On Miley Cyrus and the Role of Grammar in Creative Writing

Miley Cyrus just can't catch a break these days. From valid criticisms of her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards to the nearly half a dozen open letters she's received from Sinead O'Connor, the 20-year-old pop star can't stop ruffling feathers. Perhaps the nerdiest rebuke came three weeks ago when indie-rock multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens … Continue reading On Miley Cyrus and the Role of Grammar in Creative Writing

Introducing Unexpected Objects: An Idea for Reviving or Finishing Difficult Poems

Lately, I’ve been dropping lures into my poems. Lures that would otherwise catch walleye in some small lake in northern Michigan are cropping up in my work to help me explore difficult subjects. The fact that lures are objects used to do something, that they are part of an action, made them particularly interesting and … Continue reading Introducing Unexpected Objects: An Idea for Reviving or Finishing Difficult Poems

An Interview with Jazzy Danziger

Jazzy Danziger’s debut collection, Darkroom, is the winner of the 2012 Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Danziger studied at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns/Poe-Faulkner Fellow in poetry. She currently serves as editor for the Best New Poets anthology. Interviewed by Christopher Linforth How did you … Continue reading An Interview with Jazzy Danziger

Turning Writing on Itself: Metaphors and Similes about the Creative Process

In the part-confessional, part-instructive, and entirely user-friendly On Writing, Stephen King likens authors to paleontologists: stories, he says, “are found things, like fossils in the ground,” and it’s the writer’s job to unearth them. Ernest Hemingway, in his minimalist way, stated that “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” And Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael, once … Continue reading Turning Writing on Itself: Metaphors and Similes about the Creative Process

Inching: How I’ve Learned to Get Anywhere

I have been dreaming of a small-scope life like a paint peeling front porch hosting rocking chairs and suckle-sweet honey hues. I imagine writing stacks and stacks of essays and poems and stories of which I am pleasantly proud. Heaps of quiet fall into the atmosphere of my future life like snow. Not real snow, of course. The … Continue reading Inching: How I’ve Learned to Get Anywhere

Come On, Let’s Write Some Shit!

“There is no such thing as writer’s block,” William Stafford explains, “for writers whose standards are low enough,” to which you might retort: “But I want to write good shit, not shit.” Fine. But even the best writers admit to writing crap to get to their good stuff and even say it’s the crap, sometimes, that inspires … Continue reading Come On, Let’s Write Some Shit!