Sunday, May 2, 2021

Poets Who Teach Poetry

If you’re a poet, you probably love poetry, right?  I haven’t come across any poets who don’t seem to love it, but I’m not thinking of casual poets, I’m thinking of ones who read and write it all the time.  

In the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to teach poetry to students in elementary and middle schools.  It is so rewarding!

I taught a class via Zoom last week and it included not only me reading my poems to them but also talking about why I write poetry.  Plus, the kids also had questions for me.

These were very well-thought out questions, too.  For the first time I was asked Who is your favorite poet, What’s your favorite poem, Do you write other things beside poetry, How long have you been writing poetry, How do you get inspired to write, and so on.  Their teacher had obviously done a great job in teaching them various forms of poetry as well as introducing them to mine using a couple of my place poetry books, “Poetry in LA,” and “Poetry in LA, 2” from my Facebook page @poetryinla. These are local area poems for the most part so the kids find them relatable.

It’s so inspiring to me to see how intently they listened when I read and also how the questions they had of me were so they could learn more about poetry.  They were a wonderful audience!

Since I’ve developed my love of poetry, my goal has always been to encourage others to like it, too.  I enjoy writing so I have a variety of poetry books available as well as poems in a wide range of publications.  I feel this way I can reach a lot of folks with my poems.

Teaching poetry is necessary so that it continues to live on.  Poets are some of the best teachers of poetry there can be!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Creating Through Experiencing

Lately, I haven’t been writing as much as I have in the past.  No, I don’t have writer’s block.  I don’t have anything in particular, aside from a book mystery series sequel that I’m working on, that I want to write.  I have several poetry books in the editing stages, so I certainly have plenty of material.  I always have several projects I work on at once anyway.

I have become interested in experiencing different kinds of art and sometimes nature to fulfill my creativity that way.  I imagine it will flow into some sort of writing project sooner or later.

For instance, I went to an art museum (in a small city so there was one other person there besides the friend I went with and the 3 emps) exhibit a few weeks ago.  Before that, I visited a historic grist mill which was super scenic especially on a beautiful day.  A couple of months ago, I went to a different art museum, much larger than the other one in the small city which is odd because this one is in a tiny town.  It had an exhibit of drawings by a fresco artist in North Carolina.  I also went to a local sculpture center.  I’ve gone to see a restored submarine (viewing only) and visited a lighthouse (didn’t climb it).  All those experiences really add up for me to fuel my ideas.

The other thing I like to do is to sit and enjoy nature.  By that, I’m watching the trees, listening to all the sounds, and soaking up a little sun (not trying to tan or anything).  Usually, I’m reading something when I do this, too.  

To be a good writer, you really should read something.  Same with most any of the arts, I suppose.

Experiences become memories.  Experience helps you to create.  Experiencing can give you the tools to write with realism.  

So get out there, experience and then create!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

It’s all in the View You Find

Okay, here’s where I admit I have always been fascinated by View Finders.  I even enjoy the small ones, the kids toy which you can now customize with photos of your own.  Yes, really!  

There’s something magical about being able to drop in a quarter, sometimes two, and see the world out there up close.  It’s nice, too, that you can actually do something for a 25 or 50 cents as well.  

Whenever we come across one, we always stop and take time to look.  We’ve seen some really neat ones, too!  

Before the ones in the picture shown here, we last took a moment to take a view from one at the top of the Incline Railway in Chattanooga, TN.  Also a fun spot to visit - there’s an outdoor large sculpture park, a train museum and so much more.

View Finders, though, are probably like pay phones and becoming harder to find.  There’s a local train theme park that has one and we’ve looked out of it several times, especially in the Fall when the leaves turn so many different colors.  

You also see them along boardwalks, piers, at mountain attractions.  Of course, you can use your camera or smart phone probably to see the very same thing.  But as a child, you may not have all that so it’s fun to step up those metal steps, drop in your quarter, and twist the view finder around and see what you can see. And as an adult, it’s good to do something a little bit different, to take a look from a completely different view.

The view finder we looked out of yesterday was at a state park.  The overlook was river channels, marshes, and the park.  I kept saying, “Look, there are boats in the channel, and see those boat docks.”  I am very fascinated by anything to do with the water.  And, yes I was smiling and laughing the whole time.

View finders are for any age.  To me, view finders are magic.

So what’s your view?  What do you see when you stop and take a moment to look around?

(Photos taken by LB Sedlacek from the Tower in Palmetto Islands State Park)  

Sunday, March 14, 2021

I Don’t Need Prompting to Write (Then Again, Maybe I Do)

April is poetry month!  In celebration, there will be a flurry of poetry events, poems published and of course prompts.  

Do you use prompts to write?  Do you need them?

I’ve noticed a writing publication I read regularly includes prompts in a column.  But it doesn’t stop there, they are everywhere especially if you read non-fiction books on writing.

I use them sometimes, but generally I don’t.  I’m not one to write themed poems, either so I rarely submit anything to a publication that has one.  It’s not how I write.  But how I write and how you write are certainly different!  And for good reason!

What is your favorite prompt to write?  What kind of prompts do you like:  fiction, non-fiction, poetry?

The other way to take prompting in writing is do you need something to get you started or to remind you to take time to do it?  I’ve noticed after a flurry of activity with writing poetry, mostly place or travel poems, I haven’t been writing nearly as much.  I’ve spent more time lately on the sequel to my award nominated mystery series as well as with an idea I’ve been knocking about for several years for a short story - I keep telling myself it’s not something I want to write, but yet there it is.  Some ideas simply won’t leave you alone until you explore them.

Whatever prompting you may need, well it is yours to decide.  It’s your story, in whatever form it may take.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Master Class and Martian Poetry

Have you ever taken a master class?  How about one for writing?  

I took one this morning on the creative process.  I have signed up for another one next week on writing.  Do I think master classes are beneficial?  It depends on the class, of course!

So far they have been for me because they make me think in a new way and also think of things I haven’t ever tried so that’s good for my process.  Part of being a poet and writer is perseverance and if you have these positive experiences with other like minded professionals then it should help.

When I have a chance, I also join in with some virtual poetry workshops and/or open mics.  It is good to hear from other writers and poets and to see their perspectives as well.  

At the same time as I decided to try these master classes, I discovered Craig Raine and his Martian poetry. It’s writing from the point of view of say a Martian who experiences things for the first time.  What an interesting concept!  I like the poem that started it all, “A Martian Writes a Postcard Home” too.  

With the creative writing process, it’s good to try something you have never tried.  Experiences are key for any kind of creativity, imho!  

I wonder if there may be a master class in being a Martian one day?  With all of the new exploration on Mars, maybe so.  One of my favorite poetry books I have out (it was funded on Kickstarter) is “Mars or Bust.”  I would love to see that translated into Martian one day!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

How To Buy a Poetry Book as Easy as POETRY!

 If you’re a poet, you read poetry, right?  Of course, no matter where you get your poetry books there are quite a number of them.  

First of all, you should probably know the difference between a Chapbook and a Poetry Book and even a Poem Novel, a Poetry Booklet and a Broadside  A Chapbook is a shorter book of poetry, often produced by the Poet themselves and contains probably around 20 poems or more.  A Booklet of Poems would probably contain around 8 or so poems and be a smaller version of a Chapbook.  A Broadside is a one sheet of one poem and can be artistically presented or simply just have the poem only on it.  A Poetry Book is going to be your longer book of poems with at least 70 or so pages or more.  A Poem Novel is a fiction like tale told via the way of verse.

Does length of the book truly matter?  It depends on what kind of poems you wish to read and how much time you have to spend reading it and also who the author is.  You also won’t find too many Chapbooks for sale in a bookstore.  You will find a number of any of the above for sale online.

Here’s a simple way to pick out your book or chapbook, etc:  P (personal interest), O (originality), E (eagerness to read), T (time you have to read), R (reading preferences such as style, form, author, etc.) and Y (You, why do you want to read it).  Price too might matter!

Have fun selecting your next book of poems.  Happy reading!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sculptures on Super Bowl Sunday

 I like modern art.  I like sculptures.  I don’t make that kind of art, I sculpt & paint with words!  I live in an area where we have several outdoor sculptures all around plus an outdoor sculpture center.  

To me experiencing other kinds of art is necessary to help foster your own.  Art is a way of life, in my opinion.

The setting for the sculptures I saw on Friday is an old school out in a North Carolina valley near where the real life story of Tom Dooley and Laura Foster took place.  It used to be a private boys school then a private school, a science center and now an Arts Center.  

It was inspiring to me to walk around the setting, to enjoy the great outdoors and to see how each sculpture was enhanced by their surroundings.  I’ve always believed that place does shape how you live, how you see the world and also if you make art it affects that, too.

Here are a few of the sculptures I saw.  They are located at the WNC Sculpture Center in Patterson, NC.  Some are permanent, some are from an exhibit.  I’ve just included a few of them here.  They are all spectacular because like I said Art = Life.  

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Book Signing of “The Blue Eyed Side” new poem novel

 Book Signing of my newest book “The Blue Eyed Side” on Feb 20th from 11am-2pm at Tybrisa Books. The book is a poem novel murder mystery set in Hatteras and Plumtree, NC.  The book is published by Cyberwit.  

Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Magical Realism of Writing and Art

Do you ever come across that moment, you know the one where the flow just overcomes you and you can’t write or type fast enough to get your thoughts and ideas down?  Does that come to you only when you’re writing, or do you find it in another art form and then it inspires your writing?

Ah, inspiration!  Seems we’re fresh out of that these days, or can be if we aren’t watching or looking hard enough.

I’m the visual type so I’m always looking around for something interesting to see.  With smart phones, what do I do but snap a picture or two or three or occasionally a burst.  Usually, though, I take only one shot.  I try to get the focus, the view right the first time.  I’m a no filter needed one photo will do it no editing needed type of picture taker.  

I created a local poetry book and FB page and often times if I take a picture of something local then I might write a poem about it, too.  (See @poetryinla on FB or Insta.). Those picture taking moments are magic to me - a magical realism where real life and art blend together in a fantastic hopeful joyous and yes inspiring way.

Moments of magic infiltrate moments of every day each and every day.  You have to pay attention, though, to the act, to the magician behind whatever it is you’re seeing so you don’t miss it - that sunset, that view, pouring rain, a neon open sign in an otherwise shutdown shopping center, that quote, that book, - whatever crosses your path.  

The magic is real so don’t blink.  Take it, and make it your own.  

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Organic Inspiration

I am not one of those people who follow a routine.   Yes, I have them, but I don’t do the same things the same way every single day.  I eat breakfast, but never the same thing and usually not at the same time.  I write almost every day, but some days I focus only on one aspect of my work and sometimes I focus on several.  

I am not afraid to try new things, but if it includes socializing (even online) I am not jumping up and down with glee ready to take take part in said activity.  I truly do not mind and prefer to be by myself most of the time.  (Since nearly everyone in my family including the dog is extroverted they don’t mind this one bit, lol).  

Yesterday was one of those days involving not one but two activities that included other people.  The day before yesterday I ran an errand that involved seeing other people.  This doesn’t mean I’m never around people or talk to anyone - I usually talk to several people each and every week and I luckily have many friends.  

Each time I was rewarded with inspiration with these activities.  I wrote a poem about something I discovered at one of them.  I took pictures I’m going to use for a new book cover at another.  I made an artist connection with another.  I have to go through life like in the book “The Celestine Prophecy” (remember that one?) and be open to the idea of organic discovery which leads to inspiration and creativity.

These days that’s harder than ever to achieve because of the pandemic.  That leads to more online events and so because of that I’ve attended way more poetry readings, workshops and open mics than I ever have in the area where I live.  There are only a few opportunities for these type of live events and activities around here anyway.  

I like getting in that head space of flow from hearing other poets and authors read their works or simply talk about their process.  It’s like being in a room full of knowledge and kinship except you are in your own space sitting at or with your electronic device watching and/or listening in.  

It’s like bringing chaos to its knees.  It’s like shuffling ideas and thoughts into a kaleidoscopic mix of ideas.  

It’s simply creative organic magical realism flow.  

Poets Who Teach Poetry

If you’re a poet, you probably love poetry, right?  I haven’t come across any poets who don’t seem to love it, but I’m not thinking of casua...