Steve Peters on a Shift in Creativity

I’ve long admired Steve Peters as a composer and sound installation artist. In response to my piece on process he noted an interesting twist in his own.
Steve wrote: Last year I was doing a residency in France and made a bunch of these drawings with crushed flower petals – really fast, no forethought. some were lousy, most weren’t. fun and liberating to work that way. so different than my usual long, painstaking process.


At the time he noted: “Having fun making these little improvised gesture drawings/finger paintings/rubbings/somethings. All are 4″x6″ and were made in less than 1 minute using only flower petals crushed directly onto the paper with my fingers. One kind of flower per.”


Quite a wonderful idea–I’m delighted to share it.

Poetic Process by Miriam Sagan

Poetic process isn’t always easy to engage with, no matter how long you’ve been writing. Mine changed in startling and unlooked for ways in the past year—and surprisingly it took me quite a while to notice.
Last October I was at Wildacres in the Smokies, working with my daughter Isabel Winson-Sagan. She taught me to do suminagashi—Japanese style marbling, which works as a kind of mono print of ink on water. In the week there, we worked at full throttle. I wore all the poems that appear in our collaborative book Spilled Ink.
Then, I didn’t write another poem for five months. This is unusual, as I try to write about 8 poems a month—even if they are bad, or off the cuff haiku that don’t quite work. I like to keep warmed up.
Instead, I was working on a novel, The Future Tense of River, entranced by the fun and difficulty of getting the first draft underway. I started another project, 100 CUPS OF COFFEE, a mix of poetry and prose, but the poetry was diary-like, not meant to stand alone.
In the spring, I had a horrifying “oops” moment. I wasn’t writing poetry. I was as startled as if I’d suddenly realized I hadn’t brushed my teeth in five months.
Experience has taught me not to panic about writing, so I figured—hey, just write some poems. I started, and these poems were really different. They were long and skinny (a form I’d been soundly criticized for as a Freshman in college and have avoided since.) They had no capital letters—something I usually think ill of. And they had very little punctuation. This last bit I’ve had to re-think, as editors keep asking for it.
They feel fast, impressionist, associative. They need one solid pass or draft. If that doesn’t work, they don’t seem revisable, I just throw them out. I can do detail edit, but the shape is fixed for good or ill by the first draft.
It’s kind of scary, but they seem to work just like mono printing or suminagashi.
I don’t know what to call them, but I’m writing a lot. And publishing. Editors seem to really like them, and most acceptances are coming in batches. Sometimes the poems cluster, or seem to make one larger poem. They might be a sequence, a book, or something else completely.

Here is an excerpt from a group just published in Apricity—a lovely e-zine.

the red neon SANTA FE
on the top of the Gothic Revival
railway building
across from my hotel room
on a rainy night in
Amarillo, Texas—
my love for you is pure,
an unusual
thing in this world,
and I’m perfectly happy
with you in my bed,
and although
the news of another poet’s
fame made me jealous
I count myself lucky
to not be translating
out of my native tongue.

Check out the rest at

And do explore the magazine— They are reading submissions and emphasize the visual arts, as you can see here:


Free Book!

We’re giving away free copies of Spilled Ink, a collaboration between Miriam Sagan and Isabel Winson-Sagan. Just ask! The book was designed purely as a gift–it has no price, no ISBN.
It can’t be bought or sold. But you may have to do something a bit radical to get one: ASK.


Simply send your name & mailing address to me at
A book will be yours, as long as they last. Not sure about international mailing, but we’ll try.



Preview poem:

when you were a baby
a Balanchine dancer
praised your sitting posture

now that you’re grown
I need to question you to understand—
a woman of another generation

I walk in the autumn hardwood forest
with my cane—elegant fungus
grows along a tree trunk

palmate leaves
bigger than any gloves I’ve ever worn
turn green, yellow, brown, red

you say the paper sculpture
should be just about
as tall as you are

an enormous spider web
seems dropped into these woods
by Chihuly

you blow the line
of ink
across the standing water

if autumn were a woman
she’d be undressing now
for her date with solstice

the koan asks: for whom
do you adorn yourself
and make yourself beautiful?

Kore in Hell

I dreamed of a house that was like one of those roadside follies built on beer cans or colored bottles. There were layers and layers of decoration laid in the adobe mud of the walls. A woman walked by with a back pack. She was from the Women’s School (a once real place in my life). She offered me part of a pomegranate altar she had in the pack, made of dried pomegranates. I told her—no thanks. I said—I’ll just write about it instead.
When I woke up I realized I had done the right thing. It’s October and only a fool would accept pomegranates or pomegranate seeds this time of year and have to go underground for the winter with Persephone.


Call for Submissions: Cherita

Note to readers–this form was new to me, and I was dubious. Was it some kind of overgrown tanka or stanzaic free verse? I started writing and wrote a long sequence I like a lot. It’s super narrative yet surprisingly tight. Check it out!


Please share with any appropriate venue.

The Special Features section of the Atlas Poetica web site is seeking submissions for a collection of ‘25 Cherita’ edited by ai li. The Cherita guidelines are concise as is the form. It is a linked short poem of three stanzas of one, two and three lines.The Cherita [pronounced CHAIR-rita] tells a story and is the Malay word for story or tale. It is a flexible form, capable of being imagist, lyrical, surreal, anecdotal and concrete.

It is your story. You can write about life: births, deaths, anniversaries, betrayals, disappointments, abortions, bankruptcies, joblessness, vendettas, suicides et al. Your stories can also include : travel, work, hobbies, passions both light and dark, eating disorders, night shifts, cross dressing, the erotic and everything else that makes us who we are in the universe. Do not be afraid to let us hear your authentic voice, and to allow us to share the vision of who you really are or can be. Your words will bring all your stories to life. It will be a rich shared experience that will benefit us all.

The Cherita has grown enormously since its inception in 1997 and will continue to grow as your stories unfold over the years. Our ancestors over smoky fires in caves, told stories and these have been passed down over the centuries. Many were in the oral tradition whilst others survived as cave drawings or murals, and more importantly as written records. M Kei has generously given Cherita poets and writers this splendid opportunity to continue with this age-old tradition of story telling but with contemporary influences, and so I hope you will embrace his kind gesture with as much enthusiasm as you can muster. I wait in eager anticipation to receive and read your Cherita.

For further inspiration, do read cherita by Larry Kimmel, Sheila Windsor, ai li and other Cherita poets on ATPO, their respective websites and on Twitter.

The general Atlas Poetica guidelines apply, therefore poets must be 16 or older. Please visit for complete guidelines and to view previous Special Features. Poems should be contained in the body of an email. Please query before sending attachments.

Submissions: Poets are invited to send up to twenty poems each, but only one poem will be chosen by each poet, in keeping with the theme and format of the ‘25 Poems’ features on the Atlas Poetica website. Reprints and socially published are acceptable, as long as they include previous publication information.

Deadline: Deadline for submitting to ‘25 Cherita’ is December 31, 2016. The planned publication date is Spring 2017. Special Features are published on an irregular schedule.

Email address for submissions: findme (at) aili (dot) uk — subject line: Cherita