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Resolved! Accomplish Your Writing Goals This Year

Posted on Fri, Jan 1 2016 9:00 am by Dawn Babb Prochovnic

A few weeks ago I received a chain letter asking me to participate in an exchange of motivational quotes. My task was to send an encouraging quote to a named individual, then forward the email to 15 friends. Normally I just delete messages of this nature, but the sender was a respected colleague, and the prospect of receiving a bounty of motivating quotes from a myriad of sources was appealing. Despite my general disregard for chain letters, I found the call to action persuasive:  

“Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas and inspiration. The turnaround is fast, as there are only two names on the list, and you only have to do it once. Once is worth it, right?”

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In Defense of Logistical Nitpickers

Posted on Mon, Jan 4 2016 9:00 am by Robert Voedisch

You know who I’m talking about. You’ve probably come across one in a writing class or writer's group. The group will be discussing someone’s story, and while everyone else is talking about things like character and plot and language, the Logistical Nitpicker wants to talk about whether the protagonist’s car—a 1967 Corvette—would’ve had an automatic transmission or a manual. The Logistical Nitpicker will read all 500 pages of your epic multi-generational sci-fi novel, and their only response is “Um, you do know that a photon rocket wouldn’t really work like that, right?” The Logistical Nitpicker—the LN—has a great mind for facts. We live in a world of facts, and the LN knows them all. Average cellphone coverage for creepy cabins in the woods, the maximum distance for Bronze Age catapults, the date of an obscure piece of legislation from the Truman administration—no point is too trivial for the LN! To them, the greatest sin a writer can commit is the sin of factual inaccuracy.

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A Little Story About Timing

Posted on Wed, Jan 6 2016 9:00 am by Shawn Goodman

After my wife and I married, we lived in a crumbling gothic Victorian on the west side of Buffalo. The neighborhood was terrible. Every morning the streets were littered with broken forty-ounce bottles of malt liquor, syringes, and discarded condoms. But the rent was cheap (three-fifty per month, utilities included), and the apartment came with a third story cupola overlooking the Niagara River. The owners, a retired Italian couple we knew only as Mr. and Mrs. De Luca, lived on the first floor and were absolutely terrified of intruders. They had the place rigged with an alarm system designed by their unemployed lunatic nephew, Walter, who in a fit of ingenuity had rigged the basement and first floor with several miles of Radio Shack wire. The wire connected to small plastic sensors that were tacked to windows and doorframes. And outside of the house, underneath the eaves and half-covered by bird’s nests and spider webs, Walter had wired in a series of megaphones, the old fashioned kind that gym teachers and lifeguards used to have.

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Rhetorical Awareness: Is It Blog, Content, or Copy?

Posted on Fri, Jan 8 2016 9:00 am by Mary Ringstad

Recently I was teaching a class on copywriting and a student mentioned she had submitted an article (for content) to an online news site. It had been rejected for being too “blog-like.” This sparked a class discussion on the differences between blogging, content development, and ad copy.

At first glance it may seem a simple matter of using appropriate voice/tone, but the big picture is that it’s really a matter of complete rhetorical awareness.

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In the Poetry Laboratory, Doing Bernadette Mayer’s “Experiments”

Posted on Mon, Jan 11 2016 9:00 am by Jennifer Fossenbell

Set yourself the task of writing in a way you’ve never written before.

We begin with a simple title, “Experiments,” and an attribution, by Bernadette Mayer & her St. Mark’s Poetry Project Workshop, circa the mysterious year of 1988. The particulars of that mysterious year’s events may be withheld, but the list they created is a generous document that promises to delight, educate, and bear fruit—as much a poem in its own right as it is an instruction guide and an ars poetica.

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Youth Program for Poetry and Performance: A Teacher's Perspective

Posted on Tue, Jan 12 2016 6:00 pm by Alex Renshaw

In my role at the Loft as the Poetry Out Loud program intern, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Patty Strandquist, an English teacher who implemented Poetry Out Loud in her classroom at The Blake School in Minneapolis with great success.

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Literary Round-Up: David Bowie Edition

Posted on Wed, Jan 13 2016 4:00 pm by Dannah Baynton

David Bowie had and will long have a vast impact on art and culture. This links round-up focuses on his literary connections, plus a few good articles recently published in his honor. RIP, Starman.

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The Barfly Test: Is Your Travel Story Interesting Enough to Publish?

Posted on Fri, Jan 15 2016 3:30 pm by Harry Leeds

I always come back from a trip with stories to tell and an impulse to share them. These days, what I did and where I went is easy enough to determine from my Facebook page. Between these curated snapshots there is always a more interesting tale to tell, and most of the time this story is more difficult to articulate than flashing a few selfies. So how can I, or anyone, make these memories worth hearing?

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Lit Chat: Meet Hieu Minh Nguyen

Posted on Mon, Jan 18 2016 1:00 pm by Molly Fuller

Hieu Minh Nguyen is a rising star in the Twin Cities and national poetry world. The Loft blog takes a closer look at his fun quirks and his many accomplishments. 

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Resolutions Beyond the New Year

Posted on Wed, Jan 20 2016 10:00 am by Dawn Frederick

Tired of resolutions and lists yet? I’ve always been a non-resolution person. Instead I offer ways you can develop a list of simple and easily achievable writing goals. Take however much time it suits you to accomplish them. Weeks, months, years....

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Inside the MFA: R & R (Revision and Relaxation)

Posted on Fri, Jan 22 2016 6:00 pm by Miriam Karraker

This is sort of a strange post as I’m not actually in class or teaching from mid December through mid January, but in this liminal winter break place, I’m thinking a lot about revision. This idea of a “break” is sort of laughable to me since I think there’s always something to revise, and new pieces to write. The work never ends. I can always tinker but I don’t think I’d have it another way.

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Reading Like a Writer: Intimacy and Dissonance in Dialogue

Posted on Mon, Jan 25 2016 1:00 pm by Allison Wyss

Bette Adriaanse's Rus Like Everyone Else is a startling novel about a set of lonely neighbors whose lives intersect in peculiar ways. Near the end of the novel, two characters come together. Grasping at intimacy, they flounder and then find a path that's specific to them. See how the author avoids mushiness and structures the intimate dialogue perfectly....


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Creating the Character Called "I"

Posted on Tue, Jan 26 2016 11:30 am by Rachel Gabriel

Memoir is self-portraiture. But what does the reader need to know about the memoirist in order to be captured by the story? How does a memoir writer decide which life details can be left out of one story, but are absolutely critical to the next? Successfully creating a character of the self is crucial to the memoir. Consider these tips and questions as you develop your "I" character.

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How Time Is Elastic, and Other Poetic Musings

Posted on Thu, Jan 28 2016 11:50 am by Rachel Moritz

Take a ride through time and beauty with poet and Loft teaching artist, Rachel Moritz, as she explores the impact of language in poems by Stanley Kunitz and Jorie Graham.

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