Women Writers We Love – Alarie Tennille

This week we catch up with Alarie Tennille, author of Waking on the Moon.  Her poem Still With Me was featured on Dying Dahlia in October 2016.


What inspires you the most? 

I’m inspired by many things, from family memories to quirky news, but looking at art is my surest cure for writer’s block. I’ve learned that art without a strong narrative works best for me, even abstract works I don’t understand. It’s easier to create something new when I’m not rehashing a Bible story or Greek myth that the painter has already told. Reading is also a great inspiration.

Since I retired five years ago, I honor my biorhythm and stay up to the wee hours when the house is quiet. My cats and I commune with the moon. My latest poetry collection, Waking on the Moon (Kelsay Books, April 2017) pays homage to Luna for her help, even though it also contains my usual art and family poems.

Who is your favorite woman writer?

I adore so many women writers. A few of my favorite poets are Jo McDougall, Jane Kenyon, Andrea Hollander, Maryfrances Wagner, Margaret Atwood, Lucille Clifton, and my critique group, Tina Hacker and Teresa Leggard.

What does your writing process look like? 

Because I’m a night owl, I write mostly after 10:00 p.m. I don’t pressure myself to write every day since I did that for almost 30 years on the job. Retirement gives me more leisure. (Leisure means reading.) I do look for ideas every day. If I go more than a week without writing a poem, I force myself to sit down with paper and at least try. That rarely fails me. My critique group tells me I’m prolific. They wouldn’t be happy if I brought in 30 poems each month.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

My advice to all writers is the same. READ. Too many people fancy themselves as poets when they don’t read good poetry. By reading, you learn a lot about the craft and what you may be doing wrong. When you discover poets who write the way you want to write, cultivate them. Often the journals where they publish will also like you.

My second piece of advice is to join or start a CRITIQUE GROUP or at least find a couple of readers willing to tell you when a poem goes astray. It’s important that you find a group that suits you. They should be honest and offer helpful suggestions without making you give up hope. My group has only three writers, which is the ideal number for me. Too many poets can cause more confusion than help.

Women are more likely to feel all the family organizing and nurturing falls on their shoulders, so they often have trouble carving out time to write. Set aside some time twice a week if every day is too difficult. The good news is that most writing happens in your head. You can plan what you want to say between errands. If I think about a poem for a few days before I get to paper, the writing goes more smoothly.

What are you currently working on? 

My next poetry collection started before the last one was published. Each new book begins with poems published too late to go into the previous book. Once I collect 20 or so, I inspect them for common themes to see how to direct more writing to the project. I’m also going to try publishing some poetry reviews in 2018.


For more information on Alarie, visit her website at AlariePoet.com.

Women Writers We Love: Catherine Moore

And here we go – another interview! This week we are catching up with the talented Catherine Moore!   Her latest collection Ulla! Ulla! was released in November 2017 and includes two poems that were featured on Dying Dahlia – “Venus Without Nipples” and “The Broken”.  Learn more about this amazing writer and her latest collection.

What inspires you the most?

That one red spot in a lush field of green. The kids who sit by themselves at lunch. A candy tablet in a box of Good & Plenty that didn’t get completely coated. Every moment in the midst of holiday fun where I want to cry.


Who are your favorite women writers?

This feels like a difficult question, because there are too many. Seriously. So, I’ll choose the less traveled answer and say, myself. Shouldn’t we favor our own writing? And for that matter, I like the women writers in my critique groups. There is nothing more inspiring than being along for the journey as we create art.

What does your writing process look like?

I generally have a genre-free approach to writing. Creating unidentified writing objects (UWO’s) that fill my journals. Yes, most of my writing is done with pen and paper. When I have a block of time to “write” then I dive into my journals and see what sparks my interest. Often, I don’t decide on genre or style until I have a first draft. Then, whatever is on page informs the revision.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Applaud your fellow women writers. Like their stuff and share it. Promote their work with no expectations. The best way for women’s art to be recognized is to spotlight it ourselves. And positive energy has a way of finding its way back.

What are you currently working on?

I am focused on small fictions and short stories at the moment. Along the lines of “Burnt Springs, Alabama,” which The Tishman Review graciously nominated to the VERA awards and the Best Small Fictions anthology. I do have poems leak out every now and again, so I’m certain to have another collection, someday.

About Ulla! Ulla!
Ulla! Ulla! is a collection exploring themes of suppression— social and domestic, earthly and human, self-censoring and oppressive. The collection gets its title from The War of The Worlds’ Martian death noise, “Ulla!,” which was censored since the alien cries were deemed too frightening.
For more information on how you can get yourself a copy of Catherine’s book Ulla! Ulla! visit the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.

Women Writers We Love: Alicia Hoffman

This week, we are thrilled to feature the very talented Alicia Hoffman.  She is the author of Railroad Phoenix and two of her poems, This Haunting We Know and Elegy, were featured on Dying Dahlia in January 2017.  Learn what inspires her, what her writing process looks like and more!

Railroad Phoenix master

What inspires you the most?

When I was writing Railroad Phoenix, what inspired me most was landscape, and how landscape and nostalgia for that lost landscape created in me sensory experiences that I needed to explore on the page. Images associated with the landscape of a lost youth prompted me to explore those images in many ways throughout the book. Depending on how one looks at it, I am either blessed or cursed with a good memory, and I used many of those memories of my time as a child to ground the poems.

Who are your favorite women writers?

This is such a tough question. I just finished reading Ada Limon’s Dead Bright Things. I am still floored by the beauty; the vivid, unexpected, overwhelming, joyous truth-blasts of those poems. Also, I am lucky enough to live in Rochester, New York, home to so many incredible women writers I admire. Sarah Freligh, author of Sad Math, was the first to recommend Limon’s book. (Thanks, Sarah!) Rachel McKibbens, whose book BLUD came out recently through Copper Canyon Press, is another writer who consistently floors me with her powerful work. Carol McMahon, another Rochester poet I only got to know when we both showed up across the country in Washington State to complete our MFA at the Rainier Writing Workshop, renders beautiful and haunting poems, too. Continue reading “Women Writers We Love: Alicia Hoffman”

Women Writers We Love: Aileen Santos

This week we are thrilled to be featuring Aileen Santos, author of Someone Like You (Two Wolves Press, 2016). This past year she was published in two anthologies, Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women published by Caitlin Press and Currents published by Ricepaper Magazine. Aileen’s flash fiction story, Work of Art, was featured on Dying Dahlia in April 2016.


What inspires you the most?

Listening to music and the constant struggle of the human condition inspire me most. I’m fascinated with the struggle within us to do good, to choose good, though people are often broken inside. It’s interesting for me to observe how this brokenness can affect our actions.

Who are your favorite women writers?

I tend toward Asian writers. Two are Evelyn Lau and Jhumpa Lahiri but I especially enjoy reading emerging or new authors who write through the lens of diverse realities.

What does your writing process look like?

I journal every day to exercise the writing muscle. As for stories, I write snippets in the notes section on my phone but do not write linear stories. I may start something and then a year or a few years later, while I’m working on something new, I will dig it up to see if it fits with what I’m currently working on. A huge part of my writing process is reading every day. Even if I’m not writing, I’m always reading and I find this helps my craft immensely.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

Support each other, whether that means meeting up for coffee to talk about what you’re working on, showing up for readings or posting when a fellow writer has an event or accomplishment. I’m not very good at using Twitter but I try to do these things on Facebook and Instagram.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on many things at once. Just like my novel, it did not take shape until the very last year prior to publication so I’m not sure what it is yet. It has no shape or form. I’m simply writing.

Women Writers We Love: Dina S. Paulson-McEwen

This week we are featuring the talented Dina S. Paulson-McEwen. Her poem “Verboten” was featured on Dying Dahlia in August 2016. Her first book, Parts of Love, will be out in March but is available for preorder until January 19.

Author Photo - Dina Paulson-McEwenWhat inspires you the most?

The interstices/cruxes of love and loving. As Parts of love developed, it went from uplifting/making memoiristic a celestial/romantic love to incorporating those exigencies with scratched love. The book’s mind spread to different actors–fractured and connected love not only between lover and lover, but between bodies relating as family and friend, bodies close through intention and chance, bodies who can hold worlds (and can be worlds themselves) inside of themselves.

Who are your favorite women writers?

So many! Favorites include Rebecca Lindenberg, Nikki Giovanni, Franny Choi, Sappho, Joy Harjo, Anne Carson, Ada Limón, and Gillian Flynn.

What does your writing process look like?

Recently, I have been starting my day with an autowrite about five times a week. In general, I tend to write in the afternoon or evening. An autowrite (taught by a Winter Tangerine workshop at Poets House!) is writing for thirty minutes–keep the pen moving, don’t stop to analyze, just get it (something) out. Some of my autowrites have made their way into a current project. I get inspired by science, animals, walking fast, being outside, watching, being close with other bodies, listening, feeling. Sometimes I edit and send revised stuff late at night to my editor, and I am lucky she is a night owl!

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

I think the idea of being (or deciding) you are a woman writer is powerful to begin with. I didn’t really start out seeing myself like this, but I do now because I think how I make up my womanhood is a central force in the way I see and put words together. Every woman’s version of what being a woman means to herself/themselves is unique. I think the most important thing is to feel where you feel yourself fit with yourself. Women writers have a lot of power not only because women and writers are powerful as individual identities but because women writers can tell certain stories that perhaps only women writers can tell.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a full-length poetry manuscript. The concept keeps growing into itself so I keep adding words to its title in Google Docs in caps, so it’s like it’s yelling, but it helps me focus.

Book Cover - Parts of love

To find out how you can preorder Parts of Love, visit the website here.