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Formative . Experience . Writing our way . Notating in notes ap. The strewn leaves of flying notes wafting and grounding and composting . Seed spreader . The teacher of Patience shows up seasonally. Finally threading my music into my composition . I write how ever it comes out . I place my footprint upon my path . I sing my verse to

The flying leaves . Xo

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Your explanations of your process are so amazing! thank you for sharing your thoughts about word choice and, continuing to build upon your comment a few weeks ago about seeing possibilities around poetic forms, I appreciated you pointing out sestina and volta connections. All gold! thank you, Maggie!

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Nov 11, 2023Liked by Maggie Smith

Love seeing glimpses of your process.💚

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Nov 11, 2023Liked by Maggie Smith

Thank you so much for bringing your poetic understanding to dementia and for sharing it, and your creative process, with us.

My mother died in 2000 with dementia and the need to make sense of what had happened kept me coming to my writing table to revise nonfiction for almost 20 years, until my essay collection was published in 2019. These days, I’m honoured to spend time with people who have dementia and am enjoying our focus on “now” vs the past or the future. These moments are part of their lives, too, and I cherish them.

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Maggie, many thanks for this post. I speaks to me in the land of loss where I presently struggle to exist, survive. I'm going to print the last paragraph and post it where I can look at it every day. Take good care, thank you!

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Maggie thank you for showing and taking us along your thought and creative processes! I always love that you do. To see your final poem, I ordered the issue "Where" is listed, and the subscription of APR!!! Thank you!

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Nov 11, 2023Liked by Maggie Smith

What a beautiful poem. I’ll be reading that again.

I’m going to spend the week with my aging parents next week, and I have so many questions for them. My wife’s family recorded their Mom’s last days of storytelling before her death and since then I’ve been inspired to capture my parents on audio or video, too.

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Sharing your process is very helpful to me. I also listened to your talk with Two Sylvias press and I appreciated the openness with which you shared how you put together a poem. I think it is good to know that there is NO "right way" to write a poem. I like the idea of writing by hand for a first draft and then word processing the piece to edit. I was reading your poetry book, Goldenrod, and I was studying your line breaks and how brilliant they are and lead to deeper meanings. Something for me to come back to. Thank you for being so open. This is one of the best newsletters for insights into poetry writing (for me).

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I loved the thinking behind the process. I'm not a poet, but I aspire to write "literary" memoir. I so admire your memoir that includes a sense of poetry in its prose. I lost both parents in the same summer two years ago--I'm still recovering, or trying to. I wrote a memoir essat that repeats the lines "Where am I" then segues to "But what I really mean is where are you" about my beloved mother. Your poem evokes that haunting question.

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Beautiful poem with a daringly simple title. It strikes me that you were just a young adult when this happened. My kids lost their grandmother to dementia at a similar age, and it was so hard to watch them grappling with all the small indignities and the lack of control, felt an age where you want to feel that you have control over your life and your future.

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Dear Maggie, I have been a fan of your poems and writing, especially You Could Make This Place Beautiful, for some time. This poem has touched me deeply. My mother's lived experience of dementia often caused me to reflect, as you have here, on where she was in those last years. I have taken much comfort from your thoughts that her unmapped country would have no borders; it gives me peace. I would like to share this poem with many of my friends who also struggle with where their loved ones are/were, with appropriate reference to APR, and with your permission. I hope it does make it into your next collection which I already look forward to. With gratitude for your voice and generous sharing in For Dear Life. Janice

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Love this poem. It also hits like a double sonnet!

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