Friday, July 8, 2011

Roundup of Advice from Poets to Poets

If you keep a copy of the Poet's Market on your desk as many of us do, then you probably know that Robert Lee Brewer is the editor of that amazing treasure trove of information. You should also know that Robert maintains the blog Poetic Asides for the Writer's Digest. One feature of the blog is an ongoing series of interviews with poets. Robert ends each of these interviews with this question: "If you had one piece of advice to share with other poets, what would it be?"

Now Robert has assembled those pearls of wisdom and posted them together as Advice from 14 Poets.
His plan is to assemble at least one more such list. How cool to find myself and my bits of wisdom on this first list.

J.P. Dancing Bear's advice resonates for me these days: "Constantly push and challenge yourself to do new things and learn new things. If you've never written a sonnet, then challenge yourself to writing a crown of sonnets. If you've never written anything other than formal verse, write a prose poem. Breaking down things, understanding the craft behind them and rebuilding the way you write only makes you a stronger and better writer. Never, ever think you are 'there'—always be on the journey."

Bear speaks here to the challenge I've given myself in recent months, i.e., to push beyond what I've done before, to learn new elements of craft, to try new forms, to seek out new material. Bear's words and the challenge they set before us remind me that a poet is always serving an apprenticeship—or should be. This is a journey that has no final point. As you move forward, so does that point, always out of reach, always calling you.

At the end of the list of advice, you'll find Links to all 14 interviews. Check them out!

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