New at DIY MFA: Identifying Literary Themes in Our Poems

When my previous DIY MFA post went live, I might have mentioned it was the first of two posts I’d write about literary themes and poetry. 😉 So today’s post is the unofficial part two! It’s about identifying themes in the poetry you write using the original source of the poem’s inspiration (or, rather, what the poem’s about), your reasons for writing it in the first place, and the emotions you were feeling that influenced the poem’s tone. I also share examples from my own poetry to explain this process, then end the post with a thoughtful question: Why is it important for a poet to know the themes they cover in their work?

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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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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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And the Big Secret Project Is… Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services!

Hi everyone!

This is the Big Secret Project I’ve been working on since September: my own freelance editing and writing coaching business! I know I’ve been teasing about it for a while, but I’ve been reluctant to say much publicly before things were truly ready. And now, it’s Launch Day for…

Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services

So what kinds of services does Heart of the Story offer? Who is the business designed to help? And, what does the business mean for this website? This post will go over all of that. So, without further ado…

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Five Reasons to Read a Poem Every Day (or Every Night)

About a year-and-a-half ago, I began reading one poem a day before going to bed. If time allowed, I might read two poems, especially if I was alternating between a regular poetry book and a longer “best-of” collection. Since then, this habit has become as essential to my routine as writing, breathing, and sleeping. More importantly, I’ve already noticed the impact it’s had on my writing as well as my life in general. (That last bit might be a story for another day. *wink*)

Maybe you love poetry, too, yet you struggle to find time to read it because of work, family, and other responsibilities. Or perhaps you haven’t read much poetry before and would like that to change. Reading a poem a day could be the perfect solution – because, like other habits that eventually stick, you might find yourself enjoying this short, simple act so much that your routine will feel incomplete without it.

So, how can you benefit from reading a poem a day? Why should you even try in the first place? Let me give you five reasons, starting with…

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It’s Blog-Hopping Time!

Bunny Hop

Many thanks to Nick at The Parasite Guy for nominating me to take part in the current World Blog Hop! This turned out to be a fun exercise, and one that’s easy yet challenging. Easy because it involves only two steps:

  1. Answer five questions.
  2. Nominate two bloggers to continue the hop.

So, how is it challenging? Well, if you read the five questions that follow, you might know why. 😉 Here we go!  Continue reading