Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Looking back: Press 53 Gathering of Poets -- March 4, 2017

On March 4, 2017, in Winston-Salem, NC, Press 53 held its Gathering of Poets, a much anticipated annual event planned and offered by publisher Kevin Watson. I was honored to be on the faculty this year, along with these talented poets:
  • Nickole Brown
  • Richard Garcia
  • Jessica Jacobs
  • Tom Lombardo
  • Seth Mickelson 
Each poet on the faculty offered an hour-and-a-half workshop twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. There were a variety of subjects, and participants were able to take a total of four workshops. Such a full day of poetry! My workshop was called "Song of the Imperative." Here's the approach we took in it:

“Be unalone. Big up / your chest,” says poet Christian Campbell in the drumbeat of his poem “Incantation.” “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” says Adam Zagajewski in the quieter, softer music of his lines. What does a memorable poem of the imperative offer? Perhaps advice, instruction, a blessing, even a recipe—real or imagined. A rhythm of imperative verbs, always. Plenty of surprise. Syntax and image worthy of any good poem. This is the chance for you as poet to speak from the core, imaginatively and directly to the reader. Our agenda includes discussion and writing time to generate a poem, as well as a workshop packet of writing strategies, exemplary poems, and resources.

I was impressed by the creativity and talents of the workshop participants. Nothing like a room full of poets to write, talk, and inspire!

Looking back: Feb. 4: PSSC workshop -- Fishing for Poems

Looking back at a recent winter workshop:

PSSC Writers' Group Workshop:
Fishing for Poems
Sat., Feb. 4 
10 a.m. to noon
Charleston Library Society
164 King St., Charleston
Instructor, Susan Laughter Meyers
Free for PSSC members, CLS members,
and CofC students; $15 for all others.

In this workshop let’s cast for poems, somewhat like throwing out a fishing line in first one spot and then another, knowing that sometimes we catch a fish, sometimes we don't. We're notfixed on the catch as much as we're determined to sit back and enjoy the process. If we dedicate ourselves to this time of generating something new--if we allow ourselves plenty of opportunities to let our imaginations loose, to experiment without judging our work—by the end of the workshop, we’ll each have several poem starts or drafts to take home for revision, as well as new strategies for filling our poetry pail. 

Oct. 22, 2016: A day at the Pat Conroy Literary Festival

The Pat Conroy Literary Festival was as enchanting as I thought it would be. I was there for the day on a Saturday and felt the magic of the Festival as soon as I arrived in downtown Beaufort, SC. Pat Conroy's presence was felt by everyone there, as one program followed another. Besides his literary talents, it's his big heart, his generosity that was best remembered. I was honored to be a part of the readings from the anthology Found Anew, published by the University of South Carolina Press and edited by R. Mac Jones and Ray McManus.

It was one of those days that somehow feels just perfect. I hope I can attend again next year to feel some more of that magic.

Last fall's Poetry Society of SC Writers' Group workshop: Oct. 29

Last fall's Poetry Society of SC Writers' Group workshop:

Saturday, October 29
Poetry Society of SC workshop
Susan Laughter Meyers, instructor
10 a.m. - 12 noon
Charleston Library Society, 164 King St.
Charleston, SC
Mastering the Line:
Free for PSSC/CLS members & CofC students; $15 for all others
(PSSC membership, $25 annually; new memberships welcome)

How do you know where to begin and end the lines of your poems? What are some of the different aesthetics for line breaks? This workshop looked at how lineation affects a poem, how various poets have upheld the integrity of the line – whether it’s short, long, or a combination of the two. The workshop included writing activities and a resource packet. Participants were asked to bring a copy of 1-2 of in-progress poems.  

Ten of us met to work on lineation of poems, a subject that never gets old.

Recent anthologies I'm proud to be included in

Thank you to the editors of the following anthologies for including my work among that of so many poets and writers I admire:

Volume VII: North Carolina.
Eds.Jesse Graves, Paul Ruffin, William Wright
(Texas Review Press, 2014).


A Celebration of Ten Festivals.
Ed. Diana M. Donovan (Press 53, 2015).


FOUND ANEW: Poetry and Prose 
Inspired by the South Caroliniana Library 
Digital Collections.
Eds. R. Mac Jones and Ray McManus
(Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2015).


Through the Seasons in Images and Words
Photographer Anne Swift Malarich,
ed. Linda Ketron (CLASS, 2015)


Ed. Diane Lockward
(Terrapin Books, 2016).


Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins. 
Eds. Daniel Westover and William Wright
(Clemson Univ. Press, 2016).


THE CRAFTY POET: A Portable Workshop.
ed. Diane Lockward (Terrapin Books, 2016).


Nights of 1000 Candles. 
Photographer Anne Swift Malarich,
ed. Linda Ketron (CLASS, 2016).

Looking back at the Queens alumni weekend

I'm catching up on some past events, starting with the Queens University of Charlotte MFA program's alumni weekend last October 4 and 5. It was a fine opportunity for alumni and students currently enrolled in the MFA program to gather and swap writing tips and anecdotes, learn from one another, and just enjoy the tribe. Besides swapping ideas and stories, we had a journal swap.

I enjoyed being on a publishing panel as the one poet among prose writers, plus we poets held two sessions of our own. Poet and editor Tom Lombardo held a seminar on Putting a Poetry Book Together, and Asheville poet Pat Riviere-Seel led a session on Becoming a Better Poet: Tips & Totems.

Thanks to Shuly Cawood and her steering committee for a great weekend on campus!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Release of The Crafty Poet II, ed. Diane Lockward

The Crafty Poet series is a favorite resource, and I'm doubly excited about the two books since my work is included in both. The second in the series, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop, has just been released by Terrapin Books, and I'm happy to report that it lives up to the first: helpful craft tips, prompts with exemplary poems, the "Poet on the Poem" features, and more. Diane Lockward is a gifted editor with a teacher's eye—in this case, for tips, poems, and experiential advice that can help poets become better at what they do.

Here are the accomplished poets and poet-teachers whose company I'm honored to be among—with their poems, insights, and writing strategies: 

Kelli Russell Agodon, Dick Allen, Nin Andrews, David Barber, Judith Barrington​, Ellen Bass, Mary Bindiger, George Pilgere. Chana Bloch, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, David Bottoms, Fleda Brown, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Lauren Camp, Martha Collins, Mary Cornish, Oliver de la Paz, Carl Dennis, Toi Derricotte, Natalie Diaz, Camille Dungy, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Alice B. Fogel, Alice Friman, Karin Gottshall, Tami Haaland, Barbara Hamby, Ava Level Haymon, Tom Hennen, David Hernandez, Tony Hoagland, Karla Huston, Laura Kasischke, Meg Kearney, David Kirby, Lance Larsen, Sydney Lea, Ada Limon, Timothy Liu, Diane Lockward, Alessandra Lynch, Davis McCombs, Deborah Miranda, D. Nurkse, Priscilla Orr, Paisley Rekdal, Susan Rich, Alberto Rios, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Sheryl St. Germaine, Martha Silano, Ron Smith, A. E. Stringer, KC Trommer, William Trowbridge, Lee Upton, Sidney Wade, Charles Harper Webb, Hilde Weisert, Marjory Wentworth, Terence Winch, Robert Wrigley, Dean Young, Michael T. Young

Plus, the book includes a host of sample poems by these talented poets: 

Gloria Amescua, Bob Bradshaw, Constance Brewer, Betsey Cullen, Jessica de Koninck, Gail Fishman Gerwin, Deborah Gerrish, Patricia L. Goodman, Jeanie Greensfelder, Susan Gundlach, Barbara G.S. Hagerty, Tracy Hart, Penny Harter, Karen Paul Holmes, Akua Lezli Hope, Jenny Hubbard, Jen Karetnick, Tina Kelley, Adele Kenny, Kim Klugh, Denise Low, Kathy Macdonald, Charlotte Mandel, Joan Mazza, Jane Miller, Maren Mitchell, Camille Norvaisas, Ellie O'Leary, Judith Quaempts, Wanda Praisner, Anjela Villarreal Ratliff, Kim Roberts, Jennifer Saunders, Paula Schulz, Martha Silano, Linda Simone, Jay Sizemore, Kate Sontag, Carole Stone, Marilyn L. Taylor, Lisken Van Pelt Dus, Pramila Ventkateswaren, Angela Vogel, Jeanne Wagner, Jane West, Scott Wiggerman, Lori Wilson

Discover additional excellent poetry resources available from Diane Lockward at her website and her blog.

Saturday, July 23, 2016