On Life . . .
during the Coronavirus Pandemic
On Poetry April 2018
“Still writing: Rumors of poetry’s death are greatly exaggerated” The News Journal, April 22, 2018. “Language is how our ‘real world’ is built.” The top three contestants in Delaware’s Poetry Out Loud poetry recitation competition talk about why they chose their poems. With thoughts on the value of poetic language for grasping and communicating our emotional lives. Poems by Caroline Bird, Kenneth Rexroth and W.D. Ehrhart, introduced by the students who recited them.
“Teen selected as National Student Poet writes about immigrant family and identity” The News Journal, April 15, 2018. National Student Poet, Juliet Lubwama, from Downingtown, PA talks about being the daughter of Ugandan immigrants and leading a March For Our Lives rally in West Chester. With poems by Lubwama–and a favorite she picked, “The Gift,” by Li-Young Lee.
“Poetry helped newbie student find his place.” The News Journal, April 8, 2018. Reading and reciting poetry–and his job at the UDairy ice cream shop–helped University of Delaware student Christian Wills find his place in the world. With spoken word text by Wills, and his favorite poem, by Eve L. Ewing, which he recited as a former Poetry Out Loud state finalist.
“P.S. du Pont middle school teacher, poet loves the questions.” The News Journal, April 1, 2018. Being yourself and writing yourself, teaching and mentoring 7th grade students, and two poems by poet and teacher, Gemelle John, a 2018 Delaware Division of the Arts fellowship recipient in poetry. Also “Wind in a Box” by Terrance Hayes, one of the 23-year-old poet’s favorites.
- “Craft Tip: The Promise,” Diane Lockward’s Poetry Newsletter January 2013. Notes on the promise of syntax in poetry, and assignments for a rainy day.
- The Crafty Poet (Wind Publications, 2013) collects prompts, craft tips and sample poems from Lockward’s popular newsletter. Available for Kindle.
Column: On Poetry
Performing poetry: Ode to the spoken word. The News Journal, April 26, 2015. As Delaware’s 2015 Poetry Out Loud state champion, Hannah Sturgis of POLYTECH High School in Woodside gets ready to compete on the national stage April 28 in Washington, DC. With “The Applicant” by Sylvia Plath and ‘Snake Oil, Snake Bite” by Dilruba Ahmed, two poems Hannah will recite.
Delaware winners: Young poets tell the world how it feels. The News Journal, April 19, 2015. Poems by Delaware students who brought home national medals in the 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards national contest: Katie Houser, 17, “(Viet)nam;” Emily Lugg, 13, “Dictionary Says;” and Kyna Smith, 16, “Blue October.”
Hip Hop influenced poems continue tradition of revolution. The News Journal, April 12, 2015. A preview of the anthology “The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop” (Haymarket, 2015), along with “Guilt” by University of Delaware senior, Gemelle John; and “Genesissy” by award-winning poet Danez Smith, author of [Insert] Boy (YesYes Books, 2014).
Teachers rely on memories to help students write poems. The News Journal, April 5, 2015. On teaching poetry to children: how to share your love of favorite poems. With “Still Life with Heart Extracted from the Body of a Horse” by Matthew Olzmann, award-winning poet from Detroit, sharing his classroom experience.
The language of home: poets mine their childhoods. The News Journal, April 3, 2015. Notes on the house of memory, and poems by Lucian Mattison, 2014 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize recipient for Peregrine Nation (Broadkill River Press) and Linda Blaskey, “Looking West toward the Ozarks” from Best New Poets 2014 (Samovar/Univ. of Virginia Press).
- Poet Laureate’s job? Lead horse to water, The News Journal, Oct. 26, 2014. Conversation with Fleda Brown on the danger of turning poetry into an arts commodity, and preserving its “mystery and strangeness.” With my poem, “A Place to Be Somebody: Wilmington, Delaware” from Urban Voices: 51 Poems from 51 American Poets; and Fleda’s poem “The Delaware Poet Laureate Addresses the Delaware Legislature. . . after September 11” from Breathing In, Breathing Out (Anhinga, 2002). Fall 2014 reading dates.
- Poems about Fathers continue to enchant me, The News Journal, June 15, 2014. Perusing poems about fathers for Father’s Day, and thinking about my dad’s wingtips. With poems “Fatherhood” and “Goodnight Moon” by James Arthur. “Fatherhood” is from Arthur’s debut collection, Charms Against Lightning (Copper Canyon, 2012).
- “Is any Mom ever alone on Mother’s Day?” The News Journal, May 11, 2014. Mes enfants me manquent? Yes I miss them terribly, but….A dispatch from my writing desk with a grand view of the Cap Canaille in Cassis, France. With poems “At Ease’ by Camargo Foundation fellow Bonnie Bolling from her book In the Kingdom of the Sons and “Mother’s Day Breakfast” by yours truly.
- “Delaware’s Poetry Out Loud champ competes for national title,” The News Journal, April 27, 2014. Delaware’s Kathleen Becker practices a trio of entertaining, challenging poems for her recitation in Washington, DC. “Channel Firing” by Thomas Hardy; “Sestina: Like” by A. E. Stallings; and “every single day” by John Straley. With photo gallery and video.
- “There’s Always a Poem to Finish,” The News Journal, April 20, 2014. DDoA Individual Fellow in Poetry, Jane Miller, talks about her experience at Cape Henlopen Writing Retreat. Poems by 2012 retreat participants Miller, Kit Zac & Maria Masington. Link to the 2014 application.
- “Scholastic National Medalists from Delaware,” The News Journal, April 13, 2014. Adults need to make sure the conversation about creativity and education stays active. “A Lesson On Astronomy” by Kyna Smith, grade 10.
- “Writers gather on 2nd Saturdays,” The News Journal, April 6, 2014. After 30 years and many locations, poets still gather every 2nd Saturday, now in a Wilmington tavern. “Petition” by 2nd Saturday guest reader, Ellen Steinbaum.
- “Mark the shift in seasons,” The News Journal, March 30, 2014. Observations on the coming of spring . . . finally, right? Includes two poems to wake you up by poet Tanya Olson from her first book, Boyishly.
- “Former Delaware Poet Laureate, Fleda Brown’s new e-book of essays, Growing Old in Poetry,” The News Journal, May 11, 2013. With an excerpt from her essay on clothes, “Unruffled.”
- “Rural Roots Inspire Sussex County Poet, Linda Blaskey,” The News Journal, April 28, 2013. How Ben gets new shoes, how goats mourn their dead, and three poems by 2013 Delaware Division of the Arts poetry fellow.
- “Teen Poets Challenge Us to See the World in New Ways,” The News Journal, April 21, 2013. National youth and humanities organizations together launch “the nation’s highest honor for youth poets.” With two poems.
- “Poets & Their Love Affairs–with the Library,” The News Journal, April 14, 2013. Lines by Edward Hirsch & Charles Simic, and “Maple Valley Branch Library, 1967” by the wonderful Rita Dove.
- “Writers Step Up to Newark’s Open Mic,” The News Journal, April 7, 2013. Includes “Countdown” by Ramona DeFelice Long; “When You Were Born. . .” by Maria Masington; and “Bedtime Reading” by Beth Evans.
- “US Poet Laureate focuses on race, history,” The News Journal, March 31, 2013. “Help, 1968” from latest book, Thrall, an example of how Natasha Trethewey combines the personal & historical, towards understanding.
- “Retreat Turned Mom to Poet, Again,” The News Journal, May 13, 2012. “Words for House Story” for Mother’s Day, and the Cape Henlopen Poets & Writers Retreat.
- “A Never-ending To Do List,” The News Journal, April 29, 2012. “Theory of Incompletion” by Mark Doty, with 1001 things to do before you die. . .
- “Bees Reflect a Cautionary Tale of Isolation–and Loss,” The News Journal, April 15, 2012. “Take from my palm…” by Osip Mandelstam, and the plight of honeybees.
- “Poems Are Best Appreciated Out Loud,” The News Journal, April 8, 2012. The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Out Loud & Delaware’s 2012 state winner.
- “Laws of Bedtime and Beartime,” The News Journal, April 1, 2012. “Learning in the First Grade” by Jane Kenyon, and childhood poetics.
- “These Women Blazed Trails in a Sky Filled with Peril,” The News Journal, March 25, 2012. “Waiting for Icarus” by Muriel Rukeyser, & WWII women flyers.
- “9/11’s Endless Sorrow Replaced with Celebration?” The News Journal, May 8, 2011
- “Chew On This: Poetry, like Food, to be Savored,” The News Journal, April 24, 2011
- “Some Places Are ‘Best Left Holy’,” The News Journal, April 17, 2011
- “Good Poems Convey the Truth, But Often Lie,” The News Journal, April 10, 2011
- “Strong Hearts: A Look at Mothers,” The News Journal, May 9, 2010
- “On the Delicate Nature of Parenting,” The News Journal, April 25, 2010
- “To Be New in the World: Verses for Children,” The News Journal, April 11, 2010
- “Unlocking Doors to the Present,” The News Journal, April 4, 2010
- “A Fleda Brown Reunion,” The News Journal, October 18, 2009
- “Making Sense of Dark Times,” The News Journal, September 22, 2009
- “The healing power of words after a tragedy,” The News Journal, May 24, 2009.
- “From Portuguese bull jumpers to an ancient Minoan wall fresco,” The News Journal, April 26, 2009
- “There are so many places like home,” The News Journal, April19, 2009.
- “Carry a favorite poem close to your heart–it could be a life line,” The News Journal, April 12, 2009
- “Poet laureate ponders our lonesome roads, lives,” The News Journal, April 5, 2009.
- A chance to nurture creativity, alone or with fellow authors,” The News Journal, July 13, 2008
- “Jane Bowles on Tangier: A Source of Endless Pleasure,” (Mirrors on the Maghrib: Critical Reflections on Paul and Jane Bowles, Caravan Books, 1996).
- “Ralph Cheever Dunning” and “Solita Solano,”(Dictionary of Literary Biography: Americans in Paris 1920-1939, Thompson Gale, 1980, 2005-2006).
- “Elvis is Back: Fleda Brown’s The Women Who Loved Elvis All Their Lives,” Delaware Today, November 2004