Tag Archives: Jeffrey Levine

Poetics Serendipity

7:53 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Tonight’s the Kind of Night sung by Noah and the Whale

Hello, all. Time is running. One of the things I love about my Thursday posts is the reading I have to do before deciding whether you’ll enjoy, or find useful, a particular item. The reading forces me to slow down and concentrate — speeding up one’s day is addictive and needs to be fought. So, here are a few things for you to call a time out with.

1] This first is more in the nature of an announcement. Many of you have known James Brush for as many years as I have — there is a group of us who met over writing small stones some four years ago. The name Gnarled Oak is familiar to us as his place for his own small stones. Now, James has turned his hand to publication, not of his work, but ours, should we submit and be accepted. In a nod to Gnarled Oak‘s past, the first issue will start small with a micro-poetry, prose, video, art, whatever issue. Welcome the newest online journal.

2] Next up Jeffrey Levine and a preview of points four through six which he will post next week. Levine tells us, we’ll skip this week in honor of the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Happy New Year!), but he does give us the original versions of these three points and says: Next Wednesday it’s a manuscript-making throw down, in which we invoke Shelly’s Ozymandias, and explore those three points even more closely through the lens of Shiva, God of Destruction, the third god in the Hindu triumvirate, as we learn from the gods how to re-create our manuscripts by destroying. I can’t wait.

3] Hmm. I need to give you something to chew on. How about two recent articles on the latest findings about reading and writing (while the writing refers to prose, as in journaling, or narrative writing, all the points work for poetry). Since the advent of e-readers, there has been a fight between its advocates and those of reading paper books: now, science has weighed in, and the studies are on the side of paper books.

The article on writing sums up with: From long-term health improvements to short-term benefits like sleeping better, it’s official: Writers are doing something right. Even blogging might trigger dopamine release, similar to the effect from running or listening to music.

Both articles are short and easy to digest. Keep in mind these are early findings.

That’s it, a nice easy week. I shall see you tomorrow for the roundup of prompts; Tuesday for a word prompt; and next Thursday for links.

Happy writing, everyone.




Posted by on 02/10/2014 in links, poetry, writing


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Poetics Serendipity

9:40 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Johan Pachelbel’s Canon

Hello, all. Fall fast approaches [conversely, so does Spring, for some of you]. I love the drop in temperatures that happens at this time of year. Did you know that you can look up the winter’s long-range forecast by The Farmers’ Almanac? You can even do it by your state. For the overall this year, they say, all of us at the Farmers’ Almanac suggest you stock up on firewood, sweaters, and hot cocoa. It certainly looks like another long winter of shivery and shovelry is on tap. I’m adding red wine and vodka to the list; otherwise, I’m ready. Meanwhile, today’s links:

1] We have the next installment of Jeffrey Levine’s  On Making The Poetry Manuscript–New and Improved, Part III, his updates to the original article, written in 2011. He begins each post with the original post and goes from there. Whether, or not, you ever plan to put together a chapbook, or longer collection of poems, doesn’t really matter. Levine’s comments apply to writing: Poetry inhabits an enormous house, infinitely expanding to accommodate each of our unique sets of concerns—and we keep raising the roof and busting out the kitchen walls in order to make room for the ways in which we go about expressing and exploring what matters to us as writers. He writes with empathy, directness and humour, lots of humour.

2] If I have a humourous piece, I usually save it for the last bit of serendipity, but I am asking you to read two fairly hefty articles, idea-wise, today, so the humour will go between. Many of you know McSweeney’s (already I hear the rustle of anticipation.). In the article Selections From H. P. Lovecraft’s Brief Tenure as a Whitman’s Sampler Copywriter, by Luke Burns, we are given descriptions of a box of chocolates as if written by Lovecraft. Talk about a wonderful exercise in voice. If I were still teaching, this would become a lesson. If you need to continue distracting yourself from your daily round, pick a writer with a distinctive style and give this a try: put together a sampler of chocolates. Really.

3] Our final link is to an article on Connotation Press‘ site. While you are there, you might wander around. Our link is to John Hoppenthaler’s article on revision in A Poetry Congeries With John Hoppenthaler: September 2014. Don’t groan. You know that’s when a poem really happens, in revision. What I like, in particular is Hoppenthaler’s link between engaging with poems and the revision of his own poems: These things help me to locate those places I should begin to revise; they help me learn how to be a better poet. Or I don’t learn how to be a better poet, but at least the process helps me to understand why I make—or don’t—the decisions I have to choose from as a poet. I taught with the same viewpoint he has and found that I looked at my own poetry with a different eye after teaching the how of a poem. Discovering how others’ poems work played, still plays, a crucial role in the development of my own writing.

Right, that should keep you out of trouble for a bit. I will see you tomorrow for the roundup of this week’s prompts; next Tuesday for our image prompt; and next Thursday for… you guessed it, links.

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 25/09/2014 in links, poetry, writing


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Poetics Serendipity

8:44 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to The Smothers Brothers singing Marching to Pretoria

and recovering from the momentary heart attack I had when I thought WordPress was going to force me to use their new format. No, they just moved the switch back button to the bottom of the page. Hello, all. Yes, yes, it is already Thursday and I have links for you to explore.

1] The first is a place to submit VERY short pieces. The subject line in the email I got from the writers’ resource thing I use, says: Do you tweet? Get your 140 character stories/poems published in Lime Hawk.

The email elaborates: Attention, Tweeters! Can you tell a full story in 140 characters or fewer? Lime Hawk’s new Weekly Word writing prompt offers you a chance to get straight to the point and publish short stories, poems, or sweet little ditties on

Each week, Lime Hawk will pick a word as a prompt. Interpretation is wide open. Tweet what you come up with @limehawkarts. We’ll pick our favorites and publish them on Lime Hawk.

The first word: COCOON

We can’t wait to see what tiny web you spin.

I was interested and checked out the site. Very nice. Visit. Non-tweeters, there are submissions opportunities for all.

2] I would reblog this next one but then I get thrown off as to what else I can write in a reblog. Jeffrey Levine [if his name sounds familiar he is founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Tupelo Press and I have posted links to his articles before] is giving us a workshop on preparing a manuscript. That’s what his articles amount to.

On Making the Poetry Manuscript — New and Improved, Part 1 gives us some background on  the Tupelo Press Writing Conferences. Levine tells us, ‘It’s important to me (and might be to you) to distinguish what Tupelo Press Writing Conferences are about, because great writing is at the heart of any successful publishing career, and because (as you’ll see further on) if you’re to make your manuscript a more successful swimmer in a sea of manuscripts, there are things you need to know.’

He ends the article with an update of the first tip from his original post on putting together a manuscript, from three years ago. Levine will continue updating his tips and, that we don’t fall too far behind, I have included a link to this week’s article, On Making the Poetry Manuscript — New and Improved, Part II. Whether, or not, you plan to publish a manuscript, his tips are well worth reading.

3] I’ve given you plenty to read, so let’s finish with a Debi Ridpath Ohi comic for writers

I will see you tomorrow for prompt site close-ups; Tuesday for a prompt on Labours; and next Thursday for more links.

Happy Writing, all.
PS If the spacing is wonky, it’s because it has been giving me grief. My preview looks okay now [except this PS which I can’t get separated… sigh…] but I think it lies.



Posted by on 11/09/2014 in links, poetry, writing


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Poetics Serendipity

10:30 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Only the Young by Journey

Hello, everyone. How are you? I am back on Thursday watch early because I seem to have been blessed (?) with WordPress’ new posts’ new appearance. It’s a little unnerving, it’s so clean and tidy. I figured I’d better try it out before Tuesday. If this appears before I’m done, you’ll know I hit the wrong button. A lot of hunting for stuff is involved. Not everything is intuitive.

Now, what have I collected during the summer, for you?

1] Haiku lovers, [Well, hell, there appears to be no see-able cursor. I hope that’s me and not them] there is The Haiku Foundation for all things English Language Haiku. Head over to look around and read their complete mission statement, part of which says: THF [instead] is a series of projects organized not for poets per se, but for haiku itself. The realization of these projects will in due course help all haiku poets. Haiku has been very good to all the poets who have been fortunate to have found it. The Haiku Foundation is where poets go when they want to give back.

They have an incredible setup. [cursor back — must be me — not liking the new WordPress, at all]

2] The second link is to a thoughtful, fascinating even, essay by Jeffrey Levine, on reading submissions and reading fees. Ignore the dates, but read what he has to say. Here’s an excerpt: So, I might better say, of course we charge a reading fee each time a manuscript is submitted to us for our consideration. Even apart from the question of anonymity, we read every manuscript for every submission period as if it’s the first time the manuscript has ever been sent. It gets a fresh reading every time. We might assume that poets work on their manuscripts: revising poems, substituting poems, revising the order of the poems, etc. So even the “same” manuscript can be new in important ways. But even if no new work has been done on the manuscript, no changes made, even if it were exactly the same, it’s the time and attention given over to reading manuscripts (that each submission deserves) that we charge for.  And what we charge is the equivalent of half a tank of gas. He has a couple of links for us, too.

3] Wait until you have twenty minutes and listen to Professor Anne Curzan, a historian of the English language. She loves words and where they come from, how and when new words become real, and has an interesting perspective on language changing. Listen to What Makes a Word Real? I found it enlightening and highly amusing.

My thanks to Misky who told me to try saving a draft of this post, going away, coming back and re-opening… the old format is back. BUT, I have seen the other and I really did not like it. Ack.

See you Tuesday for the prompt on poems from comic strips.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 14/08/2014 in links, poetry


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