CRAFTTALKS

July 9, 2018

David James Poissant's craft talk, “Find, Replace: Revising Prose Style in a Microsoft Word World,” was originally published in The Southeast Review's October 2017 Writer’s Regimen.

Let me get one thing out of the way, right away: I love to teach. I’m not one of those writers who teaches merely to support my writing habit. I love both teaching and writing. Even if I didn’t need the money, I’d keep teaching. I consider such work...

July 1, 2018

Amy Meng's craft talk, “Know Thyself,” was originally published in The Southeast Review's October 2017 Writer’s Regimen.

The problems I have with my poems are often the same problems I have as a person: too controlling, too much vague ambition without a plan, too much meanness. It took me a long time to recognize and articulate my general behaviors, and even more time to recognize that those behaviors instruct how I treat my po...

June 25, 2018

Ebenbach's craft talk, “You're Unreliable, Too,” was originally published in The Southeast Review's October 2017 Writer’s Regimen.

Unreliable narrators give some of my student writers fits: They want to know: What makes certain characters unreliable? Where do they come from? How are you supposed to create that unreliability on the page?

The way we talk about unreliable narrators, you’d think they were a new species—Homo unreliab...

June 11, 2018

Roripaugh’s craft talk, “Five Uneasy Pieces About (Writing) Anger,” was originally published in The Southeast Review's October 2017 Writer’s Regimen.

1.

During a graduate thesis workshop, your white male colleague (now retired) tells a female graduate student that stories of sexual abuse are passé. That they’ve been done to death. He says this authoritatively—casually, as if noticing that culottes are no longer in fashion. He ad...

February 12, 2016

I learned a good deal about writing from watching and listening to jazz musicians. More specifically, I learned about the effective use of surprise, play and dissonance from them. I would take—and still do—my older son, who has autism among other things, to hear the bands play live because he loves the music, especially when it’s being made right in front of him. I watched as the musicians, seemingly fearlessly, went off on wh...

January 15, 2016

When Chekov famously asserted, “if a gun is on the mantle in the first act, it must go off in the third,” he probably did not intend for his dictum to extend into the realm of poesy. But with the first lines of any poem we begin to establish expectations, a primary ground from which the poem will extend, whether that grounding be in prosody, discourse, or imagery. When Michael McGriff begins his poem “Catfish” with the lines “...

January 8, 2016

Duende has many definitions, but we will focus on Federico Garcia Lorca’s extensive writings on it, looking at duende through the lens of poetry, how it relates to poetry, and how it can be adapted to the art of your poetry. Lorca writes in his essay, “The Theory and Play of Duende,” “So, then, the duende is a force not a labour, a struggle not a thought. I heard an old maestro of the guitar say: ‘The duend...

August 28, 2015

1. First off, poems aren’t magical things that plop from the air and onto your plate, fat and greasy like Grandmother’s dumplings. It might happen, but I wouldn’t count on it.

2. Be open for the unexpected, but be so with purpose. If something comes up, don’t think about how you can turn the adventure into a poem; rather, be in the moment. Be aware of the imagery around you, but try to connect with the people you are with and w...

August 14, 2015

There is no such thing as a poem without imagination. There are poems without metaphors that can work, poems without similes that can work, poems that don’t use rhyme or rhythm that can work and work well, but a poem without imagination isn’t a poem. The imagination is the cornerstone of all great poetry. Period. No imagination, no poem.

In his 1872 essay, “Poetry and the Imagination,” Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “Note our ince...

August 8, 2015

It’s a very good thing to have poems you admire rattling round in your head. They are schooling figures for the mind and good company, sometimes providing inspiration and, other times, solace. With the mention of just two words, “slumber” and “diurnal,” most poets will recall Wordsworth’s “Lucy poems”–if not the entire string of five mysterious poems written for a child who died young, then at least “A Slumber Did My Spirit Se...

Please reload