Monday, November 30, 2009

Jobs

The MFA Program in Creative Writing at California State University, Fresno invites applications for the position of Assistant Professor, Fiction Writing, Tenure Track to teach creative writing and literature at undergraduate/graduate levels beginning Fall 2010. Corrinne Hales, Search Committee Chair. Materials received by December 21, 2009 will receive full consideration.

The Undergraduate College of Rosemont College invites applications for an adjunct instructor to teach Creative Writing Poetry in the spring 2010 semester.

Fifth Wednesday Editor's Prize

Every year, Fifth Wednesday Journal reviews the work of contributing artists to make selections for the Editor's Prize in short fiction, poetry, and photography. The fall 2009 issue includes the editors comments on their selections. This year, Ann Leahy selected the work of Ray Gonzalez ("Canto" fall 2008), with a special note of recognition to Rebecca B. Rank and Mary Biddinger. Andrew Coburn's fiction ("Hearty Women" spring 2009) was selected by Keith Gandal, and Barbara DeGenevieve selected the photography of Harry Wilson ("Classroom Turkey" fall 2008), with an honorable mention to Leigh Wells.

New Lit on the Block :: Sugar House Review

Sugar House Review is an independent, semiannual poetry journal based out of Salt Lake City, Utah edited by John Kippen, Nathaniel Taggart, Jerry VanIeperen, and Natalie Young.

The first issue is slim but packed with poems by Jeffrey C. Alfier, Rane Arroyo, Ruth Bavetta, Candace Black, Kenneth Brewer, Teresa Cader, Rob Carney, Star Coulbrooke, Tobi Cogswell, Brock Dethier, Cat Dixon, Gary Dop, William Doreski, Justin Evans, Howie Good, Dustin M. Hoffman, Natasha Kessler, Robin Linn, Grant Loveys, Matt Mason, Michael McLane, Paul Muldoon, J.R. Pearson, Nanette Rayman Rivera, Richard Robbins, Jerome Rothenberg, Sam Ruddick, Ki Russell, Natahsa Sajé, M.E. Silverman, David Starkey, Joanna Straughn, Billy Swift, Jacqueline West, and Shari Zollinger.

With a cover price of $5, it's hard to not buy a copy or subscribe to this powerhouse publication - and the $2 PDF download price leaves readers with no excuse.

Actors and Writers Book Club

Newly launched by Thomas P. Kelly, author of Payback, the Actors and Writers Book Club has a purposely limited range, but could soon be coming to your town.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Open City 2009 RRofihe Winner

Leslie Maslow of Brooklyn, New York is Open City's 2009 RRofihe Trophy Short Story Contest winner for her story "Mum" - which will appear in Open City #28.

Runners-Up
Corey Campbell
Avi Kramer
Adam Gallari
Amy Halloran
Nick Kocz
Renee Hahn

Guidelines for the 2010 RRofihe Trophy For an unpublished short story (up to 5,000), judged by Rick Rofihe. Deadline October 15, 2010.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Writers’ Room Fellowships

The Writers’ Room of Boston, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides affordable, quiet, and secure workspace in downtown Boston for area writers, is now accepting applications for four fellowships for 2010. The fellowships award use of the Writers’ Room to Boston Area residents at no cost for one year. The submission deadline for applications is December 31, 2009. Residencies will begin in February 2010.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PEN 2010 Literary Awards

PEN American Center is accepting submissions and nominations for the 2010 Literary Awards. For a complete list of awards and submission guidelines, please visit www.pen.org/awards.

Lectureship

Emerging Writer Lectureship Department of English Gettysburg College

One-year appointment, beginning August 2010, 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, curriculum vitae, names of three references, and a 5-10 page writing sample to: Emerging Writer Lectureship, Department of English, Campus Box 397, Gettysburg College, 300 N. Washington St., Gettysburg, PA 17325, postmarked by January 29, 2010. Electronic applications will not be accepted. Do not send entire monographs, books, etc.

Gettysburg College is a highly selective liberal arts college located within 90 minutes of the Washington/Baltimore metropolitan area. Established in 1832, the College has a rich history and is situated on a 220-acre campus with an enrollment of over 2,600 students. Gettysburg College celebrates diversity and welcomes applications from members of any group that has been historically underrepresented in the American academy. The College assures equal employment opportunity and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, and disability.
Application Information

Postal Address:
Emerging Writer Lectureship
Department of English
Gettysburg College
300 North Washington Street
Box 397
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone:
(717) 337-6750

Fax:
(717) 337-8551

TDD:
(717) 337-6833

CFS: Creative Works for Grad Conference

CFS for scholarly and creative submissions for a National Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference entitled “The End?” to be held at Indiana University in Bloomington from March 25th-27th, 2010.

Looking for graduate student writers to give readings of their work that engage with the conference theme either thematically or formally (or both). Readings that challenge notions of endings, structure, or traditional formal boundaries, are all welcome, along with work that engages with the conference theme within the piece itself, through narrative or language. This conference hopes to examine how endings and limits are depicted, along with how we surpass (or are constrained by) them as writers.

Other topics might include, but are not limited to:

Endings as beginnings / beginnings as endings
The end of genre, crossing genre
Translation
The apocalypse and apocalyptic literature
The end of the human
Violence, death, grief, trauma
Moments of crisis
War
The ends of the earth
Fringe, margins, outlines
The future of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, etc.

Accepting proposals for individual projects as well as panel proposals organized by topic/theme/form. Organizers are committed to involving as much creative work as possible in the conference and representing a wide variety of writers.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words describing your work and its relation to the conference theme, as well as five representative pages of creative work and as a short description of yourself, by January 15th, 2010: iugradconference-at-gmail-dot-com

Graduate Student Advisory Committee
Department of English
Indiana University

Monday, November 23, 2009

Narrative First Annual Poetry Contest Winners

Narrative Magazine has announced the winners of their first annual poetry contest:

Alice Jones, First Place
Anne Marie Rooney, Second Place
Tomas Q. Morin, Third Place

Finalists
Mermer Blakeslee
Scott Chellener
Peter Filkins
Luisa A. Igloria
Shane Lake
Chloé Yelena Miller
Amy Newman
Barbra Nightingale
Ashley Skabar
Christie Towers

Open to fiction and nonfiction: the Fall 2009 Story Contest, with a $3,250 First Prize, a $1,500 Second Prize, a $750 Third Prize, and ten finalists receiving $100 each. All entries will be considered for publication. Contest deadline: November 30, 2009.

Indie Bookstore Survival

Clay Shirky has some advice for local bookstores in his post Local Bookstores, Social Hubs, and Mutualization.

New Lit on the Block :: Eudaimonia Poetry Review

Eudaimonia Poetry Review is new on the web and well put-together by John Boyle, chapbook editor; Elaine Burnet, art editor; Kris Clements, reviews editor; Scott Forence, production design; Allison McEntire, poetry editor.

Publishing poetry and reviews of both new and classic works of poetry, the first issue includes works by Bob Mohrbacher, Liz Garcia, William Doreski, Derek Phillips, Kimberly Sherman, Clay Carpenter, M.V. Montgomery, Joel Solonche, Noah Lederman, Jay Snodgrass, Steven Joyce, Jill Caputo, Samuel Piccone, Caleb Puckett, Cesca Janece Waterfield, Angela S. Patane, Fredrick Zydek.

Eudaimonia is open for submission until November 30 for its next issue (ars poetica on the pursuit of happiness: Ars Joetica) , and is accepting submissions for its first chapbook contest until December 31.

Jobs

The English Department at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO anticipates an August 16, 2010 opening for a 9-month, non-tenure-track Creative Writing (Poetry) Instructor.

The University of Michigan-Flint invites applications for a tenure-track position in Creative Writing at the Assistant Professor level beginning in Fall 2010. Thomas C. Foster, English Department. Review begins Jan 4.

Assistant Professor of English - Creative Nonfiction Writing, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN. Susan Hauser, Chair Department of English.

The Department of English and Writing in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Tampa seeks a candidate for an Assistant Professor of English, tenure track, in creative writing (poetry) to begin August 2010.

Bennington College
(VT) seeks two published writers of distinguished literary accomplishment to teach literature and writing to highly motivated undergraduates

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Lit Mag Reviews Posted

NewPages Literary Magazine Reviews for November include:

Asia Literary Review
Cimarron Review
Columbia Poetry Review
Grain
Identity Theory
Image
Irish Pages
Parnassus
Prairie Schooner
Seneca Review
TriQuarterly
Wallace Stevens Journal

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seven Stories Offers Free Books

From Ashley Brooke Roberts, Seven Stories Press:

In honor of the festival of brutal late-capitalist commerce that the day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, has become in America, Seven Stories Press wishes to offer — as our contribution to the alternative tradition of celebrating the day after Thanksgiving as Buy Nothing Day — free copies of some of our titles, drawn from the Seven Stories list of titles featuring voices of conscience and works of the imagination from authors including Howard Zinn, Ariel Dorfman, Kristin Dawkins, Kate Braverman, Barry Gifford, Nelson Algren, Rick DeMarinis, Hattie Gossett, Ralph Nader, and more.

The free titles will be available from noon to 4 PM EST on Friday, November 27, 2009. We’ll have a limited number of copies available of each title, which will be up on our website soon. Each customer can take a copy of one book, which will ship with a free catalog and a chapbook containing the opening chapters from our Fall 2009 lead fiction title, The Old Garden by Hwang Sok-yong. No payment of any kind is required — no book price, no shipping, nothing. The books are absolutely free. All that’s required is that you create an account with sevenstories.com, allowing you to buy books from us in the future at a 25% discount, if and when you choose.

This is a perfect chance to discover some of the authors from the Seven Stories Press list, and to intellectually arm yourself for the coming holiday season. Keep up to date by following our Twitter and Facebook feeds, and we’ll see you on Buy Nothing Day 2009.

Glimmer Train September Fiction Winners

Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their September Fiction Open competition. This competition is held quarterly and is open to all writers for stories with a word count range between 2000-20,000. No theme restrictions. The next Fiction Open competition will take place in December. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.

First place: Carrie Brown [pictured] of Sweet Briar, VA, wins $2000 for “Bomb.” Her story will be published in the Fall 2010 issue of Glimmer Train Stories, out in August 2010.

Second place: Ken Barris of Cape Town, South Africa, wins $1000 for “Life Underwater.” His story will also be published in an upcoming issue of Glimmer Train Stories.

Third place: Lydia Fitzpatrick of Brooklyn NY, wins $600 for “Ellijay.”

A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.

Glimmer Train has also selected the 50 winning entries for their Best Start competition. Each wins $50 and makes Glimmer Train’s Best Start list.

Deadline soon approaching!

November Short Story Award for New Writers: November 30

This competition is held quarterly and is open to writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5000. No theme restrictions. Word count should not exceed 12,000. (All shorter lengths welcome.) Click here for complete guidelines.

New Lit on the Block:: Mythium

Mythium: The Journal of Contemporary Literature and Culture is the "brainchild of award-winning author and educator, Crystal E. Wilkinson and visual artist/graphic designer, upfromsumdirt (ronald davis)." The subtitle of the magazine goes into greater depth as to its mission: "Celebrating Writers of Color and the Cultural Voice." According to Davis, "our goal is to provide an outlet for those ethnic writers not immediately focused upon through other journals."

Published biannual, this first issue is overflowing with contributors, but maintains a slim 120 or so pages of content - which includes multiple submissions from some authors.

Featured in this first issues are Michael Harper, Torie Michelle Anderson, David Keali'i, Ernest Williamson III, Opal Palmer Adisa, Kyla Marshell, Reginald Harris, Remica Bingham, Rickey Laurentiis, Sean Labrador y Manzano, Joanne C. Hillhouse, Andre Howard, Truth Thomas, Sankar Roy, Alan King, Tolu Jegade, Michael Martin, Tara Betts, Derrick Weston Brown, K. Danielle Edwards, Rane Arroyo, Honoree Fannone Jeffers, Myronn Hardy, Peju Adeniran, Saudade, Shannon Gibney, Tuere T.S. Ganges, and Pamela Jackson.

Mythium is accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for their next issue.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Free Lunch to Cease Publication

Ron Offen, the editor of Free Lunch, is not longer able to continue his work on the publication, Free Lunch. The Autumn issue, Number 42, is being prepared for mailing, and will be the final issue. The staff have asked writers to not send any further submissions to the magazine. Those submissions that have been received with return postage will be returned as soon as possible.

River Styx "Games" and Winners

The theme for issue 80 of River Styx is "Games" - which broadly interpreted includes works about "soccer games, hoop games, board games, card games, kid games, bedroom games, carnival games, even wild game." As Editor Richard Newman introduces the issue: "The best games, as well as the best writing about games, always enact something larger than the actual game."

Also included in this issue are the works by winners of the 2009 River Styx International Poetry Contest, as selected by Stephen Dunn: Michael Derrick Hudson, Michale J. Grabell, and J. Stephen Rhodes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Lit on the Block :: Super Arrow

Independently run online and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Super Arrow is edited by Amanda Goldblatt, a writer, teacher, scrapper, and recent MFA grad. Her interest is in creating a new online writing-and-art space focused chiefly on creative experiment and community.

The first issue includes works from Jaffa Aharonov (nonfiction), Joe Collins (fiction), Jennifer Denrow (fiction/poetry), Andy Fogle (nonfiction), Roxane Gay (fiction), Maggie Ginestra (poetry), Joseph Goosey (poetry), Jay Thompson (poetry), Kit Kennedy (poetry), Ben Spivey (fiction), Kyle Winkler (fiction), and art from Scott Alden, Kelda Martensen, and Jason Vivona.

Coach House Fiction Sale

Through the month of November, buy one Coach House fiction book from their online store at regular price, get the second one half off. A great deal with no stupid membership fees. How refreshing.

Marvin Bell Q&A

The newest issue of Third Coast includes an excerpt from a November 2007 Q&A session Marvin Bell gave to students and faculty of Western Michigan University as part of the Gwen Frostic reading series. The editors note that Bell began the session with: "Since this is being recorded I'd like to say my name is James Dickey!" He goes on to discuss his writing habits, the challenges of writing political poetry, the poem "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," and the influence of his being a musician in his poetry.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chick-fil-A Cow Calendar Goes Literary

I've never had a Chick-fil-A anything, and I'm not even sure we have them in this area, but apparently their calendar is a hit with their customers. This year, the cow characters are shown in scenes which represents famous works of literature. Funny how some of these most famous works can be so well-known and recognized, but have probably gone unread. I guess that's the power of literary reference. Or movies. Or Spark Notes. Or, now, a chicken sandwich.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NYT Picks 10 Best Children's Books

Only a Witch Can Fly, by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (Feiwel & Friends)
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, written and illustrated by Brian Floca (Richard Jackson/Atheneum)
The Odd Egg, written and illustrated by Emily Gravett (Simon & Schuster)
A Penguin Story, written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis (HarperCollins)
The Lion & the Mouse, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown)
The Snow Day, written and illustrated by Komako Sakai (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic)
Tales from Outer Suburbia, written and illustrated by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic)
Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales, written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins (Candlewick)
White Noise, by David A. Carter (Little Simon/Simon & Schuster)
All the World, by Liz Garton Scanlon, illus trated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster)

Charter for Compassion Released Nov 12

The result of Karen Armstrong's 2008 TED Prize wish, the Charter for Compassion is a document about the core shared value of every world religion and moral code, the Golden Rule. In November 2008 the world was invited to contribute their words to the Charter. Thousands of contributions from over 100 countries were received. This document will be released to the world on November 12, the result of months of collaborative work by diverse religious leaders and great thinkers.

South Asian Diaspora Fiction

Guernica guest fiction editors Amitava Kumar and V.V. Ganeshananthan present South Asian diaspora literature. In their introductory chat, "I Don't Want To Fight," they discuss their selections, along with war and conflict, and its effect on literature.

Their selections include:

"Red Ink" by Romesh Gunesekera
"The Other Gandhi" by Tania James
"Murder the Queen" by Hasanthika Sirisena
"A Rightful Share" by Preeta Samarasan

Visit Guernica Fiction to read all of these stories full text.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

50 Greatest Animated Films

Terry Gilliam interjects commentary for Time Out's list of 50 Greatest Animated Films.

Cool New Lit: Underwater New York

From Nicki Pombier Berger, Editor-in-Chief:

Underwater New York is an online collection of stories inspired by objects found underwater in and around New York City. The objects range from the whimsical (a fleet of ice cream trucks) to the historical (the Dreamland bell), and we're interested in the stories that these underwater objects evoke, in whatever form they might take (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc). We accept submissions in any genre and on a rolling basis, and we are actively recruiting new stories.

[Pictured: Flying Fish Washed Ashore by Adrian Kinloch]

iTunes of Poetry

PoetrySpeaks.com was created by Sourcebooks, Inc., the publishers of three New York Times bestsellers, Poetry Speaks, Poetry Speaks to Children, and Hip Hop Speaks to Children. This beta version of the site has just launched after five years of development work and an estimated $250,000 of investment from Sourcebooks.

As you can guess, with that kind of investment, there has to be revenue from users, thus the site is modeled as an "iTunes for poetry." With some free samples to entice users, audio and text poems will go for 99 cents, and video versions $1.99. Future plans include partnering with retailers to sell books, CDs, ebooks, DVDs, as well as promotion and sales for tickets to poetry slams, readings, and online performances.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Imprisoned Writers Who Could Not Be Silenced

The newest issue of World Literature Today (Nov/Dec 2009) includes a special section: "Voices Against the Darkness: Imprisoned Writers Who Could Not Be Silenced." This 26-page section has also generously been made available full-text on the WLT website. The section includes an introduction by Editor Daniel Simon, and a page with "How to Get Involved": organizations and links, and "Voices Against the Darkness: A Guide to Essential Reading." Writers whose works are featured include U Win Tin, Breyten Breytenbach, Orhan Kemal, Nâzım Hikmet, Omar Al-Kikli, Tha Zin, Nahid Persson Sarvestani, Saadi Youssef, and Amer Hanna Fatuhi.

Phillips Academy Writer-in-Residence

Phillips Academy, an independent, coeducational, secondary boarding/day school in Andover, Massachusetts with a diverse community of students & faculty is seeking a writer-in-residence to fill the Roger F. Murray Chair in Creative Writing beginning in the academic year 2010-2011. The term of appointment is two years with a possible renewal. Review begins Nov 15

Shop Dalkey Archives for the Holidays

Save 60% and get free shipping in the U.S.* with Dalkey Archive's Holiday Sale, running through November 22, 2009.

10 Books for $65!
20 Books for $120!

Offer applies to all Dalkey Archive books and issues of The Review of Contemporary Fiction. Choose one copy of several books, or multiple copies of a single book - while supplies last.

To take advantage of this offer:

1. Choose which books you would like.
2. Click on the sale option below for 10 or 20 books.
3. During "Checkout" you will see a "Notes" field. Please enter your selections in this field.

10 books for $65 w/free shipping

20 books for $120 w/free shipping

Monday, November 09, 2009

Another Sad Loss: Bailey Coy Books

Snagged from jseattle, blog reporter fro the CHS Capitol Hill Seattle Blog:

Michael Wells, owner of indie Capitol Hill bookstore Bailey Coy Books and a prominent member of the Hill business community, announced that he is closing doors on the shop at the end of November.

jseattle interviews Wells in his most recent addition to this blog story.

Jobs and Fellowships

University of North Carolina Greensboro Assistant Professor Poetry. Tenure-track appointment in creative writing effective August 1, 2010. Postmark Nov 20.

University of Northern Colorado tenure-track, assistant professor of English, Creative Writing- Fiction. Apps due Dec 11.

The Department of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is searching for a Fiction Writer, rank open, to join the faculty of their Creative Writing International Program. Nov 15

New College of Florida Humanities Division announces an opening for a Writer in Residence, spring semester 2010 (February-May). Informaion: Dr. Robert Zamsky, Chair, Search Committee, Division of Humanities, New College of Florida, 5800 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243-2109. Review begins Dec 1

Gilman School, an independent boys’ school in Baltimore, announces its search to award the fifteenth Tickner Writing Fellowship to a writer in fiction, poetry, playwriting, or creative non-fiction. Jan 8

The Undergraduate Writing Program of Warren Wilson College seeks a fiction writer for a full-time, continuing position in an extended contract system with a 3-3 load. Review begins Dec 15.

The Department of English and Creative Writing at the State University of New York at Oswego invites applications for a tenure track Assistant Professor position. Robert O'Connor, Department of English & Creative Writing. Review begins January 4, 2010.


U of North Carolina, Greensboro seeks Assistant Professor tenure-track appointment in creative writing (poetry). Deadline Nov 20

Saginaw Valley State University Department of English is seeking applicants for a tenure-track Assistant Professor of English, with emphasis in creative writing: poetry, beginning Fall 2010.

Cornell University Creative Writing Program of the English Department invites applications for a poet (with an MFA degree in Creative Writing & at least one full-length book of poetry published by a reputable press) for a full-time, tenure-track assistant professorship beginning July 2010. Dec 15 deadline.

The English Department at St. Lawrence University invites applications for a one-year, visiting position in poetry. Review begins Nov 15.

West Chester University is seeking applicants for Director, Poetry Center and Creative Writing Faculty: Poetry. This is a tenure-track position, which may be filled at Assistant or Associate rank, will be split between six credits of administrative duties as director of the WCU Poetry Center and Poetry Conference, and six credits of teaching (two courses) per semester, with the courses including poetry workshops, poetry seminars, poetic forms, introductory creative writing, and general education. Dr. Anne Herzog, Chair Department of English. Review begins Nov 15.

Flagler College English Department invites applications for a full-time position at the rank of assistant professor to begin August 2010 with a specialization in English language study, a secondary interest in creative writing, and other specializations open. Dr. Alan Woolfolk, Dean of Academic Affairs. Review begins November 13; initial interviews 2009 MLA Conference in Philadelphia.

Stanford University
Department of English & the Creative Writing Program are conducting a search for a fiction writer at the tenured associate level. Professor Eavan Boland, Director. December 4 for full consideration.

Arizona State University Assistant Professor in Creative Writing, with emphasis in Fiction or related discipline. Nov 16.

Happy Birthday Vera Long

Celebrate Vera Long's is 85 today! Celebrate her birthday by reading her two 2006 Anderbo Poetry Prize-winning poems.

Now a widow, Vera has been writing Country Poetry for sixty years, living in rural Oklahoma. She has written poems about life and love, time and place and family life. Many of her poems can be found in various anthologies and on-line. She is listed in Who’s Who of American Women for her poetry. Vera and her late husband, Othadell Long, were married almost 57 years. She still lives on their farm near her two children. She belongs to the Oklahoma Poetry Society and is Secretary of Stillwater Writers Group.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Stare Seen Around the World

15 Countries,
31 Cities,
32,000 photos,
One stare.

The Rolling Exhibit
Photography by Kevin Connolly


Artist Statement:

1 year ago I was asked by a little boy in Christchurch, New Zealand if I had been eaten by a shark.

2 months ago I was asked by an elderly woman in Sighisoara, Romania if I had lost my legs in a car accident.

6 weeks ago I was asked by a bar patron in Helena, Montana if I still wore my dog tags from Iraq.

Everyone tries to create a story in their heads to explain the things that baffle them. For the same reason we want to know how a magic trick works, or how mystery novel ends, we want to know how someone different, strange, or disfigured came to be as they are. Everyone does it. It's natural. It's curiosity.

But before any of us can ponder or speculate - we react. We stare. Whether it is a glance or a neck twisting ogle, we look at that which does not seem to fit in our day to day lives. It is that one instant of unabashed curiosity - more reflex than conscious action - that makes us who we are and has been one of my goals to capture over the past year.

It is after this instant that we try to hazard a guess as to why such an anomalous person exists. Was it disease? Was it a birth defect? Was it a landmine? These narratives all come from the context in which we live our lives. Illness, drugs, calamity, war - all of these might become potential stories depending upon what we are exposed to in connection with disability.

In each photograph the subjects share a commonality, but what does their context say? Looking at each face, I saw humanity. Rolling through their streets, I found the unique cultures and customs that created an individual.

NPR slide show and audio of Connolly discussing this exhibit.

Gone Digital: Ascent

Ascent (Concordia College) has gone completely online. Their new format still allows them to select quality essays, fiction, poetry and "other forms" (which still need a presence on the new site), as well as a Readers Blog - already well under way. Stop by and check out this new transition of Ascent.

Endings: Rambler Magazine

Rambler Magazine's "hiatus" status has now changed to indefinite. According to Editor Dave Korzon: "As such, there are no immediate plans for future issues." No further submissions nor subscriptions will be accepted. Back issues of the magazine will continue to be available for order online.

Our condolences to The Rambler staff - I've known them since my start here at NewPages. It's sad to see such a well-established publication come to an end. I think there are new efforts on the rise, but nothing ever fills the place of such well-known publications whose tireless staff fought the fight to pave the way for so many others. Thanks Rambler. Almost too cliche to say, but for those of us old enough to have grown up with it, we have the right, especially on these fall days: Ramble On my friends.

Climate Change 350 Poems

350 Poems is part of 350.org's international day of climate action that happened on October 24, 2009.

On this site, 350 writers each contributed a poem responding to climate change (in a language of their choosing) in the days/hours leading up to October 24th. As an additional constraint - mirroring the real political obstacles and shortage of time we face - each poem had to be 3.5 lines in length.

"Why 350? Because that is the agreed upon safe upper limit for CO2 in the atmosphere (in parts per million). We're currently at 390 and rising, close to what climate experts call "the point of no return." This is a critical moment: we and our political representatives must act quickly in the less than two months before this December's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Visit 350.org for other actions in your area (there are currently over 4000 actions in over 170 countries)."

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

If You Could Recommend Only One Movie

Mitchell Jarosz, my esteemed colleague who has taught film studies for longer than he will disclose, was asked: "If you could recommend just one film for someone to watch, just one, what would it be?"

His reply: The Girl in the Cafe

This is a quietly and surprisingly incredible film. Starring Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald (one of my favs from No Country for Old Men; Nanny McPhee; Gosford Park)

From the IMDB entry: "A May-December comedy becomes a political drama. Lawrence, a spindly, self-effacing civil servant, is a senior researcher for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, preparing for a G-8 summit that will determine the scope of the world's effort to reduce extreme poverty. In a crowded café, he chats awkwardly with Gina, a young Scot with time on her hands. They share a couple of meals, and he invites her to accompany him to the summit in Reykjavík. Once there, as romance blooms, Gina's past, Lawrence's work and proclivity to compromise, and the presence of ministers and presidents spur her to act."

Happy 25th MacGuffin

The MacGuffin, housed by Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan, is celebrating its 25 anniversary this year. Indeed, a publishing and readership milestone worthy of celebration.

Monday, November 02, 2009

New Brooklyn Poet Laureate Sought

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is seeking the next Brooklyn poet laureate and has appointed a five-member Brooklyn Poet Laureate Recommendation Committee to evaluate candidates for the volunteer position. The Committee will recommend a pool of three finalists to the borough president, from which he will choose one to be the bard of the borough.

Candidates for the poet laureate position must be a Brooklyn resident with recognition as a poet, and demonstrate a commitment to using the position for community outreach and projects that promote poetry and/or literacy in our diverse borough of Brooklyn.

“We know that with all our borough’s beauty, character—and characters, Brooklyn writers and poets never lack inspiration,” said BP Markowitz. “We have so many terrific writers, but the way I see it, our new poet laureate should follow the expansive example of Ken Siegelman, our previous poet laureate now of blessed memory, by not only being a fine poet, but an enthusiastic ambassador of poetry and literacy here in Brooklyn. This person should have the time and the temperament to reach out, share their work with diverse communities and spread the word about the joys and benefits of reading widely and writing well.”

Members of the committee are: Julie Agoos, coordinator of the MFA Program in Poetry at Brooklyn College, where she is Tow Professor of English; Robert N. Casper, programs director for the Poetry Society of America; Linda Susan Jackson, poet and associate professor of English at Medgar Evers College; Dionne Mack-Harvin, executive director, Brooklyn Public Library; and Anthony Vigorito, poet and retired teacher who assisted former poet laureate Ken Siegelman with Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, a program established by Siegelman.

Ken Siegelman, the late Brooklyn poet laureate, was appointed by the borough president in 2002 and served until his death this year. In addition to establishing Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, he held workshops at Phoenix House and encouraged young people to write.

To be considered for the position, candidates should submit 5–10 pages of their work, a maximum two-page bio or résumé and a cover letter that describes their vision of engaging Brooklyn’s various communities in poetry. The deadline for nominations is November 24 at 5:00 p.m. Information can be e-mailed to ekoch@brooklynbp.nyc.gov, faxed to 718-802-3452, or mailed to Poet Laureate Recommendation Committee, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201.

Jobs

University of Alaska, Fairbanks, English Department is seeking a creative non-fiction writer for a full-time, 9-month, tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Creative Writing, beginning Fall 2010. Nov 15

University of Dayton Herbert W. Martin Post-graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing, with possibility of renewal for a second year. Nov 6

The Department of English at the University of San Francisco invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the assistant professor level in creative writing with an emphasis in creative nonfiction.

Kenyon Review Contest Winners Featured

The Fall 2009 issue of The Kenyon Review features works by the 2009 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers winner Felicity Sheehy and Runners Up Arbil Lopez and Haley Markbreiter as well as the winning story by Alexandra Zobel for the 2009 Kenyon Review for Short Fiction Prize.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Passings: Jake Wiler

Poet Jack Wiler, whose works have been anthologized and author of Fun Being Me and I Have No Clue, passed away last week. Sarah Sarai posted this blog in tribute to Jack.