Friday Find: Smartish Pace’s Poets Q&A

One of the best aspects of my still-nascent poetry practice is my rediscovery and new enjoyment of poetry-only journals. One of these publications, Smartish Pace, runs a wonderful online feature, “Poets Q&A,” in which readers can submit questions to prominent practitioners of the craft; the poets respond, and a full set of questions and answers appears online.

Until November 6, you can submit a question for Carol Muske-Dukes. In the meantime you can enjoy the archive of questions and answers. I haven’t made it through the entire list quite yet, but the respondents include Eavan Boland, Bob Hicok, and Robert Pinsky, among others.

Have a great weekend, and see you back here on Monday.

Genre Confusion: Help Wanted!

In many ways, I am not at all suited to be a fiction writer. I am not one of those lucky souls who is “taken over” by a character who demands to have a story written. I am not someone to whom plot comes naturally. My work is often idea- or circumstance-driven, which, I’ve (finally?) begun to realize, often makes it more suited to essays or poems. Or prose poems. Maybe.

Without getting far more bogged down in details about two new pieces I’ve been struggling with, I think that each one may ultimately find its true destiny as a prose poem. But I’m not sure. Yet.

Here’s where you come in. I’d be very grateful for comments and advice from my fellow practicing writers on these questions:

1) How do you “know” the form a given work of yours should take?

2) Please recommend some online (or offline) guides to prose poetry that you’ve found useful in mastering the form. What I’m really seeking with this question are thoughtful craft lessons and background materials.

3) Can you recommend (again, online or offline) favorite prose poems, for inspiration and/or education? Do feel free to “self-nominate”!

Thank you in advance!

The Wednesday Web Browser: On Writers Past, Present, and Future

This week’s New Yorker includes a fascinating article on the famed Little House series and its authorship. The article appears to be available only to subscribers or in print, but if you’re free at 3 p.m. (ET) today, writer Judith Thurman will be answering questions in a live chat. As of yesterday, the site was accepting questions for Thurman ahead of time.
We might be forgiven for being a little envious of this guy.
You’ve probably heard about consultants who help students apply to college (which can be a controversial topic, as the response to a recent NYT article recently proved). Now, there’s Abramson Leslie Consulting, offering “services for applicants to graduate creative writing programs,” provided by recent graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (services are currently limited to applicants in fiction and poetry).

The Wednesday Web Browser: Wise Words, "Virtual Yard Sale," and Poetry of Science

Wise words from Lisa Romeo: “I constantly try to remind myself that people don’t read creative nonfiction because they care about what happened to me, but because they care about whether what happened to me might have some meaning for them.”
And a cute idea from Creative Nonfiction: a “virtual summer yard sale.” Check out the loot: journal issues, books, and more. Go visit before July 31, when the sale ends.
You don’t often find poetry on the science blogs. But the New York Times‘s TierneyLab recently profiled poet Kimiko Hahn, whose next collection (coming from Norton in 2010) is titled Toxic Flora and “is filled with poems inspired by articles in Science Times.”

The Wednesday Web Browser: Practice of Poetry Edition

National Public Radio profiles poet–and single mom/corporate communicator–Elizabeth Haukaas. (The piece is part of a series on how artists make a living. Which, NPR suggests, is not solely by writing poetry!)
English instructor Art Scheck shares his students’ struggles reading (let alone writing) poetry.
And a more biting take on poetry in the classroom from Billy Collins, courtesy of a recent installment of The Writer’s Almanac.