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Writing

Why Poetry is Sometimes Not Enough

May 25, 2011
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This evening at Catholic mass, while everyone bowed their heads to pray, I asked Jesus not only to help me be good to my husband and my family, but also what he thought about my poetry. I heard a voice, perhaps in my head, or perhaps funneled out the church ceiling which said, “your poetry will touch a few hearts, but it won’t help you in heaven.”

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On Poetry and Loss, Part 2

May 10, 2011
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I sometimes think African American “cool” and Irish humor developed out of an awareness of the truth that life is not merciful.

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On Poetry and Loss

April 27, 2011
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The handling of such overwhelming material is first and last, a question of form. Grief, loss, outrage, must be made portable.

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Translating Horace: Ode i.5

April 12, 2011
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Horace is just too good a craftsman for a translation to do him any ultimate justice. Yet I believe translators hope for a sort of “good will” that can exist between between themselves and the poet.

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Creative Stupidity

April 11, 2011
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Many people do not become artists not because they are stupid, but because they are incapable of suspending the thinking/feeling functions. They fail to become writers and musicians and painters because they cannot enter their highest stupidity.

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Overcoming Writer’s Block

April 5, 2011
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The words art and habit might seem an odd pairing, but that’s what art is: the glamor of drudgery, and the drudgery of glamor.

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On Mimesis

March 30, 2011
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Aristotle meant that poetry was mimetic of all of things, independent of another poet’s unique perspective. It is not necessary that poets imitate other poets, but that they imitate life.

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Sentimentality vs. Feeling

March 29, 2011
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True feeling has the force of grace; sentimentality has the stench of morals. The word “should” and “must” cling to its fat cherubic legs. Half comprised of self regard, and the other half a mixture of cliche, the sentimental is close to the feigned regard of the funeral director: appropriate, and grave, but with one eye on the itemized bill.

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Kenneth Burke: Do you Eros into Logos? (with a note on Tu Fu)

March 18, 2011
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Poets who write for self-expression write awful poetry. They don’t seek advice but affirmation.

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Look What God Can Do!

March 9, 2011
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No one wants to appear childlike and vulnerable to others, but everyone (everyone who seeks out new experiences, anyway) wants to feel that way–along with love, awe is the one of the emotions people seek most deeply. And for writers, whose job is to express the inexpressible, the hidden, these two aims can feel at odds.

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The Simple Life

March 7, 2011
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I was concerned about not knowing. Concerned about not being known. Yet I did little to be known outside of persevering with the work. The work being whatever I was doing at the time in my virtual creative space. Mind, body. Divine intervention. Spiritual revelation. The meaning of every day was living every day as if to make it your last. Life was simple. Inevitable.

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Dispatch after emerging from the post-AWP hangover: or My first AWP

February 15, 2011
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At a party last Thursday night after a full day at this year’s AWP conference, I broke one of my own absolute rules – never, under any circumstances resort to quoting The Big Lebowski.

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Ur Poems: Emily Vogel

February 4, 2011
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What Inspires Us To Write Poetry?

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Who You Lookin’ At?

January 31, 2011
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NOTE: This is the third in a series of posts by Colie Hoffman about her experience while a writer-in-residence at Sangam House, India. When I was in grad school, my friend Dave and I used to lift weights at the gym. The undergrad demographics at our university skewed largely male, so naturally, the weight room was populated […]

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Writing Without an Idea

January 25, 2011
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I don’t usually have an idea in mind when I begin to write.

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The other thing grammar is good for

January 24, 2011
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Grammar can be a brutal, brutal thing.

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