Dreamers Invited

Next week I begin teaching a class which uses one of my favorite novels as a guide to create our own completely original stories (of any genre). It’s no secret that I love this book — to read or to teach. The class will be offered through Writespace and meet for four Tuesday evenings; we’ll be on Zoom, too, so you don’t have to be in Houston or even leave your couch to take it.

Here’s the blurb, and then I’ll tell you more about what to expect each week.


Read Your Way to Writing Well

Erin Morgenstern’s highly acclaimed debut novel The Night Circus rocked the literary world with its lush writing, clever structure, magnetic characters, and gripping story. In this four-week course, we will explore some of the reasons why Morgenstern’s novel is so well written and use it as a mentor text to generate some innovative writing of our own. Expect to discuss various elements of the text and to write original creative work, using Morgenstern’s techniques for inspiration. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their writing for supportive feedback during each class session. Homework involves reading The Night Circus over the course of the month and working on your own manuscript.

This course is open to all levels of writing and literary analysis. Students should read the first 3 chapters of the novel before the first class.


Each week, we’ll spend some time talking about what in the chapters we’ve read that week is so captivating, from the perspective of narrative craft and technique. We’ll discuss Morgenstern’s use of language and unusual structure/architecture. Then we’ll explore how to translate those skills onto our own work and, over the course of four weeks, craft either a complete work of short fiction or the solid beginnings of a novel or novella. This course is generative: some class time will be devoted to the writing itself. You will also have the opportunity to get in-the-moment feedback on the work you’re doing in a positive and supportive atmosphere.

If you’ve ever wondered just how writers learn by reading, this class will show you how to dissect a novel for instruction without ruining your enjoyment of it! Last I checked, there were still spots available, but don’t wait too long. Early bird pricing ends tomorrow. Click this link here to register.

Any questions? Please leave them in the comments!

The Reading I Gave Last Night

Hey there. Last night I gave a reading of my work from The Sharp Edges of Water for Writespace. In case you couldn’t be there in Houston last night but wanted to hear some of my poetry and flash fiction, here’s the video from Writespace’s Instagram page. It’s an informal livestream, replete with the occasional technological hiccup and handcam excitement, but overall the audio quality is good and the video quality pretty good most of the time. The person introducing mea at the beginning and commenting at the end is Jamie Portwood, Writespace’s programming director and reading host. Enjoy!

I’m Giving a Poetry Reading on Friday

This Friday evening (May 26th), if you’re in Houston, come on by Antidote Coffee on Studewood for the Writespace open mic poetry reading. I’ll be the featured reader there that night and would love to see you in the audience! And if you write poetry, I’d love to hear one of your poems during the open mic portion of the event! (You’ll need to sign up here ahead of time if you intend to read a poem, and you can RSVP for the event at this link as well.)

The event starts at 7:00 p.m., but you’ll want to get there earlier than that to get a seat. Prepare for street parking. I’ll be reading from The Sharp Edges of Water and some pieces from my newer (as yet unpublished) collection.

There’s also going to be an Itty Bitty Book Fair that night, so you can snag copies of my books and zines and probably some others as well.

I hope to see you there this Friday evening! Click the link above for all the logistical details.

SONIC CHIHUAHUA Volume 4 Issue 1

Hey, look! The new Sonic Chihuahua zine has finally come out! And in it, Han announces the exciting college decision. Woot!

Subscribers, watch your mailboxes this week. Anyone else want a copy? Let me know in the comments and watch for my reply.

(Also, please note: if you are interested in contributing to the summer issue this year, I’m extending the deadline past June 1st to June 5th. You can find the guidelines at the Sonic Chihuahua page here on the blog.)


Monday Earworm: Christina Perri

After a little break from blogging — because blogging more or less every day for thirty days doing Poem-A-Day is a lot of work, no matter how fun and lovely it is to do — I’m back with a Monday Eaworm. Expect things to be a little light around the blog the next couple-few of weeks as I finish out my semester, graduate my oldest, and get the next issue of Sonic Chihuahua out the door. (Woo-hoo times three!!)

But here is a song that I literally cannot drown out of my head today. (Not that I’m complaining. It’s a gorgeous song.) The video has a compelling aesthetic (in more ways than one) and a balletic savagery. Do enjoy.


National Poetry Month 2023: Day 30

And now, the last Poem-A-Day for this year’s series is here. Thank you to everyone who has been following our National Poetry Month celebration and welcome to all of the new subscribers who have joined us this month!

Just a note: I will be posting a bit more sparsely in May for a variety of reasons:

  1. I need to finish up my semester, and that entails a LOT of work.
  2. My kid is graduating!! And that entails a LOT of activities.
  3. I’m late with the spring issue of Sonic Chihuahua and want to get it finished up in the next couple of weeks. It’s going to be awesome! But that ALSO entails quite a bit of work — particularly in chasing down a few things from some of this season’s contributors.

So don’t think I’ve abandoned you just because the posts become less frequent. It is, after all, May, and that’s a busy time for a schoolteacher. But fabulous things are on the horizon, and I can’t wait to tell you about them. Soon.

So tonight I’m featuring a poem by Marlon Lizama from his book Cue the writer: Cheers to the notion of Love, Hate, GOD, and Revolution. Enjoy!

“I Write”

I write
because of the moon
because the most high
allows ideas to attack me daily

because mc’s,
want to move the crowd
but I want to move

I write
because I was never taught to,
but I learned how to read
in spite of him and always for her

I write
because of the Alchemist
for the seasons in Nevada
and if Frida was alive
she would be my very best friend

I write
for Botero’s view on beauty
and Saul’s passion
I write
because I never knew my father
I barely know my mother
and my grandmother died

I write
for my version of a second hand
story passed down to me
through drunk tongues

I write to make you
to remind u that
you don’t know me

I write
for love,
for the idea of love,
for the idea of love
that I would give my life for

Injustices with baby fingers

I write
to gain courage for them,
sanity for me,
and to always keep her wooed

I write
because paper is sacrifice
to not let the tree die in vain
I write ultimately,
to be free


Marlon Lizama is a Poet/artist who focuses on the cultural aspect of writing and the arts. Coming to the United States at the age of nine, he discovered himself in the sub-culture called Hip Hop. Joining a group which quickly became world-renowned through competition, theater, workshops, and cultural exchange programs, Havikoro represented a group of young dancers, poets, and artists that put Houston on the world culture map. Marlon has been to over forty countries through competition, performances, poetry shows, and through working with the State Department. He is currently being supported by St. Paul’s Methodist through an artist-in-residence program in Houston, Texas, where he is currently creating a writing program that works with youth from all over the city. Youth groups include Sharpstown High School, incarcerated youth, St. Paul’s spiritual youth group, and Houston probation department. The goal of the program is to create writers and published young authors. Find him online at http://www.marlonlizamapoetry.org/home.html.

National Poetry Month 2023: Day 29

In honor of the delightfully fun (and not gonna lie, super in-the-weeds nerdy) sonnets workshop I taught this weekend, here is a curtal sonnet for your enjoyment.

“Release” by R. S. Gwynn

Slow for the sake of flowers as they turn
     Toward sunlight, graceful as a line of sail
          Coming into the wind. Slow for the mill––
Wheel’s heft and plummet, for the chug and churn
     Of water as it gathers, for the frail
          Half-life of spraylets as they toss and spill.

For all that lags and eases, all that shows
     The winding-downward and diminished scale
          Of days declining to a twilit chill,
Breathe quietly, release into repose:
          Be still.


For detailed biographical information on R. S. Gwynn, click here to be taken to his Poetry Foundation page. But also? He lives and teaches in east Texas, not that far from Houston.