Strangers in Strange Lands: Wed Aug 30th

JCWritersPicExcited to spread the word about the next literary reading of Jersey City Writers. The competition this time was to write about Inclusion in Science Fiction, and my short fiction piece Duster is among the selected works. Books by Jersey City Writers will be for sale as well. Hope to see you there!

Strangers in Strange Lands
Wed, Aug 30, 2017 @ 6:30pm
Barrow Mansion, 83 Wayne St, Jersey City, NJ 07302

Featured works include:

Ancient Language by Joe Del Priore
Another World by Jessica Serrano
Slow Drip by Ed Stone French
The Final Mystery by Kevin Singer
The End of the World by Ray Norman
Heaven is a Place on Mars by Stephen Weber
Duster by Sarah T. Jewell
Consuela’s Quest by Beth Bentley
Exodus by Nick Stone

Poetry is not a Luxury- after Audre Lorde

“We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it.”

Audre Lorde poet

This week I encourage you all to read the essay Poetry is not a Luxury by Audre Lorde. Even if you are not a woman of color, I would like you to consider how her arguments might apply to your life, your poetry. Is there a hidden power in your core, in feelings you have yet to explore? I’d also like you to read two poems of hers, Hanging Fire, and Coal. Pick whichever poem resonates the most feeling in you, and then isolate that feeling, and study how it feels. Use her poetry as a leaping off point to explore your own feelings. What situation in your own life does the feeling conjure? Or perhaps you imagine a character’s situation, or a metaphor comes to mind… write as if your life depended on it.

Picture attribution: Elsad at the English language Wikipedia

Special Powers

Levitation

If you could ask for a special power, what would it be? Why would you ask for that one? How does your current life (or your speaker’s life) differ from what it would be like if you could, say, fly? Read this beautiful poem by Nickole Brown, A Prayer to Talk to Animals, and observe the way she envisions this transformation. Write a poem of your own where the speaker either wishes for or actually gains a special power.

Surrender to Change

In Marie Howe’s new poetry book Magdalene, she envisions Mary Magdalene living in contemporary times. In her poem “Magdalene on Surrender”, how does the child resist change? How does the speaker of the poem resist change? When does each figure (the mother and the daughter) surrender in the poem? Who surrenders first? Write a poem Magdalenethat depicts an interaction between two individuals who initially conflict with each other, but as the poem progresses, allow at least one of them to surrender, either to the situation, or to the other person. If you don’t have access to the full text of the poem, you can alternatively read these three lines from another part of the same book:

How many times did he say it

Change doesn’t hurt he’d say,

as much as the resistance to change”

A Twist on a Traditional Tale

This week I want you to retell a classic tale with a twist. Think of a fairy tale or myth that is close to your heart. Can you tell the story in a new way? Maybe it’s not Cinderella but the prince who leaves his shoe behind. Maybe Hansel and Gretel are so hungry and greedy they try to eat the old woman in addition to her gingerbread house. When SleepingBeautyworking on your poem, try using visceral language to describe a moment that is central to the story. If it helps, you may think of what fairy tale might describe your life, or instead, write a persona poem about a character you’ve encountered who reminds you of an archetype.

For an example of this, read Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet Bluebeard. How does she twist this classic tale?

Hidden Love

Write a poem about love without using the word love (or any derivations of it, like loving, lovely…). Instead, use as many words as you can that have “love” hidden inside of them: slovenly, glove, clover, cloven, foxglove, etc. If you choose, you could even include words like evolve and revolution, which contain the word love in them backwards.