Friday, June 27, 2014



Just came from catching up on Heidi Greco's blog, Out on the Big Limb, which so reminds me of this one the way she introduces it: "Warning: this is one of those blogs that goes all over the place. Poems, politics, gripes, praise. A little of everything from an avowed generalist." I can relate.
Heidi Greco
reading at the Cascadia Poetry Festival 

I met Heidi at the Cascadia Poetry Festival in Seattle at the beginning of May. She tagged me in something called "Blog Hop" in which I get to answer some questions about my writing process and tag other writers who will do the same thing. 

Let me introduce Judy Dykstra-Brown, a writer I met in La Manzanilla last winter at the weekly ad hoc writing group that meets there every Saturday morning. 

A quill of writers enjoying the sunset (and the odd cool drink)
La Manzanilla, Mexico
During April Judy and I were both writing to prompts for National Poetry Month and posting the results to our blogs. The first prompt was to write an ekphrastic poem and I chose a picture of one of Judy's retablos to write on. She's prolific; she writes poetry, stories, articles and a blog in San Juan Cosala, Jalisco, Mexico.  Her books may be found on Amazon. She says when she's not writing, editing, posting or otherwise fussing over words, she likes to fuss over the 10,000 plus small objects that she shuffles around, arranges and attaches to form retablos and mixed media sculptures. She blogs at

Jane Byers lives in Nelson, BC, with her wife and two children. She writes about human resilience in the context of raising children, sexism, lesbian and gay issues, local geography and the workplace.  She has had poems, essays and short fiction published in a variety of books and literary magazines in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. including Grain, Rattle, Descant, The Antigonish Review and The Canadian Journal of Hockey Literature. This spring saw the launch of Jane's first poetry collection, Steeling Effects. (I blogged about it here.) We're in a wonderfully supportive poetry group together. 

Jane Byers
at the Nelson BC launch of Steeling Effects
Blog Hop is the brain child of Kristin Butcher, whose blog about this "writer's game of tag" may be found here. She's interested in how writers write, and to that end there are four questions I'm to answer. So, without further ado...

What am I working on?

Lately, I've been writing poems with no particular theme. In April, during National Poetry Month, I wrote to daily prompts, so the forms and subject matter are all over the place. Four of those poems were just accepted for publication in the New Orphic Review next spring. I'm looking forward to going to St. Peter's Abbey in Saskatchewan at the beginning of July for a week of focused writing. I want to start shaping my next manuscript. Other than that, I just published a chapbook for Stuart Ross through my micro press, Nose in Book Publishing, and I'm participating in the Columbia Basin Culture Tour this August so I'm busy producing handmade books these days. This fall I'm going to walk half the Camino de Santiago in Spain with my sister. I expect there will be some poems arising from that, even if they're only of the oh-my-god-my-feet-hurt-so-much variety. 

How does my work differ 
from others of its genre?

It's not published in book form yet! But I'm hoping that will change. My first full-length poetry manuscript just started making the rounds. How do the poems in it differ from others? Well, they're mine. Written in my voice, from my point of view, which means that even though other poets may have tackled the same subjects, what I see through my window is just a little different. 

Why do I write what I do?

Because writing about various issues and subjects allows me to explore them and because I get right cranky when I'm not getting stuff down on paper! I like telling stories in verse — the economy of words in poetry insists that you find the right ones. I enjoy the challenge of writing to form, but most often write free verse. Sometimes I write things I don't fully understand for months or even years. 

How does my writing practice work?

Mostly, I write poems by hand for at least the first draft, although sometimes I can compose one on the computer. I've already mentioned writing a poem a day during April. Because of time constraints I composed several of the April poems right here on my blog. (April, for me, began in La Manzanilla, then I was in Vancouver for a couple of days before coming home, then, at the end of the month, I was back to the Coast, as we Interior people refer to the Lower Mainland, and my last poems were written on Vancouver Island.) It feels very different, writing a poem by hand vs typing it. At the same time, I can't imagine writing prose by hand. I sporadically keep a journal and I write in it by hand, and pity anyone who ever has to read it because I barely can!  

I've participated in the August Postcard Poem exchange every year since 2007 and have been doing the 3:15 Experiment since 2005. 

I keep notebooks handy to jot down ideas for poems. Sometimes I even refer to them! I don't write every day, but I do try to carve out slices of uninterrupted — uninterruptible? — time for myself to concentrate on writing as often as I can. I read poetry every day.



Remi said...

Hi! I have nominated you for a Wordpress Very Impressive Blog Award. If you are not interested in participating, that is fine—but perhaps you’ll get a few extra well-deserved readers just from the nomination as I posted your url on my Wordpress site! Go here for an explanation:

I always enjoy reading your blog! Judy

Kristin said...

Googling you as the next person on my postcard poetry list, I found this blog. I usually wake up between 3 and 4 AM. I think that I will try the 3:15 writing experience this year along with the Postcard poetry. Cannot imagine what I will write. usually I lay awake awhile and look at the dark patches in the dark. Sometimes I turn on classical radio to put me back to sleep.

Linda Crosfield said...

Lovely to be found via post carding, Kristin. Yes, by all means try the 3:15 Experiment. It has been known to produce some amazing and unexpected work.

Judy, thanks for continuing to drop in and I love your blog, too!

Just back from mailing off my first cards of August.