Don’t jump in the calm hypnotized waters

Even ripples desire banks

Beneath its still lethargic curtain and aimless sways

There is a stolid river bed; lying in a somber and repressive slumber

And lifeless tentacles its beards, while sand grains shiver in melancholy.

And if you find yourself ploughed into the grains,

Truly lost in the dept, and bubbles cease to suffice.

A soporific hum coming forth to ease your pains,

Kick once and twice, towards the mellow surface.

Assail the dunk riverbed: rattle its feigned tranquility.

And let your bubbles burst upon the waiting surface.

Kick once; kick twice to break free from its lifeless tentacles

For now I know, you too desire the banks.

A poem by Tonny Wandella

The Most Useful Writing Advice I’ve Ever Been Given

I’ve been studying writing for 20 years now. I’m at the point where I’ve now taught more workshops than I’ve been a student in, and yet I still feel like I’m constantly on the search for new gems of knowledge about writing to both share with my students, and use in my own practice.

I’m also intrigued by what I remember teachers and writers telling me, and how hungrily I consumed what they had to say. I think this is partly because we see the talented writers that are our mentors as touching some magic that we, too, want to touch. This is, I think, why so many writers are asked questions like: “What is your process? What time of day do you write?” I think the subtext of all of these questions is, “How do you access the magic, the muse?” And, privately: “Would that work for me?”

Here are some things that teachers I was lucky enough to have taught me:

“Just because it happened to you doesn’t make it interesting.” I often repeat this line to students. From a writer who writes a lot of thinly veiled fiction based on her real life, this piece of advice is key for anyone writing nonfiction to understand. The personal is only interesting if it reaches into the universal.

“Don’t go to weddings.” This is a real thing a quite famous writer told our graduate workshop. Her point was this: Don’t miss class. Above all, prioritize your writing and your work here. While we all thought it was rather eccentric at the time, and I personally think you should go to every wedding possible because they are so fun, I do see her point. What I think she was trying to tell us is it’s time for you to start taking yourself seriously as a writer, and to treat writing as your job.

“Research, research, research (for inspiration as much as anything else).” I’d always thought of research as an academic, or even scientific, endeavor rather than a creative one. Boy, was I wrong. Fiction writers, poets, and, of course, nonfiction writers can benefit immensely from research. And research can be traveling, walking through your setting to take in the sensory details, or it can be reading old folk tales. I’d always thought, “Okay yeah, you research to make your work more realistic — but you do it to make it more real?” You do it because your work deserves that kind of investment on your part, but you also do it for inspiration. The details in Hans Christian Andersen (the codfish as paper in “The Snow Queen”!), the actual turns of phrase an old fisherman uses, the smell of the desert in spring — these are the goldmines of good writing. And you won’t find them unless you look.

If you are bored, it’s not because you wrote it, it’s because it’s boring. Margot Livesey actually said, “If you are bored, it’s not because you’ve read that section so many times, it’s because it’s boring.” And it’s really true, and countless times it’s saved me from being boring.

“Take out one dull line and add one stunning detail on every page.” This is from my exquisite writing mentor, Melanie Rae Thon, and is one of the many gems she has given me over the years. It is exquisite advice, and shows the dedication and diligence Thon gives to her own work. It is a really concrete action writers can take to drastically improve their writing. When I take this practice to my own work, it reminds me of adding a coat of oil to dull wood. It just immediately shines it up. It’s also wonderful to ask others to give their writing that kind of attention, and makes writers feel more proud of their work.

“Draw Antonio, draw Antonio, draw and do not waste time.” In her book, The Writing Life, Annie Dillard writes that these are Michelangelo’s words to his apprentice and it’s such an eloquent, history-laden phrase — such a perfect balance between poetry and timelessness — that I’ve tended to use it as a mantra over the years. Whispering it to myself when I’m tired and frustrated. I feel it connects me with artists over time and it reminds me:

Hey, just keep doing what you are doing. That’s really the only way to get better at it.

Sadie Hoagland is the author of American Grief in Four Stages and Strange Children. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Daily Beast, Writer’s Digest, Five Points, The Fabulist, South Carolina Review and Elsewhere.

Source: https://medium.com


Listen to the audio poem instead

I won’t let my despair get strong enough,
I might raffle your bright blossoms; though it’s tough.
And still am scared: for you reside in the lurking thorns,
Pricking me until am ripe; writhing inside this jungle of bittersweet.
Yet you are scared to find bliss in frugal naivety.
Fools enough to seek solace in days gone; we are pools of anxiety.
I Am scared to slip back into forbidden thoughts.
And you are scared petals are falling off fast.
In the depth of your vain soul, you long to hide in a bud again.
But fright only makes petals fall in haste.
Until you are a dry thorny stalk and I the broken vase that leaks; your scared beholder.

Listen to the audio poem instead

A poem by Tonny Wandella


I had to find away; to a broad and wild garden.
Through a forlorn passage,
Though I doubted if my frail wings could scale.
But it wasn’t a vanquished will,
It was my heart that; led me onto a pinnacle.
To be dressed in golden pollen and pacifying fragrance.
And I was lost in clouds like a spectre:
Ridding my heart on cotton clouds.
And there I was ready to dive, into a black flower
That confined a pond of rippling blue nectar.
It enthralled me although I was famished and thirsty
And I got drunk with this blue nectar,
That I tripped and fell in love with a brand new self.
It was my baptism; to be free forever inside the blossoming palm of many days.

A poem by Tonny Wandella


Not to be summoned by an alarm nor worry; I want you to rise up in the dimming night.
And share with me the timid sun and savor its haze.
And stir up dew asleep upon grass blades.
Make way for the blue sky, make way for the birds:
make way for these subtle wonders that are free.
For every brisk flowers and bees converge,
On this beauty sculptured by the night.
This dawn has been mend for us,
Forget about the incoming hassles.
Stray a little from your hesitation and pavements,
And exile to the fields whenever, to find this dawn.

A poem by Tonny Wandella


Our delusions have wrecked us in many instances,
Thoughts like;
There are no more broken people behind gregarious stints,
And neither are there any voices left in reserved souls.
A times there are only horrid faces projected to dazzling reflections.
Horrid thoughts that are ever brewing behind the smile and smice;
of anxiety and chaos, of pain and loss, frustrations and apathy.
Earnestly try to be kind to all.

Yes they prevail: horrid thoughts, installed eternally in our beings,
Burrowed inside every part of who we used to be, who we are, and what we will ever be.
But cheer up from now henceforth, for there are temporary remedies for these godly ailments.
Religions, philosophy, and some claim rituals too .
Scriptures to console and words to uplift, practices to free and chants to guide.
But why do we need a lot of delusions to kill a delusion? And the circle proves eternal.

Our delusions have crippled us in many instances.
Thoughts like, am always right and they wrong.
I am the victim and they my afflicters.
While fables claim our thoughts are aimless winds: scampering for voids,
And so we need religion and philosophy and rituals,
To harness them: just like the canvas that are sails and vanes of windmills.
Sometimes they soothe us, sometimes we will need them in high doses,
a times they are venom and fuel to our primal savageness.
All in all they will never get rid of our human nature; in the end only death does.

A poem by Tonny Wandella


Wednesdays like when it was in May
Wednesday I could here foot-steps very gay
Wednesday you can light the candle if you may
Wednesday the touch was soaked; it rained
Wednesday I needed to see a face along the way

Wednesday in the six of a dusk
Wednesday by the light beside the dark
Wednesday on the road that wept
Wednesday it was a voice: her voice
Wednesday that led me amiss

Wednesday my space was tight
Wednesday fumed and I choked
Wednesday she broke some bottles
Wednesday it rained; we lost the battle
Wednesday whistling in the whirlwind in the day

Wednesday may it always linger
Wednesday while it was somber I reminisced
Wednesday that crafted such longing
Wednesday in the six of a dusk
Wednesday like it was in may


There is an asylum in the sky where free birds horde.
Days test the strength of their bones and wind the stretch of wings.
Beyond the rising sun and descending rain, birds swam.
They tussle for light, and here under the canopies of their mighty squibs,
Crawls a broken dove.
Scavenging through the leftovers of their slipping shadows.
Its spirit has torpor and stalled:
Here where the grass is dry and worms at bay.
Sometimes it snivels and hides under its own haunted mystery,
A times it venture into the sullen moors
Just below the mighty asylum of free birds.
And collect scrap feathers.
But noises from above are so loud that it can’t even hear its own thoughts.
But today, once it has sewed back its wings,
Let will take it to a cliff and let it flap past the asylum to the sunny well.

A poem by Tonny Wandella


It is time, the world needs to be saved.
And the grail has found a home in shaking hands,
Hoisted above a new found murmur.
For these riddles makes them all thirsty.
‘Can’t you see the halo? Call for a truce!’
‘It’s only a kiss, I will find my way out through the noose.
Maybe I will drown in the dripping grail and forget my part.’

Lest the well runs dry; lest only cramps reel in the platter.
So tonight let the grail twinkle in divine light.
Beware! Keep your primal nature subtle.
Quite a sad scene from the holy book: the bible.

A poem by Tonny Wandella


Suddenly, when the latch shrills and opens,
Bear with me my feeble soul; floods would have arrive
Once a tedium life will be an up roaring hive;
Hence, I’ll fight to keep you inside much longer.
I will swim with my inept strive till my bones are enshrouded with defeat.
Suddenly, I will take you safely down to the quite bottom.
I will succumb with no shiver, no quiver: and reach out to the furthest calmness.
I will take you to the farthest lair and release you.

But I beckon you to fight back from within,
Creep about with such stealth and leery, and clog my senses,
Before they swallow us; the livid ones are merciless.
Stand still throughout the fray;
When whispers become roars, and blue sky turns grey,
a gentle pat a sting and moon beams a scorching fire.
Creep about and clog my senses, ere we drown.

A poem by Tonny Wandella