Monday, July 19, 2010

Self-publishing your Book of Poetry

Why are so many authors self-publishing?

In Self-Publishing: Tips, Tricks & Techniques by James A. Cox, editor of Midwest Book Review, Cox states that "A self-publisher is all of the following: writer, editor, designer/artist, typesetter/compositor, printer, financier/accountant, marketer, shipper/warehouser, legal adviser, financial underwriter, and business manager." So, why would anyone self-publish if they have to do everything for themselves? Finding a publisher for a poetry book is nearly impossible for the new poet. Contests are time-consuming, costly, and a gamble. For more about self-publishing please click here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Arts for Preschoolers

This from NPR news: In France, 3 year olds attend school all day and take naps in dorm beds. They learn to recite poems, perform songs in concerts, and attend art museums. The focus is not on reading and writing, but learning who they are. President Obama wants the US to provide free preschool for our students, also. Currently Headstart provides for low income families. Because I have a 3 yr old grandson who attends daycare, I think this is a great idea, however, I do hope it does not become mandatory! This is wonderful in some respects; I like the emphasis on the arts. The following is an article review that I wrote in graduate school.

Music and Intelligence in the Early Years
by Wynne Huddleston

In the article "Music and Intelligence in the Early Years," from Early Childhood Connections, (Spring 1995) John Feierabend supports the idea of preschool music education. He explains that neurological studies show that children must be exposed to good musical experiences as early as possible. Furthermore, Edwin Gordon's aptitude tests performed on children after age 6 prove that little can be done to rectify a lack of an early musical exposure. Feierabend, a national leader in the field of early childhood education, quotes Kodaly as saying that no one is complete without music. Even the Greeks believed that there was a triangle of areas important for the development of a truly educated person. Math was believed necessary for the brain, physical education for the body, and music for sensitivity. American schools usually involve reading, writing and arithmetic. Many schools in Europe begin kindergarten at age 3, and allow children to learn by exploration and interaction with other children. Feierabend feels that American children are already behind before they get to our kindergartens. He thinks we should model Hungary's excellent music program which begins in kindergarten for ages 3-5.

In recent years, Howard Gardner, a Harvard professor of neurophysiology, discovered in his intelligence-based research that people possess distinct intellectual abilities. He concluded in his book, Frames of Mind, that there are seven individual intelligences—linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, body-kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Nature and nurture seem to be the determining factors for "talent" in a specific area. The three "R's" that most schools have traditionally focused upon only include two of these "intelligences." Even TAG classes have been geared toward the linguistic and mathematical intelligences. Gardner believes we should discover and expand these other intelligences. A child could be talented in one of the other intelligences and be just as gifted in that area. Different intelligences can be used in music. As we learn to use our minds, we process information through certain conditioning. A person, who learns to play an instrument by reading notes and symbols, and uses the instrument to hear music, is exhibiting music from a logical/mathematical intelligence. If, however, one has had musical experiences at an early age in listening, singing, dancing, or playing by ear, this is music intelligence. Learning facts about music is done through one's linguistic intelligence.

The manner in which each intelligence is seeded during the early years of life will affect its development. There must be a network of neurological fibers which will allow for the processing of information into a particular intelligence. The density of these synapses increases the most during the first few months of life and reaches maximum capacity (about twice what we use and maintain) at one to two years of age. As children grow and develop, unnecessary connections die. The number decreases during ages two to sixteen and the number stays about the same until around age seventy-two. This is why it is so important to develop the neural network at the earliest age possible. These neurological connectors are formed by experiences, and without these experiences the connections die.

Most schools spend much of the school day developing reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, providing adequate nurturing in two of the intelligences. Still, the other five intelligence areas remain relatively neglected. The lack of concern for developing all intelligence areas is further evident in gifted and talented programs supported by many schools in the United States. Usually a child must excel in either logical-mathematical or linguistic intelligence to be included in such programs. The students who are often left out also deserve challenges in their particular areas of intelligence. Music (and other arts) might be the one area in which a student can achieve.

Reference: Feierabend, John M., PH.D. (1995, Spring) Music and Intelligence in the Early Years, Early Childhood Connections. Retrieved June 23, 2006, from

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July, Fun, and Fireworks.

The Fourth of July brings to mind memories of cookouts with hotdogs, hamburgers or steak, potato chips or potato salad, grilled corn on the cob, cold watermelons, homemade ice cream churned by hand, red checkered tablecloths on picnic tables, us children running around knocking sweet tea or Cokes over, getting bitten by ants, tons of family talking or arguing loudly, and of course, fireworks. I was never too crazy about shooting firecrackers, bottle rockets were more my speed--put them in a Coke bottle, light the fuse and run! Now we have the symphony and fireworks on the reservoir. As with every holiday, there will be some who have too much to drink. Please, for all those who've been victims of accidents, don't drink and drive. My latest poem, Different Roads, was published this month in The Shine Journal. I dedicated it to my best friend that I met in college and two little cousins. All three were killed on their way to their churchs, but in two different wrecks caused by 2 different drunk drivers. The poem comes from the gut-wrenching feeling you get upon waking up and remembering... these loved ones are gone. This poem/prayer explores the fantasy of wishing everything were different, but then realizing you have to accept it and go on with your life. Read about a story in the Examiner about a young woman who ruined her life by drinking and driving.

Please "think before you drink" who will be your designated driver if you must go home drunk! Or Party hearty, but stay in the yard (spend the night where you are.)

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Latest Publication News

My poem, The Sands of My Life, is in the September issue of joyful! Scroll down a little more than halfway on the page to read it!


Grandparent's Day is September 12. The Silver Boomer Book Anthology, From the Porch Swing - memories of our grandparents, would make a great gift and is on sale for a limited time. In this book I have 2 poems about my grandfathers, “Grandpa, King of Checkers” (Grandpa Lee) and “Where Muscadines Grow” (Grandpa George). I also have a funny prose/story about gathering eggs at my grandmother’s house titled, “Don’t Call Me Chicken!” (Grandma Alice). The order info should be up soon at the above website. If you are local and want an autographed copy, contact me ASAP, as I am about to make an order. Also, check out my poem, Different Roads, posted in this month's The Shine Journal. It's dedicated to my best friend from college and two little cousins who were killed on their way to their churches in two different car wrecks by drunk drivers.
Wynne, sister Donna, cousin Daniel
Grandpa George & Grandma Lois
Grandpa Lee & Grandma Alice-50th Anniversary

Today's Poetry: Revolution at Hand or a Continuance?

What does the future hold for poetry? Here are some articles bearing concerns about today’s trends and concerns for where poetry is heading.

In his article, Creating a Soulful, Inspirational Poetry for the Future , (Osprey Journal) Don Coorough states that “Poetry has arrived at an historic crossroads.” With events such as 9-11, the war on terrorists, climate change, the abundance of internet and print journals, along with contemporary poetry’s “commercial irrelevance,” he feels that we are ”ripe for a revolution.”

According to MODERNIST POETRY AND THE CONTEMPORARY SCENE, Modernism is where we are now. Experimentation, individualism, anti-realism and intellectualism are characteristics of Modernism. The themes are a rejection of religion, history and social institutions. lists and describes many Poetic Schools & Movements of this period.

Trends of contemporary poetry were discussed recently at the University of Texas by a panel composed of Harvey Lee Hix, Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Dean Young and moderated by Rob Casper, director of the Poetry Society of America. Casper, a UT professor of writing and poetry and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The audience questioned the panel about “the role of poetry in a postmodern society and the legitimacy of truth claimed in poetry in relation to other types of writing.” Casper believes poets are neglecting the conventions of rhyme and form, and are naive about poetry of the past. While the poet distrusts words, they are all the poet has to use in order to convey beauty and truth in the world. Casper claims that the eternal and metaphysical are uncomfortable elements for the postmodernists. Kelly admitted that she had written poems that she did not believe were true, even though she was trying to write the truth. The biggest part of the panel discussion focused on the question of the point of today’s poetry. Hix, a professor at the University of Wyoming, said that MFA programs are valuable, but may not be helping writers get published. Kelly added that she doubts the vast amount of poetry activity in the world today is found in American MFA programs.

In his book Modern Poetry after Modernism, Longenbach claims that it is wrong to say Post-Modern poetry could not break through with politics, history, or the individual, because these things were already found in Modernism of the first half of the century, but the critics only saw a narrow view of that era. Logenbach proposes a truce to end the battles between formalist and free-verse poets.

There is an interesting discussion on the Bloomsbury Review, albeit from 2004: "What recent trends in American poetry do you find troubling or worrisome?" By Ray Gonz├ílez. This article posts concerns about the division of formalist and experimental poetry, shallow word play, the shunning of confessional poetry, the poet seen as celebrity, slam as performance, and the troubling phrase “return to verse.”

Please feel free to add articles on the subject and/or to comment on your opinion of the future of poetry. To read a comment on my other blog, click here.

About Me

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Wynne Huddleston is a poet, musician and teacher. Her first book of poetry, From the Depths of Red Bluff, ISBN: 978-0-9840483-2-8, published by the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc., is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Ms. Huddleston is the Mississippi Poetry Society 2014 Poet of the Year. Her poetry has been published in numerous publications including the Birmingham Arts Journal, Camroc Press Review, Stymie Magazine, Danse Macabre, Orange Room Review, New Fairy Tales Anthology, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Four and Twenty. Her poem, Same Stars, Different Houses received a Pushcart Nomination from Deep South Magazine. Awards include the 2013 MPS Award, and Winner of the Grandmother Earth National Contest 2010 for Environmental Poetry. Ms. Huddleston was born in Lone Star, Texas, but has lived in Mississippi most of her life. She has been an elementary music teacher for 25 years, and has 2 grown sons, and 2 grandchildren.