March/April 2009

Mary Gaitskill on what the best stories always deliver, plus our annual special section on literary getaways and, as part of our continuing Agents and Editors series, four young editors reveal what they never tell authors.


The Dark Is Rising: A Profile of Mary Gaitskill

by Nina Shengold
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Even at their darkest, Mary Gaitskill's stories illuminate the core mystery of what it means to be alive.

The Voyage of Many Returns: A Profile of Achy Obejas

by Kevin Nance
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In her writing, Cuban American novelist Achy Obejas returns to her beloved Havana, completing a trip that began on a small wooden boat over forty-five years ago.

Conferences and Residencies

The Norman Mailer Writers Colony: Provincetown, Massachusetts

by Sarah Weinman
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The new colony based at Norman Mailer's home in Provincetown will open its doors to prose writers in May.

The Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Tower View: Red Wing, Minnesota

by Elaine Elinson
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Poets and writers work alongside artists, musicians, and scholars at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota.

Yoga for Writers: A Roundup

by Colette LaBouff Atkinson
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Yoga and writing retreats can benefit the body and the creative mind.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival: Bali, Indonesia

by Elayne Clift
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A literary festival held every October on the Indonesian island of Bali draws international writers such as J. M. Coetzee, Wole Soyinka, and Mohammed Hanif, as well as readers from around the world.

Blue Metropolis: Montreal, Canada

by Josip Novakovich
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The annual literary festival in downtown Montreal features workshops, readings by international authors, and multilingual panel discussions on topics such as translation and politics.

Retreats on the Cheap

by Staff
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Tips for creating a writing retreat on a budget.

News and Trends

The Art and the Artist

by Joshua Bodwell

Three new biographies tackle the private lives and literary legends of Donald Barthelme, John Cheever, and Flannery O'Connor.

Poetry Makes Strange Bedfellows

by Travis Nichols

By presenting seventy-three poets, all of whom the editors believe constitute what Charles Bernstein famously called "official verse culture" as well as its unofficial, avant-garde counterpart, the new anthology American Hybrid strives to showcase the diversity of contemporary American poetry while also revealing the unusual affinities within it.

Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

by Staff

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Noelle Kocot's Sunny Wednesday and Jane Vandenbergh's A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century as the starting point for a closer look at these new and noteworthy titles.

Small Press Points

by Kevin Larimer

Small Press Points highlights the happenings of the small press players. This issue features Canarium Books, Tupelo Press, Chelsea Green, and Persea Books.

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 the Normal School, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, and Narrative.

The Written Image: The Beats

by Staff

Trying to capitalize on the popularity of graphic novels, Hill and Wang, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, has begun publishing graphic nonfiction titles. Their latest release, The Beats: A Graphic History, covers all the major writers of the generation.


Q&A: April Ossmann’s Alice James Fix

by Kevin Larimer

April Ossmann, who recently stepped down as executive director of Alice James Books, the Farmington, Maine–based nonprofit cooperative poetry press founded in 1973, spoke about her time at Alice James from her home in Post Mills, a snowy hamlet in eastern Vermont.

Video Thrilled the Poetry Stars

by Alex Dimitrov
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Poets such as Aaron Fagan, Thylias Moss, and Anne Carson are taking advantage of advances in video recording, editing software, and distribution channels to create an entirely new way to find readers.

The Practical Writer

First: Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

by Megan Doll
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Journalist and fiction writer Wells Tower makes his international debut with a collection of short stories.

Bullseye: How to Submit to New Ohio Review

by Staff
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A concise guide to submitting poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to New Ohio Review.

The Literary Life

Revenge of the Nerds: Where Are the Badly Behaved Writers?

by Amy Shearn
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Today's successful writers seem to be more industrious than indulgent.

Green-Haired Gumshoes or Hidebound Hacks? Creative Nonfiction vs. Journalism

by Michael McGregor

My confusion came from a curious warning. Awash in a sea of writers and would-be writers in a drab-walled meeting room at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference a few years ago in Vancouver, B.C., I was listening to author Dinty W. Moore extol the virtues of creative nonfiction writing when suddenly he straightened his stout body and leaned across the podium. "Look out," he cautioned, his tone dire, "the journalists are coming!"