New Workshop: Let’s Write Poetry in Walpole, MA This Fall!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I have some exciting news for you today: I’m officially hosting my first poetry workshops this fall!

This September and October, I’m hosting Let’s Write Poetry!, a 4-week poetry workshop series at SheBreathes Balance & Wellness Studio in Walpole, Massachusetts. These workshops are designed to inspire and energize you to write new poems, learn new techniques, and see your work in a new light. So whether you’re a practicing poet who’s looking to deepen your craft or a newbie who’s been meaning to try poetry for a while, this workshop offers something for any and all who are interested.

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New at DIY MFA: Identifying Literary Themes in the Poetry We Read

How have I not written a poetry-focused article for my DIY MFA column before?? Because like novels, short stories, and other longer forms of literature, poetry is chock-full of literary themes. So that’s what my latest Theme: A Story’s Soul post – or, rather, the first of two posts – is about. We’ll go over four questions that can help us identify themes in the poetry we read, then practice them with an in-text exercise using one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems. We’ll also touch on how we can recognize themes (either on our own or with the help of the four questions) across a book of poetry by a single poet.

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New Interviews at Coach Daddy and SheBreathes

Hi, everyone! I’m here to share not just one recent interview I’ve done, but TWO. 🙂

First up is a #GirlsRock interview with Eli at Coach Daddy. The #GirlsRock series is dedicated to highlighting women who are doing amazing things and making the world a better place. Some of the women Eli has interviewed in the past include journalists, podcasters, TV reporters, and musicians / artists. So I’m honored – and psyched! – to be featured on Eli’s blog again. (I wrote this guest post for Coach Daddy back in 2015.) We talk about my editing / writing coaching business Heart of the Story, poetry, and my one piece of advice for women who enjoy writing.

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New Poem Featured in the Spring / Summer 2019 Issue of The Aurorean

The Spring / Summer 2019 issue of The Aurorean is out, and I’m happy to share that my poem “Twilight in April” is included! My contributor’s copy arrived last week, and I have to admit: As much as it’s fun to see your poems published online, where they’re easily accessible to most of the world, it’s just as fulfilling to see your words on a printed page.

(Read more after the jump.)

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What’s Making Me Happy: February and March 2019 (Plus, I’m on a Semi-Hiatus Until May)

OMG! By the time you read this post, I’ll be back at the Iceland Writers Retreat!! 😀

I have to admit, though: The past two months have been a whirlwind. A big part of that was launching my business Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services in February. Since then, life has been a juggling act between that, the day job, preparing for the Iceland trip, preparing for the ACES Conference (more on that shortly), and some unexpected things in my offline life, including a relative’s health emergency. And I’m aware that while I’m keeping up with my blogging schedule, I’ve fallen behind in just about every other area of this part of my life. 😦

In a way, I knew this was coming… and once I’m back from Iceland, it might be time to slow things down here and finally get the Heart of the Story blog up and running. But for now, let’s focus on the good that’s happened since the previous edition of What’s Making Me Happy. And as always, feel free to share the things that have made you smile recently in your comments on this post!

Let’s begin with…

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Thank You, Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019)

These lines from Mary Oliver’s “When Death Comes” took on new meaning when I read them on the afternoon of January 17, 2019. I’d read the poem before, but time has a way of changing your perception of what you read. In this case, I was re-reading one of Oliver’s most well-known poems about mortality just hours after learning that she, my favorite poet, had died from lymphoma at the age of 83.

The timing was eerie, too. Around the same time last week, I started working on a similar tribute to my favorite author of all time, Ursula K. Le Guin, who had recently passed away. (Oliver died 5 days before the first anniversary of Le Guin’s passing.) So, naturally, I’ve been drawing comparisons between the relationships I have with their work. And I remembered one difference that might surprise some people: While Le Guin’s stories resonated with me right away, it took a few years for me – a fantasy fan and a poet in equal measure – to fall in love with Oliver’s poems.

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Let’s Talk Numbers: Poetry Acceptances and Rejections (Plus, Four Ways to Stay Motivated After Your Writing Is Rejected)

When I was preparing my final poetry submission of 2018 during the last week of December, a surprising question popped into my head: “How many submissions did I send out this year?”

You see, I don’t set goals for a certain number of submissions each month or year, especially since poetry is still a part-time endeavor for me. Instead, I continually write and revise my poems, read various journals, and submit to places that I think would be a good fit for my work. And while I track my submissions, it’s mainly to remind myself of the facts, like which publications I’m waiting to hear from and which poems are currently out on submission.

So, for those reasons, I really had NO idea how many submissions I’d sent out in 2018. (*lol*) And not knowing that number made me curious. So I reviewed my tracking sheet, did some math, and decided to blog about what I found, with some relevant tips to boot.

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Poetry & Song: “Breath of a Humpback Whale” and Michael Brant DeMaria’s “Ocean”

It’s been a while since the last Poetry & Song post, hasn’t it? I’ve been meaning to write ones for some of my older, previously published poems and the songs that “helped” me write them. But now that a few “newbies” have debuted over the past few months, it’s time to start highlighting those instead. 🙂

So the spotlight turns back to “Breath of a Humpback Whale” today. What’s interesting about this edition of Poetry & Song isn’t what inspired this piece (though the inspiration itself is incredible), but rather the transformation this poem went through from initial spark to publication. In fact, Michael Brant DeMaria’s “Ocean” didn’t become part of the process until the poem’s last round of revisions. But that proved to be the perfect time for music and poetry to come together.

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My Ten Reading Goals for 2019

Are you one of those readers who challenges yourself to read a certain number of books every year? I’m… well, not one of those people. (*lol*) But I do have a consistent reading habit, and the reading goals I set for myself are more or less to guide my book choices throughout the year. For example, I try to prioritize brand new releases I’m interested in so I can stay on top of my favorite genre’s current market. And, as I shared in this post last year, I read at least one poem per day to help me comb through my extensive collection of poetry books.

But what about other goals, like finishing series I’ve already started? Or borrowing books from the library periodically? Yeeeeaaahhhh…. I haven’t been nearly as good with those. So I decided to organize my next year of reading with LOTS of goals. Ten, to be exact. I was a little afraid that creating so much structure could sap the fun out of reading. But now that I see what’s in my queue, these goals might help put a dent in my TBR pile and keep things interesting. Yay!

Without further ado, here are my reading goals for 2019:

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