Monthly Archives: December 2013

…In which I dispense a brilliant recommendation. (Also, MERRY CHRISTMAS!)

Santa and Christmas Cards. Jen Dempsey.

Christmas cards and Santa from my students!

Hi folks!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your loved ones! I wish all of you warmth, good food, and love this season. I know many in the Midwest are without heat or electricity right now, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything is fixed very soon, and that you remain safe and comfortable in the meantime.

In other news, my latest poetry review is now available at Prick of the Spindle! Between cooking, opening presents, and watching an assortment of holiday movies on TV, you should check out my thoughts on Julie Gard’s beautiful chapbook, Russia in 17 Objects, at this link.

Blessings and joy to all of you! Catch you in 2014. šŸ™‚

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Filed under Literary Review, News, Publication

How Cool Is This?

My poem “Five Hundred Crows” is the featured verse today over at Andy Knowlton‘s A Poem A Day blog. Sweet! Thanks, Andy!

Enjoy, all! šŸ˜€

Poem by Jen Dempsey Design by Andy Knowlton


Poem by Jen Dempsey
Design by Andy Knowlton

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Filed under Poetry, Publication, Woo Hoo!

Much December Goodness (ie, Updates, Character Development, and Publishing News)

Hi Folks!

‘Tis time for an update, so some say. šŸ™‚ As you might have guessed, the past few months have raced by, filled with writing afternoons, crazy teaching moments, and breathtaking travel. Instead of legitimately participating in November’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for the unindoctrinated), I decided to set a longer-term writing schedule to weave a new story onto the page. With any luck (and, err, gumption), in the next three months I will have a solid first draft ready for first readers and feedback.

These initial stages of writing are the most difficult for me. At the beginning of a story, I don’t have an immediate connection to my characters. I may know their names, have a general idea of their appearances, or understand one unquenchable fact about their pasts, but they aren’t yet people. I don’t enjoy or despise the protagonist. I’m not in love with the hero. IĀ  rarely, if ever, instantly care about their futures. My characters start as acquaintances; they have the potential to develop into full-blown help-you-bury-the-body friendships, but at the onset, we can only smile and reintroduce ourselves awkwardly at every engagement. I’ve tried character mapping and profiles, but they feel insincere and inorganic to my creative muse. Thus, I am left to struggle and force banter at the equivalent of a friend-of-a-friend’s fancy cocktail party, where the host is dating my ex and I’m wearing knee-torn, mud-splattered jeans.

It does get easier. After spending a lot of time with my characters, I start to hear their voices in my head (usually at inopportune moments– for example, at the doctor’s office). I begin to understand better their motivations and fears, as well as their intrinsic reactions to other characters. The story smooths out. Plot points are reached. Words fly on the screen, and whole scenes pop into existence in mere minutes.

Until then? My characters and I circle each other dubiously, and the story putters along.

With any luck, I’ll be partying with my characters soon. šŸ™‚

***

Now, in other news, I just learned that The Monongahela Review will be publishing a poem of mine in the upcoming issue! šŸ˜€Ā MR is an awesome online lit journal; you can download current and previous issues for free as PDFs or read online through Issuu.

As soon as this baby drops, I’ll post links and many, many exclamation points! šŸ˜›

***
AND… in some other news, one of my poems will be featured this week on Andy Knowlton‘s A Poem A Day blog!

The story of Andy’s and my acquaintance is rather charming, in a You’ve-Got-Mail-without-the-love-affair sorta way. Towards the beginning of my residence in Korea, I read an article online about international grassroots poetry movements, a segment of which was dedicated to his Drunken Poets project. Turns out, Andy is an American writer based in Seoul, South Korea, a mere 3.5 hours from my town of Yeosu. I shot him an email, admiring and cheering on his art/poem efforts… and he wrote back. Thus began an electronic friendship. šŸ˜›

Andy creates his own artwork –the epitome of cool– for his A Poem A Day blog. Check out the work he’s done to this point (Day 340)! It’s impressive. I’m very honored and excited to be included on the website!

As soon as the poem/artwork posts, I’ll share it with you here. I may also print out a million copies and mail them to friends and/or random strangers. There’s a 50/50 chance you’ll get one. šŸ˜‰

Check out Andy Knowlton's website for more info on his poetry, The Drunken Poets project, and his A Poem A Day blog! [andyknowlton.com]

Check out Andy Knowlton’s website for more info on his poetry, The Drunken Poets project, and his A Poem A Day blog!

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Filed under News, Poetry, Publication, The Novel, Woo Hoo!, Writing