Just yesterday, poet Julie L. Moore was the featured poet at this year’s annual picnic of the Ohio Poetry Association (www.ohiopoetryassociation.org). The picnic was held at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, and Julie lives in Cedarville, just a few miles away.
So, in the literal sense, Julie’s trip to being the featured poet for our state’s poetry association wasn’t very far.
But in the metaphorical sense, Julie came a long way from the time she first envisioned writing to yesterday’s event at which Julie led a craft class, then read from and signed her newest collection, Particular Scandals.
Julie grew up in Morristown, N.J.; as a child there, she began writing short stories early on.
After growing up in New Jersey, Julie attended Cedarville University, earning a B.A. in English. There, she met her husband, John, who is a high school history teacher. She earned her M.A. in English at University of Dayton, and became an educator. Currently, she is Writing Center Director and Associate Professor of English at Cedarville University.
“I became swept up in teaching, in being a wife and mother —” she and her husband have two children in college — “all of which was wonderful, and I wouldn’t change a thing,” Julie says. “Except … somehow, 15 years passed, and I realized I wasn’t writing!”
“I felt called to write poetry, but I also knew that to enter into the literary world, I also needed to be a reader, to really understand poetry. I’d read classic poets, of course, in school, but I wanted to understand the contemporary world of poetry,” she explains. She spent two years reading every bit of contemporary poetry she could find, as well as books on craft, and credits the Greene County Library system for its extensive collection of poetry as an important resource for her self-immersion into poetry.
In 2004, her first poem was published, although like every writer, Julie says she received plenty of rejections of her work. In 2005, she attended the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, which she says opened up her creative writing and thinking skills. In 2009 she received the workshop’s Judson Jerome Poetry scholarship.
She says that her poetry concerns “metaphysical and theological questions.” Julie has a strong Christian faith and practice, but her poetry is written for “anyone whose asking questions — why suffering? Why so many challenges? I think everyone has those questions, whatever their faith background or preference.”
Julie adds, “My poetry doesn’t seek to provide pat answers; in fact, I find the questions bring up more questions — for example, if we ask, ‘Why suffering?’ then we also need to ask, ‘Why beauty?’ In my poetry, I’m really trying to say, ‘Let’s be explorers together. Let’s think about these things.’”
Particular Scandals, published by Cascade Books, is Julie’s second book-length collection of poetry; prior to that, her first book-length collection, Slipping out of Bloom, was published by WordTech editions in 2010, and her chapbook, Election Day, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2006. (Learn more about Julie and her poetry at www.julielmoore.com)
Julie’s poetry has appeared in more than 100 journals, received notable reviews from other poets, and won impressive awards, including an International Merit Award in Atlanta Review’s 2012 International Poetry Competition, and being named a finalist in poetry in this year’s Nimrod International Journal Literary Awards.
Julie’s tips for writers who, as she was several years ago, searching for a voice and direction are to, “read! Read in the genre in which you want to write, but also challenge yourself by reading outside that genre. Go to a workshop and seek out fellow writers. I felt alone as a writer until I began meeting other writers. And don’t be in a rush to publish. Really learn your craft, and make it your goal to find your voice.”
Other Literary Life news
• The Third Annual Yellow Springs 10-Minute Play Festival, now through Sept. 1, is accepting script submissions. As a showcase for local talent, the festival accepts submissions only from playwrights with a strong Yellow Springs connection: current or past residents, those currently employed in Yellow Springs or Miami Twp., and past or current participants in Yellow Springs Center Stage. Selected playwrights also are actively involved in the production of their plays (for example, casting and directing), but advice and help are available as needed from the festival managers, including a limited number of directors. “Being actively involved is tremendous fun and a source of inspiration for continued script-writing,” explains Virgil Hervey, founder and manager of the 10-minute play festival. Scripts may be submitted as email attachments to email@example.com or by mail to Center Stage, P.O. Box 544, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. Feel free to address further questions to Virgil Hervey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Tuesday, July 23, 8-9 p.m.: Greyden Press will host a webinar (fee is $20) on “The Six Steps to Self-Publishing Success” to review self-publishing options, including e-book versus print, how to price your book, and how to market it. Register at http://gredenpress6stepsjul.eventbrite.com
• Thursday, July 25, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene: Robin Davis will introduce her memoir, “Recipe for Joy: A Stepmom’s Story of Finding Faith, Following Love and Feeding a Family.” The book also contains recipes; Davis is food editor at the Columbus Dispatch and hosts a weekly cooking segment on the Columbus CBS affiliate.