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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On Words That Matter #1: Ross Gay’s “catalogue of unabashed gratitude”

As a small gesture of what I can do in this time, I want to share a joyful book, yes a joyful book of poems that at the same time doesn’t deny the active sorrow of this world or the current crisis of race in this country. I offer up the power of Ross Gay’s “catalogue of unabashed gratitude.” Published in 2015, these poems...

A Tree Poem: The Riddle

RIDDLEYou can hear our voices in the wind but we are not the wind.We lean into the earth, always filtering what is left.We hold the spirit of tallness, of all things impossible with balance.Even though we belong to the sun,we are the ocean of green.You can count our yearsinside the rings of our hearts.We do not die easily,though we can die quickly.We are tender of...

Pandemic Poems for Us All #7: Faults

Found Poem asking this: if we are truly quieter, what do we hear? Based on notes taken from an article by Robin George Andrews in the New York Times Faults the anthropogenic hiss of us has for years masked words made by our tectonic plates  the planet’s shifting terrains now in our collective wills not just the neighbors but the millions who have hunkered down seismometers hear and record a lexicon of earth clearer in this...

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...