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Passions in Poetry

Digital Passions
Poetry Magazine

Digital Passions #6
published November 15, 2000


Editor's Column by Karilea Jungel (Sunshine)
Writer's Resources by Nicole Boyd
Thanksgiving Poetry  Lone Wolf
Interview with Poertree by Christopher Ward
After the Murder of my Wife by Poertree
The Final Word by Poet deVine

* Bonus Features

Beatnik Era by JP Burns
My Creative Writing Class by Deborah Carter
Poetry Readings by Sven

* Bonus Poetry & Prose

Friendship Poetry selected by Elizabeth
Love Poetry selected by Irish Rose
Sad Poetry selected by Karen A.A. Hood
Teen Poetry selected by Krista Knutson
Spiritual Poetry selected by Marge Tindal
Short Fiction selected by Dopey Dope

Read It All (one big page)

Beatnik Era Poetry Readings: A Personal Experience


My Creative Writing Class
by Deborah Carter

Creative Writing is unlike any other form of writing. The process of creating something that did not previously exist; something has its own meaning.

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When I registered for my very first creative writing class in college, I thought it would be so easy! And why not? I'd been writing poems and stories since I was a child and my family and friends had always really enjoyed them. I was eager to show the world how gifted and clever I was!

At that time, I thought that well-written poetry should always rhyme, and that most stories should have a happy ending. I was pretty comfortable with my writing technique even though I'd never had any formal training other then a few writing classes in high school. I didn't really think that there was much more that I needed to know.
When I walked into the classroom the first day, I wasn't prepared for what awaited me.

When I walked into the classroom the first day, I wasn't prepared for what awaited me. Everybody seemed so experienced and talented! Many of the students had already been published! As I looked over the syllabus for the semester, words about genre, form, images and tone caught my eye. It was then that I realized that a strong desire to write is only just the beginning, in the process of Creative Writing!

It wasn't long before I was learning to create poems from a list or an old family photograph, from memories, secrets and even blues music! There were sonnets to write, limericks, poems of politics, loss and desires. I discovered the value of dialogue, conflict, attention-grabbing introductions and satisfying conclusions when writing a story. Enrolling in that first class opened my eyes to a whole new way of approaching my writing and for that alone, I will be forever grateful!

For anyone who might be debating whether or not taking a class could be beneficial, maybe my observations as a student will help with your decision.

While I have taken several literature and writing courses in the last couple of years, I am far from being an expert on the subject. For anyone who might be debating whether or not taking a class could be beneficial, maybe my observations as a student will help with your decision.

The Basics

A good creative writing class will teach you each phase of the traditional writing process, which includes, research, drafting, revision, editing and proofreading.
It can give you the individualized attention and the encouragement necessary to realize your goals as a writer, while providing valuable support and feedback.

Getting Started

Searching for ideas can be frustrating at times. A dedicated teacher will help you to expand your knowledge in the art of creative writing in ways that you may have never thought about before.

There are many different strategies for finding topics to write about, such as free writing or brainstorming, the use of dreams and memories, and incorporating first- hand experiences into my writing.

Writing down whatever comes to mind, no matter how simple or strange, is a good way to generate ideas.

All of us have memories, good and bad...

All of us have memories, good and bad, and the emotions that are generated with these memories can develop into splendid poems and stories. In one of my classes, we were encouraged to try to remember people or places in our past that made us feel happy or proud, sad or afraid and to write down our feelings that associated with these memories.

I had a wonderful teacher, who often reminded us to listen to those "inner voices in our heads", and let them evolve into characters with distinct personalities. She also taught us the rule, "show don't tell" when drafting a poem or story. It is one of the secrets to successful writing. Using lots of colorful images and interesting details helps the reader visualize the situation and allow the story to "come alive". A strong image can become symbol, which will take on a new meaning beyond itself.


Critiques by your classmates can be a useful tool when learning to write. Although it sometimes requires a strong ego, honest opinions and suggestions can offer many different points of view on your work.

The rules in my class were simple. When it was my turn to read a story or poem, the rest of the class listened quietly and carefully until I finished. Then I sat in silence, (usually with sweaty palms and pounding heart!) while each of my peers commented on my efforts. It's difficult at first, to avoid interrupting with a thank-you for the one who offers praise or to argue the merits of my work with the one who doesn't exactly care for it! I've found that listening to each critique with an open mind is important. Although I don't always agree with the comments, they are often useful nonetheless, when revising my poem or story.

Reading the Masters

Another benefit of taking a course in Creative Writing is the opportunity to discover some of the best authors and poets in the world. I have been introduced to literary giants such as Katherine Anne Porter, Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway. I love to read the poetry genius of Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, and countless others that I never knew existed. I have learned to contemplate their words, search for their message, appreciate each one for their own unique contribution, as if it were a gift given especially to me.

Outside Influences

Often well-known visiting writers are sponsored by local community organizations, libraries or art councils. Some of the best lessons I've been given came from listening to lectures or readings by talented, experienced writers.

Many times, there are occasions in which you can take part in public readings. There are always functions within the college community that allow new writers to share their work with others. Though it can be nerve-wracking at first, it is essential for a writer to learn the art of public speaking! Reading your work to an audience will give your work more exposure and offers immediate responses. Sometimes the poem or story will take on a whole new feel when read aloud. Often a successful reading will lead to invitations of others!

The Art of Getting Published

Creative writing classes can give you useful tips on how to publish your work. I have learned how to prepare my manuscript for submission, where and when to submit, and the most effective way to write query letters. Many local magazines and newspapers publish the work of college students and most colleges have a school paper.

Often teachers are published authors themselves and are happy to share their own experiences. Several of mine are, and the very fact that these people who I greatly admire, are normal, living, breathing people not unlike myself, motivates me in my own efforts to become a writer!

A class in creative writing might not be for everyone, but for me it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

A class in creative writing might not be for everyone, but for me it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I developed a new respect for views outside of my own, an appreciation for individual differences in all forms of writing. I was motivated, challenged, inspired. Not only did I acquire new skills that are vital to a new writer, but most importantly, I learned to express my thoughts, ideas and feelings in my own unique voice and share it with the world!