This Choice is Who You Are has been my mantra these past years: a mantra for becoming the person I want to be. I believe that choosing to live with the attention that poetry demands is a good start.

In the Podcasts, I look to other artists to learn from their experiences.

I ask poets how their work with poetry influences the choices they make in their daily lives, and how these, in turn, affect their sense of self and their relationships.

How are they using the experience of art to shape The Good Life for themselves?

 


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Molly Gaudry is the author of the novel-in-verse We Take Me Apart, which was shortlisted for the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil award. It was also the 2nd finalist for the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry.

Molly has an MA in Fiction, an MFA in Poetry, and is currently pursuing a PhD in experimental fiction. She is the founder of Lit Pub.

Desire: A Haunting is the soon-to-be-released sequel to We Take Me Apart,  also from Ampersand Books.

Poems read or referred to in the podcast:

You Fit Into Me” by Margaret Atwood.
Molly reads an excerpt from We Take Me Apart (Ampersand Books – originally published by MudLuscious Press in 2011).
Her chapbook Wild Thing (The Cupboard, 2014) is also mentioned.


 Original music and artwork by Karl R. Powell.

Please subscribe through Soundcloud,  iTunes or your podcast app. Consider liking the Facebook page, to help spread the word. And, lastly, if you want to suggest a writer I should interview, please Get In Touch.

 

This Choice is Who You Are has been my mantra these past years: a mantra for becoming the person I want to be. I believe that choosing to live with the attention that poetry demands is a good start.

In the Podcasts, I look to other artists to learn from their experiences.

I ask poets how their work with poetry influences the choices they make in their daily lives, and how these, in turn, affect their sense of self and their relationships.

How are they using the experience of art to shape The Good Life for themselves?

View More: http://jamiecliffordphoto.pass.us/tania-pryputniewicz


A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Tania Pryputniewicz is a co-founding blogger for Tarot for Two and Mother Writer Mentor. Saddle Road Press published her debut poetry collection, November Butterfly, in 2014. Recent poems appeared or are forthcoming at OnePatria Letteratura, and TAB. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband, three children, one blue-eyed Husky and a portly house cat named Luna. She can be found online at Feral Mom, Feral Writer

Poems in the podcast:

“There is no Frigate like a Book” by Emilie Dickinson
“God’s in the Butter” from November Butterfly by Tania Pryputniewicz (Saddle Road Press)

… Another of Tania’s favorite poems which we didn’t have time for in the podcast is “The Pomegranate”by Eavan Boland.


Original music and artwork by Karl R. Powell.

Please subscribe through Soundcloud,  iTunes or your podcast app. Consider liking the Facebook page, to help spread the word. And, lastly, if you want to suggest a writer I should interview, please Get In Touch.

 

 

I was listening to an On Being interview with Robin Wall Kimmerer on my way to work Wednesday. She says:

Children recognize 100 corporate logos and fewer than 10 plants. That means they aren’t paying attention.

But, (as she points out earlier in the discussion) children always pay attention, and I think they pay close enough attention to intuit the difference between what we say is important and what is truly important to us. The problem is not with the children.

I’ve been thinking about my role as a teacher. My role as a student. And that something, in between the two: a facilitator.

Since I see poetry as a form of facilitation, I’ve been thinking about why I write. For whom, and then again, why? To communicate, to preach, or to gain approval?

In an interview with Maria Shriver, Mary Oliver talks about not getting the mother-love she needed; the resulting “neediness” she had in terms of her relationship with her life partner. She doesn’t say whether this neediness influenced her poetry. She does say she tries to focus on the positive while writing. She explains that poetry is, for her, not therapy.

But this could also be question of the definition of “therapy”. Oliver’s focus on the positive is a deliberate choice. And, arguably, a choice that has had benefits in terms of her work, and her personal life. Her life’s story has not been swallowed by the difficulties of her childhood. Or her more recent bout with cancer. She gestures towards them in her poems, and we see the wisdom of her moving on, in the larger narrative.

At least that is how I read her work, and admire it.

But am I still writing letters to my own mother? Is my neediness what has me in a bind regarding submissions and publishing? My need for approval? For mother-love?

After not having thought about poetry-as-business, the poetry “community”, about submissions or publishing for over 5 years, returning is odd. After having published (soon) 6 collections and earning a doctorate, the idea of paying a reading fee is something I can’t really get my head around. Having had my poems published in journals before, I can’t see that it led to sales in my books. This means I am considering, after having paid for my education, my computer, I can now pay to have the opportunity for people to consider whether they will present my work to an audience who might read it.

This is why I need to answer the question of why I write, and for whom. I already paid a shrink – for years – to give me the mother-love I’ve lacked.

I do know I’m still looking for a replacement for the childhood God I lost when I discovered He was too into irony to worship. In my less self-conscious moments of writing, that is where the poetry takes me. This search.

I’ve been thinking about what Kelli Russell Agodon said about the way she weaves the details of our daily lives into poems about our common concerns.

Spanx and angst, I guess.

The first time I wrote about this, I misspelled Spanx. I am actually more than okay with that. My daily life is more often filled with words like togforsinkelser and boblejakke. But that is another challenge all together.

Angst. Yes. The question is where to focus. Angst or answers. And yet, if I am looking for answers, will I need to articulate questions? Or isn’t that exactly what poetry is? Unarticulated questions.

snowbellI may not learn to identify all of the plants along my running route by name, but I can begin with the goal of knowing more than ten. I can begin to be honest with myself about what I am making important in my life.

The snowdrops are resurrecting now. I can begin here. And I will write for anyone with same, unarticulated questions that I have.

I would love to hear your thoughts on who you write for, what your approach to publishing is…

 

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No riding elephants in the park, or else…

As someone who teaches teenagers, I’ve noticed over the years that one of the most telling signs of maturing is the ability to accept Consequences.

Probably because most of us, until the age of 15 or 16, are served consequences in the form of punishment (meted out by parents in an attempt to spare us real-world consequences), it takes time for us to learn to recognize the difference between the two.

As a result: Life is unfair. We blame our parents.

Where I teach, we mark absences each day. Somehow the system has evolved so that students can petition to have absences removed from their record. I find this whole concept baffling. Whether a student was present that day is no longer a matter of fact, but an indication of the student’s character. If they have a good excuse, history will report a falsehood so that they aren’t “punished”. Present or absent no longer reflects the information we might assume the words do. The argument is that if a student is in the hospital for a week, they don’t need to be “doubly punished” for their illness.

Life is unfair. We blame the system. Or beg the system to rewrite facts, instead of widening perspectives.

Life is unfair. Blame God. Or abandon your god. Because even when we, on the surface, begin to discern consequence from punishment, we still find it difficult to disassociate shame from a negative consequence.

Perhaps I should speak for myself: Most of the time I think I have this figured out.

I make choices. Sometimes with risks. And when the consequences are not ideal, I do know God is not punishing me. I know that.

So why then, still, these accompanying feelings of shame?

Still learning. And unlearning, in the face of facts.

You?