The paradox of poetry

Most would agree with the idea that writing (and reading) poetry connects us to a deeper level of consciousness and meaning in the world. This view is somewhat overly dramatized in this scene from the character John Keating (John Keats, anyone?) in Dead Poet's Society. Hopefully, by now you've realized poetry will not bring … Continue reading The paradox of poetry


How to scan a poem

Despite what we've learned in school, there is no "correct" scan of a poem sitting in a vault somewhere for only English teachers to see.  Often, scansion relies on context, but even then, what one person hears as a stressed syllable another person hears as unstressed.  And within stressed syllables, the degree of stress can … Continue reading How to scan a poem

Good Poems: “Poet Warning,” by Jim Harrison

The best poems often involve compression. They create their emotional response with as few words as possible.  The poem "Poet Warning," written by Jim Harrison, is one of them: Poet Warning He went to sea in a thimble of poetry without sail or oars or anchor. What chance do I have, he thought? Hundreds of … Continue reading Good Poems: “Poet Warning,” by Jim Harrison

Working with other poets

Poet Alarie Tennille recently released her new book of poetry, Waking on the Moon. The cool part for me is Alarie used a line from my poem "The Long Dark Moon," for one of her chapter headings. Here the picture of the heading: The original poem was published by Poetry Breakfast in 2016 and can … Continue reading Working with other poets

A useful difference between simile and metaphor

We've all heard it many times before--similes compare two things through the use of "like" or "as," while metaphors identify one thing as another.  Consider these two examples: My love is like an open sky (simile). My love is an open sky (metaphor). Admittedly, these examples are trite, sentimental, and wouldn't stand a chance of … Continue reading A useful difference between simile and metaphor

The Two Coolest Books I Own

Several years ago, I lost count of how many poetry books I have (can you ever have enough?). But there's absolutely no doubt which are my favorites collections. They are always the signed copies.  Sometimes I get lucky enough to stumble into a used bookstore and find one for cheap.  This was the case once … Continue reading The Two Coolest Books I Own