Tag Archives: The Artist’s Road

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

7:35 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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