My “Next Big Thing” – linkages

I was tagged by the poet & artist  (& my friend) Karen Dennison to answer set questions relating to my “next big thing”. This tag chain (or chain tag?) circulated around the writing community the last few months, and many poets described their latest (or forthcoming) poetry collection in print.

So since I’ve been tagged, I have decided to solidify my intentions and to declare them.

Where did the idea of the project come from?

I’ve started to write reviews of poetry collections and I want to do more reviewing. Reviewing and responding forces me to write, which forces me to think and have opinions. And to come up with some reasons for my opinions. Which I think is good for my mind. And which helps me feel like I’m contributing – being part of the community of readers and writers. And adding some linkages and make some connections. Maybe it’s not so much like adding links to a chain,

Image credit

or the spider-web thing, but more like drawing  mind-maps and adding them to the ocean of other mind-maps out there, and somehow, maybe, being part of the proverbial “something bigger than one’s self”. It sounds a little pompous when I write it down in words – but all I mean, is that I feel it’s important to go on the assumption that every little thing counts in some way.

I feel inspired and challenged  by this blog post that Helena Nelson  wrote on her Happenstance Blog  where she asks the question “IS A POETRY REVIEW EKPHRASTIC ART?”

Please read all her excellent post if you want to find delve into the possible meaning(s) of “ekphrasis”. She ends with this –

I think a poetry review could be one art form responding to another. It need not necessarily comment on perceived strengths or weaknesses, because reviews can do all sorts of things, not least when they think of themselves as art forms (though this has risks of its own).

Most poetry reviews are written by poets. A review might be written with the same precision and attention that a poet pays to her poem in construction. It could be a piece of ekphrastic art: a creation in its own right, a unique response to something worth responding to.

So that’s what I’d like to do.

What genre does your project?

Reviewing. Essays. Creative nonfiction. Exphrasis (plastic-ally defined). Poetry. Blogging.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a film version?

Emer Gillespie. She’s a friend of mine – she’s a poet, novelist, screen-writer and actress, so she’d be great! Listen to her here.  I’d want it to be a radio play.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the project?

I expect to be publishing most of my reviews/responses as individual, not-too-long posts on this blog. Time to write?  Varies.  I sometimes spend months reading and thinking about my review-type blog posts – and then write them up fairly quickly in a couple of days. So I tend to be slow.  And suffice it to say… I don’t expect to ever write a novel.

Who or what inspired this book?

See answer to First Question.

And I like how Virginia Woolf tackled reviewing in her Common Readers .  Obviously I’m no V.W. – but it’s important in this life to aim high. And of course keeping in mind what Frank says. Or how Andre responded to what Frank said.

And I want to write more response poems. Or my own translations/versions of other people’s poems.

I remember back in Grade 12, our teacher asked us to write a response poem to the shepherd. Not sure if I can find what I wrote – or how it stacked up to Walter’s. But I’d like to do more of that sort of thing.

The Internet  is a Huge Collage– it’s an amazing playground for bringing together strands of text, sound & sight & subject matter. And experimenting.

Will your book be self-published or published by an agency?

Self-published (with the help of WordPress), though perhaps I’ll end up submitting some of my reviews elsewhere too. I’ve already had a couple of my reviews published at Eyewear.

p.s. I’m not going to tag anyone else. Not now. Maybe later. Who knows. We’ll see.


  1. I love how you talk about reviewing Elly. And I agree, you are definitely ‘putting something back’. As a poet who you took the time to review, it was really lovely to feel that someone had taken care and attention and responded to my writing. Great post.


  2. Hey Kim – THANKS!
    You’ve put a big 😀 on my face.
    The sun’s finally shining here on Prince Edward Island so I’m heading out soon for a walk.
    Hope you have sunshine too.


  3. Glad to read this Elly. I felt the same as Kim re your review of my book and that you understood where I was coming from. Am also interested to read about whether a poetry review is ekphrastic art – reading Helena’s blog now.


  4. Thanks very much, Karen.
    I enjoy Helena’s blog posts. She usually gets me looking at things in a new way.
    I like the idea of poetry reviews as part of an ongoing conversation – people responding to each other’s writing/art/creations. Same idea 💡 really as your exciting project – the alternating response chain of poets and visual artists…


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