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.
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.