Posts Tagged ‘chloe yelena miller’

For those of you specifically interested in writing tips – composition to creative writing – I’ve started a second blog. This blog, Chloe Yelena Miller, will address the kinds of tips I give my composition writing students and private writing students.

My blog will integrate the content of some of the writing courses I’ve taught and workshops I’ve presented since I received my MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

Here are some sample courses I’ve taught:
Poetry Writing Your Family
Travel Writing
Memoir Writing
Advanced Writing
Popular Culture: Poetry & War
Composition I & Composition II
Research Writing

Additionally, I’ve presented the following workshops:
Brainstorming, Work, and Creativity: Thinking Outside of the Box
Family History: Ideas for Collecting & Assembling
Writing About Family
Journal Writing: finding a beginning
Digging up Dirt: Writing and Researching Your Family

If you would like further assistance with your writing project, I would be happy to work with you. I currently work as a private writing coach with adults who are working on projects ranging from trade freelance articles to poetry to chapters for an upcoming novel.

If you haven’t worked with a writing coach before, here is how it works: the author emails me the text a few days before we talk on the phone, Skype, email or meet in person (depending on our respective locations.) I have reasonable rates and my goal is to help you reach your writing goal and perfect your own voice for the project.

If you have questions that you’d like me to address in my blog, please email me at chloemiller(@)gmail(dot)com. I also welcome guest bloggers, if you would like to share some of your expertise.

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poster for sweetwaters reading nov 09I will be reading at Sweetwaters as a part of the Writers Reading at Sweetwaters series tonight (Tuesday, November 17th) at 7 pm. The room is a bit small, so please arrive early for a seat. Don’t forget to bring work to share at the open mike.

The reading is hosted by the lovely Chris Lord and Esther Hurwitz. Thank you again for the invite!

You are welcome to RSVP on the Facebook Event page (or just check it out to see the other cool people who are coming.)

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As you might have guessed, I wrote our own personalized wedding poem. I showed it to my groom before the wedding and we integrated it into the readings during the ceremony. The Wonderful Woman Shasta Grant Huntington did a beautiful job reading it.

Mapping Love

All of my poems are secret love poems to you,

the one I wake up next to,

eat breakfast next to,

live next to.


I don’t remember life before you.

What I remember is this:

holding your hand                   holding you                holding me.


I wish for this new beginning,

to be yet another beginning.

We began in words, then Union Square.

I want to see the world and create

next to you.


This map, the one with mountains,

oceans, city streets, our bodies, words and ideas,

is the one we will explore.

I promise you this.


I promise that when our adventures tangle our minds,

we will hold hands, undo the knots, tie neater ones.

There will always be knots in this imperfect world.

Let us renew our wedding vows through words, movements.


The word love is a cliché, a beating heart,

but that is the word we have. Love.

The image, though, is this: the shooting stars under the blanket of clouds in Maryland.

It is not drawn by a human hand on the map.

No one can see it.

But, we cannot breathe without it.


I promise you everything: earth’s drawn skin to what is invisible to the eye.

I am next to you; that is to say, next to everything.

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Giving a similar talk in Maplewood, NJ (summer 09)

Today I am presenting at the Rochester Writer’s Conference.

Brainstorming, Work, and Creativity: Thinking Outside of the Box

Right brained or left, it doesn’t matter – being creative is essential in the current economy. Access your inner poet and your muse with poet and entrepreneur, Chloe Miller, who will lead a discussion of how to connect creativity with business planning and the generation of concrete ideas. This is a hands-on, interactive, process-driven voyage of discovery. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves.

Chloe’ Yelena Miller, received an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has poems forthcoming or published in the Cortland Review, Alimentum, Lumina and Privatephotoreview.org, among others. She teaches writing online for Fairleigh Dickinson University, edits Portal del Sol and reads for The Literary Review. She founded Word Arrangement, a personalized wedding poem company and related blog.

I gave a similar talk to the PIM group in  (Professionals in the Media) Maplewood, NJ this summer.

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Reading at Busboys & Poets in DCIt is hard to believe that the summer is almost over and autumn is upon us! It promises to be a busy season. Here is some news about upcoming classes and readings: 


Italian tutoring: Please let me know if you are interested in private Italian tutoring for adults.



Workshop: I am presenting a workshop entitled, “Brainstorming, Work, and Creativity: Thinking Outside of the Box” at the Rochester Writers Conference on Saturday, October 3rd. This all-day conference in Rochester, MI, will focus on not only good writing, but making money with your writing. Isn’t that something we’d all love to do?

Workshop: I am presenting a workshop entitled “Family History: Ideas for Collecting & Assembling” at the University of Michigan’s Work/Life Resource Center’s 4th annual event on work/life issues.  This one-day conference, open to UM staff, will be held on October 6th from 8:00-4:00 at the Four Points Sheraton hotel on Boardwalk in Ann Arbor.

Italian Adult Classes: I am teaching Italian 1 on Monday evenings (October 19 – December 7) through Rec & Ed. Click here  and scroll to the bottom to read more about what Rec & Ed students have been saying about me. You can also link to the course that I will be teaching and register online.



Reading: Tuesday, November 17th I am one of the featured poets at Sweetwaters Café on Washington Street in Ann Arbor.  Hope to see you there!



Reading: I am reading poems at “Writing the Midwest: A Symposium of Scholars and Writers” held at Michigan State University Union, East Lansing (May 13-15.)




Please let me know if you have any questions: ChloeMiller(at)gmail(dot)com.

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AROHO @ Ghost RanchErika Dreifus, our lovely Practicing Writing Blogger, posted Part II of my experience at the retreat hosted by A Room Of Her Own (AROHO.) I think you’ll enjoy reading some tidbits of wisdom I learned from the workshop leaders, like Rita Dove, and more.

You can read Part I here.

Thanks, Erika!

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A Room of Her Own Retreat photo by Miriam BerkleyThank you to Erika Dreifus for inviting me to blog a second time for her wonderful Practicing Writing blog. (You might remember my first blog, Writing Your Family History.)

I mentioned to Erika that I would be attending A Room of Her Own’s summer writing retreat on the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. She asked me to write a two-part series on the retreat. This first blog post was written before leaving for the retreat. I describe my expectations and preparations for the one week writing retreat for female authors located where Georgia O’Keefe was inspired to paint her southwest landscapes. I begin with a few obsessions.

Stay tuned for the second one about my experiences.

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Melabee photographing in Puerto Rico, January 2009We probably won’t do formal introductions at the wedding (no one is invited who doesn’t know us…) I would like to take this opportunity introduce you to my mother, Melabee M. Miller.  An artist, she’s inspired me since I used to borrow her Sharpie pens and draw under her desk in a NYC industrial design firm as a child.

A few quick facts…

She is an architectural photographer who was recently the principal photographer for the book, Can’t Fail Window Treatments. Some of you in New Jersey might have attended her book signing at Barnes & Noble in Springfield.

Her botanical images have found their way onto art cubes and floorcloths. We have an art cube of every color and three floorcloths in our house. I love standing on the one by the sink.  

I bet you are wondering if Melabee is involved in the wedding industry. She recently joined Weddings by Artists,  a group I founded for like-minded artists involved in the wedding industry. Her white cubes would make perfect favors.

She recently started blogging and you can see monthly pictures (replacing her once-bi-monthly calendars). My favorite is the artichoke she is growing in her backyard in a Manhattan suburb – from a seed packet I brought back from Italia!

Keeping with the art theme, my mom and I have collaborated on a number of projects. We created a manuscript of paired photographs and poems that narrate our family’s emigration from the small town of Sala Consilina in southern Italy to New Jersey in the 1800’s. We have published a number of poems and been invited to present the project at a number of academic conferences, but we are still looking for a publisher for the manuscript as a whole. 

She is also the photographer for the personalized wedding poem roses, if you choose to have your poem printed with flowers. Look up to the top of the page to see one of her roses (again, grown in her garden.)

If that isn’t enough, she is also the most helpful MOB (Mother of the Bride) ever. Considering how far away I live, she has had many things to do locally. Tomorrow, she is off to visit with the florist.

Our next adventure? A mother-daughter trip to Santa Fe next week before I start a weeklong residency at the Ghost Ranch through the wonderful organization for women writers, A Room of Her Own. Stay tuned.

Mom and I having drinks before the Sex in the City Premiere in NYC

Thank you for everything, Mamma Mia!

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It is Memorial Day weekend and we are all inevitably thinking about cooking and eating. I’d like to share some recent cooking adventures with you.

I know my way around the kitchen (from finding the fridge to following a recipe) and have a repertoire of dishes that I like to cook, mostly Italian. Looking to expand dinner options (something without mozzarella, perhaps?), I recently exchanged cooking lessons with friends. I taught them a few Italian dishes and in turn, I learned some Thai and Russian dishes.

My friend Paula took a traditional Thai cooking class in Thailand while she was visiting her son who was studying there. We made beef satay, lemongrass mushroom soup, papaya salad and curry over fish.  The unforgettable, even if perhaps less-than-Thai, basil ice cream that followed the meal cooled our tongues after the spicy dinner.

I had no idea that Thai food was so labor intensive (especially the lemongrass that had to be cut amazingly thin. Hans, who joined in on the lesson, was very patient with the knife.) Paula introduced us to new flavors, from what she jokingly calling “Thai chocolate,” that is shrimp paste, to the savory and sweet combo of the papaya salad.  

Thai curryThai papaya salad










Galina, who you might remember from a recent blog post about Russian weddings, has been living in Ann Arbor for the last year while her husband is a scholar at the University of Michigan. She and her husband were going to a political science conference in Chicago and we mentioned a Russian restaurant there. When her husband said that they didn’t need to eat Russian food out since his wife cooks it so well at home, I nudged them in the direction of an informal cooking lesson.

We made Olivie (mixed potatoes, carrots, eggs, peas, pickles, onion and sausage mixed with mayo) and “herring under the coat” (Seledka pod shuboi/ Shuba). This was a mix of pickled herring, potatoes, eggs and beats. It was delicious. We ended with a great apple pie that was almost like a meringue. Now when we go apple picking this fall, we’ll have something new to make besides American pie and apple sauce.

While we ate, I thought of my ethnically Russian grandfather. I don’t remember him cooking and I don’t remember my grandmother, who grew up in a traditionally Polish household, cooking anything Russian. I wish I had known enough to ask him about his childhood, family history and mother’s recipes. Instead, I can only imagine that perhaps these were dishes that he might have eaten.

Russian dishesRussian apple pie










I showed Paula how to make bucatini all’amatriciana (read an article I wrote about the dish in a recent local Edible Communities publication) and chicken saltimbocca. “Saltimbocca,” traditionally made with veal, has a name that means “jump in the mouth” because of the delicious combination of veal, sage, prosciutto, butter and vermouth. (We also prepared a dessert, but since it failed, I’ll gloss over right here.)

With Galina, we made a selection of pizzette and lasagna. Florentines make lasagna with bechamel sauce, instead of ricotta, but my time-saving secret is to add a bit of heavy cream instead. The sauce immediately lightens and thickens and you’re done in moments. If you are making pizza at home, I can’t emphasize the importance of buying a pizza stone (you can usually find one under $20.00 at a store like Bed Bath and Beyond.) It heats the pizza from below and helps to perfect your crust.

No matter what Italian dishes we ate, we ended the meal with limoncello. (Perchè no?)

Bucatini all'amatricianaLasagna










Thank you so much to Paula and Galina for kindly sharing their expertise and kitchens with me. Please raise your glass to these wonderful women and the next cooking adventure!

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Ann Arbor Book Festival

When I moved to Ann Arbor late last summer, I did my best to become involved with the local literary community. After some Google searches, I found the Ann Arbor Book Festival. I met with executive director Kathy Robenalt and became a volunteer and presenter. It was so much fun to experience it this weekend.

There were an amazing number of events connected with the Ann Arbor Book Festival  this weekend and in the weeks and months leading up to it. You might remember my blogging about the Bacon Brunch at Zingerman’s.

The Ann Arbor Book Festival organizes a Writer’s Conference. I presented the workshop “Writing Your Family History,” which was great. We discussed not only how to gather information about your family, but also how to put it into a readable form. Participants completed some great writing in response to prompts. In particular, I remember one participant’s short piece on removing gefilte fish from a jar onto plate. She described the texture and smell perfectly.

I attended the lunch with keynote speaker Elizabeth Kostova. She discussed her writing process and how she completed her first book. Her talk was illuminating, although I’ll never understand participant questions at these kinds of events. There is a sense that writers know a mystical secret about writing and if participants can just hear the trick (write in the morning, write every day, hire a book doctor, etc.) then they will achieve the same product. Kostova was able to share her own techniques, but did a fine job of illuminating the simple work of writing. Write, share your work with others, edit fiercely. Indeed. 

The highpoint of the day was Colson Whitehead’s talk “How to Write, Or A Few Things I Learned From Listening to the Donna Summer Version of ‘MacArthur Park’. I will admit that I have never read any of his books, author and friend Erika Dreifus’ blog Practicing Writer recently led me to explore his writing and attend the session.  His talk was funny, sincere, and illuminating. He offered “rules” for writing and then undid them with humor and ended with the idea that that rules sometimes work, but mostly don’t. Everyone who had been at lunch should have heard his talk before asking Elizabeth Kostova questions. I look forward to reading his new and older books. 

I had some wonderful conversations with participants and authors from the conference. I met children’s author Tara Michener at the Author’s Reception at the library. Check out her cool book and blog about diversity, Who I am, not what I am.

I helped with the Author Breakfast on Saturday morning in the Michigan League. What fun to meet all of the authors – especially Desiree Cooper who led the conversation with the authors (despite the fire alarm going off just as she started!)

Here are a few photos:

 Colson Whitehead at author breakfastWilliam Powers and Desiree Cooper at Author Breakfast



Each writer graciously shared experiences and advice. As a volunteer, I helped to coordinate the event and had the pleasure of meeting almost all of the authors. I was lucky enough to sit with NJ based author Sung Woo and Detroit based Sharon Stanford. When I was in line for breakfast, I overheard Masha Hamilton encouraging a writer who had been in her session the day before. She encouraged the participant to take classes and publish her work. I was moved by the fiction writer’s dedication. She emphasized that we often sit on projects for too long when in fact, the public should have accessed to the well-crafted work. She offered suggestions about how to break down a longer project, in this case with a textbook with a cultural component, into smaller, perhaps more easily publishable pieces. (I will admit that I was surprised when Peter Yarrow, of the legendary Peter, Paul and Mary, arrived a bit late and was less pleasant. In fact, I was shocked that this peace-loving hippie folk singer snapped at me more than once.) 

Later that morning, I attended William Power’s talk on the business of writing. His focus was on finding your passion, pitching it and writing about things that interest you. He was efficient, clear and inspiring in his talk. He offered the perfect combination of left and right brain thinking. For example, he stressed rapid clustering as a brainstorming technique and precise editing for the pitch to editors. I look forward to reading his books.

At the book fair, I learned more about some local literary magazines, from The Michigan Quarterly Review to The MacGuffin There were a number of self-published authors, too, selling their books.

All in all, a great time. I look forward to being involved next year.

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