“Compassion” by Miller and Lucinda Williams

Tonight I want to share a poem that a friend of mine shared with me today. This comes the poet, Miller Williams, who died on New Year’s Day of this year at the age of 84. Miller is the father of Lucinda Williams, the singer/songwriter and this particular poem inspired her new album. I saw…

Dear Mean Voice Inside My Head

I didn’t realize for a long time that you were as active a character in my brain as you are. You were much better then at throwing in a subtle negative comment only occasionally. But now you’ve moved to a new level. You are relentless about tossing in your opinion, which is always counterproductive, whenever…

Healing Through Storytelling

Tonight I read my online students’ Week Two flash stories/memoirs and I literally was sitting at my computer crying. The class is tiny – three woman – a perfect size, really, for a class. They are sharing such deeply personal and painful stories with such grace and beauty, I might have to go upstairs and…

“How?” by Abraham Sutzkever

Today I helped Rachael with a paper for a UCLA literature course and I read some poetry by Abraham Sutzkever, who is considered by many to be “the greatest poet of the Holocaust.” The poem that we read and analyzed is called “How?” It reads: How? How will you fill your goblet On the day…

Frederick Douglass Facts & A Compelling Poem

I have been working with one of my students on African American poetry. Interesting facts I’ve learned about Frederick Douglass: 1) He was considered one of the most highly regarded African Americans in the 19th century. 2) He was a brilliant writer, speaker, social reformer, and statesman. 3) He was 1/2 white. His father was…

Our Flawed Selves

Today, while helping one of my students, I read several poems by Vievee Francis, who I have mentioned before on my blog. Her book Blue-Tail Fly is a series of persona poems about various figures ranging from before the Mexican American War until after the Civil War. One of those characters is Abraham Lincoln. One…

A Poetry Book That Pulls You In and Teaches You History

My daughter Rachael has introduced me to a book of poems from her poetry class at UCLA entitled Blue-Tail Fly by Vievee Francis. This is a wonderful volume of persona poems written in the voices of either real people or composites of people living from the pre-Mexican American War through the post-Civil War era. This book…

The Joys of Writing “Flash” and Some Reading Recommendations

I currently am teaching an online course on Flash Fiction and Flash Memoir for Story Circle Network. This subject is close to my heart since flash is one of my favorite modes of writing. For the course, I have read a lot of short-shorts both fiction and memoir and have been reminded of just how…

I Will Be the SheWrites Guest Editor Beginning Sunday

On Sunday, I will be serving as the guest editor for the week over at SheWrites.com, a blog with over 19,000 members (mostly women, but some men), who are excited about writing. I hope you will come over and visit this week. Membership is free and I could use the support! We will be covering…

Poetry Prompt: Time to Grow

I have time to grow To push past my fear like a green stalk slender and fresh pushing up and out of the soil straight to find the Sun And I have time to smile and touch my hair And dance down the stairs like a gypsy wearing earrings and a red skirt Down I…