One poem, two poem, three poems, more…

By Hedgebrook Guest

I began sending my poems out to journals in an age before Submittable when a couple of postage stamps and an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) were the well-trodden pathways to an editor’s desk. I loved each ritual, each step of the process handled with care.

First I’d choose the watermarked paper, then the poems, and finally the best looking commemorative stamps. Everything had meaning; even the anonymity of the mailbox, even the lipstick kiss with which I’d seal the envelope, wishing it good luck on its journey. Several months later, when the return envelope arrived through my front door slot, I would hold it up to the light looking for evidence of the impending acceptance or rejection.   Read more

In Willow Cottage at Hedgebrook

By Hedgebrook Guest

The past few weeks have been by turns exciting, sorrowful, grief-filled, stressful and exhilarating. From flying to Paris for a two-week holiday, only to find out my younger sister had died suddenly during our overnight flight, to coming home to a house still filled with unpacked boxes from Rob’s move to Santa Barbara over Christmas, to preparing for a week at Hedgebrook, it has been a tumultuous time.

Today is my fourth day among the quiet cedars and oaks of Hedgebrook, a retreat center for women writers on Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest. In January, I was accepted into a Master Class with poet Carolyn Forché, and so far it has gone beyond my every expectation.   Read more

10 Places To Find Inspiration For Your Poetry

By Hedgebrook Guest

For poets, inspiration can be found almost everywhere—at the laundromat with the stranger who looks like Albert Einstein, on a roadtrip passing silos and fields of white geese, taking a walk and finding the lines to a poem have wandered into your head. The online world also offers inspiration with science articles on NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft or a virtual walk through an online museum, but we can find ourselves taking a step out of our poetic work as the online world comes with its distractions and pop-up ads, it can be harder to find what inspires.

Below is a list of places (both online and off) where you can find a little inspiration to help inspire your poems and help you live a little more creatively—

  Read more

Donna Miscolta Interviews Sonora Jha

By Hedgebrook Guest

We asked Summer Salon teachers Sonora Jha and Donna Miscolta to interview each other for the Hedgebrook Farmhouse Table Blog. Read Sonora’s interview with Donna from last week.

Donna: What has being a journalist taught you about being a fiction writer and vice versa?

Sonora: Journalists are skeptics and they’re an anxious lot. I brought this skepticism and anxiety to my own work. I was skeptical while doing my research and my anxiety pushed me into draft after draft. Mostly, journalism has taught me to be curious. Being a fiction writer has taught me to dream a little, to trust a little, to be in the mystery of things. Together, these things have put a spark in my writing and an interesting quirk to the way I live my life.   Read more

Sonora Jha Interviews Donna Miscolta

By Hedgebrook Guest

We asked Summer Salon teachers Sonora Jha and Donna Miscolta to interview each other for the Hedgebrook Farmhouse Table Blog. Look for Donna’s interview with Sonora next week!

Sonora: You came to writing later in life, after an education and career in everything BUT writing. What part of this do you regret, if at all? And what part do you love?

Donna: Part of the reason why I came to writing late was I had long believed that it wasn’t possible for people like me to write books, and even if I had thought it possible, I didn’t believe that I myself was capable of such a thing. I regret that it took so long for me to believe. If I had come to writing earlier, it would’ve meant more years in which to learn to write and more years to produce work. My first book was published when I was 58. I turn 63 this year when my second book comes out. I’ve just finished a new novel manuscript and am two-thirds of the way through another one. My kids are grown and retirement from my day job is on the horizon. And though I feel some momentum in writing, I also feel the pressure of time. So, is there a part that I love about coming to writing later in life? I guess I just love that I came to it at all.

  Read more

Scribbling Over Erasure

By Hedgebrook Guest

Last Friday, a much-anticipated symposium took place at the college where I teach, a small liberal arts university near Seattle. I had looked forward to it all semester, designing my classes around the illustrious scholars, authors, and thinkers who would be speaking at the two-day event. I required all my creative writing students to attend the keynote address by one Very Famous Mexican Author. He was introduced as “the most important living Mexican author,” an assessment that I don’t agree with (I would humbly offer that laurel to Elena Poniatowska), but understand. VFMA gave the packed auditorium an elegant, intricate speech, weaving together pop culture, politics, and literature in an hour-long treatise on the state of Mexican affairs. He was brilliant; I was impressed.   Read more

Gloria Named My Memoir

By Hedgebrook Guest

It happened again. Someone “friended” me and her profile picture was of a smiling woman in hijab. Since my book Uncovered is about leaving the Hasidim, this wasn’t a common experience. I was pleased. I see my memoir as feminist, as an act of solidarity with covered women everywhere. I didn’t always see it that way.

Back in 2010, I went to Hedgebrook for the first time. I had just sent off a final draft of my memoir to my agent and was eager to delve into my new novel. I saw no one else that first day, needed no one else. I hung up clothes and set up my writing space, took a careful walk around my cabin, and then I was ready to go to work. But first, a quick email check—and there was my agent’s name.   Read more

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