Rejoicing in the Church of Poetry

I’m coming off a high after graduation last month. I finished the Stonecoast M.F.A. Low-Residency Program at the University of Southern Maine, a two-year journey I started for time to write and complete another manuscript to shop around. It allowed me to expand my network, see Maine (a place I otherwise would not have visited), […]

The Residency and Immersion

Jaed Coffin’s goal is to aim for the big idea when he’s working on a writing project, often immersing himself in his subjects’ worlds. And he didn’t expect anything less from his students, who he urged yesterday to do their subjects’ stories justice by giving readers the big picture. There was a lot to take […]

After Arriving Home

These past ten days were inspiring. I shared space with some of the most gifted people, talking about the cloud language of poetry and how to make our lines sing. The experts made the craft of writing magical enough to transform the Stonecoast MFA summer residency into a Hogwarts for aspiring word witches and wizards. […]

The Journey Home

Poet and essayist Ray Gonzalez  once wrote that “home is…the place where an inner being begins and ends.” That’s probably the best definition of the theme woven through Linda Buckmaster’s presentation The Return: Writers Consider Homeplace, which seemed symbolic since there’s one-day left of the Stonecoast MFA summer residency. I spent eight days hanging with […]

The Residency II

Jaed Coffin drew a diagonal line on an easel pad and called it the spine. That’s the idea of identity, he told a room of writers at a presentation Friday. Coffin drew a wavy line that curved along the diagonal one, and called it the narrative. Then he shaded in dots where the lines intersected. […]

Creating Mental Motion Pictures For Readers

Looking up from his laptop, Richard Cambridge adjusted his eyeglasses before resting his elbows on the lectern. He surveyed the packed room of Stonecoast faculty and fellow grad students at a session he led Thursday. “How many of you’ve seen Mission:  Impossible?” he said. Several hands shot up, remembering the opening montage of the popular […]

How To Write About Sex

A roomful of writers laughed after Aaron Hamburger noted that nipples shouldn’t be compared to cherries, pencil erasers or Frankenstein’s neck bolts—at least not in literature. “Metaphors should be used to make things clear,” the Stonecoast faculty member said during his presentation. “But we’re all adults, here. I think we’re clear on what a penis […]

The Residency

During yesterday’s presentation on music and improvisation, Gil Helmick and his band inspired the writers in the room to face their fears off the page. “I’ve actually watched my work change before my eyes while I’m performing,” he said. “Line breaks go. I’ll toss lines over my shoulder like they’re dead birds.” Helmick’s presentation Poetry, […]

The Never-Ending Journey

EDITOR’S NOTE: In honor of national poetry month coming upon us in less than two weeks, here’s an essay on a young poet’s never-ending journey  and the lessons learned along the way. Standing in front of my fourth grade Eng/Lit class, I had only one goal: to recite every line correctly. It was more than […]

Photo Exhibit Showcases Black Poets

Marcus Jackson is counting down the days until his friend’s art showcase and exhibition. If you ask, he’ll say it’s a long time coming. With the event two weeks away, he also anticipates that evening will be an emotional one. “I grew up trying to act like a tough dude,” Jackson says, “but you might […]