It’s Back!!


Don’t even hesitate to sign up for this FREE 10-week Coursera class through the Writer’s House at U Penn. I took this last year and gained a whole new appreciation for poetry. Better hurry. I copied this from their Facebook page: “We are 49 people shy of 30,000 enrolled in ModPo, which begins tomorrow morning at 9 am Philly time. People are currently enrolling at a rate of 2,723 per week.”



Modern & Contemporary American Poetry

ModPo is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Dickinson and Whitman to the present. Participants (who need no prior experience with poetry) will learn how to read poems that are supposedly “difficult.”

Get all your questions answered and then register.

Your poetry cup will overflow.

G.K. Chesterton was wrong

poets have been mysteriously silent about the subject of cheese

Thankfully, G.K. was wrong.

Aren’t you glad?

Cuz who wouldn’t love a good poem about cheese?

I introduce to you, James McIntyre, also known as the Cheese Poet.
(1828 – 1906)

The following poem is from his masterpiece, “Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7,000 Pounds” from his collection entitled: Oh! Queen of Cheese: Selections from James McIntyre, the Cheese Poet.

It is possibly his best-known poem.


McIntyre’s “greatest boost to his fame probably came from a number of his poems being anthologized in the collection Very Bad Poetry, edited by Ross and Kathryn Petras (Vintage, 1997).”

An annual poetry contest is held in Ingersoll, Ontario, to honor McIntyre.

Now, that is an tribute any poet would relish.


(Too cheesy?)

Aren’t Poets just Word People?


Some of us are visual, too. (I began college as an art major but got side-tracked by something more important.)

And remember that whole artsy-fartsy thing poets have going on? We need an outlet.

“Voila!”  Enter: Visual Poetry!

Visual Poetry delights the eye and excites the mind. It “blurs the distinction between art and text.” It is conceptual and editorial. While there are myriad definitions one thing stands clear about visual poetry–

“typographic elements are secondary to visual elements, are minimal, or in some cases are absent altogether from the work.”

Today I share some of mine with you. If you are wondering, I use several different image-capturing devices and photo-editing techniques.

Reading in Bed

reading in bed 3

Before the Funeral

Before the funeral





I’m Hooked!

For those of us who feel what we see and write, visual poetry startles our imagination.  It’s a playground medium where art connects with words, concepts, culture, emotions–

It’s endless.

What do you think? Have you ever tried visual poetry?

Letting go of Free-Verse

Me + Form = Slacker

My menu bar sports a tab titled “Forms.” I had good intentions when I added that tab. It’s handy to have a personal reference and hunting the internet for a specific form can be frustrating.

I’m feeling guilty for neglecting it (a little) Because I kind of love forms.

Forms are not the old codgerly crackpots you may envision.

I won my first ever writing contest by crafting a Shakespearean sonnet back when my boys were toddlers. I was going through a divorce at the time and was taking any job I could to get some income. Five nights a week, I was an aide in a group home for young men. Twice a week, we drove them to an art program at the Park District. While they were in class, I sat in the stairwell with my yellow legal pad and scratched out words that eventually became the winner of our community college writing contest. Consequently, I feel an emotional affinity for forms. Forms have made me more disciplined in my word choices, pacing, and prosody building.

I enjoy the practice and the rush of poetic wind when I complete one.

Confused formless poems

Without form many poems are stuck in the traffic of verbs and nouns and phrases. Slowly, meandering in the free-verse lane. Crying out for form. Form would give them structure and depth.

Formless poem


But, which form should you choose?

Oftentimes, if you search for a specific form, the explanation is like reading a calculus equation but with words-overwhelming and boring. (Sorry math geeks.)

Get out of the Free-Verse Lane

Just recently Robert Brewer at Poetic Asides posted a LIST OF 50 POETIC FORMS FOR POETS including descriptions even I can understand and follow. So helpful! He also gives poets opportunities to write a poem in that form, post it, and receive feedback from other poets. (Everyone needs a little encouragement.)

A few of my other favorite places to find descriptions of forms are: The Poetry Foundation, Creative Bloomings, DVerse, and Poetry Soup. Even Wikipedia has a list.

Most of the time, I drive my poetry car in the free-form (free-verse) lane but sometimes it’s nice to hang out at the oasis. It’s a treat to pull over, grab a cool beverage, and shift words into a new rhythm or rhyme.

I encourage you to occasionally slow your horse cart or Maserati, pull over, smell the daisies, and embrace the form. Play in it. Fill it with your empty poems. Leave free-verse behind for a few days.

You’ll surprise yourself.

A Form-Fitting Question

Do you have a favorite form site? Or do you find yourself searching several sites to understand the rules of a specific form?

Where do you and your poems fit?

Golden Shovel

Recently, Poetic Asides (Robert Brewer) hosted a challenge to write a Golden Shovel poem. This was a new form to me.

Here are the rules:

· Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.
· Use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem.
· Keep the end words in order.
· Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).
· The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

Robert sorted through 700 comments. You can imagine my glee at finding my name on the top ten list. I’ve only made that list once before so perhaps I was a little giddy. Congrats to all the winners!



“Things I’ve learned along the wrong path”
by J.lynn Sheridan

The pining of the evening winds tell
another story—the capture of lovers and all
their secrets never explored because the
things that really matter are forgotten–truth,
beauty, and purity—the trinity of passion. But
when truth hurts and beauty fails to tell
of its suffering, only purity remains. It
stands alone as the plumb line without slant.

From Emily Dickinson #1129

Virtual Blog Tour Stop Over

The tour requests to Land


The virtual blog tour has a layover at Writing on the Sun today.

I was invited by Michelle Pond, my pal poet from MA Poet (FocusinI Keep You With Meg on life with a lens and a verse.) Michelle is in my writing group, Wordsmith Studio.

What I appreciate about her poetry is that she is not afraid to delve into difficult subjects.

Her chapbook, I Keep You With Me, attests to her skill at writing about grief.

Click to purchase her chapbook for .99 on your Kindle or Kindle for PC. You’ll understand what I mean.


Welcome to Writing on the Sun

The tour is simple. It is really just a series of three questions that I answer and then I send the tour on its way.

1. Why do I write what I do?

Easy Peasy.

As it pertains to this blog, poetry is how I connect, explore, and sort life.

Also, I think in verse. Which sometimes makes it hard to write in sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. But, that won’t stop me from . . .  (see #3b.)

2. How does my writing process work?


If I’m creating plot, characterization, or “what ifs,” I  play inside that sand box in the mornings and in the wee hours of the night.

If I’m editing, that waits until the afternoon.

If I’m doing something visual, (see answer #3c) that’s a evening/night thing.

However, interspersed between creative spurts, I dabble in my research to reset my brain. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. Truthfully, research is my Achilles heal in that I grab both achilles heals and disappear in that rabbit hole faster than a March Hare.

A right and left brain phenomenon? I don’t know. It just works that way with me.

Got it?


Neither do I. Sometimes the order flip flops. With no warning. It’s quite unnerving to wake up with my face in (see #3c) and go to sleep with my brain in 3b mode, which aggravates my insomniac sleeping patterns.

3. What am I working on?

a. I began a new blog awhile back. The Slow Forget. I pass on info about Dementia and then sometimes I write a poem about my mom’s journey in that neverland of memory. I’m interested in utilizing Nina Amir’s method of Blogging a Book. But, not sure how to approach it yet.

b. I’m tidying up my first novel. It is still to be determined if it ever sees the light of day. Beta reader is reading. (I think) I’m toying with the synopsis still but with trepidation cuz if Beta says story stinks, then I need a total revamp of story and synopsis, which is almost as difficult to write as story itself. Then I need to decide if money is important because I may need to hire an editor. But, already, the new WIP has some traction. This time I’m going to use Scrivener to write it so I’m watching the How-to videos to learn.

c. I’m taking a more serious interest in Visual Poetry. Actually, it’s something I’ve toyed with for a long time but just now am roaming the literary journals to begin submitting some of the my work. If I get bit by the brave bug, I’ll post some here.

d.The other thing I do is read. And read. And read. I decided I read so much that I became a professional reader on NetGalley, which really means I am privileged to read advanced copies of books and write reviews. For fun.

Tickets! please take my tickets!

I’m offering free tickets to the blog tour to the following writers, who are also members of Wordsmith Studio. Please stop over at their place for some tea and pleasant reading.

Gerry Wilson

Gerry W

Gerry Wilson is a fiction writer, wife, mother of four sons, grandmother seven times over (four boys and three girls), and step-grandmom to three more boys, including a set of fraternal twins.

A life-long Mississippian, Gerry’s work is sometimes “Southern,” but not always. Her short fiction has appeared in Prime Number Magazine Volumes 19 and 37, Prime Number Editors’ Choice Anthology 2012, Good Housekeeping Magazine, and a number of other journals and magazines. The opening chapter of a novel, Spirit Lamp, won a “best of” award in Jane Hamilton’s fiction workshop at Eckerd College’s Writers in Paradise (2011). Besides Ms. Hamilton, Gerry has studied fiction writing with Antonya Nelson, Ann Hood, Connie May Fowler, Dorothy Allison, and Ron Hansen. She’s currently querying her second novel, working on a third, and polishing up a short story collection.

Gerry and her husband live in Jackson, Mississippi, with their neurotic Siamese cat, Oliver.

To learn more about her, visit The Writerly Life and her writer’s page on Facebook. Her Twitter handle is @gerrywil.

Elissa Field


Elissa Field lives in Florida where she where she balances her time as a busy writer, teacher and mother of two sons. She has had short fiction published in venues including Conjunctions online. She is seeking an agent for her first novel, while at work finishing a second, and often shares writing resources, posts on process and reading lists at her blog. Her Twitter handle is @elissafield