Friday, October 31, 2008

What's the Word?

Obambulate, verb intr.: To walk about.

Palinode, noun: A poem in which the author retracts something said in an earlier poem.

To barrack, verb tr., intr.: 1. To shout in support: to cheer. 2. To shout against: to jeer. noun: A building used to house soldiers.

Bidentate, adjective: Having two teeth or toothlike parts.

Meeken, verb tr., intr.: To make or become meek or submissive.

Via A.Word.A.Day

Fred Einaudi Art

Fred Einaudi

Ahhh, McSweeny's

John McCain's Rejected Robo-Call Scripts
by Jason Silverstein

Seeking Works About Arnost Lustig

I got the following in an e-mail from a student of literature at University in Czech Republic: "I am writing a diploma thesis about Jewish trilogy Tanga: Girl from Hamburg, Colette; Girl from Antwerp; and Waiting for Leah, written by Czech novelist Arnost Lustig. I know these books were published also in English and I'm looking for some reviews and critiques about them (if there are some). I would be very grateful if you can help me or write me where can I find it."

If you can help, please contact Stepanka Batikova:

New Lit on the Block :: textsound

textsound is an online audio publication"...interested in the fields and intersections of poetry, sound poetry/ art, and performance, [textsound] asks its artists to consider the following: the breaking down of language into its parts; how language accumulates to create meaning, sense, and non-sense; the pleasure and pain of repetition (a la Edwin Torres or Gertrude Stein); beats in words and music (Viki or Laurie Anderson); recycling of materials (like radio collages from People Like Us or Kenny Goldsmith); and stories in which part of the event is sonic (radio plays by Samuel Beckett or Rodrigo Toscano)..."

Issue 2 has just been posted, and submissions for Issue 3 will open in November.

Happy 70th Anniversary War of the Worlds

Find an audio download of this 1938 Orson Wells classic at The Mercury Theatre on the Air as well as on the Internet Archives.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Petitions Anyone? Everyone?

I just came across this site - - "the largest online community for healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare" - and I'm not sure what I think about it. I can't find a lot on the site about whose behind it, tracking, etc. Anybody know?

It seems you can create your own petitions to have people come and sign, and you can certainly find a lot of them to sign yourself if you'd like. I'd venture to say you could spend an entire day here signing petitions. But I'm not clear on what every happens to these. Do they work? Or, are they like joining an activist group on Facebook, where everyone can see you signed up, but so what?

There's plenty of other cool stuff on this site, like the "dail action" which makes readers aware of something they can actually do that will make a difference (esp. if enough people do it) - for example, today it was making your own coffee/tea at home rather than buying it out in a disposable cup. Okay, not terribly original, but it helps that the site includes statistics on how much waste is created and how much money an individual could save. If nothing else, it seems educational.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Updates :: NewPages Listings

Literary Magazines
Basalt – poetry, prose, translations, reviews
Words and Images – fiction, poetry
Wordletting – poetry

Biblioasis – fiction, poetry, criticism and non-fiction

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jobs :: Various

Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts, the liberal arts undergraduate college of The New School, invites applications from accomplished fiction writers with a strong academic or belle-lettristic orientation for a full-time, tenure-track assistant professor position.

North Georgia College & State University is currently accepting applications for a tenure-track, entry-level assistant professor of English, specializing in Creative Writing, pending approved funding.

Ohio Northern University Assistant Professor of Creative Writing (Poetry) and Modern American Literature. Tenure-track or visiting, dependent upon interest and qualifications; start September 2009.

Nebraska Wesleyan University invites applications for a tenure-track position in Creative Writing, specifically Fiction or Creative Non-Fiction.

Reed College Visiting One-Year Appointment in Creative Writing (with a concentration in poetry) beginning fall (August) 2009 to teach five undergraduate writing workshops/courses per year at a highly selective liberal arts college with an emphasis on excellence in teaching.

University of Baltimore half-time, non-tenure-track lecturer, Creative Writing, School of Communications Design.

The College of Idaho announces a tenure-track position in environmental literature and creative writing (non-fiction prose) at the Assistant Professor level to begin fall 2009.

E-Poetry Fest in Barcelona

E-Poetry Festival
May 24-27, 2009
Universitat Obertat de Catalunya (UOC), Barcelona
E-Poetry is both a conference and a festival. The festival is the most significant digital literary gathering in the field. Authors and researchers worldwide meet and present their researches and works. This will permit researchers to present their latest research and artists to premier their newest works. A selection of the papers will be published after the conference following the peer review system. Artistic events will take place at key Barcelona venues such as the Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture, providing authors the opportunity to present their works to a public curious about new literary and artistic trends employing technology and communication during the Setmana de la Poesia.

Paper topics:
- Close readings of specific works of e-poetry.
- Discussing the terminology: ontologies and definitions of e-poetry and e-lit forms: a historic approach to e-poetry.
- Relations between e-poetry and other literary and artistic forms and movements.
- Translating e-poetry
- Recording, presenting, archiving and preserving e-poetry. Devices, modalities and writing tools.
- Teaching e-poetry: experiences, results and goals.

Modern American Art

I came across this link via the African American Review:

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
"Founded in 1989 by Michael Rosenfeld and currently located in the New York Gallery Building on West 57th Street, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC specializes in twentieth-century American art. In 1992, halley k harrisburg joined the gallery, and since then, both have worked together to advance and expand the canon of American art."

This is a great gallery site because they have a list of exhibits going all the way back to 1989, many of them include images from the show. I was especially interested in African American Art: 200 Years (2008) and Body Beware: 18 American Artists (2007).

With over 200 exhibits to their history, it's easy - and highly educational - to lose track of time on this site.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Funny

Words into hype
By Chris Offutt
Harper's, October 2008

By Chris Offutt, from “Excerpt from The Offutt Guide to Literary Terms,” published last fall in Seneca Review. Offutt is the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction.

nonfiction: Prose that is factual, except for newspapers.

creative nonfiction: Prose that is true, except in the case of memoir.

memoir: From the Latin memoria, meaning “memory,” a popular form in which the writer remembers entire passages of dialogue from the past, with the ultimate goal of blaming the writer’s parents for his current psychological challenges.

See the rest on Harper's.

[Thanks to Tim Brown for this link!]

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Torturing Democracy

Torturing Democracy
Via National Security Archive at George Washington University

Produced and written by eight-time Emmy winner and National Security Archive fellow Sherry Jones, the documentary has drawn major online buzz as well as New York Times coverage of PBS’s failure to find a national scheduling spot for the film before President Bush leaves office in January 2009.

Reviewers have described the film as a “compelling example of video story-telling” that “delivers impressively on a promise to connect the dots in an investigation of interrogations of prisoners in U.S. custody.” selected a key revelation in the film as the Slate “Hot Document” – a previously unpublished December 2002 draft of “standard operating procedure” at Guantanamo which shows that interrogators there adopted their techniques directly from the survival training (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape or SERE) given to American troops so they could resist the worst of Communist gulag treatment.

The companion Web site for the film features key documents, a detailed timeline, the full annotated transcript of the show, and lengthy transcripts of major interviews carried out for the film. Hosted by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the Web site will ultimately include a complete “Torture Archive” of primary sources.

Watch the entire film at

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I saw Iron Jawed Angels last night. I didn't know about this HBO movie until now - starring Hilary Swank, Frances O'Connor, and Angelica Huston. The story focuses on Alice Paul and Lucy Burns and their work in the final days of the suffragist movement.

The event, sponsored by the local League of Women Voters, sevearal local American Association of University Women groups, and the local NAACP, was held at a small, downtown theatre theatre - one of those historical renovation venues, greatly appreciated by the locals, and adding to the 1920s feel of the whole experience. The best part of the experience was the fact that it was well attended in our small town - there had to be close to two hundred people.

During the movie, there were moments the crowd spontaneously erupted into applause, and at times shared collective gasps. There's just something about seeing a film like this in a community venue that makes it resonate more deeply; and at the end, hearing the crowd applaud - such a rarity. Given the time of year and the message of the movie - reminding me of how hard these women fought and suffered - I couldn't help but leave the theatre chanting an even more poignant response: Vote! Vote! Vote!

New Lit on the Block :: March Hawk Review

Marsh Hawk Review is an online poetry journal sponsored by the Marsh Hawk Press collective. Marsh Hawk Review will appear twice a year, under the revolving editorship of collective members. Each issue will offer a selection of poems solicited by the editor, in addition to new work posted by poets in the collective.

First Issue Contributors Include: Jane Augustine, Claudia Carlson, Joseph Donahue, Thomas Fink and Maya Diablo Mason, Norman Finkelstein, Edward Foster, Michael Heller, Burt Kimmelman, Nathaniel Mackey, Robert Murphy, Amanda Nadelberg, Peter O'Leary, Kristin Prevallet, Donald Revell, Mark Scroggins, Jakob Stein, Nathan Swartzendruber, Henry Weinfield, and Tyrone Williams.

Women and War

Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq

Edited by Lisa Bowden and Shannon Cain
ISBN 13: 978-1-888553-25-3
Price: $17.95
November 11, 2008

"Poetry and personal essays from 19 women who have served in all branches of the United States military. Contributors to Powder have seen conflicts from Somalia to Vietnam to Desert Shield. Many are book authors and winners of writing awards and fellowships; several hold MFAs from some of the country’s finest programs. The essays and poems here are inspired by an attempted rape by a Navy SEAL; an album of photos of the enemy dead; heat exhaustion in Mosul; a first jump from an airplane; fending off advances from Iraqi men; interrogating suspected terrorists; the contemplation of suicide; and a poignant connection with women and children in Bosnia. Their writing exposes the frontline intersection of women and soldiering, describing from a steely-eyed female perspective the horror, the humor, the cultural clashes and the fear."

Excepts can be viewed on the Kore Press website.

Contributors: Sharon D. Allen, Cameron Beattie, Judith K. Boyd, Dhana-Marie Branton, Charlotte M. Brock, Christy L. Clothier, Donna Dean, Deborah Fries, Victoria A. Hudson, Terry Hurley, Bobbie Dykema Katsanis, Anna Osinska Krawczuk, Elizabeth Keough McDonald, Heather Paxton, Khadijah Queen, K.G. Schneider, Martha Stanton, Elaine Little Tuman, Rachel Vigil

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Read-a-Thon to Raise Awareness & Money From Oct. 10 to Oct. 11, 17 volunteers participated in a 24-hour Read-A-Thon at SecondRun Bookstore in Portsmouth to benefit a local nonprofit. Volunteers read, answered literary trivia questions, played Scrabble, and heard a local author read from his work, all while raising money to support programs for children and youth with autism at The Birchtree Center.

The event, officially known as Great Expectations: A Reading Marathon (GERM), was founded by RiverRun and SecondRun Bookstores in early 2008. The Read-A-Thon is meant to bring attention to reading and independent bookstores, while raising money for local nonprofits. GERM has gained national attention, and this year, during the month of October, nine independent bookstores around the country are hosting their own events...[read more here]

Owell on Art

All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays
by George Orwell
Harcourt, October 2008

Publisher's Description: As a critic, George Orwell cast a wide net. Equally at home discussing Charles Dickens and Charlie Chaplin, he moved back and forth across the porous borders between essay and journalism, high art and low. A frequent commentator on literature, language, film, and drama throughout his career, Orwell turned increasingly to the critical essay in the 1940s, when his most important experiences were behind him and some of his most incisive writing lay ahead.

All Art Is Propaganda follows Orwell as he demonstrates in piece after piece how intent analysis of a work or body of work gives rise to trenchant aesthetic and philosophical commentary. With masterpieces such as "Politics and the English Language" and "Rudyard Kipling" and gems such as "Good Bad Books," here is an unrivaled education in, as George Packer puts it, "how to be interesting, line after line."

Monday, October 20, 2008

NewPages Updates :: Submissions & Mag Stand

Calls for Submissions was recently updated. If you have a CFS you'd like to see posted, e-mail me:

Also updated - The Magazine Stand - featuring sponsored print and online lit mags as well as a list of links to all mags received. Want your publication listed here? Then send print copies (NewPages, POB 1580, Bay City, MI 48706) or a notice of new online editions (

Guided by Literature

In this faithless age, we must be guided by great literature
Richard Harries
Friday, 10 October 2008

Poetry and novels take us into a world of their own. But the point is, and this is a key feature of both literature and, say, the Bible, is that they illuminate the actual world in which we live. There are forms of writing which do not do this, which are, we might say, purely escapist. Fantasy, popular romance, science fiction are always in danger of doing this. Clearly that is not always the case, and perhaps the test must always be that of Dr. Johnson when he said that, "The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it."

However, I have to express a personal preference for writing that seems closer to the world in which we live, and clearly does illuminate it...[read the rest]

I'm a Wordwatcher, I'm a Wordwatcher...

Wordwatchers is a site created to "explore how we can learn about the candidates' personalities, motives, emotions, and inner selves through their everyday words." The last debate analysis has been posted, with previous posts looking at other debates and interviews. Some brief analysis is provided on the table itself - looking at such aspects of language as usage of past, present, and future tense, and what that might reveal about a candidate - but the greater analysis comes in the comments posted to the entries. Well worth a look. [via Gerry Canavan]

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hullaballoo for Halloween

An Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate, Laurel Snyder is one of those people who never seems to slow down: involved in a dozen cool projects all at once (like contributing this article for NANO young writers) - while raising a family and holding down that whole other part of life! To no surprise, she's got a new children's book out, and it's a perfect match for Halloween, Inside the Slidy Diner - a collaborative work with fa-boo artist Jaime Zollars.

Laurel says of the book: "Inside the Slidy Diner is a picture book with collage-y painty pages, about a little girl named Edie, who is doomed to a life in a greasy spoon full of lady fingers that really are. Clatter and DIN! Hullaballoo! Someone is ALWAYS running with scissors. But goodbyes have been BANNED! (And if the Slidy Diner happens to resemble the Hamburg Inn, where I spent four years of my life, well--that's merely a coincidence!) It's a perfect book for Halloween (though not JUST for Halloween)."

National Book Award Nominees

Matthiessen, Robinson among book award finalists
By Hillel Italie
AP/Modesto Bee

Talk about second chances: Peter Matthiessen, 81, received a National Book Award nomination Wednesday for "Shadow Country," an 890-page revision of a trilogy of novels he released in the 1990s.

Others in the fiction category included Marilynne Robinson for "Home," a companion novel to her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Gilead"; Aleksandar Hemon for "The Lazarus Project"; and debut authors Salvatore Scibona ("The End") and Rachel Kushner ("Telex From Cuba").

Among the nonfiction finalists were Jane Mayer for "The Dark Side," an investigation into the war against terrorism, and Annette Gordon-Reed's "The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family." Richard Howard and Mark Doty were nominees for poetry, while Laurie Halse Anderson was cited for young people's literature.

Winners, each of whom receive $10,000, will be announced Nov. 19 at a ceremony hosted by author-performance artist Eric Bogosian. Honorary prizes will be given to author Maxine Hong Kingston and publisher Barney Rosset. [Read more here.]

Man Booker Prize Winner Announced

Aravind Adiga was named the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2008 for his novel The White Tiger, published by Atlantic. The thirty-three year old novelist was presented the prize at an awards ceremony at Guildhall, London. Adiga becomes the fourth debut novelist, and the second Indian debut novelist, to win the award in the forty year history of the prize. The three other debut novelists to have won the prize are Keri Hulme for her novel The Bone People in 1985, DBC Pierre in 2003 for his novel Vernon God Little and Arundhati Roy in 1997 for The God of Small Things.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jobs :: Various

Monterey Peninsula College full-time, tenure track English/Creative Writing Instructor. Kali F. Viker, M.S., Human Resources Department. January 12, 2009.

Bentley College Department of English Position in Creative Writing and Creativity. Dr. Maureen Goldman, Chair, Department of English. December 1, 2008.

Emerson College Department of Writing, Literature & Publishing seeks a full-time faculty member to teach Fiction Writing. Review of applications will begin October 15 & continue until the position is filled.

Montclair State University seeks Assistant Professor in Creative Writing. Full-time, tenure-track position in creative writing with primary expertise in the writing of poetry. November 3, 2008.

College of Staten Island Department of English seeks candidates for an anticipated open rank (assistant, associate, or full professor), tenure track position as Professor of English in Creative Writing / Poetry. Professor Timothy Gray, Chair, Creative Writing Search Committee. November 15, 2008.

University of Rochester Assistant Professor of Creative Writing: Poetry. Professor John Michael, Chair, English Department. November 7, 2008.

The English Department of Eastern Michigan University invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor position in Creative Writing. Dr. Christine Hume, Department of English. November 15, 2008.

Lewis-Clark State College Humanities seeks a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts. November 7, 2008.

Portland State University Assistant or Associate Professor, Fiction Writing/20th Century Fiction, tenure-track. November 7, 2008.

University of Alaska - Fairbanks - Assistant Professor of English, Creative Writing, Nonfiction. Dr. Burns Cooper, Chair, English Department. November 3, 2008.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Robert Creeley's Library

Granary Books is pleased to offer for sale a selection of more than 1,300 books, pamphlets, manuscripts, correspondence, and related materials from the library of preeminent American poet Robert Creeley (1926-2005). This selection is offered as a group, rather than as individual items, because of the preponderance of archival material accumulated within the books. Robert Creeley made a practice of inserting relevant letters, manuscripts, clippings, photographs, and ephemera into his books, many of which also bear significant inscriptions, thus making his library an important documentary archive occupying a rich site for research parallel to the primary repository of his papers at Stanford University. Contact Granary for specifics of this collection.

Disability Activism Narratives

"In May of 2008, members of ADAPT celebrated 25 years of advocacy and civil disobedience that has brought awareness to the fact that thousands of people with disabilities are trapped in nursing homes, unable to secure services that would allow them to live independently in the community. As part of that celebration, a special exhibit, I Was There... was published that features photos and narratives, both in written and audio format, providing accounts of the 50 actions that have been held over the organization's 25-year history." (via Disability Nation)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Comics ARE Educational

I love comics. I use them often in my classroom with students, so I tend to read all of them, looking for any kind of connections I can make. Mary Worth, by Karen Moy and Joe Giella, is one I don't read "regularly." It's more like a soap opera, so that each daily installment builds on the previous, with different character story lines. However, I do scan it, and I happened to pick up on it with this strip (September 1, 2008):

It turns out that character Toby has had her identity stolen - her credit cards have been abused, and she has to deal with feelings of helplessness at having her life invaded. However, as the strip continues, Toby takes steps to regain control over her credit record. This includes bringing in another character - Terry Bryson - whom Mary Worth recommends to Toby. Bryson helps Toby through this crisis, advising her on the tell-tale signs of identity theft (including phone fraud and reading credit card statements carefully - what looks like an error of a charge under a dollar could be someone seeing if they can get away with it).

This saga ends (so far - 10/12/08) when Toby has to "confess" to her husband, Ian, about having been victimized. At first frightened to tell him, to admit she could have been taken advantage of, he is compassionate, supportive and understanding. The way it should be.

What a great comic, probably most read by an older audience - those who might not be as aware of identity theft and what to do about it - but so incredibly applicable to ALL ages.

Don't know Jack about identity fraud? Know someone who could benefit from the information? Know Mary Worth.

Children's Classics Online

"The Baldwin Project seeks to make available online a comprehensive collection of resources for parents and teachers of children. Our focus, initially, is on literature for children that is in the public domain in the United States. This includes all works first published before 1923. The period from 1880 or so until 1922 offers a wealth of material in all categories, including: Nursery Rhymes, Fables, Folk Tales, Myths, Legends and Hero Stories, Literary Fairy Tales, Bible Stories, Nature Stories, Biography, History, Fiction, Poetry, Storytelling, Games, and Craft Activities."

Girls Write Now

GIRLS WRITE NOW is New York’s premier creative writing and mentoring organization for high school girls. Founded in 1998, their mission is to provide a safe space for girls to explore and develop their creative, independent voices, and learn how to make healthy choices in school, career and life.

The core mentoring program custom matches bright, driven high school girls with a burning desire to write with professional women writers currently working in journalism, publishing, education, theater, advertising/public relations, and more. Once paired, mentor and mentee work together one-on-one for 1 to 4 academic years. But that’s not all we do…uh-uh. Check it out!

Ecovillage Study Abroad

"Living Routes brings education to life by studying in Ecovillages around the world. Ecovillages are ecological communities that provide ideal campuses for students to learn about real-world issues including sustainable development, green building, organic agriculture and women's empowerment. Learn to live in harmony with local environments as you investigate personal and community based solutions to real world issues with one of the most innovative environmental study abroad programs.

"Earn college credit from University of Massachusetts Amherst on our semester, Summer and January-term study abroad programs (open also to gap year/high school students). Through academic and experiential coursework, environmental community service learning, and cultural excursions, you develop the understanding, skills and commitment to restore our planet and prepare for careers that make a difference. Living Routes is a carbon neutral organization."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thoughtful & Fun Visopoetry

by KS Ernst
Published by Xexoxial Editions, 1984/2008

"This new edition adds 21 previously unpublished pieces to the collection. An endless maze of schematic vispoetry & fun-to-solve typerwriter ciphers. SEQUENCING has been especially useful for introducing visual poetry to school kids. Semantic maps into the everyday." Available for purchase on the site, or as a free pdf download. A sample of Ernst's work:

New Lit on the Block :: Wordletting

"Wordletting is an online poetry journal with a simple aim: to make a space for dynamic, compelling poetry and let it be seen, read, and enjoyed by others. We feel that every poem needs to be given a creative space — space to take shape, to come into being, to take its first true, if unsteady, breath. It deserves permission to be bad or good… reckless, misunderstood."

Wordletting is currently accepting submissions for its next issue: 50-line maximum per poem, up to seven poems per submission cycle; previously published and simultaneous submissions accepted - with notice. Upcoming deadline: December 1, 2008

William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellowship

Warren Center: One-year residential research fellowship for a scholar interesed in participatin ina broadly interdisciplinary faculty seminar entitled “Immigration and the American Experience” to explore immigration and its influence on identities, cultures, nationhood, and urban politics. Stipend pay up to $50,000. Deadline January 19, 2009.

Monday, October 13, 2008

CPCW 2008 Fellow Recipient :: Rachel Levitsky

The Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing Fellow in Poetics & Poetic Practice has announced Rachel Levitsky as this year's recipient. She will teach a seminar called "Writing Practice of the Avant-Garde or: Avant-Garde Hybrid Writing" and at the Kelly Writers House will host the visits of several writers associated with the course.

Rachel Levitsky's first full-length volume, Under the Sun, was published by Futurepoem books in 2003. She is the author of five chapbooks of poetry, Dearly (a+bend, 1999), Dearly 356, Cartographies of Error (Leroy, 1999), The Adventures of Yaya and Grace (PotesPoets, 1999) and 2(1x1)Portraits (Baksun, 1998). Levitsky also writes poetry plays, three of which (one with Camille Roy) have been performed in New York and San Francisco. Levitsky's work has been published in magazines such as Sentence, Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, Global City, The Hat, Skanky Possum, Lungfull! and in the anthology, 19 Lines: A Drawing Center Writing Anthology. She founded Belladonna--an event and publication series for avant-garde poetics in August 1999. A past fellow of The McDowell Colony and Lower Manhattan Community Council, she teaches at Pratt Institute and lives steps away from The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

Previous CPCW Fellows: Tracie Morris, Linh Dinh, Erica Hunt, and Kenneth Goldsmith.

Calling Out White Privilege

"Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S., and has been called, 'One of the most brilliant, articulate and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation,' by best-selling author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, of Georgetown University. Wise has spoken in 48 states, and on over 400 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford, and the Law Schools at Yale and Columbia, and has spoken to community groups around the nation..."

Wise currently keeps a blog at Red Room, including such entries as these:

Racism as Reflex: Reflections on Conservative Scapegoating
September 28, 2008
If hypocrisy were currency, conservatives would be able to single-handedly bail out the nation'

Boxing Ourselves In: The Sad Irony of White Supremacy
September 21, 2008
I guess it would be amusing were it not so sad.

Reflections on White Anti-Intellectualism
September 21, 2008

Explaining White Privilege to the Deniers and the Haters
September 18, 2008
Explaining White Privilege (Or, Your Defense Mechanism is Showing)

This is Your Nation on White Privilege (Updated)

New Lit on the Block :: 20x20 Magazine

From London: "20×20 magazine is a square platform for writings, visuals and cross-bred projects. Rather than on a theme, each issue will be assembled around meta-words to be interpreted, researched, illustrated according to a loose, wide and multi-angled perspective. The intent is to create homogeneity of spirit within each issue, without the restrictions of a ‘theme’ as such. The magazine includes 3 sections: Words - in the shape of fiction, essays, poetry; Visions - drawings, photography and visual projects; The Blender - where words and visions cross paths." Editors: Francesca Ricci & Giovanna Paternò

Saturday, October 11, 2008

DZANC Books Write-A-Thon!

"As you may know, Dzanc Books is a non-profit organization, established to not only publish great books, but to work nationally in set communities to provide writing workshops and year round programs for students and adults alike. These programs include our Dzanc Writer in Residency Programs, The Dzanc Prize, programs with the Ann Arbor Book Festival, author readings, single session and weekly session workshops which function in a slightly different capacity than our year-round DWIRPS.

"With the economy coming completely off its rails, traditional means of raising funds - writing grants, corporate sponsorships, etc. - have become less successful. Here at Dzanc, we like to try and make raising money both as fun, and valuable, an experience as possible. With this in mind, we have come up with an alternative and interactive plan which we think not only furthers our mission but is something those participating in will enjoy. If it sounds like something you’d like to participate in, please email us at"


The idea behind the write-a-thon will be similar to bowl-a-thons, or walk-a-thons, or, well you get the picture - other a-thons that you’ve probably supported or participated in during your lifetime, only with writing being the catalyst to the raising of funds. For one day, people will volunteer to write to help raise money, and they will ask people to fill out a donation sheet to support their efforts.

Updates :: New Listings on NewPages Guides

Literary Magazines
Broken Plate – poetry, fiction, nonfiction
Writing Our Hope – creative nonfiction
Cahoots - poetry, lifewriting, plays, fiction, nonfiction, feature essays
Masthead – poetry, essay
carte blance – poetry, fiction, nonfiction
Literary Bird Journal (LBJ) – creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, literary journalism, narrative scholarship
In the Mist – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, art

Alternative Magazines
Elephant Journal – yoga, sustainability, organics, active citizenship, conscious consumerism, new-age sensibility, arts

Jobs :: Various

The Department of English at Illinois State University seeks a Creative Writing, Poetry, tenure-track, assistant professor, candidates prepared to work in a Department that stresses the relationships among literatures, linguistics, rhetoric and pedagogies. We encourage candidates with expertise in experimental poetics and/or oral poetics.

Assistant Professor of English in creative writing, Iowa State University. Tenure-track. Beginning August 2009. Accomplished writer in one genre with the ability to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in a second genre for our newly-formed MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment. Barbara Haas, Department of English. Nov 1.

The English Department at St. Lawrence University invites applications for a one year leave replacement position in creative non-fiction writing, with secondary interests in fiction writing, the literary essay, or environmental writing. Dr. Peter Bailey, English. Nov 15.

St. Lawrence University: fiction or creative non-fiction writers with significant publications and teaching experience are invited to apply for the position of Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing for the academic year 2009-10. Dr. Peter Bailey, English. Nov 15.

Book Arts Fair 11.8-9

Pyramid Atlantic Book Fair
November 8-9, 2008
The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center
Montgomery College

In partnership with the Visual Arts Program of Montgomery College, Takoma Park/Silver Spring, Pyramid Atlantic is pleased to present the 10th Biennial Book Arts Fair & Conference, the event connecting international artists and booksellers to collectors and scholars of the book arts through a dynamic book fair, stimulating conference lectures, exhibitions, panel discussions and events. Pyramid Atlantic, in its 27th year, serves as a contemporary visual arts center and gallery dedicated to the creation and appreciation of paper, prints, book arts and digital media.

MMO the New Frontier for MFA?

The Death of Story, Part I
by Jonathan Steinhauer
29 Sep 2008

I have noted in the MMO industry (as well as films and, to a lesser extent in fantasy literature) a decline in the quality of storytelling. It seems that designers are generally more eager to make an easy-money sequel rather than create something new that is truly powerful. I suppose the good news is that games seem to pull it off better sequels than movies, yet this doesn't avoid a stagnation of creativity. The same old thing gets regurgitated again and again.

The importance of story stems from MMOs being the natural offspring of the single player RPGs. True, there are many players that are drawn to the game by other factors such as the head-to-head combat FPSer, the burgeoning diplomat, or the fantasy world mercantilist (not to mention the plethora of scammers and gold farmers trying to make a real world buck). Fundamentally, however, an MMO is an RPG where thousands of stories are being told at once.

When you look at MMO stories, they come in two varieties that exist simultaneously. The first is the global or world story and the second is the personal one (as in the story that each gamer creates for themselves as they play). We'll spend this article by beginning our look at the global story and continue from there...[read the rest here]

Friday, October 10, 2008

Got Blog Narrative Nonfiction?

From Creative Nonfiction Managing Editor Hattie Fletcher: "Creative Nonfiction is seeking narrative blog posts to reprint in The Best Creative Nonfiction, Volume 3, edited by Lee Gutkind, forthcoming in August 2009 from W. W. Norton. We’re looking for: Vibrant new voices with interesting, true stories to tell. Narrative, narrative, narrative. Posts that can stand alone, 2000 words max, from 2008. Something from your own blog, from a friend’s blog, from a stranger’s blog. The small print: We will contact individual bloggers before publication; we pay a flat $50 fee for one-time reprint rights. Deadline: October 31, 2008."

Obama Reads

A poster made as part of an in-house series for the Skokie Public Library. Unfortunately, not available for distribution. The book in his hands: Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Reading and Weight Loss

Duke Researchers Show Reading Can Help Obese Kids Lose Weight
By Duke Medicine News and Communications

It's no secret that reading is beneficial. But can it help kids lose weight? In the first study to look at the impact of literature on obese adolescents, researchers at Duke Children's Hospital discovered that reading the right type of novel may make a difference.

The Duke researchers asked obese females ages 9 to 13 who were already in a comprehensive weight loss program to read an age-appropriate novel called Lake Rescue (Beacon Street Press). It was carefully crafted with the help of pediatric experts to include specific healthy lifestyle and weight management guidance, as well as positive messages and strong role models.

Six months later, the Duke researchers found the 31 girls who read Lake Rescue experienced a significant decrease in their BMI scores (-.71%) when compared to a control group of 14 girls who hadn't (+.05%)...[read the rest here]

Test Your Word Knowlege

The 100 Most Common English Words

How many do you know? No doubt, more than you know - but can you get them all in five minutes? Take the challenge - and my advice - think small.

[Thanks to Gerry Canavan.]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Write the Music

Best Music Writing 2008
by Daphne Carr, Nelson George
Oct 6, 2008
Published by Da Capo Press

Best music writing is the definitive guide to the year in music writing, an annual feast of essays, missives, and musings on every musical style by critics, novelists, and musicians themselves. Culled from publications ranging from blogs to the New Yorker, the 2008 edition captures a year in music writing as diverse and riveting as the music it illuminates. Writers who have appeared in Best Music Writing include: Greil Marcus, Sarah Vowell, Nick Tosches, Jonathan Lethem, Dave Eggers, David Rakoff, David Hadju, Lenny Kaye, The Onion, Gary Giddins, Jessica Hopper, Luc Sante, Kelefa Sanneh, David Byrne, Daphne A. Brooks, Jody Rosen, Anne Midgette, Sasha Frere-Jones, Elizabeth Méndez Berry, Alex Ross, Touré, Lynn Hirschberg, Chuck Klosterman, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jay McInerney, Elvis Costello, Susan Orlean, Mike Doughty, Lorraine Ali, and many more.

Creatively Cool Fundraiser Idea

Literature, Food & Friends At JJML’s One for the Books
The Sag Harbor Express
02 October 2008

Supporters of the John Jermain Memorial Library may not know where they are going to dinner, who their host is or what they will eat, but they can rest assured they are supporting their local library and that a book they have chosen will help guide their way.

On October 11 and October 18 the fundraising committee for the John Jermain Memorial Library Capital Fund will host the third annual One for the Books fundraising event. Billed as a dinner party extravaganza, guests sign up by choosing a book from a diverse list of titles. That choice determines where one will dine that evening, with whom, and sometimes will even dictate the menu.

“The books are chosen by each host, and the idea is that the book you choose says something about you,” explained One for the Books coordinator Gail Slevin. “When I pick a title it should be safe to assume that I am going to like the group I am dining with and it is indicative of the person who is giving the dinner.”

For example, participants on October 11 who have chosen Barack Obama’s “The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream,” may find they are in for an evening of rousing political discussions in a heated election year, whereas guests who choose Claudia Roden’s “Arabesque: A Taste Of Morocco, Turkey, And Lebanon,” may be in for a Middle Eastern dining treat. On October 18, those who choose “Sway: A Novel,” by Zachary Lazar may find themselves rocking out to the tunes of the Rolling Stones, while others may find themselves discussing the selected poems of Frank O’Hara. But with over a dozen titles available for each evening, it is unlikely guests won’t find one that syncs with their taste... [read the rest here]

Free Books Online :: The Classic Reader

The Classic Reader website went live on March 29, 2000. It was originally a sub-section of that grew large enough to merit a separate site. The Classic Reader website is published by Blackdog Media, a one-person company run by Stephane Theroux, in British Columbia, Canada, and include out-of-copyright books. All content can be read online, but downloads require free registration.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cooking with the Axis of Evil - Yum!

"Chris Fair has dined with soldiers in the Khyber Pass and with prostitutes in Delhi, rummaged for fish in Jaffna, and sipped Taliban tea in Peshawar. Cuisines of the Axis of Evil is a sophisticated, fun, and provocative cookbook with easy-to-follow recipes from both America’s traditional enemies in foreign policy—including Iran, Iraq, and North Korea—and friends of the U.S. who are nonetheless irritating by any measure. In addition, each country section includes all the smart, acerbic geopolitical nuggetry you need to talk the talk with the best of them. Recipes include Iranian chicken in a walnut pomegranate stew, Iraqi kibbe, and North Korean spicy cucumber, as well as special teas, mango salads, beverage suggestions, and much more."

Does Your Comics Collection Have These?

The 50 Things That Every Comics Collection Truly Needs
The Comics Reporter
September 28, 2008

Each of the fifty come with full descriptions, examples and links. Here's the first three:

1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library
2. A Complete Run Of Arcade
3. Any Number Of Mini-Comics

New Lit on the Block :: Sweet

Sweet: A Literary Confection is an online literary magazine that publishes poetry, creative nonfiction, and anything that blurs the lines of those two genres. The inagural issue includes poetry by Brian Baumgart, Carol Berg, KJ Grimmick, Luisa A. Igloria, Stephen Kuusisto and "Creative Nonfiction and Stuff" by Jon Chopan, Lee Martin, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Donna Steiner. The next issue will appear in January 2009 and is open for submissions. And, be sure to heed the editor's note: "Please remember to eat chocolate every day."

Share! via BookMooch

Founded by John Buckman, BookMooch is an online community for exchanging used books. You give a book and earn points, then use your points to get books you want from someone else on BookMooch. There's no cost to join; you are responsible for paying the postage when you mail your books to someone else, but that's it. BookMooch might make some money from users who click over to Amazon to buy books, but other than that, it's yet another labor of love. You can donate points to charities - and there's a long list of them - lots of prison outreach programs, which is great to see. You can also request to have a charity listed with them. International exchanges are also welcome. There's lots more to it, and lots more info on the site (including statistics, which indicate that there have been nearly a million books mooched in the past year!).

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

New Lit on the Block :: LBJ

The Literary Bird Journal
Avian Life Literary Arts

From The LBJ website: The LBJ is a biannual publication dedicated to birds and creative writing. Its title is drawn from the acronym for “little brown job,” used by birders to describe those difficult-to-identify species, such as many sparrows.

While there are popular magazines (Audubon), scientific journals (The Auk), and other newsletters about birds, The LBJ is a uniquely literary venue, publishing creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, narrative scholarship, and literary journalism of the feathered variety. Additionally, the journal showcases visual art in a full-color insert.

Small, plaintive, and aspiring, The LBJ comes to you in 5.5" x 8.5" format that is just the right size to carry into the field alongside your binoculars.

Currently accepting submissions for the 2009 Urb Bird Contest as well as for future publications.

Saving Words :: Should We or Shouldn't We?

An entertaing look - perhaps last look? - at words on the chopping block:

How you can help to save some cherished words from oblivion
Jack Malvern
From The Times
September 22, 2008

"It may appear agrestic to ask, but The Times is calling on its readers to come to the rescue of words that risk fading into caliginosity.

"Dictionary compilers at Collins have decided that the word list for the forthcoming edition of its largest volume is embrangled with words so obscure that they are linguistic recrement. Such words, they say, must be exuviated abstergently to make room for modern additions that will act as a roborant for the book..." [read the rest here - including a short list of the words being considered]

Audio Issue :: Belway Poetry Quarterly

Beltway Poetry Quarterly's first all-audio issue, co-edited by Kim Roberts and Katie Davis, is now available online. The issue includes collaborations between poets and musicians, recordings produced over layers of sound, and "naked" tracks of poets with distinctive voices that lend themselves particularly well to the audio format.

Contributors, Volume 9, Number 4 (Fall 2008):
Karren L. Alenier * Holly Bass * Regie Cabico * Kenneth Carroll * Joel Dias-Porter * Thomas Sayers Ellis * Brian Gilmore * Michael Gushue * Bernie Jankowski * Rod Jellema * Fred Joiner * Reb Livingston * Greg McBride * May Miller * Miles David Moore * Yvette Neisser Moreno * Gaston Neal * Richard Peabody * Mark Tarallo * Hilary Tham

Monday, October 06, 2008

Not Good Enough for Nobel :: Yeah or Nay?

Uncle Sam Has Bigger Problems
By Ulrich Baron
Spiegel Online International
October 2, 2008

Horace Engdahl of the Nobel Prize committee doesn't think American authors are good enough for the world's top literary honor. His comments are laughable, but they will certainly draw more attention to the awards this year.

Horace Engdahl, the secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy, thinks US authors are overrated.

For all the people who have incorrectly predicted for years that the next Noble Prize in literature would go to Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon or some other American, it's now come time to face reality. That's because Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Nobel Prize selection committee, has revealed why American authors have no chance in Stockholm. In his opinion, American writers are "too insular," "too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture" and too ignorant to write good books. And Engdahl claims to know the reason behind their narrow-mindedness, too: "They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature." [read the rest here]

Atwood Interview

Exclusive interview with Margaret Atwood
Tom Gatti meets the author to discuss debt in her latest book Payback
Times Online
September 26, 2008

Multimedia Shakespeare Journal

Borrowers and Lenders, winner of the CELJ Best New Journal Award in 2007, is a peer-reviewed, online, multimedia Shakespeare journal ( The journal is indexed in the MLA Bibliography, World Shakespeare Bibliography, and other databases. General Editors: Christy Desmet and Sujata Iyengar; Associate Editor: Robert Sawyer; Assistant Editor: David Schiller.

New Lit on the Block :: grain short/grain long

The inaugural issue of grain short/grain long is now available, featuring excellent work by Suzanne Grazyna, Virginia Reeves, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, & C. R. E. Wells in response to the theme "grain short/grain long." Available online as well as pdf download. The next issue will center around the theme "Collaboration / Stimulus / Response." Looking for works that collaborate with, are stimulated by, &/or respond to other writers & artists.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Teaching Metaphor with Politics (or Vice Versa)

Retooled Protest Poems Seeks Submissions

From Ren at Protest Poems Org:

" is a quarterly journal devoted entirely to poetry that tackles human rights issues. It is a politically targeted extension of the online journal Babel Fruit: Writing Under the Influence. Retooled and relaunching in December 2008, the journal will strive to present the best poems of protest written to promote freedom of speech and human rights. Our aim is to raise awareness of general and specific issues, and hopefully inspire activism in the form of written protests."

The site includes a list of countries and the realted stories where writers are currently under persecution, including:

Nigeria - Reporter receives death threats from church members, asks security service for protection
United States - State Department to issue visas to two Cuban correspondents
France - Two regional newspapers raided
Sri Lanka - Military spokesperson asks newspaper to change photo caption
Burma - Journalist and opposition member Ohn Kyaing arrested again

Volume 1 of Protest Poems will be dedicated to Russian website owner Magomed Yevloyev, who was shot in the head August 31, 2008 while in police custody. Yevloyev maintained an opposition website ( that has been fiercely critical of the Ingushetian leadership.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

In Memoriam :: Hayden Carruth

From NPR: Poet, editor, essayist and novelist Hayden Carruth died this week at the age of 87. Carruth won the National Book Award in 1996 for his collection, "Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey." He was no stranger to awards, but they don't often pay the rent, and Carruth spent much of his career poor. He struggled with alcoholism and a nervous breakdown — experiences that were central to his poetry. [via Dawn Potter]

Olsson's Books of DC Say Goodbye

DC’s Olsson’s Books Closes
by Calvin Reid
Publishers Weekly
September 30, 2008

Olsson’s Books and Records has filed for liquidation under the chapter 7 bankruptcy laws and has closed its doors after 36 years selling books in the Washington D.C. area. All five of its current Washington D.C.-area stores have been closed. The firm applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July with plans to reorganize and cut costs by closing some of its stores. But a combination of low sales and rising rent was more than the DC metro-area indie chain could overcome...[read the rest here]

Symposium :: The Beat Generation

Sponsored by the English Department of Columbia College Chicago in conjunction with the Office of the Provost, The Beat Generation Symposium will include academic panel discussions, a lecture and performance titled “Deaf/Def Poets and the Beats,” and readings of poetry by Joanne Kyger (October 10, 7:00 p.m.) and Michael McClure (October 11, 7:00 p.m.).

The symposium is part of a two-month college-wide initiative at Columbia College, during which time the first draft of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road will be on display at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, 1104 South Wabash, on the second floor.

Kerouac typed the draft on a 120-foot-long scroll during a 20-day marathon session in the mid-'50s. The manuscript is a single, continuous scroll of semi-translucent paper that is nine inches wide. Kerouac created the scroll by pasting and taping separate 12-foot-long strips, then feeding them through his typewriter so he could write without interruption.

This event is co-sponsored by Columbia's Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, Illinois State University English Department and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Beat Studies Association. Conference Director: Tony Trigilio, Columbia College Chicago

Awards :: 2008 Narrative Prize

Narrative Magazine congratulates Alexi Zentner, winner for his story "Trapline" and Michael Dickman, winner for his poem "Returning to Church". Both can be read online at Narrative Magazine.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates 1973–1982
by Joyce Carol Oates
Edited by Greg Johnson
HarperCollins, October 14, 2008

"The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates, edited by Greg Johnson, offers a rare glimpse into the private thoughts of this extraordinary writer, focusing on excerpts written during one of the most productive decades of Oates's long career. Far more than just a daily account of a writer's writing life, these intimate, unrevised pages candidly explore her friendship with other writers, including John Updike, Donald Barthelme, Susan Sontag, Gail Godwin, and Philip Roth. It presents a fascinating portrait of the artist as a young woman, fully engaged with her world and her culture, on her way to becoming one of the most respected, honored, discussed, and controversial figures in American letters."

Friday, October 03, 2008

Top Ten Best Paid Authors?

Find out, according to Forbes.

David Byrne - Don't Fence Me In (Red Hot + Blue)

Ahhhh... David always provides me with a sense of relief, regardless of what's going on in the world, and at the same time, a sense of total connect to what's going on in the world.

Jobs :: Various

University of Northern Colorado Assistant Professor of English: Creative Writing. Nov 1.

University of Northern Colorado Assistant Professor of English, Creative Writing. Nov 1.

University of Pittsburgh. Nonfiction Writing, tenure-track, to teach undergraduate & MFA students. David Bartholomae, Professor & Chair, Department of English. Nov 1.

Loyola University Chicago. The Department of English invites applications for a tenure-track position in English (Creative Writing-Poetry) at the rank of Assistant Professor, beginning fall 2009. Dr. Joyce Wexler, Chair, Department of English. Dec 1.

The Adirondack Review is currently offering three to four unpaid college internships in the form of editorial assistant positions for interested students. Applications accepting on a rolling basis.

Bowling Green State University English Department seeks strong applicants for the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Visiting Writer for 2010. Screening of applicants will begin March 16, 2009 & continue until the position is filled. Kristine Blair, Chair, English Department.

Department of English at Harvard University invites applications for an appointment, to begin July 1, 2009, as Briggs-Copeland Lecturer on Fiction. James Engell, Chair, Department of English. Jan 5, 2009.

Ohio University Assistant Professor Creative Writing: Non-Fiction.

30 Below Story Contest

"Narrative is calling on writers, visual artists, photographers, performers, and filmmakers, ages eighteen to thirty, to tell us a story. We are interested in narrative in the many forms it takes: the word and the image, the traditional and the innovative, the true and the imaginary."

This is a no-fee contest, limited to two submissions, deadline Sept 20 - Oct 27.

The Doctor is Back

Julie Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong of the Chronicle of Higher Education are back again this year with The CV Doctor. Sample CVs for different disciplines are available on the site with notes linking their feedback to specific areas on each. Worth a look for those prepping to send out CVs - or those still trying to break through the first round.

Conference :: Literary Translators Association

The 31st annual conference of ALTA, the American Literary Translators Association, will be held at the Radisson University Hotel on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on October 15 - 18, 2008. The conference will feature panels, readings, a book exhibit, and other events concerned with the art and craft of literary translation.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wisconsin Poetry Award

Announcing the first Woodrow Hall Award, an offshoot of the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program. This award will be given to a Wisconsin poet who has actively contributed to Wisconsin's literary landscape, and will include five-hundred ($500.00) dollars to implement an idea for a new poetry program or project. The winner must execute their idea in 2009. No entry fee. Multiple entries from same poet welcome. Entry deadline: December 15th, 2008

Conference :: Wellnes & Writing 10.10

2008 Wellness & Writing Connections Conference
October 10-11, 2008
Atlanta, GA

"Writing about stressful situations is one of the easiest ways for people to take control of their problems and release negative effects of stress from their bodies and their lives. This conference is a call for writers and other professionals to collaborate and to help people find ways to help themselves and their students, clients, and patients." Dr. James Pennebaker

The 2008 Wellness & Writing Connections Conference attracts people who see therapeutic value in writing memoirs, fiction, creative non fiction, poetry and drama.

Research shows that the heart rate lowers and people are more equipped to fight off infections when they release their worries in writing. In addition to coping better with stressful situations, writing can have positive impact on self-esteem and result in works that can help others overcome their own obstacles.

This first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary conference series brings writers and professionals from different specialties together to explore the connection between overall health and expressive writing as a therapeutic practice.

Atwood on Debt

Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth

House of Anansi Press, November 2008

Publisher Description: Payback is not a book about practical debt management or high finance, although it does touch upon these subjects. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies. By investigating how debt has informed our thinking from preliterate times to the present day through the stories we tell each other, through our concepts of "balance," "revenge," and "sin," and in the way we form our social relationships, Atwood shows that the idea of what we owe one another - in other words, "debt" - is built into the human imagination and is one of its most dynamic metaphors.

Margaret Atwood's old-fashioned approach to debt
Interveiw by Sinclair Stewart
Friday, September 26, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Activist Poetry in Chicago

4000 WORDS 4000 DEAD
street performance by Jennifer Karmin
Friday, October 3rd
Chicago, IL

5pm beginning in front of the Vietnam War Memorial at Wabash and Wacker Avenues along the Chicago River

Jennifer Karmin has been collecting 4000 WORDS for the 4000 DEAD Americans in Iraq. All words are being used to create a public poem. During street performances, she gives away these words to passing pedestrians. Submissions are ongoing as the Iraq War continues and the number of dead grows. Send 1-10 words with subject 4000 WORDS to

"I want to start with the milestone today of 4,000 dead in Iraq. Americans. And just what effect do you think it has on the country?"

-- Martha Raddatz,
ABC News' White House correspondent
to Vice President Dick Cheney

Participants include:
Harold Abramowitz, Amanda Ackerman, Manan Ahmed, Michael Basinski, Charles Bernstein, Anselm Berrigan, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, Maxine Chernoff, Catherine Daly, Patrick Durgin, Arielle Greenberg, Kate Greenstreet, Carla Harryman, David Hernandez, Jen Hofer, Pierre Joris, Matthew Klane, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Joyelle McSweeney, Philip Metres, Vanessa Place, Susan Schultz, Juliana Spahr, Stacy Szymaszek, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Andrew Zawacki, and many more.

Film :: Barney Rosset

Publisher Who Fought Puritanism, and Won
By Charles McGrath
New York Times
September 23, 2008

In its heyday during the 1960s, Grove Press was famous for publishing books nobody else would touch. The Grove list included writers like Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, William S. Burroughs, Che Guevara and Malcolm X, and the books, with their distinctive black-and-white covers, were reliably ahead of their time and often fascinated by sex.

The same was, and is, true of Grove’s maverick publisher, Barney Rosset, who loved highbrow literature but also brought out a very profitable line of Victorian spanking porn.

On Nov. 19 Mr. Rosset will receive a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation in honor of his many contributions to American publishing, especially his groundbreaking legal battles to print uncensored versions of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer.” He is also the subject of “Obscene,” a documentary by Neil Ortenberg and Daniel O’Connor, which opens on Friday at Cinema Village. [read the rest here]

Killing Trout Gets Two Fins Up

Special thanks to Tom Chandler over at the Trout Underground for his recent review of David Fraser's first book of poetry, Killing Trout and Other Love Poems (NewPages Press, 2008). Among his comments, Chandler likens Fraser's work to that of John Gierach:

"The result is a collection of sharp, all-literary-encumbrances-removed poems that reminded me of John Gierach’s little-seen, pre-Trout Bum Signs of Life poetry collection. Fraser doesn’t burden his poems with overripe metaphor or literary pretense. His is the art of carving away all that isn’t essential, and the result is a series of visceral glimpses into a life lived largely outdoors."

He definitely "got it."