"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chapbook Now Available For Presale

As you have heard, earlier this year my poetry manuscript Bite and Blood was selected by Finishing Line Press to be published this fall. 

I encourage you to buy the book during the advance purchase period that begins this week and extends for two months. Buying during the advance purchase period not only saves money, but helps the publisher determine the chapbook's press run. The official release date is October 18th.

The purchase price is $14.00 and shipping is $2.99. To order by Credit Card or PayPal visit https://finishinglinepress.com/index.php?cPath=2&sort=2a&filter_id=1755 If you prefer to order by check or money order (payable to Finishing Line Press), send your payment to: Finishing Line Press, PO Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324.

Here is what is being said about the collection: 
"Starvation--emotional, spiritual, sexual—how we survive it, how we replenish ourselves and others is at the core of Karen Terrey’s Bite and Blood. The gorgeous tension in these poems is in a “secret cellular awareness” that comes from Terrey’s fearless walks in the literal and metaphoric wilds: woods, wide fields, marshes. Like a lone traveler assembling shelter out of what can be found on a forest floor, Terrey places lines like old timber or found stone to erect poems made of human and animal soul. In her title poem, her speaker faces a deer on the path and meditates on his “slow hunger”, a hunger not unlike our own and so necessary our lives depend upon it. A beautiful collection."
--Laura McCullough, author of Rigger Death & Hoist Another and Panic (winner Kenerith Gensler Award)
Please, please, please share this news with any family or friends who are poetry fans. A book party/reading will be planned this fall, so stay tuned!  Thanks for your time, and I hope you will consider buying my book. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Latest Scoop on Publication, Readings and Workshops

This March my poetry chapbook titled Bite and Blood was accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press, a press in Kentucky that specializes in poetry.  I'm so excited to be working with such a beautiful press on my first book.  The release date is October 15th - I'll let you know when the book is available to order and where you can hear me read.

The LiteraryArts & Wine Reading Series at Uncorked in downtown Truckee has been a great success - join us on the third Sunday of each month at 5:30 to hear 4 different authors each month read from recently published work and work in progress.  We keep the line-up varied so you'll listen to fiction, essay, poetry, and who knows what new hybrid genre.

The Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop meeting June 2, 9, and 16 has room for a few drop-ins.  If you've been wanting to see what this fun workshop is all about or if you miss a sense of community in your writing life, get in touch with me and join us for an evening.  I'll have a new series starting up September 1st.

One of my goals is to work more with teens and creative writing so I was happy Jackie McKinney called me this spring to help her lead a CreativeWriting Workshop for Teens at the Family Resource Center.  The workshops are free Monday afternoons 3-4:30 pm. Please help spread the word to any teens that want to develop some writing skills and get their words on the page!

The popular How to Write a Blog that Stands Out in a Crowd workshop is offered June 30th for anyone who wants to start a new blog or to re-energize a current blog.  Learn techniques to write more efficiently and focused for your target audience.  Thank you to local photographer Scott Thompson for the photo!

I'm always available for coaching for book projects, copy editing, dissertation and other writing projects.  I'm working with several students over the summer to develop writing skills for school. If you haven't already, "like" my Tangled Roots Writing page on Facebook to see updates on poems I've published, local events, and other workshops. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 26 VSC: Matt Hart, noise, and how to make the most of a writing residency

The one thing you get at a writing residency that you don’t get back home is the opportunity to define yourself as a writer and nothing else.  Not a teacher, not a coach, not a skier, not a planner, not any other role that you play.  Here, the past doesn’t define you.  You are not who you’ve been.  Here, you are who you are being right now. 
Matt Hart was our visiting writer for the last week of the residency.  Wow – you should see him read a poem from his book Debacle Debacle, rocking back and forth, incantatory, rhythmic, powerfully engaged in each word.  At his craft talk he discussed the essence of noise as an effect in poetry, connecting its effects to the noises in punk rock music.  He toured for almost 2 decades as a punk musician. 
At one point in his talk he mentioned that in a collected book of poetry by Dean Young, the poems are ordered alphabetically rather than by a context of theme as the poems had previously been published.  The effect, Matt said, was that he didn’t recognize poems he knew, and other new poems seemed familiar to him.  
I think that this effect happens to artists at residencies – they live out of their usual context in this new place within this new juxtaposition of associations, artists, new friends.  What used to come before and after them has been taken away, and the result is that they can become closer to a creative self of theirs that may have been covered up by habits, by distractions, by other noises of how that life is being lived. And the opportunity to create noises never heard before in your work is the freedom to grab hold of here.
I asked some poet friends who had attended VSC for advice for making the most of my stay here.  They said make a plan of action, then make a plan b, and then prepare to take a third unknown path.  Once here, I opened myself to these new and unexpected influences to try to write in a way I had never written before.  I wanted to let myself be surprised by bold moves that my singular identity here gave me a new confidence to take. 
Listening to Matt read his poems and talk about writing, I was inspired by how loudly he expressed a gratitude for life. He said in his talk that noise is the predominant state of our lives, and what saves a poem is the announcement of noise against a backdrop of expectations.  At a residency, you have the freedom to drop those expectations of your life, and to play with what happens next.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 22: Rikki Ducornet: Rational Rooted in the Imagination

The beautiful Rikki Ducornet began her week here at Vermont Studio Center by reading to us rapt writers from her imaginative book of little prose pieces titled One Marvelous Thing.  Read an interview with her and read the title story of her book at the links above. At her craft talk, she shared her writing process, a deeply intuitive process that listens to her dreams and her memory.  She taps into places that give her a power source – accessed through meditation, imagination, primal memories, and creatures in their world.  These places of power are where dreams and the hot material for her writing come from; this explains why a sudden idea can dissipate so quickly, as dreams do once we wake.  She urged us to take a great leap, to work on what catches fire, and to leave something behind.
She said we are the dreamers - and there is a great deal of rational rooted in the imagination.  
This idea of nesting the irrational in the rational, the imagination with the concrete, is the play and tension that I want to develop in my own writing this week.  Now, with 6 days left, I’m cutting up, line by line, poems of similar subject matter or imagery and exploring wild new combinations of phrasing and idea that question the definitions of irrationality and meaning. How can recombining lines from different poems access a place of intuition and the subconscious? Try it yourself and see -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 17 at VSC: Transformation and Story Telling in Painting and Poem Making

KyleStaver comments: "Transformation…Painting is transformation. It’s like alchemy of something. I remember being an art student and making light for the first time. Feeling like light was actually coming from the painting. How would you ever give that up after once discovering it? And then the different kinds of light. Before my light was very exclamatory. Bright color, loud light! And then it changed, and I didn’t want it screaming. I wanted to control what it expresses. And the very last painting that I did in the show was the Syrinx, and when I was painting it, it came so close to being nothing, to just disappearing. So at what point could the light still be read as color? Some days I thought I just lost it completely, it would just disappear. All I had left were the little marks where the light sparked up. And then I would build the painting up again. I looked for the light that would just sort of hum."

I listen into this to hear how images and words could similarly capture light, transform, or disappear. How does a poem layer image and meaning in a word, in a line, as a painting might?

Staver's paintings try to capture a moment in the story where the transformation happens - see the painting of Daphne just as her father changes her into a tree to protect her from being raped.  As Robert Hass says in Twentieth Century Pleasures, "“In stories…I suppose there is always a moment… when the image, the set of relationships that seem actually to reveal something about life, forms.” In poem making, what is that moment the poem needs to capture?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

VSC Day 10: Life Drawing as part of the Writing Process

My charcoal is real vine cooked into a blackened stick.  The materials of drawing are physical and dirty.  No judgment of the body. The unprotected body is natural and bears no indicators of class, social and political identity that clothing and jewelry and shoes and bags broadcast. Creases lines bulges curves shadows arcs. Its language is skin and muscle and bone and nail and cartilage.  Now his chest curves in on itself, the belly squeezed into a Y.  Now I see the light coming on his shoulders; his eyes are open.  The charcoal lines can be smeared, dark and sharp, or misty, foggy. Here's a drawing from yesterday:

Someone tells me not to try and make my drawing resemble what I’m looking at.  I want to do this with my writing. The inspiring and lively artist Kyle Staver presented a slideshow of her paintings two nights ago and showed many different forms in which she experimented with the same subject: aquatint, plaster sculpture, linoleum print, oil painting.  How would a writer explore a subject with the same diversity of perspectives? Maybe a drawing, a sonnet, free verse, journaling, expanded, shortened and contained within other forms. 

Below is one of Staver's paintings of the myth of Andromeda and Pegasus. More on Staver in my next post!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 8 at VSC: A Frozen River

This is April in Vermont.  They say mink may mate outside my window. I can cross my legs in this raisin-colored chenille chair and rest my head back on a wing, close my eyes.  Who am I? I’ve become someone who habitually distracts herself and now I’ve brought myself to Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, to see if I can break this habit. The print-maker from Lisbon, Portugal, asked me what kind of trees we were passing in the shuttle from the airport and I couldn't say.  Through busy-ness, I’ve lost touch with myself as I would a childhood friend. On my bulletin board in my studio here, someone wrote “Don’t forget to get out of your own way. Let go.”  I can feel my worn anxiety shedding like corrugated sheets of snow off a roof, leaving that jagged fracture line.  Writers’ footsteps cross the hallway above my studio, doors slam, paper jerks its way out of the printer like a wagging tongue.