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The shortlist for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious annual awards for literary fiction, was announced today.

The finalists include: Tan Twan Eng for The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books), Deborah Levy for Swimming Home (And Other Stories), Hilary Mantel for Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate), Alison Moore for The Lighthouse (Salt), Will Self for Umbrella (Bloomsbury), and Jeet Thayil for Narcopolis (Faber & Faber).

The six short-listed titles were culled from the original longlist of twelve, which were announced in July.

On the Man Booker website, Chair of Judges Peter Stothard said: “After re-reading an extraordinary longlist of twelve, it was the pure power of prose that settled most debates. We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose—and in the visible confidence of the novel's place in forming our words and ideas.”

The Man Booker Prize is given annually for a work of fiction published in the previous year by a writer from the United Kingdom, British Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland. The winner of the 2012 prize will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on October 16. Each of the six short-listed writers is awarded £2,500. The winner receives an additional £50,000.

Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies is the follow-up to Wolf Hall, the first in a trilogy, which took the prize in 2009. Ladbrokes, the British betting firm who has recently set its sights on literary awards, projects Mantel to win the prize again this year. 

In the video below, Mantel introduces Bring up the Bodies, which was published this past May.

Read up on a famous figure (living or dead) whose personality is completely different from your own. Write a poem from that person's perspective about an important event or series of events that shaped who he or she was. 

Brendan Constantine, September’s Writer in Residence, was born in 1967 and named after Irish playwright Brendan Behan. An ardent supporter of Southern California’s poetry communities, he is one of the region’s most recognized authors. He is currently poet-in-residence at the Windward School and regularly conducts workshops in hospitals, foster homes, and with the Art of Elysium. His latest collections of poetry are Birthday Girl With Possum (2011 Write Bloody Publishing) and Calamity Joe (2012 Red Hen Press). He lives in Hollywood, California, at Bela Lugosi’s last address.

Hello again. My name is Brendan Constantine and welcome to my second post as guest “blogger.” I’ve been sitting here quite a while contemplating what to write, and I may’ve drifted into Overscrupulosity: over-thinking against under-whelming, editing before actually writing.

Brendan ConstantineIf only I could embrace the maxim I use in the classroom: Writer’s Block is almost never a deficit of magic but a surplus of judgment. I believe this, I do, but I'm still stuck. This is particularly ironic because what I want to talk about is Speechlessness; a speechless woman and a speechless universe. Maybe I can get this rolling if I work backwards and start with the universe.

Did you know we may’ve been contacted by beings from another world? Thirty-five years ago, an astronomer named Jerry Ehman was working with a SETI project (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) at the Perkins Observatory in Ohio. The radio telescope there is called “The Big Ear” and sits alone in a vast field. Every few days, Ehman would drive out to examine coded print-outs of any signals detected in a given piece of sky.

He was looking for a particular set of digits that would ensure the signal originated from outside our system. No one in his profession had ever seen them. But on August 15, 1977, Jerry Ehman saw a chain of figures so close to ideal, he circled them with a pen and wrote the word, “Wow.” This piece of paper was saved and can be visited online. Just look for “the Wow signal.”

Haven’t heard about this? Well, it’s a curious thing, but the buzz didn’t last long. You see, the signal was never heard again. We know it came from somewhere near Sagittarius, but in all this time there’s been nothing else to Wow about.

Poets are also big on repetition. What we call Form is really what we choose to repeat. Meter, rhyme, the whole of prosody is not a matter of what happens in one line, but what happens in the next.

Because there was no second signal, many astronomers believe the first must have been natural, random, a blank verse, perhaps the gasp of a dying sun. If someone were out there, wouldn’t they keep talking?

Which brings me to the speechless woman.

I’m going to call her Edith. We met a while back at an eldercare center in West Los Angeles. My visit was part of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, a program that brings poetry to people challenged with dementia. Routinely, I engage the room in recitations of classic poetry and then create new poems based on their responses. On this day I read Kipling’s haunting piece, “The Way Through The Woods.” We discussed other paths we knew, like the way to the store or the way home from school.

It was around this point that Edith, who seldom spoke, suddenly engaged. Really, a better term would be “detonated.” 

“Brooklyn!” she said. “So many cracked sidewalks in Brooklyn when I was a girl. Nothing like’ em. You know, it was the Great Depression and...”

It was the Great Depression and Edith was maybe seven years old. After school, she’d often make her way to the jewelry district. Nobody was buying much jewelry then, but some merchants kept their hours. Edith had somehow made friends with a few who occasionally let her play with new stones.

“They let me be a princess,” she said, “I wore rings and bracelets, sometimes a tiara, and I sparkled like a dream. I was always good about giving everything back. I never stayed too long and I never fussed. ”

She stopped there and looked at me, half smiling, half wary. She’d forgotten who I was again. I put my hand out and we started over. Later, I asked one of the nurses if she’d heard that incredible story. She said she hadn’t. I wondered, still wonder, if Edith’s family ever has.

How many of her fellow seniors, so advanced in their senility, are regarded as “unreachable”? On what experience do we presume the distance a voice must travel, even our own? Does what we say come from the present, or the past?  How far back does it start? Years? Light years? Have we spoken yet?

If this is too romantic a notion, too “airy-fairy,” look at it this way: If it’s been a while since you wrote anything you care about, is that any reason to despair?

Photo: Brendan Constantine. Credit: Lily Marker.

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

Last week, the British betting firm Ladbrokes announced that Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami had emerged as the favorite to win this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, coming in with 10/1 odds. As of yesterday, the international literary star has moved up in the rankings to 7/1—with none other than Bob Dylan, at 10/1, following tightly on his heels. Dutch novelist Cees Nooteboom and Chinese author Mo Yan are right behind them, at 12/1.

Last year, the eventual Nobel winner, Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, was given 9/2 odds. But he wasn’t expected to win: Syrian poet Adonis was the final favorite, coming in at 4/1 (this year, Adonis still makes the top twenty, but has fallen to 14/1). Dylan was also a close candidate last year, at one point late in the betting even coming in as the number-one pick, pulling ahead of Murakami (who was at the time 8/1), Adonis, and eventual winner Tranströmer.

In the past decade, North America hasn’t fared so well in the Nobel race. The last American to win the prestigious literary prize was Toni Morrison, who won in 1993. Aside from Dylan, the only United States authors to make it into the top twenty this year include Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, and Phillip Roth. Canada, who has never had a Nobel Laureate, tops the list with short story writer Alice Munro (whose newest collection, Dear Life, will be released by Knopf in November), at 20/1.  Other Canadians to make it into the betting pool this year include Margaret Atwood, at 50/1, and poet Anne Carson, at 100/1.

Also sitting in the 20/1 position is Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, whose forthcoming memoir, There Was a Country, will be released by Penguin in October. Hovering just above him in the line-up are Umberto Eco at 25/1, and Don DeLillo, Joyce Carol Oates, and E. L. Doctorow, all at 33/1. Joining Atwood at 50/1 are Ian McEwan, Maya Angelou, Chang-Rae Lee, and Peter Carey. And the list goes on and on, including such contemporary literary greats as Kazuo Ishiguro, Ursula Le Guin, David Malouf, Salman Rushdie, A. S. Byatt, Milan Kundera, Julian Barnes, and John Ashbery, all at 66/1; and Michael Ondaatje, Paul Auster, Louise Glück, and Jonathan Franzen coming in at 100/1. 

Candidates to win the Nobel Prize in Literature may be nominated by Swedish Academy members or esteemed international literary figures. Earlier this year, Peter Englund, the head of the Swedish Academy, revealed that 46 of the 210 nominated writers for this year's prize were first-time selections.

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced later this fall. For more information about the prize, visit the Nobel Prize website.

On August 10, 2012, P&W–sponsored poets Wilfredo Borges, Caridad De La Luz, and Iya Ibo Mandingo performed at Dances With Wordz: Orisha Poetry in New York City, an event organized by Latinos NYC. Readings/Workshops program intern Nikay Paredes reports.

Wilfredo "Baba" BorgesDances With Wordz: Orisha Poetry, curated by Latinos NYC founder and CEO Raul K. Rios, featured performances celebrating the Yuroba faith of West Africa. The poets, garbed in white from head to toe, were an immaculate presence inside the Nuyorican Poets Café even before they took the stage. The Nuyorican has long been a venue and community for artists looking to elevate poetry, music, comedy, theatre, and the visual arts in a diverse, multicultural environment.

Dances With Wordz began with an open mic dedicated to the faith. Poet-nomad Wilfredo “Baba” Borges blessed the audience with a prayer-song. He spoke of ancestries, mothers and fathers, exclaiming proudly: “Where I’m from is a land of defiance, not defeat.” Poetry performances were complemented by song and dance, including a drumming performance by batá group Conjunto Oba Ire. The batá or Yoruba drum, they explained to the audience, is inhabited by Orisha or guardian spirits of the Yoruba faith.

Caridad "La Bruja" De La LuzNuyorican darling Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz read from her first collection, The Poetician, then proceeded to rap and sing after reciting what she fondly called “straight up poetry.” Writer, actor, and painter Iya Ibo Mandingo performed last, conjuring images of home: luscious mangoes and coconuts. He ended his performance with a declarative poem, inciting reactions from the audience, which ranged from the gleeful to the guttural. 

Raul K. Rios closed the reading with these apt words: “Don’t praise behind closed doors. Let the conversation exist.” Rios, through Latinos NYC, aims to transform drug-ridden communities in New York City with feeding programs, clothing drives, and poetry readings.

He thanked P&W for helping him with the transformation: “Having Poets & Writers on our side every year means Latinos NYC can put on a better event and compensate the poets for their time and talent.”

Photos: (Top) Wildfredo “Baba” Borges. (Bottom) Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz. Credit: Nikay Paredes.

Support for Readings/Workshops in New York City is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the Louis & Anne Abrons Foundation, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the A.K. Starr Charitable Trust, and the Friends of Poets & Writers.

Now that fall has almost arrived, ruminate about all that happened over the summer. Choose a moment or a scene that you distinctly remember and freewrite about it. What took place? Who was involved? Is it important? If not, why did you remember it? How did it make you feel? Review your freewriting and transform what you discover into an essay that transcends the subject at hand, so that it has universal appeal to readers.

Write a story with two major threads, each with two characters. For example, the first could be a man and a woman driving in a car–where are they going? what happens along the way? what are they discussing? The second thread could be about two boys in a canoe–do they get along? what is the relationship between them? what happens to cause tension between them? Switch back and forth between each thread, spinning each of the stories. Find a way to slowly weave the stories together: Do the two sets of characters cross paths? Are they somehow related? Is one story something that happened in the past of a character from the other story?

Write a poem that incorporates the following words: transfer, single, impend, knot, rhapsody, revue, air lock.

The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine have announced the winners of the 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships. The prestigious $15,000 awards are given annually to five emerging United States poets between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one.

The 2012 fellows are: Reginald Dwayne Betts, the author of a poetry collection, Shahid Reads His Own Palm (Alice James Books, 2010), and a memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (Avery, 2009); Nicholas Friedman, a lecturer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; Richie Hofmann, who has received an Academy of American Poets Prize and the AWP Intro Journal Award for Poetry; Rickey Laurentiis, whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, the Indiana Review, and jubilat; and Jacob Saenz, who received the Letras Latinas Residency Fellowship in 2011 and is currently an associate editor of the poetry magazine RHINO.

The editors of Poetry magazine chose the winning manuscripts from more than a thousand submissions. On the Poetry Foundation website, editor Christian Wiman said of the winners, “The history of Poetry is filled with some of the best-known names in American poetry; my guess is that these young poets will be among those we'll be talking about in the years to come.”

The five Ruth Lilly Fellows will have their work featured in the November issue of Poetry and on the Poetry Foundation website.

Established in 1989 by philanthropist Ruth Lilly to “encourage the further writing and study of poetry,” the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship program gives $75,000 in fellowship prizes each year. The program is operated by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation, which also publishes Poetry magazine.

Founded by poet, editor, and literary scholar Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly magazine dedicated to the form. The magazine has published the work of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Carl Sandburg, among many other distinguished poets, as well as numerous emerging writers. The Poetry Foundation is a literary organization that “exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.”

The 2012 Ruth Lilly Prize in Poetry, an annual award of $100,000 given by the Poetry Foundation to a living United States poet, was awarded to poet W. S. Di Piero this past spring.

Brendan Constantine, September’s Writer in Residence, was born in 1967 and named after Irish playwright Brendan Behan. An ardent supporter of Southern California’s poetry communities, he is one of the region’s most recognized authors. He is currently poet-in-residence at the Windward School and regularly conducts workshops in hospitals, foster homes, and with the Art of Elysium. His latest collections of poetry are Birthday Girl With Possum (2011 Write Bloody Publishing) and Calamity Joe (2012 Red Hen Press). He lives in Hollywood, California, at Bela Lugosi’s last address.

Brendan Constantine at HillsidesHow do you do. My name is Brendan Constantine and I’m a poet living in Hollywood, California. As I write this, there are two people arguing in the street beyond my window. One of them just shouted, “It’s not religious, it’s my God damn parking space.”

As this month’s guest “blogger,” I’ve been asked to submit for your consideration my thoughts on poetry, poetry workshops, and what it’s like to work with Poets & Writers. As Howard Nemerov said, “I shall be interested to find out what I do think.”

One of the things I think is this: If you write poems, it’s easy to forget that poets are not the target market for poetry, any more than doctors are the only people who need medicine.

“Bastard!” That’s what the person outside just shouted. How on earth am I going work that into my point? I suppose I could make some parable (a lot of people have already) between the ideas of ‘bastardism’ or legitimacy and the status of poetry in art; the complaint among poets that their work is marginalized, de-prioritized and several other words ending with “-ized.”

Frankly I consider many of these complaints to be a stretch. Poetry is a legitimate art (as legitimate as painting, certainly) and it’s more readily available now than at any time previous. A disregard for poetry is not necessarily an uninformed response.

You can always have the best of something and still not like it. I, for one, can’t stand rhubarb pie. One might argue that poetry is a higher pursuit than pie, in which case we can change the analogy to Truth. Ever had enough of that? The guy outside my apartment has. I think he’s moving his car.

When I look at the histories of poetry, (not just in English), I see the same patterns emerge again and again: how it precedes written language, how its shapes and subjects evolve. People invent poetry as a means of expressing something they can’t easily say. The desire to talk about special things in a special way, the desire to change, elaborate or deliberately misuse language for the purpose of greater communion is all but universal.

Our work as poets, like it or not, is only ours while we’re writing it. Once we share, it belongs to the reader. Who is the reader? Anyone who reads, even by accident. Who is poetry for? Same answer. Is poetry for anyone in particular? Anyone who’s had to search for words. Is that really such an issue? You should hear the other guy outside. He’s finally trying to answer the last ten things that were shouted at him. He’s gotten this far: “Man, you’re like...you’re acting like... like...” 

This is one of the reasons I enjoy conducting poetry workshops with people who have no desire to be professional poets. Every few months, for instance, Poets & Writers sends me to a foster care center in Pasadena. It’s called Hillsides and is home to a number of young people challenged by a variety of circumstances, among them homelessness, depression, and PTSD. I’m not there just to complement a standard education but to help cultivate an emotional vocabulary. As my friend, poet Ed Skoog, says, “Metaphor is a gateway to compassion.”

“Dude, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is you’re like totally... you’re getting all caught up with... you’re like a vulture that doesn’t care what it... I mean...” The guy outside is getting close to something. He’s still struggling, though. If he has any poetry in him, he may find the words. If he is a poet, the struggle won’t end.

Of course, there are other uses for poetry, other aims. There’s a lot of poetry that seems (to me, anyway) predicated on the idea that art is a debate, that each new work is a new argument in an old conversation about excellence; a necessary and relevant conversation, but not a very urgent one.

No, the most pressing topics are likely being mumbled in a car outside your door. Who knows where they will lead?

Meanwhile, thank you for having come this far with me. I hope you’ll visit this blog over the next weeks. All comments are welcome. See you next week.

Photo: Brendan Constantine with students at Hillsides in Pasadena, California. Credit: Nikola Wilkens-Miller.

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

In July, P&W–sponsored poets Brendan Constantine, Nicelle Davis, Larry Eby, and Robbi Nester kicked off LitLandia, a new reading series in California’s Inland Empire region. Project director Cati Porter reports.

LitLandia readers with Cati PorterFor a number of years now, I had been contemplating the fact that there is no regularly occurring literary reading series in Riverside, California. This is not to say that there aren’t the occasional events, including an annual Writers Week at the local university, or other reading series in neighboring counties; just none in my city, or even the other cities in closest proximity. So, I decided to remedy that.

Starting a reading series can seem a little daunting, but in my case, I already had most of the infrastructure in place. I searched the two literary journals that I founded and edit (Poemeleon and Inlandia: A Literary Journey) for contributors, and I drew upon my work with the regional literary nonprofit, the Inlandia Institute. At Inlandia, we have been producing quality literary programming for years, including presentations during Riverside’s monthly ArtsWalk, but the offerings are diverse, and my vision was more focused: LitLandia was designed to bring to this region a regularly scheduled quarterly reading series that includes an open mic component so that attendees (mostly writers themselves) can participate.

I knew this series would be special because we have such a ridiculously amazing and talented pool of authors to draw from, but I really was not prepared for how much fun this first event would be. My first clue was when Nicelle Davis walked in carrying a frilly lump of fabric under one arm and an enormous colorful felt book under the other. Shortly thereafter, Robbi Nester and Larry Eby arrived, each with their entourage. We were chatting and going over the reading order when Brendan Constantine rushed in, absolutely certain he was late. (Fact: He was way early.)

Robbi Nester went first, reading an atmospheric poem about whale watching as well as several from a series on yoga poses that promote “emotional stability” from her aptly-titled book Balance. Larry Eby read from his manuscript-in-progress, including one titled “My Father’s Garage,” a moving villanelle titled “Pillow Talk,” and an ekphrastic piece after artwork by an instructor from the University of Redlands.

Nicelle Davis's felt boardThen Nicelle Davis read; I say read, but really, “audience engagement” is a more accurate description of what occured. Drawn from her collection Circe, which retells The Odyssey, Davis used puppets and props to invite readers to pluck the heart out of Odysseus the Pig, and to gouge out Circe’s eyes and pluck a booger from her nose.

Brendan Constantine, the final reader, read his usual unusually smart and witty poetry, including a cento comprised of lines from letters written to him by the legendary FrancEyE.

Afterward, we held a well-received open mic, with new work by talented local writers Mike Cluff, David Stone, Marsha Schuh, James Ducat, Pierce, Karen Greenbaum-Maya, Judith Terzi, and Richard Nester.

As everyone was leaving, the only child in the audience presented me with a glittering gummy worm, and I held in my hand a felt unicorn attached to a rainbow, a gift plucked from the froth of Nicelle Davis’s felt board book: fitting gifts for a delightfully surreal afternoon.

Photos: Top (from left): Larry Eby, Robbi Nester, Cati Porter, Nicelle Davis, and Brendan Constantine. Credit: Mike Sleboda. Bottom: Nicelle Davis's felt unicorn. Credit: Cati Porter.

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

The New York City-based PEN American Center recently announced the winners of the 2012 PEN Literary Awards. For over fifty years, PEN has given awards to the most promising and distinguished voices in the literary community. This year, eighteen grants, awards, and fellowships have been given to emerging and established writers from all over the country. The following are just a few of this year's winners.

Susan Nussbaum received the inaugural PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for her manuscript, Good Kings Bad Kings. Founded by author Barbara Kingsolver, the $25,000 prize is given biennially to an author for an unpublished novel that addresses issues of social justice. The prize also includes a publishing contract with Algonquin Books. Rosellen Brown, Margot Livesey, and Kathy Pories judged.

Vanessa Veselka won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for her novel, Zazen (Red Lemonade, 2011). The $25,000 award is given to a fiction writer whose debut work, published in the previous year, “represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.” Lauren Groff, Dinaw Mengestu, and Nami Mun judged.

Fiction writer E. L. Doctorow won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. The $25,000 prize is given to a writer “whose body of work places him or her in the highest rank of American literature.” Don DeLillo, Jennifer Egan, and George Saunders judged.

James Gleick won the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Pantheon Books, 2011). The $10,000 prize is given for a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of physical or biological sciences published in the previous year. Elizabeth Kolbert, Charles Mann, and Dava Sobel judged.

The late Christopher Hitchens received the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for his essay collection Arguably (Twelve, 2011). The $5,000 award is given for a book of essays published in the previous year that “exemplifies the dignity and esteem of the essay form.” Robert Boyers, Janet Malcolm, and Ruth Reichl judged.

Robert K. Massie won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography for Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (Random House, 2011). The $5,000 award is given for a biography published in the previous year. Blake Bailey, Daphne Merkin, and Honor Moore judged.

Fiction and nonfiction writer Siddhartha Deb won the PEN Open Book Award for his memoir, The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India (Faber & Faber, 2011). The $5,000 prize is given for a book by an author of color published in 2011. Alexander Chee, Mat Johnson, and Natasha Trethewey judged.

Poet Toi Derricotte won the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. The $5,000 prize is given to a poet whose “distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable presence in American literature.” Dan Chiasson, Aracelis Girmay, and A. Van Jordan judged.

Jen Hofer won the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for her translation of Negro Marfil/Ivory Black by Myriam Moscona (Les Figues Press, 2011). The $3,000 award is given for a book-length translation of poetry into English published in the previous year. Christian Hawkey judged.

Bill Johnston won the PEN Translation Prize for his translation of Stone Upon Stone by Wiesław Myśliwski (Archipelago Books, 2011). The $3,000 prize is given for a book-length translation of prose into English published in the previous year. Aron Aji, Donald Breckenridge, and Minna Proctor judged.

Margaret Sayers Peden received the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, which is given to a translator “whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of his or her work.”

The winners and finalists of this year's awards will be honored at the 2012 Literary Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 23 in New York City. PEN will begin accepting submissions for its 2013 Literary Awards on October 1. For a comprehensive list of this year’s winners and finalists, and for information and guidelines for the 2013 prizes, visit the PEN American Center website.


Tell a story through the journal entries and/or correspondences of the central characters. Note how the switch between different perspectives and the reliability—or lack thereof—of the characters affect the way the plot is revealed to the reader. For inspiration, read Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story.

Spend a day at a museum or reading an art book. Choose a piece of artwork that you enjoy or that you find thought-provoking. Rather than composing an ekphrasis that comments on the artwork itself, try your hand at writing a poem in the “mode” of the artwork. This may mean writing a poem in the poetic style that you think is reflected by the artwork, or it may mean trying to write in what you perceive to be the “tone” or "voice" of the artwork.

Author Rick Moody will serve as the judge for the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review’s inaugural Gertrude Stein Award for Fiction. The winner will receive $500 and publication in the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review.

Eckleburg, the literary journal housed by the Johns Hopkins University M.A. Program in writing, launched the first annual competition, which is currently open for submissions, this past July. Writers, editors, publishers, and agents may submit short stories of up to 5,000 words, along with a $10 entry fee, by January 1, 2013. Second- and third-place winners will also receive publication in the journal.

Taking its name from Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the online quarterly publishes original fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and translation from emerging and established writers. In addition to work by Rick Moody, the journal has also featured original writing by Stephen Dixon, Moira Egan, and David Wagoner. The journal looks for character-driven storytelling that is eclectic and experimental; it welcomes magical realism, surrealism, metarealism, and offbeat realism, and "humor that explores the gritty realities of the world and human experiences.

“It is Eckleburg‘s intention to represent writers, artists, musicians, and comedians as a contemporary and noninvasive collective, each work evidence of its own artistry, not as a reflection of an editor’s vision of what an issue 'should' be," the journal’s website states. “It is our intention to create an experience in which readers and viewers can think artistically, intellectually, socially, and independently. We welcome brave, honest voices.”

Rick Moody is the author of five novels, including Garden State, which won the Pushcart Press Editors’ Book Award in 1992, as well as four short story collections and a memoir. He has received a PEN/Martha Albrand Award, an Addison Metcalf Award, the Paris Review’s Aga Khan Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

For more information on the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review or the Gertrude Stein Award, visit the website. 

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