Writing Tip by Douglas Kearney

Photo by Los Jackson

Writing Your Ultimate Table of Contents

Imagine you have written the book of poetry you have always wanted to complete. Now, write its table of contents; the only rule is, this list contains no poems that you have already written.  Keep the table of contents in your journal or wherever you store writing ideas.  Then, whenever you are blocked, either:

(a) choose one of the titles and write a poem for it
(b) write the first line (or two) of each poem

Biography of Douglas Kearney: Douglas Kearney is a poet/performer/librettist. He won a Whiting Writers’ Award and his second book, The Black Automaton, was a 2008 National Poetry Series selection.  He lives with his family in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. To find out more about Mr. Kearney visit his website at http://www.douglaskearney.com.


Writing Tip from Kate Gale


Lance Armstrong can cycle so well because he has huge heart.  What do you need to write well?  Fierceness.  A fierce need to get to the page and say something every day.  To connect with the keys, the pen, the pencil, the blood, the ink, your need to speak, your voice needs to be heard, you’re like a mockingbird, you won’t shut up.  You’re like Emily Dickinson’s bird.  Do not be quiet if they reject you, if they won’t give you work, if they say you dress badly, if they say you look like a Care Bear, if they say you look like a caterpillar, keep writing, my butterfly, keep writing.

 Biography of Kate Gale:  Gale is a poet, writer, essayist, librettist, and has a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University.  She is the managing editor of Red Hen Press; an editor for The Los Angeles Review; president of the American Composers Forum, Los Angeles;  and president of PEN USA 2005-2006.  She is also a board member of the Claremont Graduate University School of Arts and Humanities, A Room of Her Own Foundation, and Poetry Society of America.  Read Kate Gale’s daily blog of art, culture and self-reflection at kategale.wordpress.com.  Visit her websites at www.kategale.com and  www.redhenpress.com.