Last night we had one of the best writing guild meetings. There three visitors and two joined on the spot. Our speaker was Olive Sullivan who once was a member a few years ago, and she know is on staff at MSSU.
Olive talked about writing in general and poetry in specific. She said she bounced around trying to find what kind of writer she was. She worked at a television station, did private editing, was on staff at a newspaper, and one job just lead to another. She did not want to teach, but now is teaching at the college level. She said she realizes now that teaching is her work that pays the bills; poetry is her passion. Once she focused herself and called herself a “poet”, her life took shape.
She said she knows not everyone would agree, but she sees journalism and poetry as closely related. Both take events and distill them for clarity into the shortest form possible. Both should leave the reader moved. She feels her journalism background helps her poetry. Both need strong active verbs to tell the story.
Olive pointed out writers would not make money at poetry. It is a love. Right now she said hardly any poetry is being published; most being published is self-published works.
She told us her best writing is done in her head while she walks, drives or showers. Walking has a rhythm to it and lines of poetry often shape themselves to the beat of her steps. Interesting. She read a few of her favorite poems to the group, one of which is being used in a poetry class at a women's prison.
The bulk of the group left inspired to go home and write, to practice their creativity whether it is with poetry or not.