where the writers are
Kay Day Interviews Eileen Malone

After winning a national poetry contest, Eileen Malone says,"I pulled poetry over me until it hardened like a snail shell." Ms. Malone, who gives advice to writers the world over in her column for the Writers Club at America Online, has some tips for poets.

Eileen Malone calls poetry "a steady forward movement" in her life, and she devotes a large amount of her time to it. She writes poetry, writes about poetry, and works at different projects to promote poetry. She created the annualSoul-Making Literary Prize on behalf of the National League of American Pen Women, Nob Hill San Francisco Branch. Ms. Malone coined the award's name from lines written by John Keats.Some say that the world is a vale of tears,
I say it is a place of soul making."

Ms. Malone's column, Ask Eileen, counsels writers on just about anything to do with the craft. The columnist believes in helping other writers. "The thing I've noticed about women writers and artists and other female creative souls," says Ms. Malone, "is how they believe in giving back to the greater flow that made their expressions possible. They do much of the work behind the scenes and hold things together, especially literary events I've been to." This popular columnist says women are just "more patient and nurturing with aspiring writers. Women see the potential. They see the marvel generating in the mud."

The path from talent to publication can be difficult at best. How does a poet jump her words from notepaper to the public eye? "The easiest way to publish one's poetry," says Ms. Malone, "is with help. By this I mean joining other writers in classes or groups, and sharing not only your work but your experiences with marketing." Quicksilvering, Ms. Malone's site for writers, is a product of this philosophy. Offered within this graphically attractive site are links to book reviews, bio notes on the author, and information about the workshops she implements and conducts.

Opinions about the marketplace spurred Eileen Malone to write the book, The Complete Guide to Writers Groups, Conferences, and Workshops, available from Amazon.com. "When writers connect with other writers doing what they most love to do," she says, "all sorts of wonderfully positive things happen to spur them on and keep them going." The book includes a chapter on how to find a writer's group that's a positive for you, the individual, and also how to start your own group.

As far as crafting goes, Ms. Malone takes this tool to heart. "When I write poetry, I rewrite endlessly," she says. "There is a story about a famous poet who still goes around to bookstores pulling his books off the shelves and making last minute changes to his poems. I see myself doing that."

Applying herself with discipline has resulted in success for Eileen Malone. She has a successful book, a worldwide column, an affiliation with the prestigious National League of American Pen Women. She knows what all truly wise scholars learn. You never know too much to learn more. She recently attended the Writers Club Conference in Las Vegas. "I got to meet a really warm and yet highly energetic group of writers," she says. "What really impressed me was the integrity of everyone. Now, here I found a real gender balance," a balance that led, says Ms. Malone, "to a sincere courtesy and respect for each other's opinions and a kind of cheering on."

For women poets who may be at the beginning of a path to publishing, Eileen Malone offers great inspiration and hope. And after all, that's what poetry is about anyway - inspiration and hope.