Voltage Poetry in the News

31 01 2013



A nice write-up of the Voltage Poetry site, which features poems with great turns in it–along with discussion of those turns–can be found here.

Love Letter to the Volta

26 01 2013

All Turned Around


Dear Volta,

In the past few years,

you’ve become a huge

part of my life.  I think about you

almost constantly these days,

and that absolutely terrifies me.  For a

while after we met, I thought

you were trying to avoid me.  I felt

like I was constantly searching

for you and had no idea

where to even begin.

Then I started to learn your ways,

and we grew close.

Maybe a little too close.

You started to show up

everywhere, even when I wasn’t

looking for you.  Now it seems like

I can’t get away from you

anymore, and I think I really just

need some space.

It’s not that you’re not great,

I just don’t think I can

keep playing your games.

I feel like you’re just

spinning me in circles and

I’m not sure what you

want me to think.  You invite

your friends over unannounced

when I think it’s just going

to be the two of us settling in

for a cozy night by the fire.  You’ve just

become too unpredictable –

I never know what

you’re going to look like

the next time I see you,

and sometimes you just don’t

make any sense at all.

I’m trying my best to understand

you, but it’s like you just

keep sending me in different directions,

and I can’t take it anymore.

The thing is,

despite all that,

I still need.

I want you.

As much as I complain,

I still look for you constantly –

every time I open a book or go on

a computer, you’re there,

as patient with me as ever.

And when I don’t see you,

everything just seems so

predictable and boring.  Every time

I think I just need to get away

from you for a while,

you show me

a brand new way of looking at things

and I remember why

you fascinate me.

You’ve always been there

when I needed you, and you

constantly give me

new things to look forward to.

Finding you

changed the way I see the world,

and I can’t imagine my life

without you anymore.

And, if I’m being honest,

I can’t get enough of your but.

Don’t ever change.

Love, Emily


–by Emily Susina




Emily Susina is a senior at Illinois Wesleyan University, majoring in English (with a concentration in writing) and Greek and Roman Studies.  She serves an assistant with Voltage Poetry, the online anthology of poems with great turns, and discussion of those poems, co-edited by Kim Addonizio and me.  Clearly, the work is getting to her…!

Praise for Structure & Surprise

25 01 2013


Poet-critic Celia Lisset Alvarez has some very kind words to say about Structure & Surprise over at her blog, “Writing with Celia.”   Among other things, Ms. Alvarez refers to the fact that Structure & Surprise was left off of the Poets & Writers “Best Books for Writers” list as a “glaring omission,” calling it a “dark horse favorite,” and stating that “[f]ull of examples, this book is not only a great read for the poet who is struggling to find ways to guide a poem to the final draft successfully, but also would make a great textbook….any advanced class that is studying poetry, whether creatively or critically, would find this book eye-opening.”

Phew…  What can I say?  Music to my ears.

Especially as this comes from a poet who knows how to engage a turn–just check out Ms. Alvarez’s poem “What It Takes to Be Lois Lane.”

Elegy Ending Without a Rhyme

14 01 2013


Here is a terrific (and frightening) new elegy inspired by the discussion of the elegy in Structure & Surprise.

Thanks to D. A. Powell for such a fine essay on the elegy; to Patrick Phillips for such a lovely, haunting poem (here is a cool version of it); to Kim Addonizio for her support of the turn (at the retreat, and elsewhere, including teaming up with me to co-edit Voltage Poetry); and, last but not least, to Claudia Mills for her own new, strong poem.

“The Snail,” a new emblem poem

3 01 2013



–by Aaron Crippen


Aaron Crippen is a poet and educator.  He is the translator of Nameless Flowers: Selected Poems of Gu Cheng (George Braziller, 2005), a project for which he received an NEA Literature Fellowship, and for which he received a PEN Texas Literary Award for Poetry.  His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Verse and the Beloit Poetry Journal.

For more on emblem poems, click here.