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Writers

January 11, 2015 , , ,

ROW80

ROW80

The Round of Words in 80 Days challenge is a wonderful new experience for me. I joined last week by setting goals I intend to accomplish during the following 80 days. By joining this group I am entering a zone designed to support and entertain writers looking to learn new skills as well as improve on old ones.  In the few and far between workshops I have taken in creative writing I did learn from my fellow students in many ways.  First, it is comforting to see that many share the exact same creative obstacles and follies.  Once we see that writing has certain difficult passages we feel less isolated.  It cheers us up to find out others get stuck around the same places that we do.  Many of the participants have much more experience and education, which does reflect in the way they put their words together to express themselves.  It matters little how large your vocabulary is, or how much you know about crafting dialog for a story if you are out of ideas.  We all have to go to the well of creativity and draw water to keep our writing alive.  In #ROW80 we share this mutual idea of renewing our source of inspiration.  The group is much more powerful than the sum of its parts.

My new devotion to write, read and immerse myself in poetry stems from my ancestry.  I have some famous poets in my family tree.  This, more than any other accomplishment of my ancestors, has made me think about my own creative legacy.  I don’t care to be famous, but think it is very cool to read the handwritten poems of my famous 9th great-grandmother.  They are the work of a religious Pilgrim in America, not exactly my cup of tea.  I still treasure the poems because they have a life of their own, staying in publication for hundreds of years.  I can hear her “voice” because she recorded it (as best she could in the 1600s).  She inspires me to refine, discover, and expand my own poetic voice.

I have done the ground work I agreed to do by publishing a poem daily.  This is starting to be natural.  Usually I do the drawing and poem first thing in the morning, which makes me feel good.  I don’t get too critical of the work, I just make an attempt to prime the pump and get a constant flow of words.  I will be happy when I become more fluent and need to edit with more thought and specificity.  For the present I am pleased just to keep that daily beat.  I stay with the images as well as the words while I do my daily routine.  I think pondering the colors and the words I have used works to inspire the next day’s creation.

My goal to expose myself to the work of poets with whom I am not familiar is made incredibly easy by the fabulous podcasts and poetry apps available at little or no cost.  I have also downloaded a couple of apps that help you create poems, and even record your work.  There are many good options to read and to hear.  These are a just a few of the new resources for poets and poetry fans:

I am using these and a few other mobile apps to make it easy to find and lean about poets.  I particularly like the translated work because the reading is done first in English, followed by the poem in the language in which it was written.  I like to hear the sounds and the cadence of the original language after I know what it means.  I have been pleasantly surprised by how easy and fun it is to discover poets and enjoy a variety of styles.  I like the funny subjects the best.

I skipped the reading last week at the U of A Poetry Center.  The schedule arrived in the mail for all the readings, events, classes and workshops to be presented in the spring semester.  There is a series called the Poetics and Politics of Water which is very interesting to me.  I have marked my calendar to be ready to attend all four parts of this collaboration with the American Indian Studies Program.  I am also looking forward to an exhibition of photos from Afghanistan to accompany a presentation on oral folk poetry of the women of the Pashtun tribe, living on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  There is tremendous technical excellence built into all the work done at the Poetry Center.  I cherish to the academic and aesthetic rewards of living very close to this  special institution.  It is my hope that with the inspiration of my dead poet ancestors and the living poets right around the corner I will be staking a claim to an identity as a writer.  A lot can happen in 80 days!!

What do you think?

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comments

What a lovely poetic heritage, combined with a local poetry resource! Your goals seem doable and delicious.

And It wouldn’t be at all an exaggeration to say that ROW80 has changed my life!

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shanjeniah

January 11, 2015

This sounds so inspiring I am glad you found impetus via your 9th great grandmother.
. I am sure I am running into a bunch of the same blocks.. (not with poetry.. just writing in general)
I am going to need to unplug soon… once I stop procrastinating/being blocked..

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Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

January 18, 2015

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