So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label Michael Diebert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Diebert. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A place to submit your work

Check out Chattahoochee Review, published by Perimeter College at Georgia State University.
The poetry editor is Michael Diebert, a friend of Writers Circle around the Table.

The review publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, interviews, and more. See their submission page for guidelines.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Poet, Michael Diebert is our guest today.

It is my pleasure to have back with us, Michael Diebert, Poetry editor for the Chattahoochee Review. His last post is very popular with my readers and I'm sure you will enjoy this one.

Gulf Shores, Alabama, January 19.  As I draft this, my feet are propped on a leather ottoman in a house not my own.  I face an empty fireplace.  I hear a pen scratching paper and the thwack of a knife chopping vegetables for dinner.  I see four fellow writers hunched over monitors and notebooks, in pursuit of the proper word.  Outside, Mobile Bay is our backyard.  There’s a pier over the water, a covered porch, a pool.  Pelicans roost on posts near shore.  Past the RV park next door is a little lagoon where mullet arc out of the water and herons troll the surface.  The Gulf of Mexico is near, but we’re not here for the big water or the beach.
I am here on a writers’ retreat with four dear friends; we have been retreating together since 2011.  Our travels have taken us to northeast Georgia and here to coastal Alabama.  We gather for a long weekend; we bring suitcases, food, and writing essentials.  We cook, laugh, go for walks, stare at the water, work on our writing, and share.  Sometimes we read other poets aloud.  Sometimes we fantasize about winning the Pulitzer.  One hard-and-fast rule: the TV stays off, and phones are set to silent.  The mood is relaxed, the body and the mind are receptive, and much gets done—more than can get done in our busy day-to-day lives.
The complaint is familiar: we live in a world where it’s hard to make the proper time for writing.  The common lament of our email correspondence to each other is “Man, am I ready for writing time!”  So we make the time.  We gather; we exit one world temporarily, and we enter another.  When we retreat, and when the writing is going well, we are, again, in that most exciting of places, the realm of receptivity.  And when I’m receptive, I’m nicer to others and to myself, and I become a better writer.
I was lucky to be asked to join this group eight years ago, and we have maintained the same core group since.  There have been necessary, regrettable absences—schedule conflicts, health scares, children moving off to college—but we continue to meet, write, and exist in each other’s company twice a year.  Chemistry, that ineffable ingredient, has been present in our group from the beginning. 

I write this post to encourage you to find your own group and cultivate it.  This takes time, but it’s essential.  You don’t necessarily need to retreat far—your house, your local coffee shop, a park.  The support of a few like-minded friends, engaged in the same pursuit you’re engaged in, can bolster your motivation and keep it going.  And above all, that’s the trick when our day-to-day comes calling again, all too soon: to keep the buzz alive, to be able to retreat to that place of receptivity even when we’re not there. 

Michael Diebert is the author of Life Outside the Set.  He serves as poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review and teaches writing and literature at Perimeter College, Georgia State University.  In recent years he has led workshops for Writers Circle around the Table, the Chattahoochee Valley Writers' Conference, and the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference.  Recent poems have appeared in Free State Review and jmww.  A two-time cancer survivor, Michael lives in Avondale Estates, Georgia with his wife and dogs.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chat with a Poet on July 24

A few places are left in the class on Saturday, July 25, with Michael Diebert. 

Our space is limited to ten people in a class at Writers Circle around the Table, so contact me and send your fee for this most interesting class. See registration form at top of page. 

When Michael Diebert taught at Writers Circle a couple of years ago, his student evaluation sheets told me he was greatly appreciated for his work.

This class is especially interesting as it uses bits and pieces of old poems, parts that you have cut out of a poem or a line you really like, but didn't find a good way to use it.

I have many of those bits and pieces in my files and I am looking forward to seeing how I can bring them back to life, salvage them from the junk yard of used words. 

I am also looking forward to Michael's Chat with a Poet  at Joe's Coffee House, 82 Main Street, Hayesville, NC on Friday afternoon, July 24, 4:30 p.m.

We get to hear some of Michael's own poetry and talk with him about poetry, about how he selects poems for the Chattahoochee Review which he edits. Beginning poets will find his talk interesting and will be able to ask those questions you have been wondering about.

We will have some snacks furnished by Writers Circle and Joe's has great coffee and tea as well as a wine bar. There is no cost for the event, but Joe would like for you to pay for the coffee, tea or wine.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Guest Post by Michael Diebert, Poetry Editor at Chattahoochee Review

Today we are honored to have Michael Diebert as our guest on Writers Circle around the Table. He has written a most interesting post for us. Be sure to read this if you are a poet. Thanks, Michael, for taking time to guest on our blog.

Salvage and Reconstruction: Thoughts on a Poem in Progress
By Michael Diebert

Two years ago, when poet Andrew Hudgins led a workshop at the college where I teach, he showed us work he'd been doing on a poem.  He had written it in blank verse, unrhymed and rhymed iambic tetrameter, and with two- and three-beat accentual lines.  He'd even cast it as a prose poem.  As the forms dictated, he’d added words, took them out, moved them to other lines, and indeed redefined the line for each occasion.  The impulse was largely metrical and musical, but if form dictates content, he was also tinkering with meaning.  His patience astounded me.  After all that work, he concluded it was probably a failed poem, a good subject for a lecture such as the one he was giving.

Recently, I have been working on a poem modeled after Bob Hicok's poem "A primer."   Hicok's poem is a relatively succinct 44 lines.  Mine currently stands at about three single-spaced handwritten pages.  It is a shambolic stab at Tennessee facts and history, a chagrined interrogation of my hometown.  I am trying to be funny, and I'm falling flat.  I am trying to be probing and exact and fair.  I am trying to, as usual, account for the unusual and the otherwise overlooked.  In its current form, the poem is untenable; only recently have I realized this. I still like it, and I still think I'm onto something.  After my usual practice of putting the poem away for a while to let it marinate and age, what do I do now?  I have rewritten and expanded it at least twice, to little avail.  The same flailing, the same chest-beating is there. 

Within the last two weeks, though, I've started to go the other way, toward not just cutting but concision.  This is, I admit, not my usual strategy--I pride myself (and chide myself) on my masochistic desire to write through a problem, to add volume first and worry about depth later.  But fueled by a couple of other recent poems where I've striven for economy and precision, I am now trying to capture in fewer than 20 lines what I've been shooting for in 100-plus lines.  One benefit in trying to write this poem long is that I now see whole lines I want to keep!  This means the poem has probably been there all along, just not in the form I envisioned and, indeed, have labored so mightily to realize.  There are usable parts; it's just taken me a while to discover them.
If we poets are priests, marrying form to content, beauty to truth, then surely we are also scavengers, hovering raven-like over the broken bones of our failed drafts, using what's usable.  Or we are salvage artists in a junkyard, looking for an intact carburetor, a front bucket seat with fabric that hasn't faded, all for the purpose of reconstituting, of making them new and workable again.  To salvage is to save. 
Our workshop at Writers Circle on July 25 will be devoted to the art of poetic salvage.  We will work with your own failed or stuck poems, poems with usable parts or recoverable bones; we will work to identify these pieces and construct new organisms.  Please email me either 1) a whole poem or 2) a document of poem parts no later than Tuesday, July 21 and I will make copies for the group.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Michael Diebert teaches poetry class

Re-purposing Your Poems: The Art and Craft of Poetic Salvage
Saturday, July 25, 10 - 1 p.m.
Location: Writers Circle ,Hayesville NC
Fee - $35.00   Registration deadline is July 19

Description: Just as a car enthusiast scavenges a junkyard for working parts, just as a songwriter scavenges the musical past for something brand-new, this workshop will focus on the art of salvaging your work--not rewriting per se but rebuilding. 
Bring your failed poem parts from the past, pieces or bits which may still have potential but need spark: stagnant stanzas, flat lines, dull images, etc.  Using some examples and our own discussion and practice, we will jerry-rig and rebuild our poems (as Johnny Cash once sang) "one piece at a time."

Send registration form at top of blog with check to Glenda Beall, 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC 28904

Michael Diebert is poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review and teaches writing and literature at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta.  He is the author of Life Outside the Set, available from Sweatshoppe Publications through  Recent poems have appeared and/or are forthcoming in The Comstock Reviewjmww, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Plan to attend and meet Michael on July 24, Friday afternoon 4:30 p.m. for a chat and a reading at Joe's coffee house, 82 Main St. Hayesville, NC 28904

Monday, October 14, 2013

Michael Diebert's class on line breaks in poetry

L-R: Michael, Marsha Barnes, Karen Holmes, Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin, Joan Howard, Brenda Kay Ledford

We had six students and were happy to have Marsha Barnes, second from left below, and Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin who drove over from Cullowhee. She is in blue with scarf.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Michael Diebert, last class for the 2013 season at Writers Circle, October 12

Michael Diebert, poetry editor for the Chattahoochee Review
 - Saturday, October 12, 2013

10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Writers Circle Studio

Michael Diebert is poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review and teaches writing and literature at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta.  He is the author of Life Outside the Set, available from Sweatshoppe Publications through  Recent poems have appeared and/or are forthcoming in The Comstock Review,jmww, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Looking at the Poetic Line
Just as the sentence is arguably the fundamental unit of prose, the line is arguably the fundamental unit of poetry.  More than image, metaphor, concision, or imagination—all of which are also crucial elements—the line gives a poem essential force and significance.  We’ll briefly examine some theory of line, look at several poems’ uses of line, and discuss how more conscientious attention to this oft-overlooked element can inform and enrich our own poems’ potential.

Participants may email one original poem to Michael for inclusion in the discussion—preferably 30 lines or fewer.  His email address is  Please send poems no later than Friday, Oct. 5.

Register by sending a $40 check made to Glenda Beall and mail to 581 Chatuge Lane, Hayesville, NC 28904 or email: