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Poetics Serendipity: Review of a Writer’s Guide

7:27 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Snow Patrol singing Lightning Strike

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

Hello, all. Ready for Spring? Or, Fall? No matter where we are we should all be watching as colour paints our landscapes. Here, in Atlanta, the plum and the dogwood are going nuts. Around every corner we are surprised by clouds of white, or pink, blossoms.

I had been going to list participants in April’s National Poetry Month as I did last year, so people know their options, but things seem to be gearing up more slowly this year. Robert Lee Brewer is back and so is our Miz Quickly. I’ll check in the coming days and if it seems useful, post a list next week. Meanwhile I shall bring forward next week’s original topic.

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing a new book, ‘a first-of-its-kind writer’s guide which bestselling novelist Wally Lamb is calling “an effective primer crafted by a writing community on how to build your own writing community, and other fundamental elements of success as a writer.”  Although this guide was originally created with Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) graduates in mind, the reality is that the content can be leveraged by all writers.

Now What? The Creative Writer’s Guide to Success after the MFA is the first multi-genre writer’s guide authored, edited and published entirely by writers for writers.

Now What? provides dozens of articles, essays and resources; contributors share wisdom, advice, instruction, inspiration and time-tested tips for making writing a permanent part of one’s life, whether as a career, a hobby, or anywhere in between. Topics range from adjunct teaching, corporate careers, and creative inspiration to blogging, freelancing, and health insurance.’ [Lisa Diane Kastner — one of the contributors].

Hang on. Don’t stop now. You say ‘I’m not a novelist’ and ‘I don’t have and am not getting an MFA’ [although several of you are working on novels and a few of you do have MFAs]. Having read the book, I can tell you that it is chock-full of useful information and ideas in its two parts and fourteen chapters.

The first part is short, two chapters that address an MFA’s life before receiving the degree and immediately after. Even here there are interesting items that can be of use to us who are non-MFA writers of poetry. The other twelve chapters deal with items such as, finding support within our community, whether that be local, or online; writers’ groups; workshop options; having a writing buddy; the AWP experience [which many of you can identify with]; associations, memberships, subscriptions we should have; writing problems and strategies; getting our writing out there; writing while holding down a job, or raising a family [or both]; careers for writers; the writing industry; publishing — self, or otherwise; literary agents; contracts; copyright; things that writers should, and shouldn’t do.

The detail is incredible. What I enjoyed most as I read, are the different voices. There are dozens of writers and editors and other members of the writing community contributing. The book is easy to dip into. Even the choice of quotes the editors set off made me want to copy each one. This is a guidebook of extraordinary breadth and depth for all writers.

I have been following Patrick Ross and his blog The Artist’s Road longer than any other blog. Over the years I followed him as he took a deep breath, and mid-career went for an MFA. This book echoes everything he has written about his journey.

After the craziness of April, I shall be going through a couple of chapters a week, in more depth. Let me know, in comments, which topics interest you, about which you are curious.

I shall see you tomorrow for Friday‘s roundup of prompts; Tuesday for our image prompt; and next Thursday for a pre-NaPoMo post.

Happy writing, everyone.

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Posted by on 20/03/2014 in miscellanea, poetry, writing

 

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