Tag Archives: Poetry

Meet Our Newest Editor, Charles Coe!

As we near the end of October, the CambridgeEditors office has been very busy putting our clients in contact with specific editors, and business has been flourishing! We have also been on the hunt for more editors to join our ever-growing team, and so are immensely pleased to announce the arrival of our newest editor, Charles Coe!

Mr. Coe is an accomplished poet, with All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents, and Picnic on the Moon, two collections published by Leapfrog Press. In addition, he is an avid writer, contributing to many journals in the New England area, as well as serving as the co-chair of the Boston chapter of the National Writer’s Union. It is thrilling to have someone so passionate about writing and editing in our midst, and in fact, he is also a fellow bibliophile.

In a post from his page on bestamericanpoetry.com, Coe wrote,

“We all know that the role of the library is changing rapidly. Libraries are learning to adapt, with their banks of computers and increased focus on offering readings and other community events. Even so, with the Internet and the emergence of eBooks some people consider the traditional library model outdated. A few American high school libraries have gone so far as to do away with hard copy books. Obviously, print books have to “share the road” with new technologies, but I believe (at least, I hope) that there’ll always be room for books and the libraries that preserve and present them.”

To see the full post about his love of books, click here.

Welcome to the team, Charles!

-Hadley Gibson

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Ere The Sun Rises

Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien.

Quite recently, I stumbled across this quote, posted by a once-upon-a-time friend:

“What can men do against such reckless hate?

With no author attribution, I turned to Google, and my brief search yielded the result that this line belongs to King Théoden, in Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers, the second movie installment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s magnificent epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. It set my mind spinning around battle speeches and I moved my feet to the bookshelf and my focus to the written story and Tolkien’s last book, The Return of the King. To preface, Théoden is a King trying to win battles and help restore peace in the magical land of Middle Earth. To continue, he spoke these lines to his Riders of Rohan, the warriors of his kingdom, to inspire them with all the loyalty and courage he could muster up. He shouts:

theoden

Thoéden riding into battle.

“Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden! Fell deeds awake; fire and slaughter! Spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered, a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor.”

In the hour of “reckless hate,” whether book II or book III, Théoden turns the despair of his men into hope and inspires in them the desire to fight with a charge towards battle. Tolkien published his trilogy in the 1950s, while the memories of the World Wars were still too fresh to too many people. He captures, though, in these battle words of Théoden, a sense of the glory of fighting for a higher cause and striving toward a better future. Tolkien was not the first to do so. Shakespeare wrote, three hundred years earlier, another call to arms:

HV_KB

Henry V in Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 film.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!

In peace, there ’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.

(Henry V, 3.1.1)

shakespeare

The portrait we like to believe is Shakespeare himself.

Though Théoden struggled against Sauron’s armies and Henry V fought the Dauphin of France, both men found themselves in a moment where their words might change the impending outcome of battle. How do you gain the respect of warriors who are witnessing the fall of once great kingdoms? The kings’ approach recognizes the humanity still present and necessary to grasp when approaching a battle. Théoden, we know, has already acknowledge that a driving force against which must be fought is that “reckless hate,” which in parallel to his speech before the battle at the Pelennor fields before Gondor, heightens the image of riding “ere the sun rises.” Tolkien impresses the need for a rising sun after an initial chaos of the “shaken” “spear” and “splintered” “shield.” As well, Henry V compares a soldier in battle with animal instinct, removing the intellect of a human from “the action of the tiger.” Commenting on this speech, John S. Mabane argues that, according to Shakespeare in these lines, “… combat is unnatural to human beings and reduces them to the level of beasts” (262).

How to reconcile this contradiction of human nature?

Théoden urges his men to “Ride now, ride now” and stay focused on the rising “sun.”

Henry V reminds his men to “summon up the blood,” but only as “tigers” would, and to remain as men “in peace.”

Though separated by hundreds of years, the creation of an alternate world, and some iambic pentameter, Tolkien and Shakespeare bring their kings together in a call to arms. Their battle speeches are proclaimed to men, not beasts, because ultimately, “ere the sun rises,” those kings shall lead their men to victory.

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Contemplating Jazz

Inspirational and heartbreaking; full of grunge, images you want to forget, pictures you wish you had thought to take, and the hunger of the mind. I spent a tumultuous semester in New York City, my time spent climbing up my fifth floor walk up, mooching free wine at the galleries, smelling expensive products at one of the world’s largest fashion magazines, and drinking cheap coffee at a tiny literary agency.

I also wandered the streets, in sunshine and at dusk, dangerously on my bicycle (don’t do that) and frustratingly with the subway system and also eye-opening. I didn’t follow a plan and went where I chose, but I often ended up at the public library, the pretty part despite tourists in the lobby, and I made sure to go to Edith Wharton’s house to try to sniff out the glamour that I was told still clings to the city streets.

This is a snapshot of some of my journey, a literary piece of the semester, the haunts and homes of writers from the past:

Besides a Starbucks, Wharton's home also houses WeightWatchers

Besides a Starbucks, Wharton’s home also houses WeightWatchers.

Edith Wharton

You might start your day with the usual tourist fare, but after shopping on Fifth, round the corner and arrive at 14 W. 23rd St.

Known for The House of Mirth and her family connections to the Joneses (as in “keeping up with the Joneses” Joneses), Wharton stands for Old New York and an era gone by. This is where she grew up, and it’s now a Starbucks.

One of several reading rooms.

One of several reading rooms.

The New York Public Library

Keep going up fifth until you find yourself Between the Lions.

Yes, it is just as magical as you might suspect. I discovered that the stacks extend far down below the streets of New York, far past even the level of the subway system.

Unfortunately, much scaffolding blocked the best view, but here's a taste.

Unfortunately, much scaffolding blocked the best view, but here’s a taste of the hotel, to the left.

Algonquin Hotel

Just a couple of blocks further up you will stumble upon 49 W. 44th St.

A hangout of the Dorothy Parker, the Algonquin also housed the Algonquin Round Table, a circle of writers and publishers. Popular with the literary crowd, the hotel also hosted the beginnings of The New Yorker, founded at the end of World War I and passed out free to hotel guests.

Salinger1

Far from bustling downtown, Salinger’s previous home.

J.D. Salinger

Take a stroll through the (far) upper reaches of the park, or possible a long jaunt through the public transportation system, until wandering into 390 Riverside Dr.  at W. 111th St.

New York was home to both Salinger and of course Holden Caulfield, in Salinger’s famous The Catcher in the Rye.

On the edge of the art district.

On the edge of the art district.

Hotel Chelsea

Continue navigating classic Manhattan by going through Chelsea, or if you’re in the area for Thursday night wine tastings at gallery openings, and stop in at 222 W. 23rd St.

Built in 1884, the Hotel Chelsea has housed numerous artists, writers, and musicians over the years from Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin, to Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams.

Kerouac

On (the side of) the road.

Jack Kerouac

While continuing you journey on the road, stroll down to 454 W. 20th St.

Though not physically on the road at the time, Kerouac completed his famed manuscript by the same name at this location.

Buy something here.

Buy something here.

Three Lives Bookstore

Further down is Three Lives. It’s cramped, quaint, and utterly charming at 154 W. 10th St.

Opened in 1968, Three Lives has delighted readers ever since and is proclaimed “One of the greatest bookstores on the face of the Earth.”

Lewis1

Looking down 10th from outside Lewis’ front door.

Sinclair Lewis

Stay on 10th and keep moving towards 37 W. 10th St.

While living in the concrete jungle, Lewis put up his feet at this pretty address, a far cry from jungles of any kind.

Twain1

Twain’s front windows.

Mark Twain

Almost neighbors, Twain lived a few doors down at number 14 W. 10th St.

At 18, Twin moved to the city and worked for a printer before launching his later writing career in Connecticut.

Strand

In the basement. You will want to buy something here too.

Strand Bookstore

Pop up a couple blocks and just across Fifth to 828 Broadway. You will spend a great portion of your time here.

The stacks are tall, long, and stuffed with every book you can ever imagine. Explore every corner, from the highest level and rare books down into the basement and bargains.

Auden1

One of those fire escapes was his.

W.H. Auden

Without getting to distracted by the riches of the Strand, continue on to 77 St. Mark’s Place

Spending some of the later years of his at St. Mark’s Place, Auden sailed to New York for the first time in 1939.

Ginsberg's stomping grounds.

Ginsberg’s stomping grounds.

Allen Ginsberg

Finally, start to weave into Alphabet city and conclude your stop at 170 E. 2nd St.

One of the Beat poets, Ginsberg lived on E 2nd St. from 1958-1961. To close this tour, the opening of Ginsberg’s “Howl,” full of imagery drawn from the mysteries of the city and his own experience of a changing generation:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz.”

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Call for Submissions!

Call

CambridgeEditors is thrilled to announce that in an effort to help promote young aspiring writers in Greater Boston area, we are calling for submissions! We would like to encourage creative writers and contribute to a more literary environment in Boston.  We’ve spent the early months of the summer planning and preparing for this, and we’re excited to read all your submissions!

We hope to become a major promoter of creative works in addition to our normal editing services, and a literary magazine may even be in discussion!

Submitting to CambridgeEditors is completely free, and accepted submissions will be displayed on our main website as well as this blog. We’ll be accepting all creative work, poetry or prose, including creative non-fiction.

For specific submission guidelines, please see our submissions page.

Hope to read from you soon!

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August News/Poetry

Here at CambridgeEditors the pace is picking up. More and more clients are bombarding us with work which we love so keep sending in your writing, especially if you are applying to grad school or college. We know that grad school applications and college applications are just around the corner and we here at Cambridgeeditors want to help you.

If I remember correctly applying to college is stressful.  Now I’m applying to grad school and I’m convinced that I will spend the rest of my life living in a box on the Esplanade. Hopefully that won’t happen because soon I will switch from being an employee to being a client of CambridgeEditors.  Knowing that I have CambridgeEditors to edit my application is certainly helping me sleep easier these days, especially when applying to Yale.

So get those supplemental materials in and we’ll be happy to help you with them. To see more about our special visit cambridgeeditors.com

In other news, I realized that I’d been talking a lot about fiction and prose, but I’ve barely said anything  at all about poetry.  Maybe this is because I don’t write poetry. I’m no good at it, and believe me I’ve tried a number of times.  I only seem to be good at free verse.

However, I am a voracious reader of poetry.  From Ginsberg to Homer I love it all. However, my favorite poems tend to be spine chilling or goose bump lifting verses. So as a way to steer the blog in the direction of poetry, here is my list of ten poems that will give you awe-inspiring chills.

10. The Charge of the Light Brigade-Lord Alfred Tennyson

 

Tennyson’s poem about a military miscommunication between British command and cavalry at the Battle of Balaclava is awe-inspiring.  First you need to know the story. During the battle the light brigade received orders to rapidly move up the field though they would be annihilated against Russian cannon fire.  Remarkably they followed the orders with sense of suicidal duty. Tennyson’s poem reveals not just the courage and dutiful valor of the light brigade, but it also depicts the horror of war.

“Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.”

The poem is a wonderful mix of  gruesome battlefield causality and noble acts of courage, which makes it the great poem that it is. There is a stark realism that goes along with the opening line “half a league, half a league onward.” The price of following orders is gruesome but in Tennyson’s mind it is the noble pursuit of serving one’s country that allows the noble six hundred to still be honored.

9. Henry V’s Saint Crispin’s day speech-William Shakespeare

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother”

-Shakespeare 4.3

Yes I know that this is from a play but the whole speech can stand alone as great work of poetry.  Even before I had seen Henry V, I knew all the words to the Saint Crispains day speech. I’m a bit of a sucker for great military dialogue, which you’ve probably figured out by now given my first two choices.  Speeches in war movies and plays have the power to move us in ways that other writing can’t.  Lord of the Rings, Saving Private Ryan, The Paths to Glory; all these movies have great speeches where the general rallies the troops for one last charge.  However, they all take their cues from Shakespeare.  There is no one better at writing rallying cries than Shakespeare.  In Henry V, he shows his finest writing with the Henry’s Saint Crispain’s day speech. The whole speech is pure poetry and will make you want to jump up with the rest of the fictitious British army before they charge the French.

Laurence Olivier as Henry V

If you haven’t seen Laurence Olivier or Kenneth Brannagh perform the role I suggest you go on youtube and look it up. Chills will go down your spine.

8. Ozymandias-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Besides being married to Mary Shelly, the author of Frankenstein, Shelly was a bit of a drama queen.  He was basically the perfect image of a Romantic poet.  A little nostalgic for a time he’d never known and constantly thinking about death and the afterlife.  He also managed to write some amazing poetry, including Ozymandias.   The poem tells the story of a traveller who tells the narrator about a ruin in the desert that once marked the power and might of a great king named Ozymandias.  Now the king’s power and the civilization he rules is gone with the only hint that it ever existed being the ruined statue.

Shelly’s poem is a statement on the role of art and poetry and it’s power to signify. While the actual king may be long gone his statue has outlasted him.  However, what power art may have over humanity is questioned within the line “Look on my works, ye mighty and despair.”  The line is ironic since the mighty statue has become a mere ruin, crumbling with the passing of time.  This poem is particularly chilling because of it’s theme of mortality and fading legacies.  We’d like to think that our greatest achievements will stand as a testament to our greatness long after we have gone.  Shelly challenges that, saying that even our legacies will crumble and be forgotten.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Shelly tried to commit suicide…twice.

7. If you Forget me-Pablo Neruda

“Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.”

Neruda has a flare for the nostalgic and somber and he really shows it in this poem.  The words are hauntingly beautiful. On the surface it’s about two people parting ways and their relationship possibly ending. But deep down it’s so much more than that. It’s loss incarnate and sorrow within text.  While their is a happy sentiment of hope at the very end the feeling is that such hope of being united with the beloved is for nothing.  I won’t go much more into it because trying to translate Neruda’s poetry into prose is a crime.  I suggest you read this for yourself, especially if you’ve ever had to end a relationship  when you didn’t want to.

6. Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night-Dylan Thomas

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light,”

This might be Thomas’s most famous poem.  It’s another somber poem about death and dying that has such beautiful language that you will want to beat your chest against the injustice of mortality.   The line that gives me goosebumbs  is “Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they, Do not go gentle into that good night.” The reason is because it highlights the inevitability of death and the very human response to fight the inevitable.

5. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

Along with medieval honor and chivalry, I like any writing about sea voyages and pirates.  The Rime of the Ancient Mariner may be the creepiest sea tale I’ve ever read, mostly because it was the inspiration for other creepy sea tales of the 19th century.  The main story is that two wedding guests are walking along a country road when they are stopped by an old sailor who tells them about a sea voyage where the entire crew except himself died due to dehydration and starvation. It’s a gruesome tale about death, but it’s also a poem on the 19th century’s search for truth in art.

Besides the thematic content, the language is unctuous, it makes you feel like you’ve devoured a greasy cheeseburger and need a shower. For example, the description of a rotting sea and the ghost ship will make you shudder.

4. The Divine Comedy-Dante

“In the middle of the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost.”

Yeah I know the Commedia is a bit cliche, but it still is one of the most chilling and beautiful pieces of writing that has ever been created.  The inferno may be the most well known section of the poem and it is truly a great piece of writing. The imagery of hell will give you nightmares.  However, the last section, the Paradiso, is utterly awe-inspiring.

3. And Death Shall Have No Dominion-Dylan Thomas

With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,

While Do Not go Gentle into that Good Night was dark and somber,  And Death Shall Have No Dominion is much more gruesome and forceful.  This poem also captures the human response to fight against death and the possibility of conquering it.

2. The Waste Land-T.S. Eliot

“A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, and the dead tree gives no shelter.”

Eliot’s masterpiece gave rise to literary modernism in the early twentieth century.  With themes like the fractured nature of reality and the lost generation, Eliot created one of the creepiest pieces of poetry that has ever been composed. The idea that modern civilization had become a barren desert of frivolity permeates throughout this poem.   Due to Eliots amazing ability to create stark images in the minds eye, the imagery of a fallen post enlightenment society is haunting.

1. The Tempest- William Shakespeare

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again

  O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Yes I know this is a play. But there are so many great verses and lines in this play that I couldn’t decide which to pick.  For me, the Tempest is Shakespeare’s greatest achievement as a writer. It has drama, comedy and depth, not to mention some of the best writing that has ever, or will ever be produced.  It’s the kind of writing that will bring you to your knees.

Best regards,

Sandor Mark

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Springtime

If you’ve never lived here, the winters in Boston can get pretty unbearable. This past season has been almost shockingly mild (much to the dismay of people like my dad who plow snow for extra cash), but throughout my childhood growing up in this area, there have been some winters for the books (literally; in the winter of 1995 it snowed 107 inches). I remember when the heat would go out and my family would all pile into the room with the fireplace, hanging blankets over the doors to keep the heat in. When we ran out of fuel, we would have to venture out into the blizzard, shoveling a path to the woodpile; my mom would turn it into a game of Little House on the Prairie (in which she was Pa, for some reason).

I mention these cruel winters of yesteryear, because there’s one thing about winter in Boston that makes it all worth it: that first day of spring. Which this past winter robbed us of by throwing us 70 degree days in February. At the time I didn’t mind, but now that I think about it, I’m kind of disappointed we missed that first, significant day of warmth, made so much sweeter after a long winter. Everyone emerges from their dens, bleary-eyed, venturing forth onto the Boston Common, some even daring to take their shoes off and wiggle their toes in the new grass just because it’s felt like so long. And when you see the hundreds of other people lounging on the Common, with their dogs and Frisbees and happy toddlers running around, there’s such a feeling of comraderie. We made it through another one, guys. We earned this.

Everyone is revived by spring, and artists in particular have been inspired by it for as long as there has been art. Even moreso in the past, when everyone relied more heavily on the land and the seasons, spring has always meant the return of life and rebirth. I think poetry is one of the best mediums to capture the spirit of spring, because something about the (relatively, I’ve read Paradise Lost) concise form forces the writer to encompass all the emotions of spring in a short burst, which is sort of the essence of spring; it’s here and then it’s gone, turned into the long, hot, hazy days of summer.

Some poets do this better than others, however.

Spring, the Sweet Spring

by Thomas Nashe

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
…Oh really, Thomas? Show me a bird that says “jug-jug,” “pu-we,” or “to witta-woo,” and I’ll show you a more effective poetic device. But in any case, here’s one of my favorite poems about spring that doesn’t involve bird calls:
Spring is like a perhaps hand
by e.e. cummings
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)andchanging everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

Simply lovely! For a list of further springtime poems, you can check out the Poetry Foundation’s list here. I hope you let them inspire you to write your own springtime material, whether it’s poetry, or simply how you can tell that that bed of daffodils on your street, the one surrounded by a chain-link fence, is about to burst ferociously into bloom, filling the air with sweetness, and you’re going to get to walk by it every day.
Unfortunately, the turning of the seasons also brings the turning of the school semester, and since I’m graduating in May, I’m sad to say that as of this Friday, my internship at CambridgeEditors has come to an end; as such, this will probably be my last blog post. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time working here, as well as my time spent updating this blog, and I hope those of you who read my blog posts enjoyed them too, in all their silliness. I wish the best of luck to all my fellow aspiring authors out there, and remind you to always keep writing!
From CambridgeEditors,
Good night, and good luck.
(Just kidding.)
Katie

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Writer’s Block Attacks Again!

Katie’s post got me thinking about what I do to counter writer’s block, both as a poet, and as one with a general interest in writing.

Often my writer’s block comes out of an impatience; a desire to express an excess of ideas and emotions urgently! The ideas are without definition. They are disorganized, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear starting point for the project, let alone a readable path for it to follow. Often, designing a project with rules can help to get ideas flowing because you can focus on the rules of the game, rather than the overwhelming sense of not knowing where to begin. You begin with the rules!

Here are two projects that often help me to shake loose these thoughts from the unreachable tangle, and to begin to organize them:

  1. Write a letter. Ideas seem to flow more easily when the writing takes the voice of a speaker in conversation. The letter can be addressed to a real person, but it doesn’t have to be. You can write it to one of your characters if you are creating a fictional world. You can write it to your sister. You can write it to an inspiring figure; one who you would love to share your ideas with, if you had the chance. Whomever you address your letter to, I think you will find that writing about your project, or about the themes that your project is focused on, will help you focus. The most salient ideas will condense in your mind as you write your letter. You’ll be able to understand your thoughts more fully; to write about them more accurately, and with more assurance. Sometimes it is just easier to express your ideas to a person, imagined or real, rather then to the potentially massive hypothetical and judgmental audience that your finished work will eventually be read by. The letter is really a workshop, or discussion with yourself, on the topic which you wish to write about.
  2. Blackout Poetry. This project works especially well in writing poetry, but it could potentially be applied to other forms of writing as well. In this exercise, you find a newspaper or magazine article, maybe even a page from an old book that you don’t mind writing in. First I read through the text, marking words that I find interesting or pertinent to my theme on a scrap piece of paper. (The association can be loose! The idea is to make connections between your idea and the words on the page!) Then you slowly work through the text, blacking out words with a pen or marker, and leaving some visible, until you are left with a (sometimes rather abstract) piece of writing composed out of the writing of the original found text. This method of extracting my idea out of found text often helps me to solidify my thoughts on the subject, and opens me up to expressing my own idea in ways (and words!) that I never would have thought to otherwise.

 

Below I have attached a sample of a Blackout Poem that helped me compose a series of poems about the sun, and the fractal qualities that permeate nature, and sometimes, our relationships.

Poem that emerges:

I painted a dusty spiral.

Spiral.
The way seeds are distributed
within the head of a sun:

nautilus temples
to order their pictorial spaces,
satisfying in this shape.

*

Slowly in his chair
he notes natives deserting
their myths.

With his own strange demons
loss occurs daily.

I don’t think I felt this relation more acutely.
I just kept the feeling
on warm rocks.

*

There was a meteor
that certain philosophers thought
but couldn’t feel.

I sympathized with
all of nature,

so attracted to
the Nile:
universal glue-
parallel in every man.
The basic particle
groping after

invisible familiarity
first leans forward
toward a back, covered,
abstract.

*

He needs
character of the plant.
Drawing on my own
ample
stalk
of rhythm
he introduced me,
he forced me
at its texture.

He turns,
folds his hands in his lap.

From CambridgeEditors,

Alex

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