Category Archives: Articles

On Editing

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The idea behind this post came from my inbox, from an email from Writer’s Digest. I read an article from 2011 by BRIAN A. KLEMS on editing. Check out his version of the Lesser Known Editing Symbols and put some fun back into editing!

Many of us enjoy the editorial process, you don’t have to be a writer for very long before you realise editing needs a whole different headspace to the writer brain!

As I fell through the rabbit hole of articles on editing, I realised it has been a while since I posted a technical post to AWF, so mostly with thanks to Writer’s Digest, (I have added my own pearls of experience too), here we go!

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MY QUICK GUIDE:

  1. As we all know: GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to write a bad first draft. Don’t expect it not to be.
  2. Let it rest, leave it to marinate, don’t be tempted to lift the lid for a peep. Drawers are good places for printed m/s to take a break. Leave it for at least a couple of weeks if you can, months even.
  3. Return to read it (out loud) with fresh eyes.
  4. By reading aloud you will discover any areas which don’t make sense or trip you up. Mark/Highlight these. Spell checked homophones. Tenses.
  5. Spot any inconsistences with character/setting.
  6. Choose your favourite colour/pen and explore, re-read, seek out golden nuggets. They may still need editorial development – but these parts work (for now*) and you don’t want to lose them yet.

*By draft 3 or 9 these golden parts may no longer fit – if they truly are amazing make note of them and file them to be embedded into future work.

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GO DEEPER

Read this article by guest columnist Laura Toffler-Corrie. Revisions: What Every Writer Should Know.


GET SERIOUS!

The Revision Process: How I Prepared My Book for Publication

This article was written by Madeline Sharples. She is the author of Leaving the Hall Light On (Lucky Press, May 2011).

Madeline Sharples delves into her editing process and encourages us to write an editing schedule. This is not something I have done, but then the longest m/s I edited was Novella length. I probably did a schedule if I glued together all the individual To Do Lists which were part of my process.

There are 7 Top Tips covered in this article.

  1. Create a revision plan
  2. Don’t edit as you write
  3. Use a hardcopy
  4. Have others review your work
  5. The subjectivity of reviews
  6. Create a schedule with Milestones and STICK TO IT
  7. Keep going until you are satisfied.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

My practise does include some of her 7 Top Tips: I tend to recarpet in m/s pages rather than using a wall. Mainly because there is less free wall space available to us at 5’4! My work is often peer reviewed, I am part of several editing groups and another opinion is always valuable (but remember, also subjective).

I do create schedules and action plans. Often they are bitesize, by week or monthly overview of action. I forgive myself when I don’t stick to them.


So enjoy the writing process and take a deep breath before you begin editing. Like your writing ability, editorial skills will develop with experience. Remember to repeat what works for you, find a system of editing that you can enjoy and keep a copy of that first draft so you can see how far the m/s has come!

IWD International Women’s Day 2022

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International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

#IWD2022 #BreakTheBias

© 2022 internationalwomensday.com

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme

There are plenty of online events and activities designed around IWD. For the past few years I have marked it with a blog post signing you to lots of resources and goodies.

My IWD always arrives early when I receive my postcard from Coral Carter, from Australia. Always detailing inspiring words and incredible artwork by herself and other women. I am filled with gratitude, not only for receiving the gift – which stays and is displayed for a year, but also it reminds me of the powerful, creative women I know and the friendships I hold dear.

The full picture in all it’s glory and card are more beautiful than my cut and paste… just a taste…

This year I created my IWD postcard for all of you – so gift yourself some time, get your pens ready and word some magic.

You can create your own postcards of action here.

Lots more resources can be found at internationalwomensday.com

Including a section for young people: Activities for 6-15 year olds

And I will leave you with the stunning Spoken Word collection for 2022.

Anisa Nandaula

‘What a Book Cover Can Do’

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One of the unenviable tasks of 2022 is to clear out my inbox! Rather like shoes and poems I’ve written, I am not sure of the exact number of emails, (I could do the maths, but the total would terrify me)! Many are circulars, reminders, tickets for past events or JUNK, which can all be swept quickly, some though are little gems, shining out to be re-read or shared.

This article appeared on LitHub back in 2020 (I told you there was a lot of clearing up to be done).

It is an extract from The Look of the Book: Jackets, Covers and Art at the Edges of Literature by Peter Mendelsund and David J. Alworth, © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House

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What a Book Cover Can Do

Peter Mendelsund and David J. Alworth Consider Information As Art

By Peter Mendelsund and David J. Alworth

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

Peter Mendelsund is the former art director at Alfred A. Knopf, the creative director of The Atlantic, and the author of a design monograph called Cover, as well as What We See When We Read, which has been translated into fourteen languages, and the novel Same Same. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review, and other magazines.

David J. Alworth is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He teaches and writes about modern and contemporary literature, media, art, and design. He is the author of Site Reading: Fiction, Art, Social Form and his essays have appeared in Public Books and the Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as in various scholarly journals.

© LITHUB

From: The Look of the Book: Jackets, Covers and Art at the Edges of Literature 

by Peter Mendelsund and David J. Alworth, © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 6

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Day Six Click here to read the full post.

Our featured participant for the day is woodyandjohnny, where the container-based prompt for Day 5 gave rise to a poem full of strange language and tonal shifts . . . which might not be surprising, given that it was based on a poem by the Serbian avant-garde poet Vasko Popa!

Today’s featured reading is pre-recorded. It features the poet Nikki Giovanni reading at Emory University back in February of 2020.

Finally, here’s our daily prompt. Our prompt yesterday asked you to take inspiration from another poem, and today’s continues in the same vein. This prompt, which comes from Holly Lyn Walrath, is pretty simple. As she explains it here:

Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.

Happy writing!

©napowrimo.net

PROCESS NOTES including a rabbit hole or two!

I started at the participant’s site and read the poem. I found the intentional surrealism difficult, following the context was hard on first read. I was interested to see if they had pulled from the theme of the original content as stimuli. We are not going to understand everything we read, nor like everything, poetry is subjective. In Writing Development wide reading is encouraged, be in contact with both poetry you are drawn towards to and that which is challenging or beyond your personal taste and read poems over and over. Revisit them.

I was interested to see the original and am unsure I have found it here as the lettering doesn’t match, this may be because the poet has a different translation, I have the wrong poem or the poet has amended/erased some lines / played with the constraints, all of which are fine. I checked another site and found the same translation. So my guess is the poet chose to amend/cut lines or the Charles Simic translation is different. I have always enjoyed poetry in translation, the bends in the language it produces.

As I read and re-read the poem the shape of it revealed itself. I picked up on the possibility this was a bi-lingual poet and also thought there may be a nod to the original in as far as Vasko Popa was a Serbian Avant Garde poet. Hallucinated Ambush certainly has some surreal qualities. Barbara may be a fan of French surrealism. The poem has a narrative and definitely created a scene in my mind. There may be some call to Eve and the Snake. Some of the lines were beautiful:

fish-eyed

asps curled in bracken shade

thoughts fragment half-cut jewels

dust binds dubious truthes

another ache a splinter borrowed

I did a bit of a tour of the website intrigued by my earlier realisation that I mistook the site name as part of the title (I hadn’t slept much, I even copied Day 5 NaPo not 6 this morning) and searched not for Race but for Woody & Johnny took Race by Vasko Popa, which worked for me as a title. Many bloggers do not reveal identity or use an alias, when I started blogging I was the same, I linked wordpress to the non-named account and kept identity concealed then after a while I realised people searched for me and this place wasn’t linked to those searches and at some point (probably in the promotion of poems, used my own name). Part of me is detective, (Mrs Marbles, is one of many of Mr. G’s nicknames for me – see what I mean about concealed identity…) anyway, it was easy to discover this site belonged to Barbara Turney Weiland (Home button profile & comments < in case you want to be detective too).

I discovered a second blog barbara turney wieland poetess, I am considering this my first NaPo rabbit hole (even let my coffee go cold)! I explored the second site and discovered Barbara is an artist who had, at the time of posting, been writing poetry for 5 years, I read her published work and thoroughly enjoyed these two poems published in Shadow Kraft – a Bilingual Literary Webzine.

UPDATE Day 20

I have to consider closing the Detective Agency or rebrand as a Tech Editing Co. instead. Johnny got in touch (the same day) to explain the process and it is wondrous what Woody and Johnny have achieved.

So just to clear it up I will leave this note here for you to read as I go and hang up the Trilby and shades (YES! Miss Marbles had retro style).

All we took for our prompt on Day 5 was the first letter of each line and noted the shape of the poem. The poem was written by Woody & Johnny before the translation by Simic was read.

Really appreciate your thoughts on our tandem writing though! Thank you. Johnny (of Woody & Johnny).

I watched today’s reading. I spent some time online at Emory University this year at events. They have had some amazing poets read… just listen to the introduction. I have also read some poems by Nikki Giovanni since Lockdown. I have discovered lots of incredible American Poets in this Pandemic year. 

Acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni Feb. 22, 2020, at the Schwartz Center on the Emory University campus.

Giovanni is known for her activism poetry, especially concerning race, gender, self-pride, and love. Giovanni has been an English professor at Virginia Tech since 1989 and has been a university distinguished professor there since 1999. She has received an honorary doctorate from more than 27 colleges and universities. The event was hosted by the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library as part of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library Reading Series, now in its 15th season. The reading was sponsored by the Hightower Fund, with support from Emory Library and Information Technology Services (LITS), and the Creative Writing Program at Emory.

© Emory University

This video is very much an address, if you want to hear more poetry, listen to this too. It is not a perfectly clear recording, but the vinyl crackle is authentic and won’t worry some of us from the pre-digital age.

The prompt is one I have tried before. Like yesterday’s prompt it give rise to poems which are different to your natural voice. Which is always fun. I was excited for the results of today’s write.

In the full instructions Holly Lyn Walrath considers the issue of plagiarism;

The truth is, it’s a common practice in poetry to draw off of other’s work. Using other people’s work in this way is a time-honored tradition. It’s been debated recently but it’s obvious that as far back as Christopher Marlowe, writers have been referencing each other.

Holly also mentions a Jericho Brown workshop (which I was lucky enough to attend) and the mirror prompt is definitely worth a try – if you fancy writing more than one poem today! There’s always the Golden Shovel a form devised by Terrance Hayes in response to a Gwendolyn Brooks poem. So you actually get two extra prompts from this page. Worth adding I discovered the poetry of Jericho Brown through NaPoWriMo a couple of years ago. Count how many new favourite poets you have at the end of these 30 days. Treasure.

I have come across Holly Lyn Walrath and her medium.com site before today, worth a read. In having a read-about today I fell into my 2nd Napo rabbit hole! I read many, many articles following links all around the internet. The funny thing was a website I found last year entered my mind and I found it this morning through one of these adventure links!

Eventually I went off to find my line and start my poem. I took a line from the first book I plucked off my shelf and settled down to free-write, the poem came out quickly.

I feel like no extract from Shush will give you a feel for the lamentation I have written today. I played with white space and changed some of the word order. Trying to format even a few lines to WP platform is a challenge. Definitely needs a screen shot! I let the poem free write itself out and as NaPo is not about editing just placed it/ pegged it to the page. But it is marked as *one to go back to in the summer. So one day you may see it in full.

I writhed in the agony

>

>

of not

>

……………………………………..knowing

Merry Christmas!

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I know this has been a challenging year and we are facing a Christmas unlike any other. My heart goes out to those who will spend it alone this year. Figures released by Press suggest the number of people spending Christmas alone (UK) due to the pandemic has doubled this year, to 1.7 million.

Let’s Keep each other safe and warm in communication.

I am taking a few days offline but will be back before the New Year! Stay Safe and have a Merry Christmas, make the best of it you can.

LINKS:

Community Christmas provides a free online directory of local festive ‘acts of kindness’ taking place across the UK, which are open to local older, vulnerable people who would otherwise be spending Christmas Day alone. https://www.reengage.org.uk/support-us/community-christmas/

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-when-you-are-alone-at-christmas-3024301

Please note this final article was pre-pandemic and some options are no longer valid, having said that it is a great list of fun things to do if you are alone for Christmas.

https://sixtyandme.com/fun-things-to-do-if-you-are-spending-christmas-alone/

https://lonerwolf.com/51-things-christmas-alone/

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/dec/24/how-do-i-spend-christmas-alone-10-ways

https://www.wellandgood.com/what-to-do-during-holidays-alone/

National Poetry Day 2020

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Happy National Poetry Day! I hope you find some good words to dive into today.

Here’s a small guide to places you can spend some time in. Enjoy!

The main website for National Poetry Day is worth a good look around, but in case you are snatching a poem on your lunch break or pressed for time, I have selected some options.

36 Poems to read

Articles National Poetry Day

Poetry Recommendations

Poetry Archive

7 poems to listen to.

There are plenty of events happening online, nearly all are ticketed, some are free and there are lots of poetry take overs across social media platforms.

An exciting aspect of this year’s NPD is we are no longer bound by Geography – look beyond your region, spread the poetry love!

© Hay Festival 2020

You could treat yourself and listen to Poet Laureate Simon Armitage reading in Dove Cottage (Wordsworth). This is a ticketed event.

https://wordsworth.org.uk/blog/events/simon-armitage-in-dove-cottage/

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm BST

Tickets £7; £5 to current supporters of the Wordsworth Trust.

Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire and is an award-winning poet, playwright and novelist. In 2010 he was awarded the CBE for services to poetry and in 2019 he was appointed Poet Laureate. This year we have invited him to take over Dove Cottage for an exclusive performance of his own poetry, bringing to life the house that Wordsworth lived in 200 years ago.

Simon Armitage Trailer

Or you could just find a quiet spot, take a book off the shelf and indulge in a read, or grab a notebook and pen and have a write.

Between 2013-2018 I offered an annual writing retreat here on AWF. Over the 6 years of INKSPILL we had various guest poets gift us writing prompts, I have included a couple in this selection.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/inkspill-2018-picture-prompts/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/inkspill-2018-writing-activity/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/inkspill-guest-poet-stephen-daniels-workshop-exercise/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/inkspill-workshop-with-roy-mcfarlane-objects-to-hang-our-words-

on/https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/inkspill-beautiful-ugly-part-1/

Welcoming a New Year 2019

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man standing on brown rock cliff in front of waterfalls photography

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Pexels.com

I have not been online much since October when I had an unexpected operation. I have been off work and not able to sit for long periods at the desk. With over 26 tablets a day it has been hard to focus or concentrate.

I am currently working on my next pamphlet which was accepted by V. Press last summer. The latest edits came through in October just before I found myself in hospital so I have been unable to keep up with the schedule. I have also had to pull out of every artistic event/gig/festival since the Autumn too. My last performance was National Poetry Day.

It has been a difficult enforced hiatus and I feel very disconnected.

I had to disconnect myself from social media on the phone as I couldn’t deal emotionally with reading about a world I couldn’t manage to be a part of.

Now it is the New Year and I am growing in health and strength. I have a festival event to organise, poetry from workshops in 2018 to display, a manuscript to work on and I took the role of a Director of Worcester LitFest back in the Autumn, a role which hopefully by next month I can actually manage.

I missed the Lit Festival in Voiron but from my WPL project there have been poets not known before to the community who are very much involved in the Twinning now. I will have the opportunity to meet them this Spring before (hopefully) going to the festival this year. I won a poetry competition I entered in September and Sarah Leavesley wrote an article for Poetry News (Poetry Society) about Two Cities (ATOTC – A Tale of Two Cities). The USA side of the project also had a reading in September.

 

 

So thank you for visiting the Fountain and splashing in all the archived posts. My STATS for 2018 were healthy (the best year yet). Each year the blocks tower upwards with the exception of my Poet Laureate year when I ran a second site.

I promise to work on updating pages and adding new material this year. But my first port of call is that manuscript!

man with fireworks

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

 

INKSPILL 2018 ARCHIVE Open

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INKSPILL GUESTS 1

Our Archive is open for the final time this weekend. Find articles, workshops. reviews, Interviews and writing to keep you busy for the next few hours before the exciting launch of the final WPL issue of Contour Poetry Magazine.

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From 2014 our Guest Writer William Gallagher talks to us about Making Time to Write.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/inkspill-making-time-to-write-guest-writer-williamgallagher/

 

 

Sticking with 2014 here is an exercise to help you write an article in 30 minutes.

INKSPILL WRITING 1

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/inkspill-speed-write-how-to-produce-an-article-in-less-than-30-minutes/

 

 

The next article comes from 2013 and was not part of INKSPILL but is gold dust for anyone attempting NaNoWriMo this Autumn.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/nanowrimo-survival-tips/

 

 

From INKSPILL 2013 another article from me about getting organised to write.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/inkspill-getting-organised/

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From INKSPILL 2015 our Guest Poet Interview with Daniel Sluman.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/inkspill-guest-poet-interview-with-daniel-sluman/

 

A write up of Daniel’s Book Launch in February 2016.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/daniel-slumans-book-launch-the-terrible/

 

This evening we are launching ISSUE 4 of Contour –

contour 4 celebration - Made with PosterMyWall

Read Issue 1 of Contour Poetry Magazine

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/inkspill-2017-closing-with-something-new/

 

 

From INKSPILL 2017 The Editors

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https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/inkspill-the-editors/

Finding your voice and what editors look for.

 

INKSPILL 2018 ARCHIVES Open

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This is the 6th year AWF has hosted INKSPILL. Spend some time delving into our Archives.

From 2014 

Guest Writer Heather Wastie on Editing a Poem.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/inkspill-guest-writer-heather-wastie-editing-a-poem/

Heather Wastie headshot

From 2015 

Our Guest Writer interview with this year’s Featured Writer – Alison May. Find out about her latest novel tomorrow.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/inkspill-guest-writer-interview-with-alison-may/

Alison May (2)

From 2016 

Our Guest Writer Workshop with Roy McFarlane – Writing their presence

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/inkspill-guest-writer-workshop-roy-mcfarlane-writing-their-presence/

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blur book stack books bookshelves

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INKSPILL 2018: Articles – A Revolutionary Act: Samantha Zighelboim by Zachary Pace

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Inkspill news

This year’s articles during INKSPILL are based on Poetry. The first article we would like to share was published in August 2018.

The Fat Sonnets (Argos Books)—Samantha Zighelboim’s debut poetry collection.

the fat sonnets

A Revolutionary Act: Samantha Zighelboim by Zachary Pace

The poet on confronting societal limitations about the body, navigating the language of fatness, and celebrating friendships that embrace the joy of food.

This article was published in Bomb Magazine. Click the link to read it.


 

the fat sonnets

Samantha Zighelboim’s debut collection conducts a radical re-examination of what we mean by body. In these poems, body is noun, verb and adverb; body is dearly beloved and fiercely rejected; it is by turns a singularly beautiful process and a frightening object. Zighelboim takes the sonnet form as a loose premise, a la Bernadette Mayer, but then explodes, expands, defies and otherwise grows out of supposed formal limits, making language into a living embodiment of the refusal of (institutional, patriarchal, cultural) control. 

©Argos Books

PRAISE FOR THE FAT SONNETS

The Fat Sonnets are greathearted, wickedly brilliant, and wise. Samantha Zighelboim writes with rare passion and exactitude: she can cure, or kill what ails you, and yet she sings from the soul, which is beyond diagnosis, at once perfect; eternal and savagely hungry since whenever eternity began. Hilarious and cruel, every page swells with compassion. I love this book. It is deeply nutritious. It will feed you.

—Ariana Reines

 

alexis baldwin

Samantha Zighelboim Photo credit Alexis Baldwin © 2018

BIO: Samantha Zighelboim is a 2017 NYFA/NYSCA Fellow in Poetry, a recipient of a Face Out grant from CLMP, and the co-recipient of the 2016 John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation from The Poetry Foundation. Her poems and translations have appeared in POETRYBoston ReviewThe Guardian (as part of Asymptote’s ‘Translation Tuesday’ series), PEN Poetry SeriesStonecutterFanzinePublic PoolSixth FinchBone Bouquet and Springhouse, among others. She  lives in New York City, and teaches creative writing and literature at Rutgers University and The New School.