Top Five: Danna Weiss

Danna Weiss

My List of 5 (Beliefs about Poetry)

  1. Poetry should be accessible to everyone
  2. Poetry should not require a MFA to appreciate
  3. Children write the best poetry, because they are not worried about being polite.
  4. Skunks, models, and dull businessmen inspire my poetry
  5. American Poetry is not dead.

— Danna Weiss

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Top Five: Wendy Blankenship

Wendy Blankenship

In order to begin writing I need five things:

  1. Coffee. It doesn’t matter if it is cold or old, but it needs to be in a mug. Not a to go cup.
  2. Background noise. Not home noise. I need cafe clanking plates and conversation.
  3. My pen that claims to last 7 years.
  4. One word.
  5. My breath.

Wendy Blankenship

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Top Five: Teresa Milbrodt

Teresa Milbrodt

List of the top five words that should be
forbidden in beginning poetry writing classes

  1. soul
  2. love
  3. pain
  4. black
  5. abyss

— Teresa Milbrodt

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Top Five: Amanda Sherwood

Amanda Sherwood

Writing-Related Top Five

  1. I love writing in the sun
  2. Watching a movie and thinking about how it was written
  3. Loving a well written book
  4. Getting great feedback on my work
  5. Writing something that sticks with people

— Amanda Sherwood

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Top Five: Melissa Bean

Melissa Bean Headshot
Top 5 Times for Sudden Bursts of Inspiration

  1. The second time I’ve awoken in a night
  2. In the dentists office after the Novocain but before the laughing gas
  3. On a dance floor in a night club
  4. During a meeting with my boss
  5. When I don’t have a pen

Melissa Bean

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Top Five: Charles Leggett

Leggett

Writing-Related Top Five

—James Merrill: “You hardly ever need to state your feelings. The point is to feel and keep the eyes open. Then what you feel is expressed, is mimed back at you by the scene. A room, a landscape. I’d go a step further. We don’t know what we feel until we see it distanced by this kind of translation.”

—Merrill, having read Wallace Stevens’ “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour” aloud on camera in the VOICES AND VISIONS documentary segment on Stevens, after a moment of seeming speechlessness, then a brief burst of laughter, saying, “Sometimes I feel about this poem the way other people feel about the 23rd Psalm.”

—Flaubert’s remark that the three requirements for happiness are stupidity, selfishness and good health, but that without stupidity, the other two are useless.

—Proust: that to find “The greatness…of true art…we have to rediscover…that reality, remote from our daily preoccupations, from which we separate ourselves by an even greater gulf as the conventional knowledge which we substitute for it grows thicker and more impermeable, that reality which it is very easy for us to die without ever having known and which is, quite simply, our life. Real life, life at last laid bare and illuminated—the only life in consequence which can be said to be really lived—is literature…But most men do not see it because they do not seek to shed light upon it. And therefore their past is like a photographic dark-room encumbered with innumerable negatives which remain useless because the intellect has not developed them.”

—Stéphane Mallarmé, in a letter, “Instructions for dealing with my papers,” scribbled in pencil to his wife and daughter the night before he died, having sternly instructed them to burn the lot, wrote, “…you, my poor prostrate creatures, the only people in the world capable of respecting to such an extent the whole life’s work of a sincere artist, believe me when I say that it was all going to be so beautiful.”

— Charles Leggett

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Top Five: Robert Hitt

Robert Hitt

Writing-Related Top Five

  1. Monday mornings – Sure, you can tell yourself that you’re gonna write first thing Saturday, but after checking out what’s new on Netflix, cooking up something to eat, and responding to whomever’s text, the next thing you know it’s 5am Monday and the “Shitshitshitshitshit” going through your head is the only thing that finally makes you sit down with Microsoft Word.
  2. Popcorn – Your stomach’s distracting you. Kill it with butter and carbohydrates and get back to the keyboard.
  3. USB Flash Drives – Tripping over your flash drive and half-breaking it out of your computer is right up with having a gun pointed at your face. Wondering if you just lost everything. Pure terror.
  4. To-Do Lists – Sometimes being able to cross off your list “watched 30 minutes of youtube videos” is enough to motivate you to work on “write for 15 minutes.”
  5. Tomorrow – No matter what, you swear you’ll get it all done tomorrow.

Robert Hitt

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Top Five: Jennifer Bowering Delisle

Jennifer Delisle

Top Five Favourite Endings in Literature
which I look to for inspiration
:

  1. “But it’s been a long time since/ and we must enquire the way/ of strangers–” Al Purdy, “The Country North of Belleville.”
  2. “On the back is written ‘Look! You can see our breath!’ And you can.” Timothy Findlay, The Wars.
  3. “Sit. Feast on your life.” Derek Walcott,” “Love After Love.”
  4. “This one hasn’t bloomed yet.” Lisa Moore, “Azalea.”
  5. “We are a people in whose bodies old sea-seeking rivers roar with blood.” Wayne Johnston, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams.”

— Jennifer Bowering Delisle

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Top Five: Tereza Joy Kramer

Tereza Joy Kramer 2012
Writing-Related Top Five

  1. Walking among Redwoods
  2. Talking poems with each other
  3. Understanding why students don’t understand the power of writing
  4. Trying to give yourself license to live in that power
  5. Appreciating words

— Tereza Joy Kramer

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Top Five: Michael Martin

Michael Martin

Writing-Related Top Five

  1. Salinger-Heller-Vonnegut-Bellow and Pynchon.
  2. breasts, asses, crotches, lips and eyes.
  3. clouds-wind-rain-snow and sun.
  4. child, boy, girl, woman and man.
  5. smile, talk, tears, heal and peace.

— Michael Martin

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