Saturday, July 4, 2015

Guest Post by Michael Diebert, Poetry Editor at Chattahoochee Review

Today we are honored to have Michael Diebert as our guest on Writers Circle around the Table. He has written a most interesting post for us. Be sure to read this if you are a poet. Thanks, Michael, for taking time to guest on our blog.


Salvage and Reconstruction: Thoughts on a Poem in Progress
By Michael Diebert

Two years ago, when poet Andrew Hudgins led a workshop at the college where I teach, he showed us work he'd been doing on a poem.  He had written it in blank verse, unrhymed and rhymed iambic tetrameter, and with two- and three-beat accentual lines.  He'd even cast it as a prose poem.  As the forms dictated, he’d added words, took them out, moved them to other lines, and indeed redefined the line for each occasion.  The impulse was largely metrical and musical, but if form dictates content, he was also tinkering with meaning.  His patience astounded me.  After all that work, he concluded it was probably a failed poem, a good subject for a lecture such as the one he was giving.

Recently, I have been working on a poem modeled after Bob Hicok's poem "A primer."   Hicok's poem is a relatively succinct 44 lines.  Mine currently stands at about three single-spaced handwritten pages.  It is a shambolic stab at Tennessee facts and history, a chagrined interrogation of my hometown.  I am trying to be funny, and I'm falling flat.  I am trying to be probing and exact and fair.  I am trying to, as usual, account for the unusual and the otherwise overlooked.  In its current form, the poem is untenable; only recently have I realized this. I still like it, and I still think I'm onto something.  After my usual practice of putting the poem away for a while to let it marinate and age, what do I do now?  I have rewritten and expanded it at least twice, to little avail.  The same flailing, the same chest-beating is there. 

Within the last two weeks, though, I've started to go the other way, toward not just cutting but concision.  This is, I admit, not my usual strategy--I pride myself (and chide myself) on my masochistic desire to write through a problem, to add volume first and worry about depth later.  But fueled by a couple of other recent poems where I've striven for economy and precision, I am now trying to capture in fewer than 20 lines what I've been shooting for in 100-plus lines.  One benefit in trying to write this poem long is that I now see whole lines I want to keep!  This means the poem has probably been there all along, just not in the form I envisioned and, indeed, have labored so mightily to realize.  There are usable parts; it's just taken me a while to discover them.
If we poets are priests, marrying form to content, beauty to truth, then surely we are also scavengers, hovering raven-like over the broken bones of our failed drafts, using what's usable.  Or we are salvage artists in a junkyard, looking for an intact carburetor, a front bucket seat with fabric that hasn't faded, all for the purpose of reconstituting, of making them new and workable again.  To salvage is to save. 
Our workshop at Writers Circle on July 25 will be devoted to the art of poetic salvage.  We will work with your own failed or stuck poems, poems with usable parts or recoverable bones; we will work to identify these pieces and construct new organisms.  Please email me either 1) a whole poem or 2) a document of poem parts no later than Tuesday, July 21 and I will make copies for the group.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Great Class with a Fine Writer and Teacher today

Steven Harvey's Mnemonics of Memoir class today at Writers Circle could not have been better!

Eleven men and women gathered around a table and Steven led us through a number of steps to writing memoir that helped all of us in some way. Although I teach memoir writing to mature adults through the Community Enrichment Program at Tri-County Community College and use many of these elements in teaching and my own writing, Steve gave us new ideas and we had discussion from the students in today's class. The youngest student present today will be a freshman at Young Harris College in Young Harris Georgia in the fall. Although he didn't think he would be interested in writing non-fiction, he says this class changed his mind.

Several of those in class today were former students of Steven Harvey either at YHC or they were in the MFA program at Ashland University where he teaches. Their comments about him did not surprise me. They were all very complimentary and appreciative of his teaching. 

One of his grateful students drove over from South Carolina. Her name is Laurie and I was delighted she and I could have lunch together after class. She has a great and unique story that she will publish one day. 

Almost every student said the only thing they would change was to make the class longer. Steve said he hoped we'd ask him back next year. It is for sure, we will ask him back next year. 

I think we bought all the copies of The Book of Knowledge and Wonder, his new memoir, that Steve had with him. 

Now I'm going to get busy writing some of the stories Steven inspired in me today. 

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If you live in Clay, Graham, or Cherokee counties in NC or Towns, Union or Fannin Counties in Georgia, and you want to write true stories, memoir and creative non-fiction, sign up for my writing class at Tri-County College in Murphy, NC  beginning September 1.

Writing Your Life Stories for Your Family or for Publication:
Glenda Beall has taught adults to write stories about their lives for a number of years. The stories are often written for grandchildren or other family because the writer wants to leave a legacy of what life was like before cell phones, before computers and video games, before families were too busy, and before they were scattered all over the country and around the world.
Each of us has a unique story, and in this class you learn: where to begin, how to begin, how to organize your work, what to write and what not to write, and how to write so that your audience will want to read your stories. Each student will have several stories completed and written by the end of the course in an entertaining and interesting form. Each student will carry home a number of tools he/ she can use in the future.  12 hrs. of instruction.
Instructor: Glenda Beall
September 1 – October 6    Tuesdays
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. $35
 
Contact Lisa Thompson for registration information.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Here Is what is coming

Classes at  Writers  Circle are filling for the  summer. I have had many interested in Dr. Steven Harvey's class for Saturday, but our class is full with a waiting list.


Tara Lynne Groth's marketing and publishing class for August 22 has two places open now. This is an important class for serious writers who want to publish and sell their books. The deadline for registering for Groth's class is July 1. 

Michael Diebert, Poetry Editor for the Chattahoochee Review, a  literary journal, is teaching once again at Writers Circle studio. His subject is salvaging your poetry, using those bits and pieces of poems you have in your files to create new poems. Those who attend will go home with new poems they will be happy to submit for publication. 
Registration is now open

In September we will host Scott Owens, a favorite poet and instructor in our region. 

In October, Karen Holmes, poet and author of the  popular poetry collection, Untying the Knot will teach a class at Writers Circle.  




Sunday, June 14, 2015

Michael Diebert teaches poetry class

Re-purposing Your Poems: The Art and Craft of Poetic Salvage
Saturday, July 25, 10 - 1 p.m.
Location: Writers Circle ,Hayesville NC
Fee - $35.00   Registration deadline is July 19

Description: Just as a car enthusiast scavenges a junkyard for working parts, just as a songwriter scavenges the musical past for something brand-new, this workshop will focus on the art of salvaging your work--not rewriting per se but rebuilding. 
Bring your failed poem parts from the past, pieces or bits which may still have potential but need spark: stagnant stanzas, flat lines, dull images, etc.  Using some examples and our own discussion and practice, we will jerry-rig and rebuild our poems (as Johnny Cash once sang) "one piece at a time."

Send registration form at top of blog with check to Glenda Beall, 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC 28904



Michael Diebert is poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review and teaches writing and literature at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta.  He is the author of Life Outside the Set, available from Sweatshoppe Publications through amazon.com.  Recent poems have appeared and/or are forthcoming in The Comstock Reviewjmww, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Plan to attend and meet Michael on July 24, Friday afternoon 4:30 p.m. for a chat and a reading at Joe's coffee house, 82 Main St. Hayesville, NC 28904

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Writers Night Out on June 12 - Don't miss this one

Karen Holmes, facilitator for Writers Night Out says, "Yes, I'm bringing two of my good girlfriends from Atlanta, who also happen to be super poets, both with chapbooks. I've promised them a great mountain audience, so please come and prove me right!"
Featured readers
Trish Thomas (pen name: Patricia Percival), lawyer turned poet
Kathleen Lewis, co-editor of Flycatcher Journal 


A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a Best of the Net nominee, Lewis was a finalist for the 2014 Ron Rash Poetry Award. She is senior editor of the online journal, Flycatcher. A graduate of Wake Forest University, she also has an MA in Professional Writing with a concentration in creative writing from Kennesaw State University.  Her chapbook, Fluent in Rivers, was published in 2014 by FutureCycle Press. Her poetry and prose have also appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Yemassee, Still: The Journal, James Dickey Review, Heron Tree, The Southern Women’s Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. V: Georgia, among others. 

Thomas is the author of the chapbook, Bargain with the Speed of Light, published by Kattywompus Press in 2015. The book tells the story of a box of poems left by her brother after his death and how the mysteries there led to her practice of poetry.  Her poems also appear in Sixfold, The Southern Poetry Anthology Vol. V: Georgia, Town Creek Poetry, Stonepile Writer's Anthology Volume II, and other venues. In what Thomas says, “seems like a past life,” she graduated from Duke University and the Emory University School of Law.


Lewis and Thomas are both part of the Side Door Poets group originated by Karen Paul Holmes, who also hosts Writers’ Night Out, which is a North Carolina Writers’ Network-West program, open to the public. 


Friday, June 12
6 pm social hour (the View Grill is open with a new menu -- food and drink available for purchase in the grill or in the ballroom)

7 pm featured readers in the ballroom
7:45-ish open mike for prose or poetry, limit 3 mins (please time yourself at home and make us want MORE)

Union County Community Center (at Butternut Creek Golf Course in the heart of Blairsville)
129 Union County Recreation Rd.
Blairsville, Georgia 30512
here's a map but note that the Holiday Inn on the map is now a Comfort Inn
http://www.uccommunitycenter.com/location.html



Saturday, June 6, 2015

Your Writer Platform with Tara Lynne

Carol Crawford says: Tara Lynne Groth provides nuggets of practical information that writers can use right away to build their platform and market their work. Her class is dense with information and ideas -- I couldn't take notes fast enough. She makes social networking less mysterious and talks about resources all writers should know about - but not all of us do.


Register for Tara Lynne Groth workshop on August 22 by printing out the registration form found at top of blog page and send your check to Glenda Beall, Writers Circle, 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC 28904.


Make check to  Glenda Beall, please. Space is limited to ten students. Fee is  $35.00.
email: glendabeall@msn.com      phone: 828-389-4441

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Guest blogger, writer and instructor Tara Lynne Groth

It is with great pleasure I present a guest blogger today, Tara Lynne Groth. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop in Asheville with Tara Lynne as instructor. I was blown away with her extensive, helpful ideas and suggestions on how writers reach the public and by doing so, sell their books. 

Promoting Your Book Without Promoting Your Book

When you create and own a product or service, you need to sell it in efforts of making a profit. New authors often have the misconception that their success is measured in book sales. Sell, sell, sell. Writers spend time around other writers and see book sales tactics ad nauseum: Personalized bookmarks, contest giveaways, time-sensitive discounts, etc. Instead of focusing on selling in order to increase book sales, authors might want to focus on their platform as a whole.

A writer’s platform is an author’s influence and reputation to the public. A book is just one part of a platform. Focusing time, energy, and effort only into selling a book is like having a baker make hundreds of perfect cupcakes – but have no storefront.

In addition to an author’s book (and let’s hope there are plans for more), other pieces of the almighty writer platform include: Freelance contributions, memberships, awards, alma mater, certifications, conferences, blog, podcast, social media, etc.

Here are three ways you can grow your writer platform, increase awareness about your book(s), and get paid:
1.      Freelance. Whether you traditionally publish or self-publish – will readers know who you are before your book is released? Wouldn’t it be nice if they were waiting for your book? Writing articles local or national magazines can help grow your exposure and significantly increase your credibility. Not only do you get paid as a freelance journalist (I encourage you to pitch the markets that pay!), you also get access to the publication’s audience—a larger platform than yours alone generally. Depending on the market’s focus, perhaps the editor would be inclined to write a book review or feature your book in their market? You already have a professional connection from freelancing—take advantage of it!

2.      Seminars/speaking engagements. Think about the memberships you belong to – writing and non-writing alike. Perhaps you have a background in medicine and one of the characters in your novel experiences cancer. Inquire with medical organizations in your area (and outside your area) about opportunities to speak on panels at their conferences/events. Seek paid opportunities where you can contribute your expertise while at the same time including a note in your bio and introduction about your novel(s).

3.      Awards/contests. Although some award and contest applications require fees to apply, seek out free and low-cost opportunities with monetary prizes. An award helps establish your expertise and can be used in marketing of your book – whether on the book jacket as an emblem, in your bio, or when making introductions to secure future paid speaking engagements.
All of the above opportunities do not require you to ask, beg, suggest, or plead anyone to buy your book. Instead, these tasks help build your credibility, income, and add value to who you are and the books you represent. Platform, platform, platform.


Bio: Tara Lynne Groth is a full-time freelance writer in North Carolina. She is the force behind the popular blog Write Naked (www.writenaked.net), and the founder of Triangle Writers and Asheville Writers. Tara Lynne instructed a 10-week book marketing class at Duke University’s Osher Institute in 2014 and will present “Your Writer Platform” at Glenda Beall’s Writers Circle Around the Table on August 22, 2015 (Registration closes July 1st.) www.taralynnegroth.com

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Squire Summer Writing Residency in Greenville in July

The Squire Summer Writing Residency will be an exciting place for writers to be in July. This is a long weekend of intensive workships with accomplished instructors, group events such as readings and discussions. Those attending will have an opportunity to share work with dedicated writers and the chance to bond with writers from across the state of NC and beyond. 

 Participation is limited to the first sixteen qualified registrants in each workshop, for a total of forty-eight attendees. 

Participants will sign up for one workshop for the weekend. The instructors are highly qualified and I'm sure anyone who attends will be overjoyed with their time there. 

GREENVILLE—Registration is now open for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Squire Summer Writing Residency.
The Residency runs Thursday, July 23, through Sunday, July 26, at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC
Wish I could go. If you, my readers, go to Greenville for this weekend, please let me know what it is like and what you think of it.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Register now. Don't wait.

Joan Ellen Gage posted about a Writers Circle class in June.

Read here.

It is time to register. Don't wait too long.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Baby Foxes from the Window

This  past week I visited a friend and had a wonderful experience. A fox had dug out a den under  my friend's back deck. I stood at the  kitchen window and  watched four baby foxes play like little kittens on the deck, in the flower pots and planters and in the back yard. Mother fox sat like she was posing in her soft black and  brown fur, her head erect turning left and right. Obviously she kept a sharp alertness for any movement of danger while her kits were getting their afternoon exercise.


We don't often get such a close up view of wild animals in their natural state. My friend's house is on a wooded lot and a big open field is near by. Her back yard is secluded with a wall on the far side. 

My friend said she  discovered the baby foxes in her yard soon after her father passed away about a week ago. I know that watching the new life, the babies in the back yard, helped her family deal with the loss of such a fine man and father. 

It is always  hard to lose a loved one, especially the last living parent, and realize that now there is no one who loves us as unconditionally as a mother or father. Sometimes it seems we have far more sadness in our lives that we can handle, but we manage to go on and do what is expected of us. The adversity we face usually makes us stronger. I think when we get through the first major loss without coming apart at the seams we are surprised and relieved to  know we can do this. We know we will live and one day be whole again, but it takes time to heal. 
I hope that watching the foxes from the window helps with  the healing of my friend.