Uncategorized It’s been a while–here’s some news.

It’s been a while–here’s some news.

New blog February 20, 2008

I’ve missed writing–hope you’ve missed reading!

First of all here’s some news:

If you have a good piece of writing: fiction: flash, short story, novel excerpt, or nonfiction: essay, review, memoir, or poetry, submit your work to Driftwood’s editor: pjensen@STU.eduSt. Thomas University’s literary journal, Driftwood, is expanding and looking to improve the quality of the submissions in order to make it a more prestigious magazine. Take a chance! I will be an assistant editor to the journal’s advisor, Dr. Phil Reckford.

Other news:

I attended the Key West Literary Seminar this year about New Voices. It was fun to be with Elaine Winer, Lauren Small, Marianne Haycook and Arthur Jaffee, but sorry to say it was a bit lackluster compared to the stellar contributors and panelists of last year, which included Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, and Ian McEwan, Michael Cunningham, Wally Lamb, Jeffrey Eugenides.

More news:

I served as intern assistant to C. K. Williams at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival in Delray Beach at the end of January, and his seminar was incredible. Williams is an erudite poet, masterful professor, and winner of e almost every award imaginable. It was an extreme pleasure to sit in on his workshop/seminar, consisting of twelve advanced poets, and to be part of the festival. Here is a promise of some of his work to come in future blogs. He gave me permission to quote his poems as I drove him and Sharon Olds to the Palm Beach Airport after the festival.

Here are some of the notes I took in C K Williams’ workshop on 1/21/08 at the PBPF.

(Nina’s Notes—take or leave, but this is what I garnered and gleaned—if you heard it differently—go with it.) The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate (Paperback)http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Space-Theatre-Deadly-Immediate/dp/0684829576(Available on amazon.com for $9.59) There is a kernel (an energetic spot) in each poem from which everything is variable and from which a poem can “re-grow” (into something new)

First of all in this seminar there will be no judgment (on work) these are experiments Find the principles (which inform the work) and which will enable us to work with (the poem)

Find the principles and incorporate them (the unconscious principles) Why did you write the poem? What was the impulse? The occasion?What were the inspirations? What seems to be inspired (in the work)? The magic?Did you do justice to the inspiration and the impulse?


Who does the poem address? Why How? Is it a person? A character?
What is the tone?—conversational, natural, artificial, poetical, formal, heightened?
Is the “self” in the poem? Is this important? Represented enough to keep the reader reading on?
Poetical? Experiential? Is there expedience? Metaphor? Simile?
These serve as a means of interest. Is there plot? A display of information?
Drama has climax—does the poem? Where is it situated: the end or the beginning?
Not always a narrative
Diction (language) colloquial?
Compression vs. discursive
Narrative vs. logic
Irrational (unconscious) vs. rational (conscious)
Is there commitment?
Use of metaphor (aha! the light!) and simile
Music—most difficult to speak about with regards to free verse.
(stress, pulse, cadence, repetition—symphonic melody repeats)

In CK Williams’ seminar we looked at poems and found the heart or energy, the kernel of each poem and then each poet re-thought his work, revised into something newly organic! We considered the variables which can change in a new effort. Most poems had to be completely re-written. Interesting process. These were no amateurs, but very polished, even professional poets.

There is a kernel (an energetic spot) in each poem from which everything is variable and from which a poem can “re-grow” (into something new). The notes above should help.

Williams gave a hand-out that I consider one of the best guides for re-thinking a poem for revision. Sorry, I don’t have that with me to copy and put here in the blog–maybe later on down the road. The hand-out mentions all the elements of fiction–in other words, when critiquing your own poetic work, look for moments of tension–drama, struggle, plot, narration, POV, etc. It made such sense, yet I’d never considered it before—strange because I do it in reverse—I consider poetry in my prose writing.

Oscar news:
Went to see Juno–very enjoyable and Ellen Page in the part of Juno MacFguff was a delight on the big screen—a wonderful actress and talent. Keep your eyes peeled for more to come from her.

The Bucket List–while enjoyable, was complete fluff, but who wouldn’t want to see Morgan Freeman act, (I can still picture him talking about Zihuatanejo in the Shawshank Redemption) and in the company with Hollywood’s big bad boy, Jack Nicholson? What a trip.

The other two movies I saw were both gut wrenching: There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance was nothing short of mesmerizing, but of course I still prefer his acting in The Last of the Mohicans–remember the scene where he kisses Madeleine Stowe? Whew! What a scorcher!

And while I love Cormac McCarthy’s writing, I really wonder why he’s so interested in psychopathic killers. I loved The Border Trilogy—All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, etc. and admire some of his neat techniques like when he uses a paragraph or so of Spanish–no translation, mil gracias, and thank you very much!

Have been having trouble connecting to the Internet–quite iffy out here in Utah where I am at the moment–ever hear of “brown-outs”?

Hope this finds you all well.

More on Williams to come …
And also recipes will follow …
Stay tuned … I’m back!