Day 15#NPM15 – To My Poem

Poem, little poem,
would you please just write yourself?
Poem, little poem,
time to put you on the shelf.

April’s halfway done,
and I am wearing out.
If you could help this once,
I would tell no one about
your kindness…

Poem, little poem,
please don’t make me beg and plead.
Poem, little poem,
if you write yourself, I’ll read.


Today’s meta prompt came from write a poem that addresses itself or some aspect of itself. Can you tell I wrote it late at night? On April 15?

Call for Submissions – Raleigh Review

Raleigh Review is accepting poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction submissions through April 30 for the Fall 2015 issue. Raleigh Review is a biannual print publication with beautiful cover art, high-quality paper, full-color interior art, and stunning writing. We are looking for work that is emotionally and intellectually complex without being unnecessarily “difficult.” All submissions are online; there is a small fee to submit. We pay $10 per piece plus one free contributor’s copy and a discount on additional copies. See full submission guidelines at, and browse the archives while you’re there!

(Word to the wise: We are pretty full up on short fiction (1200-7500 words) so you might save it for the next submission period; still looking for flash. —Your friendly managing editor)

Raleigh Review Vol. 5, No. 1

Raleigh Review Vol. 5, No. 1

Another published poem!

I got a nice Thanksgiving surprise—a poem to be published in Stirring : A Literary Collection, Volume 16, Edition 12 : December 2014. And here it is!

Incidentally, Sierra Golden, Raleigh Review‘s poetry editor and a fabulous person to work with, also has a poem in this issue!

Thanks to the Stirring editors for publishing my poem and special thanks to guest editor Janeen Pergrin Rastall for encouraging me to submit my work. 🙂

A published poem??!! Yay!

If you haven’t found Petrichor Review yet, check it out. It’s a short, sweet, attractive online lit mag.

And yours truly has a poem in the latest issue. 🙂


Last Southern Recitations Workshop for Fall

Raleigh Review‘s Southern Recitations workshop and reading series is almost half over! The final workshop for this fall is with Zelda Lockhart November 8-9, 2014. I’m really looking forward to this one as it is a generative workshop, i.e., a lot of writing time. How ’bout you? Need some good, productive, creative-writing time? Sounds like this one will be good for poetry, fiction or memoir! (I’m going for poetry myself.) Incidentally, I recently read Zelda’s novel Fifth Born and found it very compelling.

SouthernRecitationsLogo2_resizedMining the Mirror: Turning Emotional Landmines into Good Literature

November 8-9, 2014 | 10am-4pm Sat & 10am-2pm Sun | 410 N. Boylan Ave., Raleigh | $250, Early bird price $187 through October 25, 2014 | Lunch included both days

Zelda Lockhart

Zelda Lockhart

Writers of all kinds use their personal experience as a starting point for their work, but they often neglect, avoid, or simply don’t realize the deep, rich potential that is there. The Mirror Exercise is designed to help writers use the complex layers of their relationships to bring depth to literary plot. This and others of Lockhart’s writing exercises within The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript reveal the ways in which our personal plots parallel and are the artistic building blocks for literary plot.

Participants will create a whole short piece of fiction, memoir or small collection of poems within this two-day workshop. Whether you are experienced or novice, this workshop will offer you a way to instill emotional depth into your writing. Register now.

Zelda Lockhart is Director of LaVenson Press Studios, and author of novels Fifth Born, Cold Running Creek and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle. She was awarded a Barnes & Noble Discovery Award and was a finalist for a Hurston Wright Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Lockhart served as the 2010 Piedmont Laureate for Literature.

The September Heights – Day 30 – Free

Poooetry for sale!

Coooome aaaaaand get it! No takers?

Poooetry for free!


Thanks to Haiku Heights for hosting The September Heights, a haiku-a-day challenge with a daily word prompt, the final of which was “free”–appropriate for ending our month-long venture. Some days were tougher than others!

Thanks to all the participants, readers, likers, and commenters. What a supportive group! I’ve learned a lot from you, and even if I didn’t always have time to comment, I have done my darnedest to read every single haiku.

Well done, all!

7 Books to Inspire the Writing of Poetry

After discussing writing prompts and exercises with a friend the other day, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the books I’ve used over the years. With any of these, you have to jump in and try the exercises, even if they don’t necessarily appeal to you. Not everything will work out, but you might find some surprises. And if nothing else, you continue to prime your creativity for “the real thing.”


The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron – A 12-week course to get you more in touch with your own creativity, whether it’s writing poetry, painting, or something else. You can sometimes find facilitated classes based on this book; I’ve not taken one, but from people who have, I understand it is quite a meaningful and enlightening group experience. I found the book itself to be revelatory for me.

The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron – Short chapters with exercises that are not necessarily designed to give you a prompt, but to help you tap into ideas, attitudes, and beliefs that may lead to something. Great book if you want to write but need some encouragement.

The Practice of Poetry: Writing exercises from poets who teach edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell – Exercises from well-known writers such as Rita Dove and Stephen Dunn (as well as poets I’ve never heard of) with some insight about why they use these exercises in their teaching. This is one of my favorites.

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge – Reflections on poetry along with suggestions for practice.

Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse by Mary Oliver – An excellent guide to understanding the formality of poetry: feet, scansion, iambs—it’s all there for the learning.

Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within by Kim Addonizio – Examples of poetry, what makes it work, ways to think about it, and suggestions for practice.

In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit – I’m in the middle of this book right now. The author provides detailed analysis of sample poems and why they work or don’t, in some cases going through iterations to show how a poem can be improved. Quite a lot of ideas to generate your own poems.


What other books do you suggest to inspire the writing of poetry?


Listen to your own voice.

What does it say?


Block out other voices.

Ignore chittering chatter. Stop

listening to authorities.

You know enough. You’ve

learned enough.


Sort through the noise. Choose the sounds that

resonate. It’s time to write your own

score. The canticle of you.

Find the tones that work together,

the startling intricate variations.

What does your own second soprano say?

What does your own first tenor say?


Listen at the end of the day for the song

not of Solomon but of you,

you with the wisdom of Solomon.

Listen to your own voice.

Listen to your own voice speak

and sing and shout hallelujah.


Listen to your own voice as it heralds that you—you—have

arrived. You have arrived ready to sing,

your radiant voice about to intone

its first true words

its first true words

its first true words

the voice that is yours and yours alone.



listen for the world’s fervent ovation.


Your touch, your kiss, your glance

is electric.  Shock me again.

Sockfeet shuffling on carpet.

Electrical outlet, electrical cord.

Benjamin Franklin flying a kite.

Electrical storm, huddled in bed ignoring

blue flashes that pierce my eyelids.

Electric hairdryer and curling iron.

The things we do to be beautiful.

What is beautiful?  And why?

Why is beautiful?

Why is beautiful.

Electric fences to keep us in,

to keep them out.  When the power’s out,

escalators are staircases, elevators, still boxes.

Electricity travels from your skin to mine.

I see it.  I see your mind

churning ideas, churning out thoughts.

Lightning blazes, thunder explodes.

Thor throws his hammer that cannot miss.

Sif sits at his side, wondering

if all this is really necessary.

Couldn’t a gentle rain do the same thing?

But she has never been a mortal

coupled with another mortal

waiting out the gods’ wrath

and holding on for dear life.


We are having a lovely thunderstorm, so this poem seemed appropriate.

Rima XXIII (translation) – G. A. Bécquer

For a glance, a world;

for a smile, a heaven;

for a kiss…I do not know

what I would give you for a kiss.


Por una mirada, un mundo;

por una sonrisa, un cielo;

por un beso… ¡Yo no sé

qué te diera por un beso!


The original Spanish is from Gustavo Adolpho Bécquer. As always, any errors in the English translation are entirely my own.