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Until we learn what sentences can do, we tend to underrate them. We treat sentences as if they were floors, a kind of planking, something we have to walk on in order to get to the next room. We are oblivious to the reality, which is that the planking is alive and walking all over it creates a kind of hurt. Our steps harm the delicate surface and whatever lies beneath it — mystery, beauty, a soul.

Even as children, we instantly recognize a line of poetry that carries music. In time we learn that sentences, too, carry music. Some writers may go overboard and try to turn each sentence into a line of poetry, but that does a disservice to the sentence, which has its own qualities and purposes. Nobody expects a young or new writer to master all these matters at once. That’s why we call the process of writing it writing and not written. Writing takes time. It also takes us, as I’ve said before, out of time, which is a great and joyous experience.

More… “What You Make, Make to Last”

Kelly Cherry‘s new poetry book is Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer. Her book of flash fiction titled Temporium is forthcoming later this year.
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EmailTwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponGoogle+

To structure is to survive. If you want your work to have even the tiniest chance of lasting — this is a dream hope; a stage of adolescence; your writing will not last, but it may hang around for a year or two — it must be well structured. If your ideas are flimsy, your characters boring, your scenes flat, your sentences dull, face it: your work is on the way out; however, even worse is the story or novel that is stillborn. It needs backbone and oxygen. It needs clarity. It needs everything you can do to save it. In other words, it needs structure.

More… “What You Make, Make To Last”

Kelly Cherry‘s new poetry book is Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer. Her book of flash fiction titled Temporium is forthcoming later this year.
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As in many rural German villages, the public life of contemporary Coburg plays out in the marktplatz, the main square, where locals in cafes linger over tall glasses of cloudy beer topped with two inches of head, cappuccinos, and apfel strudels. They smoke as if news hasn’t arrived yet that tobacco may not be good for you.

 

Between the town hall with its stucco façade and another building painted with the outline of red blocks resembling mason stones, fruit stall vendors weigh produce for a crowd of picky buyers while a queue forms at a food truck purveying the local specialty — Coburger Rostbratwurste, a marbled gray-black sausage with a cable of mustard hanging over both sides of a palm-sized roll.

I take a seat at a cafe whose specialty is gelato and waffles, and squint hard at the menu… More…