Thursday, November 19, 2015

Upcoming DC Reading on December 10th

I look forward to reading with friend and co-teacher at Politics and Prose bookstore, Martha Ertman, author of Love's Promises, on December 10th. I hope to see you all there!

Optional, free RSVP on the Eventbrite page.


Wellesley and Smith Alums who Write (and read!)
Come to a reading & discussion with 
Martha Ertman (Wellesley ‘85) and 
Chloe Yelena Miller (Smith ‘98)
Comments from Ellie Blume (Wellesley ‘06)

Love’s Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families by Martha M. Ertman

Unrest by Chloe Yelena Miller

DC Public Library | Tenleytown Branch
4450 Wisconsin Ave NWWashington, DC 20016 

Free and open to the public

Hosted by The Washington Wellesley Club and The Smith College Club of Washington D.C.

For more: 
Read more about Love's Promises

Read more about Unrest, a poetry chapbook

Books won't be available for sale at the library, but you can buy your copy ahead of time at Politics & Prose Bookstore and have it signed at the reading.

Share the word with our Facebook event page.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Memoir Essay Writing Prompts from College Application Essays

I particularly enjoy working with high school seniors as they draft and revise their college application essays. The best questions are simultaneously narrow and broad. If you think about molding your own essay to reveal something about yourself, they can be a healthy and fun exercise.

I encourage memoir writing students to use these essay questions as prompts for their own essays.

Here are two favorites from the University of Chicago (with a few more here):

Orange is the new black, fifty’s the new thirty, comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll, ____ is the new ____. What’s in, what’s out, and why is it being replaced?

“I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes.” –Maxine Hong Kingston. What paradoxes do you live with?

One of Stanford's short essay questions asks, "What matters to you, and why?" Broad, yes. But also good to think about as you hone your essay to address one particular issue. Read more of their questions here.

For even more, here are this year's Common Application essay questions

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chloe Reading in Wilmington, DE

I'm excited to be reading in the 2nd Saturday Poets reading series in Wilmington, Delaware on November 14. I'd love to see you there and hear your work during the open mike, too. Here are the details:

Featured Reader
Chloe Yelena Miller
November 14, 2015 5-7 p.m.
Chloe Yelena Miller is a writer and teacher living in Washington, D.C., with her husband, son and their many books. Her poetry chapbook Unrest was published by Finishing Line Press. Her work is published or forthcoming in Alimentum, The Cortland Review, Narrative Magazine, Poet’s Market, and Storyscape Literary Journal, among others. She is currently on the Folger Poetry Board for the Folger Shakespeare Library. Chloe has worked for Toadlily Press, The Literary Review, Portal del Sol and Lumina. She has participated in the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center residency and the A Room of Her Own Writers’ Retreat. Chloe teaches writing at the University of Maryland University College, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Politics & Prose Bookstore, as well as privately. She has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Contact her and read some of her work at

Established time limits (20 minutes if you are a featured reader, and 3 or 5 minutes if you are an open mic reader) must be observed. The allotted time limits include your introductory statements. Since we have one featured reader this month, open mic readings must be limited to 5 minutes.

2nd Saturday Poets meets at:
The Jackson Inn, Inc.
101 North DuPont Road, Wilmington, DE 19807-3105
Phone: 302-652-9972

Open mic to follow the featured readings! Bring your own poetry or short prose to read.
Please time your reading beforehand and limit your reading to 5 minutes or less.

The Jackson Inn is located at the corner of North DuPont Road and Lancaster Avenue, across the street from the Lancaster Avenue entrance to the Silverbrook Cemetery and facing the large sculpture on the corner of North DuPont Road that fronts the Cab Calloway School for the Performing Arts (the old Wilmington High School). There will be the usual $5 cover, which gifts the featured readers. Free parking is available in the parking lot that surrounds the Inn. The food is tasty and reasonably priced! NOTE: The Jackson Inn holds a tavern license, and while it serves food, it is restricted to the limitations of a tavern for serving alcohol. That means Second Saturday attendees MUST BE 21 or older to attend readings at the Jackson Inn. Hope to see you there! 

Facebook event page here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Before A Writing Coach Session

My writing coach sessions are writer-led. Unlike a class in which you are given an assignment, in a writing coach session you tell me what you are looking to accomplish.

This open-ended quality of a writing coach appointment can be inspiring or paralyzing. It is meant to be inspiring, of course.

Here is a list of things to think about before our first session. We will discuss most, if not all, of them:

What is your writing experience? 
What is your academic, professional, familial, linguistic and geographic background that might influence your writing?
What are your goals (short and long term)?
Why are these your goals and/or what motivates you?
Who is your audience? (Are you looking to publish in literary journals, sell your book or self-publish a book for your family and friends?)
How much time do you have to work on your project? 
What kind of feedback are you looking for? (Overall, line-by-line, or somewhere in between?)
How much direction do you want? (Should I be offering you prompts or do you already have an outline to follow?)
What do you like to read? 
Are you looking for a reading list? 
Do you attend readings, conferences, festivals, etc.?

I like to get to know my clients and understand them. My goal is to help them to intensify their own voices and, ultimately, find readers.

Click through for more on my services as a writing coach.

Monday, October 19, 2015

College Application Season: You'll get it done

High school students are starting - and finishing early! - their college applications and personal statements.

Ok, many are waiting until the last minute and are still frozen with anxiety.

Deep breath, folks. It will all get done. It must and it will.

Early applications are due as early as Nov. 1st. If you haven't started drafting your personal statement yet, start brainstorming now. What experiences in life influenced you? What would you love to do next?

Here's a three part starter prompt for almost any essay prompt: 
Take out a piece of paper and write down your most important moments. Then, write another list of what you wish to have happen. Finally, think about how experiences in college might be able to connect the two. This final step, in which you analyze and draw conclusions about your experiences and goals is the most important part of your essay.

Are you expected to know exactly who you will be in college? Of course not. (If you knew everything, why even go to college?) Do the college essay prompts suggest that you should? Unfortunately, yes. Focus on doing your best to present yourself clearly and fairly. It is expected that the classroom and campus learning experiences during college will change you, but you should have some insight into your experiences up to this point.

Believe in what you write and think at this point in our life. Try your hardest not to second guess yourself. No one at graduation will hold up your application essay and demand to know why you changed your mind after four years.

Give yourself some time each day to brainstorm, write and then edit and revise your essay. Read it first thing each morning, return to work on it in the afternoon and then read it again before you go to sleep. The time between drafts and the time thinking about it both actively and passively will help you to develop a clear essay.

You might also be interested in these posts:
Brainstorming Identity for your Personal Statement: Who are you?
College Application Essays: Think Inside Your Box
Valuing the Creative Side: Thoughts from Harvard Admissions

Need some one-on-one help? I'm available to work with you on your personal statement as your private writing coach. For more about my services, please see this link

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Presenting & Reading @ IASA in Washington, D.C.

I'm looking forward to presenting on two panels at the Italian American Studies Association's (IASA) annual conference in Washington, D.C., this Friday. Stop by and say, "ciao" if you're at the conference! More details here on IASA's website.

Added Value: Food as Symbol in Italian-American Writing
Participants: Chloe Yelena Miller and Rose Solari

Memoir in Contemporary Italian-American Poetry: Balancing Family and Values
Participants: Chloe Yelena Miller, Joey Nicoletti, Rachel Guido De Vries

Monday, October 5, 2015

Quotation & Creativity

I've always liked this quote by the painter Georgia O'Keeffe:

I like an empty wall because I can imagine what I like on it.
    - Georgia O'Keeffe

I've come back to this quote as it relates to writing. Yes, you should always read. But you should also write the book you want to read. That is to say, fill the blank pages.

In or around Santa Fe? Visit the museum dedicated to her work.