I am Moving

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Dear Readers,

I am migrating all of the content here and on Poetic Idealism over to https://ericmrwebb.com.

You will be able to find new content there as well.

Thank you for reading!

– Eric

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It’s Happened!

My first chap book is now available!

After months years of working on the thesis, massaging those poems, and working on new writing since graduating, I have a short collection out with Blast Furnace Press out of Pittsburgh.

I guess it goes to show that perseverance pays.

I whittled down the thesis to just a few of the best poems, added a couple of new ones not in there, and sent it out to five or six different contests and publishers. This took more effort than I thought it would. Killing your darlings is hard work, and although I don’t expect it to get any easier as things move forward, it may be easier to recognize something that isn’t working the way it is.

The end result is a chap book called How to Lose Faith, 18 poems in about 30 pages. Though many of the poems reflect on a traditional judeo-christian belief system, that subject tends to be an underlying current rather than the guiding principle. It is a journey I’ve taken, and I have no apologies for it.

It is interesting taking a title like that and sharing it with people I don’t know all that well. I can never be exactly sure of the reception.

Keep an eye out on the tumblr blog for readings and more news on this front.

You can buy the book here: http://www.blastfurnacepress.com/2015/05/how-to-lose-faith-prize-winning.html

Revision and Creation

About three years ago, I attended the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, where I presented on the concept of using revision as an integral part of the creative process. I have come to view revision–my opinion has been revised–as even a primary source of creativity.

Over the past year, in particular, as I was working through the thesis project, revision was a primary mode of work. In one way, I felt a hole in that I was not creating any new poems. This however, was not really the case. Reflecting now, several months after the defense, I can see that both the work as a whole, and the individual poems, are substantially different. Of the initial chapbook-length collection I began the process with, only a few poems remain in the bound thesis, and most of those amount to completely different poems.

The revision process had, in other words, become the primary creative mode.

I wonder, and you may be wondering, the why and how of revision functioning as a primary creativity mode. I have three ideas about this:

  1. Close Attention
  2. Time Scale
  3. New Avenues

Expect new entries soon on each of these topics.

Faith and Writing – pt. 3

Part 1

Part 2

II.

As I wrote in the introduction to this essay, I have discovered over the last couple of years a faith in my writing. This faith is composed of those outlined above, and I think to a greater or lesser extent my writing exhibits it. I think an interesting question might be how I got to this place where I feel confident in and trust my abilities with writing. There are two things, I think, that contributed to this building faith. Continue reading

Faith and Writing – pt. 2

Part 1

I. (cont’d)

Writing is an act of faith in the self. Because writing is, as Hugo notes, “an act of self-acceptance” (71) and faith—in this understanding—is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the self, writing is an act of faith.

A=B=C

But what does this really mean? An act of writing—of putting words onto paper or into electronic form—necessarily conducts an individual’s unique perspective into the world at large. Continue reading

Faith and Writing – pt. 1

Passion for truth is an idea with more than one face. It includes the determination to look closely and long, to be unsatisfied with the secondhand and assumption. It includes the emotions and the body…the writer’s whole being is the instrument of perception, not only the mind…only the hunger for something beyond the personal will allow a writer to break free of one major obstacle to originality—the fear of self-revelation.
Jane Hirshfield, “The Question of Originality,” Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry.

An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance.

…one reason a poet [writes is] to become a better person…a lifetime of writing [is] a slow, accumulative way of accepting one’s life as valid.
Richard Hugo, “Statements of Faith,” The Triggering Town.

The above statements lead me to this thought: the act of writing—in my case poems, but writing creatively in general—is an act of faith, and not necessarily in the religious sense. At some point during the last three years, I made the transition from thinking of myself as wanting to be a poet to having faith that I am into the beginning of this journey of being a poet. Continue reading

Some Reflection on the Past Year

In 2012, I took a bunch of poems from my time in ODU’s MFA program and created a thesis out of them. I dropped a bunch of them, and wrote a bunch of new ones. And though the thesis is still a work in process, it’s largely complete for the project of graduation.

But there are also a lot more things I’m proud of from the last year…

Continue reading