»

| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

Poets & Writers Blogs

Homes often feel like they contain the energy of those who live there. Once the occupants are gone, whether they've moved on to another home or passed away, the house may suddenly feel vacant, even when the furnishings and decor remain. This week, write about a home or place so special you would consider it sacred, and how you felt when that space underwent a significant change. Recall fond memories and the absence experienced in that space.

Cooks usually have a specialty dish that is made with pride—one that is requested by friends and family for special events and holiday gatherings. This week, write about a character who is known for his or her specialty dish. It could be as basic as chocolate chip cookies, or perhaps he or she has invented an original dish with unheard-of ingredients. Has this character's culinary genius been influenced by a family member? Is this cook a raw talent?

Consider someone you've been thinking about recently and write a poem as a tribute to her. Perhaps she did you a much-appreciated favor, paid you an unexpected visit, or just popped into your head as you went about your daily tasks. Take some time to consider what this person means to you and why you're thankful to have her in your life. Examine the bond between the two of you, and why you are important to each other.  

Dan Godston teaches and lives in Chicago. His chapbooks include Splice Poems (Argotist Ebooks, 2012) and Sonic Textures Triptych (Linguiscope Books, 2010), and his writings have appeared in RHINO, Chase Park, After Hours, Beard of Bees, Drunken Boat, Horse Less Review, and other publications. Godston also directs the Borderbend Arts Collective.

The Borderbend Arts Collective presents boundary-pushing arts programming by connecting artists with communities to create year-round musical, literary, and multi-arts programs involving new and unique arts practices. A big part of Borderbend’s programming involves community arts and multidisciplinary collaborations—such as the “Armitage Arts: Summer Edition” program that we are presenting during Night Out in the Parks. We are grateful to receive support from Poets & Writers to help present this program at Chicago’s Mozart Park on June 24.

The poets include Elizabeth Marino, Steven Schroeder, Janina Ciezadlo, Charlie Newman and Wayne Allen Jones, and the musicians include Adam Zanolini (flute, saxophone, djembe, electric bass), Angel Elmore (clarinet, piano), Lou Ciccotelli (drums), and Dan Godston (cornet, small instruments). This program is part of an ongoing cultural corridor-building initiative along West Armitage Avenue. Other Armitage Arts programs have included the 2014 Armitage Arts Festival and events at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center and Rosa’s Lounge.

Several years ago Tim Hunt and Allan Johnston performed with Chicago Phonography at the Evanston Art Center, with support from the Poets & Writers' Readings & Workshops Program. The audience that evening was treated to sonic combinations of poetry by Hunt and Johnston with CP’s real and imaginary soundscapes, surrounded by the eye-popping CUT paper art installation in the gallery.

Our upcoming program at Mozart Park is another example of Borderbend’s ongoing commitment to fostering multimedia collaborations, and connecting talented local artists with appreciative audiences. I look forward to experiencing the simpatico cross-disciplinary imaginings and juxtapositions that will be sparked during the program. The program is just a few days after the summer solstice, and is a great way to kick off the summer. All are invited to come and join in the fun.

“Armitage Arts: Summer Edition” is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks with the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Arts programming in neighborhoods across the city advances the goals of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Cultural Plan.

Photo: (top) Adam Zanolini, Lou Ciccotelli  Photo Credit: Kristen Brown

Photo: (bottom) Janinai Ciezadlo. Photo Credit: Rob Kameczuna.

Support for Readings & Workshops events in Chicago is provided by an endowment established with generous contributions from the Poets & Writers Board of Directors and others.  Additional support comes from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Submissions are currently open for Midway Journal’s Monstrosities of the Midway Contest. A prize of $1,000 and publication in Midway Journal will be given for a single poem, a group of poems, a short story, or a work of nonfiction. Midway’s editorial staff will select a group of finalists, and award-winning poet Dorianne Laux will select the winner.

Writers are encouraged to submit work that “complicates issues of performance and identity.” Using the online submission manager, send up to five unpublished poems of up to twenty pages, or a piece of fiction or nonfiction of up to six thousand words, along with a $15 entry fee by this Sunday, May 31. Multiple entries will be accepted for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Launched in 2007, Midway Journal is a Minnesota-based quarterly that aims to “act not only as a bridge between aesthetics (and maybe even coasts), but…to create a sense of place as well. And like any good fair, place is a relative term as the contents and attractions change frequently.”

Submissions are currently open for the 2015 Munster Literature Center Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition. A cash award of €1,000 (approximately $1,090) and publication by Southword Editions is given for a poetry chapbook. Emerging and established poets from any country are eligible to apply.

One runner-up will receive €500 (approximately $545); both first- and second-place winners will receive fifty copies of their chapbooks. The winning chapbooks will be nominated for the U.K. Forward Prize for best poem and anthology, and winners will be invited to read their work at the 2016 Cork Spring Poetry Festival. The deadline to enter is May 31.

Submit a poetry manuscript between 16 and 25 single-spaced pages, along with a cover letter and a €25 entry fee, to foolforpoetry@munsterlit.ie. Poets based in the U.K. and Ireland may submit their manuscripts via postal mail to The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O’Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork, Ireland. Multiple manuscript entries are accepted. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The Munster Literature Centre established the Fool for Poetry Chapbook competition in 2005. Previous winners include Virginia Astley and Victoria Kennefick.

Founded in Cork, Ireland, in 1993, the Munster Literature Centre hosts festivals, workshops, readings, and other events to promote and celebrate literature.

5.28.15

From: The Time Is Now

This week, write a map leading to where you live. Start as close or far from your home as you wish and trace the paths, obstacles, and landmarks that lead you to your door. Think about who you're creating this map for and when they would have an occasion to use it. How would you describe the geography of your neighborhood to someone who's never been there? Consider the elements that are special to you and make where you live feel like home. For inspiration, read David Connerley Nahm's installment of Writers Recommend.

Take some time this week to discover the work of a well-known photographer. Whether you visit an exhibition at a museum or peruse the internet, look for photographs that capture your imagination. Examine a photograph closely and write the story you see in the frame. Rely heavily on descriptive language and offer details of the composition through your writing. What did the photographer keep in focus?

Robert Francis Flor, PhD, is a Seattle native and cochair of Pinoy Words Expressed Kultura Arts. His poetry has been selected for Seattle King County's program “Poetry on Buses,” and has appeared in Soundings Review, Four Cornered Universe, and numerous other journals. He is currently completing a poetry chapbook, Alaskero Memories, and writes plays about the Filipino community in Seattle. Flor blogs about a P&W–supported reading he helped organize which took place at the Seattle Public Library this past April.

Robert Francis Flor

While most are familiar with Greek, Roman, Scandinavian, and Judeo-Christian mythologies, we often fail to recognize that people throughout the world have stories, journeys, villains, and heroes that shape their beliefs and behaviors.

Modern societies may overwhelm and impose their values on more traditional ones while wearing a mask of cultural superiority, even though ancient civilizations often have myths that share universal qualities. The late Joseph Campbell noted in Myths to Live By (Penguin, 1993) that when "old taboos (myths) are discredited, communities immediately go to pieces, disintegrate, and become resorts of vice and disease."

Pinoy Words Expressed Kultura Arts (PWEKA) and La Sala, two Seattle-based arts organizations from the local Filipino and Latino communities, aimed to cast a light on this issue through poetry by presenting readings that exposed the public to different mythologies.

With the help of two Seattle University student organizations—United Filipino Club and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán—and the Seattle Public Library, we hosted three Filipino poets and three Latino poets in two readings exploring their cultural mythologies.

The poets were all from the Pacific Northwest: Roberto Ascalon, Jim Cantú, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Emily Lawson, and Sam Rodrick Roxas-Chua. The City of Seattle's Office of Arts & Culture and Poets & Writers supported the events.

The poets delved into cultural mythological influences of both indigenous and shared colonial origins. Mexico and the Philippines both had lengthy histories with Spanish and American influences. Like many colonized parts of the world, they also had native cultures with unique mythologies. The readings also demonstrated ways that civilizations adjusted to and accommodated the insertion and overlay of myths from more dominant cultures. Jim Cantú’s poem "Sacred Mother" depicted the transformation of Tonitin, the "Mother Earth" Aztec goddess, into "Nuestra Madre Dame," Our Holy Mother, when Mexico fell to the Spanish conquistadors.

Chris Higashi, Seattle Public Library’s Manager for Literary Programs, said she was "so pleased to have taken on the event. It drew a diverse audience of eighty attendees, about eighty percent of whom were of the cultures represented in the poetry and under the age of thirty—not a typical audience for the library."

My sense is that the readings opened windows for many who attended. The question and answer periods that followed were filled with inquiries about identity and cultural poetry, accompanied by a general tone of gratitude for readings that recognized the importance of culture. One young Mexican-Filipina woman remarked she was "surprised and thankful” when she looked at the library events page and found it included something about and for her. The students at Seattle University have already indicated a desire for a similar presentation next academic year. I believe the reading touched something deep within the students and the community.

Watch the video from the event.

Photo: Robert Francis Flor. Credit: Lauren Davis.

Support for Readings & Workshops events in Seattle is provided by an endowment established with generous contributions from the Poets & Writers Board of Directors and others. Additional support comes from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Sometimes seemingly unrelated notions have surprising similarities. This week, take some strips of paper and write down the names of objects, places, and people. Throw them in a hat and draw out two at random. Then write a poem attempting to connect the two things you've selected. Perhaps you pick out "fireworks" and "lavender," or "honeybees" and "B. B. King"—stretch your imagination to its limits when considering their potential relationship. 

Hungarian fiction writer László Krasznahorkai has won the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Krasznahorkai was presented with the £60,000 award (approximately $90,000) Tuesday evening at a ceremony in London. Kasznahorkai’s two English translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet, will split the £15,000 translator’s prize.

The Man Booker International Prize is given biennially to honor a fiction writer who writes in English or whose work has been translated into English. This year’s judges were Nadeem Aslam, Elleke Boehmer, Edwin Frank, Wen-chin Ouyang, and Marina Warner.  The finalists for the prize were César Aira, Hoda Barakat, Maryse Condé, Mia Couto, Amitav Ghosh, Fanny Howe, Ibrahim al-Koni, Alain Mabanckou, and Marlene van Niekerk.

“Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful,” said chair of judges Warner. “The Melancholy of Resistance, Sátántangó and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence.”

Born in Gyula, Hungary in 1954, Krasznahorkai has written almost a dozen novels and short story collections, and his works have been translated into German, Polish, French, Spanish, and other languages. New Directions has published English translations of five of his novels. Krasznahorkai is perhaps best known for his 1993 postmodern novel The Melancholy of Resistance, which won numerous literary prizes, including the German Bestenliste Prize and the Kossuth Prize, which is the highest award given in Hungary.

Sponsored by the London-based Man Group, the Man Booker International Prize was established in 2005 and “highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development, and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage.” The Man Group also administers the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Recent winners of the Man Booker International Prize include Lydia Davis (2013), Philip Roth (2011), and Alice Munro (2009).

In Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes says, “Any truth is better than infinite doubt.” This week, take a moment to reflect on what have become your personal truths, based on your own investigation and experience. Perhaps, as Christopher McCandless did in the Alaskan wilderness, you've discovered that “happiness is only real when shared.” Explore what you stand for, what you value, and how you measure your life experiences. Then express these thoughts in a personal essay.

This week, write a story in which one of your characters gets lost in an unfamiliar location with no one around to help him. How did he end up in this situation? Perhaps his car breaks down in the middle of the desert, or he's adrift in the Pacific Ocean after a shipwreck and is the lone survivor. Is he able to find his bearings? Does he manage to get to safety? Consider the perils of being stranded in an unforgiving and potentially dangerous environment.   

“They are everywhere—those sunflowers with the coal heart center,” Eve Alexandra muses in her poem “Botanica.” A symbol of loyalty and longevity, sunflowers are considered among the happiest of flowers, and provide energy in both nourishment and vibrancy. Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Gustav Klimt famously represented these flowers in works of art, and they have cropped up in poems by William Blake and Allen Ginsberg. This week, incorporate sunflowers into a poem. Consider their bright yellow coloring, their sturdy stalks, and their delicious seeds.  

Steven Church is the author of The Guinness Book of Me: A Memoir of Record (Simon & Schuster, 2005), Theoretical Killings: Essays and Accidents (University of New Orleans Press, 2009), The Day After the Day After: My Atomic Angst (Soft Skull Press, 2010), and most recently, the collection Ultrasonic: Essays (Lavender Ink, 2014). A fifth nonfiction book will be released by Dzanc in 2016. He is a founding editor and nonfiction editor for The Normal School, and teaches in the MFA program at Fresno State.

Steven ChurchHow do you prepare for a reading?
I’ve given a LOT of readings, but I still get nervous. I like to have read through out loud what I’m planning to read, at least a couple of times, just to get the timing right and catch any parts that are hard to read. And a beer or two helps take the edge off.

What’s the strangest comment you’ve received from an audience member?
Recently someone asked me if there were stories that I didn’t tell or things I wouldn’t write about—to which I responded, “Yes.” But then she looked at me as if I was then going to tell her these things. I did not. I also had someone ask me once why writers “write about depressing things,” and the only response I had was, “because it’s more interesting than happiness?”

What’s your crowd-pleaser, and why does it work?
If I have the time, I like to try and get a couple of laughs from the audience as a sort of “buy in” for what I’m reading and because it tends to relax me; so I’ll often start with a lighter, more humorous essay before hitting them with the more emotional material. Lately I’ve started reading other people’s work as a kind of ice breaker.

What’s the craziest (or funniest or most moving or most memorable) thing that’s happened at an event you’ve been part of?
During a reading at Fresno State once, the power went out in the building and the only light in the room was from the emergency exit signs. Fortunately my colleague had a headlamp flashlight, so I gave the entire reading in the dark, using the headlamp. That was fun.

How does giving a reading inform your writing and vice versa?
Reading my work aloud is very important, as it is the only way to really hear the essay or the book the way I want it to sound in a reader’s head. I always catch mistakes or make revisions after reading a piece out loud; it’s become part of my writing and revision process.

What you probably spent your R/W grant check on:
Groceries and beer.

Photo: Steven Church   Credit: Jocelyn Mettler

Major support for Readings & Workshops in California is provided by the James Irvine Foundation. Additional support comes from the Friends of Poets & Writers.

<< first < previous Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 next > last >>

61 - 75 of 1771 results

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | Help | About Us | Contact Us | View Mobile Site

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2015. All Rights Reserved