Friday, April 27, 2012

Poetry Competition Announced: Win a Residency in Ireland

Marc Chagall "I and the Village"
So here's the deal: I'm teaching a one week workshop in Ireland at Anam Cara Artists Retreat this August and you now have the chance of coming for free. All you need to do is write a poem of 14 lines or less on the Marc Chagall painting shown below "I and the Village." For deadlines and details click here to for Anam Cara's web site.

The winning poem will be announced June 14th on Bloomsday and will be published on the Writing Ireland web site which is an excellent source on all things related to writing in Ireland (and beyond).

Writing Ireland has just reprinted my essay, "It's Not How You Write, It's Not How You Re-write: the Art and Craft of Revision."

 If you want to sign up now for my course at Anam Cara "Speaking in Pictures: A Poetry Workshop Considering Visual Art" you should book soon; only a few places left! Please feel free to contact Sue at Anam Cara for a full schedule of the week. Her email is anamcararetreat (at)

What could be better than writing poetry in Ireland?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coming Attraction: I and the Village Poetry Contest

I and the Village by Marc Chagall
This is just to get you thinking about this image in case there is an ekphrastic poetry contest coming up. Details to be announced soon. In the meantime, isn't this an amazing image? I especially like the upside down woman and the inner thoughts of the cow / goat. Marc Chagall is a favorite of mine. At the moment I am reading his memoirs which so clearly reflect the same consciousness and style as his visual work. Stay tuned on this radio dial for more details very soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Poetry Window at The Roost in Salem, MA

My poem "The Mapparium" on the Improbable Places Poetry Tour

Seeing my poem about the Mapparium at the Christian Science Center in Boston in a shop window of a very cool place like The Roost, makes me incredibly happy. This is the poem I wrote in 1990-91 which brought me back to poetry. Before I ever knew of Elizabeth Bishop I was writing about globes and maps. The Mapparium is a place Boston area school children visit on field trips. Jhumpa Lahiri has a short story that takes place there, one friend confessed to going on dates there; it's a place where you can walk inside the world and hear its echo.

Notice the paper airplanes flying above my poem

Colleen Michaels has created an incredible tour of poetry in improbable places: on storefront windows and drink coasters,  tucked in menus and other mysterious spots. The festival has not even officially begun, but I'm already having fun.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Congratulations to Tracy K. Smith - Pulitzer Prize Winner

2012 Pulitzer Prizes: Poetry and Fiction

Congrats to Tracy!!! Today Tracy K. Smith won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and celebrated her 40th birthday. Now that's a great way to start a decade!

Listen to her read her poems here or read her poem "My God It's Full of Stars" on-line here.


1. POETRY For a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to "Life on Mars," by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press), a collection of bold, skillful poems, taking readers into the universe and moving them to an authentic mix of joy and pain. Also nominated as finalists in this category were: "Core Samples from the World," by Forrest Gander (New Directions), a compelling work that explores cross-cultural tensions in the world and digs deeply to identify what is essential in human experience, and "How Long," by Ron Padgett (Coffee House Press), an enchanting collection of poems that juggle delight, wit and endless fascination with language.


For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

No Award Nominated as finalists in this category were: "Train Dreams," by Denis Johnson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a novella about a day laborer in the old American West, bearing witness to terrors and glories with compassionate, heartbreaking calm; "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell (Alfred A. Knopf), an adventure tale about an eccentric family adrift in its failing alligator-wrestling theme park, told by a 13-year-old heroine wise beyond her years, and "The Pale King,” by the late David Foster Wallace (Little, Brown and Company), a posthumously completed novel, animated by grand ambition, that explores boredom and bureaucracy in the American workplace.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On the Road Again - Portland Workshop and Reading with Kelli Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon and I will be headed to Portland this Tuesday for a workshop and reading. Would love to see you there. And of course we will also be visiting Voodoo Doughnuts Wed morning - for eating (not reading).

We'll be at In Other Words Bookstore, Tuesday, April 17th, reading at 7 p.m.

We're also offering a workshop at 3 p.m.

Workshop Details: Two Sides to the Poet’s Life: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Submitting to a Literary Journal & Writing Ekphrastic Poems: Award winning poets Kelli Russell Agodon & Susan Rich come together for an inspiring class on both submitting and writing poems. As editors, co-directors of the Poets on the Coast Retreat, and poets themselves Susan and Kelli will share a behind-the-scenes look at submitting to literary journals and tips to help you get your work accepted. They will also work with participants to generate new ekphrastic poems–new work inspired by art. This is a rare opportunity to explore both sides of the creative life–submissions & inspiration. All levels of poets welcome–from beginning to published.
Cost is $50 and you can register here. The reading at 7:00 PM is FREE and open to the public.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Visual Art and Poetry: The Sister Arts

Henri Matisse: TheWindow
Today is devoted to thinking about ekphrastic poetry. Next week I have the honor of presenting my workshop Speaking Pictures at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts as a pre-event for he Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

Marc Chagall: Me and the Village

I have so many ideas and resources but now it's time to scale back and figure out how to plan out our time together. This is where I sometimes run into problems; I want to do everything! Since the participants will be experts in the art, my main job is to provide different ways to restore playfulness. There are so many wonderful poems I want to read together, quotes I want to share, and exercises I want to do. My style is to prepare more than we can do together so I can pick and choose a bit once I get a feel for the group. If you have any favorite exercises or ekphrastic poems, please leave me a note below.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Celebrations, Workshops, Talks, Readings and other Hokus Pocus

Friday April 20th - Saturday April 21st
This year promises to be an amazing poetry festival directed by the super hero poet January O'Neil. I will be doing five different events on Saturday from 11 am straight through the day. What was I thinking?

Here is my schedule for the Mass Poetry Festival including readings, talks, and live action collaboration.

I am honored to be invited back for a second time as Massachusetts is my home turf; the state I lived in until I left  the country for the first time at 19. When I returned to the United States three years later, I finished my degree at the University of Massachusetts -- in Creative Writing. Then after two years in the Peace Corps, I returned to the Cambridge - Somerville area for another seven years.

Massachusetts is where I first started writing poetry and began sending out my work for publication. However, I knew that I needed to leave New England to learn to trust the sound of my own words. I needed to move away from the familiar and the (at the time) claustrophobic poetry scene in Boston. Now it's ironic to see my name on this poster --- squeezed between Martha Collins and Gail Mazur.

I am also giving a reading and a workshop with the fabulous Kelli Russell Agodon on Tuesday night, April 17th in Portland, Oregon. The workshop is from 3:00-6:00 pm at the Other Words Community Center. The reading begins at 7:00 pm.

Finally, on April 28th I will be presenting at the Fields End Conference at Island Wood on Bainbridge Island. It's a busy month.

I promise this is my last blatant self promotion for a long time. And to that end, I thought I would mention that if you are interested in finding out about writing contests, calls for submission, and other poetry related business, I would love to have you "like" my Susan Rich writer page on Face Book. I confess it would be lovely to have more than my cat and houseplant listed as followers.

And if you haven't already left a message and entered the Big Poetry Giveaway -- do it now! I will mail the two winners their books no matter where they live -- international readers feel free to participate!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy National Poetry Month!

Happy National Poetry Month to you and yours! I will be posting poetry events and activities throughout the month. In case you haven't heard there is an annual poem-a-day challenge that I have not yet been brave enough to try. This may be my year though. If my friend Oliver de la Paz can do it -- as a father of three children under the age of four, I should be able to try it. Here is today's prompt just in time for baseball season on Opening Days.