Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Three quick things.

1. What We Talk About When We Talk About Narrative Poetry: In a few weeks, I’ll be moderating a conference panel on narrative poetry. (It’s a session billed as a “creative” panel at a mostly “academic” event, and it will feature a few poets reading from their own work.) As I prepare some introductory remarks, I’m wondering: What does “narrative poetry” mean to you? Please tell me in the comments section.

2. Finding yourself especially disheartened/distracted lately—and thus finding it more difficult to focus than usual? Same here. I’m attempting to improve the situation with a foray into Headspace. We’ll see how this trial period goes—I’m hoping that it may help.

3. Meaningful writing: It’s not something for publication, but the piece of writing that I’m most satisfied to have completed this week is a brief thank-you note that I mailed yesterday to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

an open spiral notebook with a pen resting on a blank page, plus a text label that reads, "Midweek Notes."

16 thoughts on “Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. Katherine Locke says:

    Oh I love Headspace. That’s how I fall asleep most nights now!

  2. Laurie Petersen (Laurinda Lind) says:

    Hi, Erika. This is timely– my husband and I are presenting workshops at a local festival in April. My topic will be ekphrastic poetry-writing, and his will be narrative poetry-writing. As he is a published novelist, I think he is going to talk about how the narrative impulse translates from novel-writing to poetry. Most of his own poems are narrative poems.

  3. Michele Clark says:

    I am so glad there is a way to write to Lt. Vindman. I have told all my friends about it.

  4. S. says:

    Hi, Erika. Your question on narrative poetry comes at the perfect time for me. I will be teaching my students about this poetry style next week! Fundamentally, narrative poetry tells a story. It tells it in a way that it can be passed on, and gets to the root of the momentum and feeling of a story.

  5. C.I. says:

    Erika: hi
    Thank you for all you do for writers.
    So glad you are doing a workshop on narrative poetry. To me it’s that the poet asks you to step into their lives; see through their eyes. Just a few that I really like are B.H. Fairchild, Phil Levine, Ellen Bass and Tom Waits.

  6. Diana Rosen says:

    Narrative poetry is a way to tell stories in such a concise, precise way that the reader believes they know all the details, not just the essence. This requires the inclusion of some specificity in description, no matter how minor.

    Ditto about Lt. Col. Vindman Marie Yovanovich, and Fiona Hill, any or all of whom can be nominated for the JFK Profile in Courage Award@ jfklibrary.org/events-and-awards/profile-in-courage-award/submit-a-nomination

  7. Sharon Kennedy says:

    Thank you for informing us of the opportunity to say thank you to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

  8. Lorraine says:

    First, I thought I was the only one feeling “weird” this week. Not just a lack of focus, but a lack of energy and interest. So I did decide to give myself a few days “off” from writing and prepped my 2019 files for the accountant.

    Regarding narrative poetry, for me it tells a story and has a beginning, middle and end, rather than just one aspect of a story. It could even mean multiple characters and dialogue if done well. And I think much of poetry started as narrative if you consider poetry was used to remember and convey messages at one time.

    I love that you wrote to Col. Vindman. I hadn’t thought of it, but I’m thinking of “stealing” the idea and possibly adding notes to a few others who were brave enough to speak their truth. Thanks for being a role model of generosity.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Funny enough, this past week I spent a number of hours when I could have/should have been writing prepping my 2019 files for the accountant, too!

  9. barbara baer says:

    I love reading a narrative poem with some kind of ‘plot’ though it can be deep down emotional narration, the underground current.

    I couldn’t figure out a way to write to Col. Vindman and would like to.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Barbara, if you click on the hyperlink to the congregation mentioned in the article, you can find the street address for mailing a letter.

  10. Hi Erika,
    Headspace is a great app. I was a long time meditator and fell off the bandwagon. Headspace got me going again. They have all kinds of guided and semi-guided meditations for all sorts of issues that people want to work on or get better at (e.g. sleep, anxiety, gratitude, etc.). I hope you enjoy it!

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      I am, so far!

  11. Sandra Soli says:

    How do we send a letter of support, please?

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Click on my hyperlink to the article; click on the hyperlink within the article to the congregation mentioned there. You can find the mailing address on the congregation’s website.

  12. Erika Dreifus says:

    Thanks especially for the narrative poetry responses, people!

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