Poetry

Three Haiku After Winter

Three Haiku after Winter Swelling buds and apple blossoms emerging. Winter's stars sink westward, new hope awakens. Listening: the full stream rushes, it rejoices. Traditionally, Japanese Haiku is a form of syllabic poetry of three lines, with 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second, and five in the third (17 syllables total). English-language poets… Continue reading Three Haiku After Winter

Poetry

How to write a Sestina in 6 (not-so-easy) steps

You want to write a fine poem, don't you? Poets.org says that the effect of a sestina, achieved through intricate repetition, is often spectacular. In a sestina, six words, repeated in a prescribed pattern, take the place of a rhyme scheme, weaving an enchanting web of sound for six, six-line stanzas plus one three-line stanza. I… Continue reading How to write a Sestina in 6 (not-so-easy) steps

Poetry

How poetry ignited a long-term online friendship: a conversation with Violet Nesdoly

  Are you interested in writing poetry, and connecting with other writers? Are you wondering whether there are any benefits to writing and reading poems? To explore these questions, I'm inviting you to eavesdrop on my long, virtual conversation with Violet Nesdoly, as we cyber-talk (or, more accurately, as we type back and forth) about… Continue reading How poetry ignited a long-term online friendship: a conversation with Violet Nesdoly

Tracy Lee Karner
Poetry

Insight into The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens

In response to Richard Gilbert's suggestion that I tell the story behind the story of my book (which is about, among other things, "becoming a writer"), I've been writing a series on poetry's influence on my development. Poetry was my first love. And although poetry is no longer my one and only literary infatuation, I… Continue reading Insight into The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens

Tracy Lee Karner
Poetry

Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey: my love affair with poetry, part 3

Wordsworth was twenty-eight years old when he composed Lines in 1798. 190 years later, I was twenty-eight when I first read his poem, and immortality touched me. I had tried repeatedly to appreciate Wordsworth’s poems. I trudged through them only because they had been assigned and I was a dutiful student. But I found his poems difficult… Continue reading Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey: my love affair with poetry, part 3

Poetry

Sleeping in the Forest: my love affair with poetry, part 2

One of the first contemporary poems I loved was Sleeping in the Forest, by Mary Oliver. To adequately love a poem, you must prepare its dwelling place; memorize it. Revisit it frequently. When I found the poem (late 1980's): Reading that poem (which is under copyright and not legally available online) felt like meditation to me. It felt… Continue reading Sleeping in the Forest: my love affair with poetry, part 2

Tracy Lee Karner
Poetry

How to love poetry: true confessions about my affair

Oh, poetry, my first love, it may seem I have abandoned you. I've strayed to memoirs, essays, novels, and (gasp) even cookbooks, but you, I promise, will always remain first in my heart. You taught me nearly everything I know about the power of language. The history of my relationship to poetry...  Decades ago, I… Continue reading How to love poetry: true confessions about my affair

Tracy Lee Karner
Writing

What writing instructors should pass on to their students

For you skimmers, here is the bulleted list right up front-- 9 principles I learned from a great writing instructor: Don’t be in a hurry to be published. Love learning; read copiously. Especially love literature. Memorize poems. Don’t take yourself or your writing too seriously. Take the acquisition of wisdom seriously--live decently, courageously, and well. Trust; you… Continue reading What writing instructors should pass on to their students

Tracy Lee Karner
Poetry

After Grief, We Might Make Something

After the terrorist attacks of September 9, 2011, the citizens of Providence responded by making art. The process of creative expression served to offer children, teens and adults a way to express feelings and seek healing, Thousands of these tiles line the walls of an inspiring tunnel between Union Station Square and the Water Park--… Continue reading After Grief, We Might Make Something

Tracy Lee Karner
Poetry

Easter Morning

I've been told that repeating the same ritual twice makes it a tradition. Today we visited Conimicut Point in Rhode Island, making it our new tradition to spend Easter listening to the crash of waves. Here's the poem I wrote when we spent Easter morning in Rockport, Massachusetts. Toward Daylight We face the sun we cannot… Continue reading Easter Morning