Tag Archives: N.C. Writer’s Network

Celebrating Poetry in Plain Sight in Winston-Salem!

Today a handful of poets chosen for the Poetry in Plain Sight project gathered at a quarterly reading at the beautiful Forsyth County Library in downtown Winston-Salem.

group.jpgI was honored to stand beside such talented poets and read my work at this special event, which was emceed by Kevin Watson of Press 53.  After the reading, we all gathered with a copy of our poem for a group picture.

This year, the project has expanded beyond Winston-Salem to New Bern, so it is truly a statewide initiative! The program is directed by Donna Wallace and sponsored by Winston-Salem Writers (which launched it in 2013), the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, N.C. Poetry Society, N.C. Writers Network, and Press 53.

Interested in submitting your own poem for the next round? Poetry in Plain Sight welcomes poetry submissions from any North Carolina resident. Click here for guidelines and submission instructions. Submissions will open again on October 1, 2018.

Interested in volunteering or bringing Poetry in Plain Sight to your community? Visit Poetry in Plain Sight and find out how.

 

 

 

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Happy National Poetry Month!

As if we needed a reason to celebrate Emily Dickinson or William Blake, did you know that April is National Poetry Month? The occasion has inspired me to re-read some of my favorites. This includes classics such as “She Walks in Beauty” (Byron), “Ode to A Nightingale” (Keats), “Song” by Christina Rossetti, and lesser-known but equally poignant pieces such as To be A Slave to Intensity” (Kabir) and “Nothing” by James Fenton.

As a favor to my dear friend and writing colleague Michele Berger, I even agreed to draft a poem myself for consideration for her excellent blog, The Practice of Creativity. I am definitely no poet but she is a true friend, and in that spirit, she kindly published it. Rather brilliantly, she is celebrating this month by posting a series of poems by guest poets (who are much more talented than me, I will add!). Although I adore poetry, I find this sparest of literary forms to be more than a little intimidating. But there’s a definite connection between poetry and prose, and as we’ve discussed in my writing group, any prose writer (especially me) would benefit from entering and fully exploring this medium.

Lately, I’ve been concentrating my limited literary energies on writing short stories, which will always be my first love. And last week I was honored to learn that a recent story, “Once in a Blue Moon,” was named first honorable mention in the 2013 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Contest sponsored by the N.C. Writers’ Network. This is a victory I share with all of you who have encouraged me as well as the five wonderful women or “belles-des-lettres” in my writing group. Michele herself just scooped up third place in Carolina Woman’s Annual Writing Contest for her speculative short story titled “Urban Wendy” which is published in the April issue! Go Pittsboro writers!

Inspiration from Flannery

I’m sorry for the long hiatus from the blogosphere but it’s been a busy few months with a lot of change! First, the publication of Born Again, Dead Again, has been put on hiatus. My previous publisher has decided to scale back the number of novels they release next year, and unfortunately, my second book was one of those casualties.

However, in my typical glass-half full approach, I decided retreat into the best refuge known to writers — the refuge of the mind. After a busy year filled with marketing and promoting Naked and Hungry, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to focus solely on my writing and the joys that the act itself brings to my life. With the help of a wonderful group of Pittsboro writer friends, I’m rediscovering my love of short stories, which, ironically, is what led me to write a novel in the first place. I’ve also enrolled in a class taught by celebrated local author Ruth Moose and am having a blast.

In between penning new stories, I’ve also embarked on an independent study of the works and philosophy of Flannery O’Connor, one of the icons of Southern literature. She is also the author of “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” one of the greatest short works ever penned.

Yesterday, I came across a great quote from her. Drawing upon the wisdom of the French philosopher Jacques Maritain, she writes that “fiction writing is something in which the whole personality takes part — the conscious as well as the unconscious mind. Art is the habit of the artist; and habits have to be rooted in the whole personality.”

I discovered this gem last night when trying to explain to my son where writers find their inspiration. As for me, my ideas come from real life but they only sprout into stories once that idea has lain semi-dormant in the unconscious mind. I say semi-dormant because as I discovered in Imagine, the right hemisphere is never really dormant. The habit of writing is also important, as Lehrer would certainly concur, because true creativity occurs at the end of hard work.

So what’s next for me? In between my writing pursuits, I’m planning a journey to Andalusia in Milledgeville, Ga., Flannery’s homesite in the not-so-distant future. l’ll also be speaking at the N.C. Writers’ Network Fall Conference on November 3 in Cary on a more practical topic, writing for the internet. In the meantime, because many of you write, I welcome your thoughts on the joys of the writing life.