October 26, 2012

Poetry Friday--The Dodge Poetry Festival, Part 2

Last week I attempted to give you a taste of this year's Dodge Poetry Festival. Today, I'm going to give you a whole mouthful!

I promised to tell you about Nikki Finney, my new "favorite" poet! Finney, is intelligent, compassionate, an award-winning poet, about my age, and, she has a great website! What's not to like? I'd suggest browsing her site if she is new to you. Watch some of the videos. Read a few of the poems.

Photo courtesy NikkyFinney.net.

As I did last week, I'm going to post a few quotes from the sessions I attended. These are from the ones in which Finney participated. I think you'll come away with an idea of her spirit and her generosity.
"Sometimes a poem walks right into the room."

"If you're proud of what you've done, you can take it anywhere."

"I'm from the Harriet Tubman school of life: if I get through the door, I'm going to bring somebody with me."

"You can imitate and steal, but you also want to invent--be inventive."

"I like contemplation. I like to think about things."

Her "Conversation: On Craft" session was full of hints such as thinking mathematically about poetry by counting syllables, or lines, etc. About writing a poem she told us, "I like to come in through a window, not a door." And, one of those ways in is to use an epigraph. She also suggests that poets engage in the "art of listening." Finney compared writing to being a photographer who uses different lenses. I particularly liked the idea of a fisheye lens relating to magical realism--something to think about...

And if that's not enough to give you a feel for Finney, watch this:

Finney told us that she hadn't prepared a speech until a friend had suggested that she might want to consider doing so! Aren't we glad she took that advice!

Now, take my advice and head down to your local public library and pick up one of Finney's books, I'm sure you'll become a fan! One more piece of advice: the Poetry Friday Round-Up is in full swing at TeacherDance, so stop by.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing these glimpses into the festival, Diane, and for sharing Finney's work. My 17-year-old son went with a small group from school (lo-o-o-ng road trip from here), and I've been jealous! What a tremendous experience for young and old-er alike.

  2. I'm on my way to the library this am, & will look for Nikki Finney. Thanks Diane. The speech is wonderful, and thank you for sharing other good words from the festival.

  3. I'm going to check her out!

    Glad you had a great time . . .

  4. I hope you find her to be your new favorite poet! Sorry for the delay in commenting, but last night I became a first-time grandmother! Julian Maxwell Mayr, 7 lbs. 12 oz.

    Robyn, I probably bumped into your son at one point or another! Next time you can go--I'll meet you there.