The Aftermath: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Network with other poets, including fans of Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides blog.
lilyclarissa
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby lilyclarissa » Thu May 22, 2008 9:17 am

Hi Robert, I feel kind of adrift when you and other poets say read, read, read. I am poor, so I subscribe only to Poets & Writers. My local library has "The Paris Review" and "Poetry" magazine. Then there are the annual "Best of/Greatest"-type books. But I highly suspect I won't be published in them anytime soon! ;) How do I familiarize myself with a wider range of publications so I know where I fit but without breaking my tiny budget?

Elizabeth

(BTW, I took two poetry writing tutorials while in college (eons ago). The second poet I worked with had me keep a poetry reading journal. She assigned me certain contemporary poets to get me started and from time to time after that. I was supposed to enter every book or individual poems I had read, with the date; explain which ones I liked and why, as well as the ones I didn't like and why. She made me parse some of the poems I liked. I found this to be an incredibly helpful practice, and my poetry improved greatly. I'm thinking I should launch a new reading journal, though without the parsing part! I mention this only because others might like this tactic used by my tutor.)

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 9:20 am

Hello, Michelle.

Yes, you answered your own question. It really can be a matter of rhythm and humor. Or it could be a matter of rhythm and complication. Or it could just be complication.

I think when writing about a scene, it's very easy to write fiction (or nonfiction) with linebreaks. So, it's a slippery slope, for sure.

I've had poems that refused to be poems and ultimately turned into short stories. And I think usually what forced my hand is that I wanted to expand more and the rhythm wasn't working, though I still liked the story.

Best,

Robert

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 9:43 am

An MFA definitely helps with the teaching marketability. So give a check there.

However, an MFA can be valuable from the perspective of forcing you to write and study literature in an even more intense mode than at the undergrad level. The degree itself doesn't prompt this, but instead, the pursuit of the MFA.

Plus in MFA programs, you have the opportunity to connect with professors and fellow grad students who all have a passion for literature. This is tremendously helpful as you try to grow as a poet.

That said, the lack of an MFA does not disqualify you from winning the National Book Award.

Mik
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Mik » Thu May 22, 2008 9:48 am

I see our time is almost up, I just wanted to say "Thank you" to Robert to answering all our questions and just being here for support, advice, and commaraderie!! Thanks!! Michelle Hed

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 9:52 am

Hello Elizabeth.

The Internet is tremendously useful for reading poetry. There are more and more online publications available for anyone with Internet access. I'm not sure if I want to single out any myself, because other online publishers might get mad if I single them out. However, open a thread with the question, "What are your favorite online publications?"--and I bet you'll get some great feedback from other poets.

Also, at your library, check out Poet's Market (since your budget is an issue). It lists several publications that are online-only. Then, go check out the sites to see if your work fits or not.

Best,

Robert

Diane-7
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RE: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Diane-7 » Thu May 22, 2008 10:01 am

Thank you Robert for all the questions you have answered. I've been learning a lot. I don't even know what questions to ask, so thanks everyone for asking them for me! :)

Skoder
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Skoder » Thu May 22, 2008 10:12 am

Michelle, you might want to look at the beginning of page one when Robert asked the same question for me.

Sheryl Oder

Robert Lee Brewer
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Robert Lee Brewer » Thu May 22, 2008 10:20 am

Thank you everyone for asking questions (and reading along). I'm never too far away; so don't be afraid to ever contact me when you've got a question.

Later gators,

Robert

Brian
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Brian » Thu May 22, 2008 10:22 am

This turned out to be one of our best Ask The Pros to date. I just wanted to thank Robert for taking the time out of his busy schedule to spend the day with us. I hope everyone else enjoyed having him as much as I did. And don't forget to check out his Poetic Asides blog .

Brian

Mik
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Re: TODAY: Ask the Pro with Robert Lee Brewer

Postby Mik » Thu May 22, 2008 10:27 am

Thanks Sheryl, I had read yours before (this morning) and I went back and read it again. Yes, I guess there really is "no limit" to poetry writing! - Michelle

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