Tag Archives: poetry

Braving the Slush Pile in Pittsboro!

Slush PileOur mission was brutal. The email from Al Manning, the head of Pittsboro Writers’ Morning Out went something like this:

Pretend you’re an editor of a prestigious publishing house. It’s Friday afternoon. You’ve had a busy week and you’re still staring at a stack of unsolicited manuscripts–the dreaded Slush Pile. You’re tired and you want to go home. You’ll raise your hand as soon as you hear something that would cause you to reject the manuscript in front of you.

Yesterday I had the honor of serving as a panelist (along with writers Ron Voigts and Judith Stanton) at the 3rd Annual Slush Pile event at the Pittsboro Writers’ Morning Out meeting. As we listened to the 300 words submitted anonymously by the brave ten writers who participated, we agreed, disagreed, and agreed to disagree on the elements that would cause a busy editor to move to the next manuscript in the pile.

And that’s what editors do. What I liked most about a manuscript didn’t necessarily appeal to the other panelists and vice versa. It goes without saying that writing submitted to an editor shouldn’t contain typos or grammatical errors; these are easily caught by a diligent proofreader. We truly didn’t see many of these–the majority of the manuscripts we reviewed were quite polished and free from pesky errors of this nature.

To help, I’ll share what resonated the most with our panel in terms of style. The manuscripts we “rescued” from the slush pile shared four basic elements:

  • Strong opening–and this includes the title!
  • Engaging and unique characters. What’s your character’s point of view?
  • A good blend of exposition and action. And by action, I also mean dialogue.
  • Conflict and tension. What’s at stake for your character? Why should we care?

Above all else, if you’re writing, submitting, and braving a very real slush pile, it’s most important that you NEVER despair. Don’t give up. Editors are, after all, human and have their own peculiarities as far as taste and style. So, if you find yourself drifting in a slush pile, pull out that manuscript days (or weeks!) later, and view it with fresh eyes.

And as you revise your work and prepare to share it with the world, please consider joining me for your choice of two separate workshops in 2020 on the subject of submission. We’ll talk about revisions, cover letters, markets, and much, much more.

Check out my Events page for more information and how to register.

 

The Wood Thrush Makes a Landing at McIntyre’s in Fearrington!

mcintyresIt was the perfect day for poetry….wonderfully cool with a hint of sunshine, and the easy conversation among both old friends and new!

At today’s monthly reading of N.C. Poetry Society members, I shared the podium with poets Bill Griffin (and former Poet in Residence at the N.C. Zoo!) and Robin Greene, a professor of English at Methodist University in Fayetteville. I ended up with a lot of hugs, fresh flowers, and of course, two new books: Griffin’s evocative Riverstory: Treestory and Greene’s riveting Lateral Drift.

I read a handful of poems from my first poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, which is available through Finishing Line Press. I also received some very friendly and helpful advice that I’ll try out at my next poetry reading. Speak slower, and let your audience appreciate your beautiful words. I was very touched, and to the kind lady who offered this wisdom, I promise to try and take it slower next time.

Waiting for the Wood Thrush Featured in The Courier-Tribune!

paperYesterday, a good friend of mine told me that The Courier Tribune in Asheboro featured an article on Waiting for the Wood Thrush on Wednesday! Click here to read “New Poetry Collection by Asheboro Resident Released.”

To every kind soul who has already ordered a pre-sale copy of my book, I do appreciate you! Your support means the world to me. If you haven’t ordered your copy, there’s still time. Advance sales help the author and the publisher, and I’d be so very grateful if you ordered by September 13. Click here to order Waiting for the Wood Thrush online. 

I’ll be reading a selection of poems from the book tomorrow, September 25 at 2 p.m. at McIntyre’s Fine Books in Fearrington. I’ll be reading the title poem, along with several others inspired by my life in the Uwharries, including “Samarcand,” “Lost and Found of the Dead,” and “Eulogy of the Northern Red Oak.” Other poems include “Napoleon and Antosia,” the tale of two star-crossed donkeys in love and “How to See a Ghost,” a poem describing a true-life ghostly encounter. Read more about the event here.

Hope to see you there!

The Wood Thrush Flies to McIntyre’s in Pittsboro!

mcintyre-s-books-in-fearringtoJoin us on Sunday, August 25 at 2 p.m. for a special reading featuring poets from the N.C. Poetry Society at McIntyre’s Fine Books in Pittsboro. I’ll be there too, reading from Waiting for the Wood Thrush, my first poetry collection.

I’ll be reading the title poem, along with several others inspired by my life in the Uwharries, including “Samarcand,” “Old Pine Door,” and “Eulogy of the Northern Red Oak.” Other poems include “Napoleon and Antosia,” the tale of two star-crossed donkeys in love and “How to See a Ghost,” a poem describing a true-life ghostly encounter.

Memory_Ashley_COV_EM Waiting for the Wood Thrush will be available in November, but Finishing Line Press is taking pre-orders right now. You may also order by sending a check for $14.99 (please include $2.99 per copy for shipping) to Finishing Line Press at P.O. Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324.

If you’ve ordered a copy already, I sincerely thank you.

In the meantime, please join us for this special event on Sunday!

Creative Writing Events Near You!

Are you wriwritingting short stories? How about creative nonfiction or true-life essays? And let’s not forget about the third leg of this literary stool — poetry! Are you ready to submit your work?

No matter what you’re writing, revising or preparing to submit, you’re bound to find a local special event that may help you in your creative endeavors, from readings to classes, talks, and more! And some events are free! By attending, you’ll also meet other like-minded writers who can help you in your journey. Writing is by nature a solitary act, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.

As a special note, in addition to teaching a class at Central Carolina Community College this fall, I’m also honored to be presenting two workshops at Charlotte Center for Literary Arts, Inc. later this fall and in January. I look forward to working with and meeting writers in the Charlotte metro area.

Hope to see you at one of these events. In the meantime, keep writing and delighting!

Click here to view the latest list of Upcoming Events.

Listen for the Wood Thrush!

wood thrushHave you heard the wood thrush this summer? He is an unassuming little bird in terms of appearance, but don’t be deceived! The wood thrush is unique for his Y-shaped voice box! This means that his voice magically splits and harmonizes with itself on the final notes of his trademark song, what humans have anthropomorphized as follows: Come to me. Here I am. Right near you. 

The wood thrush spends his summers in the Eastern U.S., where he sings to attract a mate and together they raise their young in the deep woods, where he is far more likely to be heard than seen. We have a very vocal wood thrush in the woods outside our house and his voice sails through the air like the first notes of a flute, which makes him stand out from the cacophony of the other birds. Click here to hear him sing.

For all of these reasons, I chose to feature the wood thrush in the title poem of my first-ever poetry collection, Waiting for the Wood Thrush, which is being published by Finishing Line Press and has been described by celebrated poet and fiction writer Ruth Moose as “Witty, wise, overflowing with life and color, grace, and the goodness in our lives….”

Waiting for the Wood Thrush is now available for pre-order through September 13 by the publisher, Finishing Line Press. Pre-order sales help the author and publisher because they help determine the quantity of the first press run. As a personal favor, I hope you’ll order my book soon, but I wouldn’t ask you unless I believed you might enjoy it.

Memory_Ashley_COV_EMClick here to order Waiting for the Wood Thrush online. You may also order by sending a check for $14.99 (please include $2.99 per copy for shipping) to Finishing Line Press at P.O. Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324.

If you’ve ordered a copy already, I sincerely thank you. Finishing Line Press will be shipping all copies around November 8, which means it will arrive well in time for your holiday shopping.

And who wouldn’t like to get a book of poetry for Christmas? 🙂

 

A Wood Thrush is Waiting for You!

Memory_Ashley_COV_EMA little wood thrush has just taken flight! See the official cover of my new poetry book to your left. Waiting for the Wood Thrush is currently available for presale at Finishing Line Press.

Advance sales help the author and the publisher, and I’d be so very grateful if you ordered early. Click here to order Waiting for the Wood Thrush online. 

Waiting for the Wood Thrush includes 23 poems united by the themes of love and longing, through the lens of nature.

A handful of the poems have been previously published through the years, and they’re happily united under one cover with many new ones, including “Eulogy of the Northern Red Oak,” a long-form poem that was named a finalist for the N.C. Poet Laureate Award by the N.C. Poetry Society earlier in the year, along with “Lost and Found of the Dead,” another long-form poem that offers a surrealistic journey through the intangible things we often leave behind.

“Memory’s poems are fully human, and therefore fully real; they are moral poems, in that they lift the reader to a higher level of appreciation for the human world and the world of nature.”

Joyce S. Brown, author of the poetry collection Vital Signs, Orchard Street Press and former instructor, Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars

“Ashley Memory’s poems take matters of the soul and make them breathable. She does what a poet must—she takes what hurts in life and makes us laugh, sigh, think, then turn the page. The hurting, of course, doesn’t go away, but Waiting for the Wood Thrush reminds us of the whole brilliant spectrum of emotion that poetry brings us.” – Matt Swain, Co-founder and Poetry Editor of Turnpike Magazine

“Witty, wise, overflowing with life and color, grace, and the goodness in our lives.  You go from the natural world, to how to see a ghost to an antiques fair to sin town. What joy! What word pleasure! Read and remember, then read again.” – Ruth Moose, Pushcart Prize-winning author of two novels, four collections of short stories and six collections of poetry, including Tea and The Librarian.

Waiting for the Wood Thrush is available for pre-order through September 13, with publication on November 8, 2019. My pressrun (the number of copies printed) is determined by advance sales, and it would help me tremendously if purchases are made during this time.  Thank you so very much for your support!