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Writing Poetry To Save Your Life: How To Find The Courage To Tell Your Stories (MiroLand Imprint) Paperback – April 30, 2013
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Praise for THE PLACE I CALL HOME: "The Place I Call Home by Maria Mazziotti Gillan contains some of the most honest poems about marriage and family a reader is likely ever to come across. The craft is there, the well chosen word or phrase, but the power of these poems comes also from the truth in them that is moving and rare."--Marge Piercy Praise for ALL THAT LIES BETWEEN US: "These poems are powerful in their honesty, their passion and their grief. They take us deep into the labyrinth of our humanity and -- in the face of loss and death -- show us the paradox of love in the center of our being."--Diane di Prima
From the Author
When I first started to consider putting together a book about writing poetry, I thought about how frightened people often are by the idea of poetry ? writing it, reading it, feeling that they have anything to write about that anyone else would be interested in reading. I realized that my whole life as a poet and teacher was dedicated to giving people a feeling that their lives, that what they have to say, is important. I believe we all have stories to tell, and that those stories are the basis for writing poems that reach across the barriers of age, ethnicity, gender, social class to connect with all that is human inside us. I think of William Faulkner?s Nobel Prize acceptance speech in which he said: ?Writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.?
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I even use the book constantly for my own writing; whenever I hit a block for topics to write on, there is always something in here that jogs my creativity. This book is like being in one of Maria's workshops or classes--she is truly inspiring and gifted as a teacher and a writer, and she doesn't feel the need to cloak poetry in the mystique and mystery that some poets seem to insist on, which can turn so many students off of reading or writing it. When I walked into her class, I planned to be a fiction writer, and I was only taking the course because it fit my schedule. By the middle of the semester, I had changed my focus entirely, started writing poems, and was getting acceptances to several international journals before a year had passed. If you take what maria says or writes to heart, you will tap into talents you never even knew you had. This book deserves to be held up in the canon of technique and how-to guides for writing poetry and should be the first book of any kind for the beginning, or even experienced, poetry writer to turn to.
I've given the book four stars instead of five only because Ms Gillan doesn't discuss how to shape a "story" into the poetry form. In future editions, a couple of paragraphs about that would be helpful, but simply seeing how she's done it is probably enough. (If it were possible to rate the book 4 3/4 stars I would have).
Buy it. Give it away. Get another!
author of "L is for Lion: an italian bronx butch freedom memoir" SUNY Press
and "Schistsong" BORDIGHERA Press
L Is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir (SUNY series in Italian/American Culture)
Schistsong (Via Folios)
Carry My Coffee (Live)