“Three Things I Know Nothing About…

…but are interested in.” That was (basically) the prompt the awesome poet Erika Meitner gave to us in class today. I found that it was pretty easy for me to get to three, so I decided to keep going.

  1. How to hotwire a car
  2. How to win a bar fight
  3. The planets outside our galaxy
  4. Other “dimensions”
  5. Cars in general
  6. Prison Food
  7. Ben Affleck’s past
  8. The origin of π

Continue reading ““Three Things I Know Nothing About…”

The Twitterverse & Journals

Up until the most recent year, I used Twitter as a purely fun platform, Tweeting about the most inane things (read: weird things that happen to me, observations about my day, lots of whining, etc.,). Once I began submitting to journals, however, Twitter suddenly became much more interesting. Most journals have a Twitter and will tweet updates about contests, prizes, new issues, calls for submission, or link to other cool journals, literary happenings, or promote their authors. It’s a great way to discover new journals and if you’re published in a journal, to get some free promotion! Also, handily,once you follow a couple, Twitter’s convenient “Who should you follow” sidebar suggests other journals for you to follow. (This can be deadly: you get sucked into the vortex of journal-finding and forget about all other useful things happening in your day.) It’s also a great place to meet other authors/become part of a writing community. There’s a group of four or five writers on Twitter that kind of adopted me (long story, having to do with The Rumpus’s Letters in the Mail program, etc) and watching their banter/support via Twitter is awesome. A couple poets who also contributed to Dialogist‘s new issue followed me on Twitter and we struck up a lovely little, complimentary conversation.

If you’re interested in finding or submitting to some journals, here are some cool Twitters (& journals!)  to check out:


Happy hunting!

What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?

One of the books Erika Meitner lists as recommended reading for Copia is a CNF book that’s part investigative journalism, part memoir, by journalist Charlie LeDuff called Detorit: An American AutopsyI have a copy of this book sitting on my desk right now, and it’s a fantastic read–if you’re interested at all in learning about the economic downfall of Detroit, or sociologically breaking down all of the individual issues behind that downfall, definitely check it out. Continue reading “What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?”

Finding Poetry in Anything

Last week I listened to SUNY Geneseo Alumni Stephanie Iasiello’s lecture, Righting and Re-Writing: The Neo-Slave Narrative and the Novel. I have always loved going to these events because I’m so curious what others who got their B.A. in English decide to do after college. I will admit that a few elements of her lecture went over my head (since I know nothing about the Neo-Slave Narrative), and I had to take some notes to keep up. But besides being totally in awe of how smart she was, I also was so intrigued on how she connected a poem and a novel in her lecture.

It got me wondering how poems and other works of writing are intertwined. I really think one can use poetic language in a prose piece. At times, I don’t even understand why there is a divide in writing! I know people can easily, and definitely, argue against me on this. However, sometimes as I’m writing pieces of fiction or nonfiction I just want to break out into poetry.

A few of the poems we have read so far have broken out into prose. I love when this happens because I always think, “Why not?” Why can’t there be more interweaving between the different styles of writing? I think it would be so cool to pick up a novel at Barnes and Noble and see this type of writing inside. Googling around, I do realize that there are books like this. However, I wish it were more mainstream, more popular.

Perhaps one day I’ll be the one to make it a widespread phenomenon!

Poem Playlist

I made a playlist for my poems:

I tried to strike a balance between songs that have actually inspired poems with their lyrics and songs that had a more intuitive, aesthetic connection to my poems. Enjoy!

Back to Basics: Poetry as a Genre

I was having a conversation with a friend about genre and the expectations that are inherently within labeling and categorizing different modes of writing.  Although as an English major, you’d think I’d notice genre a lot more, but I really don’t until I walk into a bookstore (mostly to avoid the “Teen Paranormal Romance” section).  This could be due to the face that within the Creative Writing track at Geneseo when we take workshops they’re strictly in the genre of “literary” fiction or CNF.  I was having this discussion because my friend had just recently read the book We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart–a book of the Young Adult genre.  Continue reading “Back to Basics: Poetry as a Genre”

I for One Welcome Our New iPhone Overlords

So I was procrastinating real hard last night, and I finally updated my computer and phone to iOS 8 or whatever. It’s all well and good, some new minimalist aesthetics, &c. So today I open my phone’s messages and before I go to send anything, there are the words “I,” “The,” and “I’m” in little gray boxes ready to go.  After going to poetry today, I got curious and I started clicking them to compose a message, and the phone kept giving me new words that almost seemed to follow. Several non-but-almost-sense texts later, my roommate explained to me that the phone logs all of your sentences and keeps track of your most used words and word combinations in order to try to predict what you might say, in order to make it easier for you to text (read: in order to be super creepy). Now Ethan’s previous post about the Quicktype feature of iOS 8 makes sense, and the implications are even more strange and glaring to me.

I was kind of startled by the phone’s assumption that it could predict what I might say. I mean, if I want to be a writer and my phone is able to predict what I say, I might as well call it quits, right? Thankfully, phones aren’t very good at stringing together words to give a meaning in context. Quite like Christina’s “Bot or Not” post, and Ethan’s “Quicktype Poetry” post, the sentences are nonsense; word may follow word, but as a whole the sentence has no intrinsic meaning. IT doesn’t make sense. More so, I was startled by all the repeated words I was getting in the little Quicktype section. They’re mostly “I,” “The,” and so on, with a few conjunctions or things about the government thrown in here and there. So if nothing else, the Quicktype feature can serve as a reminder of our limited texting vocabularies, and it can allow us to be aware of boring language, even in the most menial modes of communication. The feature can also provide some pretty fun and weird lines and phrases, just by shuffling the language you’ve already used.

Here are some of my favorite nonsense phrases and conversations (w/lines broken where they end in the text):

My roommate:

“Okay, noted. I think
Tuesdays at 8 may work
better for the Kaiser’s
army at the beginning of
this semester and Students for a socialist
Scotland the US and Canada is a potentiality,
and I think Billy’s in that
class. I think Billy’s in
that class.”


“I’m not going to be
able to do it again in my
head hurts so bad but
the only thing that would
have to go back and I
don’t think that I can see
it as an excuse for the
next few weeks of a new
phone case is the best
thing ever.”


“Congress? Finally, I think
Ryan Adams has a new
self-titled album out of
the common cold. it will
not have the seller’s, I
have every day and the
downing, I have every
day and the downing, I
have every day and the


“The fact that the
government has a lot of
people in my head is
killing me.”


If nothing else, Quicktype conversations and poetry serve to remind us that our job as poets (and people in general) is invaluable: we give language meaning, we change it and choose it and refresh it–we don’t just take words in and spit them out in order of use. Plus really it can generate some lines that seem cool and can have uses in your poems, if they mean something to you.

Inspiration in Unlikely Places, or The Relative Merits of Eavesdropping in the Library

I was in the library earlier today, a few hours before class, sitting at one of the awkwardly triangular tables. I was alone until a girl and her friend sat there as well. I couldn’t complain, seeing as I had chosen to sit there, but they were – in my opinion – being louder than necessary. I ended up hearing snippets of what they were saying, and although I was struggling to follow along with their conversation, things they were saying taken out of context were surprisingly poetic.

Continue reading “Inspiration in Unlikely Places, or The Relative Merits of Eavesdropping in the Library”

Fixations in Poetry

Okay, so before I signed up for Poetry, I knew a lot of poets had certain ‘obsessions’ that they tended to write about or get ‘fixated’ on. Perhaps because of my incredibly short attention span I didn’t, in a million years, think I would be one of those poets. After all, how can you fixate on something if you can’t even sit through a 20-minute episode of Parks and Rec without getting distracted by something? Continue reading “Fixations in Poetry”