Welcome to our website!

Unlocking the Poem is a way to think about writing poetry; it is also the title of a new book by Ottone M. Riccio and Ellen Beth Siegel starting from the premise that poems are out there, waiting to be found, opened, unlocked–by anyone with the interest and perseverance to do so.  I hope this blog will allow me to explore this and other ideas in dialogue with all you other poets out there.

Regarding the book: please go to the page entitled “About Unlocking the Poem,” for more information about a resource X. J. Kennedy called “a book that deserves a place on every poet’s shelf”–I think you’ll agree that this volume will be a valuable companion to any writer. And please read the blog entries that follow, and respond; let’s open a dialogue about how and what we write, and how to do it better!


3 Responses to “Welcome to our website!”

  1. 1 Suzy
    November 10, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Hey Ellen….congratulations. A wonderful collaboration.

  2. 2 Ruth Housman
    November 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Ellen,

    I think this is great and I just learned about THE BOOK, a few minutes ago.

    As for elephants, it’s coming up elephants for me, as it does, periodically, since I do adore elephants and always have. I still remember the book The Roots of Heaven by Romain Gary. I wept through his book because they were so hunted for their ivory, and still are. I think there’s something magic and majestic about these creatures and if I believed in reincarnation, which maybe I do, then I must have been an elephant. My sister is now reading Water for Elephants which is really a good book and I heartily recommend this.

    I like your poem, especially its droll way of ending.

    An aside: the Hebrew letter aleph is close to, eleph, and I would notice these things….

    Best of Success to YOU and to RICK with this Book.


  3. November 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I can’t wait to see this book. I remember many of Ricky’s assignments fondly–some not so fondly–but all of them pushed me to try new things and learn more about writing my own poetry. I’m having a week of poetry prompts from Ricky on my blog, http://www.ellensteinbaum.com/blog and I hope it will help introduce Ricky and this book to more people who want to unlock their poems.

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Buy the Book!


Praise for the Book

“Unlocking the Poem brings both the creative writing teacher and the aspiring writer a trustworthy guidebook and a generous resource. . . . authors Riccio and Siegel have put together a book that deserves a place on every poet’s shelf. Its copies will become well-worn and dog-eared from future service.”
–X. J. Kennedy

“Riccio and Siegel deserve the gratitude of poets
and writing workshop leaders everywhere for their no-holds-barred approach to stimulating the imagination and unlocking the poems in all of us.”
–Sue Ellen Thompson

“For those who can’t get to [Ottone Riccio's] workshops this remarkable teacher, together with Ellen Beth Siegel, has compiled a book of inspiring lessons to help writers on their way to good poems.”
–Diana Der-Hovanessian

November 2009


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