Anne-Marie Oomen | On Writing
ANNE-MARIE OOMEN, Award-winning Michigan author, writer, poet, Interlochen Arts Academy, Writing Workshops, Poet in Residence, Writer in Residence, Writing Residence
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Pandemic Poems for Us All #1

Here's a poem that comes out of this new experience. Just trying to reflect here the things we are feeling in this new time. Quarantine’s Touch I walked the empty road to a neighbor’s house. I hesitated to knock—I’d have to touch the door, but then I did. She came, her hair mussed, smiled, and put her palm against the glass and I put mine against the cool on my...

Pandemic Poems for Us All #3

Poems written in the moment, spurred by the immediacy of pandemic, and not much revised. Is it literature? Not yet! Well, maybe a couple of lines, but still, meant to be shared because what else can we do to compete with isolation? Vaccine Once decided, and without any idea of cost, we figured out first how we’d break the sod, to dig that dead orchard’s turf. We figured it would...

How Does Writing Work: An Interview

At risk of self-aggrandizement, I’m posting this interview I did for Millicent Hill.  Well, maybe it’s a little self-aggrandizing, but I hope there is substance enough here to offer some insights along with the ego.  For several years, my friend and brilliant poet, Arra Ross, who teaches at Saginaw Valley State University here in Michigan, has set up interviews between her students and the writing community.  She usually emails, asking if I am...

Lake Love Letters Project

Dear Friend, I love our waters: lakes, rivers, wetlands, little sinking ponds, remote swamps. If it’s wet, I’ll probably like it. And of course, I’m worried about all of them, as I know many of you are. I often wonder what I can do. I’m not a scientist, politician, lawyer, not even a very good journalist. I often feel inadequate, a “fish out of water” when...

Launch Fun: Notes on Small Scale Book Launches

Recently, a former student from the Solstice MFA program where I teach, Jenifer DeBellis, wrote me that her first book, Blood Sisters, had been accepted. She was excited but uncertain how to shepherd it into the future with that “human touch.” Then a similar question from T.J. Harrison on the acceptance of her book, The Fruit of Love and Grief.  Both of these women had worked hard, weathered rejection, triumphed over...

Reading My Own Words: Some Practical Thoughts

Recently my friend Kelli Fitzpatrick, writer of speculative fiction extraordinaire, emailed, paying an unexpected compliment.  She’d won a literary prize and had been asked to do a big public reading, and like all of us in those situations, was feeling the nerves. She noted that she always loved the way I read (I always thought she read well!) and would I offer some suggestions for...

AMO on Writing: Thoughts on later Stage Revision

Later Stage Revision? For some folks: bleh.  For me, a continuously surprising set of interactions with a draft. It’s alive.  Later stage revision is marked by confidence, terror, skills, commitment, uncertainty, practice, inspiration, boredom, feedback, deadlines, the state of the draft, sleep and coffee. Among other things.  Sound familiar?  I can only share my own experience; yours will be a different drama, but we writers...

Lordy I Love That Word

Let me proclaim it: I love the Lordy word. Not I love the Good Lord, an entirely different thing; I’ll discuss that shortly. Why do I love the word Lordy? First, it’s one of those exclamations I caught myself saying for the first time in a long time because, though I’d almost forgotten it, it was suddenly everywhere. I’d lost it in my willingness to...

Exploding Moments

Exploding Moments—it looks like shattered glass but it’s not. I was on Aquinas College campus to speak for the Contemporary Writers Series Twentieth Anniversary. In addition, I had only one hour with forty students at Aquinas College for a mini lesson. That old challenge. One hour. Since teaching graduate school I no longer think in one hour segments, only in two-to- four hour teaching segments....