Amanda Riggle

Amanda is the Managing Editor at The Poetics Project, The Socialist, and Pomona Valley Review. She graduated with a BA in English Education and a minor in Political Science. She is currently enrolled in an English MA program with an emphasis in Literature. During her free time, Amanda enjoys writing poetry, reading, traveling, crocheting, watching entire seasons of campy shows on Netflix, and, of course, writing blogs.

Fan of The Great Gatsby? Check Out These Etsy Goodies!

I remember back in high school in English class how The Great Gatsby seemed to be one of those books that teachers had to talk the students into liking – and no students really seemed to, outside of me. I’ve always liked those school books that everyone else said were a snore (Lord of the Flies, Pygmalion, etc.). I think the partial reason why we didn’t dig the book that much was because of the 1974 movie which was…kind of dull, and very, very pastel.

And over-exposed. It was so white and bright and blurry.

But it seems as if The Great Gatsby is now in vogue again, thanks in part to the latest incarnation of The Great Gatsby in film. Hannah and I have both seen the film by Baz Luhrmann released this year, and we both liked it a lot. Thanks to this film revitalization of a classic, interest in the book has skyrocketed once again and it’s no longer that book that kids don’t look forward to reading as juniors in high school. Consequently, Etsy.Com is filled with awesome goodies related to the book – here are a few of my favorites!

Dreams as Inspiration

I don’t really keep a dream diary, but I know of a lot of people that do. Dreams can be weird sometimes. For example, last night I had a dream that I was fighting against an alien invasion at a base that was a super Home Depot and humanity lost, then I had to write an essay on why I loved my new alien overlord. But sometimes dreams aren’t so weird, or parts of weird dreams can be used as inspiration for writing. Below are some best-selling books inspired by dreams.

Robert Louis Stevenson woke from a strange dream of a doctor with split personalities and completed The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ten days after he awoke.


50 Shades of Found Poetry


So, it’s no secret that the fan-fiction turned best-seller book 50 Shades of Grey is not considered very…literary. It’s really, from what I’ve been told, more about mild sadomasochism and a controlling sexual relationship than about story or plot or characters or sentence structure or…well, I could go on. So I decided to bully my fellow bloggers here into taking an erotic page from 50 Shades of Grey and turning it into a found poem. Here are the examples we came up with:

Hannah has playful interpretations of found poetry with the 50 Shades of Grey page:

50 shades of personification of body parts.


The Oral Element

I feel like a lot of poetry is misread – poetry is an oral art form that is meant to be read aloud or performed. Poetry on the page is much different then poetry from the lips of a poet or from a performer.

Take E.E. Cummings as an example. Here is his written work:

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


My Thoughts on Criticism and Editing

There are differences, really, I swear. First let’s go with the “textbook” definition of each term –

Criticism – The analysis and judgment of a literary or artistic work: “methods of criticism supported by literary theories”

Editing – Prepare (written material) for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it.

The difference essentially is that criticism is a form of educated feedback – it’s saying what is strong about the piece and what is lacking. Editing is correction to a piece – which is taking the work away from the original author, which is fine if you are an editor or asked to correct someone’s grammar or are asked to rework a piece, but, I feel, has no place in criticism.

It is not the job of the critic to rewrite the work; that’s what someone editing does.


Weekly Review – Week 2

So, in truth, we haven’t been getting as many user-submitted pieces to share and critique on here as we would have liked. The point of the weekly section is to have users send in their work they would like feedback on. This can be done anonymously if the reader wishes, and the poem or short story or other work is posted up here for a week for the editors and readers of the blog to post helpful feedback on.

That being said, here’s a flash fiction piece by Nicole Neitzke, author and English major extraordinaire, titled “Compulsive.”

The clock ticks away the morning as I begin my daily routine: Make the bed. Straighten the bed. Straighten the bed again. Add throw pillows. The coffee maker was preset and spits the dark roast into a travel mug as I stroll into the kitchen. Two eggs over-easy and one piece of toast with light butter. One glass of 2% milk and one ripe orange. It was four breakfast items, an even number. I set two places at the table, though I always eat alone. I use my normal blue table setting, placing one mismatched green mug with a re-glued handle across from me. I sit and eat my meal in ten minutes. Take my shower, brush my teeth, curl my hair, then get dressed. As I sit down to do my make-up in the remaining ten minutes of my morning ritual, I feel something is amiss.


Well, thanks. We like you too.

We’ve just gotten one hundred and one followers on this blog and we wanted to say thank you! The blog, little over a month old, is the love child of multiple English majors who just wanted to have fun and start a community. We’re very excited to have 100 followers and we look forward to bombarding you all with writing things and poetry stuffs.

Cheers to you!

Wine is appropriate for poetry - right?
Wine is appropriate for poetry – right?

– Amanda Riggle

Drunk Poetry

The question of the day is: how does alcohol and poetry mix? Below are my humble opinions on the subject.

Tequila; lime optional.

Oh tequila, my old friend. I don’t think I could write a poem after drinking you. I just become so damn happy and talkative. I might think the words that are coming out of my mouth are the most poetic thing to ever touch the ears of the people around me, but alas, one drink of tequila is never enough. Whether it comes in shot form, margarita form, sunrise form, or other mixed drink forms, one sip is always followed by another and then another. I really like tequila. So, after a few drinks, my words are not poetic as much as they are incoherent. Don’t drink and drive, by the way. I just thought I should throw that out there since I’m talking about drinking and coherency levels. It’s bad kids. Real bad.

April Assignment Poetry Selection

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the assignment for the April Monthly Poetry Assignment:

Base assignment: use color in your poem. This can be as simple as using one word in your poem (for example, blue) or making a whole poem with the theme of color. It’s up to you!

Intermediate assignment: in addition to the base assignment, use a contrasting image someplace in your poem. This is common in sonnets, such as Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20 with the match up of “master-mistress.” Other common contrasting images used in poetry include light and dark, heavy and light, fire and ice. Feel free to step outside of the immediate examples and create your own contrasting images.

Advanced assignment: in addition to the base and intermediate assignment, use this photo to inspire your poem in some sort of fashion (outside of the color alone):


Here are the top 3 poems of April and why I picked them.

May Poetry Workshop

Time for month two, all of you writing fans out there. To make this easy, I’m going to quote myself from my last monthly post (it’s not plagiarism to quote yourself and announce it beforehand):

I’m going to break down how these monthly assignments work. I give you an assignment; you do the assignment. It’s pretty simple.

Joking aside, there will be multiple levels to each assignment. Most assignments will have a base, intermediate and advanced level posted. To participate, you merely have to work on the base level. If you are looking to challenge yourself, I post the intermediate and advanced levels for you to work with.

At the end of the month, I will pick 3-5 of the best poems submitted and post them with the rationale behind why I picked those particular poems. The level of assignment does not come into play in the picking; meaning an advanced poem will not be picked over a base poem if I feel the base poem was executed better.

Once your poem is completed, click Submit Piece Here on the blog’s menu bar to be taken to a submission form. Please include a little something about yourself in the additional information section of the form.