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1. What Is the Value of Poetry?

In the opening poem (“matters of great importance”) of my collection, Solving the World’s Problems

, I ask a simple question: what’s more important / writing a poem / or building a bridge…

At least, the question starts off simple enough, but then it continues to spiral out into giving thanks, stocking chairs, delivering chairs, managing systems, and so on. But there are times when I waste time worrying about which really is more important. There are times when I wonder, “What am I doing here?”

Here being writing poems and devoting a tremendous amount of time and energy to a poetry blog. After all, there’s not a lot of money in writing poetry–even for a publisher like Writer’s Digest Books. But there’s more to measuring value than dollars and cents, isn’t there?

Why Am I Saying Any of This?

Every so often, there’s some kind of “death or uselessness of poetry” post or article that runs all viral on the Internet. So I’ve been meaning to write a post on why I think there’s value in poetry for a long while, but it was still simmering in me until I received this message on Facebook from Aleathia Drehmer, a poetry advocate who lives in New York:


I just wanted to say thank you for everything you do with the PAD challenges. The one in November helped me get over the death of my cousin and brought me back to writing after a year of near silence. This challenge is helping me get over the death of my mother. She passed in January and this is her birth month.

I actually don’t care if I ever get published again. Life has taken on a new meaning now and I honestly am getting back to the roots of writing when I was a little girl. Just writing because my heart says so, because it is a way I can communicate my little slice of the world with my dad and any friends that care to read.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me back something I had lost and thought I would not find again. Grief can be a great eraser sometimes. I’m just glad it hasn’t erased me yet.

Have a great day.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. In addition to editing Poet’s Market, he manages the Poetic Asides blog, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, edits a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter, and more. He’s married to poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys  and one princess). He’s given up trying to figure out which is more important between writing a poem and building a chair; it’s really a chicken-egg argument, because both are necessary and valuable. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer



Get published!

Learn how to get your poetry published with the latest edition of Poet’s Market. It’s filled with articles on the craft and business of poetry. Plus, it contains hundreds of listings for book publishers, online and print publications, contests, and more!

Click to continue



Find more poetic posts here:

  • Thomas Lux: Poet Interview
  • .
  • Somonka: Poetic Forms
  • .

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    2. Comment on Your Story 58: Submit Now! by JoseCordova

    The prompt says “YOU come home…”, but can the story be written in the third person, with myself not necessarily being one of the characters?

    Add a Comment
    3. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16 by derrdevil

    By Derryn Warwick Raymond

    This is the life, the song
    A story for the world to mourn
    Though it was still able
    They broke it, and left it unstable
    Pieces shown of the real scene
    Shattered dreams, they may seem
    Of a journey through torrential rain
    Extremes of the mentally insane
    Call it deranged,
    But I see it pained
    I see the strain, upon the soul
    In its twilight hours, the mortal toll
    Oh, how it hangs dear
    Clutching from fear
    For the world, that it gave
    Begged it never, for a save
    The incomprehensible life
    Of a mother,
    A sister,
    A wife.

    Add a Comment
    4. New Sponsor! Venice Haute Couture - Fashion by Emma Gaggio & Romi Loch Davis

    Photo: Paolo Utimpergher

    (Venice, Italy) For centuries, Venice has been known for its lush textiles. Today, an exciting new collaboration has arrived in town. The combined talents of Venetian Emma Gaggio and South African Romi Loch Davis add a fresh element to the ancient fashions: Venice Haute Couture

    Here is the story:

     "The silk craft is a very noble art, worthy of being plied by any true gentleman..."
    ---16th Century writer

    Sumptuous to touch and impressive to behold, velvet is traditionally associated with nobility. As far back as the 800s, Venetians in Constantinople excelled at producing the exquisite cloth. Originating in the East, textiles made of silk and velvet were prized by the European elite as an expression of power, wealth and culture.

    Today, Venetian textile diva Emma Gaggio and South African fashion designer Romi Loch Davis have joined forces to bring the ancient Venetian fabrics into the contemporary world of fashion.

    Photo: Paolo Utimpergher
    Centuries ago, the fabrics traveled along the Silk Road, where the Venetians had strategic bases located in the Byzantine, Persia and the Middle East. Venice itself became a center where skilled craftsmen began to produce the valuable fabrics, achieving such excellence that the trend was reversed -- instead of importing the lush textiles, Venice exported the fine cloth to the markets of Constantinople and beyond. During the Renaissance, significant families incorporated their coat-of-arms and other motifs into bespoke patterns, displaying their importance on their clothing and the furnishings of their homes. By the 15th century, Venice had become one of the world's most renowned centers of the fabric industry.

    The Gaggio family has been at the pinnacle of luxurious Venetian fabrics for four generations, adorning official residences, private jets, private villas -- even the La Fenice opera house -- with exquisite brushed velvets and brocades.Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Givenchy are some of the couture clients of Gaggio.

    Photo: Paolo Utimpergher
    Emma Gaggio grew up surrounded by the lush Venetian tapestries that her relatives upholstered onto furniture and stretched across the walls of the finest houses. While only in her twenties, Emma took the family business a step further, creating her own hand-printed wooden block motifs for the hand-dyed velvet. Her designs are inspired by periods in history, dating back to when Venice was part of the Byzantium Empire, through Art Deco, and up until today. The unique patterns and meticulous workmanship have earned Emma Gaggio international acclaim, and the patronage of a sophisticated, trend-setting clientele.

    Photo: Paolo Utimpergher
    These days, Emma has taken the business in a new direction. After a 2012 fire in her Venetian shop, like a phoenix she rose from the ashes, restored, redecorated and added a new branch to the family business -- a collaboration with the Paris-based South African fashion designer, Romi Loch Davis. The restored shop is like a bustling theatrical set, with Emma's fabrics providing a luxurious backdrop for Romi's wood-nymph-with-an-attitude fashion. Then, together, they have developed a line of clothes, accessories, cushions, bags and scarves that combine the hand-printed designs and fabrics of Emma Gaggio with the creative vision of Romi Loch Davis. Designed with elegance and a sense of fun, anyone from grande dames to rock stars can feel comfortable wearing the fashions.

    Photo: Paolo Utimpergher
    Years ago, Romi Loch Davis fell in love with Venice and the Gaggio fabrics during a family trip for her 25th birthday. She remembers how the shimmering green fabric of a jacket in the Gaggio shop window stopped her in the middle of Calle delle Botteghe -- where today, thanks to synchronicity, her own dazzling fashions stop the passersby.

    Photo: Paolo Utimpergher
    Romi's line of apparel combines whimsy with sophistication, and is brought to life by the clever hands of  Elizabeth Lutz. Romi often highlights her clothing with intricate Zulu beads from her native South Africa, the handmade jewelry adding an exotic flair. Now, by using Venetian fabrics as the material to spin her magic, Romi adds another element to her repertoire.

    CLICK TO CONTINUE READING Venice Haute Couture and view the gorgeous images by Paolo Utimpergher

    Ciao from Venezia,
    Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

    0 Comments on New Sponsor! Venice Haute Couture - Fashion by Emma Gaggio & Romi Loch Davis as of 4/16/2014 4:27:00 PM
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    5. Goodreads Will Soon Let You Add Amazon Books to Your Shelves

    goodreadsSocial reading platform Goodreads will soon let users add their Amazon book purchases to their Goodreads shelves.

    The capability is part of a new feature called “Add Your Amazon Books.”  Using the tool, Goodreads members in the U.S., Canada and Australia will soon be able to add books that they’ve bought on Amazon, including print and Kindle, to their Goodreads shelves.

    The goal of the tool is to help friends better share what they are reading and to help readers keep track of all of the books that they have purchased. Check it out: “More books added to your Goodreads shelves means better recommendations to help you find more great books to read. The super-smart algorithm powering our recommendations engine analyzes the books you rate to come up with the best book suggestions for your unique reading tastes.”

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    6. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 14 by Andrea Heiberg

    Oh, yes, Ina. That’s the core of it. We, I, seldom know where our limits are.Thank you.

    Add a Comment
    7. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 2 by Snow Write

    She’s on her way
    not sure where she’s going
    knows she has to get away
    find a new place
    determined now
    to set out on the journey
    yet finding herself
    going back

    Add a Comment
    8. Brian L. Steed

    Bees and Spiders: Applied Cultural Awareness and the Art of Cross-Cultural Influence by Brian L. Steed

    Add a Comment
    9. Book Review & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: ‘Mind Games,’ by Christine Amsden

    MindGames_medMind Games is the much awaited third installment in the new adult mystery series, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Talented author Christine Amsden keeps delivering a great story filled with interesting characters, romance, mystery, and the paranormal, lots of it.
    In this episode, Cassie still doesn’t know why Evan broke her heart two months ago, and the mystery gnaws at her big time. She decides to keep busy and make herself useful at the sheriff’s department. She also meets charismatic mind mage Matthew Blair…much to Evan’s distaste. At the same time, Eagle Rock is teeming with hate from the religious community, a reaction to the recent murder of a much-esteemed pastor’s wife by what the people believe was a sorcerer. The town is about to snap, with tensions between the magical and non-magical communities.
    And in the center of all this, is Matthew, whom Cassie finds irresistible. But can she trust him? According to Evan, no way. But then, Evan isn’t the most objective person when it comes to Cassie. Evan and Cassie have a history, as well as a secret connection, that keeps them bound in spite of themselves.
    Will Cassie discover the real culprit or culprits behind the pastor’s wife’s murder, as well as the real face behind the anti-magical propaganda and demonstrations? Most importantly, will she wake up and see Matthew for who he really is…and find the courage to face Evan for what he did to her—when she finds out?
    I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this instalment! There’s something about Cassie’s voice that makes her really likable. She has a good heart and is witty, too. But best of all, she is just an ordinary girl next door trying to do her best in spite of everything that happens around her—which is usually pretty remarkable, as is often the case in paranormal stories.
    Her relationship with Evan keeps evolving organically and there’s a major revelation in this book about their connection and the secret behind their rival families. Matthew is a great addition to this episode, adding tension with his charismatic personality and inciting sparks of jealousy from Evan. The conflict between the religious and the magical communities is also well done.
    Mind Games kept me reading late into the night, wondering what would happen next. If you haven’t read any books in this series before, I urge you to pick up book one first, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. The books are best read in order. You won’t be disappointed.
    Purchase links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
    Connect with the author on the web: 
    My review was originally published on Blogcritics
    *The giveaway begins on April 15, 2014 at midnight and ends on July 16, 2014 at midnight.

    0 Comments on Book Review & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: ‘Mind Games,’ by Christine Amsden as of 4/16/2014 3:11:00 PM
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    10. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 15 by Funkomatic

    My heart, the maple tree
    Home to wrens in their afternoons
    Revel with chirping esprit
    My heart, the maple tree
    Still green though you’re absentee
    Knows too many winter tunes
    My heart, the maple tree
    Home to wrens in their afternoons.

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    11. Meet Paul Klee

    Meet Paul Klee from Tapook on Vimeo.

    Thank you to Manon Gauthier

    0 Comments on Meet Paul Klee as of 4/16/2014 4:51:00 PM
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    12. more coming...

    Just can't get enough...notice the bird has caught a fish!

    0 Comments on more coming... as of 4/16/2014 4:19:00 PM
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    13. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 8 by LCaramanna

    Daffodil Bouquet

    A daffodil feels no peace,
    sunshine yellow face
    no opposition to flakes of swirling snow.
    Though the calendar marks spring,
    a daffodil feels no peace.
    scissors of good fortune shear her
    peaceful admiration
    in a coffee table crystal vase display.

    Lorraine Caramanna

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    14. Picture Books

    Author George Shannon blogs about all things picture book. 


    0 Comments on Picture Books as of 4/16/2014 3:53:00 PM
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    15. HoHum Story Concept? Energize through Thematic Significance

    Last week's homework for our 16-week Plot from Beginning to End video chat workshop -- Chapter 14: Find Your Thematic Bubble in Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories -- came at the exact right time. With only a couple more sessions left and all the concept, plot and character elements plotted out on Plot Planners and Scene Trackers filling in for the 7 essential elements grounding the writers, this exercise seemed to allow the writers the clarity to see more deeply into their stories.

    Dark and edgy themes popped up for some of the writers while filling in the "thematic bubbles" exercise. Because of that (cause and effect), those same writers willingly risk embracing darker and edgier themes which in turn creates darker and edgier character goals with clearer emotional weight and more unique and compelling heart to their stories, sending their stories to higher degrees of originality and mass appeal to all other books in their genre and beyond. Nearly every single writer discovered deeper elements about their stories.

    Want to give the exercise a try? List all the themes in your story. Circle the themes that begin in the beginning (first page?) all the way to the end. Study those themes for meaning.

    Today I write.

    WRITER PATH PLOT and SCENE RETREATS in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. May 30 – June 1 Your story deserves to be told. Your writer’s soul needs to be nourished. Learn to identify and write the key scenes that build a page-turning story, master crucial scene types and go deeper into your plot by applying the three key layers that run through all great fiction: action, emotion and theme. Reserve your spot now for the 1st Annual Writer Path Retreat Spring 2014.

    Pre-orders now available for an entirely new support system based on PlotWriMo for writers ready to Revise Your Novel in a Month.

    For more: Read my Plot Whisperer and Blockbuster Plots books for writers.

    0 Comments on HoHum Story Concept? Energize through Thematic Significance as of 4/16/2014 3:33:00 PM
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    16. Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees 2014


    0 Comments on Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees 2014 as of 4/16/2014 4:51:00 PM
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    17. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16 by Emma Hine

    Angels Do Not Live In Graves

    She was so young,
    too young to see the passing of her short years.
    I was young too…
    Too young to feel the pain of true loss tears.
    Sweet sixteen, world at her feet…
    Who could have predicted
    before a husband,
    her maker she would meet?

    She was so young,
    young enough to capture the energy of life.
    I was young too…
    Young enough to follow where mischief was rife.
    Inseparable then, two friends sharing fun…
    Who could have predicted
    that so soon,
    two would become one?

    So young, and yet
    not so young to understand that she was not in her grave.
    So young, and yet
    old enough to let her spirit, for me, a new path to pave.
    After a while, I stopped visiting…
    Who could have predicted
    that no bones in the Earth,
    would ever respite bring?

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    18. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16 by Domino

    By fate’s caprice, that awful day, and for no other
    reason we comprehend, they were at work
    when the fire started. How could they know that
    life as they knew it was about to change
    forever? It is a curious thing,
    that people replay over and over
    the day of a tragedy. They question.
    They doubt. Their minds continue to circle
    endlessly about the somehow morbid
    question: What could we have done differently?
    People say with satisfaction that no
    human lives were lost, but a family has
    been broken. The black smoke took not only
    all the things that made up their house, but a
    cherished furry friend that helped make
    it home. Broken hearts declare there is no
    healing, there’s no bringing back buried hopes.
    But at the foot of the stair to heaven,
    on the rainbow bridge, their best friend awaits,
    wagging tail, happy grin, til that distant
    day, to greet adored family once more.

    For my friends Tina and Thomas Batt

    Diana Terrill Clark

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    2014 CWC show, the Creative Wellness Center, 
    May 2, 2014,
    I have three pieces in this show.
    The one shown above and two others

    0 Comments on as of 4/16/2014 6:11:00 PM
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    20. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16 by Domino

    By fate’s caprice, that awful day, and for no other
    reason we comprehend, they were at work
    when the fire started. How could they know that
    life as they knew it was about to change
    forever? It is a curious thing,
    that people replay over and over
    the day of a tragedy. They question.
    They doubt. Their minds continue to circle
    endlessly about the somehow morbid
    question: What could we have done differently?
    People say with satisfaction that no
    human lives were lost, but a family has
    been broken. The black smoke took not only
    all the things that made up their house, but a
    cherished furry friend that helped make
    it home. Broken hearts declare there is no
    healing, there’s no bringing back buried hopes.
    But at the foot of the stair to heaven,
    on the rainbow bridge, their best friend awaits,
    wagging tail, happy grin, til that distant
    day, to greet adored family once more.

    For Tina and Thomas Batt

    Diana Terrill Clark

    Add a Comment
    21. NYC Pizza-Themed Coffee Table Book On Kickstarter

    A group of New York City natives hope to raise $15,000 for their coffee table book, New York Pizza Project. The collaborators have visited more than 100 pizza shops throughout the five boroughs.

    The contents of the book will feature photographs, interviews, and stories. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

    “A few years ago, the five of us were sitting around eating pizza and talking about the pizza shops we grew up in. Aside from the always heated debate about the best slice in New York, we found ourselves reminiscing about the little things — the Icees, the orange booths, the pizza guy who never smiles — stuff like that. We started discussing the idea of a book that encapsulates all of those little things we love about New York City pizza.”


    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    22. April Notes on the way

    Vampires, werepeople, and yetis — oh my! In this month’s Notes from the Horn Book newsletter, I get to ask Cynthia Leitich Smith five questions about her (ahem) tantalizing new series Feral, a spin-off to her Tantalize quartet. Other goodies in this issue:

    • more YA fantasy series entries
    • picture books about the big city
    • recommended reading for National Poetry Month
    • intermediate books about wartime

    april 14 notes April Notes on the way

    Read the issue online here, or subscribe to receive Notes from the Horn Book newsletter (and its supplement Nonfiction Notes) in your inbox. Find more recommended books and interviews in the newsletter archives.

    share save 171 16 April Notes on the way

    The post April Notes on the way appeared first on The Horn Book.

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    23. I'm over here!

    ...just powering through spring break, teaching art camp for kids ages 6-12. What an amazing group, it's never been this fun! The theme of the week is paper, and we've made our own, played with pulp, made some marionettes and today built a complete paperland. Here's a peek:


    I'm so proud of these guys (and the ones I didn't show are great too), awesome job, and kind of inspiring...

    0 Comments on I'm over here! as of 4/16/2014 4:19:00 PM
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    24. Comment on 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 16 by Monique

    To An Old Friend

    It started at a salad bar
    And a book lying on the counter
    I knew you were friends with the book’s owner
    You promised to return it
    And waited with me while I waited for the bus

    For four years, you were the grandfather I never had
    I knew I could always sit with you
    I would laugh at your jokes
    And tell you about my day
    Thinking that things would never change

    Then you had to move away
    Around the same time I did
    We celebrated your birthday in the summer
    Then you moved north and I moved south
    Still thinking things would be okay

    It ended with a sleepless night
    I turned to my computer to find comfort
    Instead I find the worst news I could hear
    I found myself holding onto a rope
    Hanging over a deep dark pit

    I pushed my memories of you away
    Trying to hide from my sadness
    Wondering how no one else was crying
    I was in a dark tunnel
    Waiting for a train to hit me

    Finally, I found someone who would listen
    I let my tears out
    I found others who also missed you
    Embraced the hope that you were at peace
    And found happiness that pulled me from the pit

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    25. Yen Press’s Abigail Blackman’s Thoughts on Manga Licensing

    Yen Press

    As a follow-up to our recent round-up “What Manga Publishers Can Actually License in the US,” I reached out to Abigail Blackman, freelancer at Yen Press, for more insight after Lys pointed out we didn’t cover YP’s guidelines. Hit the jump for her thoughts!

    Abigail notes that while there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to manga licensing…

    Regarding licensing, there are no firm rules (for anyone, as far as I know) about who can license from whom. Like any business deal, licensing is a matter of negotiation between the two companies. In the cases of Viz and Kodansha, which are managed by a Japanese publisher, they may have restrictions built into their business about where they can get material, but even Viz has licensed Japanese series from companies other than their Japanese owners (Fullmetal Alchemist being the biggest one I can think of)…

    …companies tend to go with who they know.

    While there’s generally nothing that would prevent a US publisher from pursuing a particular series, you will often see one US company working more closely with a certain few Japanese companies simply because they’ve build stronger business relationships over the years. Even then, it’s no guarantee who will win out when it comes to a series that multiple companies want. (There’s a lot that goes into the negotiations) It’s also true that companies with direct connections, like Shueisha/Shogakukan and Viz or Kodansha (JP) and Kodansha USA, may have priority agreements that affect which series are ultimately available to other US publishers.

    Don’t lose hope!

    Yen does try to ensure our list has variety with titles like Bunny DropA Bride’s Story, light novels, etc., so I wouldn’t say any genre is out of the question.

    But, as always, keep your expectations realistic.

    But the US manga market is very small compared to Japan and elsewhere, so every publisher has to make careful decisions about which books to publish. A lot of manga readers stop reading comics after college, so it’s harder to make jousei and seinen titles or more “literary” titles successful, which is why you don’t see as many from most publishers. That doesn’t mean niche titles aren’t considered, but their appeal to the US readership has to be carefully weighed.

    And there you go! Remember, don’t be afraid to reach out to companies for series you’d love to see published; as long as you do your research, the worst they can say is “no,” and you may learn a little bit more about the ins-and-outs of manga licensing in the meantime.

    0 Comments on Yen Press’s Abigail Blackman’s Thoughts on Manga Licensing as of 1/1/1900
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