Thursday, February 25, 2010

Greg Ames Reading Friday CANCELLED

DWC Fans,

Have you noticed the snow?

Unfortunately, the heavy snow and wind up and down the east coast has made travel between NYC, Binghamton and Syracuse near impossible. We're sorry to announce that the Greg Ames reading scheduled for Friday, 2/26 at 7 pm has been cancelled.

As we hope to reschedule, we'll keep you posted on any developments.

In the meantime, stay in, stay warm, read a good book. Might we recommend Buffalo Lockjaw?

Let's Get Ekphrastic!

Suffer from the winter blahs? Time to go ekphrastic!

What's ekphrasis?

It's the interpretation of one art form to another. Ekphrasis is probably most common in music. A composer watches a film and writes the musical score--the story she hears as she watches the film. In Becky Sernett's Ekphrastic Writing workshop that begins Saturday, March 6 (2:00 - 4:00 p.m., and runs for 4 weeks), writers will get the chance to translate the stories they see and hear in visual and musical art into words. The first class will meet at the Downtown Writer's Center, and future classes will make excursions to local art galleries.

There's still room to register, so sign up now!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rust Wire Interview with Greg Ames

Please join us Friday, February 26th at 7pm for a reading by award-winning novelist Greg Ames.

And in the meantime, check out this interview with Greg for Rust Wire.

See you downtown!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Small Press Spotlight :: H_NGM_N

Yesterday (scroll down!) Nate Pritts gave a little background on his History of Small Press Publishing class & the project the students are working on - spotlight interviews with current small presses!

Fitting that today's interview, conducted by DWC student Jack Davis, is with Nate in his capacity as founder & principal editor of H_NGM_N - an online journal found here, with a burgeoning book series, here.

Take it, Jack!

Jack Davis: Besides individuality, what attributes do you think might make a poetic piece stand out more affectively?

Nate Pritts: One of the first things I notice about a poem is its use of a consistent voice - or its consistent misuse of consistency in terms of voice. I'm also drawn to a sense of risk, a sense of recklessness - either in terms of imagery, the utterance itself, the subject being discussed & the speaker's relationship to it. A poem that feels too safe or tidy turns me off immediately.

JD: Could you reveal your feelings, contrasting established writing tempos with oral performance rhythms and perhaps other orchestrations that might shape the sound or silence?

NP: For a long time I never paid much attention to how my poems sounded - I didn't read them out loud very much & worked on the page for the page. Now, I'm very aware - constantly reading my poems out to hear how the meaning is enforced or undermined by the sounds. I think what this means is that I'm thinking of my poetry in both private & public ways & trying to strike a balance between a poetic line that has rhythm & a driven compelling force established both through the meaning & the sounds.

JD: Other than READ, WRITE, and SUBMIT, what might be your best advise for an aspiring poet?

NP: Those are three pretty good words of advice. I was asked the other night for some general advice - not specifically about writing - & I said "I think we should all try really damn hard all the time." So, in addition to reading & writing & submitting - we should care a lot about those things. We should bust our asses.

JD: Whose responsibility to experience is the mystery, shape, or practice of poetry-the poet or the reader?

NP: The word responsibility trips me up a little here but I think, in general, the poet is the one who is writing the poem. I can't walk around & ensure all my readers are "doing it right." I need to do the best job I can to create the poem as an experience in & of itself - not just notation of an experience, but a little circus of its own.

JD: Are we relegating the art of poetry to epitaph?

NP: I don't think we are! But some people might be. I think there are lots of people who think of poetry as one specific thing - & some of these people are poets! It's time to embrace the various possibilities for the lively & dynamic art of poetry making. Poets can't complain that no one reads poetry & sulk. We need to find answers & work hard.

JD: If it’s not prying, could you share some personal favorite poems by form & content?

NP: I have too many poems & poets that I would list as favorites to even mention. I think that should be the point - & my favorites are wide ranging. Though I don't typically write formal verse, some of my favorite poems are in set forms. I don't think we can discount anything.

Monday, February 22, 2010

That Ongoing Conversation

Nate Pritts teaches at the DWC but can usually be found here -

This season, the DWC is running a class on “publishing” in the PRO Program & I’m lucky enough to be the one teaching it. Overall, the class details the history of literary publication - both in terms of literary journals & publishing houses, as they are records of literary movements & as they forge sustaining relationships in the lives of our major authors. Of course, we’re also tracking the contemporary landscape, figuring out where in the world our own work fits in.

In pure Marxist fashion, we'll wrest the means of production & dissemination from the vast & faceless & offer up our own work - via online journals or produced chapbooks.

One of our ongoing projects is for each class member to pick one small / literary / independent press as the focus for their special project, asking the head honcho of said press a few questions as a way of illuminating their mission (why they do what they do) & their aesthetic (of the work they publish & of the physical deliverable objects).

So stay tuned. We’ll be posting up the resulting interviews as “small press spotlights” right here on the DWC blog in the near future.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Regrets to Those Who Were Turned Away This Evening...

Good evening and thanks to those who made the effort to attend the reading this evening. I understand that, due to miscommunication with the front desk, that some of you were told there was no reading at the DWC. This was unfortunate since I arrived to set up just after you left. On such a damp, sloppy night it is hard enough to get out the door but to miss the reading must have been disheartening. I just wanted you to know that I am sorry for the miscue and disappointment that faced each of you who missed the reading.

Thanks to those who were there and thanks to Lyrae for sharing her work. Anyone who would want to purchase either of Lyrae's books can contact Phil when he returns next week. There are more in his office and they are worth the dead presidents!

Pinch-hitting DWC Host

] Open Interval [ - Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon and Her New Work

In 2006, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon read from her first book, Black Swan, which had won the Cave Canem Prize. I was enthralled in the moment as she read and wanted more, so I bought the book to lounge in the language when the busy life around me permitted, with a cup of tea by my side on the table and Anthony Hamilton crooning in the background, much like now on this snowy morning.

Lyrae returns to the DWC this evening at 7 p.m. to read from her new collection ] Open Interval [ and perhaps share even newer work. ] Open Interval [ was a finalist for the National Book Award so this Cornell University Assistant Professor has significantly stepped up her game.

The stars in the sky, the flowers before her in the garden, the divorce and the accepting the life ahead as a sole entity rather than a partner all come to play in this collection.

A sparse sense of phrasing is prevalent in Lyrae's work. It is obvious that she trusts the intelligence of her readers. As she references Harriet Tubman, astronomy, Rilke, her interior world, her ancestors, there is plenty of room for the reader to slow down in the poem. Even her relationship with punctuation serves to slow the eye down and allow the mind to rest in each word. And punctuation becomes a new symbology with this poet. There are personal symbols for breath and timing that give these poems a unique profile.

To experience these poems in breath, in sound, join us in the Downtown Writer's Center at the Greater Syracuse YMCA at 340 Montgomery Street, at 7 p.m. This is still another FREE reading sponsored by the DWC with funding from the NYS Council on the Arts. We hope to see you tonight and to introduce you to Lyrae Van-Clief-Stefanon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Friday Means FREE READING @ the DWC

First of all...we know that spring is just 6 or 7 weeks away. This creates an optimism in upstate NY, rumors of robins marking an early return, some hearty growth pushing through snow in the cracks along the basement, all signs that we have survived another winter thus far and the end is in sight.

One of the things that make the season slide on by is the reading series at the DWC.  Ah yes, nationally known writers sharing their words and it does not cost a thing beyond parking, if you choose a lot, and the cost of a book so you can get it signed.  And the books are always $15 or less.  Hey!  A bargain in anyone's eyes.

So this week, as we continue our journey through the dark months, we will be hosting Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, in a return visit to read from her new collection, ] Open Interval [, published by the University of Pittsburg Press and recently recognized as a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award for Poetry.  Lyrae is also the author of Black Swan, which won the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.  Her poems have appeared in African-American Review, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Rattapallax and Shenandoah and several anthologies.

Lyrae lives in Ithaca, NY, where she is an Assistant Professor at Cornell University; Tomorrow will be her second visit to the DWC.  Please join us for this evening of marvelous verse.  We will post a review of ] Open Interval [ tomorrow.

Do you want a sneak peak of the poems we will be receiving from our guest?  Visit Laura Ryan's new blog on Central New York literary news, Syracuse Books Examiner for a video clip.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More on Our Wise Woman

DWC Friends,

Here's the official press release from our friends at BOA Editions, regarding the passing of Lucille Clifton.

National Book Award-winning Poet Lucille Clifton Dies

Rochester, NY — BOA Editions is sad to mark the passing of poet Lucille Clifton on February 13, 2010. Lucille Clifton (born Thelma Lucille Sayles) was raised in Depew, New York. She attended Howard University from 1953 to 1955 and graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 1955. In 1958 she married Fred James Clifton. She worked as a claims clerk in the New York State Division of Employment, Buffalo (1958–1960), and as literature assistant in the Office of Education in Washington, D.C. (1960–1971). Her first poetry collection Good Times was published in 1969, and listed by The New York Times as one of the year's ten best books.

Lucille Clifton published seven poetry collections with BOA Editions. Her first two BOA collections, Next: New Poems, and, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980, were both published in 1987. In one of her many unprecedented accomplishments, both of those books were named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She was awarded the National Book Award for Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 (BOA, 2000). In 2007, Lucille Clifton became the first African American woman to receive the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation, one of the largest literary honors for work in the English language. Her other awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; the Shelley Memorial Prize; and the Charity Randall Citation. The Poetry Society of America awarded Clifton their Centennial Frost Medal for 2010.

Thom Ward, Clifton’s editor at BOA Editions, said of her poetry, “Lucille Clifton’s poems have their own special ‘signature’ as, say, the work of Elizabeth Bishop and Emily Dickinson. Mixing spare, muscular, visual language, a deft balance of idea and image with powerful silences and taut line-breaks – you always know when you are in the presence of a Clifton poem.”

Longtime BOA poet Naomi Shihab Nye says, of the lasting power of Lucille Clifton’s work, “How many times have her humanizing words helped us in these devastating years of doublespeak, war and doubt? No matter what was going on or where we found ourselves, her words and tone were balance beams, lifting us back into energy and verve. Cleansing the air! All these years, she swept clutter away with a few well-filtered lines. Once, shortly after a grueling hospital stay, she showed up at the Folger Library with students, for a reading by Arab Americans—when we said, "’It's incredible that you made the effort to come!’ she said, ‘Where else would I be?’ She showed up. Always in this life. It's that grace she leaves us.”

Li-Young Lee, BOA poet and friend of Clifton, notes, "If the chief aim of civilization is to provide security for human beings, Lucille was one of its finest builders and architects. Her work sorts meaning from noise, sense from nonsense, good readings of our world from bad readings. She was a friend to me, a mentor, and a mirror of my better self. I loved her and learned to love the world because of her."

Lucille Clifton served as a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College in Maryland. She was appointed a Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and elected as Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 1999. Memorably, Lucille Clifton dedicated her first BOA collection, Next: New Poems, to her recently deceased husband Fred. The dedication read simply:

to fred
see you later alligator

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Master of the Art of JOY: Remembering Lucille Clifton

by Georgia Popoff :

On Saturday, February 13th, Lucille Clifton passed away at age 73. A remarkable poet, a woman of grace and strength beyond the ordinary human, and always beaming brighter than the sun itself, a master of the art of JOY.

I received the news from a dear poet friend who knew Ms. Clifton very well. I am grateful for the personal message rather than discovering the loss on line or on the news. But the news traveled faster than the speed of sound and the internet was humming. There were grieving words all over Facebook. I became very quiet in my own sadness.

For years I have been saying that Lucille Clifton is the woman I want to be when I grow up. With the news of her passing, I will strive even harder. Ms. Clifton has been my role model since well before the day I met her in the garden at a posh Rochester home years ago. And more so, since then. But that day was a life-changing experience.

It was a gorgeous June afternoon. "Blessing the Boats" had just been released and I was invited to a reception in her honor before she read and spoke on behalf of an incest survivor organization. Of course, Ms. Clifton was regal, seated among the blossoming vines and shrubs. The light of the late day sun was as soft a gold as her own light.

Coaxing Nectar from Longing, my first book was in print and I brought my "freshman" gift to offer to this wonderful teacher and inspiration. I felt just as I did at the end of the school year in elementary school when I would present fresh cut peonies from our yard to my teacher as my parting gift. My inner kidlet was pushing through and I was shy, tongue-tied.

I was invited to sit by her with a gentle pat of her hand on the seat of the lawn chair beside her. She was sure we knew each other although we had never met before that day. Yet I felt like I was with a cherished auntie and she made me so comfortable as she greeted each who came to shake her hand, extend their admiration. She shared that she was originally to be named "Georgia" but that changed after she was born. She shared so many small things with me that afternoon and in it, I became a better me. There I sat by her side through the cocktail hour until it was time to leave for the venue. It would be the first of several times that she and I would meet, although always briefly, since so many people needed so much from her.

That evening, as she unfolded her story through and around her poems for a standing-room only audience jammed in the hall, we all were transfixed and transported. This would not be the only time I would bear witness to this honesty and power.

At the end of the Q & A, I raised my hand. She called on me with that welcoming smile. My question was simple: "Ms. Clifton, with all that you have experienced, that you have been through, how is it that, like some of us, you choose JOY?" She gave me that pointed, gleaming smile again as she walked from behind the podium to offer her response.

"I choose JOY because I am capable of it...and there are those who are not."

She went on to explain that she felt it her responsibility to be an example of thriving, not just surviving. She said that survivor mode is victim consciousness, which does not take one into true healing.

She said much more, messages that I heard from her at other readings, events, fundraisers for breast cancer support and research, etc., after this first astounding evening. Her words became my mantra. At times her words, as her poetry, have been my lifeline.

Last year, at AWP, I was able to visit with her for a short time in all the fray. I presented my second book as my gift again. I thanked her for all I have become because of her. Then I sat beside Jennifer Pashley during the tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks as Lucille read the poem “A Mother,” one of the most moving pieces of verse I have ever read. She rendered her dear friend’s poem with sensitivity and heart. Jennifer and I were given to hot, salty tears.

There have been whisperings that we would not have Lucille Clifton much longer for a couple of years. She survived multiple face-offs with cancer, kidney failure, other ailments, too much death around her, and the fact that she experienced the damage and violence of incest. She was a warrior in so many ways and one quite capable of righteous indignation. Like me, she never completed her Bachelor’s degree but never let even that stop her from satisfaction and success.

Now, as her soul has soared home, as we bathe ourselves in our own memories for those of us fortunate enough to have met her, as those who have known her through her poems immerse in her presence, we remember that smile, that fearless voice for what is right and true, the majestic simplicity of her craft, and we must remember to be JOY in all ways in order to honor Ms. Lucille Clifton, our beloved elder, way-shower, bright light.

Thank you so very much and blessed be, dear One.

Georgia Popoff is a poet with two published collections of poetry, a teaching artist, arts-in-education professional development specialist, editor of Comstock Review, Downtown Writer’s Center faculty member, and board member of the Association of Teaching Artists. Georgia is Poet-in-Residence in numerous school districts and also teaches adult writing workshops.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Writing Prompt

by Steve Almond :

Join us Friday at the RedHouse for a reading by Steve Almond, author of, among many others, the brand new This Won't Take But a Minute, Honey, which is composed of 30 very brief stories, and 30 very brief essays on the psychology and practice of writing. Here, the DWC brings you Steve's very own favorite writing prompt:

Write about a moment in your life that still haunts you. Could be something wonderful (first kiss) or something horrible (first great shame). But it should be the sort of memory that you can't shake. Now write about the actual moments of peak emotion. This should be a very short period of time -- no more than a minute. It's good to set up the situation with some context, so we know what's going on. But once we do, try to slow down as much as you can and write about what you were seeing and hearing and thinking and feeling in that moment of peak emotion. The idea is to capture everything that's going on -- emotionally, sensually, intellectually, psychologically -- in those moments that matter most.

As Steve would say, Rock on.
See you Friday at the RedHouse.

Steve Almond is the author the story collections My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the novel Which Brings Me to You (with Julianna Baggott), and the non-fiction books Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked). His new book, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, will be out in Spring 2010.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Which Brings Me to Steve: On Reading Steve Almond

by John Sheedy

I can’t remember where I first encountered Steve Almond’s fiction, but that first taste left me hungering for more. I got my sweaty hands on My Life in Heavy Metal, Mr. Almond’s first story collection and eagerly read it. The book had been criticized for containing too much sex, as if such a thing was possible, but I found it, like Mama Bear’s porridge, to be just right. In short order I read, The Evil B. B. Chow and Other Stories, Mr. Almond’s second collection, and devoured Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America. “On the Road” for chocoholics, Candyfreak describes Mr. Almond’s travels in search of the offbeat candy makers who toil in the shadow of Mars, Nestle, and Hershey’s.

I admired Mr. Almond’s flamboyant use of language, the way he pushed the boundaries of metaphor, and his relentless refusal to take the world and himself seriously. Reading Steve Almond inspired me to be more adventurous in my own writing and to take myself a little less seriously.

Then I read Which Brings Me to You: A Novel in Confessions written with Julianna Baggott, in which a thirty-something couple recount their former love affairs in a series of letters. It is Mr. Almond’s and Ms. Baggott’s compassion for their protagonists, their warm embrace of each character’s follies and foibles that elevate the letters above mere pillow gossip. Mr. Almond, who has said that he loves writing sex scenes, is particularly adept at elucidating the pungent, viscous, tactile realities of sex, teasing out the underlying comedy inherent in lovemaking, without ever allowing the desperate groping, grasping, and fumbling of his characters to slip over the line into caricature or threaten the frontiers of good taste. I loved it. I wanted to grow up to be just like Steve Almond.

John Sheedy graduated from Syracuse University, and is a current 2nd year DWC PRO student in fiction. He is the rarely published author of short stories and enjoys good fellowship as much as the next man.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No Happiness like Ours: A Note on the LiterarY Dinners

by Georgia Popoff:

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry. -- Mark Strand

Throughout Central New York on Saturday, February 6th, the aromas of fine foods and the words of noted area writers will waft as the 2010 YMCA Arts Branch LiterarY Dinners commence in the early evening. Each year, on the first Saturday in February, Y-Arts friends and Board members host dinners in their homes to support the many programs for youth and community that are provided by the Y-Arts Branch of the Greater Syracuse YMCA. Afterschool programs, arts-based learning experiences for youth, music lessons, and the Downtown Writer’s Center all benefit from this community-driven fundraiser. The cuisines vary from home to home but may include Indian, Tuscan, southern style comfort food, tapas, all dependent on the hosts’ talents and palettes. If you would like to attend next year’s LiterarY Dinner, contact Phil Memmer at 315.474.6851 extension 328. If you care to donate, make your tax-deductible check out to the YMCA and mark Y-Arts in the memo. To those who are dining together Saturday, bon appetit!

Georgia Popoff is a poet with two published collections of poetry, a teaching artist, arts-in-education professional development specialist, editor of Comstock Review, Downtown Writer’s Center faculty member, and board member of the Association of Teaching Artists. Georgia is Poet-in-Residence in numerous school districts and also teaches adult writing workshops.

Friday, February 5, 2010

5 Ways of Looking at Santee

by Georgia Popoff :

Santee Frazier is the next poet to share words with the DWC community at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, February 5th. Santee will be reading from Dark Thirty, released by University of Arizona Press.

Through the miracle of the internet, Santee and I shared a few short exchanges based on random questions of my own design. In spite of the press of both of our busy lives, we had a few moments before our screens for the following:

Georgia Popoff: Because place is such an important element informing the poet, your roots in Oklahoma must be a significant aspect of your voice. So I would like to ask three questions about you from that perspective: First, What is the most common misconception you think people have of your home state?

Santee Frazier: Usually what people associate with Oklahoma is that the people are somehow less intelligent due to their prominent accent. People often associate Oklahoma (southern) hospitality as a simpleton small talk, which it is not.

GP: What would you say to someone who first noticed these two highway signs and were confused: "Correction Facility - Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers" and "Don't Drive into Smoke?"

SF: Only if the hitchhiker is a relative do you pick them up, which also depends if said relative owes you money, other than that wave and carry on. Smoke in CNY? It would most likely be fog so I would say drive on through. If in California, on a smoky day near Folsom prison, do not pick up the guy in the white D.O.C. jump suit with tears tattooed in his face. Unless of course the fire and smoke were all apart of the escape plan you hatched over a series of collect calls with your self-proclaimed "innocent" cousin, in which case you need no longer worry about driving.

GP: Thanks for the road signs...I was referring specifically to those in Oklahoma. They fascinated me.

SF: I have never really seen these signs. It’s been 10 plus years since I spent any real time in Oklahoma. I have lived in New Mexico for more than half my life, and sometimes I feel more New Mexican than Oklahoman. Either way I wrote a response:

Oklahoma is known for becoming very dry in the summer time. The grass dies, and naturally, susceptible to fire. The fires spread fast and are almost uncontrollable and can be very dangerous for highway travelers, hence the signs. No doubt adding the do not pick up hitchhikers element of the sign is there because most of the Oklahoma state prisons are located in rural areas were the fires pop up in the summertime.

GP: What sound do you miss most since you have been living in the Northeast?

SF: The sound of sand splashing against a window.

GP: Other questions: Your blog is all about food. What was the first meal you ever made and how old were you?

SF: I was home alone one night and made this weird version of Hamburger Helper when I was about 10. I browned some ground beef, salt, pepper, cut some potatoes, and splattered a bunch of ketchup into the pan. I added a cup of water to make the sauce. I waited until the potatoes were soft, then I grubbed out in front of the TV and watched Married With Children.

GP: What is your favorite thing to order off of Simon's menu when you have dinner at China Road and how hot do you like your entrees?

SF: I tend to order a variety of dishes when at China Road (the prices are so reasonable). We order the fried dumplings to start. Then the Szechuan beef noodle soup, tea smoked duck, and Shanghai Veggies. I usually like the my dishes (as a former resident of New Mexico) very spicy. Simon usually brings out some of his spicy salsa for me to add to my dinner. Lately we have been ordering the Chicken Chindoo style. We usually like to spy on other tables to see what they order.

For more about Santee, please visit his home page. You can also follow his terrific foodie blog if you love to cook and dine. We hope you will join us at the DWC for Santee’s reading and to meet him yourselves.

Georgia Popoff is a poet with two published collections of poetry, a teaching artist, arts-in-education professional development specialist, editor of Comstock Review, Downtown Writer’s Center faculty member, and board member of the Association of Teaching Artists. Georgia is Poet-in-Residence in numerous school districts and also teaches adult writing workshops.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Word Replacement

by Santee Frazier :

This morning the DWC blog brings you an exclusive writing exercise from visiting author, Santee Frazier. Please join us on Friday for Santee's reading, 7pm at the DWC!

When I find myself not moved by voice, memory, or music, instead of staring at the computer screen, I type out one of my favorite poems. The act of typing accomplishes two things: you get to know the formal considerations of the poet (how they navigated the page), and you gain an intimate relationship with the text. After I have typed the poem I look for artistry, meter, phrasing, etc.... I really don't spend much time deciphering the poem being that interpretation plays little or no role in how this exercise conducts itself. From there I find all of the nouns in the poem, writing out a list, then I pull out my dictionary and begin replacing only the nouns (I usually don't replace the verbs being that I want to keep the structure of the poem).

This exercise will yield varying results depending on how much effort goes in the act of replacing the nouns. I find the best results come when I spend a great deal of time researching then replacing the nouns, rather than using the first word that pops into my head (usually a synonym pops up, boring). For instance using words related to anthropology will drastically change the poem’s meter and tone.

First start out with a short poem, and then slowly build up to something longer (the longest I have tried was Jorie Graham's "What the End is For"). Most of the poems will not be keepers, but the exercise helps build skill set and sharpens your abilities to glean poetry for reasons other than explication.

Rather than becoming frustrated and abandoning your daily writing ritual you can practice this exercise. After a few tries you will notice interesting things happening when the words juxtaposeand begin creating language.

Santee Frazier is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. He holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Syracuse University. His poems have appeared in American Poet, Narrative Magazine, Ontario Review, and other literary journals. His first collection of poems Dark Thirty was released by the University of Arizona Press in the spring of 2009.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Dark Thirty Review

Please join us this Friday, Feb. 5th as the Downtown Writer's Center welcomes poet Santee Frazier, who will read from his debut collection Dark Thirty.

Today the DWC blog features a review of Dark Thirty, written by poet Shin Yu, for Southwestern American Literature.

You can access that review via Shin Yu's blog here.

Tune in again tomorrow & Thursday for more features from Santee Frazier, including an exclusive writing prompt & a conversation between Santee & the DWC's own Georgia Popoff.