and I drop by to expound, but I don’t read, or comment. I will explain further the first Tuesday in June, how Tuesdays will work. Meanwhile:

1] Our first link, to my amusement, also appears in today’s We Write Poems, so, I will give you a companion link, one that takes you to Robert Peake’s home page. Robert’s is among the handful of writers’ blogs I began following, when I returned to the U.S. in 2010. He writes beautifully, and articulately, and he has a sense of humour. Sometimes he reviews poetry books, sometimes he shares one of his poems, sometimes he has interesting stuff, like poetry hotspots in London [where he lives at the moment]. His blog is also a thing of beauty to behold, clean lines and easy on the eyes. Go explore.

2] Our second exploration is an unusual publication, the Safety Pin Review. In their About, they say: biweekly literary magazine featuring fiction of less than 30 words, with a major D.I.Y. twist: in addition to being published online, each story is hand-painted onto a cloth back patch, which is attached (via safety pins) to one of our operatives—a collective network of authors, punks, thieves, and anarchists—who wear it everywhere they go for a week. I’m not sure how anyone can resist submitting. Despite it asking for fiction, its 30 word maximum means that something poetic can work so long as it looks and feels like fiction and you call it fiction. They have forty-eight issues to date. Read a few. It doesn’t take long.

3] This is for your amusement. As it regards punctuation, I know you are intrigued already. Punctuation is not usually a topic for amusement.

4] Patrick Ross’ The Artist’s Road, is another blog I have followed from the beginning of my own odyssey. You have read one, or two, of his posts here. This one, entitled ‘Stop Super-Sizing the English Language!‘, should be of interest to all of us, as writers. Patrick’s topic is one I have long fought in the classroom, even forbidding the use of the word ‘evil’ when we study Macbeth. I offered twenty-five shades of the word, instead. It lead to a more nuanced study. We lose the meaning of words when we apply them to everything, with no thought to degree. Think about how often we hear the word ‘tragedy’.

5] The final link is to a free photo editor that is easy — i.e. I was able to use it — and produces useful effects, as well as collages. PicMonkey has a paid upgrade, but if you go through the offerings on the left of whatever photograph you are looking at, you will find a number of the effects are free.

Go play. I will see you tomorrow for the week’s roundup of prompts; Tuesday for an image prompt; and next Thursday, for the last Poetics Serendipity until August.

Happy writing, all.



Posted by on 23/05/2013 in poetry, writing


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Your Serendipity @ Thursday Thoughts


8:30 a.m. — Atlanta

‘Goin’ to the Chapel’ playing

Hello, all. I sat down an hour ago to write you and just realised I spent the entire hour wandering around the Sphere. Let’s get to this week’s grab bag.

1] I am sure that most writers have been frustrated by the rejection notices where editors tell you how much they enjoyed your poems, but…That’s how Donna starts her post about submissions and rejections. It’s a short but important eureka moment. Head for Put Words Together. Make Meaning to read what she says.

2] As long as we are on the topic, how about a list of dos and don’ts for submitting work? Amanda Earl is both writer and editor, so has a unique perspective. Much of what she says is self-evident, yet, sometimes, it’s good to read what we know and be reminded.

3] Patrick Ross, of The Writer’s Road, has author Annie Neugebauer as a guest blogger. Her topic? What the Heck Should I Call Myself, Anyway? Have you ever wondered, when people ask: What do you do [aside from other jobs than writing], how exactly to answer? Until I read this post, I wandered between: I write. I’m a writer. I write poetry. I never felt any were quite right as far as conveying what I do to non-writers. After reading this post, I answer: I’m an author. Faces clear immediately; heads nod. People understand what an author is. A writer? Not so much.

4] This is for all us book mad people, but does require a bit of tech to accomplish. Jeff O’Neal, the editor of Book Riot, shows us a nifty way to make book covers into screen savers. Nope. This has nothing to do with poetry. Serendipity, remember?

5] Finally, grab that cup of whatever, pull your chair up, make yourself comfortable and listen to Billy Collins, for 12 minutes. His subject is ‘everyday moments, caught in time‘ but, really, do we care? Sitting with him for twelve minutes is a treat. If you have not explored TED talks, this is an example of what can be found.



Posted by on 23/08/2012 in poetry, writing


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