Mondays: Poetry with The Deletionist

Deletionist poem using text by Lois Lowry’s The Giver.The Giver 1I love using the Deletionist because it is always fun seeing what ends up after pushing the button.
Sometimes you end up with a word repeated a bunch of times and, occasionally, entire sentences left followed by individual words scattered around. I think it is a really fun way to get into erasure poetry using online texts. Check it out!

Literary Citizenship

Originally posted on Experiences with Language:

I’ve been waiting for the right time to make this post, because it means a lot to me.  I chose tonight because today I visited my college for the first time since graduating. I caught a glimpse of who I was, right as I was leaving the college. I saw myself full of emotion and excitement for the world.

One of the biggest reasons I became this person was due to learning the wonderful phrase: Literary Citizenship. 

For those of you who have never heard the phrase before, I’ll say that it’s more of a vague philosophy than a concrete definition, and that many writers you meet will have slightly different interpretations. My beginner’s description might be something like: One part of living as a self-identified writer is trying your best, whenever possible, to help make this world a better place for readers and writers. It involves becoming a part…

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Fan Letter: Heather Christle

Dear Heather Christle,

You make me want to be on fire. I want to run on and on and on without sounding like I am rambling. I want to be beautiful when burning and not feel any pain. You’ve shown me how to take an image, light it on fire, and watch it grow into a poem. At one point, I wouldn’t have thought this was a poem. I have come to appreciate line breaks, and I have come to admire fire even more.


The Writing Process: the beginning

Starting a new writing project is always hard. The dreaded blank page makes doing ANYTHING else seem better than actually writing. Unfortunately, to get anywhere in writing – and life – means having to trudge through the miserable beginning where everything is up for grabs and you only have two hands.

I hate beginning the writing process because I never know what to say or write about. When given prompts, I feel confined to write about something I have limited knowledge on and fear it may end terribly for this reason. On the other hand, if I have no prompt, then I get stuck on not having structure and am right back to staring at the screen confused and frustrated with myself.

But, I love writing, despite how difficult it is to actually write.

So, here I am again, about to begin another writing project and I am staring at the screen just as expected.

What do I do to get over the first hurdle?

Recently, I have figured out that my previous method of beginning the writing process – observing my surroundings, taking walks, listening to music, reading – was not the best way to begin. While this may work for you, and sometimes it works for me, I found that I was using it to procrastinate beginning instead of as a way to find my inspiration.

I now try to begin writing by writing. This is an obvious statement. Of course I have to write, as nothing would get accomplished if I never started writing.

However, the importance of writing to begin the writing process was lost on me for a long time. I thought that writers or aspiring writers had to “find their muse” or whatever that means. I thought I had to be mysterious and sit at cafés or have my nose in a book to write anything.

But writing to begin the writing process is diving into the blank page headfirst. It is how you begin generating ideas because you begin exercising your mind. Thankfully, whatever is written at the beginning doesn’t have to be the beginning of the project. It can be a brainstorming activity, a list of topics that pop into your head, or just a tangent. It can be a blog post – like this one.

It is definitely okay to begin the writing process by doing something other than writing. However, if you are like me, don’t use it as an excuse to avoid beginning. Write something.

Fan Letter: Kelli Russel Agodon

Dear Kelli Russel Agodon,

Recently, I was given the option to choose between experiencing a journey or walking away. It was a back-and-forth debate on whether to stay or go and what the consequences would be of each. While the other person rambled on about what was the right thing to do, I remembered a phrase from your poem “The Botanists”:

“In a busy world, the sour experience
is not the lemon, but forgetting
to taste it”

With each reading of your poem, I can remind myself to ingest the garden and taste a bit. Many lessons learned over and over in your elegant form.

Wind blowing through my hair,