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Marilyn Kallet's Blog

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It's my turn to give the departmental talk on jobs in creative writing, in a couple weeks.   The graduate students in writing will be the main audience--we have masters students and Ph.D.'s in creative writing at the University of Tennessee.  The Associated Writing Program website online is the...
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Lately my poems and essays have been appearing more with online literary magazines.   I used to feel a little let down by the intangibility of this medium.  Old school, I like to hold literary magazines in my hands and savor them, feel their weight.  I love covers and bindings and so forth.  My...
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Heather at Tree House in Chicago
Just back from Chicago, where I helped Heather move from her Evanston apartment to her new job in Springfield, Illinois. This is the big move from student to working woman--she has been hired as an editor on the Springfield newspaper.  It's hard for her--a writer and a musician/percussionist--to...
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Join us at the table!  (Writers and dancers in Auvillar, July, 2007: Jane Goldberg, Marilyn Kallet, Holen Kahn, Shay Youngblood)
Join me for a workshop in "Deep France" (non-touristy) Auvillar, where we will explore the senses through our poetry, and enjoy an adventure in good eating, delicious wine, walks through ancient landscapes.   The sensory delights feed the poetry and poetry gives back to readers a richer...
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Why I Wear My Hair Long   I want to wrap it around you like a silk shirt   button it slowly, carefully,   facing you let the fringes tickle your hips   until we ride strong silken horses glued on   & my flag unfurls  a few strands   sticking to your lips.             Marilyn Kallet (How to...
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     As I get ready for the first day of poetry classes this Thursday, I'm reflecting on the way poetry is like theatre--one rehearses, breathes deeply, dresses for the part.   One is playing the part of someone who knows a great deal more than those in the "audience" (the students).  And...
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New to Red Room is poet Scott Holstad (www.redroom.com/author/scott-c-holstad).  His take is very different than mine, but I have always admired his lean lines, emotional honesty, and grittiness.  His advice on publishing should count for quite a lot, as he has published many books and poems.  ...
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We've been discussing great editorial advice, and how such feedback can improve one' s writing.  The other side of this coin is the readiness to claim authority for one's work, and to make the kinds of stylistic and content decisions that only you can make.   I've learned a lot about this at Squaw...
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The wonderful Belle Yang has asked for some specifics about the kinds of editorial comments good editors have made on my poetry. Three editors come to mind for their generosity and perceptiveness. Michelle Boisseau, the poetry editor for BkMk Press, changed my life and my literary...
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     It does take courage to send one's work out to literary magazines.   It's easy enough to stay within one's comfort zone, to keep submitting to magazines that have previously welcomed and published the poetry.   To venture beyond that, to risk rejection is difficult, even for a seasoned author...
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I asked my friend Laura Brown, fiction writer and yoga teacher in New York, if she knew any chants for transitions.  "Of course," she said, and gave me the Sanscrit chant for transitions with English translations.  She also chanted for me.   Here's the Sanscrit: Asato Ma Sat Gamaya/Tamaso...
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One For Each Night: Chanukah Tales and Recipes
A few years back, John Updike was a guest of the University of Tennessee.   He volunteered to come over and speak informally to the English Department (a generous gesture).   I rounded up the faculty and students who were hanging around the mail room, and we gathered excitedly for an off-the-cuff...
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Reading Poetry in Deep France
"As Close as Breathing" is the title of a prayer in the Reform Jewish liturgy.  It refers to God's presence.   The Inuits and other tribes of the Northwest sang about the vital nature of song itself, how singing is like breathing.   Poets make a life's work of singing.  So how to keep...
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I'm back at the office now, at the university, feeling the temptation to let the creative work slip away in favor of memos and busy work.   But then I enter Red Room and I'm reminded of my retreat at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and of my creative and composed self.   There's no...
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     Alice McDermott arrived at VCCA last night.  There was much speculation about how reclusive and snobby she might be, but guess what?  She's vibrant and engaging.  She's looks very young--it must be the writing.  My friend Joyce Carol Thomas, who looked thirty when she was sixty, used to say it...
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