No poet could ever suffer from writer’s block when she has access to any of Diane Lockward’s phenomenal craft books. Now she has published her fourth, The Strategic Poet. The book is a #1 New Release in Poetry Writing Reference on Amazon. Click on the following image to find the book.
The back of the book lists the poets whose work appears inside as either prompt poems or sample poems.
One of my poems is featured in the book. It’s a formal poem, a triolet, but rather than being a single triolet, I made it a triple!
The description in the book of a triolet:
I accepted the challenge to use the form for a significant topic as I based the poem on a cat hoarding situation we had in Phoenix last year where 133 cats were found in one apartment lived in by a couple with children. Here is the very beginning of the poem. To read the entire poem you would need to purchase Lockward’s book.
Although I haven’t mentioned my arty junk journals in awhile (other than using supplies for my cat nicho), I am still working on them. Here’s the latest completed double page where I jumped all in with purple.
Speaking of my cat nicho, look who decided to check it out from behind. Tiger Queenie Princess Mimi Josefina. I don’t know if she realizes that I made it for the cats or not, but she never goes in my study and then yesterday she did, only to investigate the nicho.
I’ve mentioned Diane Lockward’s poetry craft books before, as well as her free monthly newsletter. If you’re a poet or just want to try writing a poem, be sure to sign up for her newsletter HERE.
In October’s issue, she included a link to an SNL parody of English teachers/poets/poetry readings. Wondering what you make of it!
If you don’t have time to watch the video, then just save it for later (if it appeals to you) and say HI. This past week ended up even crazier than the one before. We went to California for work. The gardener had a scary car problem on the fast-moving freeway–the car simply shut down and he had to coast to the left median and wait for AAA (thank goodness for AAA!). That is a sample of the week haha. To make up for it, I am starting a walking plan, which just means that I plan to walk more! There is a beautiful path near my house that isn’t too long and is easy on my bad foot.
Arizona Unfiltered as Seen From My Walk: Saguaro Hotel (for the birds)
Mom comes at the end of this week, so I need to catch up some of my work and get the house ready.
After I tell you about a new book for poets, I’ll tell you where I was at the end of last week 😉 so keep reading. Hint: fabulous hotel in Phoenix.
Diane Lockward has published her third wonderful craft book, The Practicing Poet. Click on the following image to find the book at Amazon.
If you have read her earlier books, The Crafty Poet and The Crafty Poet II you already know how incredibly helpful Diane’s “portable workshops” are. Although the new book is third in the series, you can start with any of the books. They all offer tips, prompts, and sample poems, based on the prompts. There is also a connection with the free newsletter that Diane publishes. You can sign up for the newsletter here.
I will tell you that one of the sample poems was contributed by moi. The prompt, which I first encountered in one of the newsletters, involved choosing a home you once lived in and returning to it after a long absence. I wrote about the house of my early childhood in “Finding the House on Trimble Street.” I wrote it in the form of a haibun (a prose poem that ends with a haiku), although the prompt had not asked for that form. This is one of my favorite parts of the poem: “Sometimes it was a tornado with its green sky, and sometimes it was a bomb with its puff of smoke and a white rabbit in the magician’s hat.”
I’ve loved Lockward’s first two craft books more than any other that I’ve used in the past, so I can’t wait to practice my poetry with this one.
This past Thursday-Saturday was the NonfictioNOW conference that was held in Phoenix at the gorgeously reconstructed Renaissance Phoenix Hotel. My friend Kimberly is a cohort from the Stanford creative nonfiction program we were in, and we were able to spend time together. I also saw local friends at the conference, as well. Some good sessions, one not so interesting to me, and all in all a good experience. I want to give a lil shoutout to the Renaissance. They were positively amazing. They had plenty of smiling staff to help, from parking our cars, to helping us find our way, to serving breakfast and beverages and so on. I have never had a hotel experience with such attentive staff. Unlike the AWP in Tampa last March where I was parched and couldn’t get to water between sessions, water stations were set up and refilled frequently. If you are a nonfiction writer, this is a conference you might want to consider for 2019 or 2020. 2019 will be outside the U.S., but I believe 2020 will be back in a location here.
Poet Nicole Cooley, in her introduction to The Doll Collection, makes the connection for readers:
I have always thought that dolls and poems are a natural combination. Ever since I was a child, my dolls were part of my writing, as I arranged them into orphanages with my sister and wrote my own stories and poems about them. Now, I love to bring images of dolls to my poetry workshops for writing exercises.
I am as excited about bringing dolls and poetry together as Cooley seems to be. But she has taken it a step further by bringing dolls into the writing classroom. In the beginning, her students are reluctant to take dolls seriously as a muse for writing. But then she describes how they end up creating “uncanny, strange, frightening, and beautiful images.”
Diane Lockward chose this subject for the first book of her new press, Terrapin Books, and she has edited with great care. Because no poet has more than one poem in the anthology the variety of styles and subjects piques the imagination. I’ve never read an anthology where I felt such excitement at each turn of the page.
My favorite poem in the book—and realize that this is saying a whole heckuva lot because the poems are stunning—is Christopher Citro’s “The Secret Lives of Little Girls.” This is a poem I wish I had written. I’m achingly jealous of it.
The Secret Lives of Little Girls
How loudly you can groan if you just use your eyes.
Children are adept at this, twelve-year-old girls especially.
Alone, high in mountain caves along cliffsides
accessible solely by toeholds and birds of prey,
they deflate and slouch a bit in ease.
At such times they might play jacks or jump a rope,
its woven line slapping the cave roof, freeing
gypsum flowers to flutter down in fragments
over reeking hides and doll parts piled in corners,
a sleeping area of matted glossy magazines,
a fire ring of rolled socks in parti-colored balls,
simple flint implements, a clamshell for stripping pelts,
small animal bones for holding a bow in the hair,
a pompom here and there caked with glitter and mud.
Hidden in the back beyond reach of firelight, a dollhouse—
perfectly split down the center as eggs rarely are—
where the gods live. The mommy god and the daddy god
stand facing each other either side of a four-poster bed,
a cellophane fire in the living room hearth below.
A dining room table set for three, three plates, three napkins,
and cutlery—a clear plastic goblet at each place.
In the daughter chair, an acorn balanced atop an acorn.
A smile scraped into the top one,
presumably by sharpened antler bone.
I’m imagining a little girl’s room as an eagle’s aerie—a difficult-to-reach, glamorous, gritty, dangerous space.
But there are so many other showstoppers. Do you know what a Frozen Charlotte is? Nicole brings up this doll in her introduction, and Susan de Sola’s “Frozen Charlotte” explores this doll/dead girl. Read the book to find out the story behind the doll.
“Doll Heads,” by Richard Garcia, will rip your guts out with its brutal reality.
There is even a poem, written by Susan Elbe, about Colleen Moore’s dollhouse at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. My own book Doll God might have its roots in that dollhouse. When I was a kid, we used to visit the museum regularly—and each time I refused to leave until we toured the doll house, just once more.
You will love these poems. They will grab you at a visceral level and not let you go.
If I told you there is a new poetry collection about dolls out, you would say that is news I’ve been spouting for a long time, right? But this isn’t my book that I’m talking about. This is an anthology of poems by dozens and dozens of poets–and every poem is about a doll or dolls. The book is appropriately titled The Doll Collection.
The minute I opened the book to the table of contents I got excited. Dream dolls, paper dolls, Barbies, doll makers, puppets, mother’s doll, and doll heads. There is even a poem about the doll I have written about in my unfinished memoir: the red riding hood doll that flips around to be the wolf and/or the grandma! There is a pregnant doll. There are dark poems about loss and violence. There are poems brimming with heart or compassion or longing.
The pens behind these poems were held by a large variety of poets (OK, give me a little poetic license on that one–we can pretty much figure most were written on keyboards), including many luminaries like Chana Bloch, Kelly Cherry, Denise Duhamel, Jeffrey Harrison, and many more.
Oh, and there is a poem from Doll God in there, too: “Marriage Doll.” Woot!
What a wonderful book for anybody who loves beautiful, accessible poems–and particularly for anybody who has ever loved a doll.
LIGHTBULB FLASH!!! Or a cooler idea yet would be to buy a pair of books: The Doll Collection and Doll God. What a great gift! Mother’s Day? Spring birthday? Just because?
Weddings plans are in the works for son and his fiancee! They are looking a year out, but lots of preparation is already going on!
We went to California again. I’ll try to post a couple of photos of that hideous drive later this week. Hahahaha.