Monday, April 28, 2014

Ruth Thompson Joins the #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour

My trio of bloggers for the #MyWritingProcess blog tour just turned into a quartet...I am going to include Ruth's bio below to entice you over to her blog, and a few lines that will compel you to go read the rest:

 "Right now I’m working on a series of poems that go deeper into the experience of aging as expansion, rapture, rupture, explosion into wholeness."

 "I work a lot with archetypes, fairy tales, myths, especially myths of the feminine journey. Lately I’ve become more and more interested in the great mystery school traditions, including the Oracles at Delphi and elsewhere, which were originally goddess oracles..." Read Ruth's Entire Post.

 Need I say more? A girl after my own heart. Here's the nitty gritty bio:

 Ruth Thompson is the author of Woman With Crows (2013) and Here Along Cazenovia Creek (2011). Woman with Crows explored a new mythology of the divine feminine, from encounters with “hungry ghosts” to the fool-crone, “dancing what she does not know to dance.” It was a finalist for the A Room of Her Own Foundation’s To the Lighthouse Prize, and includes poems that won the New Millennium Writings Award and the Harpur Palate Milton Kessler prize.

Ruth’s chapbook Here Along Cazenovia Creek was the basis for “The Seasons,” a collaborative performance of poetry and dance with the great Japanese dancer Shizuno Nasu.  (Video at and

Ruth grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received a BA from Stanford and a PhD from Indiana University. In a previous life, she was a college dean in Los Angeles. She now lives in Hilo, Hawai’i with writer-anthropologist Don Mitchell. She teaches writing, and meditation, yoga, and writing workshops throughout the US, and blogs about happiness at

And if you missed my original My Writing Process blog tour post, you can find it here:

 First Poetry Book Publication, Reckoning with Exposure, and Astral Rubbernecking.

Related reading:

Ruth also happens to be my editor at Saddle Road Press; she's a delightful editor, offering guidance and smart's a post about Ruth's careful eye (among other things) and how she sent me to the Wild Carrot Museum online in order to complete Revising Guinevere.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Outwitting Gravity: The Leap, The Blog Tour, and Forthcoming Poems

I had a dream of dancing in such a way gravity was arrested when my feet left the floor in the ecstasy of whirling from one side of the room to the other. At the height of each leap, arms would extend in grip of midleap and body linger motionless.

Couldn’t help but liken the sensation to writing…the way we outwit time, taking the moment of the poem’s core and drawing it out in words for so much longer than the instant in real time.

I had this dream the night before I received the news that one of my poems, Black Angel, Scripted, Never Shot (referencing Iowa City's beloved Black Angel), is forthcoming at Soundings East and was a runner-up for the Claire Keyes Poetry Competition.  Also in the dream was another figure I couldn’t make out, keeping pace with my spinning across the floor. I like to think it was my sister, featured in the poem, in a parallel image of spinning I can share with you via the fall issue of Soundings East.

Poet Scott Withiam was the other runner-up and the winning poet was Amy Pence. While the poems chosen for Soundings East obviously won’t be available until the fall, I couldn’t resist putting up an existing poem trail for the other poets: For runner up Scott Withiam: Sweet Talking (Drunken Boat) and The Petty Snow (Rattle). And for winner Amy Pence: Age Defying, 1976 (Drunken Boat) and Cyclamens  and Pink Jasmine (storySouth).
On other “taking the leap” fronts, up on my main Transformative Blogging Site is a post for the #MyWritingProcess Blog Tour; I am grateful to Marilyn Bousquin of Writing Women’s Lives for the invitation. Here’s a link to
First Poetry Book Publication, Reckoning with Exposure, and Astral Rubbernecking. I’ll be adding links to the posts by the three bloggers I invited to carry the tour forward. Here’s one up already today by my writing colleague, friend and collaborating blogger at Mother, Writer, Mentor, Jessica Powers in which she talks about a new collaborative writing project she is undertaking with her brother. And here's the second, by my friend Edith O'Nuallain (writer, blogger, reviewer) at In a Room of My Own: ruminations on the writing process of a writer mama. (April 18 update: And here's the link for the third of my trio of bloggers, by my friend and writer Marlene Samuels in which she discusses how she writes about her family's experience of the Holocaust, how she writes across genres, and her interview project about women's regrets.)

Where are you "taking the leap" in your writing life? How and where did you get the courage to leap?
I'd love to know. It takes a village to raise a writer.
Taken by my daughter, Instagram's Queen of photography and videos on the fly.
Other forthcoming poems:
Thumbelina at NonBinary Review.

Mordred's Dream at Poetry Flash (and I'm hoping to have the corresponding micro-movie complete by May 1).

Other Related Links:

Poems by Claire Keyes (@ Women Writers), White Water (Redheaded Stepchild)

An essay by Claire Keyes: Marianne Boruch and The Art of Surprise (Valparaiso Poetry Review)

A review by Claire Keyes: Dream Cabinet by Ann Fisher-Wirth (Blackbird)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Do you Haiku?

Come play with me tomorrow at San Diego Writers, Ink, over at Inspirations Gallery. I've been busy ferreting out my favorite haiku to put in a hat for us to read...and reading versions of Basho's opening paragraph of Narrow Road to the Interior. After perusing my finds, we will fearlessly write our own stellar haiku and haibun and more...The list of forms we are trying our hand at writing is, I admit, daunting...




Letter or Epistolary Poems




...and I'm not sure anyone has ever written seven poems before in those seven forms in a four hour window, but we could be the first. I'm new to San Diego Writers, Ink and this will be my debut class for me put down my writing roots in my new city.

 Class runs from 12:30 to 4:30; sign up here if you are interested:

 Poetry Play: A Tour Through the Forms



Friday, April 4, 2014

April Courses: Beginning Blogging, Poetry Workshop, and a Tarot Writing Exercise for You

Thursdays April 10-May 22: Beginning Blogging, Coronado Adult Education:

I’m looking for two more San Diego area or Coronado bloggers to round out my beginning blogging class through Coronado Adult Education. The course runs on Thursday evenings from 6:00-8:00 p.m. starting April 10th through May 22nd (7 weeks) for $77 or $69 for Sr.  To register, visit Coronado Adult Education's Website.

Course description:

 This course offers beginning bloggers the chance to create material to launch a blog or to recalibrate an existing blog through completing a series of writing exercises and inventories. We look at blog platforms and blog technique; we also preview the Web for examples. We create content, discuss image use, and refer to a checklist towards blog launch. Students will emerge with sample posts and a map in hand for how to proceed in the future. While students may bring laptops or iPads to class, I welcome writers and bloggers at all stages of comfort level with technology, so please bring a notebook and pencil to each class (laptop/ipad not required).

Saturday, April 12: Poetry Play: A Tour of the Forms

I’ll also be braving it across the blue bridge for my first time teaching for San Diego Writers, Ink—this 4 hour workshop is slated for Saturday April 12 and runs $60 for SDWI members and $72 for non-members. I hope you’ll come out for a wild ride through as many forms as we can get to during our workshop. To register, visit San Diego Writers, Ink. Course description:
Do you haiku? Every written a haibun, aubade, or epistolary poem? Want to try your hand at a sestina, sonnet, or villanelle? During this four-hour workshop we will fearlessly and playfully write our way towards working drafts of as many of the forms as we can.

We’ll start with the deceptively simple but evocative gem of haiku. Then we’ll breathe into the slightly pithier prose lead required of the haibun with its haiku chaser. Next up: dawn songs, or aubades, for a love lost or left at sunrise. And then, hearts astir, we turn to the letter form: if you could write a letter to anyone, placed at any juncture in time, who would you address?

The last three of our forms—sestina, sonnet, and villanelle—present challenges of rhyme and word repetition and more, but fear not: we will map out a potential course for poems you’ll write later on your own. Bring a notebook and pen; writers across the spectrum welcome, including absolute beginners. While I will provide examples of each form, please feel free to bring in favorite poems written in these forms to share with the group. Come out and play!

A Writing Exercise for You to Try:
Earth, Air, Fire and Water: Using the Tarot to Inspire Your Writing Practice is a guest post I wrote for Jan Marquet, a colleague at Story Circle Network, live at “Free the Pen.” It is a gentle way to begin to understand the structure that most Tarot Decks use at their basis for the Minor Mentors. This exercise encourages us to start with our own experience of the four elements before turning to the cards for depictions of how our experiences of the elements might manifest.