Monday, June 30, 2008

Help With Bookstore Guide Update

We doing a summer update on our bookstore list - Guide to Bookstores in the U.S. and Canada. If you're traveling or moving to a new town, it's a wonderful list to have along. But we'd like your help in updating this list: please check out the city/state where you live and let us know if what we have is correct. Bookstores often move or close or even spring up anew without us knowing about it (imagine that!). Maybe what we have listed isn't really an indie, or is mainly a resale shop. Please feel free to set us right about it:
Subject: Indie Bookstore

How Do Lit Mags Survive? A Look at Thema

The Summer 2008 issue of Thema is the second of this quarterly's celebration of 20 years in print. With the ongoing cycle of lit mags folding and new ones beginning, such anniversaries as this are indeed cause for celebration. It is also cause for curiosity: What does it take for a lit mag to survive?

One of the features in Thema are letters to the editor run at the end of the publication. I was particularly drawn to these, the first from Tina M. Klimas, whose work was actually rejected, but her letter is in praise of Thema's process: "Although you were writing to decline my piece, I appreciated knowing that my work came close... I wanted you to know that your encouragement is valued...getting the poem back gave me an opportunity to improve it... So, thank you for giving me the chance to make a better poem."

The second letter is from Matthew Petti, who writes about leaving his job as a clinical psychologist to pursue his writing: "I gave myself five years to get something published; if I didn't get a bite in five years, I told myself, I'd give up."

It was Thema that published Petti's first short story back in 2000 ("Toby Came Today"). This encouraged his pursuit, leading to an MFA, an Assistant Professorship teaching writing and literature, and more publishing. He sums up the whole of this experience: "I've loved this part of my life's journey, and your thumbs-up was the encouragement I needed to begin."

Looking back on the question of how lit mags survive, it would seem one way would be in treating prospective writers and their submissions with respect, whether accepted or rejected, and offering the opportunity for new and developing writers to be given the chance with a poem or a story - whether it be their only one or the first of many. When we talk about the "community" of writers and publications, there are many facets involved. Reading these letters and taking a look at the long history of Thema, community seems apt to describe what they have built, and a viable one at that.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cody's Books of Berkeley Closes

Revived once when on the verge of bankruptcy, Cody's Books of Berkeley has closed for good. There is no evidence a savior will emerge — as one did before — to save the iconic retailer.

Anirvan Chatterjee, founder and CEO of, said Cody's closure is another sign of challenges facing independent bookstores, which are seeing increased competition from online retailers and chain booksellers. "Actually, about as many new independent bookstores are opening as are closing. But the new ones tend to be specialized," said Chatterjee. "It's harder to be an independent general bookstore."

Read the rest of the story by Francine Brevetti in the Oakland Tribune

Audio Interviews :: Write the Book

Started in April 2008, Write the Book, hosted by author Shelagh C. Shapiro, is a series of audio podcasts available for online listening and download. These are interviews with authors, editors, agents, editors, journalists - people involved with writing and publishing.

The interview with Caroline Mercurio, editor of the Hunger Mountain is an insightful look at the work of literary magazine production, and offers a nice recognition of NewPages and the work we do here to help promote lit mags and small press ventures. (Thanks Caroline!)

A sample of other interviews available include one of my all-time favs, David Budbill, as well as authors Chris Bohjalian, Laura Williams McCaffrey, Annie Downey, Elizabeth Bluemle, and David Huddle.

Write The Book originally airs on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM “The Radiator,” in Burlington, Vermont, every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Interview :: CutBank in Bangledesh

Considered "America's foremost literary magazine" by Ahmede Hussain of The Daily Star, Bangladesh's largest circulating English-language newspaper, CutBank Managing Editor Brian Kevin gives an interview in which he talks about the American lit mag scene, writing personal history, and the dangerous lives of wild animals (really, it did go there...). Kevin gives insight into what CutBank looks for in their submissions, editorial decisions, and comments on writer attention to audience. Read the column in full here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Awards :: Coach House Books Recognized

At a ceremony held July 23 in Toronto, Coach House Books was awarded the inaugural Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Arts Organizations.

The award, administered by the Ontario Arts Council, recognizes outstanding achievement in the professional arts by an individual or a group. Coach House shared the night with the winner in the individual artist category, acclaimed Ottawa-based sculptor and installation artist Ron Noganosh.

Publisher Stan Bevington and Senior Editor Alana Wilcox accepted the award on behalf of Coach House. Alana expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Culture, the Premier's Office, the Ontario Arts Council and the many, many outstanding writers, editors and artists that have worked with the press over the years.

[From the Coach House Books Newsletter.]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

book launch 2.0

Nominations Please :: Best of Creative Nonfiction

From Creative Nonfiction Managing Editor Hattie Fletcher: The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 3: Editors of any publication, print or online, are invited to nominate up to 3 essays or articles from their 2007/2008 issues. Send one hard copy of each piece to:

The Best Creative Nonfiction
c/o Creative Nonfiction
5501 Walnut Street, suite 202
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

or by email (pdf or Word attachments only): bestcreativenonfiction[at]

To be considered, work must be slated for publication before the end of 2008. In the case of work not published by the nomination deadline, please send page proofs or a Word manuscript.

Deadline: July 15

Ducts Seeks Editor-in-Chief

", the literary webzine of personal stories, is looking for a young, hungry someone or other to take over the duties of editor-in-chief. We're looking for someone who cares deeply about the literary community, has some experience working on a literary magazine and also has some technical skills. We put our site together in Wordpress so experience using that would be a bonus, but not necessary as long as you're willing to learn. The position is voluntary (no pay), but will allow the new editor to gain invaluable experience and make tremendous contacts. If any of you know someone who might be interested, please have them contact me, Jonathan Kravetz, at and put "Editor-in-Chief" in the subject line. Many thanks!"

[Originally posted on WestConn MFA in Professional Writing, June 18.]

New Lit on the Block :: Low Rent

Low Rent is an independent journal from New York (though distributed beyond), published six times a year. The frequency of publication sounds ambitious for a New Lit on the Block, but the format is modest - including (so far) two stories and eight poems every issue*. I'm not sure if there are plans to increase the content, but as a bimonthly, lower quantity and higher quality would seem to be the ideal balance to keep both writers and readers coming back. For the low-rent cover price - $4.95 - it is likely to keep attracting new and repeat readers.

Edited by W.P Hughes, Jeff Bernard, Robert Liddell, and Jason Koo, Issue 1 features stories by Trevor J. Houser and Tracy Jo Barnwell, poetry by Marc McKee (winner of the 2008 DIAGRAM Chapbook Contest) and Ciaran Berry, and design by Hiroko Mizuno. Issue 2 includes stories by Murray Farish and Robert Taylor Brewer, and poetry by Sasha West and Jason Bredle, cover design by Hiroko Mizuno, inspired by EMIGRE. Excerpts of pieces from both issues are available online* (click on covers).

Low Rent is accepting submissions via e-mail of stories under 6k and poetry. Small stipends are paid to writers as it becomes available*. It's worth reading their creatively smarmy FAQs to get to know them better, and just to put a smile on your face.

*Updated information via Bill Hughes at Low Rent (7/11).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Job :: Fiction @ Missouri State

From a list to which I belong, orginally an e-mail from W.D. Blackmon at MSU:

"In the Missouri State University English Department we're doing a search early this summer for a Fiction Writing Instructor (Lecturer). We had an unexpected resignation late in the academic year, and our goal is to complete the search while summer school is still in session. Creative Writing is booming at Missouri State, especially at the undergraduate level, since both beginning short story writing and poetry writing are offered to all students on campus as a General Education option." See job posting here.

Attend Strand Book Store Events from Your Computer

The Strand Book Store hosts weekly author and artist events, free and open to the public, which is great if you live in New York. But, now, thanks to Strand hooking up with Xanga, you can enjoy their events from home (or work or in the car or cafe).

You can watch the archived events, and chat with other users also watching the video, and you can also watch the events live as they are streamed. During live events, Strand will take online questions (time permitting). Viewers click on the "Questions" tab to post a question. "You can also vote on questions others submitted by clicking on either the plus or minus signs next to their question, depending on whether you feel it's a good or bad question. The questions with the highest overall scores are listed first and will be asked first."

Available for viewing now: Richard Bausch, Simon Winchester, Matthew Yglesias, Josh Marshall, Peter Schjeldahl, Lynda Barry, Walter Mosely and many more.

Upcoming events are on the Strand's calendar.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Can Your Writing Do That?

I liked this comment from the Editor's Notes of the latest issue of Tin House:

"We are frequently asked what we look for in a story or poem. The answer is simple: To see things anew, to be reminded of what it is to be alive. To miss our subway stop because we are so consumed with what we are reading. That's all we ask for. And we hope that you will find the same."

They make it sound so simple, don't they? I know exactly the kind of writing they're talking about, and I imagine it is neither simple to write, nor as an editor, easy to select. But, as a reader, greatly appreciated.

Call for Papers :: Underground 8.18

Generally, calls for submissions are listed on the NewPages Submissions Page, but this one in particular did not have a web link, yet I felt it might be of interest to some of our readers:

Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference November 6-7, 2008
Department of Comparative Literature
Graduate Center, City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Call for Papers

"I am convinced that fellows like me who live in dark cellars must be kept under restraint. They may be able to live in their dark cellars for forty years and never open their mouths, but the moment they get into the light of day and break out they may talk and talk and talk…" -Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground

How do we perceive the underground? What lies beneath the surface? Wherein lies the significance of this metaphor? In defining the “underground” we have an immediate understanding of the term in its political, artistic, spatial and temporal dimensions: secret societies, the avant-garde, the unknown, the underworld. But what else constitutes the underground? Since antiquity we have been fascinated by the possibility of a separate realm that does not abide by the conventions of the known world. The underground also represents all that is hidden within the human psyche and that resists our attempts to excavate it. This conference intends to explore manifestations of the underground across all disciplines: literature, art, music, film, political science, sociology, psychology, art history, classics, philosophy, etc.

Papers might focus on the following topics, but are not limited to these: The underground man in the novel—the underworld—Hades—the subversive— counterculture—resistance movements—outlaws—outcasts—misfits—the subconscious—the subway—the metro—the grave—le gouffre—the living dead— internment—revolution—catacombs—bomb shelters—thresholds—sewage—treasure— secret societies—the mole—urban myth—irony—the hidden—underground railroad—slave narrative—the avant-garde in music, film, art and writing.

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words to or to the address below. Special consideration will be given to panel proposals. We will acknowledge the receipt of abstracts within 2-3 days. The deadline for submissions is August 18, 2008.

You will be notified if your proposal has been accepted no later than September 17, 2008 and we would like to have confirmation from those whose submissions have been accepted no later than October 1, 2008. There is no registration fee and the conference is free to attend. Please send all questions to the above listed email address.

Anick Boyd
c/o CUNY Graduate Center
Ph. D. Program in Comparative Literature
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Thursday, June 19, 2008

NewPages Update :: New Publication Listings

Whew! We've been busy here at NewPages World Headquarters!* We have been checking out lots of web sites, scouring the globe for quality publications not yet listed in our guides that we think our readers would like to know about.* It's exhausting work*, always looking our for our readers*, but we know it MUST be appreciated*. (Is the Catholic-guilt-martyr thing working here? I'd hate to think I sat through all those catechism classes on Monday nights for nothing.)

*Now would be a good time to click the PintLink on the right and make a donation.

These publications have also all been added to the guide pages and have a "NEW!" icon next to them so they are easy to find. As always, let us know of any publications we don't have on our lists that you'd like us to consider: denisehill-at-newpages-dot-com.

New Online Lit Mag Sponsors
In the Mist
A publication to give a voice to all the other female adventurers who need a home for their work. Now accepting submissions for the first issue. See website for details.

The Straddler
An interdisciplinary journal of culture, publishing innovative criticism, essays, art, poetry, fiction and interviews, all of which aim to examine and transform their cultural context. Dismissing neither academically nor popularly informed criticism, The Straddler offers more than either, at present, provides.

New Print Lit Mags Listed
First City Review
Hedgehog Review

New Online Lit Mags Listed
Ugly Cousin
Salt Magazine
91st Merdian
The Teacher's Voice
Poetry International Web

New Alternative Mags Listed

New Online Alternative Mags Listed
In Short

Awards :: Glimmer Train Family Matters

Glimmer Train has chosen the three winning stories of our April quarterly of the Family Matters competition for stories in the word count range 500-12,000.

First place: Terrence Cheng of New York City wins $1200 for “The Boy”. His story will be published in the Spring 2009 issue of Glimmer Train Stories.

Second place: Marissa Perry, also of New York City, wins $500 for “Where We Began”. Her story will also be published in an upcoming issue of Glimmer Train Stories, increasing her prize to $700.

Third place: Matthew Salesses of Storrs, CT, wins $300 for “The Grief Ministry”. His story will also be published in an upcoming issue of Glimmer Train Stories, increasing his prize to $700.

The next Family Matters contest deadline is in July. See Glimmer Train's website for full details.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Short Stories :: Matt Bell and Blake Butler

NewPages is fortunate in having a staff of review writers with a great range of literary interests and skills. We love hearing about "our" writers having their creative works published, and take the opportunity when we know about it to pass this along to our readers. We just got this note from NewPages Book Review Editor Matt Bell:

"SmokeLong Quarterly has just published its 21st issue, which is also its fifth anniversary. To celebrate, they've published a double issue of forty flash fictions, including stories by many of the people who've been staff members over the last five years. Myself ("The Folk Singer Dreams of Time Machines") and Blake Butler [NewPages Book Reviewer] ("Disease Relics") both have stories in the issue... SLQ is one of the best flash fiction publications around...

"Also just published is the June 2008 issue of elimae, which, among other things, also includes stories by myself ("Creating a Radio") and Blake ("Do Not Look into the Mother's Head")."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Online Lit Mag :: The Straddler

"The Straddler is an interdisciplinary journal of culture, publishing innovative criticism, essays, art, poetry, fiction and interviews, all of which aim to examine and transform their cultural context. Dismissing neither academically nor popularly informed criticism, The Straddler offers more than either, at present, provides."

For even more on what this new endeavor means to be about, both editors Elizabeth Murphy and Dan Monaco have His and Her "say" on the matter to kick off the Spring/Summer 2008 issue.

Also on board - contributing editors include Ted Barron, Isabel Sinistore and Sarah Janoch, and web designers Monica Donovan and Michael Wysong.

Included in the inagural issue:

"Enough of Your Yankee Bloodshed," an essay on Emily Dickinson by Dan Monaco

Poetry by William O'Hara, Elizabeth Murphy, and Frank Arthor Drake

Fiction by Greg Bennetts

"Let the Rhythm (and Melody) hit ‘em: 3 Communiqués from Classical Music’s Long March," in which The Straddler sat down with a 35-year-old conductor who lives in New York City and asked him some questions about the health of classical music

Paintings by Mark Johnson

And the review "American Gangster: The Crime You Need When the Mob is Not Enough"

The Straddler: "Don't fear what you do understand."

New Lit on the Block :: Oranges & Sardines

"Menendez Publishing introduces Oranges & Sardines, the new print magazine dedicated to spanning the two genres of poetry and art in an effort to fuse both communities in a fresh and exciting way. The staff of Oranges & Sardines are poets and artists who are dedicated not only to publishing the best content submitted in both genres, but also to the aesthetic appearance of our magazine. We welcome submissions from the established as well as the emerging and unknown." (No sim/subs.) The 8x10 format is extremely well styled in this quarterly publication, and the editors ask that writers consider this format when submitting works.

The Summer 2008 issue (1.1) is edited by David Krump, Andy Nicholson, Meghan Punschke, Didi Menendez, and features:

Artists Ethan Diehl, Marcia Molnar, Holly Picano, Cheryl Kelley, Jennifer Wildermuth, L.D. Grant, Niel Hollingsworth, Steph Chard, Jeremy Baum, Jeff Filipski and E.B. Goodale.

Poems by Blake Butler, Dana King, J.P. Dancing Bear, Josh Olsen, Steffi Drewes, Matthew Hittinger, Patrick Leonard, Diana Adams and Graeme Mullen.

Short story by Kirk Curnutt. Reviews by Miguel Murphy, Michael Parker, Cheryl Townsend, Courtney Campbell and Jim Knowles.

Columns by Talia Reed and Caridad McCormick.

Grace Cavalieri interviews Mark Doty.

NewPages Update :: New and Noteworthy

New and Noteworthy
Stop by to see a selection of books from some of the finest small, independent and alternative presses received at NewPages world headquarters. If you have titles you'd like to see listed, please visit our FAQ page first.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jobs :: Various

The English Department at Missouri State University anticipates an August 2008 opening for an Instructor, non tenure-track, to: teach ENG 215 Creative Writing: Short Story and other fiction writing classes in support of B.A. (also General Education offerings); to help mentor selected graduate students specializing in fiction-writing; and to help advise undergraduate creative writing majors. June 24.

The Department of English at Medgar Evers College invites applications for a full-time tenure-track position teaching Creative and Professional Writing. July 1.

New Online Lit Mag :: In the Mist

Editor Ange Tysdal founded In the Mist to give a voice to all the other female adventurers who need a home for their work. "In the Mist is seeking submissions for our maiden issue from women who play, or write about playing, in the mist. Send us your poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography, and artwork about being outside. We’re interested in anything from doing yoga in the park to walking your dog to bombing down the Anasazi Descent in Durango, Colorado or sailing from California to Hawaii in a kayak with outriggers." Deadline: Aug. 31, 2008.

New Online Lit Mag :: Salt Magazine

"Salt Magazine began life in Australia in 1990 under the editorship of John Kinsella, it rapidly developed an reputation as an exciting venue for a wide range of writers and writing practices: international, diverse and pluralistic. The magazine has had a number of guest editors, has partnered with both Jacket Magazine and Verse Magazine, and has published poems, short stories, biography, literary criticism, cultural criticism, essays and reviews. The bi-annual issues have been thematic but have rarely included editorials."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Sorta Father's Day Poem by David Fraser

Here's one from Killing Trout and Other Love Poems that I thought of on this Father's Day. It's fun to hear Dave read this one himself, at the end of it, he gives an incredulous, "Mom!"

My Father's Old Camera Said...

the old camera said,
when I picked it up,
said something about

3 dozen grey sunsets,
before that, a factory
in Germany, it had

traveled, sat around
the shop, been opened
and closed like the mouth

of a horse, traded
on an impulse,
caught me, young,
leaning against the crescent moon
next to the wishing
well on Belle Isle,

caught my uncle catching
trout, my brother diapered
and crying in my old crib.

and before that, had seen my mother
nearly naked, smiling at it,
adjusting her fake fur stole.

Rawi Hage Wins International Impac Dublin Literary Award

Author Rawi Hage, born in Beirut, Lebanon and currently living in Montreal, Canada, has been awarded the International Impac Dublin Literary Award for his first novel De Niros Game (2007, Steerforth Press). His work was selected over seven other authors and has received a prize of 100,000 euros. The International Impac Dublin Literary Award is the considered the world's most lucrative prize in the field of literature.

Hages's book, De Niro's Game, revolves around two childhood friends growing up in war-torn Beirut who must choose between self-imposed exile or a life of crime at home. The book is described by the publisher as being "Told in a distinctive, captivating voice that fuses vivid cinematic imagery and page-turning plot with the measured strength and beauty of Arabic poetry, De Niro’s Game is an explosive portrait of life in a war zone, and a powerful meditation on what comes after."

Hage, who lived through nine years of civil war in Beirut before emigrating to Canada said, "After a long journey of war, displacement and separation, I feel that I am one of the few wanderers who is privileged enough to have been rewarded, and for that I am very grateful."

Hage was chosen from 137 novelists nominated by 162 public libraries in 45 countries across the globe. Other finalists for this year's competition, this year's list of judges and previous winners can be found on the Impac Dublin website.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Awards :: Bellingham Review Lit Contest Winners

The Bellingham Review has announced the winners of their 2008 literary contests:

The Annie Dillard Award in Creative Nonfiction
Final Judge: Steven Kuusisto

First Place: Lauren Smith Traore, “The Widow’s Tale”
Runner Up: Ona Gritz
Finalists: Mardi Link, Anisse Gross, Natalie Serber, Cate Hennessey, Kay Sather, Liz Stephens

The 49th Parallel Award in Poetry
Final Judge: Aimee Nezhukumatathil

First Place: Kaveh Bassiri, “Invention of God”
Runner Up: Kate Buckley
Finalists: Jonathan Rice, Susan Rich, Rae Gouirand, Lauren Smith Traore, Elisa Palido, Harold Bauld, Tua Chaudhuri, Annie S. Doran

The Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction
Final Judge: Ann Pancake

First Place: Edward O’Connell, “The Hunting Horn”
Runner Up: Margarite Landry
Finalists: Nicholas Maistros, Micah Nathan, Jacob Appel, Tom Smith, Donna L. Trump, Meaghan Mulholland, Eugene Cross, Heather Jacobs

The next BR contests will be held December 2008-March, 2009 (judges to be announced).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Father's Day by Bruce Guernsey

Father's Day
Poetry and Essay by Bruce Guernsey
Wild River Review, June 2008

For the buried, closure.
For the missing, space--
This Illinois distance
Where a man can walk forever,
Stubble and sky,
Where a house on the other side
Is ever the horizon.

Ten years ago this month—June, the month of Father's Day—what was thought to be the remains of my father's body were found in some woods along a ridge by a couple of hikers. He had disappeared three years before from a VA hospital in rural Pennsylvania. His Parkinson's Disease had finally exhausted my mother, and she couldn't keep him at home anymore. On most days, he was helpless, but every once in a while, he could with a struggle dress himself. Gaining momentum, he'd then shuffle about, gathering speed as he went, head-down and charging like the soldier he once was into enemy fire—that is, into whatever was in the way, be it a lamp or a shelf full of crystal, and down they'd come. And if a door were open, out he'd go, which is exactly what he did that day at the VA...[read the rest on Wild River Review]

Tupelo Press Submissions - July & Year-Round

While only accepting open submissions for poetry manuscripts during the month of July, Tupelo Press will now read submissions of fiction (including novels and short story collections) and creative nonfiction year-round. All submissions require a reading fee.

Fiction/Nonfiction Submission Guidelines

July Open Submissions Guidelines for Poetry

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Job :: Editorial Position at Hyperion

Posted on WestConn MFA in Professional Writing , June 11, 2008:

"Hyperion has a terrific entry level opening, working as assistant to an executive editor (Brenda Copeland) and the associate publisher (Kristin Kiser). It's a fine opportunity that would give the right person some real big-picture experience. A brief job description below. If you want to apply, please send an email to Brenda, with resume attached. Please feel free to forward this email. Brenda Copeland Executive Editor HYPERION 77 W. 66th Street - 11th Floor New York, NY 10023 P: 212.456-0143"

Job Description
The editorial assistant provides editorial and administrative support to one Executive Editor and one VP/Associate Publisher. It is the responsibility of the assistant to ensure that the editor's and AP's offices are well-maintained, specifically: answer telephones, keep accurate files, and maintain calendars. For the editor, the assistant will also do the following: record submissions and rejections, draft rejection letters, make sure that author checks are requisitioned in accordance with contractual obligations, and make sure that fact sheets and other materials are submitted on time. For the editor, the assistant will also track book projects from the manuscript stage through to the arrival of the finished books and deal with post-production matters. He or she must look out for potential problems, keep an eye on deadlines, and keep editors, authors, and agents informed about production schedules and other significant deadlines. In addition the assistant will be called upon to read and evaluate manuscript submissions and draft promotional material such as flap copy, catalog copy, and audio copy. For the Associate Publisher, the assistant will keep lists for several seasons and update accordingly, schedule campaign meetings and assist with follow up with various departments (editorial, publicity, marketing, and sales), schedule sales meetings and assist with follow up.

Bob Dylan, Bathtubs, Poetry and Harold Bloom

Here's a fun interview from Eurozine that goes off into some interesting directions, including discussing poetry writing and Harold Bloom (the comments on him even made me laugh a bit).

Ieva Lesinska, Christopher Ricks
A lesson in Dylan appreciation
April 11, 2008

Christopher Ricks, professor of humanities at Boston University and professor of poetry at Oxford University, is famous for his close readings of Milton, Keats, and Eliot, and also for his passion for the music of Bob Dylan. This culminated in his book Dylan's Visions of Sin (2003), an analysis of Dylan's lyrics that had some critics grumble that Ricks could talk one into believing that even a phone book is poetry. Ieva Lesinska, editor of Rigas Laiks, decided to find out for herself.
Ieva Lesinska: Professor Ricks, why do you have a bathtub in your office?

Christopher Ricks: It's Bob Dylan's childhood bathtub. It's where the young Dylan made his first splash. It belongs to two former Boston University alumni. They saw it on e-bay and wondered whether to buy it; I urged them to do so.

IL: One of the things I'd really like to understand is why it is that I fail to appreciate Bob Dylan?

CR: And what does your psychoanalyst say about this problem?

IL: I don't have one. I mean, I don't have a psychoanalyst.

CR: I know what you mean: there's an immense lot of art out in the world that people I care about praise highly that means nothing to me. I've been to museums that are full of plates, but I've never seen a plate that would make any difference to my life. I've never seen a Braque painting that would mean anything to me. But I can't ignore Picasso or Daumier. On the other hand, you could ask: "I love Leonard Cohen, so how come I don't love Bob Dylan?"

IL: But I don't love Leonard Cohen, I find him somewhat tedious.

CR: Well, good. That's the right answer, as you surely know.

IL: When I read Dylan's lyrics, I know that I should like him, because the lyrics work for me. But when I hear the voice, first of all I can't hear the lyrics anymore, there's just that nasal tone that I don't much care for. But I've really tried.

CR: And why should you like him?

Read the rest on Eurozine.

SciFi v. Literature - Why?

Science Fiction, literature, and the haters
by Jake Seliger
Posted June 5, 2008 on The Story's Story

Seliger's essay begins with this question: "Why does so little science fiction rise to the standards of literary fiction?"

And explores this both from the perspective of a reader AND writer of SciFi. His experiences with rejection of his novel add to the mix of how SciFi is treated, and he comes part way through the essay to this commentary:

"It’s unfortunate that the entire genre gets tarred as junk by some critics and readers when in reality it’s not entirely junk—if it were, I wouldn’t write a long essay describing it. I have a theory as to why science fiction often gets labeled as junk: it values other qualities than aesthetic novelty/skill and deep characterization. It’s more concerned with ideas rather than how ideas are expressed, while the greatest literary fiction sees ideas and their expression as inextricably linked. At the same time, though, I think that science fiction’s defenders might bring on the literary snobs’ ire by doing things like calling them literary snobs when many aren’t actually snobs, but just have standards that science fiction too infrequently reaches in part for the reason I just stated. This is also why, I suspect, science fiction has trouble achieving the critical and academic recognition it should probably have, especially given its larger impact on the culture. I’m one of the defenders of good writing being good writing regardless of where it comes from, but the more science fiction I read, the more I realize so much of it just doesn’t have the skill in narrative, detail, character, sympathy and complexity, language, and dialog that readers of literary fiction demand. I still like a lot of science fiction, but most of it now causes me to roll my eyes and skip pages: characters have no life, the books have no lifeness, clichés abound, and strong setups devolve into variations on cowboys and indians."

There is more, much more, to this thoughtful and well supported exploration, in which Seliger himself says he comes to no final conclusion. All the more for the readers and writers to consider.

New Online Lit Mag :: Pulse

Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine. This new magazine is dedicated to publishing personal accounts of illness, fostering the humanistic practice of medicine, and encouraging health care advocacy. Patients and health professionals are invited to sign up as a friend to the magazine to receive the issues and/or to submit original creative work.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New Online Issues Posted June 11

Stop by NewPages Magazine Stand to find publisher descriptions for new online issus from our sponsor magazines, and a list of new issues of other online literary magazines. If you'd like to be listed on this page, all you need to do is send me notice of your new issues online: I'd certainly like to see more listings here to keep this feature going.

New Lit on the Block :: Canarium Journal

Canarium is the occasional journal of Canarium Books. The first issue, Canarium 1, was published in early 2008 at the University of Michigan, and is sponsored by the Institute for the Humanities, the International Institute, Arts on Earth, the MFA in Creative Writing Program, and Rackham Graduate School. Two of Canarium’s editors, Joshua Edwards and Nick Twemlow have co-edited an independent occasional journal, The Canary, with Anthony Robinson since 2002.

Issue 1 includes: Arda Collins, Takashi Hiraide, Sawako Nakayasu, Ed Roberson, Alan Gilbert, Suzanne Doppelt, Cole Swensen, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Suzanne Buffam, Betsy Andrews, Erica Bernheim, Wayne Koestenbaum, Andy Carter, Eula Biss, Srikanth Reddy, Philip Jenks, Simone Muench, Dunya Mikhail.

"We are dedicated to publishing poetry by established and emerging authors from the United States and abroad."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Lit on the Block :: First City Review

First City Review is "a quarterly journal of pop culture, fiction, essay, poetry, travel, and review that covers the contemporary and idiosyncratic experience of life in Philadelphia and the world beyond."

Issue 1 features new fiction from Thaddeus Rutkowski, Paula Bomer, Johannah Rodgers, Brooke Comer, Leslie Bienen, Alexa Beattie and Chad Willenborg. Poetry from John Grey, Bryon D. Howell, Youssef Rakha and James R. Whitley. Essay by James Wagner. And featuring new photography work from Heather Weston, found photos, and sketches and pencil drawings.

FCR accepts submissions year-round in fiction, essay, poetry, criticism, review and travel.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Backwards City Throws in the Towel - Permanently?

It seems a bit odd, but shortly after posting an "Original Editor's Farewell" on the site, which spoke of the new blood taking over teh publicaiton, this was posted on the Backwards City Review Blog, Thursday, March 20, 2008:

"And With That...
And with that, I have some sad news. Backwards City Review is suspending operation as of its 7th issue, which is now back from the printer and being mailed out shortly. There'll be more details forthcoming, but for now let me say, on behalf of all the editors, past, past, and future, it's been a lot of fun, and thanks."

I dropped BCR an e-mail to ask if this was permanent or not, as so often there is "hiatus" status while publications re-organize themselves, but I have not heard back from them. Sadly, in that founding editor's farewell was the following comment:

"Yes, the founders of the BCR are stepping down. Our city is ripe for regime change. Citizens with pitchforks. Rhythmic chants. But we have not thrown the baby out with the bathwater. This little toddler will continue, there’s a new mayor in town, and remember, it takes a village. Another squad of hungry editors, right at this very moment, is waiting to get their hands on the next batch of oddities that you so crave. The magazine is in excellent hands. Our neighborhood, our city, our backwards nation is strong. It will prosper, thrive, probably get better, as hard as that is to imagine. And if it doesn’t, we’ll bash the kneecaps of each of those youngbloods."

I don't think I want to know if any knees were bashed, but I would hope there is some truth to the strength that can prosper and thrive, and that we might not yet have seen the last of BCR. If not, then perhaps the message is one much more prophetically overarching - as one lit mag fades away, I sit here with three inaugural issues of the new lit mag ventures, the next generation of hope and high energy. It is the way of our world.

Award :: Tupelo Press 2008 Snowbound Chapbook

Winner of the Tupelo Press 2008 Snowbound Chapbook Award

Judge Dana Levin has selected Stacey Waite of Pittsburgh, PA as winner of the 2008 Snowbound Series Chapbook Award. Her manuscript, titled “the lake has no saint,” will be published by Tupelo Press in 2010.

The runners up are:

Jamie O’Halloran of Los Angeles, CA for “The Visible Woman”
John Surowiecki of Amston, CT for “Mr. Niedzwiedzki’s Pink House”
Deb Casey of Eugene, OR for “Spit & Purr”

Other Finalists:

Lisa Beskin – Belchertown, MA, “Shadow Globe”
Remica Bingham – Norfolk, VA, “The Body Speaks”
John de Stefano – New York, NY, “From: Critical Opalescence and the Blueness of the Sky”
Mary Helen Molinary – Memphis, TN, “The Book of 8:38”
Howard Robertson – Eugene, OR, “Three Odes to Gaia”
Robin Beth Schaer – New York, NY, “Almost Tiger”
Suzume Shi – New London, CT, “Ao”
Jacob Shores-Arguello – Fayetteville, AR, “John Barleycorn Must Die”
Janet Sylvester – Kittery, Maine, “The Unbinding”


Hadara Bar-Nadav – Kansas City, MO, “Fable of Flesh”
Colin Cheney – Brooklyn, NY, “Here There Be Monsters”
Mark Conway – Avon, MN, “Dreaming Man, Face Down”
John de Stefano – New York, NY, “From: Three-Body Problems”
Joanne Diaz – Chicago, IL, “Violin”
Jennifer Kwon Dobbs – New York, NY, “Mongrel Angels”
Matthew Hittinger – Astoria, NY, “Spectacular Reflection”
Christina Hutchins – Albany, CA, “Dark Creek”
M. Smith Janson – Florence, MA, “Letter Written in this Life, Mailed from the Next”
Jesse Lee Kercheval – Madison, WI, “My Life as a Silent Movie”
Sandra Kohler – Dorchester, MA, “Final Summer”
Gary Copeland Lilley – Swannanoa, NC, “Wade In Da Wahtuh”
Matthew Lippman – Claverack, NY, “Moses”
Mike Maniquiz – Clovis, CA, “Cooking Frutti Di Mare on This Early Evening Before the
Night Falls on Kentucky Hillsides”
Mary Helen Molinary – Memphis, TN, “This Book of Sun”
Rusty Morrison – Richmond, CA, “Insolence”
Teresa Pfeifer – Chicopee, MA, “Little Matryoshka”
Joseph Radke – Milwaukee, WI, “A Source of Reasons”
Boyer Rickel – Tucson, AZ, “reliquary”
Reginald Shepherd – Pensacola, FL, “Photos of the Fallen World: Poems”
Page Hill Starzinger – New York, NY, “Black Tongue”
Barry Sternlieb – Richmond, MA, “Winter Crows”
Jonathan Weinert – Concord, MA, “Charged Particles”

Jobs :: Various

The MFA Program of Warren Wilson College seeks a full-time resident Director, effective June 1, 2009.

The Department of English at Medgar Evers College invites applications for a full-time tenure-track position teaching Creative and Professional Writing. July 1.

Williams Collge Writing Coordinator, Academic Resource Center. The College is pleased to announce an opening for a full-time Writing Coordinator reporting to the Director of Academic Resources under the auspices of the office of the Dean of the College. Immediate.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Advice to Poets from Copper Canyon

Copper Canyon Press offers an "Advice to Poets" page on their website in response to writers seeking the advice of this publishing guru. The page links to several articles, including: “Becoming a Poet: One Step at a Time” by John Haines; “Advice to Young Poets: How to Make It out of the Slush Pile of Submissions” and "The Don't and Dos of Cover Letters" by editor Eleanor Hamilton; and "Thirty-two Statements About Writing Poetry" by Marvin Bell. Take it from the pros. It's free.

Documentary Film :: Including Samuel

"Photojournalist Dan Habib rarely thought about inclusion before he had his son Samuel seven years ago. Now he thinks about inclusion every day. Habib’s documentary film Including Samuel examines the educational and social inclusion of youth with disabilities as a civil rights issue.

"Including Samuel is built on the efforts of Dan Habib and his family to include Samuel, 7, in all facets of school and community. Including Samuel also features four other families with varied inclusion experiences, plus interviews with dozens of teachers, young people, parents and disability rights experts."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

NYQ Poetry Database

The New York Quarterly has added a unique new feature to their website:NYQ Poets, a searchable database of poets and poems that have appeared in issues of NYQ. Poets whose works have appeared can add their own information to their page, including: photo, announcements, biography, links, audio, video, books and more.

Readers can search poets and poems by name, or browse the full database by leaving search fields blank or entering only a letter (although, avoid the "back" button on your browser - some glitch takes you back to an error page). NYQ links the poem to an order page for the issue in which the work appears. Limited "classic" back issues can be ordered, or digital reprints through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Powell's Books.

Shambhala Sun Talks to Leonard Cohen

He Has Tried in His Way to Be Free
By Sarah Hampson
Sambhala Sun
November 2007

And to a remarkable extent, Leonard Cohen is succeeding. Sarah Hampson had a rare opportunity to spend an afternoon with the famed singer and poet. He’s got the wisdom of age but he’s still the essence of cool—the perfect reflection of his years of Zen.

[. . .] It is often said that Cohen is hard to define. There’s Cohen, the son of a prominent Montreal clothier and the grandson of a Jewish scholar. Cohen, the law-school dropout. Cohen, the novelist, the poet, the songwriter. Cohen, the sexual bad boy who becomes a monk.

But he disagrees. “I always felt it was of one piece. I never felt I was going off on a tangent. Mainly because I think we develop images of ourselves quite early on, and certainly one of the images I had of myself came from reading Chinese poetry at a very young age. There was a kind of solitary figure in some of those poems by Li Po and Tu Fu. A monk sitting by a stream. There was a notion of solitude, a notion of deep appreciation for personal relationships, friendships, not just love, not just sensual or erotic or the love of a man or a woman, but a deep longing to experience and to describe friendship and loss and the consequences of distance. So those images in those poems had their effect, and thirty years later, I found myself in robes and a shaved head sitting in a meditation hall. It just seemed completely natural,” he says in a quiet manner [. . .]

Read the rest on Shambhala Sun.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Iowa Review Human Rights Indexes

Human Rights Index
The Human Rights Index, a continuing series, is prepared by the UI Center for Human Rights (UICHR) for publication in The Iowa Review three times annually.

First published in the Fall 2001 issue of the The Iowa Review, it is intended to suggest the global political/socio-economic context within which we read and write, reflecting a shared belief that human rights cannot be truly advanced without the virtues of the intuitive as well as the cognitive that are in each of us.

Each of the indexes provides a number followed by a description of the real life, human situation the number represents. For example, from the 2007-08 Winter issue, index on Indigenous Peoples:

Number of states (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United States), each with sizable indigenous populations, that refused to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorsed by 143 other nations on 13 September 2007, even though the Declaration is technically non-binding (AFP 2007; OHCHR 2007)

The following are provided full-text on the UICHR site:

Winter 2007-08: Indigenous Peoples (#20)
Fall 2007: Global Climate Change (#19)
Spring 2007: Immigration (#18)
Winter 2006-07: Women and Armed Conflict (#17)
Fall 2006: HIV/AIDS in Africa (#16)
Spring 2006: Human Trafficking (#15)
Winter 2005-06: Water (#14)
Fall 2005: Disaster Relief (#13)
Spring 2005: Darfur (#12)
Winter 2004-05: The Iraq War (#11)
Fall 2004: Health Care (#10)
Spring 2004: Hunger (#9)
Winter 2003-04: Genocide (#8)
Fall 2003: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (#7)
Spring 2003: The United States (#6)
Winter 2002-03: Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons (#5)
Fall 2002: 9/11 and the "War on Terror" (#4)
Spring 2002: Women (#3)
Winter 2001-02: Child Labor (#2)
Fall 2001: Three Generations of Human Rights (#1)

New Lit on the Block :: First City Review

"First City Review is a quarterly journal of pop culture, fiction, essay, poetry, travel, and review that covers the contemporary and idiosyncratic experience of life in Philadelphia and the world beyond. We accept submissions year-round in fiction, essay, poetry, criticism, review and travel. All work must be accompanied by an SASE and cover letters are encouraged."

Issue 1 features new fiction from Thaddeus Rutkowski, Paula Bomer, Johannah Rodgers, Brooke Comer, Leslie Bienen, Alexa Beattie and Chad Willenborg. Poetry from John Grey, Bryon D. Howell, Youssef Rakha and James R. Whitley. Essay by James Wagner. And featuring new photography work from Heather Weston, found photos, and sketches and pencil drawings from some of our friends.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New Lit on the Block :: The Farallon Review

"The Farallon Review is a new literary review featuring contemporary, engaging, and literary prose fiction with a modern view, a classic sensibility, and a west-coast flavor. The Premier Issue contains stories by Jamey Genna, Abeer Hoque, Ken Rodgers, Lynka Adams, and S.J. Sasken.Read about river rafting in the Rocky Mountains, weddings in India, soldiers seeking comfort, families struggling with their past, pigeons mirroring the emotional wasteland around them. We are currently reviewing submissions for our second issue."

Crazyhorse Prize Winners Announced

The editors of Crazyhorse are pleased to announce the 2008 Crazyhorse Prize Winners (prize entry deadline of Dec. 20, 2007).

Crazyhorse Fiction Prize
Judged by Ha Jin

Fiction Winner: Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
for the story “Pertussis”

Fiction finalists: Roy Kesey, Marjorie Celona, Cathryn Alpert, Rachel Cassandra, Devon Code.

Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize
Judged by Billy Collins

Poetry Winner: Jeff Walker
for the poem “Itchy Is As Scratchy Does”

Poetry finalists: Alexis Orgera, Jordan Windholz, Claire Millikin, Michael Robins, J. Mae Barizo, Elizabeth Marzoni, Xu Smith, Christopher Howell, Juliet Patterson, Tobey Kaplan.

The two prize winners will each receive $2,000 and the winning story and poem will be published in Crazyhorse Number 74, due out Nov. 1, 2008.

Monday, June 02, 2008

NewPages Update :: Book Reviews

New book reviews posted on NewPages include the following titles: Lost Books of the Odyssey :: O Woolly City :: I Am Death :: Woman's Guide to Mountain Climbing :: Bob, or Man on Boat :: Best of the Bellevue Literary Review :: A Man of Ideas :: Breaking It Down :: Translator's Diary :: Human Mind :: Ravel :: Double Header :: Oh, Don't Ask Why :: Proper Knowledge :: Do the Math

Beloit Poetry Forum Starts June 1

Beloit Poetry Journal
Poet's Forum

As of June 1, the BPJ site will host a blog. Each month one poet with work in the current issue will post a reflection on that work and invite your questions and comments. The Poet's Forum poets for the summer issue are:

June 1-30, Erin Malone
July 1-31, Paul Gibbons
August 1-31, John Hodgen

From BPJ: "We hope the forum fosters lively dialogue that strengthens the poetry community the BPJ has contributed to for almost sixty years." No doubt.

(And might I just say, that IS a lovely zebra you have...)

Reading the World 2008

4th Annual
Reading the World

June 2008 (and beyond!)

RTW grew out of a series of informal meetings of booksellers and publishers as a way of introducing American readers to more international authors. As Goethe said back in 1827, "Left to itself every literature will exhaust its vitality if it is not refreshed by the interest and contributions of a foreign one."

This belief that international literature plays a vital role in book culture is one that is shared by all the publishers and booksellers involved in Reading the World. Twenty-five works of literature have been selected to represent a broad range of cultures, from Portugal to Lebanon, from China to Switzerland, from Chile to Japan.

The publishers include: Archipelago; Dalkey Archive; Eccom; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Knopf; New Directions; New York Review Books; Other Press; Picador; Columbia University; Copper Canyon; Europa; Graywolf; and Grove.

Starting in June, Words Without Borders will be relaunching its Reading the World Book Clubs, featuring reading guides and moderated discussions of several of the RTW titles.

The web site also includes a list of participating bookstores and a bookstore sign-up form.

[Text from the RTW web introduction by: Karl Pohrt, Shaman Drum Bookshop; Chad W. Post, Open Letter/University of Rochester; Jeff Seroy, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.]