Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cecilia Woloch Shares Advice

A week or so ago, there was a meme circulating around the blogosphere; bloggers who were tagged had to post advice for new writers. This meme caught my interest, so I thought I would ask a couple of established poets to share advice for new writers and let me share it via my blog. The wonderful and sexy Cecilia Woloch was kind enough to share.

After reading Cecilia's advice you will find her biographical information (which was taken from Cecilia's website). Please, please, take a few minutes to view Cecilia's website. Make a point to read the poems on her website. Her brilliant poem "Burning the Doll," which happens to be one of my top ten favorite poems, is on her webpage!

1). Read voraciously -- the best contemporary poetry, but also reach back
into poetry's traditions (all the way to Sappho, at least!) and read poetry in
translation from other cultures and traditions.

2). Don't be in a rush to publish. You may only end up publishing things
you'll later regret having published, or the (almost inevitable) rejections may
interfere with your relationship to your work. Give the work time to
develop, and learn to think of the work as its own reward, and not to worry too
much about "validation" from the world.

3). Do find a supportive community of poets, a workshop or just a few
friends whose opinions and goodwill you trust, people who will challenge and
stimulate you as a poet. But don't let the judgements of others quash what may
be most original in your work -- a danger of workshops.

4). Lead an interesting life, care deeply, don't be afraid.

CECILIA WOLOCH was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up there and in rural Kentucky, one of seven children of a homemaker and an airplane mechanic. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University L.A. in 1999.

Her books of poems are Sacrifice (Cahuenga Press, 1997), a BookSense 76 selection in 2001; Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem (Cahuenga Press, 2002); and Late (BOA Editions, 2003) for which she was named Georgia Author of the Year in Poetry in 2004. A chapbook manuscript, "Narcissus," was chosen winner of the Tupelo Press Snowbound Competition and will be published in 2007.

She is the founding director of Summer Poetry in Idyllwild and of The Paris Poetry Workshop, and is currently a lecturer in the creative writing program at the University of Southern California as well as a member of the core faculty of the low-residency MFA Program in Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University.


Lisa Allender said...

Cecilia is always intriguing. I like what she says about "waiting" to publish. Although I believe it's very important to be heard--and to be a real, true risk-taker-- I agree we writers sometimes put an unfortunate emphasis on what she calls "validation from the world."
Cecilia "walks the walk" when she says one should "Lead an interesting life...." She does all that, and then some, with great kindness.

Dustin said...

Lisa-- I agree: Cecilia is always intriguing. I hope that I get to attend one of her Paris workshops one day.

Montgomery Maxton said...

dude she's hot.

Collin said...

Cecilia is hot and brilliant.

Dustin said...


You should have seen her at the Voices Carry reading-- high heels.. black dress/skirt.. stocking- I was like "damn."


You're like bff with Cecilia... does she realize she's hot?

Collin said...

I don't think it's something she dwells on. She takes good care of herself physically and mentally and is happy in her skin. She'd probably tell you that people who worry about whether they're hot or not are sooo not hot.

Dustin said...

Knowing her the little bit that I do, I wouldn't think she is the type of person to dwell on looks. I only hope she realizes she as hot as her poetry, and her poetry is damn hot!

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