Tag Archives: creative writing

Online Course: Writing Flash Prose (Loft Literary Center)

I’ll be teaching my online course on writing in short and flash forms again this summer! It’s a six-week course offered entirely online through The Loft Literary Center. It starts June 1, and registration is open now!

Writing Flash Prose

Location: Online
Ages: Adult

This class is designed to provide students with an overview of short forms. Flash fiction, micro-memoir, and prose poetry have become quite popular in the world of contemporary literary publishing. These very short new forms are inviting to busy readers, who can devour a wholly satisfying story on the bus ride to work. For writers, “flash” forms provide an excellent opportunity to sharpen our skills, because they require a great deal of restraint and precision. In this class, students will learn and practice the fundamental elements of each ‘micro’ genre (even as we observe how they overlap) by reading published work, as well as writing and sharing our own work.

Over the course of six weeks, writers will produce at least one piece in each of the three micro genres (flash fiction, micro memoir, and prose poetry) of 1,000 words or less. Toward the end, writers will also try their hand at hint fiction, writing a few stories in only 25 words! While this is not an intensive workshop class, students will have the opportunity to discuss their own work on a volunteer basis during supplementary live chat sessions.


New Poems in Crazyhorse, The Laurel Review, & Quarter After Eight

I’ve got poetry in the new issues of Crazyhorse, The Laurel Review, and Quarter After Eight this spring! They’re all poems from a new series, including prose poems in Quarter After Eight’s tribute to Baudelaire and The Laurel Review’s special issues devoted to prose poetry.

My Writing Process Blog Tour: Sex and God

A wonderful writer named Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams recently asked me to join a literary blog tour about the writing process, and I happily agreed.

Hannah received the 2013 Whiting Writers Award for her novella The Man Who Danced with Dolls and her memoir-in-progress The Following Sea. She has also received a Rona Jaffe National Literary Award and a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship. Her work has most recently appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Oxford American, Carolina Quarterly, and Mayday Magazine, among others. Abrams currently teaches in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

My answers to the blog tour questions are below.

What are you working on?

I’m working on what I think will be two different collections of poems—one very brash and loud and full of sex, the other a more quiet and contemplative collection, influenced by mysticism. Sex and God: my favorite subjects. I’m also trying to publish my second collection of poems, No Place, which has been a finalist in a few contests, but hasn’t yet found a home. It’s still undergoing minor revisions, but some of the poems in this collection were written simultaneous to The Rusted City, so I’ve been at it a while. Most of the poems I’ve placed in journals over the last few years (including my series of towns with strange names) are from No Place.

How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?

Answering this question seems to require a certain amount of arrogance. I haven’t read everything there is to read (yet). I used to try to write poems that would be immediately and irrefutably recognized as Good Poems. Now I’m more concerned with doing something new, challenging, or important—which makes me feel like a perpetual beginner, and thus humbles me in a productive way.

Why do you write what you do?

I choose topics based simply on what’s interesting to me—usually things that are dark and that deal with the body in some way. I primarily write poetry because it allows for a level of vocal drama and music that prose often does not. It’s probably no surprise that when I do write prose, it’s a bit purple. I want to poke at people with my writing, or even shake them a bit, and inhabiting a voice that is unstable, disturbed, or just melodramatic is the best (and most fun) way I know of doing that.

How does your writing process work?

It begins in starts and fits. I rely on sudden inspiration from images or phrases. Once I get going on a larger project, however, it consumes my attention and the inspiration develops its own self-sustaining ecosystem in my mind, so I can return to it at any time. I tend to obsess over subjects that move me, so single poems often turn into series or even book-length projects. Hence The Rusted City.

Next week, follow the blog tour to meet these three fabulous writers at their own blogs (linked below) and learn about their writing processes.

Lisa Ampleman is the author of a book of poetry, Full Cry (NFSPS Press, 2013), and a chapbook, I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You (Kent State University Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Kenyon Review Online, 32 Poems, Poetry Daily and Verse Daily.

Anna B. Sutton is a poet from Nashville, TN. She is on staff at John F. Blair Publisher, a co-founder of the Porch Writers’ Collective, web editor for One Pause Poetry, and on the editorial team at Gigantic Sequins and Dialogist journals. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Barrow Street, DIAGRAM, Superstition Review, Weave Magazine, Tar River Poetry, Third Coast, and other journals.

Landon Godfrey is the author of Second-Skin Rhinestone-Spangled Nude Soufflé Chiffon Gown (Cider Press Review, 2011), selected by David St. John for the Cider Press Review Book Award, and two limited-edition letterpress chapbooks, In the Stone (RAPG-funded artist’s book, 2013) and Spaceship (Somnambulist Tango Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in The Collagist, Beloit Poetry Review, Studium in Polish translation, Best New Poets 2008, Verse Daily, Broadsided, and elsewhere, and are forthcoming in Waxwing. She is co-editor of Croquet, a letterpress broadside magazine, which debuts in 2014.

News & Links

See you at AWP in Seattle!

The Rusted City Now Available!

My firs book, The Rusted City, is now available to order directly from White Pine Press via this link, as well as through large distributors like SPD and Amazon. You can also search for the The Rusted City at local independent bookstores through IndieBound. Information on The Rusted City, including blurbs and excerpts, can be found here on my Books page.

I will be promoting the book at several events this spring, including a book signing at the AWP Conference & Bookfair in Seattle and several offsite readings. I’ll also be reading in Chapel Hill, Cincinnati, Columbus, Youngstown, and Akron later this spring. Details on all of these upcoming events can be found here on my Events page, which will be updated throughout the year.

Holiday Time is Anthology Time: A Favorites List

Everybody loves a list, especially at the end of the year. In the spirit of rounding up, collecting, and recommending, I give you a list of poetry anthologies–a collection of collections, if you will.

First, a few of my favorite poetry anthologies in no particular order.

The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry and its international counterpart, The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, both edited by J.D. McClatchy: These are old standbys that I often use in poetry classes. Most of the big names of contemporary poetry are in there, but they do lack some newer and more experimental work.

Family_PortraitFamily Portrait: American Prose Poetry 1900-1950, edited by Robert Alexander (White Pine Press): This anthology of prose poetry examines the form as a Modernist genre and includes amazing prose poems that I hadn’t even seen before by poets like Amy Lowell and William Carlos Williams.

Postwar Polish Poetry, edited by Czeslaw Milosz: I discovered this one in a poetry course this year, and while it’s pretty specific, it’s definitely worth reading for the richness and variety of postwar Polish poetry.


Another and Another: An Anthology From the Grind Daily Writing Series, edited by Matthew Olzmann and Ross White (Bull City Press): This comes out of a daily writing series, which makes the poems that much more impressive and inspiring.

Great Poems by American Women, edited by Susan L. Rattiner (Dover Thrift): Not a  not contemporary anthology, but this spans several centuries and features some classics (Emily Dickinson, Phillis Wheatley) as well as many, many women poets that have been somewhat overlooked by Norton and other anthologies.

hybridAmerican Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry, edited by Cole Swenson and David St. John: This is a great supplement to the Vintage and other traditional anthologies because it presents a wide view of the more experimental side of contemporary poetry.

narrative (dis)continuities, edited by Kristina Marie Darling: an e-anthology (go read it for free right now!) that just came out on ‘prose experiments by younger writers.’ While there certainly are (what I would call) prose poems included, this is not all poetry, but it’s full of really interesting and formally innovative work.


The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, edited by Alan Kaufman and S.A. Griffin: If you’re hoping to go beyond Norton and Best American Poetry, this is great. It features poems from experimental writers like Alice Notley and Anne Waldman, as well as work from less ‘academic’ poets and musicians like Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Tupac Shakur.

There are also a few great-looking anthologies out there that I haven’t quite gotten to yet. These will be definitely be on my wish list this year.

Lit from Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James Books, edited by Anne Marie Macari and Carey Salerno

A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, edited by Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz (U of Akron Press)

ApocalypseNowCoverApocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, edited by Alexander Lumans and Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum (Upper Rubber Boot Books)

Part of my anthology enthusiasm this year is due to my own inclusion in several new anthologies:

I have a poem in Best New Poets 2013, edited by Brenda Shaughnessy and Jazzy Danziger (U of Virginia Press). This anthology series publishes 50 emerging poets every year.


Poetry to the People, edited by Abby Wendle and Scott Gregory (This Land Press) also features a poem of mine. This anthology is focused on life and culture ‘in the middle of the country.’

And finally, The Body Electric, edited by Aimee Herman features one of my poems. This one pays homage to Whitman through work engaged with conceptions of self and the body.

Double Blogging


I wrote a blog post over at The Writers’ Block, the official blog of the Loft Literary Center. The post covers the rise of flash forms–briefly, of course–including those that I’ll be teaching in my online course with the Loft this fall. You can read it here: Flash Forms: The Coolest Literary Clique in the Room.