Denise R. Weuve

Ink Damage and Other Permanent Stains

Archive for the tag “writing”

Day 22 ~ Jericho Brown

Have you read New Testament?  No?!?  Well today’s Poet Spotlight was going to feature Jericho Brown, I was going to explain how he was a student of Claudia Rankine, and she recommended I read him.  How I am grateful she did, and I was going to praise him.  Then this morning after I wrote the praise and  lead you to the poems “Elegy”  and “Heart Condition” this was in my newsfeed from poetry foundation.  Read this instead, The Contract so much better than anything I could have said and you will fall in love with Jericho because of his love for poetry that will make you jealous that you have never said any of this to poetry, when it has done so much for you.  You can also read the aforementioned poems, because you will need more.

Or watch him here.

Day 3~Kim Addonizio

kim-bar13And what if your mom was this cool? What if your mom was a musician, artist, and poet? Kim Addonizio is not your mom, and she certainly isn’t mine, but I like to think of her as the mother of the current crop of Rock and Roll Poets, as I call them. Her work is edgy, or so academia seems to think, but to me it is as REAL as REAL is when waking up in a bed that’s not yours with a tipped over bottle of vodka that you are damn sure hoping poured out onto the floor and not your mouth. Now that good just be me. But these are my favorite poets.

This is a multi talented writer, who has written not just prize-winning poems, but prize-winning essays. She never stops writing, it would appear with her latest publication being a story collection , The Palace of Allusions in 2014 and now Blues Poems and Portraits (2015)

I came to Addonizio in a back-handed way, a student handed me her book, Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within, and I was in love with the ideas she let out and onto me. So then it was to her poetry I ran. It has only been a few years, and still she has become a favorite. Below I give you two of her poems, and urge you to at the very least buy Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within. When I read her poetry I think, if only Anne Sexton were alive to see how far we get to take poetry now, she would be PROUD!
Two of my favorite poems from this poet who knows how to push the edge and sometimes jump right over.

What Do Women Want?


I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Kim Addonizio, “What Do Women Want?” from Tell Me. Copyright © 2000 by Kim Addonizio.
found on, buy the book at

Source: Tell Me (BOA Editions Ltd., 2000)



BY KIM ADDONIZIOOh hell, here’s that dark wood again.
You thought you’d gotten through it—
middle of your life, the ogre turned into a mouse
and heart-stopped, the old hag almost done,
monsters hammered down
into their caves, werewolves outrun.
You’d come out of all that, into a field.
There was one man standing in it.
He held out his arms.
Ping went your iHeart
so you took off all your clothes.
Now there were two of you,
or maybe one, mashed back together
like sandwich halves,
oozing mayonnaise.
You lived on grapes and antidepressants
and the occasional small marinated mammal.
You watched the DVDs that dropped
from the DVD tree. Nothing
was forbidden you, so no worries there.
It rained a lot.
You planted some tomatoes.
Something bad had to happen
because no trouble, no story, so
Fuck you, fine, whatever,
here comes more black trees
hung with sleeping bats
like ugly Christmas ornaments.
Don’t you hate the holidays?
All that giving. All those wind-up
crèches, those fake silver icicles.
If you had a real one you could stab
your undead love through its big
cursed heart. Instead you have a silver noodle
with which you must flay yourself.
Denial of pleasure,
death before death,
alone in the woods with a few bats
unfolding their creaky wings.

—Kim Addonizio

from Best American Poetry 2013

An Anniversary of Gratitude

Picture 3Three Years!

I started this site 3 years ago, when I decided it was time to be a writer again.  It was time to flex my poetic muscle, should I have any.  Turns out that is the only place I have muscle.

Around the same time I started this blog, I also began going to open mics, and after about a year of that, I threw my poems to the wolves of publishing.  I have been blessed, finding more Yeses than Nos to my work.  Here is the first poem I had published online, with Eunoia Review, and the most recent, with Poetry Super Highway.

In these three years much has happened, including my first chapbook coming out, The Truck Driver’s Daughter,  from ELJ Publications, I founded an amazing magazine, Wherewithal, and am attending Queens University of Charlotte as a MFA candidate.

Overall, though, I have been grateful for the support that has come my way.  Followers of this website, encouragers of poetry everywhere, and those willing to lend an ear, to what more often than not is a whiny woman looking for unattainable answers to the questions she hasn’t even asked yet.

Thank you all.

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Speeding Down Poetry Super Highway

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.45.33 AMThis week I have the distinct honor of being a featured poet for Poetry Super Highway. Rick Lupert is not only one of the funniest poets I have ever heard read, but also he is an amazing supporter and resource for the local community of writers and beyond.

When you go to the site, to see my latest publication, take a gander at the links that will just  blow your mind with how helpful they are to you as a poet.

The Truth and its Deviations in Poetry~By Joy Von Ill

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.02.23 PMToday we have a fabulous article written by Joy Von Ill, who holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.  She is a poet  who lives in Omaha, Nebraska.  A small ambling of her work can be found at Fruita Pulp and the end of this GREAT article.  Her work has appeared in various journals and in An Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraskan Women Poets. She also writes three sentence reviews of books.  Now, on to why you are here, the TRUTH.

What I Know About the Truth and its Deviations in Poems

Someone, or a book maybe, said “write what you know.” I started writing about my life. At some point, I found that catharsis was not enough for me. Art was something I wanted to achieve in my writing. As my education continued I learned a few things that I would like to share.

  1. Writing about your life is dangerous.
    • In the book, Women and Poetry: Truth, Autobiography and the Shape of Self by Carol Muske discusses how while working at a women’s prison teaching writing, she advised her students to write the truth of their lives. One of her students wrote a poem about the prison’s denial of her request to attend her daughter’s funeral. The poem was copied and memorized, passed from woman to woman. Eventually, the woman who wrote the poem was put into solitary confinement for inciting a riot. Enraged by the prison’s response, Muske spoke with the warden, who informed Muske that the prisoner who wrote the poem was not allowed to attend the funeral because it was suspected she played a role in the child’s death. As evidence, the warden showed Muske pictures of the dead child’s beaten body and court documents implicating the prisoner’s involvement. This shows the importance of differentiating between the exact truth, the way things actually occurred, and one’s personal truth. Knowing this can change a reader’s relationship to poems that feel “real.” In the case of the example given by Muske, the prisoner writing her personal truth lead to a breakdown of society inside of the prison. Think twice of the consequences of your personal truth.
    • Eventually, at some point, if you are brave enough, you will be judged. The most recent example of this happened to me in a writer’s group where a woman asked, “Did you really kill your pet bird?” Everyone in the room stared at me. My response was to say “If I answer you will that change how you read the poem?” I have found that drawing the reader’s attention to the poem itself and away from your life will distract them from their judgment, but be prepared.
  2. The significance of your truth will be read differently with time. Robin Skelton, in her book Poetic Truth, states “The facts may remain unchanged, but their significance is continually changing.” How a poem is read is always changed by the perspective of the future. It causes me to consider how future events will change how people read my work about struggles that are common in life. Consider how you view a poem about the holocaust now as opposed to someone who would have read it in 1950. There is no way to guarantee readers can connect to your poem in future, but thinking about this view can bring extra depth to your work.
  1. There are different opinions on the artistic nature of the truth.
    • Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.11.13 PMIn an interview I did with Fran Higgins she discussed her views on using factual events in her writing. In her poem, “Fanam’s Car Repair & Tow”, which appears in An Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, she changed or made up details about the garage because she could not remember particulars that would make the poem more impactful. She expressed a sense of falseness about the title, but in this case the title gives the reader a more complete mental image, making the emotional effect of the poem more tangible. As a writer, Higgins tries to be as truthful as possible. She even went so far as to state, “If I am not being true to myself in a poem then I’m not communicating accurately.” Her view of those who change details in their writing was expressed when she said, “Some people are shit poets and don’t communicate. People skirt around the truth because they are afraid of it.” While I respect this point of view, there is more to an experience and a moment than the facts. There are reasons to change events that can heighten the experience of the reader.
    •  In The Triggering Town, Richard Hugo discusses his poem, “The Squatter on Company Land.” In the poem he describes the event of a squatter trying to claim space owned by the airplane manufacturer Hugo worked for. Hugo didn’t know why the company wanted the land the squatter resided on, but cited a “hammer shop” in the poem because “The rhythm seemed to ask for it.” Also, the squatter owned many rabbits, as confirmed by one of the men who worked at evicting the squatter, but it was not a thousand. The hyperbole of the amount of rabbits makes sense to the reader, imagining the squatter as someone who was apart from main stream society. One of the reasons people read poetry is for prosody and the reader’s ability to relate to human experience. These goals are achievable by changing how we as writers report our experiences.
    • There is a deeper goal in poetry than explaining a narrative. In an interview I had with Cat Dixon she discussed T.S. Eliot’s phrase “objective correlative” (from the essay “Hamlet and His Problems”) which translates to using images or events to portray an emotion in literature. There are times when Dixon’s emotions tied to a particular event are more intense than the event would allow her reader to feel when it is expressed in poetry. She then expands the image, changing the even to evoke the emotions she felt in the moment. An example of this would be in her poem, “River”, which appears in An Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets . In the poem Dixon describes being drunk at the shore of the polluted Missouri River. Dixon said that in reality, she did sit by the Missouri River when it was polluted, but she did not go in. She considered going in, but refrained from doing so. Her emotions at the time were powerful and destructive, and she wanted the images to match the intensity of her emotions. Using this technique can create work that has the highest possible amount of impact on the reader.
    •  Changing the events can change the point of view of the poem. In The Art of Attention by Donald Revell, he writes, “How do you go about erasing yourself, how dispose of such a perilous and long-beloved forebear? Look up. Look out.” By removing one’s self from the experience being discussed, a new image and emotion can become apparent. He cites an excerpt from his poem “Heat Lightning,” where he describes his existence in the world. “Next door, in bright sun, a girl on stilts/ is so fabulously illuminated/ she blends into the light below her legs.” By shifting the focus from the “we” previously mentioned in the poem, the reader is able to see a new perspective, the writer’s “saint” and perceived salvation, is that of the girl on stilts. Revell shows an external experience outside of an interaction with a girl on stilts while he is in his office writing. External events can imply what happens internally, and have just as much effect on the reader, as the reader experiences their own emotions about the event.

As you have read, there are multiple ways this information can be applied to your writing life. Each poem that is written about a real life experience drives toward a different level of truth. Some poems can run purely on the universal truth of human experience while others require the structure of the true, factual, real life event to be an effective poem for the general reader. Be cognizant of the needs of the poem. The effects of the experience and personal truth is the best way to create an impactful poem. Be aware of the power of truth, and the power deviation from the truth holds. It can change how you write and ultimately how you connect with the reader.


To see poems by Joy Von Ill, you can visit Fruita Pulp and So to Speak Journal


Day 16~Make the Rules

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 10.32.35 PMAll our lives there have been rules.  The ones from your parents, your religion, your schools, your government.  If that is not enough you make rules as you live.  And we all do it.  How long to  wait before calling after a first date?  What is appropriate wear to the produce market?  When can you fight with authority?  So today we write a poem about the rules.  but make it rules we do not think about, but just do. Folding a towel.  Returning a gift.  Shower procedure.  Sleeping in someone else’s bed.

Turn your rules into a poem!

Happy Writing Cats and Kittens.

Day 15~Time to Crunch Some Numbers

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 6.14.23 AMYes, many will tell you how today marks the halfway point of 30 for 30.  If you are like me, you haven’t quite made the 1 per day mark.  I have written 10 out of the 15 and realized that’s 2/3rds.  Not bad, and about what I have left after the Tax Man Cometh in each of my paychecks.  This led me to the realization. . .today is TAX Day. Whether you completed your taxes long ago or are struggling to meet the midnight deadline, you will be hard press to not think of April 15th as Tax Day.  All this made me think we need a prompt about NUMBERS.  So here is the simple prompt:

Write a poem that is obviously about numbers.  That could be time.  It could be a list.  It could be a reflection of your age (tell me that isn’t a number)  Just write with numbers in mind.

Here is my sample from last year, graciously published by Poppy Road Review, “Countdown”.


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Day 13~Give Me a Minute and I’ll Prove You’re a Poet

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 10.02.07 PMWelcome to the minute poem.  A sweet concise  diddy that was introduced to me by Cathy Smith Bowers (former Poet Laurette of North Carolina).  This form has no more and no less that 60 syllables in 3, 4 lined stanzas.

It breaks down like this my Poetry Cats and Kittens:

60 syllables

8, 4, 4, 4 first stanza with rhyme scheme aabb

8, 4, 4, 4 second stanza with rhyme scheme ccdd

8, 4, 4, 4 third stanza with rhyme scheme eeff

voila. . .you minute is complete. .

Check out this excerpt from Michael Friedman’s great minute poem, which features 5 minutes..


Excerpt from "Five Minutes of Frustration", by Michael Friedman

Excerpt from “Five Minutes of Frustration”, by Michael Friedman

Day 12 ~ Saturday = Weekend = Form

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 8.48.21 PMLet’s start with something easy. Think back to childhood. Write a 10 syllable line about your first childhood memory. I’ll wait. . . . .

Great! That was pretty easy, wasn’t it. Now Write a 10 syllable line about how you felt about this memory. . .and rhyme it.

And just like that, you have 8 of the 19 lines needed for a Villanelle.


Today is the VILLANELLE . Yes I know they seem daunting



The villanelle has 19 lines, 5 stanzas of three lines and 1 stanza of four lines with two rhymes and two refrains. The 1st, then the 3rd lines alternate as the last lines of stanzas 2,3,and 4, and then stanza 5 (the end) as a couplet. It is usually written in tetrameter (4 feet) or pentameter. (don’t do that to yourself, leave the meter out. . .I do)

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Here is a fabulous example of the villanelle, but Camille Cooley.

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Day 11-Shake it Up

Awww Friday. The day that officially says heralds a break because you earned it! But for you, my poet friend there is not break. However let’s at least get you out into the world doing something you do not do every week. How about you go to the beach? Lake? Museum? A coffee house not in your neighborhood? A restaurant you have always wanted to try, but no one else would go with you? Write there. Sometimes you do not need a prompt as much as you need a new atmosphere.

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Now I also know that some of you will feel cheated so here I go with a generic prompt (that it would be great for you to do in a new local). So let’s change something in your life. Today write about the job you never ever want to have. The job that would be the worse job in the world, and write about it as if you love every aspect of it.

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