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In Praise of Memorization

By Madeline Bassnett

I’ve been thinking lately about Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” It fits the current Fredericton landscape perfectly: the snow lies two feet thick on the ground and I have to strap on snowshoes just to feed the backyard birds. But I think about this poem for another reason too: it’s an old friend, the first poem I fully memorized.

Revision

By Madeline Bassnett

My life is all about revision — and that’s not just a metaphorical statement. It seems I’ve ceased writing anything new: my only task is to complete and repair the old. As if I’ve suddenly entered the field of furniture restoration, sanding the scratches, oiling the bumps, replacing worn nails — a deceptively satisfying comparison. As if revision were simply a matter of priming and primping, of returning to some earlier and idealised state.

Radio Fiddlehead No. 1: Interview with John Barton

In January 2011, Editorial Assistant Peter Forestell sat down with John Barton, poet, editor of The Malahat Review, and the University of New Brunswick's 2010-11 writer-in-residence, to talk about his latest book of poems, Hymn, as well as the politics of being a gay writer in Canada.

The Fiddlehead no. 246 arrives in January!

The winter 2011 issue of The Fiddlehead (no. 246) will be mailed out to subscribers and on the newsstands in January. Enjoy the five stories: Greg Bechtel’s “The Mysterious East (Fredericton, NB),” Marjorie Celona’s “Big Sex,” Michael Doyle’s “The Disappearing Man,” Sheila McClarty’s “Stolen,” and Shane Neilson’s “Freight.”

Turn to the poetry and read new works from fifteen poets including Jan Zwicky, Jack Hannan, Christine Lowther and Shane Rhodes. There are also reviews and Anna Cameron’s wonderful artwork, “Untitled V” graces the cover.

Train Your Brain to Create instead of Think (part 2)

By Matt Mott

Set small, specific goals like write a scene with a lamp, a dog, and blue sedan. Remember, education is about drills and jumping through hoops. Most of those hoops are going to be completely arbitrary, just like lifting a dumb-bell up and down is completely arbitrary, but arbitrary hoops provide practice, and you need to practice creativity to develop it as a skill. Editing comes later. Learn to just grow a story first. . . .

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