Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rereading Dickens's Great Expectations Half a Century Later

I first read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in 1966, in my first semester at the Bronx High School of Science. Almost half a century later, I listened to the audiobook of the novel, and entirely different facets of the book stood out for me.

Charles Dickens
When I was fourteen years old, I was so put off by the artificial aspects of Great Expectations. I wasn’t used to nineteenth century novels, and the exaggerated speech of Dickens’s working class characters such as Joe Gargery felt unreal to me. I was particularly troubled by the plot’s many coincidences, which seemed less than nitty gritty to me, and didn’t pass the test of strict authenticity that my adolescent self applied to everything that an adult tried to present to me as authoritative.

It’s true that novelists in the 1800s had an almost occult reliance on coincidences. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned how writers of that century serialized their novels in newspapers or magazines, publishing one chapter at a time. Once a novelist had painted a character into a corner with a particular plot device, the writer couldn't go back and correct the story—the earlier installments were already public. A good coincidence was a clever way out of a tight squeeze, but beyond that, some writers have a predilection for coincidence, maybe even an affection for it. 

Dickens is certainly one of them. In Great Expectations, for instance, it’s not necessary to the plot for Pip to find out who both of Estella’s parents are, but Dickens can’t resist including those details, even though they involve improbable serendipities. Those coincidences do add irony, since Estella is at first very haughty for a young woman whose forebears turn out to be of such humble origin.

Somehow the coincidences hardly bothered me at all this time. They seemed almost like gewgaws in a Victorian parlor, charming in their outmoded and elaborate way.

A Pre-Raphaelite frontispiece for Great Expectations
What did strike me about the book this time was how complex some of the characters are. Abel Magwitch was particularly fascinating to me. At the midpoint of the novel, I think the reader would probably identify Magwitch as the least likeable and most threatening character in the book, and there’s plenty of competition for that niche. By the end of the story, it might be fair to say that Magwitch is one of the most sympathetic, and perhaps the most compelling character. That turnabout in the reader's perceptions of Magwitch is one of the novel's many triumphs.

My favorite section in the novel is Chapter XLII, where Magwitch narrates his life story in his own words. It’s an incredibly poetic dramatic monologue, full of amazing metaphors that are perfectly suited to Magwitch’s rough-and-tumble existence, in and out of jail starting at a young age: “I’ve been done everything to, pretty well—except hanged. I’ve been locked up as much as a silver tea-kittle.…I’ve no more notion where I was born that you have—if so much.”

One character I changed my opinion of since my teenage reading of the book is Joe Gargery, the brother-in-law and dear companion of the protagonist, Pip, during the main character’s youth. Joe’s wildly uneducated speech just seemed clownish to me when I was a teenager. .Now it makes me laugh. At one point, Pip is attempting to teach Joe the alphabet, and Pip tries to get him to write his last name.

“How do you spell Gargery, Joe?” I asked him…

“I don’t spell it at all,” said Joe.

This time, Joe came across as a nuanced character. He is a big, strong guy—a blacksmith—but in some ways he’s weak, at times to Pip’s detriment. Joe is too self-effacing to protect Pip from the physical and emotional abuse of his wife, Pip’s sister. And yet, it’s hard to fault Joe. He’s loyal to Pip till the end, even though he deals Pip one of his worst disappointments, inadvertently.


I also didn’t realize as a teenager that Dickens actually wrote two different endings to Great Expectations. Dickens declined to publish the original ending that he wrote, on the advice of his friend, the novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton. I think Bulwer-Lytton's counsel was suspect. The ending that Dickens initially penned seems to me more poignant and more faithful to the direction of the book than the version that Dickens chose to include. But maybe that's the uncompromising teenager in me surfacing again.

Other recent posts about writing topics: 
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
How to Deliver Your Message: Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Why Write Poetry? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The White Horse in the Coal Mine: Great Political Writing

Émile Zola’s novel Germinal is often considered his greatest work. The book is certainly one of the triumphs of the movement of ultra-realist Naturalism that dominated much of world literature in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. What interests me in particular about this book is how Zola made the lives of coal miners compelling to readers.

Émile Zola
In the introduction to his English translation of Germinal, Havelock Ellis describes the care that Zola took researching the conditions of the miners: “For six months he travelled around the coal-mining district in northern France and Belgium…note-book in hand.”

Zola starts the novel by recounting the home of a mining family:

Now the candle lighted up the room, a square room with two windows, and filled with three beds. There could be seen a cupboard, a table, and two old walnut chairs, whose smoky tone made hard, dark patches against the walls, which were painted a light yellow. And nothing else, only clothes hung to nails, a jug placed on the floor, and a red pan which served as a basin. In the bed on the left, Zacharie, the eldest, a youth of one-and-twenty, was asleep with his brother Jeanlin, who had completed his eleventh year; in the right-hand bed two urchins, Lénore and Henri, the first six years old, the second four, slept in each other's arms, while Catherine shared the third bed with her sister Alzire, so small for her nine years that Catherine would not have felt her near her if it were not for the little invalid’s humpback, which pressed into her side. The glass door was open; one could perceive the lobby of a landing, a sort of recess in which the father and the mother occupied a fourth bed, against which they had been obliged to install the cradle of the latest comer, Estelle, aged scarcely three months.…

“When the old man comes back,” said Zacharie, mischievously, “he’ll like to find the bed unmade. You know I shall tell him it’s you.”

The old man was the grandfather, Bonnemort, who, as he worked during the night, slept by day, so that the bed was never cold; there was always someone snoring there. 

Zola skillfully depicts the home of a family with seven children, two parents, and an elderly grandfather, living in little more than one room. The name of the grandfather, Bonnemort, appropriately enough means “Good Death” in French. A good death is all these family members can hope for at the start of the novel, since their lives are an endless cycle of backbreaking toil in the mines, little sleep, and no privacy. The family does not even possess a closet or a wardrobe to hang the few articles of clothing they own.

But this portrait, moving though it is, doesn’t quite make the point from an emotional standpoint. As new as it was when Zola wrote Germinal in 1885 to depict the realities of working class life, there is something almost journalistic and impersonal in the description of the family’s home. Even if we could place ourselves in the life of those family members, and even though Zola has given all of them a name and a gender and an age, there is still a certain distance between the reader and that mining family, maybe even an inevitable distance, since the human heart resists the sort of direct and obvious appeal for sympathy that Zola includes in this section of the book.

But look what happens three chapters later, when Zola introduces us to another inhabitant of the mines, the horse that pulls the coal carts:

It was Bataille, the doyen of the mine, a white horse who had lived below for ten years. These ten years he had lived in this hole, occupying the same corner of the stable, doing the same task along the black galleries without ever seeing daylight. Very fat, with shining coat and a good-natured air, he seemed to lead the existence of a sage, sheltered from the evils of the world above. In this darkness, too, he had become very cunning. The passage in which he worked had grown so familiar to him that he could open the ventilation doors with his head, and he lowered himself to avoid knocks at the narrow spots. Without doubt, also, he counted his turns, for when he had made the regulation number of journeys he refused to do any more, and had to be led back to his manger. Now that old age was coming on, his cat’s eyes were sometimes dimmed with melancholy. Perhaps he vaguely saw again, in the depths of his obscure dreams, the mill at which he was born, near Marchiennes, a mill placed on the edge of the Scarpe, surrounded by large fields over which the wind always blew. Something burnt in the air—an enormous lamp, the exact appearance of which escaped his beast’s memory—and he stood with lowered head, trembling on his old feet, making useless efforts to recall the sun.

I don’t exactly know why, but when I reached this passage in the book, I cried. Zola’s  painting of that horse is so unexpected and specific—Bataille’s ducking to avoid the familiar spots where the tunnel is low, the horse’s forgetting of what sunshine is, the cruelty of confining an animal to that space, the bright color of the horse’s coat against the coal. It was through the description of the horse Bataille (which means “Battle”) that I felt emotionally something of the despair of the miners and the stifling world they worked in.


As Shakespeare says in Hamlet, “By indirections find directions out.” By describing the plight of the horse in the mines, Zola makes the human suffering there more tangible. His appeal for sympathy for the horse somehow has more emotional impact because he is not rubbing our faces in the suffering, he is merely showing us a reality and allowing us to empathize. Zola lets the reader draw the conclusion that the life of that horse is equivalent to the life of the miners. 

Other recent posts about writing topics: 
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
How to Deliver Your Message: Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Why Write Poetry? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Reading What You Want to Write

One of the best ways to put yourself in the right mind frame to create a certain type of writing is to read works in that same mold. For instance, if you plan to write formal poetry, read formal poetry. If you plan to write a novel in the voice of a female, first-person speaker, read books that have a similar narrator. The advantage is not just that you have a model to imitate. I believe it actually affects your brain to read certain types of literary works.

The so-called “Mozart Effect” was announced by researchers in a letter to Nature magazine in 1993, claiming to show that the IQs of test subjects spiked upwards after listening to ten minutes of Mozart. I believe from my own experience that listening to complex music such as classical or jazz can energize the creative sectors of the brain. I also feel that my own ability to write in a literary way increases when I read or listen to good books. There may well be biochemical changes that happen in our brains when we read or listen to certain kinds of writing.

I experienced the benefits of this myself when I was trying to translate George Sand’s novel Horace from French to English. 

George Sand
It took me about two years to translate this remarkable novel, written in the 1840s, and so far ahead of its time in its treatment of the rights of women and working people. During the two years I was working on that translation, I read almost exclusively novels by nineteenth century authors, mainly women. I was trying to get into my head an English voice that I felt would be an equivalent to George Sand’s narrative.

What an amazing education and privilege that was, to read Persuasion by Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, (who took part of her pen name from Sand), The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and other books. Oddly enough, though, none of those writers reminded me of the wry, urbane George Sand. The English Romanticism of the Brontës or George Eliot is more earnest and less urban than Sand’s Horace. Austen is similar—she's also a comic writer, but her world is so much more innocent than the Paris of George Sand. The nineteenth century book written in English that most sounded to me like the voice of the novel Horace was William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, with its satiric look at London society.

It is possible to overdo reading what you want to write. When I was translating George Sand’s Horace, I became so immersed in Victorian diction that every sentence I wrote in English felt as though it was choking on a tightly knotted cravat. I had to back away and rewrite the translation in a more contemporary voice, and then merge the more modern version with the draft that was written in old-fashioned and formal diction. I was very much helped and guided in this process by my editor at Mercury House publishers, Tom Christensen, an accomplished author and translator, who is also a fellow editor at Catamaran Literary Reader.


But in general, I think reading what you want to write is a good rule of thumb. So unless you plan to write blogs, this is probably the place for both you and me to stop for now!

Other recent posts about writing topics: 
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
How to Deliver Your Message: Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Why Write Poetry? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka

Saturday, December 6, 2014

How to Get Started on Publishing Your Work: Themed Issues and Anthologies

I recently updated this post from a couple of years ago:

One good starting place for writers who are new to submitting their work for publication is to begin with theme issues of magazines and themed anthologies. Publishers announce they are looking for work for a themed issue or anthology by putting out a call for submissions. Calls for submissions often appear on several websites and in magazines. Probably the most useful listing right now for publications in the U.S.A. is the  New Pages site, since it is updated several times a week. Other sites are also very helpful, including Poets & Writers Magazine, which has a comprehensive list of publications looking for new work, and Poetry Flash. 


Joyce Jenkins, editor of Poetry Flash
I’ve recently bookmarked another site called writingcareer.com that focuses only on publishing opportunities that pay writers. It has sections devoted to fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. 

There is also a site called Writer's Relief that has a page just on anthologies that are looking for work. I also visit a website that lists calls for submissions in the U.K. and in other countries outside the U.S., called The Poetry Kit. More recently I've run across The Review Review, a website that also has some good calls for submissions.

Why begin your publishing career with themed issues of magazines and anthologies? For those publications, editors are keenly interested in work by writers from a particular group or region, or work written on a specific topic. They tend to be much less interested in whether you have published before, or whether you are a well-known author. The editor(s) of the magazine or anthology might also solicit work from well-published authors, but that’s all the better, since your writing, if accepted, might appear side-by-side with the writing of an author you admire.

When you submit work to a themed issue or anthology, be sure to read the guidelines extremely carefully. The editor’s phrasing will give you a sense of how loosely or strictly the publication is interpreting the theme.

Here’s a call for submissions (no longer current) from the website of Slipstream, an excellent poetry magazine: We are currently reading for another theme issue (#32) for which we will explore ‘Cars, Bars & Stars.’ A poem could include any combination of the subjects or only one. Creative interpretations are encouraged.” Clearly the editors are leaving the theme fairly loose, as they indicate by the phrase, “Creative interpretations are encouraged.” You have some leeway here.

Here’s an example of a stricter theme I saw a couple of years ago on the website of Poetry Flash: “Windfall, A Journal of Poetry of Place is accepting poems about places in the Pacific Northwest for its spring issue. Submit up to five short poems that should not exceed fifty lines each.” This is much more specific. You don’t have to actually live in the Pacific Northwest to submit, if I’m reading this correctly, but you do have to write about its landscape and/or geography. The length requirement is also very specific, and would rule out any poem longer than a page and a half. You have to pay careful attention to those details when you are submitting, otherwise you are wasting your time and the editor’s.


Some journals, such as Slipstream, often publish theme issues, and those are ones where you might want to check their website regularly, to see what their latest theme is. Another good example of this is Spillway magazine, edited by Susan Terris. You may not think of a work you’ve written as being about a specific theme, but if you look with the lens of that theme, you may discover a side to the work you never saw before.

Other recent posts about writing topics: 
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
How to Deliver Your Message: Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Why Write Poetry? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Writing Prompt: Surrealist Proverbs

I’ve been leafing through John Ashbery’s Collected French Translations: Poetry, part of a monumental two-volume series of Ashbery’s translation work edited by Rosanne Wasserman and Eugene Richie. One of my favorite sections is called “The Original Judgment,” (as opposed to the Last Judgment?) a collection of sentences that I can only call surrealist proverbs. These wild aphorisms were a collaboration by André Breton and Paul Eluard, the French surrealist poets. 

Paul Eluard and André Breton, photographed by Man Ray
Here are a few of my favorites from Breton and Eluard’s text:

Put order in its place, disturb the stones of the road.

Form your eyes by closing them.

Sing the vast pity of monsters.

Speak according to the madness that has seduced you.

When they ask to see the inside of your hand, show them the undiscovered planets in the sky.

Do me the favor of entering and leaving on tiptoe.

Adjust your gait to that of the storms.

Perform miracles so as to deny them.

Write the imperishable in sand.

Never wait for yourself.

[translations © 2014 by John Ashbery]

I’ve been trying to think of what these remarkable sentences have in common. In other words, how do you create a surrealist proverb? First of all, the verbs are almost all imperatives or commands: put, write, sing, speak, etc. Proverbs often take this form: “Waste not, want not,” for instance. Breton and Eluard’s sentences frequently involve a jagged juxtaposition of opposites, as in “Adjust your gait to that of the storms.” Clearly, storms don’t really have a gait, so the authors have fused together two terms that normally aren’t combined, one of the key techniques of surrealism. The authors also assume a tone as if they are speaking the obvious—pure common sense—but what they say is only meaningful in the most Daffy Duck way: “Never wait for yourself.” Literally, we can’t wait for ourselves, but figuratively, we do that all the time, afraid to keep pace with our desires and impulses.

So, how would you go about writing a surrealist proverb? Some of these statements begin with a phrase that is perfectly logical: “Never wait for…” or “Sing…” or “Write the…” Start off with a phrase or structure that could have a rational outcome, but then twist the sentence into a Moebius strip that ends up somewhere completely unexpected.

Don’t think too much about how the sentence is going to turn out. Allow the surrealist spontaneity of your fingers to outpace your rational mind. Make a fanning generalization about something incredibly pinpoint.

Begin with what seems like a rational structure, something a “wise” elder would tell a young whippersnapper, and then suddenly flip it the way a flying saucer moves after take off, right as it hits warp speed. 

Here are a couple of my own takes on this form:

Be the writer your fingers want to be.

Take no chances, and you will taste no clouds.

Promote asymmetry in all that you touch.

I think you could also alter this form slightly and make the sentence a question. Instead of a surrealist proverb, a surrealist koan:

What role will you play in the inevitable fireworks?

If you'd like to leave your own surrealist proverb here, please add it as a comment. 

Other recent posts about writing topics: 
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
How to Deliver Your Message: Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Why Write Poetry? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka

Friday, November 7, 2014

Audiobooks vs. Print Books

It’s a commonplace notion that movies of great books never quite equal the texts they're based on. Maybe that’s because the author’s voice is such a crucial part of an excellent work of literature. The sum of the dialogue never quite equals the poetry of the narrative. How would you make a movie of To the Lighthouse, for instance, that could approach the wainscoted interior worlds of those characters?

On the other hand, not all audiobooks fall short in comparison to their hard copy cousins. I’ve been listening to a lot of recorded books this past year, since I now commute a little over 30 miles (50 kilometers) each way to my job. For me, some of the books gain as recordings. I’ve been thinking about which ones, and there seem to be some common denominators.

Recently I listened to the audiobook of Ernest J. Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying, read by Jay Long

Ernest J. Gaines
This extraordinary novel takes place in rural Louisiana in the late 1940s and concerns a young African American man who is wrongly convicted of first-degree murder. It’s a gripping story, and I got so caught up in the scenes that I found myself involuntarily reacting out loud to many passages, even though I’m alone in my car. That’s partly because the actor Jay Long has done extraordinary work creating the voices of many, many different characters, from the freethinking schoolteacher Grant Wiggins; to his Tante Lou, a tough and pious woman who raised Grant; to the narrator’s attractive and upstanding girlfriend; to the barely educated plantation farmhand who awaits execution; to the Southern sheriff with his ten-gallon hat. I’m sure this novel would be terrific anyway you heard or read it, but I think I would miss the varied and lively voices of Louisiana that are so much a part of the audiobook. I don't know if I could have recreated those in my head.

A book where I actually had a chance to compare the audiobook and the print version was David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. That novel has six different narrators, played by six different actors in the audiobook: Scott BrickCassandra CampbellKim Mai GuestKirby HeyborneJohn Lee, and Richard Matthews. Since I had to return the audiobook to the library when someone recalled it, I read the rest of the book in the print version, and I regretted not hearing those narrators with their quirky verbal mannerisms.

The kind of book that I would not want to hear out loud would be a very densely written book with an intricate plot, a book where I want to keep looking back to events that occurred earlier to understand how they connect to later action. A book like Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch. Or a book where the passages are so tightly woven that you want to read each one several times in order to taste every phrase again. An example might be Anne Michaels’ Fugitive Pieces.

I do really enjoy humorous audiobooks read by the authors, if those authors are fine comedians in their own right. I’ll list some favorites at the end.

But many books, especially books that use a distinct dialect or particular manner of speaking for the narrator, are probably just as good, if not better, as audiobooks. I always appreciate when an actor creates entirely distinct voices for each character in the book, and can bring to life personages with different ages and genders. Another advantage to audiobooks is that you can share them with others while you experience the book, and not just afterwards.

Here are several audiobooks I’ve enjoyed a great deal:

Humor
Wishful Drinking written and read by Carrie Fisher
Bossypants written and read by Tina Fey
Standing Up: A Comic’s Life written and read by Steve Martin

Novels
Jazz by Toni Morrison, read by Lynne Thigpen
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev, read by David Horovitch

Nonfiction
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, read by Lisette Lecat
All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou, read by Lynne Thigpen 

Other recent posts about writing topics: 
How to Get Published: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10
Putting Together a Book Manuscript, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
Working with a Writing Mentor: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5
How to Deliver Your Message: Part 1Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Why Write Poetry? Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
Using Poetic Forms, Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: The Sonnet; Part 3, The Sestina;
Part 4, The Ghazal; Part 5, The Tanka