Monday, March 16, 2015





Jane Hirshfield is one of our finest poets writing today and also one of our best essayists on the act of writing and the art of poetry. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/ten-windows#sthash.wqcu0pu5.dpuf

Jane Hirshfield is one of our finest poets writing today and also one of our best essayists on the act of writing and the art of poetry.

 From Basho she quotes:

don’t copy me
like the second half
of a cut melon!

And so tellingly she concludes, “Bashō’s haiku are the record of what the world placed in the open begging bowl of his life and his perceptions.”
Though this essay alone is worth the price of the book, it is literally surrounded by long, insightful, often demanding studies of other fine poems and poets, and in fact the very nature of Poetry. Just as Jane Hirshfield opened gates for us to see poetry’s bond with life itself, here the windows are thrown open to a vision of poetry from the inside looking out. 
 

Jane Hirshfield is one of our finest poets writing today and also one of our best essayists on the act of writing and the art of poetry. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/ten-windows#sthash.wqcu0pu5.dpuf
Jane Hirshfield is one of our finest poets writing today and also one of our best essayists on the act of writing and the art of poetry. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/ten-windows#sthash.wqcu0pu5.dpuf

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Writing Process



The Writing Process: Tension and Release…Holding on and Letting Go

“Don’t tell your stories too soon,” she said and walked away at the book party, leaving me in a quandary. Why not…I’m a writer? This from the same person who told me I need to share my work with others in workshops. When I tracked her down with a question and glass of wine for both of us, she explained, “Oh, honey, what I said was don’t tell your stories too soon. That’s the key to getting them written. Hold onto that tension of their seeking expression. If you talk it out with your partner, over coffee with friends, or in a classroom before it’s written, it probably never will be finished.”
It was beginning to dawn on me that there was a reason she wrote a book on teaching creative children. And she’d been right about sharing writing that had been labored over with others in workshops where you come to own it and sense how it is heard and shared.
“How do you think I finished my novel?” she added sipping her white wine and winking. “If I’d told it all before I’d hashed it out, it would be there in air. You have to sit with it, live with it till it blooms inside you and all you can do is write to out.” Then she stroked my cheek with her free hand, “Oh, you men never get to know what it’s like to carry a child. Let it gestate and something wonderful will develop.”
Feeling a little like a puppy at her heels, I nevertheless allowed the sense of it to connect with my experience. There were countless times when I had an idea on the drive to school, then released it in the classroom as I taught. It all felt so natural, the story connecting in my head and heart with the lesson I was teaching. And yet, Jane was right. How many times had I sat down and written that poem or story? Almost never, unless it evolved and had a second life. Better had the idea come on the drive home from school, where I had time and space to scratch it out and turn it from talk in the air to words on the page. When the writing comes, go to a place where you can receive it…pull off the road or go to your room, or the corner of the coffeehouse. Receive it as a medium for it will carry you along.
You see, there is this creative tension no one talks much about, a large secret we artists and writers don’t want to expose lest it disappear. Ask an artist about his or her art while they are at it, or after, and most will give you nothing in response. Silence before the inner muse. They don’t want to analyze it away. Allen Ginsberg once warned against self-consciousness while creating, saying something like: “When you stop your writing to say, ‘Hey, look at me writing,’ you no longer are.” Staying with the creative tension, the seeking and following what you’ve found, is the way in and out.
As an editor-publisher, I have sat at book fairs and listened to people tell me about their novel…spinning it out with endless unfathomable detail…and never buying a book. But when I ask how long is it? I typically hear, “Oh, I haven’t written it yet.” And pointing to their head, they add, “It’s all up here.”
And I just smile and nod, “Well, get back to me when it’s written.” But what I’m really sensing is that it never will. 

Now, I know that no two writers or artists work the same, so this may or may not be true for you. But I whisper this secret of creating as a little riprap along the trail, and one of the many ways of the craft that may guide you on your way. 
 Best...Larry


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This should be a strong event focusing on one of America's finest writers through the writings of another fine writer Kurt Landefeld. It's a work of imagination and dedication to a vision.  Come and share.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Fog of Snow poem




A fog of snow

on the porch screen--

10 degrees below.

My dog lifts a paw to be let in;

the shovel waits in the garage.