March/April 2003

Novelist T.C. Boyle has been called a lot of names: master satirist, spellbinding storyteller, ageless rock and roller. But the moniker he really covets is something a little more…Victorian.


Great Expectations: A Profile of T. C. Boyle

by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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The author discusses his new book, Drop City.

Conferences and Residencies

Sky High: Helene Wurlitzer Foundation

by Susan Varon
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A retreat nestled below the mountains in Taos, New Mexico.

Brazil by the Sea: Sacatar Foundation

by A.E. Peterson
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A retreat on the island of Itaparica.

The Grand Tour: European Writers Workshops & Residencies

by Susan Debow
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Tips on taking a writing retreat in Europe, including a directory of resources for finding a workshop or residency abroad.

Mothertongue: An Urban Retreat

by Andrea C. Poe
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A spoken word group for women in D.C.

All Muse, All the Time: Ireland's Beara Peninsula

by Barbara J. McGrath
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Anam Cara provides a sanctuary for writers and artists in southwest Cork.

In Vino Veritas: Napa Valley Writers' Conference

by Olivia Boler
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Poetry and fiction writers come together for a week of workshops, readings, and writing in California's wine country.

West Coast Colloquy: Centrum's Port Townsend Writers' Conference

by Ken Turley
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The writers' conference in Washington's Fort Worden State Park draws nearly 150 writers each year.

News and Trends


The United State of Poets Laureate

by Denise Hart

During the past year, poets laureate have been the unlikely recipients of national media attention. New Jersey's Amiri Baraka was excoriated for reading a poem that some labeled anti-Semitic, and California's Quincy Troupe resigned after inaccuracies were discovered on his resumé. With their public profiles growing, the role of poets laureate is being called into question. In April the nation's first conference for state poets laureate will convene in Manchester, New Hampshire, where they will discuss poetry and their responsibilities as public representatives of their art. 

Literary MagNet

by Kevin Larimer

Literary MagNet chronicles the start-ups and closures, successes and failures, anniversaries and accolades, changes of editorship and special issues—in short, the news and trends—of literary magazines in America. This issue's MagNet features Rosebud, Pleiades, Fizgig, American Letters & Commentary, Shiny, Brevity, and Canary River Review.

Writing a Life One Moment at a Time

by Timothy Schaffert

Careful storytelling, along with careful marketing, has helped American Lives—the memoir series at the University of Nebraska Press—attract the attention of talented authors, national reviewers, and bookstore sales reps.


“Best” Anthologies: A Global Trend

by Dalia Sofer

Anthologies compiled annually by editors who scan diverse sources and publish the poems they deem “the best,” are quickly gaining popularity worldwide. The latest of these is an online publication called Best New Zealand Poems.

LOA Launches American Poets Project

by Ava Wilder

To coincide with National Poetry Month, the Library of America, a nonprofit publisher of American classics, will launch the American Poets Project, a new series of books devoted to individual poets and anthologies exploring particular themes, genres, and eras. 

The Anatomy of Awards

by Staff
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A statistical look at recent literary award winners, broken down by gender, genre, and region.

The Written Image: Jane Austen

by Staff
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The "definitive" portrait of Austen was unveiled at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

The Practical Writer

First: Sasha Troyan, A Novelist on Her Own Terms

by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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A profile of novelist Sasha Troyan, daughter of South African writer Sheila Kohler.

Necessary Angles: On the Art of Self-Promotion

by Robert McDowell
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Tips to help authors navigate contracts, questionnaires, and the book design process, and on how to best promote a new book.

The Literary Life

Imperative: The Professionalization of Poetry, Part 2

by David Alpaugh
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A look at the history and impact of poetry writing becoming a profession.

A Nasty, Bloody Business: Learning to Write with Harry Crews

by Jay Atkinson
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Studying under Harry Crews at the University of Florida.

Jimmy's Place: A Haven on Water Street

by Sarah Gorham

When James Merrill died in 1994, he willed his large, turn-of-the-century house on Water Street to the Borough of Stonington, Connecticut. The village improvement committee was free to use the building any way it desired; Merrill made no stipulation in his will. But the National Book Award–winning poet had been an important figure in the village's ongoing literary tradition. The committee decided to keep Merrill's legacy alive by creating a writer-in-residence program. Since 1996, a lucky poet or scholar has lived, for either six months or a full year, in Merrill's curious home across from the harbor. Writers chosen for residency are notified more than a year in advance. Several Merrill House residents have reported "the happiest period of my life," surrounded by Merrill's books and knickknacks, far removed from the snarl of city life—Boston, New York, or Louisville, in our case.