Today I spread my poems on the floor

(Photos by Lindsey Rae Gjording) It’s what every poet eventually has to do if they’re putting together a manuscript. Spread the poems on the floor. Like the batter of a very rich cake, pour it in the pan, spread it evenly. Let it find its shape and settle. But the recipe is not as clear with poems (and you don’t get a delicious cake as a reward for your hard work). Before today, I was…

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The Earth Needs Our Poems

The news around the world is particularly grim lately, with the horrors of war and violence at the forefront of our minds. In the face of such senselessness, it seems fair to ask: Does poetry matter? Can it make a difference? I think about this a lot in the context of my writing on climate change. And I keep returning to the same conclusion. That poetry opens up spaces in the human imagination that didn’t exist before. It…

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The Next Big Thing: Poems on Climate Change

Thank you to poet Ti Kendrick Hall for tagging me in the Next Big Thing! I realize now as I’m writing this that I was tagged once before, a year ago, but at that time I wrote about the story behind founding the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop. This time I could probably talk forever about my current poetry book project, and I’m excited to share! 1) What are you working on? The short answer…

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What Did You Do On Your Residency? I Sat And I Stared: A Lesson from Seinfeld

The writing process is notoriously mysterious and hard to describe, especially when one is in it. Writers are used to having to prove to people that they actually work, even though what they do doesn’t look a lot like work, or a lot like anything. Case in point: I’m coming up on the last week of my residency at the Vermont Studio Center. What did I do while I was here? It probably doesn’t look like much.…

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In the Middle of It: Notes from Vermont

I’m on the other side of the Ides of March, post-Purim (the holiday of reversals), and inhabiting another side of myself. I am two weeks into my first writing residency, with two weeks to go. The first week here at the Vermont Studio Center was long and deep. I started writing immediately on the first day (even at the airport on the way from Philadelphia), and kept up a good pace for the first few…

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Your Writing Is Your Work––It’s Not You

Yesterday I got an email from a poet friend that began: “I hope all is well with you and your poetry, not that the two are really separable.” I was struck by this line. Am I separable from my poetry? What does the assumption behind that statement mean? At first glance, the statement made perfect sense. To some extent my very well being depends on the health of my writing practice. This logic can apply…

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How to Ask for Money as a Poet: A Drama in Ten Parts

1. Start by actually writing poems. Find that you’re sneaking in writing time wherever you can get it to fit. 2. Realize you have a book inside you. 3. Get really excited you have a book inside you. 4. Apply for artist residencies so that you can have the uninterrupted time and space you need to get that book out. 5. Get accepted to said residencies (if you’re lucky). 6. Realize you need money to…

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A Day in the Life: Here’s What a Day of Writing Poetry Looks Like

In my last post I talked about taking myself on as a client, trying to schedule my own writing time while working as a busy freelance editor––which is easier said than done. In the mean time, I had been wanting to visit The Head and the Hand Press, a local small press that also functions as a writing space. I am already a member of the awesome co-working space Indy Hall, but the buzzing atmosphere…

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Taking on a New Client: Myself

I recently began working with an author who is in the process of writing what I can already tell will be an incredible book of non-fiction. Projects like this one are my dream jobs. As an editor, I often get a mix of work from many sources, running the gamut from computer science textbooks to academic books of philosophy and religion. Much of this work comes from editorial firms and publishers. I also work with…

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