Saturday, January 31, 2009

So Long Book World

Washington Post to End Book World as Stand-Alone Section

Belated 200 to Poe

With so much else going on, it's not unforgiven to have missed this date: The 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, born January 19, 1809. The New York Times has assembled a slide collection with commentary of his life and work, including one image of the NYT celebration of Poe's 100th anniversary.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Nod to Nester

Thanks to Daniel Nester for mentioning NewPages as a "best online portal" in The Library Journal's January installment of The Magazine Rack. Magazines mentioned in this column include Cave Wall, Bateau, 1913, The Lumberyard, Caketrain, Alimentum, Habitus, Chautauqua, Atlas, and Greatest Uncommon Denominator.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Schwartz Bookshops to Close After 82 Years
By Evan Rytlewski
Express Milwaukee
Monday, January 19, 2009

Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, one of the largest and oldest independent chains in Wisconsin, survived the Great Depression but wasn't able to overcome titanic changes in the retail sector, exacerbated by the current economic crisis. Following years of disappointing sales and a brutal 2008, after eight decades in business the chain will close its remaining four locations on March 31.

"Business has been rough for a number of years now," said Schwartz President Carol Grossmeyer. "Then the market fell apart and it was such a dismal holiday season that we decided we really needed to end it in the first quarter of the year, that we weren't going to make it beyond that."

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PW Shakedown

Publishers Weekly has long been the “bible” of the major book publishers and booksellers for*ever*… To see them laying off their editor and many others is yet another rattle down to the foundations of the publishing world.

Brevity Seeks Photographers and Artists

In addition to its submissions of non-fiction prose of many styles, Brevity has put out a special call for photographers and artists: "We are looking for artists and photographers who may want to be featured in future issues... the artwork does not attempt to illustrate the essays, but instead sits alongside the work with either no or merely a subtle connection. What we are looking for is distinctive, quality work." Check out Brevity online for more information.

Jobs :: Various

University of Central Oklahoma Full-Time, One-Year Temporary, Non-Tenure-Track, Poet-in-Residence. Deadline March 1.

Hampshire College is extending its Poetry Writing Search with three important changes. The rank for this position, which was originally advertised at the Assistant level, is now open to applications from candidates at all levels. Second, the start date for this position will be fall, 2010 instead of fall, 2009. Finally, review of applications will resume on February 5, 2009, and on-campus candidate interviews will take place during March and April, 2009.

The U of Montana Department of English invites applications for a full-time, 2-year position in Poetry commencing August 2009 at the rank of Visiting Assistant Professor. Prageeta Sharma, Director of Creative Writing. Deadline March 1.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Farewell John

John Updike's life and work
The entry from "The Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors," published in 2000 by David Lipsky.

"Acclaimed writer John Updike dies at 76" by Mark Feeney on the Boston Globe includes video.

Awards :: Glimmer Train New Writers

Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories of their November Short Story Award for New Writers competition.

First place: Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig of Austin, TX, wins $1200 for “Monkeys of the Sea”. Her story will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of Glimmer Train Stories, out in February 2010.

Second place: Stephen McCabe of Oshkosh, WI, wins $500 for “The Net of Blue Angels”.

Third place: Marco Fernando Navarro of Flushing, NY, wins $300 for “Enough”.

A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here. This competition is held twice a year and is open to any writer who has not had fiction appear in a print publication with a circulation greater than 5000. Click here for guidelines.

Also: Family Matters competition (deadline soon approaching! January 31)

Glimmer Train hosts this competition quarterly for stories about family, and first place brings $1200 plus publication in the journal. It’s open to all writers, and the word count range is 500-12,000. Click here for guidelines.

Writer Exchange :: China

In 2009, the International Writing Program (IWP), in cooperation with the Chinese Writers' Association, is commencing a pilot exchange project, the Life of Discovery (LOD), between writers and artists from the United States and from the minority ethnic communities in the western regions of the People's Republic of China. Five American and five Chinese writers and artists, all aged 25-40, will be invited to join two senior artists, one from each country, in a series of collaborative, bilingual projects, conducted first in Western China (over the course of sixteen days in mid-May, 2009) and continued and elaborated upon in the US (five to seven days at the end of September, 2009).

For more details on the exchange, the dates and proposed locations, visit University of Iowa's IWP website.

Back on the Spindle

Spindle, launched just over a year ago, has gone nine months without an update, but has just recently returned with some "fresh new NYC-flavored literary content": poetry from the likes of Amanda Halkiotis, Lynn Patmalnee and Jon Sands, plus a new photo gallery from David King, and an inspiring (and timely!) essay from Peggy Landsman entitled "The Community Chorus".

Monday, January 26, 2009

We Are Not Toys! Legos? Oh, okay...

Legoland California has unveiled a miniature model of Barack Obama taking the oath of office as the 44th US president.

The scaled-down version of the ceremony contains more than 1,000 Lego figurines, representing celebrities, officials and other guests.


Horticulture Seeks Poetry

Horticulture, the oldest and most respected magazine for avid gardeners in North America, is pleased to announce the addition of poetry to its editorial features. Cave Canem fellow (and fellow gardener) Michelle Courtney Berry's "What I Learned in the Garden" has been chosen as the debut poem, to appear in the April 2009 issue.

"For over 100 years, Horticulture has been dedicated to celebrating the passion of avid, influential gardeners, and there is an even longer history of poetry inspired by flowers and gardens -- from William Blake to Louise Glück, and so many great poets between them," explained publisher and editorial director, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez. "Adding garden verse to our editorial mix is simply another way to celebrate and encourage a real passion for gardening."

Horticulture is accepting submissions on a rolling basis, and is seeking poetry about, related to, or in honor of gardeners and gardening: traditional forms and free verse, the meditative lyric and the "light" or comic poem, the work of the famous and the work of the unknown. Length limit is 42 lines.

Awards :: Anderbo

2008 Anderbo Poetry Prize

Kathleen M. Kelley for her poems "The Waiting Room" & "My Real Mother"
She receives: $500 cash
Publication on

2008 Anderbo Poetry Prize Poems of Distinction
"Fugitive Memory" by Penelope Scambly Schott
"Graal" by Carol Quinn
"What Your Life Did While You Were Away" by Leslie Vryenhoek

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Conference :: NY Round Table

The Fifth Annual New York Round Table Writers’ Conference
The New York Center for Independent Publishing
April 24-25, 2009
Keynote: Wally Lamb

A New Writers’ Residency

Writers in The Heartland is now taking applications for its inaugural season. Writers in the Heartland is a writing colony for creative writers in all genres. The colony is located in Gilman, Illinois, approximately 2 hours south of Chicago. It is located on a beautiful 30-acre wooded site with lakes and walking paths. A limited number of one-week residencies are available for September 18-25 and October 3-10. Lodging and food are included.

Applications must be received by April 15, 2009, to be considered. Decisions will be announced by July 1st.

LSUS to Host Black Literature Read-In

In honor of Black History Month LSUS announces the 2009 First Annual Black Literature Read-In, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday, February 2, in the University Center Ballroom.

Students, faculty and community members will read aloud from selections of African American literature. Texts can include poetry, drama, speeches, music, novels, short stories and non-fiction essays. Personal text, prepared dramatic interpretations or selections at the event will be read. Featured dramatic performances will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Already Critiqued :: Inaugural Poem

Carol Rumens, witer for The Books Blog section, has wasted no time in critiquing Elizabeth Alexander's inaugual poem, with the headline including her first criticims: "praise poem was way too prosy." She goes on to give a clear assessment of the work in the tradition of praise poems, but also in the context of the event itself. Her overall view: good, but not as good as it could have been.

So, We're Not Alone

A recent article in the National Post calls its Candian readers to task for not being able to name six Candian authors. The headline reads: "Half of us can’t identify a Canadian writer. What can we do about it? The results of the poll were widely reported, but what do we do about the fact we don’t know our authors?" Following the release of the 2008 Canadian Books Readership Study, the response concerning Canadian writers that is most troubling to the industry: 46% of the 1,502 people polled last June could not name a single author when asked: "Please name some Canadian authors you have heard of."

So, the U.S. may not be alone in its decline of book readership, although the article does mention that some respondents, while they knew the name of the books, didn't know the name of the author. I guess it will be a worse state of concern when the response becomes, "What's an author?"

On Southern Lit and Being "Special"

I came across this article: "Is the South Still Special?" after just having finished a review of The Southeast Review. In TSR, three interviews with four southern writers - Clive Barker, Hal Crowther and Lee Smith, Daniel Woodrell - each include their own views on this very question. It's interesting to see this very "localized" perspective from D.G. Martin, specifically looking at North Carolina's contributions and whether or not NC is still the "leader" in Southern literature.

Cannibal Books Offers 2009 Subscription

Cannibal Books is are currently selling subscriptions for $60, which includes all their 2009 publications:

Cannibal: Issue Four
Sent Forth to Die in a Happy City by Keith Newton
Pardon Me, Madam by Marvyn Petrucci
Someone Else's Body by Claire Donato
Identity by Kevin Holden
Untitled Wave by Carolyn Guinzio
Transparency by Patrick Morrissey
Autumn it gestures. by Thomas Hummel
The Nightmare Filled You with Scary by Shane Jones
"Search Party" by Frank Stanford (broadside, 2008)
& any other books we release in 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reading List: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Paper Cuts, the NYT's blog about books, offers a list of books previously reviewed on their site, for those looking for "behind-the-news" reading on the recent conflict attention.

Can Reading Dracula Make You a Better Person?

Victorian novels helped us evolve into better people, say psychologists

A "team of evolutionary psychologists, led by Joseph Carroll at the University of Missouri in St Louis, applied Darwin's theory of evolution to literature by asking 500 academics to fill in questionnaires on characters from 201 classic Victorian novels. The respondents were asked to define characters as protagonists or antagonists, rate their personality traits, and comment on their emotional response to the characters."

See a summary of the results on

Dog Lovers :: LJ Book Collection

Collection Development “Dog Care & Training”: The Well-Behaved Dog
By Kristine M. Alpi & Barbara L. Sherman
Library Journal
November 1, 2008

Monday, January 19, 2009

Narrative 30 Below Winners Online

N30B Contest Winners
All entrants in the Contest were between the ages of eighteen and thirty.

1st Place: Fisherman’s Daughter by Alita Putnam
2nd Place: Ready by Kara Levy
3rd Place: The West Oakland Project by Alison Yin

Narrative's Third-Person Story 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 entries of fiction and nonfiction. Entry deadline: March 31

Take Action :: PEN Center's Liu Xiaobo Arrested

Liu Xiaobo: On Writing and Freedom of Expression in China

On December 8, 2008, authorities arrested prominent PEN Member Dr. Liu Xiaobo after he co-authored Charter 08, a manifesto calling for greater freedoms and democracy in China. He is being held on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” If convicted, Liu could be sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison.

Writer, dissident, and former president and current board member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, Liu Xiaobo can be viewed on a PEN video talking about writing and freedom of expression in China.

Grrrl Zine Riot

Austrian-born Elke Zobl has indeed created a "global feminist network taking back the media" with her site Grrrl Zine Network.

On the site, you can find "rebellious feminist zines: grrrl and lady zines, riot grrrl zines, transgender zines, zines by grrrls of color, lesbian/queer zines and many others!" The site also features interviews with zinesters from around the globe! I've never seen anything like this.

Zobl comments on how the site was started: "Five years ago, when I was looking for feminist zines on the Internet there was no comprehensive resource site available. So I decided to create one. That’s how GRRRL ZINE NETWORK, came into being. My overall goal for the web site is to share resources on grrrl zines in different languages, and to create connections between like-minded but often far-away feminist youth who read and produce zines. Currently the site is listing and linking around one thousand feminist-oriented zines and distros from more than thirty countries in twelve languages. The resource section provides information about feminist organizations, art, popular culture, and music projects. Another part compiles books, videos, journalistic and academic writing on grrrl zines. To exchange information and ideas, as well as to announce new issues or calls for submissions, I have also created a mailing list and message board. Both provide a forum for people interested in talking about zines, feminism and the global network!"

In addition to this work, Zobl has a deep commitment to feminist zine studies: "I am also doing research on alternative media (or citizens' media), feminism and social change. I have written my dissertation on "The Global Grrrl Zine Network: A DIY Feminist Revolution for Social Change" (funded by the Austrian Academy of Science) (at the Institute for Theory, Practice and Mediation of Contemporary Art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria) as well as my master's thesis on "Do-It-Yourself: Feminist Artistic Practice in Zines and Magazines."

Great stuff!

Jobs :: Various

Assistant Professor in English (Creative Writing, Fiction/Non Fiction) Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA. Karen McIntyre, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences.

Johnson State College full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature to begin August 2009.

The University of Dubuque invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position in the Department of English, beginning in August, 2009.

One-year appointment, beginning August 2009, for a creative writer who plans a career that involves college-level teaching, to teach three courses per semester, including Introduction to Creative Writing and an advanced course in the writer's genre, as well as to assist with departmental writing activities. Mentorship for teaching and assistance in professional development provided. M.A., with a concentration in creative writing, M.F.A., or Ph.D. with creative dissertation, required. Teaching experience and literary magazine publications are essential. Competitive salary.
To apply, send letter of application, c.v., the names of three references, and a 5-10 page writing sample to Emerging Writer Lectureship, Department of English, Box 397, Gettysburg College, 300 N. Washington St., Gettysburg, PA 17325, postmarked by January 30, 2009. Electronic applications will not be accepted.

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Yorker Fiction 2008 in Review

Bravely done, C. Max Magee on The Millions blog has created a kind of annotated bibliography of the 2008 New Yorker fiction. The overarching theme identified? Those that focus on a kind of "surburban malaise (born out of "The Swimmer" and "What We Talk about When We Talk about Love" among many others) and those that don't." Put that way, I'm tempted now to go back and read the very "New Yorker Fiction" I had long given up on as predictable and drab. Surburban malaise might be just what I needed to hear to appreciate it - some.

Literature Bailout?

Wall Street bailout, car industry bailout, porn bailout - ? Government support for analog to digital media (aka TV) conversion? Wait a minute - where the heck was the bailout for literary publications when we've been bemoaning for years the steady decline in reading in this nation, and then the recent postal rate hikes that hammered the smaller subscription publications, and how about the ongoing independent bookstore closings (and now chain bookstore closings), and layoffs in the publishing business, and...and...?

Virtual Odyssey

Vitual Odyssey. It's fun to see the wrong answers as much as the right ones, which then lead to further adventures.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Writer Advice :: Fellowships

From the blog Growing Great Writers from the Ground Up comes this unselfish advice for writers looking for new outlets and support resources:

Don't Discount Yourself
Most of us writers come from humble backgrounds, which consist, more or less, of some training and a whole lot of heart. But in order for us to excel, we have to use the latter to increase — exponentially — the former. One way to train harder and smarter is to aggressively pursue fellowships.

What often stops us, however, is that humble background, which I call the Lowly Worm Complex. If you, too, suffer from I'm probably not good enough, get over it and start applying for the numerous creative writing fellowships.

The post goes on to look at why you should apply and some fellowship resources. A very generous post considering the competitive nature of fellowships. Proof positive that we are in this together and can look out for "our own."

Interview :: Rachel Kushner

A Brief Interim of Sheer Possibility a conversation with Rachel Kushner on Littoral.

Rachel Kushner writes frequently for Artforum and coedits the literary, philosophy, and art journal Soft Targets, whose focus is political inquiry, poetry, and literature-in-translation. Her debut novel, Telex From Cuba, was nominated for the 2008 National Book Award.

In this interview, she speaks extensively about her connections with and political perceptions of Cuba, the focus of her novel, which takes place in Oriente Province and Havana, Cuba, during the 1950s.

Office Hell? Barrelhouse Wants You to Write About It

Always fresh, every time I visit the Barrelhouse website, I can't help but laugh out loud. (With them, not at them - or at least I'd like to think so.) Their latest: "Barrelhouse Invitational: Office Life Edition."

Dave Housley, "One Fifth of the Barrelhouse Editorial Squadronand" writes: "we're looking for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, whatever, about that wonderful, soul-sucking, red stapler obsessing world of the office. No entry fee or anything, and winners will be published in the special Office Life section of Barrelhouse 8, which will come out in June."

But for full entertainment effect, you have to visit the site and view the accompanying pdf memo, or my favorite,the PowerPoint presentation, with its effective use of bullets, arrows, and inclusion of a clear and concise mission statement, timeline, and measurable and desired outcomes. For anyone who has ever worked in an office environment or with admin hierarchies, you can't help but cringe and laugh at the same time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Children's Lit :: Digital vs. Paper

A January 04, 2009 article by Alana Semuels in the Southern Oregon's Mail Tribune, "Children's literature has growth potential for e-books," explores beyond the monetary gains by considering the learning losses:

[. . .] Kids are more likely than adults to interact with material on the Web, said Diane Naughton, vice president of marketing at HarperCollins Children's Books. That publishing house has made 25,000 titles such as Lemony Snicket's The Lump of Coal available digitally. Readers can browse them online or in some cases read them in full free.

There is some evidence that younger children learn less when they're reading books in electronic form. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University, studied parents who read digital books with their children and found that young children don't get meaning from what they're reading when they're playing with gadgets and distracted by all the bells and whistles of technology.

"We have to be careful that electronic media is not a substitute for hands-on," she said.

Kids who spend too much time staring at screens instead of imagining fanciful stories in their heads or playing with friends miss out on hands-on creative play, an essential part of a child's development, said Susan Linn, a psychologist and associate director of the media center at Boston's Judge Baker Children's Center.

"It's a problem because it means they're not exploring the world themselves," she said.

Publishers counter that digital books can attract kids to titles they otherwise might not see.

In any case, with the publishing industry weak, digital books are unlikely to go away because they are generating revenue [. . .]

Read the full article here.

ISO Writers Who Read Woolf

Anne E. Fernald, author of Virgina Woolf: Feminism and the Reader is looking to I want to feature some creative writers who will talk about Woolf's influence, for good and ill, on their work, at the 19th Annual International Virginia Woolf Conference (June 4-7, 2009, Fordham University, Lincoln Center). She "especially wants those writers to not be all nice white women." Click here for more information.

Community Outreach :: Cedar Tree

Cedar Tree, Inc., founded in 2004 by renowned, award-winning author Jimmy Santiago Baca, is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to transforming lives through writing and literature. By providing writing workshops to people in deprived communities, prisons, detention centers, and schools for at-risk youth, Cedar Tree, Inc. helps participants gain self-knowledge and instills self-reliance as they explore issues such as race, culture, addiction, community, and responsibility. A series of Cedar Tree, Inc. documentaries chronicle workshop successes and bear witness to the transformative power of reading and writing. Cedar Tree, Inc. has developed a set of learning tools available to educators on request.

Cedar Tree publications include Clamor en Chine showcasing poetry written by inmates in the California State Youth Authority Prison in Chino, with 100% of the profits from sales going to fund future projects.

Writers Beware

Just a reminder to keep an eye on Writers Beware Blogs - "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." Always interesting to read the latest roll of the compost heap.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

French vs. English vs. Korean Literature

With the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature going to J. M. G. Le Clézio, Park Hae-hyun looks at the English vs. French literary war, and throws in for Korean lit as a viable future contender - and the benefits to competition.

SF's Stacey's Bookstore to Close

Stacey's Bookstore, the iconic San Francisco shop that called Market Street home for all of its 85 years and had carved out a niche for technical publications, announced Tuesday evening that it would close in March.

New Lit on the Block :: Naugatuck River Review

"This is a literary journal founded in order to publish and in doing so to honor good narrative poetry. Naugatuck River Review is dedicated to publishing narrative poetry in the tradition of great narrative poets such as Gerald Stern, Philip Levine or James Wright. We are open to many styles of poetry, looking for narrative that sings, which means the poem has a strong emotional core and the narrative is compressed. So, make us laugh and cry, make chills run down our spines. Knock us off our feet! We publish twice a year, Winter and Summer."

Lori Desrosiers, MFA, is Managing Editor/Publisher, with other editors changing by issue. The Summer 2009 issue will include Associate Editor Dorinda Wegener and Guest Editors Kimberley Ann Rogers, Roberta Burnett, Oonagh Doherty, and George Layng.

The full list of contributors in the inagural issue and same sample pages of their work is available through Lulu, where you can also purchase the publication as a download or print copy.

The open submission period for the Summer 2009 issue is January 1st through March 1st.

Resource :: Artist Trust

Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting Washington State artists working in all creative disciplines. Founded in 1987 by a group of arts patrons and artists who were concerned about the lack of support for individual artists.

Their site includes a great many resources for Washington State and beyond, including a searchable database of current and ongoing opportunities including Grants, Awards, Prizes, Scholarships, and Residency Programs; current Employment listings and Employment resources; current Studio Space & Housing listings and housing/space related resources; discipline-specific resources, as well as legal resources, health resources, and emergency assistance programs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Lit on the Block :: Sous Rature

"Welcome to Aristotelian bastardization, a Derrida slum, and anon sense" the homepage read. The effort of Goddard MFA poet Cara Benson, Sous Rature "features work of erasure, inadequacy, and otherwise. Poems, prose, cross. Also, images and art." It is, as ,Benson states, "a necessary endeavor."

The second issue (or "2ssue") includes: Bernadette Mayer, Nico Vassilakis, Brooklyn Copeland, Maria Williams-Russell, Peter Ciccariello, William Allegrezza, David-Baptiste Chirot, Rodrigo Toscano, Christophe Casamassima, James Sanders, Barry Schwabsky, Michelle Naka Pierce w/ Sue Hammond West, Alexander Jorgensen, Celina Su, Matina Stamatakis, Amy King, Bill Marsh, Brenda Hillman, Charles Bernstein, Samit Roy, Stacy Szymaszek, Paul Hoover, Sawako Nakayasu, Thomas Devaney, and Sparrow.


Looking to fine tune the literary skills of future novelists and poets, the sole creative writing Master of Fine Arts program offered in San Bernardino County will launch at Cal State San Bernardino in fall 2009. The new writing program is accepting applications through April 1, 2009. General applications for admission to the university run through March 1.

Classroom Rates :: Georgia Review

Special classroom rates of the Georgia Review are available to instructors and college bookstores. Single issues are $6 instead of $10, and a student subscription rate is $24 instead of $30 for one year (four issues). As an added bonus, for every ten subscriptions, GR provides one free. Students: don't hesitate to ask your instructors to assign this as a class text!

The Spring 2009 issue will focus on culture and the environment, with essays by Alison Hawthorne Deming, David Gessner, Scott Russell Sanders, Reg Saner, and Lauret Edith Savoy. Also featuring works by Alice Friman, Margaret Gibson, Jeff Gundy, David Huddle, Greg Johnson, Maxine Kumin and others.

Poetry & Performance

When Does It or You Begin? (Memory as Innovation)
Writing, Performance, & Video Festival
Links Hall, Chicago

Curated by Amina Cain and Jennifer Karmin,
Links Hall Artistic Associates

Featuring local, national, and international writers and artists
January 9 – February 1, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In Memoriam :: Billy Little

A thoughtful commentary on the life of a great poet and true community activist, this is excerpted from a listserv post by Jamie Reid, Wednesday, January 7, 2009:

Billy was an early alumnus of the SUNYAB project, one of at least four Americans related to the literary movement associated with the New American Poetry anthology, who migrated to Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Robin Blase, Stan Persky and George Stanley have each made remarkable contributions to the life of the poetry community in Vancouver, and so has Billy Little.

Billy was raised in New York and served his apprenticeship in poetry at the Poetry Project in New York City. He then shuffled off to Buffalo where he was one of the early students in the SUNYAB program, where he met Robert Creeley, Jack Clarke, Ed Dorn, Leslie Fiedler and other luminaries, including an entire contingent of Canadian poets who had travelled to Buffalo to learn especially from Olson and Creeley. Billy came to Vancouver as a second generation partisan of the New American Poetry, as many others had done before him, including those who attended and presided over the Vancouver Poetry Conference of 1963, including Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Allan Ginsberg, Philip Whalen and others.

On his arrival in Vancouver in 1972, Billy fell in immediately with the local contingent of poets and began a residence that lasted for more than 30 years, in which he became a familiar and welcome figure in literary gatherings in the city. He performed remarkable deeds for the poetry community of Vancouver, for which not only the poets of the city, but the citizens themselves should be grateful. In his profession as a second-hand book seller, and as a genuine and non-sectarian expert in North American poetry in general, along with his partners in the book trade, he made available to Vancouverites a range of poetry publications and knowledge which might otherwise have been inaccessible.

At Octopus Books and later at R2B2 Books, he was a co- organizer of one of the longest lasting poetry reading series in the city, providing a forum for “outside” poets throughout North America, and also a gathering-ground for the local poetry contingent. When he worked at the Special Collections Library at Simon Fraser University (incidentally, one of the most complete collections related to the poets associated with the New American Poetry), he undertook the task of cataloguing the extensive ouevre of the revered Canadian poet, bpNichol available at SCL, a genuine service to posterity.

He was an indefatigable publisher of samizdat style literature, consistent with his belief that poetry should be a kind of action which might help to make a better world. In this role, he was an ardent publicist and promoter of our local poets. All this apart from his wonderful store of poetry lore and knowledge, second to none in the city, which made his influence on the local scene truly incalculable.

During his final years he lived on the idyllic Hornby Island, just off the coast. The island has been one of the unknown havens of some of Canada’s finest artists, some well-known, like Jack Shadbolt and Wayne Ngan; others, like Jerry Pethick and Gordon Payne, barely discovered, or waiting to be discovered. Billy was their friend and sometimes advisor, because he knew and understood a lot.

Typically, Billy left his life with a jest, a protest, leaving behind his own obituary:


after decades of passion, dedication to world peace and justice, powerful frindships, recognition, being loved undeservedly by extraordinary women, a close and powerful relationship with a strong, handsome, capable, thoughtful son Matt, a never ending stream of amusing ideas, affections shared with a wide range of creative men and women, a long residence in the paradisical landscape of hornby island, sucess after sucess in the book trade, fabulous meals, unmeasurable inebriation, dancing beyond exhaustion, satori after satori, billy little regrets he's unable to schmooze today. in lieu of flowers please send a humongous donation to the war resisters league.

I'd like my tombstone to read:

billy little
hydro is too expensive

but I'd like my mortal remains to be set adrift on a flaming raft off chrome island

Jobs/Fellowships :: Various

Full-time English faculty at Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI. Jan Graunke, Human Resources. Feb 16

Columbia College Chicago Elma Stuckey Liberal Arts and Sciences Emerging Poet-in-Residence. Annual, one-year nonrenewable position: starts August 2009. Feb 15

The Brown Graduate Program in Literary Arts and Thomas J. Watson Institute for International Studies seek applications and nominations for the 2009-2010 International Writers Project Fellowship.

Minnesota State University, Mankato is seeking applications for an Assistant Professor, probationary/tenure-track position in Creative Writing - Fiction. Start: August 24, 2009. Jan 23

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. Dr. John Spurlock, Chair Humanities Division. Feb 15

Friday, January 09, 2009

Call for NYC Poet Readers

"NYC area poets needed tout de suite to help review poetry entries for this year's PEN Prison Writing Contest." Contact Cara Benson:

In Memoriam :: Inger Christensen

"The Danish poet Inger Christensen died last Friday. [January 2] She was a language-oriented poet with a humanist, lyricist streak - the same streak that continues to set most language-oriented poets in Scandinavia apart from their counterparts on the American continent, or even more south in Europe (think Mette Moestrup vs. Christian Bök - Ulf Karl Olov Nilsson vs. Oulipo). Her Alfabet was not only a play on the alphabet through the Fibonacci sequence, but also a raging against nuclear armament and a passionate song for life, as well as containing lyrical beauty. It feels all encompassing. Maybe she was everybody’s poet." From The New Literati blog.

Narrative Goes Kindle

It was just a matter of time: "Narrative, the first and only literary magazine on Kindle, was selected by Amazon for its technological leadership in literary publishing and for its first-class value in reading entertainment." How long before others follow this lead? Is the readership there? Right now, only Narrative can tell that story...

The *New* Longest Literary Sentence

1. 150,000 words in Zone, by Mathias Enard (published in French in 2008)

2. 40,000 words in Gates of Paradise, by Jerzy Andrzejewski (Polish, 1960)

3. 30,000 words in Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age, by Bohumil Hrabal (Czech, 1964)

4. 13,995 words in The Rotters’ Club by Jonathan Coe (English, 2001)

Read the rest of what Patrick T. Reardon of the Chicago Tribune (12/28) has to say on the matter, including why The Blah Story by Nigel Tomm is not considered.

Save Polaroid?

Yes, that fun instant-spit-the-film-out party camera is, well, about to be spit out of circulation, for good. In his New York Times commentary (12/27) "The Polaroid: Imperfect, Yet Magical," Michale Kimmelman gives a historical overview of artists closely associated with the use of the camera and its imperfect yet captivating style. Also linked from the article is an online community out to do what they can to Save Polaroid.

Artist Camp :: Muskwa-Kechika

2009 Muskwa-Kechika Artist Camp
August 1-8, 2009

The M-K Artist Camp, now in its fourth year, seeks to raise awareness of the values of the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area and to allow artists working in a wide variety of disciplines (ie visual art, writing, photography, video, music) to broaden their individual perceptions of nature and wilderness. The artwork created is being exhibited in galleries and online.

Writing on the Ridge gratefully acknowledges the support of Arts Now, the Spirit of BC program, the BC Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of the M-K Artist Camps and Shows.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Call for Funny Poetry by Women

And You Think That's Funny??
Woman Made Gallery
685 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642

Who says poetry has to be serious all the time--or even any of the time? Or that poetry can't be serious and hilarious at the same time? Woman Made Gallery is looking for writing by women that explores the many ways humor can be used in poetry--e.g., humorous imagery, funny subject matter, political and social satire, parodies of well-known poems/poets, and poems that use humor to make serious statements (or vice versa). All styles and themes will be considered, from the subtly wry to the sidesplitting, that's rich, this woman is funny!

Please submit up to three original works by emailing gallery(at) Entry deadline is January 10, 2009. Selected readers must be able to read in person at Woman Made Gallery on February 8, 2009.

Co-Curators: Nina Corwin and Pamela Miller
Pictured: "My New Word" by Heather Klinkhamer
(oil on board; 8x15 inches; U.S. $ 1,260)

See more of the art contributions here.

NewPages Updates :: Listings

Added to NewPages Guide to Literary Magazines Online and in Print

The Chaffey Review – fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction
New River Journal – digital writing and art
Simply Haiku – haiku, haiga, related essays, articles and reviews
The Literary Bohemian – poetry, postcard prose, travelogue
Velvet Mafia – queer fiction, poetry

To Dumb Down or Not to Dumb Down

A Writer And Reader On Why Book Publishers Fail
Lawrence Osborne
December 12, 2008

The commentary begins: "They dumb everything down."

And further, this:

"Here, then, is my memo to publishers. Why are you not venturing out to connect with the vast market of recent college graduates who are thirsting for serious writing and who have been grappling with difficult and often sterile texts for years and want something different?

"My son and his friends, who are in their early twenties, read Houllebecq and Bolaño and Sebald and Coetzee without any problem at all. Those writers speak easily to their anxieties and concerns. And yet none of these writers would have found American publishers if they hadn't first succeeded in their countries of origin.

"We the readers, the people, are not dumbed down media serfs obsessed with celebrities, dosh and movie rights. You are."

Read the full commentary here.

Book Art :: This is Where We Live

This is Where We Live - in a book-world city - is an amazing stop-motion film created for 4th Estate Publishers' 25th Anniversary (Produced by Apt Studio and Asylum Films). Only about 2 minutes long, it took over three weeks to produce. "Each scene was shot on a home-made dolly by an insane bunch of animators." Insanely beautiful.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Did Oliver Really Need More?

Looking for the fact in fiction, researchers set out to determine if Oliver's famous line - "Please, sir, I want some more" - would ever really have needed to be uttered.

"But what if we coldly ask whether Oliver really needed any more — that is, was the Victorian workhouse diet sufficient for a 9-year-old boy? A group of British researchers — two dietitians, a pediatrician and a historian — asked just that question in a study published online Dec. 17 in The British Medical Journal..." [read the rest here]

International Herald Tribune by Nicholas Bakalar
December 30, 2008

New Lit on the Block :: College Hill Review

Editors James Barszcz, Steven H. Jaffe, Andrew Gyory, and Edward Myers introduce The College Hill Review, an online quarterly exploring style in the arts and humanities through essays, articles, and other forms of nonfiction that a) address issues of style in works of literary or visual arts; b) report on trends relating to style in all disciplines of the humanities; c) reward stylistic study in themselves. Some poetry and fiction may also be included.

Of special interest to NewPages readers in this first issue: "What's Right With MFA Programs?" by Clifford Garstang - a daring, positive look at what others so often bleakly describe as the inundation of MFAs onto the world.

Also included: "The Technique of Time in Lolita" by William Vesterman; "The Kingdom of Geek" by Mary Akers; "Analog" a photo essay by Ray Kilmek; "Down the Shore with Henry James" by James Barszcz; and poetry by Mark Scott.

Submissions are being accepted for the Spring 2009 issue, deadline 31 January 2009.

Alt Watch :: Women & Environments

The latest issue of Women & Environments International Magazine focuses on Women and Toxins, and includes feature articles "Mercury Research Bears Fruit in the Amazon" by Kelly Haggart and "The Toxic Treatment: Harmful Chemicals in Canadian Cosmetics" by Madeleine Bird and Sandra Madray. WE Research feature articles include a wealth of topics: breast cancer and the link with pesticides; the U.S. nail salon industry; what every woman should know about mercury, fish and childbearing; the toxic truth about "safe" cosmetics; the need for global breast milk monitoring; and street sales of pesticides in South Africa.

WE also includes poetry, book resources, film & video resources, and other information about related organizations. Past topics covered by WE include Women and Global Climate Change; Women, Art & Community Activism; Women and Urban Sustainability; Young Women Working.

Definitely and alt magazine worth taking a look at, not only for women concerned about their own health and well being, but for anyone who has women in their lives they care about.

Literary Cambridge - The Map

Via Braniac: The Harvard Crimson has created a map of the campus and its surrounding area: Literary Cambridge

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Nation Student Writing Contest Winners

The Nation
Student Writing Contest
Sponsored by the BIL Charitable Trust to recognize and reward the best in student writing and thinking in answering this question: What have you learned from a personal experience that the next president should know before setting the agenda for the country?

College: "Transcending Trauma" by Victor Lopez, Guildford Tech Community College by way of High Point, NC
High School: "Addressing Inequality in Education" by Laine Alison Zalac, Columbus Alternative HS, Columbus, OH

High School
Daniel Zhou, Shaker Heights HS, Shaker Heights, OH
Tim Reveri, Ridgewood HS, Ridgewood, NJ
Henrik Petaisto, Wayzata High School, N. Plymouth, MN
Natalia Thompson, West High School, Madison, WI

Xan White, Yale University by way of Denver, CO
Hugh Baran, Yale University by way of Paramus, NJ
Willa Andrew Thompson, New York University by way of Key West, FL
Sean Dennison, Middlebury College by way of Helena, MT

Should the Newberry be Revamped?

In a recent article by Valerie Strauss, "Book world debates value of Newbery Medal" (The Washington Post December 21, 2008), the contemporary value of the Newberry and surrounding debate in the literary community are explored. Should works of quality, no matter how difficult their social and cultural content, take precedent over works that are - or have the potential to be - more "generally" popular? What is the responsibility of this, and any, literary award?

New Lit on the Block :: Quicksilver

Quicksilver is a literary magazine produced by students of the University of Texas at El Paso's online MFA program, publishing poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, visual art and photography.

The inaugural issue includes new work from Gary Fincke, Erin McMillan, Krystal Languell, Michael Chacko Daniels, J.R. Solonche, Donal Mahoney, Laura Le Hew, Brian Doyle, Jay Varner, and Blake Butler.

Submissions are being accepted for the next issue planned for May 09.

Jobs :: Various

Creative Writing Western State College of Colorado invites applications for a tenure-track position in English starting August 2009. Jan 26

Columbia College Chicago Elma Stuckey Liberal Arts and Sciences Emerging Poet-in-Residence. Annual, one-year nonrenewable position: starts August 2009. Poets from underrepresented communities and/or those who bring diverse cultural, ethnic, theoretical, and national perspectives to their writing and teaching are particularly encouraged to apply. Tony Trigilio, Director, Creative Writing - Poetry. Feb 15

The University of Alaska Southeast seeks applications for a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor in English in the area of Creative Writing/Distance Composition starting fall semester 2009. Sue Oliva, Personnel Services.

Minnesota State University, Mankato is seeking applications for an Assistant Professor, probationary/tenure-track position in Creative Writing - Fiction. Start date August 24, 2009. Jan 23

Monday, January 05, 2009

In Memoriam :: Grant Burns

Today marks the three-year anniversary of the loss of one of our dearest friends here at NewPages: Grant Burns, a university librarian, better known to our readers as Uncle Frank in his regular column of socio-political commentary.

His articles were fiercely poignant, politically charged, and steeped with emotion and intellect. Had we not lost Grant a few years back, I'm sure he'd still be writing for NewPages today and as fiery as ever about what's now going on in politics and around the world - most especially this last campaign bout. Reading back through his archived columns is a sharp reminder of pains suffered these past eight years, and brings a twinge of remorse that Grant could not have been here to witness the end of the Bush regime.

His guiding words are sorely missed, as is the kind character of the man behind them.

Jewish Fiction Writers’ Conference

If you write adult fiction for the Jewish market, this conference is for you. Meet and network with top publishing professionals, including publicist Shira Dicker (Shira Dicker Media International), writer Erika Dreifus (The Practicing Writer), literary agent David Forrer (Inkwell Management), publicity direc-tor/acquiring editor Cary Goldstein (Warner Twelve), author Jeffrey Hantover, editor Lara Heimert (Basic Books), editorial director Altie Karper (Schocken Books/Random House), author Binnie Kirshenbaum (Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts), author Liel Leibovitz, publisher Elisabeth Scharlatt (Algonquin Books) and author Darin Strauss. Whether you are a new author or have already been published, meet experts who can help you get your work into print. Call 212.415.5544 or email for information.

Sunday, March 15, 2009, 9:00am-5:00pm
Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
New York, NY

New Names at Tupelo Press

Tupelo Press has announced that Jim Schley of South Strafford, Vermont, has been hired as Managing Editor. Cassandra Cleghorn of Williamstown, Massachusetts, will become Associate Editor for Poetry and Nonfiction, and Grace Dane Mazur of Cambridge, Massachusetts, will become Fiction Editor.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

CFS :: Shenandoah Celebrates Flannery O'Connor

Shenandoah announces the celebration of the journal’s 60th anniversary with a special issue centering on the works of Flannery O’Connor. The editor seeks essays, poems, short stories, reviews, photographs and other artwork about, related to or in honor of the fiction and life of Ms. O’Connor.

Deadline: October 1, 2009

A prize of $1,000 will be awarded to the best O’Connor-related work published in the issue, which is planned for fall 2010. See website for complete details.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Perennial Poetry Postcard Project

Okay, so you've gone and done it. You have made the New Years Resolution to write more, to be diligent, to keep to a schedule, yadda yadda. Alrighty then, this is just the kick in the pants you need: The Prerennial Poetry Postcard Project from Concrete Wolf Press. Add your name to the list of over a hundred others, and then each week, you send a postcard poem to the next person down on the list from your name. In return, the bottom of the list goes to the top of the list, so you will receive poems as well.

This is organized by Paul Nelson and Lana Ayers (Concrete Wolf), the same people who created the August Poetry Postcard Project, which entails writing and sending a poem a day for the month of August. I participated in this last year, and HIGHLY recommend it! I'll admit - I didn't always send a poem a day, but I did make up for it when I could, and finished out the month on time.

As for the Prerennial Project - I guess we'll see how it goes! Won't you join me?