Friday, September 19, 2014

The Longbox :: Collecting Comic Book Memories

Got a box of old comics hanging around somewhere? The Longbox Project would like you to pour back over them, not to see what they may be worth for sale, but to have you share your memories of reading them, of collecting them, of keeping them all this time.

Yes, The Longbox Project is "a memory project for comic geeks." Inspired by Max Delgado and Kevin Leslie's own reminiscing through boxes of old comics, The Longbox Project started online in March 2013 with the mission: "To create the most comprehensive anthology of collector-focused memoirs anywhere on the web."

The prompt is a simple one: "Why is this comic book important to you?"

The Longbox Project publishes interviews, personal stories of comic book writers and artists, and personal stories from any collector looking to share what made that book special, memorable, worth keeping in the box.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Westchester Review Writes Under 30 Contest Winners

The newest issue (volume 7) of The Westchester Review: A Literary Journal of Writers from the Hudson to the Sound, includes the winners of the 2nd Annual Writers Under 30 Contest, which is open to writers of poetry and fiction who live, work, or study in the Lower Hudson Valley and who are under the age of 30. The prize for fiction was awarded to Matt Nestor for his short story, "Bushwick," and the prize for poetry was awarded to Kay Cosgrove for her poem, "Study in Blue." Both winners received $100, publication, and two copies of The Westchester Review. Runners-up will be considered for publication.

A Tribute to Alistair MacLeod

The Antigonish Review Summer 2014 issue features a memorial section to Alistair MacLeod, including a tribute by Associate Editor Sheldon Currie, "Alistair Macleod - Memories in a Window" by Randall Maggs, "The Splendid Man from Dunvegan" by Reynold Stone, and three poems by MacLeod from previous issue of The Antigonish Review.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Arkansas Review Celebrates Hemingway

Fifteen years ago, the July 1999 issue of Arkansas Review celebrating the opening of the Hemingway-Pfieffer museum in Piggot, Arkansas, and now, the August 2014 issue celebrates the museum's 15-year anniversary. Guest edited by Adam Long, current museum directly, the issue contains "essays, images and creative pieces that evoke the Hemingway-Pfeiffer connection and updates the scholarship on Hemingway's creative output during the years he spent as part of the Pfeiffer family."

Call for Contributions :: The Virtual Education Project

From The Virtual Education Project: One of the most effective ways of learning is to immerse ourselves in the cultures we study; yet, we often encounter problems when these cultures are separated from us by constraints such as geography or time. When studying various people, places, events, and works, students and teachers rarely have the resources to visit each (if any) historical landmarks pertaining to their subject matter, restricting both research and teaching to textbooks and/or an amalgam of materials from various resources. The Virtual Education Project (VEP) is a large-scale pedagogical undertaking directed at providing both students and teachers with visual introductions to historical and contemporary landmarks (worldwide) relevant to the study of the humanities. Thus, the purpose of the VEP is twofold: 1) to provide educators with a central resource that facilitates both teaching and research, and 2) to encourage independent inquiry amongst students, regardless of their locale.

The Virtual Education Project is currently seeking submissions for photo (or video—email for details) tours of domestic and international sites relevant to the study of the humanities. We are interested in tour submissions that explore local museums, author/artist homes, memorials, public artworks, and any significant cultural or community sites that will aid in the study and/or teaching of the humanities.

We welcome proposals for virtual tours related to the study of the arts, humanities, and sciences, including literature, theatre and/or performance, history, philosophy, rhetoric, and the STEM fields (e.g., the Nikola Tesla Museums in Brograd, Serbia, and Shoreham, NY). The list of examples for this initial Call for Contributions is a starting point, and we encourage you to submit a proposal for a site near you.

Potential tours topics might include (but are in no way limited to):

The Old Manse (Concord, MA)
Emily Dickinson House & Museum: The Homestead & The Evergreens (Amherst, MA)
W.E.B. Du Bois’s National Historic Site (Great Barrington, MA)
Walt Whitman House (Camden, NJ)
William Carlos Williams House (Rutherford, NJ)
Edgar Allan Poe Museum (Richmond, VA)
Thomas Wolfe House (Asheville, NC)
Mark Twain House (Hartford, CT)
Harriet Beecher Stowe House (Hartford, CT)
Ida B. Wells-Barnett House (Chicago, IL)
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (Chicago, IL)
The House of Happy Walls Museum, Jack London (Glen Ellen, CA)
The Wolf House Ruins, Jack London (Glen Ellen, CA)
John Steinbeck House (Salinas, CA)
Andalusia, Home of Flannery O'Connor (Milledgeville, GA)
Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield (Kennesaw, GA)
Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum (Key West, FL)
Lamb House, Henry James (Rye, East Sussex, England)
Monk’s House, Virginia Woolf (Lewes, East Sussex, England)
Thomas Hardy’s Cottage (Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England)
Capela dos Capuchos (Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal)
The Houses of Pablo Neruda (Chile)
Vladimir Nabokov House Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Borobudur Temple Compounds (Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia)
Nelson Mandela's Capture Site (Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; Prison Site (Robben Island, Wescape, South Africa); and The Mandela House (Orlando, Soweto, South Africa)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Slipstream 2014 Chapbook Contest Winner

Slipstream Press's Annual Poetry Chapbook Contest winner for 2014 is Nicole Antonio, of Oakland, CA, for her manuscript, Another Mistake. She will receive a $1,000 prize, along with 50 copies of the publication, and all entrants in the contest will receive a copy of her chapbook as well as the upcoming issue of Slipstream (#34- Rust/Dust/Lust theme). Nicole's book is available now from Slipstream.

Literature in the Age of STEM

Well, if this isn't a "must read" in our age of STEM and "how will that degree get you a job" mentality toward college:  The Second Greatest Psychologist of All Time  by Michael Karson, Ph.D., J.D., who begins his article , "One of the main reasons I switched my major in college from English literature to psychology was that I was worried about making a living."
So on my list of great psychologists, I would put George Eliot, Shakespeare, and Leo Tolstoy near the top. I would literally prefer that my students read Middlemarch, the great tragedies, War and Peace, and Anna Karenina than any psychology book, even my own (except Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior). The Magic Years by Selma Fraiberg is a wonderful professional book about childhood and its passing, but Stephen King’s It and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn are even better and they’re more fun to read. The list of important works on attachment theory is lengthy, and you ought to know it if you want to look credentialed, but if you really want to understand attachment, you won’t do any better than Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. There’s a terrific corpus of work available on family dynamics, but as glad as I am that I’ve read some of it, I’ve gotten even more mileage in my consultation and therapy work out of reading Junichuro Tanazaki’s The Makioka Sisters.

Monday, September 15, 2014

American Poetry Review :: Stephen Berg

American Poetry Review September/October 2014 features a special supplement in honor of Stephen Berg (August 2, 1934 - June 12, 2014), with eight sonnets, a prose piece entitled "Hello, Afterlife!" and a selection of works "Versions of Poems by Zen Master Dōgen."Also included are essays "What do I know?" by David Rivard and "Being Here, Like This" by Edward Hirsch.

Single issue copies of American Poetry Review can be purchased from the NewPages Webstore along with other single issue titles of quality literary journals ($3 flat rate shipping).

Call for Non-fiction Digital Stories

Afterlife of Discarded Objects is "a digital non-fiction storytelling project that explores the stories that discarded objects can tell about our history. The project will examine how people’s memories of their childhood games with discarded material objects inform the way they imagine the cultural landscape of their childhood."

Curated by Natalia Andrievskikh, Fulbright alumna and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University, plans are to transfer stories "onto an interactive map where users will be able to click on marked locations and read stories from that location." Andrievskikh will also reflect on the shared stories in the book that she is am currently working on, titled "Afterlife of Discarded Objects."

Lit Mag Covers :: Picks of the Week

It wasn't my intention when I started posting covers here, but it seems I found myself in a "white" theme that worked out fairly well for the week.

The cover of Nowhere Number 12, an online journal of literary travel writing, is a strongly composed image of balanced whites and beige. A very simple but striking image, a still life that moves the reader to travel to the inside.


This rainbow greyhound on the cover of the Winter 2014 Permafrost issue is a stand out. Of course, generally anything with a dog will garner my attention.


The Literary Review's Summer 2014 cover is in keeping with the publication's theme, "The Glutton's Kitchen: Tales of Insatiable Hunger."


To finish out the covers comes this one from the online publication Chagrin River Review, which features a painting by JenMarie Zeleznak.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Students at Risk: A Letter to MFA Programs

Open Minds Quarterly is a publication whose content continually and consistently packs some of the hardest-hitting writing I've ever read, with its unabashed focus on the poetry and literature of mental health recovery. The Summer 2014 issue is no exception, with one feature in particular that might well strike a deep chord with many of our readers: "An Open Letter to the MFA" by Hannah Baggott. Written in the epistolary style, Baggott addresses the stresses and pressures MFA students face in their programs. While often told to "take care of yourself first," Baggott confronts the contradictory nature the expectations of such programs foster. "Our workshop leader last term said you have to be sad to write well. This is the fallacy that you keep perpetuating." Baggot is "happy" in her program and "would not choose a different path," but she does offer some advice that if the MFA programs themselves won't follow, then the individuals in them should seriously consider how to better "take care."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Roxanne Gay on Food & Family & Loving Hard

The most recent issue of Tin House (v16 n1), themed "Tribes," features an essay in the Readable Feast section by Roxanne Gay, "The Island We Are: At Home with Food." The quote line the magazine chose was "When you are overweight in a Haitian family, your body is a family concern." That caught my interest (well, and of course, it's Roxanne Gay for cripes sake), but what stuck with me throughout her piece was the repetition of 'loving, and loving hard':

"We talk about our lives. We debate and try to solve the world's problems. We are a holy space. We love each other hard."

Following the "overweight" quote, Gay writes: "Everyone - siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandmotehrs, cousins - has an opinion, judgement, or counsel. They mean well. We love hard, and that love is inescapable."

"They want to help. I accept this, or I try to."

"As I eat the foods of my childhood prepared by my own hand, I am filled with longing, as well as a quiet anger that has risen from hard love and good intentions."

Her writing is a mirror of that: subtle, persistent in keeping you reading, and hard hitting in its meaning, which isn't at all sneaky. It's there throughout, and you can't help but to keep reading it, wanting to be a part of it, loving it.

Poetry Postcard Festival 2014 Wrap Up

It was another great year for the August Poetry Postcard Festival! Organized by west coast poet and teacher Paul E. Nelson, over 300 people from a dozen countries signed up to write a postcard a day and send it to someone in the month of August.

As of today, I've received 22 postcards of the 31 expected. I imagine a few more will trickle in, considering the countries they are coming from may take a bit longer, and, well, if some were like me, that 'poem a day' promise might have slipped a bit. I did send a couple out a few days into September.

But I did send all 31! And it's an amazing feeling to be doing it, struggling to do it some days (maybe a few times even resenting the guilt feeling when I didn't do it), and when it's all done, feeling a bit forlorn.

The premise is simple but challenging: put a poem on a postcard and send it. Postcards aren't that big, so it's not that much to write. Still, the intention is to just sit and write daily - a necessity writers understand as such but still seem to struggle with as if some kind of luxury.

My own poems came to me in two ways. On my morning walks, I might see something that would cause me to reflect on the image and feeling in language, or a line would simply jump into my head, like this one: "It was summer when you said you would..." That's not a line that has any connection to anything in my life, it was just language that formed that thought and then became the poem about broken promises. As soon as I got home from my walk, I'd be jotting down lines, then rummaging for a postcard and getting it down as a poem.

The other way the poems came to me was simply sitting down with the postcard and writing using the image on the card as a kind of prompt. Sometimes I wrote on the front of the card right on the image, sometimes on the back. But it was from my mind to the pen to the paper. The only editing I did happened when I reread the poem and would scribble out or correct a mistake, or simply try to make the writing more legible.

I type up and save all of the poems I write. I make note of who I sent them to and the date as well as any notes about the card that may have prompted the poem. Going back and rereading these for the past seven years is a fun reflection. There's some really bad poetry in there, and yet, there's some pretty good stuff too.

And what else I have is a box of great poetry from other writers. I love going back through those cards, from so many people from so many countries. Some were famous then, some have become famous since. Some are unsigned and I'll never know who wrote them. But all of them are truly wonderful works - not just as poetry, good or bad, but in knowing there are so many others out there who would do this. Who would take time from their day to get themselves to write and to share. It's an amazingly warm and comforting experience to feel this kind of connection with total strangers. But then, isn't that the power of poetry? Of poets?

I'm happy to have completed PPF 2014 and appreciative of all the others who did the same. I look forward to this event every year. Huge thanks to Paul Nelson for taking it over.

See you in August 2015!