“Let her have a chair, her shadeless lamp,
the table. Let one or two she loves
be in the next room. Let the door
be closed, the sleeping ones healthy.
Let her have time, and silence,
enough paper to make mistakes and go on.”
From The Poet by Jane Hirshfield
Happy National Poetry Month! April is a good time to appreciate this oldest literary form. Read a favorite poem aloud. Write a poem simply for the joy of the process (and to learn something new). Why write poetry if you don’t intend to be a poet? A novelist friend says, “poetry is like Pilates for your prose.”
The Journalism Online writing blog lists various reasons why poetry matters. Here are a few reasons why one writer says poetry matters—
Poetry slows us down, it invites us to play with language; poetry helps us hear the music of language (a good poem is a “sonic event”); poetry improves memory (e.g., children memorize lines from books quickly, as do their adults!); poetry is medicine for the soul; It encourages creativity and new ideas and helps us understand persons living lives different than our own.
Enjoy this enlightening video, “How To Read Poetry: Reading, Summary, and Analysis of ‘Introduction to Poetry’ by Billy Collins,” from the Oxford Comma YouTube channel. All writers love metaphors, and this poem is full of them! Collins’ poem also might be meaningful to anyone whose high school English teacher made poetry seem more like mathematics than art.
Our Tuesday, April 12 meeting we will meet in person and on Zoom. We will meet at Mellwood Arts Center, Studio 123 (A building) at 1860 Mellwood Ave., Louisville, 40206. The fun begins at 6:30 PM sharp! If you plan to come in person, please park at the top of the hill on the west side of the building. Walk into the courtyard and turn left into the door just before Danny Mac’s pizza. Follow the hallway and turn right when you must. Studio 123 the first on the right after you pass the sign for ‘Antiques’. Glass balls in the window! Lights on. Keurig activated.
Enter the Zoom room here—
Please email email@example.com if you need any additional information.
COVID precautions—Please do not join us in person if you have symptoms of a cold or a scratchy throat or fever. As you know, the variant of the Omicron variant is circulating. Masks are recommended but optional.
Here is how the meeting will go—
- Leaders will provide an update of proposed and actual plans for meetings, workshops, readings.
- We will begin our April 12 meeting by reading a favorite poem.
- We will provide strength-based critiques on prose and poetry.
- Members will provide strength-based critiques. Peer writers should focus on paragraphs or lines that are vivid, intriguing, contain significant details, teach, or surprise. Is the point of the writing clear? How does the piece flow?
- Helpful revision suggestions include such statements as, I’d like to know a bit more about this character/speaker; This sentence/line might make a great beginning; It feels like something is missing; Please consider developing this section.
- Please limit your peer critique submission to five pages double-spaced (or three poems). Send your poetry or prose to the attention of Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than noon on Tuesday, April 12.
- We will screenshare each manuscript so writers can read along while you read aloud.
WRITING PROMPT— Poetry
The writing prompt is our way of helping you start something new. In this case, we’ll write poems. The result might be something you want to revise and bring to one of our Women Who Write monthly meetings. Or it might simply help you build strength, endurance, and flexibility.
In poetry, as in prose, the hardest part for some writers is the first line. To help you get started, we’re providing you with four choices of first lines from famous poems. We invite you to read aloud each of these four poems.
- “This is Just to Say”— (the title of a poem by William Carlos Williams)
- So much depends upon (the first line from “The Red Wheelbarrow,” by William Carlos Williams)
- I have done it again (the first line of Sylvia Plath’s poem, “Lady Lazarus”)
- “A Thought Went Up My Mind Today,” the title and first line by Emily Dickinson
WE WANT TO SUPPORT YOUR WRITING LIFE.
Consider applying for the Community Workshop at Naslund-Mann School of Creative and Professional Writing at Spalding University in Louisville. Participate in a writing workshop and attend lectures and panels for three days—May 22-24. Total cost is $275. Participants will attend residency events, including lectures on the craft of writing, the writing life, and literary history; a field trip to the Louisville Botanical Gardens to inspire new writing; and a reading by New York Times columnist Margaret Renkl. Applications due by April 22.
Women Who Write will have at least one representative at the Bluegrass Writers Coalition Conference is on Saturday April 30 —10AM to 4:30 PM in Frankfort KY. $75 for a “full adult” registration and $55 for students— at the Frankfort Country Club. Members who wish to attend, please notify Kim at email@example.com. Register here—
Poets consider submitting to one of these many literary journals. If you have a collection, consider the Palooka chapbook publishes. Find journals here.
Calls for submission listing on New Pages.com— https://www.newpages.com/classifieds/calls-for-submissions
Contest listing on NewPages.com—https://www.newpages.com/classifieds
Publishers on NewPages.com (small presses)—https://www.newpages.com/books/publishers
Submit to the Medium.com publication Landslide Lit(erary) . The co-editor WWW members would love to publish your fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. No need to be a paying medium subscriber. Bonnie and Kim will provide a Medium.com tutorial and editorial suggestions for submitted manuscripts. You do NOT need to be a paying subscriber to Medium.com. See submission guidelines here.
The creative nonfiction blog HerStry wants essays and memoir pieces on the topic of summer days—the idyllic, the steamy, the memorable. Whatever your summer story is, write it and send to HerStry by May 1st! https://herstryblg.com/summer-days
Consider submitting to Minerva Rising’s on-line journal, “The Keeping Room.” The journal publishes “short stories, essays, free writing, poetry, and photo essays that touch on topics related to Women’s Wisdom, Lessons Learned, Self-care, Bodies, Relationships, and Community.”
Funds for writers newsletter—provides paying markets for writing.
Under the Gum Tree is a well-respected quarterly literary journal of creative nonfiction, with a variety of themed sections (shorter) and a feature article in each issue. Two of my students published features in the journal that began with writing prompts!
Here is a collection of 21 markets that publish humor writing.
Brevity accepts flash nonfiction submissions year-round. Well respected for short creative nonfiction (750 words or less). Hard to get in, but why not try? https://brevitymag.com/submissions/
For Women Who Roar: This platform is looking for poetry and stories of healing, writing and recovery.
Check out The Manifest Station: On Being Human literary blog. Submit poetry, essay, fiction, art, and photography. Submissions are open continuously.
This clearing house has an amusing name, “Publishing and Other Forms of insanity. The list of submission opportunities is ongoing.
HERE ARE WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR WRITING COMMUNITY
Our leadership team need a treasurer to oversee our finances, keep records, pay (our few) bills, oversee the budget, file a few reports, balance our bank statements, help collect membership dues. Note—we are a very low budget operation. And you’ll join our energized leadership team. We want more than your attention to detail. We want your ideas! If you are interested, write to Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also looking for a young adult woman to join our leadership team.
Write for our web blog! Members are invited to submit blogs about writing, life, or the writing life. essay, poem, fiction all welcome (1300 words maximum). This provides you a link to share on your social networks. And we’ll accept reprints. Browse our web blog now! http://womenwhowrite.com/our-blog/
Attend our monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month.
Become a member (or re-member)—As a community, WWW strives to nurture your writing life. We hope you choose to join or renew as a member and participate in our monthly meetings, author talks, retreats, and workshops. We will notify persons when they are due to renew. Regular annual membership is $50. Student annual membership is $25.
Visit our Facebook Page and stay awhile—@womenwhowriteky. Help us exceed 1000 followers. Answer questions. See video interviews of WWW meetings with visiting writers.
Be safe. Be strong. Be peace.
Love your writing life!
Kim, Alisa, Megan, and Irene