Tag Archives: clips

My Q&A with Yolanda Wisher

22 Aug

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Former poet laureate of Philadelphia, Yolanda Wisher not only writes her own powerful poetry that feeds souls but she also works to build platforms for other writers. She educates, and she entertains. She provokes, and she nurtures. For a decade, she has taught English to high school students, inspiring them to reflect on literature and language. She served as Director of Art Education for Philadelphia Mural Arts, founded and directed the Germantown Poetry Festival and Outbound Poetry Festival, and has led workshops and curated events in partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture. Now, Wisher’s labor of love is as Curator of Spoken Word at Philadelphia Contemporary. Also, she’s one of the first groups of artists with studios at the Cherry Street Pier on the Delaware River Waterfront.

She’s pretty incredible. And, I got to interview her! We chatted about how themes emerged in her writing, bringing poetry to the masses, and her tips for completing projects when one is busy and has LOTS of ideas. You can read her responses here.

Yolanda Wisher will be joining us at this year’s Hobart Festival of Women Writers, taking place September 6-8. She’ll be teaching RAG & RIFF: The Poetics of the Quilt. Here’s a description:

The Gee’s Bend quilts are the work of several generations of Black women quilters in the rural town of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

Their work has been shared in museum exhibitions across the country to much acclaim. The quilts, which initially served as functional objects and heirlooms, have been heralded as modern and postmodern art, gospel, and jazz.

They were born out of slavery and sharecropping, the landscape of the South, and the personal stories of the women and men whose lives are sewn into them. Like poems, the Gee’s Bend quilts play with forms—some borrowed and reimagined, some invented and organic.

What can the poet learn from the history, the matriarchal vernacular and the abstract architecture of Gee’s Bend quilts? For starters: the revelatory properties of color, the turn and bend of a line, its asymmetrical rhythms, and the individual voice that must come through the assemblage of fabric.

As Gee’s Bend quilter Mensie Lee Pettway said, “Ought not two quilts ever be the same.” In this workshop, we will riff off the history, craft, and colors of Gee’s Bend quilts as we consider our own inherited folk forms. We will use the quilters’ techniques to create our own layered and vibrant poems.

 

You can register for Yolanda’s writing workshop and mine, Wild Women on the Road,  here.

Lavender, Parsley, Peppermint, and Sage

10 Jan

I feel so honored that natural health writer Shea Zukowski thanked me for my editing work in the acknowledgments in her book Lavender, Parsley, Peppermint, and Sage, published by Sterling Publishing!  It’s really such a lovely book, filled with natural remedies and organic cleaners that sound good enough to eat.  More than just useful tips and recipes, the book is brimming with fascinating trivia on herbs and ancient cultures.

Here’s the description from the back of the book:

Herbs offer powerful, natural, earth-friendly solutions for all sorts of home, garden, and personal needs. This invaluable guide gathers hundreds of simple recipes for herb-based formulas that are safe and effective for use in every home. Herbs have been used for practical purposes for thousands of years—natural and proven, they are a welcome alternative to man-made, often toxic chemicals.

Plus, they are easy and enjoyable to work with: herbs can be crushed, boiled, layered, and/or mixed with oil or water or other handy household ingredients to make hundreds of useful home products, for everything from cleaning to personal care.

Organized by use, this convenient volume presents a wealth of helpful herbal solutions. For each entry, readers will find an introduction describing the best uses for this product, a full ingredient list, step-bystep instructions for preparing the formula, information on storage, and advice on how to use it.

A wonderful gift book and useful reference combined, Lavender, Parsley, Peppermint, and Sage is an indispensable guide for a greener, healthier lifestyle.

What that doesn’t tell you is that it has instructions how how to make French Ironing Water, Just-In-Thyme Disinfectant Cleanser, and Rosemary Muscle Rub.  Don’t those sound so luxurious?!

Congrats to Shea Zukowski on the print edition and ebook edition.  It was such a pleasure to work on this book!  It’s inspired me to whip up my own all-natural products.

Writing Wednesday: Michael Hyatt’s 5 Steps to Building a Platform When You Hate Selling Yourself

27 Jul

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/tap10 / via Michael Hyatt

In a recent blog post, Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, listed the “5 Steps to Building a Platform When You Hate Selling Yourself.”  If you go to the blog post you can read the five steps, but I want to point out one line I especially liked.  In one of the steps Hyatt says that writers should share relevant news about their writing.  For example, we should share if we’re doing a reading or were recently published.  He says:

This isn’t selling; it is informing.

So true.  Self-promotion always feels like bragging, but the way I think of it is that I’d want to know if my favorite writer were doing something cool and wouldn’t think they were showing off if they informed me of their upcoming book or recent clip.

So, what would you like to inform me of?