All for MJ: A Collection of My Favorite Poems

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I struggle this morning. Whether to read poems, or write them. Where did it go?


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I hate subordinate clauses that are followed by non sequiturs. I am behind in my blog, poetry writing, poetry submitting, letter writing, and all things me. That I would feel like a mother bird tenderly tucking the drops under her waiting tongue.

Favorite Michael Jackson Vocal Moments

We do it all the time for fiction, but poetry seems to lean more towards the intensely personal for the author. I would avoid attempting it with this sort of subject matter, but taking a mythical, fictional or historical figure or a totally made up character can help push your awareness of this writing style. Give it a try. I love the textures of it, the possibilities. This needs to be decided soon so I can design the cover, which is kind of exciting. Visual poetry in general is exciting. I love doing it.

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I hope to learn many new things. The first-person possessive pronoun permits English speakers to colonize the cosmos. As if I could actually own any of them although I possess a piece of paper that asserts that I own my house, sometimes I have my doubts. And I think a few of us human beings ought to be more aware that our tendency to hoard and claim may not serve us, or the world, all that well. The third was a bridge, an archway, an aqueduct. It looked like a semicolon; she had always wanted to use one, but never learned how. She walked across and woke up.

The room was the same. The morning light through the curtains. The taste in her mouth. Even the face in the mirror. She touched the charred stubs on her back, stroked that memory of having been hitched, however fleetingly, to something that could blot out the sky. At night, the ancient ones speak to us in soft, bodily gurgles and strange dreams from a different homeland. We surface from senseless landscapes to wear our slave clothes and artificial faces, masks of every sort.

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We trudge to our hollow offices to do our work, that modern drudgery, filing papers and shredding documents, the feminine mystique, the modern housework, while at home, domestics from a different culture care for the children. Or develop because of them. The crucible that transforms one thing into something else. In taurus, the monster is less actual monster and more metaphorical. The house and family that the monster exists in becomes a monster in and of itself. So then how does a house, in the context of something like the summer house , itself both breed monsters and become one?

In the melodramas and storms, it was rather steady, unforced and unmannered, the ongoingness of poets reading and singing people they hope are listening, but singing nonetheless in the space their words create. I think of the different tones and approaches taken by our nine poets: the whispery, the off-slant, the eloquent wit, the darkly ardent. The open pleas, the laments. The open door to tenderness. The eight-minute slot per poet added to an intensity of poets concentrating their meaning and audience listening hard to what they had to say.

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That focus ensured that the words left their mark. And you can draw your own conclusions about the reasons for the absence of older women in articles celebrating the current poetryboom….


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I keep throwing myself at the feet of strangers, circling around them again, they are both familiar and made strange when viewed from a new point in time. There is a painful roundness to the world — I started something new going over old territory. The world is too round for my determination. I keep accidentally dredging up evidence of my own life.

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Evidence is a funny word, really, in use. After all, evidence is just support for an argument. How do you discipline yourself to keep at it? MJ: Writing poems is like breathing. How many times a day do you think about your breathing, probably only when you notice a change in your breathing. But, you notice. I write when I recognize, understand, am inspired, and can express a moment meaningfully. If so, what were the results? MJ: Yes… disappointment. GWP: What are your favorite writing and research tools? MJ: Library books are my favorite tools, especially the introductions to books or prefaces on topics of interest- they are most telling.

MJ: Two or three… manuscripts are always being edited as new poems are added or their order is changed. GWP: Are the names of the characters in your writing important? What about the titles? How do you choose them? They are chosen based on tone and inherent character. Titles of poems can be difficult; formalist pieces tend to inform the title, whereas dislocated poems are more likely informed by the title. GWP: To what extent is your fiction or poetry autobiographical?


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Have you ever seen yourself as a character in one of your stories or poems and, has that been a help or a hindrance? MJ: Life is art, art is life. If so, please, tell us that story! MJ: No. I make sure everyone is well fed before I write. GWP: Who are your favorite authors?

Please list a few and their titles, so we can go look for them at our local library! The merits of wines and whiskeys; baseball and boxing; poems and poetics. What can you offer to help me prepare 6th graders to appreciate writing, now and for the rest of their lives? Writing is the definitive way in which we clearly understand each other and our selves- or not. GWP: How do you react to a negative review of one of your manuscripts?

Writing is its own reward, no amount of validation or rejection changes that fact. GWP: Do you ever write naked? By the time I start, certain images- poetic techniques- words have already been chosen, my thoughts are already mostly clothed, and in most cases so am I.

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GWP: What was your favorite scene or poem to write, and why was it so enjoyable? MJ: About Now from my recent collection was my favorite to write. Now is brief, but it made for a long poem as it was fun to write, and I could keep adding to it. I personified now, found Now in nature, Now is everyday life, Now in moments of emotional impact, Now in science, Now everywhere.

When I have it together someday, I am going to write a companion piece About Here.

Poetry Blog Digest Week 10 – Via Negativa

MJ: Writing on the subject of my adoption was most difficult due to the complexity of locating an objective correlative for an experience that most people will never have… being adopted. GWP: Do you ever use your writing as therapy, to either work out an issue, punish a perpetrator from your real life, or fantasize about what you could have done differently?

If so, give us one example of how this manifested in your manuscript. GWP: Print books versus e-books; do you have a preference, and why?

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