Process Behind Writing “Old School”

If you haven’t heard me blabbing about it at some point or another, I’m currently working on a Directed Study with Chris Perri. In the CNF workshop I took with him last semester, we had to incorporate some sort of research into our second assignment. As I tried to come up with possible topics, I remembered my mom mentioning something about a village specifically for people with epilepsy when we were driving up to Geneseo, and since my dad has epilepsy—and I had it, growing up—I decided to research that. Since then, it’s spiraled into a year-long research project. Continue reading “Process Behind Writing “Old School””

American vs. British Spelling: Why?

I just learned I’ve been spelling “catalog” wrong my entire life. At least, wrong as in I’m American and we’re in America and Americans apparently drop the -ue endings of random various words. Yes, that means I’ve been spelling “dialog” wrong, too. I mean, don’t tell me that doesn’t look weird. It should be “dialogue.” The word just doesn’t look finished without that -ue ending.

Alright, this might not be entirely related to poetry. I apologize. I had a mini-meltdown last night while copyediting CNF pieces for Gandy Dancer when, after consulting three different writing manuals, I realized I’ve *apparently* been spelling these words wrong since I was in elementary school. And that no one ever bothered to correct me.

…which made me wonder, have you guys ever found yourselves spelling “color,” “colour?” “Gray” as “grey?” Or–*gasp*, “center” as “centre” and “theater” as “theatre?” I tried to google some information on why there are differences in the accepted standard forms of American vs British English, but all I could really find was that there was never really a standard form to begin with–Americans just tend to favor (favour?) some spellings, while Brits favor another.

So, have any of you ever run across this problem in your poetry? Do you think some variant spellings automatically look/read “better” than others (re: am I just crazy?)? Should “catalogue” and “dialogue” really be “catalog” and “dialog”–or should I just up and move to the UK since I can’t stand the way the dropped -ue ending looks?

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?”

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”

Poetry, Prose? Where’s the Line?

We’re a few weeks into the semester now, and as I’ve probably mentioned in class I’m currently taking Lyric Essay with Steve West, in addition to our own wonderful Poetry Workshop. I entered both classes with a somewhat strong idea of what categorized each genre: poetry has stanzas and line breaks, beautiful images that are stringed along with some sort of unifying idea or moment; lyric essay, a subgenre of CNF, I thought was usually more narrative—it could have beautiful images like poetry, but those images were usually unified through the personal experience of some sort of first-person narrator or embodied self presented within the essay. Continue reading “Poetry, Prose? Where’s the Line?”

Is There a Geneseo School of Poetry?

This is a topic that has come up a few times in the Gandy Dancer class, both this semester and last. I’ve talked a little with Lucia about this, and we both seem to agree: Geneseo has a definite school or style of poetry. Complex, multidimensional lines; intricate details and images; an aversion to the abstract and vague—these are all things I tend to see in the poems being produced in our workshop and by other Geneseo students that write poetry. Continue reading “Is There a Geneseo School of Poetry?”

Poetry Inspiration

I don’t have much experience writing poetry (or any, really), so when I signed up for this class one of my biggest questions was, well, what am I going to write about? A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a wikipedia article about Turritopsis Dohrnii, a jellyfish that has the ability to revert itself back to sexual immaturity after it progresses in age–basically, the freaking thing is immortal. I wrote a really rough draft of a poem about this jellyfish for our second poetry exercise, and that’s when I realized: weird, random facts can be a good source of inspiration for poetry. Continue reading “Poetry Inspiration”