»

| Give a Gift |

  • Digital Edition

Poets & Writers Blogs

Since 2007, P&W has supported literary events in Houston, Texas. Literal, Latin American Voices, an award-winning bilingual magazine, was among the first Houston organizations supported by P&W. We asked its founder and director, Rose Mary Salum, author of the short story collection Spaces in Between, to share her experience as a presenter of Latin American literature and art.

What was your most successful literary program?
One of the most successful programs we hosted this year was Poetics of Displacement: Latin American Émigré Writers and the Creative Imagination. When Gisela Heffes invited us to collaborate with Rice University on this series, we immediately agreed. The response was amazing, especially to Sergio Ramírez, who I introduced! People approached me to express their absolute satisfaction. 

What makes your programs unique?
We invite established authors from Latin America, who are perhaps not as well-known in the United States. Everyone is familiar with the boom authors—the García Marquezs and Vargas Llosas. Besides these magnificent authors, there is a vast array of writers who are innovative and at the vanguard of literature. We have always questioned the practice of promoting writers familiar to our audiences to minimize the risk of failure. Ultimately, the quality of work is what must win in the end. Having a magazine with these characteristics (bilingual with Latin American subject matter, but still international) puts us in the peculiar place of voicing a de-centered point of view that steers away from the dominant culture, and we want to keep going this way. The United States is becoming more and more aware of the vast repository of literature that exists “down there.”

How do you find and invite readers?
I carefully choose dates and venues to make it easy for people to visit. There’s a huge niche for Latin American writers and readers in the United States, but we are scattered. Houston is a gateway at the perfect geographical point of connection between a continent with two languages. The mission of Literal is to exploit this location and get these cultures closer to each other.

Has literary presenting informed your writing life?
Every time I research new authors and read their books, their work has such an impact on me that some of my guests become characters in my fiction.

What is the value of literary programs in your community?
We cannot ignore the globalized world where influences roam freely. A program about literature is all about exchanging ideas, perspectives, and culture. Having said that, the programs we organize are always centered on the idea of being a platform for dialog, even if we are not familiar with other cultures within our own borders. “There is a tendency to abstract and aestheticize the colossal displacement of peoples and their cultures generated by globalization,” explains Lorraina Pinnell. A publication like Literal has a special role in addressing, in concrete terms and forms, cross-cultural contacts whirling through Canada, the United States, and Latin America. For our part, we are dedicated to resisting this tendency to abstract an entire reality; the publication and, moreover, the events we organize present distinct regions of the Americas in their various and sometimes clashing embodiments.

Photo: P&W-supported writer Sergio Ramírez with Gisela Heffes of Rice University. Credit: Enrique Vazquez.

Support for Readings/Workshops events in Houston 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.

The shortlist for the Guardian's 2011 Not the Booker prize, the newspaper's "rambunctious" answer to the major U.K. fiction award, was announced yesterday, with a novel from Brooklyn-based press Melville House among the finalists. Lars Iyer's Spurious, excerpted here, came in fifth among six titles voted on by the Guardian's readership.

To celebrate, Melville House is offering the e-book version of the novel for one dollar and eleven cents. The publisher says it will also give away advance chapters of Iyer's next book, Dogma, forthcoming in February 2012, to the first one hundred buyers of a print copy of Spurious.

The other novels up for the prize—a Guardian coffee mug—are Jude in London by Julian Gough (Old Street Publishing), The Dead Beat by Cody James (Eight Cuts Gallery Press), Fireball by Tyler Keevil (Parthian Books), English Slacker by Chris Morton (Punked Books), and King Crow by Michael Stewart (Bluemoose Books). All of the novelists are, following standard Man Booker Prize guidelines, citizens of the British Commonwealth, Ireland, or Zimbabwe.

In the coming weeks, the six shortlisted titles will be discussed on the Guardian website and readers who submitted reviews of the longlisted books will be offered the chance to vote for a winner. The winner will be named a week prior to the Man Booker Prize announcement, on October 11.

The winner of this year's Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize, the largest U.K.-based award for a single poem, was announced earlier today at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Scottish poet Jane McKie, who runs the small publisher Knucker Press, was chosen from an all-female shortlist to win the five thousand pound prize (roughly $8,250) for her poem "Leper Window, St. Mary the Virgin."

Judge Kona Macphee says the poem, while relatively brief at forty-seven words, "epitomizes everything I love about poetry. It revels in the musicality of language and is magnificently concise, evoking a whole lost world in a dozen elegantly understated lines."

McKie has been previously honored for her debut collection, Morocco Rococo (Cinnamon Press), which was awarded the Scottish Arts Council's prize for a first book in 2007. To read her Morgan Prize–winning poem, visit the Guardian's website.

The annual prize, named for the late Scottish poet Edwin Morgan, is given for a poem by a writer of any nationality.

A man and a woman in a room. This is Salina, Kansas. He wears cufflinks on his white shirt sleeves, a silk tie. She seems preoccupied. She holds a glass in her hand. Write their story in three hundred words. Use the word "salvation" and the word "light." Make one of the pair the central character and construct the story from his or her point of view.
This week's fiction prompt comes from novelist John Dufresne, author, most recently, of the book Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months (Norton, 2010).

Washington, D.C.-based poet Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of Shahid Reads His Own Palm and the memoir A Question of Freedom, blogs about participating in the P&W-supported reading at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. in April 2010.

Kim Roberts's anthology, Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, D.C., brought D.C. poets together at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. on a sunny April Sunday in 2010. 

As soon as I arrived, I began reading a poem for Mississippi Avenue. The poem is about a couple of kids I once knew. They would play what we use to call throwback. Throwback is a game in which players would toss a football (or any ball) into a crowd of people, and then begin chasing the person who caught it. If the ball is memory, then the boys doing the chasing are hungry to remember. Full Moon on K Street is a little like that: memories we toss into crowds, then chase down. 

Just as good as the reading was Roberts's welcome. She relived the history of the project and the tidbits of D.C. history that can be found within the book as an accompaniment to the poems. Full Moon on K Street is history and poetry. Truth is, Roberts's anthology is about making memories live in the present...that’s what the reading was about too.

Photo: Reginald Dwayne Betts. Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Support for Readings/Workshops events in Washinton, D.C., 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.

Transcribe five sentences that you find interesting from a book or a magazine or newspaper article. Send the first half of each to a friend via e-mail and ask him or her to finish the sentence and send it back to you. Use the responses, or portions of them, as the beginnings of poem. 

The National Book Awards, a literary institution for more than sixty years, broke through their traditional submission guidelines recently, accepting for the first time an exclusively electronic book as a nominee. According to National Book Foundation (NBF) executive director Harold Augenbraum, although the rules stipulate that eligible books must be printable on paper—and the app in question, designed for the iPad, contains features such as graphics and video—the foundation reviews its guidelines annually, and broadening them to include e-books may be a natural next step.

"I wonder whether the tablet reader will lend itself to a new phase in the type of literary abstraction," Augenbraum told book culture website inReads, noting that the nominated app "combines text, graphics, and video in a seamless story. That will have an effect on the way we read. There will be people who will only want to read text, or watch video, and then there will be combinations."

Among the other books nominated for this year's awards are 191 poetry collections, 311 novels, and 441 nonfiction books.

For more of Augenbraum's behind-the-scenes perspective on the National Book Awards, check out the full interview at inReads. And stay tuned this fall as the NBF whittles down its list of nominees; the finalists for the ten-thousand-dollar prizes will be announced on October 12.

Located in Chula Vista, California, Southwestern College (SWC) hosts a Guest Writers Series. Francisco Bustos, poet, musician, member of the spoken word/music collective Frontera Drum Fusion, and professor of English composition at SWC blogs about the P&W-supported reading series.

Every month SWC invites California-based writers to share their work. We have one bilingual reading and several Spanish language readings each semester. Many writers hail from San Diego County as well as the border cities of Tijuana, Baja, and California, Mexico. Being so close to the U.S.-Mexico border gives us a unique environment, rich in culture and aesthetic diversity. Our invited writers read in various styles, from English to Spanish and from Spanish to Spanglish (a mix of Spanish and English). It is not uncommon to hear audience members switch between languages in the middle of a conversation with a writer. 

On occasion, I participate as a poet/musician in literary and cultural events on both sides of the border. This gives me opportunities to network with writers from North County, San Diego, (the U.S. side of the border) as well as writers from Mexicali (the Mexican side of the border). Because of festivals like the Tijuana Book Fair and other festivals sponsored by the Tijuana Cultural Center, I also get to meet (and subsequently invite) writers who live far from our border region. We've had writers from as far as Mexico City!

This fall we are working on a reading that will involve Uberto Stabile, Spanish editor of the poetry anthology "Tan Lejos de Dios/So Far From God," a compilation of poetry from the Mexican side of the border region. Stabile will be presenting his book across the Mexican border region this November—hopefully, if all works out, with a pit stop at our very own SWC Guest Writer Series.

Photo:  Francisco Busto.  Credit: Gerardo Navarro.

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

The winners of this year's Poetry Society of America (PSA) Chapbook Fellowships were announced this week, with two out of the four winning poets having honed their craft with Asian American poetry collective Kundiman. The two New York Fellowships, given to writers under thirty who live in the five boroughs of New York City and have not published a book, were awarded to Alison Roh Park for What We Push Against, selected by Joy Harjo, and Angela Veronica Wong for Dear Johnny, In Your Last Letter, selected by Bob Hicok.

When the announcement of the winners was made, according to Kundiman cofounder and poet Joseph O. Legaspi, the joy was palpable on the Kundiman listserv, populated by student writers, known as "fellows," and mentors who have served on the faculty of the organization's annual summer retreat. "Both winners accepted the accolades with sincere appreciation and their usual grace," Legaspi says. "They also expressed that they are carrying on the torch ignited by Hossannah Asuncion, another Kundiman fellow, who won a 2010 PSA National Chapbook Fellowship for Fragments of Loss. I love how this chosen family empowers each other."

"Over the years Kundiman has built a strong community of Asian American poets," Legaspi adds. "As for the winners, they are aesthetically very different, but they comprise the complexities of voices of the Asian American diaspora. Ultimately, the PSA Chapbook Fellowships help create a wider audience for Asian American poetry."

The national awards, which are awarded to writers of any age and from anywhere in the country who have not had a book published, went to E. J. García of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for Your bright hand, selected by Gerald Stern, and Marni Ludwig of Saint Louis for Little Box of Cotton and Lightning, selected by Susan Howe. The four winners, all of whom are women poets, will see their chapbooks published next year and will each receive one thousand dollars.

In the video below, Wong reads at a Lantern Review event held in conjunction with this year's Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference.

Go to a thrift store, explore an attic, or exchange with a friend three unfamiliar items: a piece of clothing, an object you can do something with—such as a coffee cup, a screw driver, or a letter opener, and a photograph or postcard. Wear the piece of clothing, use the object, and place the image in your work space where you can see it. Then write a scene about a character who is wearing the piece of clothing, while using the object, and has a memory filled with conflict conjured by the photograph or postcard.

The winners of the 2011 Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award have been announced. The publication prize, which has bolstered authors such as Ha Jin and Antonya Nelson early in their careers, was awarded to E. J. Levy of Washington, D.C., and Hugh Sheehy of New York City. Each will receive one thousand dollars, and the University of Georgia Press will publish their books in the fall of 2012.

Levy, whose stories and essays have appeared in the Paris Review, the New York Times, and the Nation, among other publications, won for her collection, My Life in Theory. She is also the editor of Lambda Award–winning anthology Tasting Life Twice: Literary Lesbian Fiction by New American Writers (Harper Perennial, 1995).

Sheehy won for The Invisibles, which series editor Nancy Zafris described as a collection of “eerie tales extraordinarily narrated.” The title story from his winning manuscript appeared in Best American Mystery Stories 2008, edited by George Pelecanos.

Along with Zafris, authors M. M. M. Hayes, Bruce Machart, Kirsten Ogden, and Lori Ostlund served as judges. The competition will accept submissions for the next O'Connor competition from April 1 to May 31, 2012.

In the video below, past winner Antonya Nelsonwho received the O'Connor Award in 1989 for what became her debut collection, The Expendables—discusses the story behind her stories.

Poet Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of Shahid Reads His Own Palm and the memoir A Question of Freedom, blogs about Washington, D.C.-based writers who are making marks.

"Flat Langston" made quite an uproar last year during the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference. For those who are unaware, there was once a cardboard cutout of Langston Hughes at the Busboys and Poets 14th Street location. It was there before poet, photographer, go-go aficionado, and D.C. native Thomas Sayers Ellis relieved it of its duties. The uproar isn’t as important now, forgotten as most things are forgotten.

All that to say, I love listening to stories of the District's past—about spots along the U Street corridor that once housed poetry, about Toni Asante Lightfoot’s legendary reading series, and nights when Holly Bass, Kenneth Carroll, Brian Gilmore, Brandon Johnson, Ernesto Mercer, Joel Dias-Porter, and others could be found with a sheaf of poems in hand burning the night sky. I dig those stories. I dig, too, that nostalgia is the curse that ruins us. While we celebrate the folks who have made marks on the cultural scene of the District, it seems much too easy to forget about the folks who are making marks right now.

Alan King and Derrick Weston Brown, for instance, have both been putting in work as poets and workshop leaders around the city, working with the D.C. Creative Writing Workshop at Hart Middle School and Ballou High School, respectively. Fred Joiner, a jack of all trades,  along with Jon West-Bey, Executive Director of the American Poetry Museum, engineered a cultural exchange with Belfast. Add to that Kyle Dargan,  assistant professor of creative writing at American University and editor of Post No Ills. Add still Simone Jackson of Sulu DC, Silvana Straw of DC Writer’s Corp and the Marpat Foundation. More? Melanie Henderson, forth generation D.C. native and winner of the Main Street Rag prize for her lovely collection of poems, Elegies for New York Avenue.

Still want more? Kim Roberts holds it down. Sarah Browning does her thing. So does Melissa Tuckey. Sandra Beasley. All of whom are wonderful, wonderful writers. Maybe this isn't a renaissance, but it damn sure isn't a drought.

Photo: Reginald Dwayne Betts. Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Support for Readings/Workshops events in Washinton, D.C., 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.

Find a map—of the Earth, the United States, or your home state or city—or visit Google Maps, pick a town at random, and write a poem about daybreak in that specific location, inventing any pertinent details.

Last month, we reported on SMITH magazine's six-word memoir contest Six Words About Work, which launched with the theme My Job (or, "Why I do what I do"). For the next eight days, the magazine is accepting entries on a new topic: bosses—and not just any bosses, but the best bosses ever.

Like inaugural contest winner Mindy Getch, whose My Job memoir, "Who doesn't love the payroll lady," rose above more than four thousand entries, the winner of the boss-themed contest will receive as a prize her choice of an iPad2 or a BlackBerry PlayBook. The prizes are cosponsored by the consulting firm Mercer.

Today's featured memoir comes from Elisa Shevitz: "The CEO knew every intern's name." Other entries, which appear on the SMITH website, include, "Peter Pan complex, together we regress," "Said, 'If he goes, I go,'" and "Verbal pugilist, he's still my dad."

On August 13 the contest will refresh with a new theme. Until then, boss-related entries can be published (with no fee) directly to the contest page.

From May 19 to June 9, 2011, P&W-supported poet D. E. Connelly, author of the manuscript "A Twisted Balance: One-Line Haiku & a Few Senryu," taught a haiku workshop at the Armory Park Senior Center in Tucson, Arizona. We asked her to say a few words about the experience.

D.E. ConnellyThe poet-sage Matsuo Bashō, born 1644, wrote in memoriam of a friend, “never think of yourself / as someone who did not count— / festival of the souls.” Ueda translated this Japanese haiku into English. The poet-artist Marlene Mountain, born 1939, wrote “white sugar white flour white male”—no translation necessary: It was originally written in U.S. English. Mountain’s haiku reflects the three word-cluster device of classic one-line Japanese haiku as well as its device of image juxtaposition: The first and second word clusters are specific images; the third word cluster, “white male,” is metaphoric, resembling one (including males of color and all females) who, offering no nourishment, choose instead to promote oppressive practices that strip people and things of their inherent value. As Bashō’s tone was of his time and place, Mountain’s is of ours—and each poet agitates the soul: Will I be remembered?  How will I remembered? 

Poets & Writers remembered those of us in the Arizona desert at a time when recognition of each individual’s contribution was being white-washed. With its support and encouragement, the Armory Park Senior Center in Tucson was able to host In The Spirit of Haiku: Three Workshops & A Public Reading. Like water in the desert, sponsorship of a poetry workshop at the Center is wonderful, but rare. 

Workshop One, focusing on the haiku of Bashō (as translated by Sato), reviewed the classic poetic devices compressed within this seemingly simple one-line poem (e.g., two unequal phrases; a strong cutting word between; each phrase with its own specific imagery, which might portray the “what,” “when,” and “where” of the poet’s experience; a seasonal reference—all combined to best convey emotion in a syntax natural to the poet). 

workshop participantsWorkshop Two, focusing on the haiku of Marlene Mountain, explored how the initial haiku in U.S. English (introduced, arguably, in the 1950s) evolved into what is currently promoted in English as a form of ten-to-fourteen syllables. Throughout, but mostly in Workshop Three, attendees shared original work: One participant incorporated calligraphy; another haibun; another read haiku in German, demonstrating how sound patterns, even without sense, can convey emotion.

The public reading gave participants a chance to interact with an audience, which included a few people in their twenties from Tucson Youth Development. One youth was deeply moved by an elder’s seasonal allusion of being in her life’s “December,” with feet on fire from pain as well from an urgency to experience fully and profoundly what remains of her life.

A deep bow to Poets & Writers, the workshop participants, the audience, as well as the Armory Park Senior Center who published the participants’ haiku in its July newsletter.
   
Photos: (Top) D. E. Connelly. Credit: Tom Wuelpern; (bottom) workshop participants. Credit: D. E. Connelly.

Support for Readings/Workshops events in Tucson 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.

<< first < previous Page: 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 next > last >>

976 - 990 of 1498 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 2014. All Rights Reserved