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stylish poet catI’m going to facilitate a poetry workshop!

Waunakee Poets Workshop

February 18, 2015 6:30 pm

Waunakee writers! Let’s celebrate the writing, reading, performance and appreciation of poetry. Whether you see yourself as the first to sign up to perform your poem or the shy scribbler in the corner, you are welcome!

We will encourage your unique expression, and create a safe place to share and experiment with poetry. We will watch/listen to a Poetry Slam champion, do a writing exercise, discuss, and end with poetry readings.

Who can attend?  Any age, any writing skill level

Where?                   Waunakee Public Library

When?                     February 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Cost?                       Free

Bring?                     Poems in any state (spiffy or misshapen; ideas and feelings) or just a desire to write

Use?                         Writing utensil and paper, laptop, etc.

Who is leading?   Me!

For more information on the location visit the Waunakee Public Library site.


I could not resist re-posting this Discover Magazine blog post.  Enjoy!

Is there a relationship between poetry and psychosis?

The idea that ‘genius’ is just one step removed from ‘mamentaldness’ is a venerable one, and psychiatrists and psychologists have spent a great (perhaps an inordinate) amount of time looking for correlations between mental illness and creativity.

Now a new British study has examined whether poets exhibit more traits of psychosis than other people. One of the authors is a published poet, Helen Mort.

The researchers recruited 294 poets in an anonymous online survey; 92% of them had published their work. On the O-LIFE questionnaire, a self-report measure of psychotic symptoms, the poets scored above average on the “Unusual Experiences”, “Cognitive Disorganization” and “Impulsive Nonconformity” traits.

Furthermore, poets who described their work as ‘avant-garde’ scored even higher on “Unusual Experiences” and on a questionnaire of mood disorder symptoms.

Rates of self-reported mental illnesses were also high.

two poets (0.7%) reported schizophrenia, 15 reported bipolar disorder (5.1%), 152 reported depression (51.7%) and 80 reported anxiety disorder (27.2%).

Although actually these percentages are not that much higher than we see in the general population.

So it seems as though poets are more prone to psychosis – or at least, they think that they are [emphasis mine]. All of the traits were self-reported. Could it be that poets, having internalized the ‘mad genius’ archetype, are more prone to describe themselves in those terms?

Read the entire post at

Last night I watched a filmed production of the play, The Belle of Amherst.  It’s a lovely, amazing, and heart-breaking portrayal of the poet, Emily Dickinson.  Julie Harris performs the one-woman play in front of a live audience for a 1976 TV-movie.  Even from the back of the audience’s heads I could tell it was the seventies. When you’ve lived the hairstyles, you remember.

IMDB gives the movie a solid 8.5 rating.  I loved how it showed Dickinson’s play with words and playful personality.  Often the character spouted poem after poem melded into the plot, performing the poems ecstatically at times. Her interpretation made me run for my Collected Works copy.

I’m going to watch it again.  Highly recommend it.

I wrote two poems last night. Sometimes a piece comes almost perfectly formed and other times a piece will take ages to get it to the state I feel comfortable with review. After the fact, I think it was because I immersed myself in some of the best writing ever. In this case it was poems and songs, but I don’t think the medium matters. Read really good writing, listen to really good writing, visit art – that’s the key to pulling your own muse out from under the basement stairs.

I watched Tavis Smiley’s interview with Joni Mitchell on the PBS Roku channel. (Thank you inventors of the technologies that make “internet TV” possible!). Joni looked so amazingly cool still – she’s 71. After the interview I put on her music, cranked it up, and sang along for an hour or so. I can do that. “I am a woman of heart and mind with time on her hands, no child to raise.” Or is it, “Just another silly girl when loves makes a fool of me”? Probably both.

Here is one of the poems from last night. 

The Arts

I thought I was a play

the simple story of a life

wherein the actor

survives the shifts, the plots

in the scuffle for the front of the stage Read the rest of this entry »