Interview with Griffin Prize Winner Jane Munro

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There are such strong, lyrical poets who contributed to Poetic Portions that I thought you may be interested in entering the Federation of BC Writers flash prose contest, judged by the lyrical writer and Griffin Poetry Prize winner, Jane Munro.

I recently spoke with her about her take on the craft of writing. These are some of her generous insights:

Cynthia: You’ve studied a variety of literary genres with your MFA in Creative Writing, MA in English and doctorate in Adult Education and gone on to publish many books and become a Griffin Prize winner. Could you tell us about your writing and editing process?
Jane: It’s slow, and – at best – surprising. I listen. Write down words as they come. Feel my way step by step: follow that thread through a labyrinth. Later – when I’ve forgotten what I wrote – I‘ll read it over. Tag what I like. Add bits, go further, explore, meet what’s hidden, recognize its structure, play. Eventually, when I’ve got something to print out, I’ll walk around the room and read it aloud. Finger hot spots: think. Finish it.
Ideally, I’ll then set it aside and work on something else. Often, when I come back to it, I’ll see what I hadn’t seen earlier.
I keep drafts. Once in a while, the piece will be best as it came first. Typically, I’ll find I’ve gone too far. Reading it aloud tells me a lot.
And then, there may be someone else’s response. It’s great to have a trustworthy reader who will raise questions and concerns. Are they valid? When I understand them, do I share them? Can I resolve them? Do the changes strengthen the work?
Yes, sometimes it happens quickly. But when that gift arrives, I may later notice how it drew on years – decades even – of reading, reflection, and writing. Learning. It might have started with a dream. I like to note dreams. Doing this connects me with parts of my mind that are less conscious. And, maybe, with imagery we share.
Cynthia: You write in both long and short forms. Is the process different when there is a tight word limit? How do you polish a short piece?
Jane: Even with long forms, each word needs to be essential. A tight word limit helps me focus. It’s a figuring out process. I’ll start long and pare down as I clarify the telling gesture. Or, gestures. What’s enough? What fits and works?
Cynthia: What advice has inspired you as a writer?
Jane: My grandfather – who was a painter, not a writer – used to say, “Art is suggestion; art is not representation.” I think this is true for writing, too. I’ve found it useful advice, especially for flash prose.
Cynthia: What do you look for when reading literature and what specifically grabs your attention in flash prose and other short genres?
Jane: It’s not always the same thing: insight – freshness – revelation of character – wit – swift depiction of a conflict – resonant language – a story’s power as an agent of change. However it does it, I’m looking for flash prose that will stay with me, that I’ll enjoy. Want to read aloud. Share with someone.
Cynthia: What role does structure play in flash prose, in your view?
Jane: I think of literature as architecture for imagination. So, structure is crucial. Flash prose creates a space for someone else to furnish. Dwell in.
What’s more, structure gives the writer’s imagination something to push against.
I knew an artist who made amazing weavings – huge, sculptural, striking. His rule was that he could not sew anything together. The entire piece had to be woven on a loom. Without that rule, he said, there were too many possibilities. Within its boundaries, his imagination could go wild.
Cynthia: Do you have any helpful tips for our members and readers entering the flash prose contest?
Jane: Trust yourself. Dance as if nobody’s looking. Then, make sure everything – each word, punctuation mark, decision you’ve made – fits and works.
Remember to get your flash prose story in by October 1st, 650 words or under, $15 per entry, $10 for FBCW members. First prize is $350 and publication in Wordworks. Submit here by October 1

Jeffrey Mackie Reads His Poem From Poetic Portions

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It was wonderful hearing Jeffrey Mackie read from Poetic Portions as part of his featured performance at Poetic Justice/ Poetry New West this summer. His poem Beaver Pond begins at 1 minute and 37 seconds into the video.

Poetic Portions only $2 on Amazon

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Hi Everyone,

Just a heads up that Poetic Portions is on super sale at Amazon for only $2.06 US. Now’s a good time to stock up!

Poetic Portions for only $2

Thanks for your support and beautiful contributions of poetry and recipes!


BC Short Story Contest

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Hi Everyone,

I just want to let you know about a short story contest I’m facilitating for the Federation of British Columbia Writers.

“What has most surprised me about writing and continues to inspire me is the support between writers. There is room on the shelves for all of us,” BC Short contest judge Eileen Cook said in an interview for the Federation of BC Writers. Submissions are open internationally until June 1st for original, unpublished short stories between 1,200 – 2,000 words. First prize is $350.

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with novels in eight languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV. They include With Malice, Remember, Year of Mistaken Discoveries, The Almost Truth, Used to Be and Do or Di. She is a popular speaker at conferences both in the U.S. and in Canada, provides writing/editorial coaching, and is a mentor/instructor for the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio, The Write Potential and The Creative Academy.

Submit Here


Poetic Portions at Bargain Prices on Amazon

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Amazon’s winds of change fluctuating book prices that I have no control over are in the buyer’s favour for Poetic Portions. It’s currently at a bargain price. If you want extra copies, now is a great time to go for it!

Bargain Deals on Poetic Portions

Poetic Portions Coming Soon to The Vancouver Public Library

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The Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library just ordered copies of Poetic Portions. Thanks everyone for all your support of Poetic Portions!


The Newest Store to Carry Poetic Portions

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The newest store to carry Poetic Portions is Blackberry Cove in Ucluelet, where you can not only browse a beautiful selection of west coast authors, but have a personalized espresso drink in your choice of exquisite ceramic cup. Goddess and owner Susan Lee made me almond milk lattes in my favourite mug every day of my visit to the Vancouver Island west coast.

Poetic Portions in SFU Library

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The Simon Fraser University Bennet Library bought copies of Poetic Portions. You can find it here in their database: http://troy.lib.sfu.ca/record=b6691155~S1a

Congratulations everyone on making it into the SFU Library!

Poetic Portions Officially Listed in Legal Deposit

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Poetic Portions is officially listed in the Library and Archives of Canada. Thanks again to everyone who donated work to this endeavour! Cheers, Cynthia Sharp





Poetic Portions will be available for only $10 at the launch

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Poetry Cookbooks will be available for $10 at the launch, Wednesday, April 22nd, from 7-9 PM, in the Sidney & Gertrude Gallery of the Jewish Community Centre (sponsored by Cynthia Sharp of Sweetgrass in the Wind Publishing). CynthiaonearthdaywithPoetciPortions6529

photo by Wendy Bullen Stephenson