Classroom Discussion

2 Mar

Are there some writers who feel at a disadvantage  because they don’t have a disadvantage background?

In my poetry writing class we discussed Nick Flynn’s collection, “Some Ether.”  A lot of the poems were autobiographical or were influenced by his life, considering Flynn’s biography.  Some classmates had qualms about the poems because A LOT of his poems were about his mother and because he recycled many of the same words in the collection.  When I first started reading his poems, I was more offended by how the mother was portrayed; she was simply a terrible person in most of poems.  I was offended because I am a mother and I have a mother.  But, nonetheless the poems were written wonderfully and were not about me.  I also did not have a problem with the poems using the same words, because  I treated each poem as an individual.  I enjoyed the use of simple language and of the rawness of the poems.  They aren’t raw because the poems may or may not be true, but they are raw because the language is open and accessible to everyone.  It isn’t cooked with words that are seasoned with degrees or thesauruses.  I am aware that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I felt like I was discussing his psychosis, rather than his poems.  One person was like these things don’t even seem believable.  When he said that, I wondered of his background and if he ever watched Oprah.  It also reminded me of the times something terrible happens to a person and they are not believed.

My professor talked about how some literary critics think that “confessional poetry” is not poetry, which is insane because poetry is about craft, not about what the subject is.  This led me to the hood in me and I asked myself, “Why these literary critics and students hating?”  And it made me think jealously.  Why would anyone say anything less than that?  Are there some writers who feel at a disadvantage  because they don’t have a disadvantage background?  So, they want to say that if you write confessional poetry it isn’t poetry.  That it is sensationalism.  I was like what?  (Besides, it could all be lies.  Maybe its some truth, with imagination, and lies. He has the poetic license to do that.).  Some lives are more poetic than others, but that has nothing to do with guns or suicide.  Someone can notice the gallop in the wind around a Magnolia, or the djembe in a dap.  It doesn’t really matter where you come from.  With the poet (or any literary writer) all the matters is how you weave the eye, the ear, the touch, the taste, the smell, and the heart.

If you want to read some of his work, click here.


Personal Post: Diary of a Poet Printer, Student, Single-Mother

6 Oct

Disclaimer: I know I am suppose to be posting a writing prompt every day. I might have to change that to every week, considering that there is not enough time in the day, noon, night for me. Anyway, here is an overdue post to what I’ve been up to.

I always feel bad when I don’t blog frequently I feel like I shamed my audience and myself. It’s just that, that, that, I been doing a million and one things in my mind that I tend to forget to write on here. The last time I left off, I was talking about ZION IMPRINTS and my aspirations for it. I have been working towards those endeavors and learning how to lay out the road map to a destination that cannot be touched, or at least not yet. It is a place in my mind. A place I want to go, but never been… Reminds me of this poem I read once

Several weeks ago I posted a FB status that read “after a while, your plan should be just do”. And that is what I have been doing: doing. Doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well… It’s all about putting one foot up and then the other, repeat with the pen. Sit down, write some plans, then stand up and do em’. Keep learning how to do it. Research and read on how others did it or tried to do it. Only read to advance your purpose, not limit it. Learn from mistakes. And be mindful of reality, while simultaneously being open to the prospects of tomorrow. The promises of tomorrow: ZION IMPRINTS: The Peoples Press (those plans I shall explain later).

The tricky part about being a writer is also being a publisher at the same time. It is not an easy task to be both, especially if there is only one employee in your publishing company.  *Stares and looks around in empty room* So it’s a pretty daunting task to be a writer and the one man band as a publisher because of instead of writing and concentrating and advancing your skill, you are reading, critiquing, editing, doing prepress, printing, and binding.

Some may say, send the work to a printer. And I would say HA and ask them when was the last time they paid any attention to the manufacturing industry in the good ol’ US of A? But besides that I am REAL serious about my purpose: to teach the TRADE of printing books and advancing the role of the writer and the world, especially through and with poetry. Poetry is powerful and I want it completely to be in the sovereign hands of the people: the ones who are interested and invested in the well being of themselves, of their neighbors, the world, the Earth, and poetry. There isn’t anything more humanitarian than poetry, which is why the government doesn’t invest in it. OMG, it’s a theory about the man and his plan. So, I am destined in my attitude, even if the road map never leaves the page. But it will because I am more than willing to learn the trade and skill of a printer

Shooot! Even Obama says, that HE alone cannot save us. I don’t expect him or anyone else for that matter to. I am not even in the business of saving others. It is impossible. The only thing you can save is other people’s money for believing in your remedy to save them (l0l). You can only be the you you want everyone else to be. It is that simple and that hard all in the very same cloth.

I haven’t been doing it completely alone. I am not good friends with dead presidents, so I HAVE been getting some aid, a little gas to start this road trip, all from people like you and me.

My mother is an angel. She created me, so she is instrumental.

The first person I self-published (not counting myself) is Christine-Jean Blain. The second book I ever made! It was beautifully done. She designed it and I made it happened. I briefly interviewed her recently. If you are in New York, you can keep up with her appearances here and here, so you can take a glimpse into her genius here.

Then, I published Bekah Dinnerstein’s GraffitiMagick. I had lots of fun doing her book. She came over the house with her poems and her art and we just put it together. It was fun when Zion wasn’t begging for attention with her toddler behavior. I think that is the most fun I had making a book, despite the child drama.

Then, I read some great poems and narratives by Gala Mokomolov She somehow writes a narrative but keeps the suspense, the mystery, and the wonder with word-like pictures. Her chapbook is called Kin.

I have been managing and I am thankful for the support of these writers who invested their time to make ZION IMPRINTS happen. We are four publications strong with plans in the future. So, it is all good and it is all busy.

Yet, despite the adversities, there is always a way. I believe that. I believe in the power of the spirit and the power in mastering your mind. I am thankful, because even though I am not successful in the eyes of the world, I am by measure. I eat, I sleep, I read, and write indoors with electricity, am warmer than being in the street (most of the time), and have running water. I feel bad just boasting about it. The point is: that is more than enough to start doing something than complaining about how nice I do or don’t have it.

I am really grateful for all of the support I do get. Recently, I am very thankful for the Acentos Foundation and I am currently working on the Acentos Anthology and am pretty excited and challenged because to format is different. Most of the writers have contributed to the fruition of the books. For the most part, my services are donated, but the materials aren’t. I am grateful for “free” paper and ink.

Right now, I am working on the audio show. I already completed one with Christine. I am going to entitle the show, The Poem’s Reflection: Where words become mirrors you can see yourself in. Basically, the show will interview poets and ask them how they do what they do.

I am also looking for volunteers and interns to help with expanding the press a little bit quicker. I am also organizing a fundraising campaign for the company.

Oh, and did I mention that I am in a full-time Creative Writing program at Purchase College.

All in all, I am busy, tired, and blessed.

Be Well in Writing,



28 Sep

I will continue the prompts next week… Doing business for my company and for school…


JuJu Prompt of the Day (7)

24 Sep

Today’s prompt is an extension of yesterday’s prompt…

With the lines you wrote yesterday, write a poem about a person with the attributes of the inanimate object.

JuJu Prompt of the Day (6)

23 Sep

Pick an inanimate object in you home. Write in its voice for 10-15


The second part of the exercise shall come tomorrow.

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