Jonathan Louis Duckworth is an MFA student at Florida International University, where he serves as a reader and copy-editor for the Gulf Stream Magazine. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, Literary Orphans, Cha, Off the Coast, Superstition, and elsewhere. He is a dual-citizen with American and Belgian citizenship. Apart from his love of the written word, he also loves to cook, and hopes to start a cooking blog one day.
Today we are pleased to feature poet Patricia Clark as our thirty third Authors Talk series contributor. Patricia titles her Authors Talk “Lessons in Composition and Freedom.” She has five points which she hopes will serve as pieces of advice to writers. Three points relate directly to her three poems in issue 17.
Her first point is that there is more than one way to write a poem; be open to new ways of preceding. Her second piece of advice is to not think too much, or don’t plan out the poem; she used this method when she composed her poem, “Treatise on the Double Self.” Thirdly, Patricia suggests trying new things, something you haven’t used before, perhaps rhyme. This relates to “Rowing American Lake,” where she used rhyme in the terza rima form. Trying new forms is Patricia’s fourth point. She recommends trying poetic forms as exercises, such as the ghazal form for her poem “Infidelities.” Lastly, she recommends to “write often, read even more.”
Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. Author of four volumes of poetry, Patricia’s latest book is Sunday Rising. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, also appearing in The Atlantic, Gettysburg Review, Poetry, Slate, and Stand. Recent work appears (or is forthcoming) in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Southern Humanities Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Coal Hill Review, Plume, and elsewhere. Her new manuscript of poems is called Goodbye to the Poetry of Marble.
Today we are pleased to feature poet Hannah Lee Jones as our thirty first Authors Talk series contributor.
Hannah discusses her poems in Issue 16 and the role of intuition in her writing; the goal that all her poems should surprise in some way. She defines the poem as an entity far more powerful than the reasoning mind, and which demands that the writer surrender to whatever larger thing the poem wants to become. The persistent hazard then in writing, she says, is to search for clarity or to pin a poem down into meaning something instead of regarding it as a creature separate from the self, with “a will of its own.” Drawing on Keats’ negative capability and Robert Bly’s “black side of the intelligence,” she embraces the innate hiddenness of a poem’s making, adding that what matters most to her is not how authors write, but why. She shares her own reasons – pain and love – universal emotions she tries to approach from “a space just beyond this world,” to offer the reader a bridge from the physical world to the unconscious.
Today we are pleased to feature author Megan Harlan as our thirtieth Authors Talk series contributor. Megan discusses the difference between creative nonfiction and fiction, and why she is drawn to writing creative nonfiction – despite it being a “poorly named genre.”
Creative nonfiction is narrative writing based on reality, on facts. Due to the genre’s name, it seems that the creative part might be lying. This isn’t the case, Megan argues, as she says “With creative nonfiction, once you get past your own personal fact checking department, the truth becomes the grounding element for any structure you want to build.” The process of building a structure from the truth is the creative part.
Fiction, on the other hand, is often largely built around a made-up hero’s journey. Creative nonfiction doesn’t have to be causal, based on a hero, or have an arc – unlike classically structured fiction. Calling to mind Oscar Wilde, “the truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Like reality, creative nonfiction is not simple or straightforward, but filled with the challenges and possibilities of expressing the truth as we experience it.
Megan Harlan’s creative nonfiction essays have recently appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review and The Common. She is the author of Mapmaking (BkMk Press/New Letters), awarded the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry. Her poems, short stories, and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Hotel Amerika, AGNI, TriQuarterly, The New York Times, Prairie Schooner, New Orleans Review, Meridian, and Arts & Letters, among other publications. She holds an MFA from New York University’s Creative Writing Program and lives and works as a writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Today we are pleased to feature poet Luiza Flynn-Goodlett as our twenty-ninth Authors Talk series contributor. Luiza mentions how her poems – including the three poems in Issue 17 – are a way for her to interact with existing, dominant narratives. She realizes she changes as a person, and her poems exist in an eternal state of becoming. She goes into detail about each of the three poems in Issue 17.
Luiza sees poetry as a way to talk back to supposed ‘fact’ and complicate assumptions around history, scientific thought, and individual experience. While some of her poems are confessional, others focus on experiences that are not hers, noting that “writers are all thieves.” Poetry is important because it makes the poet “able to speak into a fraught void.” After discussing her poems and who she is at the moment, Luiza provides a reading list of books that have shaped her and her poetry.
Luiza Flynn-Goodlett is the author of the chapbook Congress of Mud (Finishing Line Press). She received her MFA from The New School and was awarded the Andrea Klein Willison Prize for Poetry upon graduation from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous literary journals, including ZYZZYVA, New Ohio Review, The Missouri Review Online, and The Greensboro Review.
Today we are pleased to feature poet Stevie Edwards as our twenty-eighth Authors Talk series contributor. Stevie mentions how her four poems in Issue 17 all have distinct voices, noting that it has often been remarked that her poems are “very voice driven.”
Stevie discusses what voice is in a poem, and how voice is achieved. Vision is inextricably bound to voice, she observes, as she says “In many ways, our speakers are what they notice.”
Throughout this podcast, Stevie gives invaluable advice to poets. “You don’t have to do much of anything other than be present and mindful for a moment to create a poem that might change someone’s life,” she says. Giving your unique point of view is the best way to create voice in a poem; as she encourages us to say “I am a fucking special snowflake – nobody knows the full shape of my voice.”
More About the Author:
Stevie Edwards is a poet, editor, and educator. She is Editor-in-Chief at Muzzle Magazine and Acquisitions Editor at YesYes Books. Her first book, Good Grief (Write Bloody 2012), received two post-publication awards, the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. Her second book, Humanly, was recently released by Small Doggies Press. Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Baltimore Review, The Journal, The Offing, Indiana Review, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from Cornell University and a BA from Albion College.