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Homeschooling MFA Update

In late September I traveled to Nashville for work.  Sarah Mackenzie had turned in the manuscript for her new book just a few weeks before.  She said she felt like she wanted to be in the daily habit of writing, to keep the gears oiled and ready.  I figured she could use some company, so I decided to join her.  All weekend I kept mentioning Sarah’s plans to write everyday in October.  By Saturday night when we were saying our goodbyes, 7 women had committed to 30 minutes of writing every day in the coming month.  Would work emails count?  How about blog posts?  I said, it all counts!  And we started out.


My focus for the month was getting ready for a November poetry workshop taught by Holly Wren Spaulding.  I wanted to get in the habit of showing up, so that when I added in prompts and provocations from Holly, I could respond.  I spent my quiet, darkening mornings with haiku cards and stacks of books, my black pens and composition book.  The workshop was wonderful, and I could meet it with my full attention because I’d been writing all month long.  Though you wouldn’t know it from this blog, the habit has pretty much stuck!  My notebooks are full to bursting.

I spent the month of December going through the year’s journals, finding poems or fragments that seemed promising.  I copied them out by hand on loose leaf paper.  By the end of the month, I had a reservation for a night away during Christmas break and a stack of poems that needed revising.  Just as I was returning from the writing retreat–there was jazz and wine and a walk through the vineyards to a waterfall where I saw a hummingbird drink–I saw a notification that Solitary Plover was accepting submissions for the Winter 2018 issue.  I found my three most Niedecker-like poems.  It wasn’t hard, I have such an affinity for her work. I held my breath, sent in my first ever poetry submission, and it was accepted!

How has it taken so long to arrive perfectly in place?  It feels a little late to just be having children who sleep through the night, to just be revising and submitting poems.  And yet…the road has risen up to meet me at every step.  I have arrived exactly where I need to be.  At home, at rest, belonging.  Comfortable in my own skin with good work that uses every bit of me.



  1. with pride I think of the precious work done in the predawn hour and wonder at your inspiration and willingness to share your gift…you are one special lady

  2. This is so beautiful, inspiring, and encouraging! I often fear that my long years in the tunnel of young children/nursing babes/toddlers (that I’m still not quite out of) will leave me stranded – too old, too late, too rusty, having forgotten how to write… But in this you have given me hope. <3

    1. What I’m finding is that the tunnel years have fed the writing like an underground spring…never too late. Can’t wait to see what you write, Alexis!

  3. Congratulations on having your poetry accepted, Kortney! I just had a writing mentor tell me that you know you’re on the right track when the world starts handing you what you need. Hope the roads keep rising and the world keeps providing. xo.

  4. Oh, Kortney! Congratulations! How wonderful to see your work reaching farther into the world, where it is much-needed. Your poem is completley beautiful. “…silence/instead of light.” Love.

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