I started writing reviews. I wrote one on Tony Hoagland's The Art of Voice (2018) and on Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook (1994). They are obviously not current enough, so I have not had luck placing them for publication, but they were wonderful reads. I highly recommend them. In addition, I reviewed a poetry collection entitled Plans for Sentences by Renee Gladman which was published in The Adroit Review's blog: https://theadroitjournal.org/2022/04/28/a-review-of-renee-gladmans-plans-for-sentences/.
Months ago, I took a risk (because someone could write a bad review) and sent my chapbook So I Will Remember to The Mom Egg Review (MER), a prestigious literary magazine and one that is on my bucket list for publication. Mindy Kronenberg picked my book to review, and I am flattered and honored to have her praise. Not only is her review written beautifully, but it it does just what I had hoped it would (sigh of relief): let people who have not read my chapbook know that it is good work. Thank you MER and Thank you Mindy Kronenberg for the time and honor. https://momeggreview.com/2022/07/14/so-i-will-remember-by-julene-waffle/
Another local newspaper gave us chapbookers and our leaders some recognition in The Daily Star.
Last night I had the pleasure of hearing some really fine poets speak on the Wild and Precious Life Series, including Dorianne Laux. While I was listening and snapping applause, I was also Googling the participants. I was surround by poets, almost the whole lot of them. It was a neat discovery. On a separate but related topic, here is page 14 and 16 of the Franklin Register. They wrote a great article about Seeing Things and the workshop participants. It is good to know communities support their artists and that artists support each other too.
Just a quick post. . . When you don't ask for help, you don't get help. When you ask for help, often help appears. When I decided to finally take my writing seriously, make time for myself around work and business and kids, etc. I sought guidance in the form of a workshop I happened to find at Bright Hill Press with Robert Bensen, a former teacher of mine, at the helm. Who knew that it would lead to a chapbook exploration and eventually an anthology for the workshop and a chapbook for me. All sorts of support was available to publish the anthology, offered to publish the chapbook, for other workshops, and now a cool ad in Poets & Writers. Thanks to all the people who support the arts and little presses like Woodland Arts Editions.
You can also purchase books under the shop tab at the top of the page.
This year the Sharon Springs Literary Festival, like many, had to go on-line. I was lucky enough to get a spot in a small workshop with Rowan Ricardo Phillips. To , I read some of his works and biographical information. I wasn't sure if it was the right workshop for me because his style sounded so different than mine, but I thought, "At least I will learn something." Boy, was I right! I learned a ton about workshopping, teaching, noticing, writing. He gave some great advice. I think my favorite piece of advice was this: "Start it hot!" He was so knowledgeable, and thoughtful when he crafted suggestions for each of the participants. He was spot on with the parts we were struggling with. And he was well-spoken and well-versed in the craft. He knew stuff, lots of stuff! I worked on the poem I read at the Poetry Foundation yesterday. It is better for it! Thank you Sharon Springs Literary Festival and Rowan Phillips!
On Thursday I had the honor of reading three poems at the first on-line reading of the Forms and Features Poetry Foundation Workshop. There were almost 40 people watching and they were from all over the world, Germany, US, Dominique. And afterwards I found out that family and friends were watching too. It was a great success and I learned things too. Right after reading, I joined our local CANO out of Oneonta for another reading. My friends Liz, Lynne, Vicki and I read--I was so impressed with the quality of work there too. After we read, we listened to Anne Lichtenstein, of Oneonta, read from her book. She encouraged us to close our eyes as we listened, to hear the novel like one would hear poetry. We also learned that she was just nominated for a Pulitzer Prize--impressive. Both events showed me that there is not place like home after all. We have support and talent right here in our own backyard.
There are only three things that I can never tell my kids no about: Eating fruits and veggies, playing outside, and reading or buying books. Supporting small books stores is so very important. Not only do they keep small businesses thriving, but they also support local writers. Books make great gifts for everyone.
This week there will be a small display of Woodland Arts Editions at The Green Toad, Oneonta, NY. The anthology that was published a couple of months ago, will be available for purchase and was created out of an intensive writer's workshop entitled Seeing Things under the tutelage of Robert Bensen, author and teacher from Oneonta, NY. Over 20 local writers contributed work to the anthology. It is a beautiful tribute to the world around us and what makes us human.
Stemming from that workshop four authors pursued publishing their own chapbooks of poetry: Lynne Kemen, David Bachner, Vicki Whicker, and me. We worked many months to create our little works of art. The display text for The Toad is below, but there are links to contact each author under the banner tab for "other writers," and there is a link to The Green Toad under "Community." You may purchase the books at The Green Toad or directly from the author at those links.
Advice for today: Keep Reading. Buy books from small book stores.
This summer I was lucky enough to take a class under the tutelage of Cheryl Clarke through the Roxbury Arts Group. We studied the works of Lucille Clifton. Clifton's typical work was short and lacked traditional capitalization and punctuation, but the feelings she portrayed in her poetry were everything candidly human in all of us. He pain, her suffering (and that of her family), her love, and her hopes for herself, her children, and the world were apparent in every poem she wrote. As part of the class, attendees were offered the chance to publish a Clifton-esque piece of their own. "Guilt" was my contribution and was published in a short collection called born in a bed of good lessons, Edited by Cheryl Clarke.