Review: A Must Read for Poetry Lovers and Those Looking for God


A five star review today from reader Janet Kalmadge- personal reviews like hers just absolutely brighten my day!

I started following Amber on a poetry site. Then I found her blog. She is so open about her life and writing projects. This book is an extension of that openness. Of what she is seeking and questioning. When it comes to God and religion, that is not always easy to do. Her poetry is beautiful, often raw. This book is filled with deep meaning, pondering and answers. I shall always treasure this book.

 

Thank you, Janet, for the kind words! I hope I’ll only be able to get better as I continue to write, and keep being able to give more of myself to my readers. I treasure your support.

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Things I Do To Stay Sane: Join a Poetry Club


It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing that writing, of any kind, is a job that is purely done on one’s own. I could go for several days talking about the hows and whys of that not being true- both in positive ways and negative ways-but for right now I want to focus on writing groups.

When I started this whole writing thing as kind of a hobby back in high school (lord, I’m getting old) I really thought that I didn’t need anyone else’s opinion on my writing. I knew what was best for my style, I knew what was the best thing for me to talk about and I knew what sounded good or not. Creative Writing classes existed purely so that I had somewhere where people were forced to sit and listen to my genius, but I didn’t have any obligation to listen to anyone else.

Since then I’ve realized that that kind of attitude is not only idiotically self-absorbed, but it was also toxic to my art. My poetry was less poetry than it was creatively spaced pity partying spanning several relatively expensive art journals. I once heard in a writing workshop for short stories by Jim Daniels that the problem with a lot of amateur artists is that they spend most of their time telling people how they feel instead of showing how they feel. And they never learn how to, because they refuse to admit that there is anything to being relatable beyond laying bare their own feelings. They never learn to take into account the places from which their audience will be coming. What kind of feelings will scare them. What kind of things they don’t want to admit to. The things that are easy to say, but shouldn’t- and the things that should be easy to say, but aren’t.

Being part of a writing community can help ease one’s own ignorance on that front. There’s nothing better than sitting at my university’s poetry club, listening to other students read their pieces for a half-hour on a prompt given not even an hour before that. Some of it is downright awful, and some of it is heart-breakingly beautiful. Both kinds of pieces can come from just one poet, depending on the week. And both kinds of pieces gets me, as a poet-listener, just that much closer to understanding who an audience is. What kind of particulars I can point out to. What kinds of beauty I forgot to pay attention to today. What kind of hurt or joy I forgot certain kinds of feelings could bring. Listening to the writings of others in a non-professional setting (I’ll talk about the benefits of a more professional setting later on) is more beneficial than I could have ever imagined.

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You see, I only thought that this kind of inspiration could come by sitting in a room with a bunch of poets who all want to be published and make names for themselves with their art. The kind who compete and submit and go through the same agonizing process of waiting and being rejected, or the unexpected euphoria of acceptance, as I do in my own journey. But the thing is… getting better at your poetry, and getting better at being yourself, isn’t achieved by surrounding yourself only with the kinds of people who do the exact same thing that you do. It’s surrounding yourself with the people who will make you better, regardless of how closely they fit to your own ideals.

In my poetry club, the one I’m proud to call home, we’re a pretty similar in that we are all students at the same university. But at the same time, we are commuters, off-campus livers, dorm dwellers and student life employees. We are Math, English, Science, Philosophy, Nursing and Religion Majors.  Some of us write poetry to keep from killing ourselves. Some of us write poetry because we are so enraptured with life that it spills out of every pore. Some of us want to become professional. Are professional. Some of us will never read poems aloud at meetings. Some of us write in diaries. Some of us write on our computers. Some of us Slam. Some of us rhyme. And we’re never better than when we are together, bouncing our souls off each other as easy as laughter.

So if you’re stuck in your writing, stuck in your formation as a poet- join a writing group. If you’re still a student, chances are there are one or two at your high school or campus. If you’re not, there are online places such as Meetup that will help you find a group near you who will fit your specific needs. Can’t do in person things? Try a site like Webook or Wattpad that are online critiquing communities. Start a collaborative Tumblr or password-protected WordPress blog. Heck, even a Wix or Webs site.

Just don’t ever think you have to do this alone. That you even can do this alone. It may seem like a waste of time, or even an added stress. But keep at it- keep going, keep sharing, keep opening yourself to what other people have to say. You just might find that it helps you become better at being able to say things yourself.

Four Star Review for ‘Drunk Dialing the Divine’


A short, yet positive review from Cecilia Lester, a participant in last month’s Book Blog Tour, titled ‘Avant Garde Poetry from a Young Poet’:

 

Amber Koneval has written a collection of avant garde poetry. The poems are in the free-verse style. Her style is unique to me. She goes deep with her  thoughts with each of her poems speaking of God as she sees Him. Her choice of title speaks of the times a person will call out to God and not know why he or she does it. On the back cover, she writes: “Drunk Dialing the Divine is an attempt to capture a glimmer of the emotional struggle of the deeply faithful. Though each poem begins in a negative space, they resist both the angry and the naively optimistic ending—instead finding a ray of hope in the maxim ‘Things are because God is.’”

Thank you for the feedback, Cecilia!

 

Speaking of feedback, today I also received an e-mail from Janet Kalmadge, one of the winners of the June Book Blog Tour giveaway. She has told me that “it really is wonderful” and that my “writing is captivating”; due to her Catholic upbringing, it also “touches a chord”. Thank you for the encouragement, Janet! It means a lot to someone as new to the industry as me to see people who appreciate the collection, and it gives me a real sense that I am truly on the path I am meant to be on!

If you ever feel like dropping me a line to tell me personally what you think of my poetry, whether you want to enthuse or critique it, feel free to e-mail me here. I’m never too busy to talk about poetry!

Old Photos- Yay!


Reading 'Pumpkin Carving' at my reading at the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore in Boulder, CO

Reading ‘Pumpkin Carving’ at my reading at the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore in Boulder, CO

Reading 'Room 300' from the Chaffey Review at the Innisfree Bookstore in Boulder, CO

Reading ‘Room 300’ from the Chaffey Review at the Innisfree Bookstore in Boulder, CO

Answering questions at the end of my poetry reading at the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore in Boulder, CO

Answering questions at the end of my poetry reading at the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore in Boulder, CO

It’s Almost July!


 

At the end of the month, I’ll be announcing who won the signed copies of Drunk Dialing the Divine as well as finally trying to get back in to compiling my next manuscript. I know I keep saying that I’m starting that, but with all of the work I’ve been doing this summer its been getting really hard just to find the time to sit down and organize everything I’ve written. Or to justify printing it all out. I’ve only written maybe a total of four poems so far, and they aren’t at all ready for any kind of submissions (in consequent, I’ve also not been submitting half as much as I was at my peak). So this is a picture of how I feel pretty much all the time right now. I can’t wait until I graduate and I at least don’t need to spend my time after work writing papers that I’m not really excited about anymore. I just want to spend my free time writing and editing things that are of utmost importance to me, and its frustrating when I can’t. Again, I’m privileged to be so busy but… it’s not always easy to remember that. I’m honestly just waiting for this summer to be over.

Book Blog Tour: Get to Know Me


On Cecelia Lester’s blog Following My King today and tomorrow, you get to know me through a series of rather insightful questions. I really did enjoy the opportunity to really delve in deeper into the more religious side of my poetry, and really talk about that. I hope you all enjoy it as well!

To Name the Unnameable- Guest Post


Today, on the eLectio publishing Author’s corner, I talk about National Poetry Month. Specifically, I talk about the ways in which writing, and reading, poetry has changed my life- and how it might change yours as well.

National Poetry Month!


As part of National Poetry Month, my collection Drunk Dialing the Divine has been featured on the blog ‘Draw Nigh to Hope‘ under the section Apples of Gold.

Also this month, you can enter in to a giveaway by my publisher, eLectio publishing, for  $100 gift card to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iTunes, by promoting the giveaway via Tweets, following eLectio publishing, or myself @ambermoment. You can get 10 entries each for buying an ebook or a paperback from the company- so if you’ve been waiting to get your copy of Drunk Dialing the Divine now would be a good time to get it! And stay tuned for a couple of guest posts coming up soon regarding my poetry and National Poetry month- I’ve been hard at work cranking out posts for both this month and my upcoming book blog tour (which may include a couple giveaways itself!)