Hello everyone! I was lucky enough to attend the Dodge Poetry Festival this year, the largest poetry festival in North America. Unfortunately, the some of the festival’s events had to be cancelled this year because of a manhole fire and power outage, but no one was hurt, and I still was able to attend a few readings. I’ve gathered the best advice from the Dodge Poetry Festival, including quotes from Sandra Cisneros, who wrote the House on Mango Street!

The books I bought at Dodge Poetry!

Pecking Order by Nicole Homer

Fat Girl Finishing School by Rachel Wiley

Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Fossil Sky by David Hinton

I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On by Khadijah Queen [This is the only one I’ve read so far, but I highly recommend it!]

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On Poetry

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“In order to write a poem, you can’t know where you’re going.”

– Jericho Brown

“Poetry is healthier than Prozac.” 

– Sandra Cisneros

“You can say things in a poem that you can’t say to loved ones.”

– Jericho Brown

“In order to write a poem, you have to lose something. When writers read, they’re looking for something. It’s the writer’s job to write what’s missing.”

– Jericho Brown

“If you read three poems and write two poems a day, you don’t need alcohol.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“Rely on sound. That’s how I write another line, based off of sound.”

– Jericho Brown

I’m married to fiction, but I’m having an affair with poetry. Poetry’s a bad boyfriend, because he never does what I want him to do.”

– Sandra Cisneros

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On Writing

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“If you don’t transform your stories, they will transform you.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“The stories we don’t talk about have a lot of power. Think about the stories you want to forget. If it’s far away, the sensory details are hone, but what’s important is how it made you feel.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“Don’t write it for publication, write it so the stories don’t haunt you.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“When I revise, I try to take out 1/2 the adjectives and 1/3 of the self pity”

– Sharon Olds

“The stereotype of the starving artist is a reality.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“If you want a career in writing, I have three things to say. First, earn your own money. Second, control your fertility. Don’t take care of other people before yourself. Third, solitude is sacred.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“Writing is playing. Act your age, but act all of your ages.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“We must write as though what we write is too dangerous to be published.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“Writer’s block is writer’s fear. Make a list of ten things you are afraid to talk about, and then you will always have something to write about.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“I don’t even know what I think until I write it down.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“If you’re telling a true story, then the story is true. The little details just make it come alive.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“When we write fiction, we are drawing from what’s happened to us and cutting it up and pasting like a collage.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“The sense of smell is the oldest and most accurate of our senses – that’s where we start.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“Writing is like cutting your own hair. There only so much you can do in the mirror. Eventually you’ll need help.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“If you want to portray anyone else, you have to do a lot of listening and get out of the way. If you do it curiously with love and respect, and allow the person to take over the page, then it is a service. Whatever we create with love on behalf of those we love with no personal agenda will turn out beautiful.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“In the hierarchy of fame, writers are the protozoa.

– Sandra Cisneros

“Books are medicine and I happened to have the right prescription for our time.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“When the characters make mistakes, that’s me. When the characters and strong and smart, that’s who I wish I could have been.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“Write your first draft in PJs. Write it like you’d speak.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“If you’re stuck in a story, take the end off of one story and put it on another and people will think you’re a genius. Never throw anything away.”

– Sandra Cisneros

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On Life

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“Your tribe is here. They are out in the world.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“Who I used to be is underneath the layers of who I am now.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“Visualize what you want. See it. Say it. Walk towards it.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“It’s good to be the person on the fringes. It forces you to watch everyone else. Everyday, there are little bits of dialogue. It’s free. You just have to take it.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“In order to be in love, we face ourselves.”

– Jericho Brown

“You will never get to the Olympics by training in your backyard. You need a coach.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“We all grow up being able to listen to the clouds, but then we forget and have to learn again. Artists never forget.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“The way forward is through more dark.”

– Gregory Orr

“The more languages you know, the more ways you have of looking at the world.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“The last time I was lonely was when I loved with someone.”

– Sandra Cisneros

“We live in times where we have to be our own heroes.”

– Sandra Cisneros

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Thanks so much for reading! What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve heard? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, you can find me on Pinterest  or Instagram.vivian parkin derosa.png

 

2 Comments

  1. “In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.” DFWallace

    Liked by 1 person

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