Gail Denham resides in Oregon. Our very far reaching WyoPoets is proud that we can bring her background to you. She writes short, short stories, news articles, poetry, and essays. From her own computer far across the country she tells us about her writing life.
Not sure I want to spend months writing a book and then have it rejected. Besides, I like variety. About 35 years ago I began by writing short family essays. One sold the first time out! I was hooked. Many writing classes at conferences and critique groups followed. From little up, I’ve been a story teller. Some of the first writing that caught a professor’s eye was my poetry.
I discovered that photo illustrations sold to magazines and books made more money so my work became two-pronged. After digital emerged, the photo markets mostly closed and so I began poetry and the short story stages of my writing began.
If I write or take a photo, I want to place it somewhere – a magazine or a contest entry. For several years I worked as a stringer for a couple newspapers and sold human interest articles with photos. Over these 35 years, I’ve sold hundreds of stories, essays, news articles, poems, and photos. I lead many writing and photography workshops in Pacific Northwest Conferences.
Recently photos began to creep back. My photo is the cover on Encore 2012, the NFSPS anthology. My poems have won prizes in many state poetry contests. Some poems and photos have been used in on-line publications. Each week I try to send out batches of poems to various contests. I belong to many state poetry associations.
My family has always figured in my poetry, short stories, and photos. I love to make people laugh or give a sigh of recognition at the end of a poem.
My husband and I’ve been married 54 years. We have four sons, their wives, l4 grandchildren and seven greats. I keep journals that chronicle family happenings, funny stories, memorable events, and personal journals. These can be mined for inspirations.
I enjoy writing to a theme. Therefore, I follow the Writer’s Digest Poetry Editor’s themes (Robert Lee Brewer). I also belong to an on-line group that throws out themes from its members.
My writing rituals are when I can get to it. Evenings I often rough out a poem or story. Mornings are work time – complete a poem/story or send entries to contests and magazines.
It’s great fun to try new forms of poetry. This I try to do often – a stretching experience. Also I read poetry books continually -- and have favorites such as William Stafford, Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel, Collette, and Tennant. Any poet who writes plain, understandable, simple poetry are those I admire. I desire meaning, emotional connection, storytelling.
I’ve produced three poetry chapbooks. Mainly I’m a story teller and a humorist. First loves.
Karen Call from Tucson, Arizona, tells us about her poetry journey.
Some months I only write one poem. It’s the poem I send in an envelope to four other poets; it’s our round robin. If you know a few other poets, I can’t think of a better motivator to keep writing poems than a round robin by snail mail.
I go through periods when I write a poem a day. When we travel I don’t write as much. When we are home, I go for a walk and then write. I have a calendar of inspirational quotes that I’ve had for twenty years. I write about the day’s quote, what I saw on my walk, or what I see out my window or what’s on my mind.
I don’t always write a poem; sometimes it’s an essay. I start my pieces in longhand in ink on yellow, lined pads, writing straight across the page. I leave empty lines between my words for changes. When I think I’ve got something, I take my messy sheets to the computer and type the lines. That helps me see if I have a poem nugget or an essay. If I do have a poem nugget, I work with the words, condense them, and look for better ones. I leave it for a day or two, coming back to improve it and create line breaks.
I’ve had poems published in chapbooks and in on-line magazines. One editor said my poem was exactly what she wanted. Joy!
I belong to the Wyoming and Arizona Poetry Societies and attend workshops. I buy books of poems and the craft of writing poetry, and I use the library. I read poems alone and aloud with my husband. Poems read aloud take on new meaning.
We like poems because there is so much in so few words.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, president of WyoPoets, is an avid and passionate about life. Reading her submission and listening to her poetry give us a view into her many interests and observations.
I’m the President of WyoPoets. I’m visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband, totally blind and partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes.
Besides poetry, I write fiction and nonfiction. My novel, We Shall Overcome, was published in 2007 by iUniverse. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. My poetry collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, was released in 2011 also by iUniverse. I’m currently working on a memoir about my experiences as a family caregiver.
I’m inspired to write by many things: songs I hear on the radio, things I see with my limited vision while out walking, conversations I overhear, dreams I have, items in the news.
Visit her website to learn more about her and her books and to read some of her work.
Tom Spence lives in Buffalo and found time to let us into his life.
I read and write poetry because I believe we humans are born with syntax perplexing us. As we form language, we inform our perception of the world. As we use syntax to describe our perception we re-form the world. Rules for this game are not fixed. No topics are forbidden. No one is keeping score. It’s fun. Everyone wins.
I’ve been reading and writing poetry since grade school. My sister and I spent afternoons reading out loud whatever we had from my father’s or grandfather’s eclectic collections: Badger Clark, Rudyard Kipling, Longfellow; later, Keats, Elizabeth B. Browning, E. E. Cummings, Robert Frost. We wrote a lot of doggerel when we were young. We imposed it upon unsuspecting audiences. Unfortunately, she is dead, but I persist.
Every time I hear a great lyric sung (Hart, Sondheim, Harburg, Comden, Berlin, etc.) I wish I had been a lyricist. I sing in the shower.
I am inspired to write by contradictions, ironies, discoveries, doubts, and wit. Getting from here to there is only fun along the way.
I write every day, hundreds of words. If I am not working on something I feel bereft and lonely. My desk is a mess. My computer files need attention.
I write formal verse, informally. I am always aware of form. I write plays with music. I write a lot of fiction. I am opinionated, but mostly tolerant…, and occasionally insufferable.
From Tom’s work, he shares:
I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like
Is universal and facile.
It’s not very much different from riding a bike,
But infinitely larger the hassle.
I’ve been growing up for a very long time;
I have plenty of plans, that’s for sure.
Should I get grown up before I die, I’m
Afraid that will be premature.
Here, WyoPoets asks its members to summarize their writing lives, poetry backgrounds and inspirations. We hope that if you are not a member you will think about joining. If you are a member, this is a chance to learn how other WyoPoets’ members get their poetry onto paper. Submissions receive only minor edits. Each poet’s voice clearly shines through. If you would like to share your poetry experiences, email Myra L. Peak for details.