November Butterfly (my first poetry collection, Saddle Road Press) comes out in thirty days! I’m anxious, nervous, and excited. Book launch in San Diego will be hosted by San Diego Writers, Ink, where you can join me for a writing workshop/reading event on November 1 at 2:30. We will write to our heroes, public and private, and use the medium of paper cutouts to explore core imagery. Sign up here for the Writing Past Fear: Free Your Butterfly workshop; no need to sign up if you come for the reading only portion of the program at 3:30.
If you can’t make it to an event (I’m busy booking them for the November 2014-2015 calendar year as we speak—check my Events page), join me here on the website for a hands-on, writing count-down to publication. During the month of October, I’ll be posting prompts for you based on the iconic women who inspired the poems in November Butterfly.
On November 1, I’ll do a drawing to give away two copies of November Butterfly for free. To play, write to the prompts (prose or poetry), leave me a comment here on the site on your writing process (as it relates to the prompts) during the month of October, and I’ll put your name in the hat. Winners: I’ll publish your finished favorite response (prose or poetry) generated by the prompts on this site.
Inadvertently, over the last seven years, as I wrote the poems that would become November Butterfly, I left a trail of process posts regarding writing and the iconic women igniting my imagination on the path to understanding what it means to be female, creative, and curious. Here’s an excerpt from Marilyn, Arriving: Collage, Astrology and Poetry to get you started thinking about Marilyn with me:
I never met her–but there she stood on the back of one of the bedroom doors in our house, gracing a poster taller than my parents. I remember falling asleep to that black and white image: city street, sturdy legs, skirt billowing up, one hand holding down the pleats but not really. It was either my brother’s poster or a poster we pitched in for my father—I can’t remember—grade school. Maybe 7th grade…
…As I made the transition from graduate student to working teacher that winter, I made collages. This particular one featured a stained glass cathedral window, the grey and white photo of a hummingbird, the fanned feathers of its extended wings mirroring the white fan of that same girl’s skirt, same pose. The hummingbird and the girl were separated by a close-up of the petals of a rose, and one of those angels stepping down out of the sky in silken robes on the verge of catching fire.
- Under what circumstances did you first become aware of Marilyn Monroe? What haunts or irritates you about Marilyn?
- Address her directly: Dear Marilyn… Or, alternately, allow her to address you…
- Or use as a first line, “No girl sets out to die…”
- Write, without stopping if you can, for at least twenty minutes.
For a solid introduction on the concept of persona poems:
Teaching the Persona Poem, by Rebecca Hazelton (Poetry Foundation)
For full process backstory on writing the poem Marilyn (forthcoming in November Butterfly):
Full text of poem was originally published by Salome Magazine: Marilyn
October 9, 2014 additional link:
Maria Popova, Brain Pickings: Marilyn Monroe’s Unpublished Poems: The Complex Private Person Behind the Public Persona
Ways you can support November Butterfly:
1) To support Saddle Road Press, contact me here to order the book directly from me after November 1st. It will also be available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback format.
2) While Saddle Road Press has given me the gift of the book (a life dream come true! I remain indebted to Ruth Thompson and Don Mitchell!) the gift of marketing is mine–a foreign set of tasks this poet/mother/writer is just now learning to navigate. I like to think of it as “authentic connecting” instead of “marketing”; to that end, I’d love support across blogs, radio, or other review venues. Contact me for an advanced review copy (PDF or hardcopy) this month if you are interested. I’m also very excited about the writing workshops I’m teaching in tandem with the collection’s content and am looking for venues to teach in a modest number of cities.
3) Follow me on Twitter (@TaniaPry) to help me spread the word about events.
November Butterfly book cover photo and black and white photo above by Robyn Beattie; cover design for November Butterfly by Don Mitchell.