So glad you have signed up to receive the For Random Learning Comes Newsletter! This is the fifty-fourth edition.

Previous editions can be found on the blog's Newsletter page. I send it out weekly, so if you don't get my email on Saturday morning, please let me know! (Check your junk and spam folders too.)

My five latest posts are at the end of this newsletter, latest first.

I'm getting to my newsletter a bit late in the day, this week, with one new poem to offer. It's called The New, and it documents the way we chase after newness, especially in this shiny internet age (see my poems Sparkly Things and Like for more on that theme.)

I had the idea for the poem when I came across a literary magazine's call for submissions on Twitter that demanded "new" work.

As a person in her sixth decade, I could not help but laugh at the idea of "new" writing.

I think the brains of most writers are forever percolating, bubbling over occasionally with little bits that actually get set on paper. The same interesting themes and subjects morph over time, responding to our unique experience. But nothing is ever really "new."

In addition, the standard forms of creative writing, the essay, the short story, the poem, the novella, the novel, the play, and all their many permutations throughout the ages have repeated again and again, in different forms, the same lessons, the same conflicts, the same fateful decisions leading to tragedy or comedy. So nothing there is ever really "new," either.

I think this thirst for newness is also part of what drives the 20th-plus-century demand for format-less poetry. More often than not we expect a complete absence of structure, a blurring of the border between poetry and prose. So much so, that distinguishing between a prose poem and a poetic short story/essay/opinion piece/rant is often just a matter of length and/or judgment.

Not that there is not art created in this space. I merely want to point out that we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Always--almost definitionally--expecting a lack a structurein poems, or expecting novel forms--if in fact a new lack of form can be regarded as a new form--fosters disrespect and downright contempt for the old forms. So that rhyme becomes a play toy for children and advertising jingles, not a tool for serious artists. It's like saying that addition and subtraction should not be used outside of elementary school.

More than likely, most of my writing ideas have already come to me by now. I have already set them down on paper in some form, even if the most skeletal. But the demand to "jump to", and create just for the moment, some kind of bespoke, yet quickly-created art, that responds strictly to a set of arbitrary criteria irritated me somehow.

It is the language of the modern contest, the modern grant application, not the classic offer of a patron or mentor to sponsor an artist he or she admires, so that they might create the great art of which they alone are capable.

I have previously griped about the rules of many publications to not accept work that has appeared anywhere else, including on one's own blog, in Despairing. Another poem about the way writers and other artists often fail to support one another is The Jealous Type.

In this poem New, I again condemn the widespread disregard for old staples of wisdom, value and art, and our inclination to pursue whatever is fashionable and brand-new. This quest ends in a lesser body of work available to society at large, who are forced to consume it, no matter how ephemeral or transparent or meaningless or even self-destructive that fast food for the mind may be.


If you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet, I hope you will consider doing so. And tell your friends! There's a blue signup form on every page.

You can also follow my Twitter account, @AndreaLedew,which posts my previously published blogposts, poems and flash fiction. This will give you an idea of just how much mischief I've been up to over the past five or six years.

Thanks again for your continued readership and support. It means a lot to me.

Have a great week!


The links below will take you to the five most recent posts.

The blue logo takes you to the homepage. The section on English Majors has the most recent stuff.


The New

A broad-brimmed straw hat with a crepe myrtle blossom stuck in it, on the newel post of an old wooden staircase. Copyright Andrea LeDew.
A poem about the triumph of the New at the expense of the Old and trusted.

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Bouquet of flowers on a mantelpiece near a cutting board decorated with Dutch-style blue and white porcelain tile, and a wooden plate reading in German, "the morning hour has gold in its mouth." Copyright Andrea LeDew.
This poem records the conflicted emotions of anyone who attempts to work at home in the midst of family and noise. By Andrea LeDew.

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A plastic bucket overflowing with white lisianthus blooms. Copyright Andrea LeDew.
A poem inspired by President Biden's speech in response to the school shooting in Uvalde TX, in which he decried the scores of child victims to mass shootings in the US.

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Porch Swing

A porch swing. Copyright Andrea LeDew.
This poem recounts a life-long love while swinging on a porch swing.

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Lovely: A Mother's Blessing

Pastel bouquet by Madelaine LeDew surrounded by kitchen items including a plate with a sailing ship on it. Copyright Andrea LeDew.
This poem is a mother's blessing as her child embarks upon a journey into the wider world to seek self-fulfillment, work, and happiness.

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