Double Ds: Dara Wier

Dara WierDara Wier joins the Double Ds!

Wier is the author of Hat on a Pond , nominated for a Phi Beta Kappa Award; Voyages in English ; Our Master Plan ; Blue for the Plough ; The Book of Knowledge ; All You Have in Common ; The 8-Step Grapevine ; and Blood, Hook & Eye . Recent work has appeared in the Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize Anthology . Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is also a recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review .  Wier’s most recent book, Selected Poems, was released today.  Click here to purchase a copy from Wave Books.



Denise asks:
What is your favorite dessert?

Dara Wier:
I favor Doberge cake from New Orleans Gambino’s for it’s been the cake for our family birthdays forever.

I favor homemade bread pudding, with pecans in it, apples, too, & a rum sauce, from pan perdu, lost bread, scraps of baguettes.

I favor plain vanilla crème brulee for the pleasure of cracking its crust.

I favor homemade peach ice cream.

I favor wild blackberries floating in a bowl on a pool or pond, crusted with sugar, ice cold.


Dara Wier Selected Poems

Dustin asks:
How did you pick the poems for your New Selected?  How long did it take you to pick them?

Dara Wier:
I stood at a copy machine up in my study at Jim’s house, with all my books in a stack nearby and I started copying, my plan was to be ruthless but not overly cruel, knowing this first pass through would be whittled down into something truly selected.  I hadn’t anticipated the sense of exhilaration I felt as I took the poems out of their original books, it was so exciting to feel them let loose, very much a surprising outcome.  Then the hard work began, several people read the first selections knowing I’d be cutting it down by almost half.  Emily Pettit, Jim Tate, Matthew Zapruder, these three each gave me different takes on the manuscript—-they were immensely helpful, kind, truthful, opinionated, varied, I’m grateful.  It took a couple of years—-but not exclusively working on it, I was working on new poems and other manuscripts as well. I think it was a good thing for it to be a slow process.  The book’s physically gorgeous.


I did become aware of how one could make so many different kinds of selections and turn oneself into several different kinds of poets; I tried not to think of that too much.  Too frightfully over-thought.  Poetry’s always given me a reason to live, a selected is a historical document that hints at why.  Imagination has always been central to everything I do, whether it’s daydreaming (or enjoying dreaming’s apparently passive imaginative presentations), writing, making up stories, listening to stories, having good conversations, reading, cooking, house-keeping, working outdoors, finding my way across a geography, thinking about time, thinking about words colliding, listening to music and sounds, watching light, keeping track of seasons, enjoying the company of friends and family, being in awe of our existence on a day to day basis, being frightened by our mortality and awed by love’s persistence, being eternally surprised by all that we are.  (e.g. for a good feel for these feelings, see Christopher Smart’s jubilate agno. It’s breath-takingly beautiful and heart-breakingly wild)

Week Five: Guest Judge Dara Wier

Dara Wier’s recent books include Remnants of Hannah and Reverse Rapture (awarded the Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives Book Award). A Selected Poems is forthcoming from Wave Books, and it will be Wier’s eleventh book! Her poems can be found in Pushcart, Best American Poetry, Norton, Soft Skull and various other anthologies, and in American Poetry Review, Conduit, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, slope, Turnrow, New American Review, Volt. A limited edition, (X In Fix), is in RainTaxi’s Brainstorm series. The Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the American Poetry Review have supported her work. She’s a member of the poetry faculty and director of the MFA program for poets and writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and co-director of the Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action. Click here pre-order Wier’s Selected Poems, which comes out in September.

Queens of Poetry

I am putting together an anthology– Queens of Poetry: A Tribute to Bosselaar, Duhamel, Laux & Wier. I launched the site on April 1, and I have received almost ten submissions as well as a handful of queries.

Check out the submission guidelines. Submit.

Share the link to Queens of Poetry with your writing group, students, friends, on your blog, via Facebook…. whatever you can do to spread the word.

Exciting LIMP WRIST News!

Limp Wrist will offer a $150 scholarship via a poetry contest to a high school Senior who identifies as LGBT, and I am happy to announce my mentor and friend, Dr. Beth Gylys, as the has agreed to be our inaugural judge. Beth Gylys has had her work published in numerous journals, anthologies, received a mention in Drury’s Poetry Dictionary as well authored two award winning poetry collections: Spot in the Dark and Bodies that Hum.

In addition to the winning poem being published in LW, I am excited to announce a twist to the first annual scholarship. The winner of the scholarship will also win a spot at the 2009 Juniper Summer Writing Institute— all thanks and praise to the fantastic Dara Wier for believing in LW enough to make this opportunity possible for a lucky youth who happens to identify as LGBT.

Since LW is going to send a lucky senior to Juniper in 2009, we need your help in the fundraising arena. Please click here to see how you can support LW and help make the inaugural scholarship a successful reality.

Rules for Students Entering the Contest:
~ Student must identify as a member of the LGBT community.
~ Student must be a high school senior at the time the poem is submitted.
~ Student must have a teacher submit an email from a school email address verifying that the student is a senior or provide another form of evidence verifying the student’s status as a senior.
~ Only one poem of no more than 75 lines may be submitted in the body of an email. The poem should be submitted to, and the subject line must read “LW Sholarship” with the student’s first and last name.
~ The poem submitted should not be previously published or have won a previous contest.
~ The student must be willing to attend the 2009 Juniper Summer Writers Institute.
~ The email must include the following statement: “The poem submitted is my own original work and has not been previously published.”
~ The submission email must also include the student’s name, mailing address, school name, and the name of teacher submitting his/her verification email.
~ All submissions must be received by 12/15/08.

"Why Do I Write" ~ Dara Wier

At the Key West Literary Seminar, I participated in Dara Wier’s workshop, and she asked the workshop participants why we write. I thought this would make for a great blog topic, so I’m going to feature the answer of some of my favorite poets.

Why Do I Write ~ Dara Wier

I write to keep mortality in check. I write because all the poets before us wrote and lent us their genius and showed us ways to write with abandon. Because making up something whether it be the shape of a poem or content there in amazes. I write because there’s nothing better to do. And I mean nothing. Because writing renders one unselfconscious, a state to prefer, to be lost in writing’s miraculous ways. Because it’s preferable to be lost in writing.

Key West Literary Seminar & Workshop Thoughts– 1

The Key West Literary Seminar and Workshop was an intense experience for me. Venturing into the wonderful world of Key West I wrote four poems– that’s not even counting workshop poems. The muse was generous to me.

I met a number of amazing people while at the seminar & workshop; I’m thankful that our life paths crossed—–That’s you Sylvia Plath Oven Group. (Oh, there’s a “scandalous” story behind that name; I’ll share it later.) I plan on visiting a few of the people I befriended throughout 2008, and I gave many of them an invited to be my guest in Atlanta.

Dara Wier is brilliant. Her workshop was titled as “not the typical workshop,” and it wasn’t by any means. The thought of not have the typical workshop structure made me nervous; however, as we went into workshop, I had no issues with it. Many thanks to Dara for her leadership and sharing much wisdom with her workshop participants. To praise her, I’ll share one of her poems:

She Thinks She Hung the Moon

My head is a pincushion for darning needles.
It is an egg containing its brood.
It shares its nest with legions of Roman soldiers.
Perhaps it is over-inhabited.
It does not bite.
My head is a tabernacle, it loves the smell of frankincense.
If my head were a prison it would be empty.
It would be filled with music of orange blossoms.
My head is a quiver, a patch and satchel.
It is an arena.
My head is a satellite drifting out of its orbit.
Heads like mine have been found on all seven continents.
They have been linked to life on other planets.
They have been stamped on coins and traded for food.
My head is a nest of boxes, an over-night case.
It has been bombed and looted and sacked.
It has been riddled with scarves, with shoelaces.
My head is an unopened geode, an unopened coconut.
I like to listen to it slosh around.
I like to think of the moon working on it.
My head is a good hiding place, a safe house.
It is where to be in a lightning storm.
It is a cave curtained by a waterfall.

~ from HAT ON A POND by Dara Wier

Key West Literary Seminar ~ Jan. 14 – Jan. 20

Today, while I was mulling over the rejection from KO, it hit me that I never posted the news about the Kew West Literary Seminar. I received a scholarship that will enable me to attend the 26th Annual Seminar: NEW VOICES- Where are We Going? Where Have Been?, participate in a workshop lead by Dara Wier, and stay at Eden House (home of the seminar & pictures to the right). I’m thrilled to be able to attend the seminar and have the chance to experience Key West for the first time.