P&W Prompt 18: Dear Me at Thirty,

This week’s Poets & Writers‘ prompt:

Think back to yourself ten years ago–where you lived, what your preoccupations were, who your relationships were with, who you were. Write a letter in the form of a poem to yourself then from yourself now.

I had the most ridiculously hard time writing this thing. And even now, three days into it, I have nothing. Nix. Nil. Nada. Bupkis. Maybe it’s because I’m approaching another decade (40, here we come!) and ten years ago I was doing the same – but I just cannot seem to write this thing. Here’s what I started out with:

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MFA Programs: The Eternal (God Help Us) Debate

So, I’m reading Mark McGurl‘s piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books, “The MFA Octopus: Four Questions About Creative Writing,” and I’m thinking: aren’t we done with this yet? I mean, haven’t we all heard the many arguments both for and against the MFA program? And what is all this debate and discussion getting us anyway?

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The Author Bio (Sigh)

Edan Lepucki bemoans the struggle that is writing the author bio in her piece for The Millions titled “MFA Grads and Former Acrobats: Approaches to the Author Bio.” In it, she questions the growing trend in bios that seem to mention everything about the author except what he or she has accomplished in the literary world. We’ve all seen them. Just scanning the bios of the latest edition of the Oxford American gives us a pretty good picture of how far afield the author bio has gone:

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Interview with Annie Finch

AngelSpeak welcomes Annie Finch to the Friday Interview Series!

I feel more as if I serve the poems, rather than them serving me; it’s more that I go to their world, instead of drawing them to mine.

Annie Finch is a poet, critic, editor, translator, and librettist, author or editor of numerous volumes of poetry, translation, and criticism.  Her books of poetry include EveCalendars (recently released in a new edition with 40-page free downloadable Readers’ Companion and Audio CD), the long poems The Encyclopedia of Scotland and Among the Goddesses: An Epic Libretto in Seven Dreams, and the forthcoming Spells: New and Selected Poems.  Her poetry appears in anthologies, textbooks and journals including Agni, Fulcrum, Kenyon Review, The Norton Anthology of World Poetry, Paris Review, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Prairie Schooner, and Yale Review. Her other works include several influential books of poetics, including The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self and the forthcoming A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poems and A Poet’s Ear: A Handbook of Meter and Form. Her music, art, theater, and opera collaborations have shown at such venues as American Opera Projects, Carnegie Hall, Chicago Art Institute, Poets House, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Finch’s book of poetry Calendars was shortlisted for the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award and in 2009 she was awarded the Robert Fitzgerald Award. She holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Houston, and Stanford University, and currently directs the Stonecoast MFA program in creative writing at the University of Southern Maine.

P&W Prompt 17: Passage to America

This week’s Poets & Writers‘ prompt:

Write a prose poem, a poem that doesn’t use line breaks to convey its meaning. Read [the siren’s story] by Barbara Jane Reyes for an example.

I actually really love the prose poem and, for a period of time, wrote a good many of them. Because I am so woefully behind schedule with these prompts, I opted to use this opportunity to revise an earlier prose poem that I love but that has, for any number of reasons, not been able to find a published home. It’s one of those poems that gets great feedback from editors – feedback like: I really like this but it’s not quite there yet. Humph.

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A Girl and Her Dog

It took me and Buford a little while to fall in love with each other. No doubt – the dog was adorable from the get go. But he was also (and remains) the most stubborn animal I had ever encountered. No joke. Two years ago I wrote an essay about how we had decided to give up Buford. Not because we didn’t love him. It was because we simply couldn’t afford to continue replacing broken doors, torn screens and shattered windows. The dog would just not be contained.

We did, in fact, give Buford up. A family member graciously agreed to take him on. And we moved on.

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Editor Spotlight: Danielle Sellers

Danielle Sellers is originally from Key West, FL. She has an MA from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of Mississippi where she held the Grisham Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in River Styx, Subtropics, Smartish Pace, The Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, Cold Mountain Review, and elsewhere. Her first book, Bone Key Elegies, was published in 2009 by Main Street Rag. She’s editor of The Country Dog Review and teaches at the University of Mississippi. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi with her daughter Olivia.

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