April is National Poetry Month

npm2013_logoJack Heffron, author of The Writer’s Idea Book, says that “writing is an act of hope.”  Each time we make the effort, we are taking that huge emotional risk that what we write may be worthless.  But if we never take that risk, we never gain the chance to write something truly great.

April is National Poetry Month.  For fun, and in honor of great poetry the world over, I’ll provide a writing prompt each day.  Feel free to respond to the prompt, or ignore it if it doesn’t suit you.  The goal here is to write a little every day, if for no other reason than to experience the joy of writing.  I imagine that not every prompt will inspire a full poem, but like Natalie Goldberg espouses, we’re going to write for the practice of writing.

Feel free to participate in any way that you would like.  Poets.org offers a variety of activities, including a Poem-a-day.  On April 18th, thousands of people will celebrate poetry by carrying around a favorite poem in their pocket.  For more information and for more ideas, visit: http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/41

So let’s make the most of this month by creating our own bodies of work in celebration of poetry!

The Next Big Thing

I get excited when things start moving on the digital landscape.  As many of you are already aware, I’m committed to the digital format as an optimal mode for creative and artistic expression.

Mary Biddinger, author of Prairie Fever, St. Monica, and O Holy Insurgency, has started a self-interview series called The Next Big Thing.

So it was with great pleasure that I was tagged to do one of the “Next Big Thing” self-interviews by the incomparable Michele Battiste. To see other examples of this before diving into mine, visit:


The questions are:

What is the working title of the book?

Sand River and Other Places I’ve Been

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The last couple of years have seen the worst drought since the Dust Bowl, and that kind of dryness leaves marks on the land.  The Arkansas River has looked like a river of sand, dragging everything down the river bed, carving out new shore line.  That image struck me as too similar to what grief can do to a spirit, that it drags through, bringing everything with it.  Then it hit me that grief wasn’t the only place I have been.

 What genre does your book fall under?

Sand River is a chapbook of poetry.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Michele Williams–I suppose I should explain this, but I’m not going to.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Sand River reminds us of the loss of relationships and loved ones, while using a raw humor to jar us back into appreciating the joy of those idiosyncratic moments of life.

 How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Approximately six months.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I had no idea I was writing a book until I was nearly done.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Readers will enjoy the sense of place—even if they’ve never been to Kansas, it will feel familiar.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Finishing Line Press is putting my work out there.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are: H.B. Berlow from http://hbberlow.com/index2.html and BD Tharp from http://bdtharp.com/ .