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04-17-2009: Dobby Gibson, guest host

Dobby Gibson
LitChat guest host April 17, 2009

The transcript below covers the complete #litchat conversation with poet Dobby Gibson on April 17, 2009. The order has been numbered sequentially from the first post to the final post.

1 LitChat: Welcome to #litchat. In honor of National Poetry Month, we’re hosting poet @dobbygibson today. Welcome, Dobby.
2 dobbygibson: Glad to be here. #litchat
3 LitChat: Today we’re giving away a copy of poet @dobbygibson’s book, SKIRMISH to the 28th tweet. Tweets must be on topic and with hashtag #litchat
4 LitChat: @dobbygibson, when did you begin writing poetry? #litchat
5 lovingyouiseasy: I’m reading the review on @dobbygibson’s site. It looks pretty amazing. #litchat
6 dobbygibson: I wrote my first poem when I was 26. At the time, I was finishing my MFA thesis, which was a novel. #litchat
7 LitChat: @lovingyouiseasy Feel free to ask @dobbygibson any questions. He’s here with us for the next 55 minutes. #litchat
8 LitChat: @dobbygibson Wow. You had never written poetry before age 26. Did you read and appreciate poetry before then? #litchat
9 lovingyouiseasy: @litchat @dobbygibson I recently wrote a paper about titles. Can you tell us how “Skirmish” got its title? #litchat
10 BizarreJC: @dobbygibson what inspires you to write your poems? #litchat
11 dobbygibson: Only a little. In HS and college, poetry was taught as if it were something only people in funny shoes did 300 years ago. #litchat
12 BizarreJC: @lovingyouiseasy that sounds like an interesting paper. #litchat
13 dobbygibson: @lovingyouiseasy I’ll share a secret: the poet Matt Hart actually titled my book! I was having a horrible time titling it! #litchat
14 LitChat: @julichilliard Are you able to join in #litchat today with our guest host @dobbygibson? Hope so!
15 seanmjohnson: @dobbygibson, Some of my favorite poems of yours are list poems (What You Should Think About Doing Instead, Titles Unpoemed). My Q: #litchat
16 BizarreJC: @dobbygibson say it ain’t so. I have been writing poetry since I was in junior high school. #litchat
17 seanmjohnson: What is it about the list form in poetry that attracts you? #litchat
18 dobbygibson: @BizarreJC I can be inspired by almost anything, though I usually write “best” when I’m not focused on any preexisting idea. #litchat
19 lovingyouiseasy: @dobbygibson Oh! And the truth comes out. OK, why was it particularly fitting of your work? #litchat
20 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson Thank you! When all else fails, making a list is a great way to generate a poem. #litchat
21 dobbygibson: @lovingyouiseasy The book “skirmishes” with a lot of things, including the possibilities and limits of poetry itself. #litchat
22 julichilliard: @LitChat #litchat For a bit, I think. You know that next year’s Key West Literary Seminar is on poetry?
23 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson The list poem is formal poetry for poets too lazy to write in form! #litchat
24 julichilliard: @LitChat #litchat I attended that seminar this year for the first time (theme was historic fiction/nonfiction). KWLS knows how to do it.
25 dobbygibson: @BizarreJC Remember that Wallace Stevens was 44 when he published his first book. Cavafy was 41. #litchat
26 seanmjohnson: Q for @dobbygibson and everyone else. What are a few good contemporary poetry books people have discovered recently? I’ll start: #litchat
27 kj_smith: @dobbygibson How do you beat writer’s block? #litchat
28 seanmjohnson: Jim and Dave Defeat the Masked Man, collaborative book of sestinas from David Lehman and James Cummins #litchat
29 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson Read Sarah Manguso’s book Siste Viator. #litchat
30 seanmjohnson: @dobbygibson Thanks! I’ll check it out. #litchat
31 VanessaDobbs: @seanmjohnson sorry if I’m ignorant but what is a sestina #Litchat
32 seanmjohnson: A couple more recommendations: Backyard Alchemy by Lance Larsen, Jab by Mark Halliday, embryoyo by Dean Young #litchat
33 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson Anything by Dean Young! I second that recommendation. #litchat
34 saspolson: @dobbygibson what poets to you read on a regular basis? #litchat
35 seanmjohnson: A sestina is a seven stanza poem with six repeating end words. Famous sestinas have been written by Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery #litchat
36 dobbygibson: @saspolson Lately, I’ve been re-reading Mary Ruefle (amazing) and reading some Korean poetry in translation. #litchat
37 seanmjohnson: I love Mary Ruefle’s “The Bunny Gives Us a Lesson in Eternity”: http://bit.ly/3ecUxX #litchat
38 seanmjohnson: Anyone have a take on how the internet is affecting poetry? #litchat
39 seanmjohnson: On one hand, it makes it easier to find poetry at places like poetryfoundation.org. On the other hand… #litchat
40 seanmjohnson: it makes it easier than ever to proliferate bad poetry, and that can be hard to wade through to get to the good stuff #litchat
41 seanmjohnson: Are there some cool online only journals out there? #litchat
42 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson Bad poetry proliferates even in analogue mediums. Ever read through a slush pile? #litchat
43 kj_smith: @dobbygibson Do you have any rituals for finding your muse you’d like to share? #litchat
44 dobbygibson: One of my favorite online journals is Octopus. http://octopusmagazine.com. They just started publishing books, too. #litchat
45 seanmjohnson: @dobbygibson Good point #litchat
46 saspolson: Just figured out how to follow the convo going on at #litchat. So many twitter-bilities. Tweet.
47 dobbygibson: @kj_smith Nothing gets me more excited to write poetry than reading poetry. Poetry is my muse! Is that a cop out? #litchat
48 kj_smith: @dobbygibson Not at all! #litchat
49 seanmjohnson: Reading it makes you want to write it. Mary Oliver said if you have a choice between reading and going to a workshop, read. #litchat
50 VanessaDobbs: @kj_smith Iagree #Litchat
51 seanmjohnson: Though of course you can do both. But is reading the best teacher? #litchat
52 BizarreJC: @dobbygibson so not a cop out. A muse can be anything even other poetry or literary stuff. #litchat
53 EliseBlackwell: I just remembered that the fabulous @dobbygibson is on the twitchat litchat RIGHT NOW. Join in if you’re around. #litchat
54 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson I had not heard that quote before — I like it! I only took one poetry workshop 15 years ago, and I hated it. #litchat
55 seanmjohnson: It’s from her “Poetry Handbook.” I’m not a big Mary Oliver fan, but I like that quote too. #litchat
56 seanmjohnson: Re: online poetry journals. I like http://www.coconutpoetry.org/, though I’m not 100% sure it’s online only. #litchat
57 kj_smith: @dobbygibson Do you prefer longhand? Keyboard? Doesn’t matter? #litchat
58 dobbygibson: @kj_smith I write longhand in a notebook first. Then use an old typewriter once I’m ready to get serious about finishing a poem. #litchat
59 VanessaDobbs: @dobbygibson where do you like to write? #Litchat
60 dobbygibson: @VanessaDobbs I have a spunky two-year-old, so I go to one of two coffee shops near my house where it’s quieter! #litchat
61 seanmjohnson: Any chance Dean Young will ever join Twitter? I hear he’s not a big computer guy. #litchat
62 atozwriter: where do you look for online journals–I mean, do you start with a portal, press release, or just plug “poetry” into Google (ha)? #litchat
63 saspolson: What about the inspiration? Do you wait for it to strike or write till it arrives? #litchat
64 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson I just text-messaged with Dean the other day, so don’t let his Neo-Luddite act fool you. #litchat
65 seanmjohnson: I don’t know of any index of good online journals (though I guess “good” is subjective). To find journals… #litchat
66 atozwriter: Have you abandoned novels altogether? #litchat
67 seanmjohnson: see the acknowledgments pg of poetry books you like. Or check out the back of the Best American Poetry books for lists of journals. #litchat
68 dobbygibson: @atozwriter I’d like to write another (better!) novel. But poetry (short bursts) best compliments my day job and family life. #litchat
69 seanmjohnson: @dobbygibson If you could have lunch with any one poet, past or present, who would it be? #litchat
70 atozwriter: And how to you strike up friendships with other poets (so that you CAN text well-known poets)? #litchat
71 atozwriter: How often do you submit poetry to journals? How do you pick where to submit? #litchat
72 seanmjohnson: My choice: Emily Dickinson #litchat
73 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson Present: Robert Hass. Past: Frank O’Hara. Basho. #litchat
74 atozwriter: I wonder if Emily Dickinson’s speech patterns sounds as if she’s using dashes aloud. #litchat
75 dobbygibson: @atozwriter Go to readings. Afterward, say something charming. Get yourself invited to the party. #litchat
76 seanmjohnson: Nice #litchat
77 seanmjohnson: I love Robert Hass’s translations of Basho #litchat
78 seanmjohnson: Do you set aside specific blocks of time for writing, a la Merwin, who writes undisturbed for 4 hours every morning? #litchat
79 LitChat: #litchat Here is a site that lists some online literary journals. You’ll have to filter through them for quality and content: http://bi
80 atozwriter: Oh, lord. “Say something charming” seems like a tall order to those of us who write better than we small talk 🙂 #litchat
81 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson My day job prevents that. M-F, I do the best I can (often: nothing). Saturday mornings are my time. #litchat
82 LitChat: Good link #litchat Here is a site that lists some online literary journals. Filter through for quality and content: http://bit.ly/kiNoY
83 dobbygibson: Speaking of Hass, he said you can “write a life’s work in just 30 minutes a day.” Sounds kinda “As Seen on TV,” but it’s true. #litchat
84 LitChat: Here is another link to online poetry journals . http://whiteowl.com/poetrylink.htm. #litchat
85 seanmjohnson: I’ve read a few articles recently on poetry and meaning (most of them having to do with John Ashbery). Do poems have to “mean”? #litchat
86 seanmjohnson: I can’t understand what everything Dean Young writes “means,” but I’m drawn to it anyway for it’s aesthetic qualities, nuttiness #litchat
87 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson Poems are experiences, not “meaning” delivery devices. But what does “mean” even mean? #litchat
88 VanessaDobbs: @seanmjohnson this was question I was asking myself #Litchat
89 seanmjohnson: RT @dobbygibson Poems are experiences, not “meaning” delivery devices. But what does “mean” even mean? #litchat #litchat
90 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson Trust me, Dean Young doesn’t even understand what he writes “means” sometimes! #litchat
91 seanmjohnson: A lot of people aren’t happy if they read a poem and can’t say what it’s “about” afterward #litchat
92 atozwriter: What *is* your day job (sorry if I missed this info in an introduction)? #litchat
93 dobbygibson: @seanmjohnson Eliot: People are exasperated by poetry they don’t understand and contemptuous of poetry they do. #litchat
94 dobbygibson: @atozwriter I’m a creative director for a marketing agency. #litchat
95 atozwriter: A workshop I attended talked about poets who didn’t use traditional narrative (nontraditional example: narrative of tone). #litchat
96 seanmjohnson: Looks like the hour’s up. Nice talking with you everybody. Thanks to @dobbygibson for answering our questions and sharing thoughts. #litchat
97 kj_smith: @dobbygibson Yes, thank you! #litchat
98 dobbygibson: Thanks everyone! Just 2 weeks until Natl. Poetry Month is over and we can go back to hating poetry again. (Ha ha?) #litchat
99 VanessaDobbs: @dobbygibson thanks #Litchat
100 BizarreJC: @dobbygibson great chat. thanks for the insight. #litchat
101 LitChat: Thank you for joining us today, @dobbygibson. An hour chat on Twitter goes really fast. Feel free to stick around if you want. #litchat
102 seanmjohnson: @LitChat: Do you post transcriptions of chats on your site, a la editorchat? #litchat
103 LitChat: Have you been wondering who won the free copy of SKIRMISH by @dobbygibson? It was @seanmjohnson. Congrats and thanks for chatting. #litchat
104 LitChat: @seanmjohnson I haven’t yet, but plan to do so when I have time to figure out how–any insights there? #litchat
105 LitChat: #litchat thanks to @lovingyouiseasy @BizarreJC @seanmjohnson @julichilliard @kj_smith @VanessaDobbs @saspolson @atozwriter @EliseBlackwell
106 seanmjohnson: Sweet! I’ve been wanting a copy of Skirmish. Thanks, @LitChat! Re: transcriptions, not sure. See editorchat.wordpress.com. #litchat


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