Thursday, November 27, 2008

Being in the Writing Moment

The November 2008 issue of Shambhala Sun has an article written by Anne Donovan called “Through the Looking Glass,” which explores the practice of “finding clarity through story.” Donovan discusses the ability to be “intensely in the moment” that we tend to lose as adults, but can rediscover through not only reading fiction, but writing it. It was refreshing to read her take on the act of what I so often hear referred to as ‘losing oneself’ in writing. If anything, what may appear on the outside as my being lost in writing, on the inside feels like the exact opposite – I feel more that I ‘find myself’ in writing.

I felt a strong connection with Donovan’s reflection on the practice of being in the moment: “As a writer I regularly experience the strange paradox of being in the moment, fully aware, utterly engaged, yet dealing with people and situations that are not real. In fact there are few occasions in my life when I am more mindful than when I am writing. I find it hard to reconcile this with most of the teachings I have read or heard about mindfulness but I venture to propose that what makes it work is the consciousness of stepping into that other world, of accepting it in the way that one can mindfully accept stepping out into rain or sun without judgment. When I look up from my computer and see the trees outside my window, I know I am in two worlds, the ne outside nd the one inside. I step between them as I step between my own life and that of my character. I am not daydreaming in order to escape reality but to experience a different form of reality.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In Memoriam :: Tom Gish

Tom Gish, Legendary Kentucky Publisher, Dies
Editor & Publisher
November 24, 2008

Tom Gish, who shined the spotlight on corruption and environmental degradation in his corner of southeastern Kentucky as an award-winning publisher of The Mountain Eagle of Whitesburg for a half-century, died Friday [Nov. 21]. He was 82.

His son, Ben Gish, said he died at Pikeville Medical Center.

Tom Gish and his wife, Pat, overcame floods, threats, arson and attempted suppression to deliver news in the weekly publication with the slogan: “It Screams!”

“He was the inspiration for several generations of journalists, mainly because of his moral authority about how he ran his paper,” said longtime journalist Bill Bishop, who worked at the newspaper from 1975 to 1977.

The Gishes took on previously untouched issues, from strip mining to police corruption.

They endured advertising boycotts, faced violent threats and had their newspaper offices firebombed in 1974. Showing their grit, the Gishes churned out another issue a week after the incident, with the masthead stating “It Still Screams!”

Dee Davis, head of the Whitesburg-based advocacy group Center for Rural Strategies, said Gish “took the side of the little guy” and “wasn’t afraid to take on the well-heeled.”

“I think his life was a testament to what journalism in a small town could do,” Davis said. “It was an advocate’s voice for improving education and health care, and it was a vigilant eye against corruption and malfeasance.”

Read more about Tom Gish on Editor & Publisher.

[via Dawn Potter]

Awards :: Bad Sex in Literature

The fourteenth annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Awards took place last week. The awards were set up by Auberon Waugh with the aim of gently dissuading authors and publishers from including unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels. Previous winners include Tom Wolfe, AA Gill, Sebastian Faulks, and Melvyn Bragg. Read the winner as well as shortlisted passages here.

Film :: Revolutionary Road

Paramount Vantage will be releasing Revolutionary Road, adapted from the novel by Richard Yates. It opens in theaters December 26, 2008.

"Revolutionary Road is an incisive portrait of an American marriage seen through the eyes of Frank (three-time Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (five-time Academy Award nominee Kate Winslet) Wheeler. Yates' story of 1950's America poses a question that has been reverberating through modern relationships ever since: can two people break away from the ordinary without breaking apart?"

New Lit on the Block :: aslongasittakes

a s l o n g a s i t t a k e s, is a sound poetry magazine published by the Atlanta Poets Group. They publish sound poetry, scores for sound poetry and essays on sound poetry.

“What is ‘sound poetry’? It’s one of those know it when you see (hear) it kind of things. It’s probably not music (thanks Dick Higgins). It might be noise. If you think about a spectrum of possible noise made by the human body (or simulations thereof or substitutions therefor), and at one end of the spectrum is a person reading her poem and at the other end is abstract noise..."

a s l o n g a s i t t a k e s prefers works that fall towards the latter end.

Just posted, issue two includes work by Adachi Tomomi, the Atlanta Poets Group (performing a piece by Michael Basinski and some Love Songs by Bruce Andrews), Gary Barwin (alone and with Gregory Betts), Michael Basinski, David Braden, Craig Dongoski, Brian Howe, Maja Jantar (alone and with Vincent Tholome), e k rzepka, Larissa Shmailo, and Mathew Timmons (performing a Hugo Ball poem).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Iowa City Named "City of Literature"

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

"This is at once a celebration of the literary riches and resources of Iowa City and a spur to action," said University of Iowa International Writing Program Director Christopher Merrill, who led the UI Writing University committee that submitted the city's proposal. "We look forward to working with our new partners in the Creative Cities network -- to forging dynamic relationships with writers, artists and others committed to the life of discovery. This is a great day for Iowa City."

Iowa City joins Edinburgh, Scotland, and Melbourne, Australia, as UNESCO Cities of Literature. Other cities in the Creative Cities Network - honoring and connecting cultural centers for cinema, music, crafts and folk arts, design, media arts and gastronomy, as well as literature - include Aswan, Egypt; Santa Fe, N.M.; Berlin, Germany; Montreal, Canada; Popayan, Colombia; Bologna, Italy; Shenzhen, China; and Seville, Spain.

Read more here.

Postal Poetry

Dana Guthrie Martin and Dave Bonta are behind the ambitious Postal Poetry, "a fantabulous showcase for collaboratively and individually created poetry postcards." Check out the gallery (aka archive) on the site and find full submission guidelines, including their hope to have traveling shows of postcards in their area. Pictured: "tricky" by Carolee Sherwood.

Postal Poetry is also running a no-fee contest with the best rules I've yet to see, which include putting on a feather boa, getting drunk, looking at pictures and writing. Hmmm, now that's a new one! (Deadline: Dec 15)

Out of Town Closing Down

Out of Town News, the newsstand that has offered a cornucopia of newspapers and magazines as a Harvard Square landmark for more than 50 years, could close.

The owners have informed Cambridge officials that they have no plans to renew their lease after it expires Jan. 31. City officials say they are hoping to find another newsstand to take its place, but acknowledge that the business climate is grim as more customers get their news online rather than in print.

"It could be that we're chasing moonbeams, and we'll have to look at our re-use options," said Robert W. Healey, the city manager.

The newsstand occupies the center of Harvard Square and is on the National Register of Historic Places. No matter what happens to the business, city officials say they will keep the building, which is used as much as a meeting place as a place to buy news.

By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
The Boston Globe

Commentary on Bilingual Books for Kids

Given a box of bilingual books for kids, reviewer and columnist Jessica Powers delves into more than a slew of reviews, asking and perhaps answering the much larger question of the role and responsibility of bilingual book publishing. Read it here: Bilingual Books for Kids: Commentary and Reviews.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fellowship :: Fine Arts Work Center

The Fine Arts Work Center offers a unique residency for writers and visual artists in the crucial early stages of their careers. Located in Provincetown, an area with a long history as an arts colony, the Work Center provides seven-month fellowships to twenty fellows each year in the form of living/work space and a modest monthly stipend. Residencies run from October 1 through May 1. Fellows have the opportunity to pursue their work independently in a diverse and supportive community. An historic fishing port, Provincetown is situated at the tip of Cape Cod in an area of spectacular natural beauty, surrounded by miles of dunes and National Seashore beaches.

Each year, the deadline for Creative Writing Fellowship applications is December 1, and the deadline for Visual Arts Fellowship applications is February 1.

New Lit on the Block :: Black & White Journal for the Arts

Black & White Journal for the Arts is produced by students of Western Connecticut State University. It was founded in the Fall of 2007 with the primary goal of creating a high quality print magazine for the arts. Since publishing their first issue in the Spring of 2008, they have expanded into a weekly newsprint format and an electronic format; and they have hosted a theatrical audio production over the University's radio station.

The annual and electronic editions are open to contributors outside of the university. The deadline for the 2009 issue is November 30. There are no restrictions on format or subject matter for artwork or verbal arts. See website for submission information.

Note: The Spring 2008 issue has not yet been made available to the public, but the Spring 2009 issue will be made available for sale on the website upon its printing.

Mississippi Review Must Have

The newest issue of Mississippi Review is a stunner for those of us who love our literary magazines, and a must have, must keep issue for its importance of historical literary record. No need to wait until later to say how integral this issue is; it’s clear from the moment you hold it in your hands. The issue is themed "Literary Magazines" and includes four parts:

Part One: The Literary Magazine Today
An Interview with Antioch Review Editor Robert Fogarty by Gary Percesepe
Reasons for Creating a New Literary Magazine by Jill Allyn Rosser, Editor of New Ohio Review
A Roundtable on the Contemporary Literary Magazine with Jill Allyn Rosser, New Ohio Review; Speer Morgan, The Missouri Review; Marco Roth, N+1; Raymond Hammond, The New York Quarterly; Todd Zuniga, Opium Magazine; Eli Horowiz, McSweeney’s; Aaron Burch, Hobart
Some Comments by Herbert Leibowitz
The Changing Shape of Literary Magazines; or “What the Hell is This Thing?” by Jodee Stanley, Editor of Ninth Letter
Comments on the Literary Magazine by Richard Burgin

Part Two: The Editors Introduce
“MR asked the editors contributing to this issue to introduce a writer they have published that they found particularly exciting, working in new and interesting ways, or otherwise deserving of more attention.” In this, you’ll find works by Claire Bateman, John Brandon, Daniel Grandbois, Rene Houtrides, John Leary, Maureen McCoy, B. R. Smith, and Catherine Zeidler.

Part Three: Writers on Lit Mags
Explanatory enough. Contributors include: Jane Armstrong, T.C. Boyle, Mary Grimm, Victoria Lancelotta, Rick Moody, Benjamin Percy, Stacey Richter, Jim Shepard, and James Whorton, Jr.

Part Four: Lit Mag Miscellany
Includes quotes about lit mags, a perspective and history on the contributor bio, and notes on the history of lit mags.

All I can say is I can’t remember when I was ever disappointed about an upcoming holiday because I felt as though spending time with family would take away from my reading time. . . but it is a long car ride north, so I might just be able to fit it all in.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jobs :: Various

Associate/Full Professor/John Cranford Adams Chair (nonfiction), Hofstra University (New York). Jan 1

Tenure-track in Creative Writing (fiction/cnf), Nebraska Wesleyan University. Dec 1

Assistant Professor in Creative Writing (fiction), University of Washington-Tacoma

Assistant Professor Creative Nonfiction Writing, State University of New York at Oswego. Jan 5

Assistant Professor of Writing (comp/CW), Oklahoma City University Petree College of Arts and Sciences

Assistant Professor in Creative Writing (poetry), Loyola University Chicago

Assistant Professor of English (popular fiction), Seton Hill University (Pennsylvania)

One-year visiting position in creative writing (fiction or poetry), Northwestern College (Iowa)

Creative writing position: Point Park University

Tenure-track position in American Literature and Poetry Writing, Bethany College (West Virginia). Dec 8

Awards :: Narrative 30 Below

Narrative has announced the 30 Below Contest Winners and Finalists:

First Prize: Alita Putnam "Fisherman's Daughter"
Second Prize: Kara Levy "Ready"
Third Prize: Alison Yin "The West Oakland Project"

Gavin Broady
Xuan Chen
Leigh Gallagher
Maggie Gerrity
Chris D. Harvey
Jason Perez
Rebecca Rasmussin
Douglas Silver
Jackie Thomas-Kennedy
Emily Watson

The 2008 Fall Fiction Contest, with a First Prize of $3,000, a Second Prize of $1,500, a Third Prize of $750, and ten finalists receiving $100 each, is open to all writers. Entry deadline: November 30. Enter Now.

Awards :: Glimmer Train Fiction Open

Glimmer Train has chosen the three winning stories of their September Fiction Open competition.

First place: Abby Geni of Washington, DC, wins $2000 for “Captivity”. Her story will be published in the Winter 2010 issue of Glimmer Train Stories, out in November 2009.

Second place: Maggie Shipstead of Coronado, CA, wins $1000 for “Via Serenidad”. Her story will also be published in an upcoming issue of Glimmer Train Stories.

Third place: Gregg Cusick of Durham, NC, wins $600 for “Throwing Furniture”.

Also: Short Story Award for New Writers contest (deadline soon approaching! November 30). Glimmer Train hosts this contest twice a year, and first place is $1200 plus publication in the journal. It’s open to any writer whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation greater than 5000. Word count range 500-12,000.

The Spinter Generation Now Online

The Splinter Generation

**Nov 23 Update: The Splinter Generation is now available in print.**

Six young people, unsatisfied with being called Generation Y, Generation 9-11, and countless other ill-fitting monikers, launched a one-time online compilation of written work "by and for those of us under 35." The Splinter Generation is a name that the editors felt most appropriate, "even if just temporarily, until we start hearing each others' voices and perhaps think of something better."

Online now are poems, fiction, nonfiction, and an interview with Lance Corporal Jason Poole ("Get Your Head Out of that Oven").

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yes We Can :: The Book

After almost two years of following Barack Obama, Scout Tufankjian's photographs will be collected in a book: YES WE CAN: Barack Obama's History Making Campaign.

Scout Tufankjian is a photojournalist based in Brooklyn, New York, with clients including Newsweek, Essence, US News & World Report, Le Monde, Newsday, and The New York Times. She was not employed by or affiliated with the Obama campaign in any manner, shape, or form, but was a journalist covering the campaign.

The website itself has over 500 images from the campaign trail as well as information about ordering the book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Film :: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

"The inspiring new documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the African story we know too well: a bloody civil war devastates the nation. Women and girls are brutally raped, children’s limbs hacked off, ethnic violence by gangs of drug-fueled boys, one against the other, rips across the country. But this time, with a remarkable ending we could not have predicted. Women band together, across religions and ethnicities, to form a peace movement. Peace, they insist. Peace, they demand, with mothers’ firmness against errant boys. With nothing but white 'Peace' T-shirts and gritty courage, they stare down the guns and the threats, and transform Liberia. It is shameful that the American press, of which I am a member, did not report this important story as it happened. I guess we were too busy covering Britney Spears." The Daily Beast

New Lit on the Block :: Literary Bohemian

From Editors Carolyn & Colin: "It is the mission of The Literary Bohemian to provide writers with that breath of fresh air. Featuring travel-inspired poetry, postcard prose and travelogue, we make timely connections to worldwide writer-friendly accommodations and links, books on the craft and jaunty jotting supplies. We are not interested in travel writing; we are interested in pieces that move us. We are the final destination for first-class, travel-inspired writing that transports the reader, non-stop, to Elsewhere."

Currently accepting submissions of poetry, postcard prose, and travelogue.

NewPages Welcomes Nicole Foor

We hope our readers will welcome NewPages new book review editor, Nicole Foor. Our previous editor was apparently eaten alive by his MFA program (a common occurance, I'm told), and Nicole, who has actually been working behind the scenes here at NewPages for the past six months or so, neatly stepped up into the role. Nicole is one of the new, hybrid generation, in that she earned a degree in computer science while at the same time editing her school's literary magazine and working on her own writing. What a perfect fit for NewPages! We're pleased to have her join us - and do even more work! Anyone interested in writing book reviews for NewPages is welcome to drop a note to new.pages[at] All others, enjoy the reviews!

Submissions :: We Love Books

We Love Your Books is a collaboration between Melanie Bush of theUniversity of Northampton, Emma Powell of De Montfort University (Leicester), and Louise Bird of the University of Northampton.

As well as teaching bookmaking and making their own experimental books, they collaboratively curate a yearly international and experimental artists' book exhibition. This is a not-for-profit venture, open to all.

Books to be sent in by June 1st 2009 and exhibition will take place August–September 2009 (tbc).

"The theme for our 2009 creative book-arts open exhibition is CLOSURE. This is in honour of Emma’s anticipated completion in 2009 of her PhD, which has dominated the last 8 years of her life. Right now, the idea of closure seems to her impossible – yet longed for. She has done amazingly to stick at it all this time, as challenging as it has been. She looks forward to the freedom she will have after closure..."

They are planning an exhibition of Poets' and Artists' hand-made books for August-September of 2009.

There is a June 1, 2009 deadline for submissions.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Lit on the Block :: SIR!

Brian Foley [also a NewPages review writer] has announced the debut of SIR!, a new online literary journal of poetry and prose.

Foley says, "The flagship issue is jammed with 23 contributors of varying temperaments and styles." It includes - Chad Reynolds, Noah Falck, Blake Butler, Ryan Walsh (of the band Hallelujah the Hills), Scott Garson, Mike Young, Juliet Cook, Brooklyn Copeland, Rauan Klassnik, Peter Berghoef, Elisa Gabbert, Carl Annarummo, Peter Schwartz, Zachary Schomburg & Emily Kendal Frey, Sean Kilpatrick, Julia Cohen, Charles Lennox, Shane Jones, Spencer Troxell, Brandon Hobson, Nicolle Elizabeth, Nathan Logan, and William Walsh.

SIR! will be accepting submissions for for Issue 2 beginning December 1st.

Award :: 2008 Prix Goncourt

Afghan tale of oppression wins French literature prize
By John Lichfield in Paris
The Independent
Tuesday, 11 November 2008

An Afghan who fled his country 24 years ago carrying his mother's carpet and a few crumpled bank notes was yesterday awarded France's premier literary prize. Atiq Rahimi, 46, took the 2008 Prix Goncourt – the French equivalent of the Man Booker prize – with his first novel in French, a stark essay on the oppression of women in Afghanistan.

M. Rahimi, who has dual French and Afghan nationality, said his Goncourt victory was "a sign of recognition both for my work and the story of my life."

Although he has written four novels in Farsi, and several film and television scripts in French, The Stone of Patience was his first novel in his adopted language. It takes the form of a poetic, and sometimes crude, monologue by a woman sitting with her dying "war hero" husband. M. Rahimi said the book showed that, beneath their veils, Afghan women were the same as "women anywhere, with the same desires, dreams and hopes, the same strengths and weaknesses."

AmLit to Arabic :: What's Your Pick?

From the Kalima website: What literature best captures American dreams, opportunities and challenges? Which books could help build mutual understanding between the United States and the Arab World? Kalima invites Americans to nominate literature for translation into Arabic.

Kalima - a non-profit initiative which translates classic and contemporary writing into Arabic - invites Americans to nominate US novels, poetry or short stories for translation for Arabic readers worldwide.

Kalima (“word” in Arabic), is one of the Arab world’s boldest and most significant cultural initiatives. Kalima seeks to widen access to books and knowledge by funding the translation, publication, and distribution of classic and contemporary writing from other languages into Arabic, each year. Currently in most Arabic countries, many works of world literature or academia are available only in their original language, making them inaccessible for most readers. To put the scale of the problem into perspective, Spain translates in one year the number of books that have been translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years (2003 Arab Human Development Report, UNDP).

You can visit Kalima's website and make your nominations online.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jobs :: Various

Rosemont College, a private liberal arts college, located in Philadelphia's beautiful Main Line, is seeking an Adjunct Instructor, Creative Writing.

Two positions at Delta College in Michigan: English Instructor - Mainstream Composition, Developmental Reading, and Developmental Composition. One is tenure-track and one is a one-year renewable.

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

New College of Florida announces an opening for a Writer in Residence, spring semester 2009 (February-May). December 1.

Seton Hill University seeks published novelist of popular fiction (preferably mystery/suspense), to teach and to mentor novel-length theses in the graduate low-residency Writing Popular Fiction program (half-load), and to teach undergraduate courses in creative writing and first-year composition.

Northwestern College - one-year visiting position in Creative Writing (Fiction or Poetry) starting fall 2009, with possible conversion to tenure-track.

The MFA Writing Program, based in the School of Critical Studies at California Institute of the Arts, invites applications for a regular faculty position (two courses per semester) in fiction and/or creative non-fiction.

Tenure-track, Assistant Professor, Creative Writing: Fiction, Concordia College.

The Department of English at Coastal Carolina University invites applications for an appointment at the rank of Lecturer effective August 16, 2009.

Updates :: NewPages Listings

New Literary Magazine Guide Listings
Gander Press Review – fiction, poetry
Chaotique - comics, fiction, essay, hybrid
Solo Café – poetry, book reviews

Saturday, November 15, 2008

In Memoriam :: James Liddy

From Tributes have been paid to the poet James Liddy, who died at his home in the United States on Tuesday [November 4] after a short illness.

Born in Dublin in 1934, Liddy is perhaps best known for his early collections, In A Blue Smoke (1964) and Blue Mountain (1968). The first volume of his memoir, The Doctor's House: An Autobiography, was published in 2004.

The director of the Arts Council, Mary Cloake, said Liddy was one of the most independent, engaging and original poets of his time. "His poetry, which revealed a consistent intellectual and emotional curiosity, was widely read in Ireland and abroad," she said.

Read the rest on Irish Times.

Nov 15 :: Day of the Imprisoned Writer

PEN American Center
Day of the Imprisoned Writer

November 15, 2008

In the past year, the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN has monitored the cases of more than 1,000 writers and journalists in 90 countries, 200 of whom are serving long prison sentences, and the rest of whom have been detained, summoned to court, threatened, harassed or attacked. Tragically, since November 15, 2007, 39 writers have been killed, many clearly for practicing their professions, others in murkier circumstances.

Every year on November 15, PEN marks the Day of the Imprisoned Writer to honor the courage of all writers who stand up against repression and defend freedom of expression and the right to information. On this Day of the Imprisoned Writer, PEN is focusing on five cases—one from each world region and each illustrating the type of repression that is brought to bear every day against those who question, challenge or expose official lies or who paint portraits of everyday lives through their writings. PEN invites its members and friends around the world to send appeals on their behalf.

A list of journalists killed since last year's Day of the Imprisoned Writer is available as a Word doc download on PEN's website.

What You Can Do?
Send a Letter of Appeal

PEN urges you to take action on behalf of the many writers imprisoned around the world. This year's Day of the Imprisoned Writer will focus on five priority cases:

Azerbaijan: Eynullah Fatullayev
Journalist serving an eight-and-a-half-year prison term for his political commentary and investigations into the murder of a fellow journalist.

China: Tsering Woeser
Tibetan writer and poet who writes in Chinese and has suffered repeated and sustained harassment for her writings on Tibet since 2004.

Iran: Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand
Journalist and Kurdish rights activist serving an 11-year prison sentence.

Peru: Melissa Rocío Patiño Hinostroza
A student and poet currently on trial for alleged links to a terrorist organization, despite a lack of evidence.

Zimbabwe: Writers, Cast and Crew of The Crocodile of Zambezi
A play that has been banned and led to actors and crew being beaten, and the playwrights threatened.

Please visit the above case pages on PEN's website for sample letters of appeal, as well as the names and contact information of domestic and international authorities.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Novels :: Best Sellers Give Best Insight

Take novels seriously, urge poverty experts
November 6, 2008

The team of poverty researchers from The University of Manchester and the London School of Economics say novels should be taken as seriously as academic literature as an important source of knowledge on international development. “Despite the regular flow of academic studies, expert reports, and policy position papers, it is arguably novelists who do as good a job – if not a better one – of representing and communicating the realities of international development..." [read the rest here]

Plimpton Statue

For real?

As the recent ad in Gargoyle magazine says: "Must you ask?"

Visit for more information, including how to participate in deciding where the statue will go and what it will look like.


New Lit on the Block :: Chaotique

Issue number one of Chaotique published by Dreyer Press promises on the cover to be "Highly Subversive -- Not For Children." If that doesn't get you to pick it up, then I'm not sure what will! Once you do, though, you're in for a treat. Printed in numbered, limited editions, Chaotique is printed on recycled paper with vegetable based ink and utilizes a full-bleed format on many of its pages. Comics, fiction and essay (and combinations thereof) are the focus of this publication. The first issue features work by Nick Dreyer, Chris Dreyer, Eric Cunningham, Peter Linnemann, Brandon Lukacksko, Matt Bailey, and John Calvin Errickson.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Art :: Jayne Holsinger

The latest edition of The Saint Ann's Review (Summer/Fall 2008) features the works of Jayne Holsinger on the front cover, as well as several more of her paintings reproduced in black and white within. Even in black and white, her work has a magnatism that drew me to it and to find out more about her online:

"Jayne Holsinger's oil-on-panel paintings series delves into hew Anabaptist background and heritage to explore the simple lives of a Mennonite family and community in rural Pennsylvania, presented in the form of genre paintings. The works are photo-based, and rely on carefully rendered serial images from single sittings.

"The care with which Ms. Holsinger paints imparts a spare and documentary directness that at the same time uncannily imbues her subjects with emotional resonance. Incidental details of distortion from wide angles and flash effects are evident in most of the paintings, making it clear that her sitters, frequently taken out of the context of time, are contemporary. Moreover, the perfection of detail manifested in the works comes across as almost emblematic of the people themselves in their orderly and austere environments and in their straightforward natures.

"Furthermore, Ms. Holsinger mines art history to import recognizable visual references into some of the portraits. For example, a Van Gogh sunflower vase appears on the kitchen table behind a woman washing dishes at her sink in Mrs. Horst II, and a Dutch Flemish baroque floral arrangement can be seen in Martha II. The artist was encouraged to include such references upon learning that the 17th Century Dutch Mennonites sat for paintings by Rembrandt, patronized the arts, and became painters themselves."

[text from]

The First YouTube Lit Journal?

Shape of a Box is a new lit journal published only on YouTube. It's a bit clunky to get around and find all the info, but that's the framework of YouTube. The issues thus far (currently up to #3) include only one author per "publication", but vary from poetry to prose, and include some play on visuals, but not much. It would be great to see more that takes advantage of the wide array of media this venue can support, rather than just videos of writers reading to the camera out on the street or at home. Based on the editor's submission video, they welcome genre benders, so seem open to this. A project of Jessie Carty with Folded Word Press.

To Obama From Walker

An Open Letter to Barack Obama
By Alice Walker |
"Alice Walker on expectations, responsibilities and a new reality that is almost more than the heart can bear."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The New Adventures of Walt Whitman

Nate Pritts says: "Just for fun my 11th grade gifted English class is making Walt Whitman videos. I decided to make my own "series" - The New Adventures of Walt Whitman! The first three episodes are up now with three more to come. Check them out! & if you happen to have any favorite Whitman lines - from Song of Myself or elsewhere - send them to me & maybe we'll do those next!" [You can post comments directly on YouTube, and you can also find Nate over at H_NGM_N.]

*This is a re-post, as I hadn't earlier included the text.*

New Lit on the Block :: Gander Press Review

A biannual published by Loosey Goosey Press out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Gander Press Review is both in print and online. The site is a .pdf replica of the print version. Contributors for the first issue (fall/winter 2008) include: Tim Bass, Brett Berk, Robert A. Burton, Kim Chinquee, Wyn Cooper, Barbara Crooker, Clayton Eshleman, Charles Adés Fishman, Stefanie Freele, Peter Freund, Faith Goble, Patrick Goble, Jane Hammons, Cathryn Hankla, Abeer Hoque, Sherril Jaffe, Richard Kostelanetz, Peggy Landsman, Kurt Luchs, Christopher Meeks, Joseph Mueller, Christopher Mulrooney, Rachael Peckham, Simon Perchik, Amanda Reynolds, Charles P. Ries, Ron Singer, Jared Smith, Lesley Wheeler, Luke Whisnant.

Writer Beware

If this blog is not already on your radar - add it - NOW! I know there are a lot of teachers who read this blog, so please cue your students into this one - regularly!

Writer Beware Blogs!
"Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, shines a light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls."

At the keyboard for this blog are Victoria Strauss, Richard White, and A. C. Crispin, though Victoria seems to be the main blogger.

The blog regularly posts alerts regarding scam and highly questionable contests, carefully reviewing fine print and bringing unethical and questionable behaviors to the surface. There are also many posts and continued conversations on the print-on-demand publishing phenom.

Writer Beware is on top of the issues, and if you have any questions or concerns about anything regarding writers being taken advantage of in contests, publishing, marketing, etc., this is the place and these are the people to contact. (Though review the blog archive first, as you may well find your answer there already!)


Monday, November 10, 2008

Art After the Flood

On November 1, 2008, Prospect.1 New Orleans [P.1], the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States, opened to the public in museums, historic buildings, and found sites throughout New Orleans. Prospect.1 New Orleans has been conceived in the tradition of the great international biennials, and will showcase new artistic practices as well as an array of programs benefiting the local community. The exhibition will run through January 18, 2009.

96pt Type Worthy

Jason Kottke notes on his blog that the NY Times has only used 96 pt. type for the headline on the front page of the paper five times:


Saturday, November 08, 2008

My Poem of the Year Nomination

Did I Miss Anything
by Tom Wayman

Question frequently asked by
students after missing a class

Nothing. When we realized you weren't here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 per cent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I'm about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 per cent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring this good news to all people
on earth

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human existence
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder

but it was one place

And you weren't here


Please visit the original online so you can get the spacing blogger won't allow:
U of Toronto Library - Canadian Poets: Tom Wayman
Originally from: The Astonishing Weight of the Dead
Vancouver: Polestar, 1994.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I Love NewPages

From the AWP 2008 archives. I forgot we had this until just recently. The NewPages Lover is "Buzz" - and the exchange you hear on the video really did happen. Of course, he caught us by surprise, so we asked him if he would do it again. Since he loves NewPages, he willingly obliged. That's Jeanne Leiby of the Southern Review in the background with - ?? - I'm not sure. NewPages loves AWP and is planning to be in Chicago 2009! Thanks again Buzz - maybe we'll see you there!

NewPages Updates

New Literary Magazine Listings
Mary Magazine – poetry, prose, interviews, reviews, new media, sound
epidermis –poetry
textsound – online audio poetry
Shape of a Box – video poetry and prose
Beard of Bees – poetry

New Alternative Magazine Listings
American Diversity Report

Jobs :: Various

The Petree College of Arts and Sciences of Oklahoma City University is seeking an assistant professor of writing for a tenure-track position.

The MFA Writing Program, based in the School of Critical Studies at California Institute of the Arts, invites applications for a regular faculty position (two courses per semester) in fiction and/or creative non-fiction. Jan. 5, 2009.

Two positions at Delta College in Michigan: English Instructor - Mainstream Composition, Developmental Reading, and Developmental Composition. One is tenure-track and one is a one-year renewable.

Portland State University Assistant or Associate Professor, Fiction Writing/20th Century Fiction, tenure-track, to begin September 15, 2009. Dec. 1 - interviews MLA & AWP.

Florida International University-Biscayne Bay Department of English seeks an Assistant Professor with a specialty in fiction for a tenure-track position within the Creative Writing MFA program. Dec. 1.

Hampshire College is accepting applications for an Assistant Professor of Poetry Writing. Nov. 30.

Florida Atlantic University Department of English invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Creative Nonfiction, beginning August 2009. Nov. 7.

Bucknell University Stadler Center for Poetry. The 2009-10 Stadler Fellowship offers professional training in arts administration & literary editing in a thriving, university-based poetry center, while also providing the Fellow time to pursue his or her own writing. Dec. 6.

Duke University English Department welcomes nominations & applications for a distinguished a poet with a national or international reputation to be the inaugural holder of the Reynolds Price Chair in Creative Writing. Nov. 15.

Louisiana State University Department of English invites applications from poets for an anticipated Assistant Professor position in the Creative Writing Program.

Middlebury College Robert Frost Fellowship in Poetry for a poet with an M.F.A. degree and at least one published book to reside in Robert Frost's Homer Noble Farmhouse in Ripton, Vermont, to teach two courses and advise undergraduate poetry projects during the academic year, and to teach one course during the summer at either the Bread Loaf School of English or the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Three-year renewable, begin in September 2009. Send letter of application, curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation (at least two of which speak to teaching ability) to Professor Brett Millier, Department of English and American Literatures, Axinn Center, 15 Old Chapel Road, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont 05753. Review of applications will begin November 21, and will end when the position is filled.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Write'cher Own Slang

So it claims itself: "Urban Dictionary is more than a dictionary. It's a catalog of human interaction and popular culture created by hundreds of thousands of people, and read by millions. Urban Dictionary grows with hundreds of new definitions every day." Perhaps a bit over the top, when "A" already has nearly 30,000 entries. Still, it can be some fun - entering your own words with definitions, and giving a thumbs up or down to others' entries.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The New Frontier :: Arab Writers

Publishers seek new talent in Arab world
Alison Flood in Frankfurt and Ian Black
The Guardian
October 16 2008

Alexandria's 21st century library Western publishers are launching a drive to tap the Arab world for new stars, hoping to bridge the language gap with more than 200 million native Arabic speakers - and make money from selling books.

Bloomsbury announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday that it is to launch a new Arabic-language publishing house, Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, in partnership with the Gulf state. "The emphasis so far in Qatar has been on literacy, and our second challenge is how to move from literacy to literature to create a culture," said Abdel-Rahman Azzam, a spokesman for Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, the emir's consort and the chair of the Qatar Foundation. [read more here]

Paying for What Matters

Every time I hear about how much pro-athletes are paid, I think there really ought to be a revolt among this country's educators. Here's a graph from PhD Comics that puts it even more in perspective (meant to be funny, but also quite real). There can be no doubt what our culture values, only doubt in what we do.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

David Foster Wallace :: Rolling Stone

The Lost Years & Last Days of David Foster Wallace
by David Lipsky
Rolling Stone Magazine
October 30, 2008

"He was the greatest writer of his generation - and also its most tormented. In the wake of his tragic suicide, his friends and family reveal the lifelong struggle of a beautiful mind."

Firsts That Matter

Aside from the upcoming presidential election, which regardless of outcome will provide this country with a first, this is a first near and dear to my heart: in 2010, the Ohio State School for the Blind will march in the Tournament of Roses Parade. The band became a marching band in 2005 when the Ohio School for the Deaf football team was revived and wanted a band for its games. More information and a video of the OSSB Band performing at a Skull Session can be seen here. The band currently consists of 17 members, and will need to raise $1500 per student to march in the parade. Donations can be made via a contact on the OSSB Band site. As much as I like to see Ohio lose when it comes to, well, pretty much all sporting events, this is one time when I have to admit Ohio is the take-all winner.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Stephen King on Fiction, Politics, & Apocalypse

Stephen King's God Trip
On the 30th anniversary of "The Stand," the novelist confesses what haunts him about religion and today's politics.
By John Marks

S: Questions of politics are never very far away in "The Stand." Once the plague has come and gone, society has to be reformed. Do you think of it as a political novel, in any sense?

SK: I did see it that way. I've always been a political novelist, and those things have always interested me. "Firestarter" is a political novel. "The Dead Zone" is a political novel. There's that scene in "The Dead Zone" where Johnny Smith sees Greg Stillson in the future starting a nuclear war. Around my house we kinda laugh when Sarah Palin comes on TV, and we say, "That's Greg Stillson as a woman."

Matthew Shepherd and the Language of Hatred

On this tenth anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepherd, an interview of Jonas Slonacker by C.A. Conrad on PhillySound: new poetry really is a blunt and open discussion of many issues that surrounded the senseless murder of a young man and what has happened since.

HOMOPHOBIA and a Lexicon of Violence: a conversation with Jonas Slonacker 10 years after Matthew Shepard

In this excerpt, Slonacker responds to the power and misuse of language:

One of the things you and I know firsthand Jonas from growing up in an isolated rural culture is that people are HELL-BENT on judging and hating groups of people they don't even know. There is so much FICTION created from unnecessary and unprovoked fears surrounding the distant Other. Building on Father Schmit's call for learning what drives us, how marvelous would it be to have young elementary school children learning compassion by having classes which explore and explain homosexuality, as well as different racial and religious groups. Where we grew up and went to school THE MOST homophobic teacher taught sex-ed. He was so blatantly homophobic, and encouraged laughter when talking about how sick he thought a man would have to be to want something shoved up his ass. He empowered the ridicule and physical abuse my boyfriend and I endured in school, and made us feel like complete ZEROES! The sex-ed class literally taught hatred.

Language can easily set the mechanisms of fear or compassion of young minds in motion when coming from teachers and other authority figures. But wanting compassion taught to children ultimately flies in the face of our very nation's governmental treatment of its citizens and military solutions in dealing with other nations. But we have to start somewhere.

In teaching compassion we would also need to teach the history of racism, homophobia, genocide. For instance, in battling the use of dehumanizing language of homophobia, let's LOOK to the origin of "faggot." Kids need to know and DESERVE to know that when they use that word they're using a word whose origins are from the Inquisition. Homosexuals were burned alive, their flesh synonymous with and no better than the very sticks -- or faggots, as faggots means sticks or kindling -- that burned them to death. We're so used to the word faggot meaning a homosexual, but have no idea of the countless tortuous deaths that created it. It's important to define the origins of common hateful slang. Learning such things helps us in many ways to grow toward tolerance and compassion.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Jobs :: Various

University of Minnesota Grants Manager. The IAS and Northrop/Concerts and Lectures are seeking an experienced grants manager. Review of applications will begin November 3. For full information and instructions on applying, search for position number 158644 on the University’s online employment system.

Indiana State University tenure-track assistant professor, beginning August 2009, to teach three courses each semester in poetry writing, introductory creative writing, and composition or general education literature, plus undergraduate advising.

The Department of English at Salisbury University is accepting applications for the tenure-track position of Assistant Professor in creative writing specializing in fiction. Secondary areas of expertise are welcome.

Montclair State University Assistant Professor in Creative Writing full-time, tenure-track position in creative writing with primary expertise in the writing of poetry. Nov 3 deadline.

University of North Carolina-Greensboro Assistant Professor, Fiction, tenure-track appointment in creative writing (fiction) effective August 1, 2009. Nov 15 deadline.

Department of English at Harvard University invites applications for an appointment, to begin July 1, 2009, as Briggs-Copeland Lecturer on Fiction. The appointee to this five-year untenured position will have responsibility for teaching two undergraduate writing workshops per term. At least one book (or the equivalent) plus significant teaching experience is expected. Send a letter of application, resume, & writing sample, plus two letters of recommendation regarding teaching, postmarked no later than January 5, 2009, to: "Creative Writing Search" c/o James Engell, Chair, Department of English, Harvard University, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

The English department of the University of Nebraska - Kearney seeks a specialist in American Literature with an emphasis in the post-WWII and contemporary periods.

Western Illinois University Assistant Professor English, Creative Writing. Dec 8 deadline. Interviews at MLA and AWP.

DePaul University Department of English Assistant rank, beginning September 2009, in creative nonfiction, with a secondary interest in fiction or poetry.

Sunday Funny

Pearls Before Swine
by Stephan Pastis
November 1, 2008

Awards :: Narrative First-Person Winners

Narrative Magazine
First-Person Winners

First Place: "On Principle" by Gina Ochsner
Second Place: "Celilo Falls" by Heather Brittain Bergstrom
Third Place: "Night Glow" by Holly Wilson

2008 Fall Fiction Contest, First Prize $3,000, Second Prize $1,500, Third Prize $750, and ten finalists receiving $100 each, is open to entries of fiction and nonfiction. Entry deadline: November 30.

Awards :: Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Winners

Glimmer Train announces the three winning stories of the August Very Short Fiction Award competition.

First place: Michael Schiavone of Gloucester, MA wins $1,200 for “No One Comes Up Here By Accident”. His story will be published in the Winter 2010 issue of Glimmer Train Stories, out in November 2009.

Second place: Jackie Thomas-Kennedy of Charlottesville, VA wins $500 for “The Bridge is Moving”. Her story will also be published in an upcoming issue of Glimmer Train Stories, increasing her prize to $700.

Third place: Debbie Weingarten of Tucson, AZ wins $300 for “Precarious Things”.

A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found on GT's website. This quarterly competition is open to all writers for stories on any theme with a word count range of 500-3,000. Submissions may be sent for the November Short Story Award for New Writers using the Glimmer Train online submissions system at

Also: Family Matters contest (deadline soon approaching! October 31 )

We host this contest four times a year, and first place is $1,200 plus publication in the journal. It’s open to all writers for stories about family, with a word count range of 500-12,000. Click here for complete guidelines.

Graphic Novel Online @ Narrative

The Lady's Murder
A Graphic Story
by Eliza Frye

A humorously dark diversion for your holiday...

Now available for viewing on Narrative's website. You do have to login to access this, but the login is free.