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1. On-line Floricanto for DDLM

Memorial Poetry Reading for James Foley

Among LA's hardest-working poets, Luivette Resto, Iris de Anda, Gloria Enedina Alvarez


La Bloga friend and fútbol poetry contributor, Yago S. Cura, sends news that will have gente circling their calendars to remind of a spectacular reading of Los Angeles poets. Here's Yago's email:

Gente/Folks!

On Sunday, November 23, from 2-4 PM the La Palabra reading series will host a reading for American Journalist, James Foley, at Avenue 50 Studios (131 N Avenue 50, Los Angeles, CA 90042 / (323) 258-1435) in Highland Park.

The reading hopes to celebrate Foley's work as a combat journalist, fiction writer, and English teacher. The event will also serve as an opportunity for people to donate to the James Foley Legacy fund and the James Foley Scholarship  at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Please come celebrate his legacy with some of L.A.'s hardest-working poets: Dennis Cruz, S.A. Griffin, Billy Burgos, Annette Cruz, Millicent Accardi, Matt Sedillo, Luivette Resto, Angel Garcia, Ashake M. Jackson, oConney Williams, Ryan Nance, Rebecca Gonzalez, Gloria E Alvarez, Daniel Sosa, Iris De Anda, Karineh Mahdessian, and William Gonzalez



On-line Floricanto for Día de los Muertos

"If I Could Weigh My Memory" by John Martinez
"Baile" By Jose Faus
"Two Dia De Los Muertos Tales" By Odilia Galván Rodríguez
"Ancestor Dreaming" by Christine Costello
"A beautiful day in the neighborhood" by Sharon Elliott
"Holyhand" By Jolaoso Pretty Thunder
“My Own Louie” By Paul Aponte
"CALAVERA A GRACIELA B. RAMÍREZ" Por Betty Sánchez
"Tinta roja"/"Red Ink" Por Sonia Gutiérrez
"Altar en el desierto / Altar in the Desert" by Francisco X. Alarcón


If I Could Weigh My Memory
by John Martinez

If I could weigh my memory
Like a sack of something,
It would have the weight
Of my loving dead

My Uncle in an empty church,
Red carpet beneath
Pressed soles

My mother holding her arm
Like a wounded baby

My brother, opening
Another door to a lesson,
Still seated in the center
Of his room
Where loss and imagination
Are riddled about
And the exhale of the dying,
Is distant and furling
Through trees

If I could weigh my memory,
On the scale,
Like a gunny sacks of chili's
And beer hands reaching,
And burning sun
Scorching our skin
Browner than brown,
I would weigh it with a smile

Because the weight
Of my  memory,
Summons a sum paid

And so I walk away
With the grin of a child,
Walk into a perfect landscape,
With my reward secure
In my dusty pockets

(c) John Martinez 2014
All Rights Reserved



john Martinez has published poetry in several journals, including, LA WEEKLY, EL TECOLOTE, Red Trapeze and this will be his 17th poem published in LA BLOGA. Martinez studied creative writing in the early 80's at Fresno State University under, the now, U.S., Poet Laureate, Phillip Levine and has attended seminars with several established American poets. For the last 30 years he has worked as an Administrator for a Los Angeles Law Firm and has recently complete his long awaited Manuscript of 60 poems entitled PLACES, which will be published by IZOTE Press.








Baile
by Jose Faus

She came to my door last night
like so many times before
At first I do not see her
hiding in the bushes
Turning back into the living room
her bony legs trip me
and I land on the floor

I love it when that happens
She laughs and heads for the altar
helping herself
to the ofrendas on the shelf
Hey what gives señorita
You know these are for the souls
that will come tomorrow night
Do you really think I am a señorita
She smiles coyly
the blush coloring her bleached bones
Of course my lovely

And for the umpteenth time
since we first met
I lead her to the table
and serve her tamals
baked in banana leaves
a tall glass of avena
with a hint of cinnamon
On the stove
arroz con pollo
spiced with cloves and
littered with green olives
simmers

I pour her a cup of vino de casa
and in the dim light we reminisce
Tio Jaime and tu primo Sancho
send their regrets
Emerita tu abuelita
cries over her Cuco
Give me a picture to take to her
Then she takes her finger
and slowly strokes my beard
and with the hollow of her eyes
looks deep into my heart

You know someday
I will come for you

Don’t think of work tonight my dear
I reach behind her on the table
and grab the long stem rose
She puts it in her mouth
and stands apace
I push the player to shuffle
and in a tight embrace we sway
to boleros and tangos
the rattle of her bones
an eerie metronome
I ply her with vino
until she is tipsy in my arms
Any moment she will fall asleep
and then suddenly she glides
awkwardly across the floor
stops and holds the rose
on the tips of her weary bones

These advances are so nice
to feel and be what I was once
but it is futile to resist
someday I will come for you
and what will have been
the point of this

Nada chica nada
But you can’t blame me for trying
Besides how many can claim
to have danced
with such a lovely death
cheek to cheek
in a tight embrace
Alma de mi vida
you can really shake and bake



José Faus is a founding member of the Latino Writers Collective and Writers Place board president. He is a 2012 Rocket Grant recipient for the community project VOX NARRO. His writing appears in the anthologies; Primera Pagina: Poetry From the Latino Heartland, Cuentos del Centro: Stories From the Latino Heartland, Raritan, Whirlybird Anthology, Luces y Sombras and I-70 Review. He is the 2011 winner of Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange award.





Two Dia De Los Muertos Tales
by Odilia Galván Rodríguez

La Calaca's
bones rattle
make sounds
como when los músicos
play la marimba
Calaca dances
down the hall
looking for people
to mesmerize
with its fancy jiggly steps
it dances street and wise
La Calaca wants to steal
anyone’s last sweet breath
and twirl them dazed
into its bony arms
of death


ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ ஜ


La Llorona they say
drowned her children
because their father left her and
she lost the love of her life
but others say it was because
she could no longer provide
on a single mother campesina’s wages

didn’t know how to care for them on so little
that was not the life she had envisioned
she despaired for her children’s future and
went crazy from so much worry
about how to pay for care for them
while she was at work   or sometimes even
where their next meal would come from

one night after crying and crying and
ravaged with so much guilt and fear
she decided it was better
to return them to the water
so they’d swim happily back
to that calm calm place
where all life begins
again



Odilia Galván Rodríguez, eco-poet, writer, editor, and activist, is the author of four volumes of poetry, her latest, Red Earth Calling: ~cantos for the 21st Century~. She’s worked as an editor for Matrix Women's News Magazine, Community Mural's Magazine, and most recently at Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba. She facilitates creative writing workshops nationally and is a moderator of Poets Responding to SB 1070, and Love and Prayers for Fukushima, both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues that affect the lives and wellbeing of many people. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, and literary journals on and offline.





Ancestor Dreaming
by Christine Costello

(Idle meandering thoughts of an insomniac)

Eyelids flutter as my curtains blow to the same beat
Flutter whoosh whoosh
Window open like a restless mind
The wind seeks sleep
perhaps a dream
Flutter snap wind
A dream awaits
A shadow passes by in the hall
A spirit conjured by the wind paces back and forth
Waiting for the sound of tires on a wet street
dripping with a hope of rain.
Dream.
Flutter.
Storm.
Spirit.

Insomnia holds me captive
under the weight of a dream
waiting to be released to a sleeping mind
Ancestor I hear your whispers
Ancestor I feel your strength
Ancestor
sleep doesn't live here anymore
Only a deep flutter of a restless night
Dancing.
Flutter.
Snap.

Sweet slumber
I beg you to quick grab the key
The key
It opens to the dream
Please open
Wrong key
Missing is the slumber
the evasive sleep I crave
Is there a key
I can't remember



Born and raised in San Francisco Christine Costello is a 6th generation San Franciscan who grew up in the Mission District. She was the recipient of the Benny Bufano Art Scholarship and attended the San Francisco Art Academy majoring in Fine Art. She has been keeping illustrated journals for 40 years. Christine still resides in the City's Duboce Triangle neighborhood. Christine was a union labor activist for many years, working for various unions after being inspired by the farm workers movement, For the last 14 years she served as Business Agent for Theatrical Stage Employees Union Local B18, Christine volunteered her services for many years as the event planner for Instituto Laboral de la Raza’s annual fund raiser.  An early retirement  due to a disability has once again spurred her writing, journaling and illustration. She is a priest of Yemaya practicing the Lucumi traditions as well as an espiritista.





A beautiful day in the neighborhood
by Sharon Elliott

copper calavera
helicopts
above blue seas
grey sand

gyrates
a white flower
coffee cup
dance
at the inlet

drives a car
strewn with branches
green
scarlet
periwinkle

leaves are
woven into noise
grate against
ears
too full of sound

bird
of unknown origin
calls to children
playing in the street
they shout at each other
without answering her

wings gifted to
the calavera
stop her tortuous flight
allow her
to settle on a skylight
blocks away
knock three times
dissolve through it
fluff her bony
caderas
over a purple pillow
drink a lighted candle
blow wax through her ears
smile toothily
at humans
choosing to ignore her

she decides to stay

Copyright © 2014 Sharon Elliott. All Rights Reserved.




Sharon Elliott was born and raised in Seattle and lives in Oakland. Four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador laid the foundation for her activism in multicultural women’s issues. Her book, Jaguar Unfinished was published in 2012. She was an awardee of the Best Poem of 2012, The Day of Little Comfort, by La Bloga On-Line Floricanto; and has been featured in poetry readings in the Bay Area. She is an initiated Lukumi priest of Scot/Sámi/African Carribbean ancestry; ally to people of color and to the earth.





Holyhand
By Jolaoso Pretty Thunder

I am saying datura grows in colonies
on abandoned roads on the hips of the interstate
I do don't remember what she says
lost several hours, days even
ghost rattle
I am saying the dumb sky above looked down
on my galvanized roof, my castle
and two bucks locked antlers
In front of the house
03:00 am
dragging each other 150 feet
I call the dream helper by name
It's that time again
dirt
ash
mist captured
The women of my clan tossed the family name into the pit
I too burn the bridges
goodbye
My vision can change with the invisible borders that
I see, then cross
Trespassing
Yet further
I push it, reach the edges, some kind of darkness that brightens
Don’t look in the skeleton closet
you will find me there
The town dump, ocean, ravine, last stand of redwoods
I am the rubbish of the compound
Being eaten by the village chickens
I shapeshift into the sailor, a crossroads
Then the common wife, the storm flower, perfect whore, your queen
I am on the porch tethered to a cinderblock that lays in the crabgrass
This is exile self chosen
I nap in the sun
Irresponsible
Drawing it out with a stick in the dirt
I am the green hoop around the sun
on far away days
I see you in your manner
I speak in your Way
Dressing the house in tea and cakes
Spirit plates left for the dead
I know the songs for war, love, invisibility and undoing the sorcery
I tie knots in the rhythm
I say outright you have abandoned your own self
I say to you, those matching dishes and pillows are your spirit, malnourished
That formal garden, the same
I speak that I fear my own black magic and what I can do
what I have already done
I say I know these trees and which way to glance to accomplish it all
Blood in the hollow
1234567
This is what I am saying
This is the language I speak




Jolaoso Pretty Thunder is an initiated Apetebi and Orisa priestess of Oya in the Lukumi tradition. She lives in the woods of Northern California with her two dogs Rosie Farstar and Ilumina Holydog. She is a certified practitioner and student of herbal medicine (Western, Vedic, TMC and Lukumi) and  is an ordained minister of First Nations Church. She is a well traveled poet and  loves southern rock, porch swings, pickup trucks, cooking, camp fires, lightning, steak, long drives, hot cups of coffee, gathering and making medicine and singing with her  friends and family.







My Own Louie
by Paul Aponte

Andábamos en su ranfla
down Capitol Avenue.
You know, Capitol Avenue en SanJo.

Way Before some güey
decided to express it
by demolishing cantones
and turning it all
into a cesspool
of boiling concrete & cars.

Anyway,
Andábamos en su ranfla
down Capitol Avenue.
El Louie was driving Dad's
46 Plymouth Coupe
From Story Rd
down Capitol Avenue
approaching el Payless.
Payless:
with the huge drive-in type parking lot
where jainas and vatos hung out at night,
listened to "Angel Baby" and "Hanky Panky".
.
but right now it was daytime,
and two of his buddies
con su ranfla chingona
came up right next to his window.
.
With lip-bobbing cigarette he said:
"Ey, Louie you got a match!"
"Órale.  Hold on.
Poly, drive the car.
"Qué?"
Just grab the steering wheel!
El Louie sat on the window sil
paper matches in hand
lit up three together to make sure,
lit the vatos trola,
and sat down
before the carrucha
complained
about the 8 year old steering it.
.
He gave me a couple of looks
and on the 2nd gave me his signature laugh:
"Puh-th-th-thuh".
He drove me to Mark's Hot Dogs,
the place with the juiciest,
crispiest and most delicious dogs,
making me feel welcome again.
.
My summer vacation from el Defe,
starting off pretty well.
.
He'd been there, himself.
Got a tough guy reputation
in a place filled with the toughest.
Constantly came back to our Tlatelolco apartment
beat up for taking on too many at once.
I imagine they called him el Tlate-loco.
So the uncles had to send him back to SanJo.

I never saw any meanness.
I only saw crazy funny,
or quiet, wistful, pensive Louie.
Though, most times he was out and about.
.
Even so, I do have some memories.
Like that hot summer night
when he was stuck at home for some reason.
He gave me a note, and instructions:
"All you have to do is knock on the window.
When Sylvia opens it, tell her Louie sends this.
Now, go!"
I knock, and Sylvia opens the window
immediately grabs the note without asking
and tells me to wait.
She comes back out with her thick eye-liner,
and puffy hair with the flipped out ends
and straight cut bangs barely above her brows.
she gives me another note to give to Louie.
Then I become a ping-pong ball on the
table of grounded teenagers.
I know at some point it stopped,
but I actually don't remember that moment.
I think the ghost of me or parallel universe me
is still out there doing it.

.
He was definitely the ladies man,
and even though he was tall & studly,
with light skin & light blue eyes,
he liked them gorditas, prietitas y bien Chicanas.
Le gustaba la guitarra just like Dad,
and he impressed the ladies just like Dad.
.
The summer was over.
Back en el Defe things began boiling.
Just like everywhere around the world and the U.S.
.
1968 came around - a horrific year.
The beginning of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam.
Labor strikes and riots in Poland, France & Italy.
Race riots throughout the U.S.
President Johnson refused to run for re-election.
Martin Luther King - assassinated.
Bobby Kennedy - assassinated.
Student riots in Mexico City.
Estudiantes contra granaderos.
In Tlatelolco where I lived -- many students were murdered.
and in 1968 ...
Mi carnal Louie died.  He was 18.
He died March 30th, 1968.
.
The newspaper said he drowned in Coyote lake.
Maybe he drowned in sorrow
after his good friend
committed suicide.
Maybe he abused his body
and just couldn't come back out.
Maybe, as they say, he was involved with gangs
and was killed when he chose to lead a different gang,
beaten up and thrown in the water
at a supposed "going away" party.
.
Don't want to know.
.
Years after:
My sister's daughter was born ... on March 30th.
My son was born ... on March 30th.
There is a supernatural feeling about that.
.
I think it was 1970
cuando me retaché a mi dulce hogar
for the summer.
I remember getting a high fever, almost delirious.
In the depths of my illness
I actually felt myself feeling like I might die.
Casi estiraba el teni.
Then I had a dream.
I was in the middle of the main road
in a typical western town of the old wild west
a strange town, unknown to me
deserted dirt streets
rolling tumbleweeds.
I realized I was going to be in a gun fight.
The other guy showed up at a long distance
on this main town road
in a hero's style cowboy outfit
with a red scarf blowing in the wind
I knew it wasn't my town
I knew this man meant business
and I had no business being there.
His arms slightly out, hands wide open by the holsters.
Then I saw it was Louie.
His message was “this town, his town, ain't big enough for the both of us”.
.
After I recuperated from my fever,
and was playing outside on a windy day,
I thought I heard in the wind, his signature laugh.
"Puh-th-th-thuh".















Paul Aponte is a Chicano poet born in San Jose, California USA, and now a proud citizen of Sacramento.   Paul, was a member of the performance poetry group "Poetas Of The Obsidian Tongue" in the 90's, and now is a member of "Escritores del Nuevo Sol". He is the author of the book of poetry "Expression Obsession" published in 1999, and has been published in "La Bloga" and in the book "Un Canto De Amor A Gabriel Garcia Márquez" which was put together by Alfred Asis from the country of Chile to honor Gabriel Garcia Márquez with poems from around the world with 31 countries represented. Through his many poems in English, Spanish, and Spanglish he conveys a connection to his culture that transcends the material.  He does this while retaining a voice that is very clearly his own, one which he commands with sincerity and a truthful, even wise sense of humor, and of self. Facebook website.





CALAVERA A GRACIELA B. RAMÍREZ
por Betty Sánchez


Se ha esparcido la noticia
Usted no lo va a creer
Graciela Brauer Ramírez
Ya ha dejado de ser

Con el Creador hizo un trato
De llegar a los sesenta
Pero al llegar a esa edad
Se fue a comprar indulgencias
Y rebasó los ochenta

Se murió placidamente
Esbozando una sonrisa
Logró lo que tenia en mente
Cruzó esta vida sin prisa

En vida fue muy activa
Practicaba el Tai Chi
Tenia otras perspectivas
Eso apenas descubrí

Tres maestrías completó
Se la pasaba leyendo
Sus memorias registró
Como le hizo no lo entiendo

La muerte llegó en carreta
A recoger sus huesitos
Vio dormida a la poeta
Y se robó sus escritos

El sol de los escritores
Se ha eclipsado de momento
Muy tristes le llevan flores
Perderla es el peor tormento

Los ángeles y el chamuco
Por su alma se pelean
Han armado un emboruco
Uno y otro forcejean

Ni pa’ ti ni para mi
Dijo el demonio enfadado
Esto ya lo decidí
Echémonos un volado

La parca que no es paciente
Les arrebató a su cliente
Se fue directo a los cielos
Para evitar mas recelos

En la puerta la esperaban
Con maracas y tambores
José Montoya y Phil Goldvarg
Para hacerle los honores

Tremenda pachanga armaron
Que les costó el paraíso
Al infierno los mandaron
Para volverlos sumisos

En la tierra los mortales
Añoran a su poetisa
De vez en cuando hay señales
Que nos visita la occisa

En México se aparece
Por la calle Bucareli
Ahí transcurrió su infancia
Sus recuerdos no perecen

Alguien asegura verla
En las aulas de Sac State
Acaso eso nos sorprende
Si por veinticinco años
Su enseñanza aun trasciende

El averno esta de gala
Se organiza un floricanto
La calaca se acicala
Luciendo su mejor manto
Graciela es la invitada
Que a todos deleitará
Con su épica chicana

Si una grulla ven volando
No es una pájaro cualquiera
Es ella que esta extrañando
Sus hijos nietos y amigos
Los árboles y los ríos
de ésta su amada ciudad
Que aun sigue visitando

Adiós viejecita linda
En mi corazón te llevo
Con respeto se te brinda
Ésta plegaria que elevo.

Con todo mi cariño y admiración para mi querida Graciela B. Ramírez
28 de Septiembre de 2014



foto:Andres Alvarez
Betty Sánchez, miembro activo del grupo literario, Escritores del Nuevo Sol desde  Marzo del 2003.

He colaborado en eventos poéticos tales como el Festival Flor y Canto, Colectivo Verso Activo, Noche de Voces Xicanas, Honrando a Facundo Cabral, y Poesía Revuelta.

Ha sido un privilegio contribuir en la página Poetas Respondiendo al SB 1070, Zine 10 Mujeres de Maíz y en La Bloga.








Tinta roja
por Sonia Gutiérrez

“Si tú mueres primero, yo te prometo . . .”
—Julio Jaramillo, “Nuestro juramento”

Hace unos minutos
vino mi Lola.
Estuvo aquí.
Sentí su presencia
como un zarape
cálido sobre mi cuerpo,
y sus colores
como rayos de luz
llenaron mi corazón.

En el cuarto junto
a mi alcoba,
donde nuestros cuerpos
florecían y perfumaban
las noches, ella misma
encendió la música
con su llanto.

Me visitó mi Lola
para que juntos
escucháramos
la guitarra,
las palabras,
y los gemidos
de nuestra canción.
Y entonces las paredes
y los santos recordaron
nuestros besos, nuestras caricias.

Estoy contento.
Estuvo aquí mi Lola;
cumplimos nuestra promesa,
y Ay como le agradezco
su visita para que ella vea
que tomé la pluma roja
y recordé
nuestro juramento.


Red Ink
by Sonia Gutiérrez

“Si tú mueres primero, yo te prometo . . .”
—Julio Jaramillo, “Nuestro juramento”

A few minutes ago,
my Lola came.
She was here.
I felt her presence
like a warm
zarape over my body,
and its colors
likes rays of light
filled my heart.

In the room next
to my bedroom,
where our bodies
flowered and perfumed
the nights, she herself
turned on the music
with her cry.

My Lola visited me,
so together
we could listen
to the guitar,
the words,
and the moaning
of our song.
And then the walls
and the saints remembered
our kisses, our caresses.

I am happy.
My Lola was here;
we kept our promise,
and Oh how much I appreciate
her visit, so she could see
that I took the red pen,
and remembered
our oath.

Translation by Sonia Gutiérrez



Sonia Gutiérrez is a poet professor, who promotes social justice and human dignity. She teaches English Composition and Critical Thinking and Writing at Palomar College. La Bloga is home to her Poets Responding SB 1070 poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.” Sonia recently joined the moderators of Poets Responding to SB 1070.

Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Storyacious, and Huizache. Her bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña, is her debut publication. Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a manuscript written in the Tomás Rivera and Sandra Cisneros literary tradition, is under editorial review. “Tinta roja” first appeared in Tijuana poética #7 / octubre 2014.





Altar en el desierto / Altar In the Desert
by Francisco X. Alarcón

foto:Javier Pinzón




foto:Javier Pinzón

Francisco X. Alarcón, award-winning Chicano poet and educator, was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and now lives in Davis, where he teaches at the University of California. He is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry, including Borderless Butterflies / Mariposas sin fronteras (Poetic Matrix Press 2014), Ce • Uno • One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press, 2010), From the Other Side of Night / Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2002), Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes (Creative Arts Book Company, 2001), Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (Chronicle Books, 1992), Of Dark Love (Moving Parts Press, 2001). He is the author of six acclaimed books of bilingual poems for children on the seasons of the year originally published by Children’s Book Press, now an imprint of Lee & Low Books. He has received numerous literary awards and prizes for his works, like including the American Book Award, the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award, the PEN Oakland – Josephine Miles Award, the Chicano Literary Prize, the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award, the Jane Adams Honor Book Award, and several Pura Belpré Honor Book Awards by the American Library Association. He is the creator of the Facebook page “Poets Responding to SB 1070.”

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2. Post-book Publication Awards: 2015 Devil's Kitchen Reading Awards

The Department of English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and GRASSROOTS,SIUC's undergraduate literary magazine, are pleased to announce the 2015 Devil's Kitchen Reading Awards.  

One book of poetry (book-length work or single-author collection of poems), one book of fiction (novel, novella, or single-author short fiction collection) and one book of prose nonfiction (literary nonfiction, memoir, or single-author essay collection) will be selected from submissions of single-author titles published in 2014, and the winning authors will receive an honorarium of $1000.00 and will present a public reading and participate in panels at the Devil's Kitchen Fall Literary Festival at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.   

The dates for the 2015 festival will be October 21-23, 2015. Travel and accommodations will be provided for the three winners. 

Entries may be submitted by either author or publisher, and must include a copy of the book, a cover letter, a brief biography of the author including previous publications, and a $20.00 entry fee made out to "SIUC - Dept. of English." Entrants wishing to submit entry fees electronically should e-mail a request to:

grassrootsmagATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

and they will be sent a link to pay by PayPal or credit card.

Entries must be postmarked December 1, 2014 - February 2, 2015. Materials postmarked after February 1 will be returned unopened. Because we cannot guarantee their return, all entries will become the property of the SIUC Department of English. Entrants wishing acknowledgment of receipt of materials must include a self-addressed stamped postcard.

Judges will come from the faculty of SIUC's MFA Program in Creative Writing and the award winners will be selected by the staff of GRASSROOTS. The winners will be notified in May 2015. All entrants will be notified of the results by e-mail in June 2015.

The three awards are open to single-author titles published in 2014 by independent, university, or commercial publishers. The winners must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must agree to attend and participate in the 2015 Devil's Kitchen Fall Literary Festival (October 21-23, 2015) to receive the award. Entries from vanity presses and self-published books are not eligible. Current students and employees at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and authors published by Southern Illinois University Press are not eligible.

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3. Brilliant: B.J. Novak Reads “The Book With No Pictures”

In this bunny eat bunny world, we’ve seen celebrity authors come and go. Mostly come, in droves, especially after Harry Potter put a spotlight on the profit potential of the children’s book biz. Ca-ching.

Everybody’s making millions!

For many of us non-celebrity authors and illustrators, dressed in our dreary clothes, clutching our cold coffee cups, it’s hard not to be a little, urm, disgusted at times. The crappy book by the “star” that gets a ridiculous amount of undeserved attention.

IMG_0369But that’s life, so we deal with it, and try to keep our petty thoughts to ourselves.

However, I hasten to add: not all celebrity books suck. Jamie Lee Curtis wrote some good ones, as I recall. Fred Gwynne — Herman Munster! — made a sincere  effort to create singular children’s books. By that I mean, my sense is that they actually worked on the books, actually respected the idea of a children’s book, and got into it for the “right reasons,” however we might differ in defining what those reasons are. It wasn’t just a way to cash in on something.

Anyway, this fresh, new effort by B.J. Novak is brilliant. Yes, absolutely, he came up with a clever idea. A great idea. But then he pulled it off over the course of an entire book. That’s not at all easy. And it’s beautifully published, too. Great job, all around.

Kids today, they sure do love the meta.

Enjoy this book with no pictures, folks. Go ahead, stomp on that link, surrender to the video. It makes me wish that I had a room full of kids to read this one too.

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4. Reading “Danny the Champion of the World”: And Wonderful It Was

I guess it’s true of most readers. We have these embarrassing gaps in our reading lives, all those books we didn’t get to, the awful holes we hope to one day fill. It’s an impossible task, a job (and a joy) that can never be completed.

To that end, I’m currently reading Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World.

I haven’t finished it yet, and I’m disinclined to offer up a review. But I wanted to share a few thoughts, beginning with this incredible illustration by Quentin Blake.

 

Dahl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I keep returning to that page, staring at that picture. Just a few simple lines that capture such depth of feeling. There it all is, being a kid, looking up at a parent with love and wonder while snuggled up warm in bed. Two dots for eyes — two dots! — and yet they seem to express the essence of that relationship. The father registers only as a looming presence without detail, like a great tree in a forest. He is, simply, there. A force of nature and comfort. It’s amazing, I’m stunned by it, in awe of it. So that sums up an important part of today’s blog.

Wow: Quentin Blake.

Then there’s the storytelling of Mr. Dahl, which is a gift I’ll never have. The man tells stories. Whoppers. But here, today, I want to focus on Dahl’s writing style. I admire the clarity and directness. I’m also charmed by the Englishness — the strangeness to my American ears, the weird things they happily eat, the peculiar names of things — where every detail seems just a little other-worldly, even in a fairly straight-ahead, naturalistic novel such as this one. This is the distance of time and place. A different world, yet still familiar.

Here’s the paragraph that went before the illustration above. I keep reading it over and over again. Now I get to type it, feeling like a weekend musician at home with a guitar banging out a Beatles tune, channeling that great artistic beauty through my fingertips (I love typing out great passages from books):

I really loved living in that gypsy caravan. I loved it especially in the evenings when I was tucked up in my bunk and my father was telling stories. The kerosene lamp was turned low, and I could see lumps of wood glowing red-hot in the old stove, and wonderful it was to be lying there snug and warm in my bunk in that little room. Most wonderful of all was the feeling that when I went to sleep, my father would still be there, very close to me, sitting in his chair by the fire, or lying in the bunk above my own.

That paragraph, to me, is absolutely perfect. The writing is direct, specific, concrete (not abstract), interesting (lumps of wood) and for the most part, quite plain. I really loved living in that gypsy caravan. Few would claim that as an example of great writing — except for the obvious fact that, wow, that’s great writing. The absence of flash. An arrow doing its swift work, slicing to the next sentence.

danncover3The only tricky moment in this paragraph, where the language uplifts and surprises us, giving the reader temporary pause, occurs in that more elaborate third sentence, which was perfectly set-up by the direct predicate-verb structure of the previous two sentences. I really loved, and, I loved. Which leads to this: The kerosene lamp was turned low, and I could see lumps of wood glowing red-hot in the old stove, and wonderful it was to by lying there snug and warm in my bunk in that little room.

You heard that, right?

And wonderful it was.

Again, all I’ve got is wow. There’s so much there, the essence of being loved, of feeling secure, of being a child safe from harm, snug and warm. Can writing really do that? It feels like a small miracle. Is this why I love books?

And it all happens on page 7.

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5. One Novel with a Perfect Ending

UnknownI finally got around to reading Sherman Alexie’s bestseller, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. There’s just times in your life when you’ve got to rectify old wrongs, and this was one of them. I had to read that book.

I’d heard that it was a great book from many sources, including some trusted friends. (A curious phrase, by the way, “trusted friends.” As opposed to all those other friends we have, with crappy taste, the friends we can’t possibly trust.)

So I took Alexie’s book out of the library and read it. Now I am a member of the club and say without hesitation: Stop wasting your life and read it already! Today I’m not looking to review a book that’s already been reviewed hundreds of times. My focus is on the book’s final two paragraphs. To me, those six sentences felt exactly right, forming a poignant, understated conclusion.

I don’t think that reproducing it here involves any spoilers, or anything that could diminish your enjoyment of the book, so here goes:

Rowdy and I played one-on-one for hours. We played until dark. We played until the streetlights lit up the court. We played until the bats swooped down at our heads. We played until the moon was huge and golden and perfect in the dark sky.

We didn’t keep score.

I love the repetition of “we played,” repeated four times, the rhythmic, accumulative power of that device, the simplicity of the word choice, the interplay between light and dark, and that great, four-word conclusion. We didn’t keep score. Perfection.

Back four years ago, I wrote a decent post titled “Best Last Lines from Books,” and I think you might enjoy it. So click away, folks. It’s absolutely free.

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6. Poetry Competition: The Paumanok Poetry Award

The Paumanok Poetry Award Guidelines

The Visiting Writers Program at Farmingdale State College is pleased to announce the annual competition for The Paumanok Poetry Award.

One First Prize $1500 and expenses for a reading in our 2015 - 2016 series

Two Second Prizes $750 and expenses for a reading in our series

Interested writers should send

a cover letter
a one-paragraph bio
3-5 of their best poems (no more than 10 pages, total)
the required $25 entry fee to:

Margery L. Brown
English Department, Knapp Hall
Farmingdale State College
2350 Broadhollow Road
Farmingdale, New York 11735

Poems may be published or unpublished, and there are no restrictions on style, subject matter, or length of poems submitted: quality is the single criterion. Please note that the writer's name, address, and phone number should be clearly indicated on the cover page. Multiple entries will not be accepted. Entries from previous winners will not be considered.

Make checks payable to: Farmingdale State College, VWP.

Poems will not be returned, but writers who want to know the results of the competition by US mail should enclose a business-size SASE for results (notification by late December). Results are also published on this website.

Deadline: Postmark no later than September 15, 2014.

Please direct any questions or requests for clarification via email to Margery Brown.

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7. Call for Writers and Poets from Connecticut: Praying Mantis Salon

CONNECTICUT WRITERS and POETS


Wonderful opportunity for writers to read their work (10 minutes total each writer) at the second annual Praying Mantis Salon. (The Praying Mantis is the State Insect of Connecticut)  
We are looking for original narrative poetry and short-shorts on any subject in a variety of styles.   
When: November 2, 2014, 5:00 pm. Unitarian Society, mid-state 
Possible small honoraria. 
Contact with samples of work.  Email: 
PrayingmantissalonATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

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8. Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom

I am proud of my friend, Lewis Buzbee, who has written this much-acclaimed book — and it just came out this week. He is a great writer and friend and I can’t wait to read this new one. A book for anyone who has gone to school, or cares about education.

A classic back-to-school book.

 

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“Buzbee’s affectionate account [is] a subtle, sharply etched critique of contemporary public education. . . . Deeply affectionate toward teachers, harshly critical of budget cuts, the book offers an eloquent, important reminder (which in a perfect world would inform policy) about the nature of school.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A bracing rejoinder to the didactic, data-driven books from policy gurus and social scientists. . . . From the layout of schools to the distinction between ‘middle school’ and ‘junior high school,’ Buzbee spreads engaging prose across the pages, providing both a reminiscence of better days and a considered examination of the assumptions we all make about what does—and does not—constitute a quality education. . . . A welcome book on the importance of education for all.”—Kirkus Book Vault Reviews

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9. Common questions about shared reading time

By Jamie Zibulsky, Anne Cunningham, and Chelsea Schubart


Throughout the process of reading development, it is important to read with your child frequently and to make the experience fun, whether your child is a newborn or thirteen. This may not sound like news to many parents, but the American Academy of Pediatrics is just announcing their new recommendation that parents read with their children daily from infancy on, and it is expected that this announcement will serve as a reminder to many parents and a call for educators and policymakers to help parents who lack the time, resources, and skills to read with their children encourage reading development. We are so excited about this new development because the benefits of shared reading accrue over time and we believe that this announcement will create the energy needed to help many young children become successful, motivated readers.

Although reading together is important at all ages, the specific strategies parents use will change dramatically as their children get older. The strategies parents use will also be dependent upon their children’s interests, temperament, and abilities. There is no one “right” way to read together.

parent reading to children

Figuring out the best way to engage in shared reading with a child while he or she is young gives parents an opportunity to use cuddle time together as a way to also help a child understand a book more deeply, and to simultaneously teach specific reading skills. Perhaps as important, children who have an enthusiastic reader as a role model may stay determined to learn to read, even when facing challenges, rather than becoming easily discouraged. The magic of shared reading comes from this combination of warm, interpersonal experiences, playful and captivating storytelling, and opportunities for learning. This winning combination helps children not only learn to read, but learn to love and value reading.

There are many questions that parents often ask about reading together with their children, and some of those questions are answered below. We hope that thinking through these issues inspires parents to start reading with their children regularly (even if they are already a bit older), and create family reading rituals that last a lifetime!

How can I get my child more engaged in reading time?

If you are having difficulty engaging your child in reading time, try searching for books on topics that she finds interesting (even if those topics are not ones that you find engaging). If your child enjoys looking at comic books, embrace this type of reading, rather than discouraging it. Although it might be surprising to hear, they include much richer language than we encounter in a typical day. Reading any printed material also helps children get comfortable turning pages, and give you the chance to talk with your child about new ideas and vocabulary words.

Many children also respond well to having some freedom and getting to make choices during reading time. You may want to let your child to choose the book you will be reading, whether you are picking books out in the library or off your own bookshelf. You can also let your child select where and when you will read…within reason, of course.

Most importantly, try to make the reading experience enjoyable by focusing on what goes well. Praise your child just for sitting down with you to read, even if she only wants to sit briefly. The next day, try to get her to sit through a few pages of the story and sit a bit longer. Reading time should be a time to relax and bond with your child. If she acts up, simply end reading time, but do so calmly and try again later.

How do I know if my child is actually listening while I am reading to him/her?

Asking questions throughout the story that actively engage your child in the reading process should encourage him to listen more closely while you are reading. If you think your child is not listening as you read, try asking a question or two on each page in order to get your child to interact with the story and actively express himself. If he seems particularly distracted, simply end reading time, but do so calmly and try again later.

How long should I spend trying to explain something to my child if they get frustrated?

Reading time should be a relaxing, bonding experience for both you and your child. Rather than trying to teach many new skills during any one reading session, pick just one idea to focus on each day, whether it is a new vocabulary word or letter to identify. Setting manageable reading goals will help make this time feel fun, rather than stressful, for you both.

If you ask a question about a book that your child is having trouble understanding, respond calmly and either restate your question in a simpler way or give a clue regarding the correct answer. If she seems to be frustrated, move on and return to the concept at another time. Story concepts might become clearer to children with repeated readings of the same story.

What if my child wants to read the same book every night?

Repeated readings of a story actually help children to more deeply understand the plot. In addition, your child will grow more familiar with the story and the words that make it up. You can even try having your child read to you. If he is familiar with the book, he might be able to decode words he would not be able to decode in an unfamiliar context. If your child is not ready to actually read the words on the pages, have him retell the story to you using the pictures and what he recalls from other readings of the story. By asking questions and making comments, you can continue to build his vocabulary and background knowledge, even while reading a familiar story.

Anne E. Cunningham, Ph.D. and Jamie Zibulsky, Ph.D. are the authors of Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful, Motivated Readers. Anne Cunningham is Professor of Cognition and Development at University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Education and Jamie Zibulsky is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Learn more at Book Smart Family. Suggestions are adapted Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful, Motivated Readers by Anne E. Cunningham and Jamie Zibulsky. Read their previous blog posts.

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10. Call for Poetry Submissions: Women Made Gallery Literary Series

Theme: Boxes
Date: Sunday, August 3, 2014/ 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Place: 685 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL


We are seeking work that addresses the theme from any or all ways you can imagine, i.e. Container and contained, categories, black box, Cornell boxes, boxed in, outside the box, gifts and deliveries, Inclusion & Exclusion.

Selections will be made with an eye to assembling a program that represents a diversity of poets, styles, and approaches to the theme.

Selected poets MUST be available to read in person. Please send 4 – 6 poems on the theme ALONG WITH a 50 to 75 word bio, IN THE BODY OF AN E-MAIL to:

galleryATwomanmadeDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

by June 15, 11:59 p.m.. We will make every effort to inform those chosen of our decision by June 30. Although we can't afford to pay readers, this is a great opportunity to sell books and read with other talented people in a very special environment.

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11. Call for Poets: Woman Made Gallery Literary Series

Woman Made Gallery Literary Series

Theme: Boxes
Date: Sunday, August 3, 2014/ 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Place: 685 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL


We are seeking work that addresses the theme from any or all ways you can imagine, i.e. Container and contained, categories, black box, Cornell boxes, boxed in, outside the box, gifts and deliveries, Inclusion & Exclusion.

Selections will be made with an eye to assembling a program that represents a diversity of poets, styles, and approaches to the theme.

Selected poets MUST be available to read in person. Please send 4 – 6 poems on the theme ALONG WITH a 50 to 75 word bio, IN THE BODY OF AN E-MAIL to:


 galleryATwomanmadeDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

by June 9, 12:01 a.m.. We will make every effort to inform those chosen of our decision by June 30. Although we can't afford to pay readers, this is a great opportunity to sell books and read with other talented people in a very special environment.

Read more about poetry events at Woman Made Gallery here.

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12. A Children’s Book That Left a Lasting Impression

I was recently contacted by a journalist for a national newspaper who wanted me to name a book I read as a child that left a lasting impression.

That’s a tough question for me, because I sense that my answer is never exactly what the questioner is seeking. I don’t have a poignant story about Charlotte’s Web or Harriet the Spy, that glorious day when I suddenly knew that reading was for me, and forever. I can’t describe in loving detail the book I encountered as a fresh-faced welp. (Though I do recall loving Splish, Splash, and Splush.)

Nonetheless I did somehow grow up to become an author, and therefore my answer is, I guess, legitimate. It’s the only story I’ve got.

Here’s how I replied, limited to 150 words:

Born in 1961, I have no memory of my parents reading to me. That’s not a complaint, by the way. I grew up surrounded by six older siblings and they were (mostly) all readers. I guess I got the message by sheer proximity. As a baseball-mad boy in a world without ESPN, I devoured the sports pages in the daily newspaper. Those were the first writers I desperately needed. By age 13, I encountered Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions.” It was funny and easy to read. There was no YA back then, my generation naturally graduated to Steinbeck, Bradbury, Brautigan, Vonnegut, Plath, whomever. “Breakfast” blew me away. Here was something as devilish as the kid in the back row, irreverent, rebellious, hilarious, wild. In a word, subversive. In those pages I first recognized the possibility that a book could be supremely cool. Thanks, Kurt.

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13. A Perfect Passage from THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich

No offense to any librarians out there, but I prefer to own books, not borrow them. I realize there’s a financial downside to my predilection, but what can I say? It feels good to support the industry, the book stores, the publishers, the authors themselves. If I can manage it, I don’t mind spending the money on books.

For starters, I like having them around, living in my rooms. Books make great furniture and, in a way, furnaces: they warm homes.

Secondly, I usually read with a pen in my hand. I underline passages, write comments, exclamation points, stars, notes and complaints. It is the dying art of marginalia, a direct reader-response. I can’t do that with library books, and Post-It Notes simply do not satisfy.

I’ve been on nice reading streak lately — have picked out some good ones. I just finished THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir. Fabulously entertaining, and a celebration of science and the intelligence of man. A geek-hero who survives through his attitude, his determination, and his brilliant mind.

Before that, I read THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich. I loved it, every word. What a great writer. Seamless sentences, never a crack showing, and such human insight. A writer with soul. But I’ve got a problem and you can probably guess it: I borrowed the book from my local library and it’s past due.

I’ve been reluctant to return it, to drop it into the slot and hear the dull thunk as it hits the bin. Gone, gone, gone. My book no more.

One first-world problem is that I’ve been rereading, almost daily, the book’s perfect last paragraph. Over and over I return to it, stunned and speechless. That penultimate sentence, especially. What a beautiful evocation of lost innocence, the crossing over into something harder, more brutal and cold, adulthood and loss, “when we all realized we were old.”

I really didn’t want to let the book go, and maybe I’ll buy a copy for myself one day. In the meantime, I’ll type out that last paragraph here, so I’ll have it safely tucked away in the white, high-ceilinged halls of cyberspace. I don’t think there’s any spoilers revealed, it’s not that kind of book. A 13-year-old boy and his parents return home after a long drive.

Quick aside: I don’t play a musical instrument, but I love music. One of the things I’ve always envied about musicians is that they can play all these great songs, have those enduring melodies and fat riffs run through the fingers as they channel greatness.

That’s how I feel typing this passage from Louise Erdrich. Like I’m playing the guitar part from “And Your Bird Can Sing.”

How I wish that I could write as simply, as beautifully.

- - - - -

IN ALL THOSE miles, in all those hours, in all that air rushing by and sky coming at us, blending into the next horizon, then the one after that, in all that time there was nothing to be said. I cannot remember speaking and I cannot remember my mother or my father speaking. I knew that they knew everything. The sentence was to endure. Nobody shed tears and there was no anger. My mother or my father drove, gripping the wheel with neutral concentration. I don’t remember that they even looked at me or I at them after the shock of that first moment when we all realized we were old. I do remember, though, the familiar side of the roadside cafe just before we would cross the reservation line. On every one of my childhood trips that place was always a stop for ice cream, coffee and a newspaper, pie. It was always what my father called the last leg of the journey. But we did not stop this time. We passed over in a sweep of sorrow that would persist into our small forever. We just kept going.

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14. What NOT to do at a Book Festival or Writers Conference

The spring book festival season is underway. As a public service, here is a list of bad behavior I've observed and/or had to contend with.

Panel Moderator: 

  1. Wait to contact panelists till two days before the event—or not at all. 
  2. Be unfamiliar with panelists’ work: Not read author’s book (at least the first few chapters and website); not know who the literary agent represents; not know titles the editor has worked on. 
  3. Have no agenda for the panel, or a vague one, e.g., “I will read brief introductions, and each of you should speak for 12-15 minutes. Then we will take a few questions.” 
  4. Let panelists talk for so long that there’s no time for audience Q&A. (This happened with the panel in #3.) 
  5. Talk a lot about yourself or read from your own book. Your job is to help the panelists shine. If they look brilliant, so will you. 

Panelist: 
  1. Cancel at the last minute because you just realized that the finances won’t work for you. Or cancel due to “family reasons”—but keep the plane ticket the organizers paid for. 
  2. Author: Leave book at home, or not have a reading figured out—and practiced!—beforehand. Agent/editor: Leave business cards at home. 
  3. Read for 15 minutes when you’re asked to read for five. 
  4. Monopolize the conversation and/or interrupt other panelists. 
  5. Belittle the moderator (“If you’d read my book…"), other panelists (“I can’t believe you’d say such a stupid thing!”) or audience members (“If you’d been listening, you wouldn’t need to ask that question.”) 
Audience:
  1. Leave your cellphone ringer on. 
  2. Give copies of your manuscript or self-published book to panelists. 
  3. Pitch your book during Q&A session. 
  4. Ask self-serving questions instead of general ones. (“Why didn’t you answer the query I sent you six months ago?” vs. “What should a writer do if an agent hasn’t responded to their query after six months?”) 
  5. Engage a panelist in lengthy conversation afterwards, when there’s a line of people waiting behind you. 
  I'll be at VaBook Festival next week. Now go forth and be good!

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15. Writing Competition: Love on the Road Toophilia Writing Contest

Enter the LOTR Topophilia writing contest by Dec. 24 to win €60, €25, or €15 and have your story performed at #touristwalkDublin.

There's no entry fee. Just send us 400-500 words (fiction or nonfiction) focused on love for a place -- any place in the world -- to:
 
topohilia13ATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

The winners will be chosen by our panel of judges: Irish writer Ruth Gilligan, Liberties Press publisher Seán O'Keeffe, the Tourist Walk team, and the Love on the Road 2013 team.

The winning stories will be published online and performed at the MART gallery in Dublin's Rathmines neighborhood on the evening of 3 January, 2014 as part of #touristwalkDublin, an event organized by Tourist Walk, a cross-discipline art project that seeks to explore and celebrate the unique character of location through live music.

The three winners can attend #touristwalkDublin and do live readings of their winning submissions, email audio recordings of their submissions to be played at #touristwalkDublin, or ask one of us to read their submissions for them at the big event.

The authors of the winning stories will get: First Prize: €60 and a signed Tourist Walk poster; Second Prize: €25 and a copy of the just-released anthology of stories about love and travel, Love on the Road 2013; Third Prize: €15.

For details, visit our website. For more information on #touristwalkDublin, go here. For more information on Love on the Road 2013, visit this site. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at:

topohilia13ATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

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16. Seeking Prose on Poetry: Great Twin Cities Poetry Read

Seeking PROSE ON POETRY. Doesn't matter what form the prose takes (review, interview, essay, missive, etc.). Doesn't really matter how long it is (although it can be too long, I can't conceive of it being too short). I would like you to submit said prose on poetry to me for possible inclusion in POETRY CITY, USA, VOL. 4, an anthology of poems read at the Great Twin Cities Poetry Read (GTCPR) plus various prose on poetry (thus the call).

The GTCPR is an annual reading, held in April, at which 30 or so poets all read a single poem each. A year after the reading, the anthology comes out. That means that the GTCPR held on April 26, 2014, with be the fifth anniversary reading. That night will also be the night POETRY CITY, USA, VOL. 4 launches. Any prose on poetry that you submit, if accepted, will go in it.

I need to receive anything you want me to consider by Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Send pieces to:

mauchmauch [at] gmail [dot] com (Change [at] to @ and [dot] to . )

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17. Call for Poetry Readings: Woman Made Gallery Literary Series

Call for Poetry: Woman Made Gallery Literary Series
Theme: Balance vs. Imbalance in a Changing World
Reading: Sunday, February 2, 2014 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Submission Deadline: December 22, 2014

 
Woman Made Gallery’s first art exhibit of the year is Equilibrium: Art for a Changing World. The exhibit seeks to explore the tensions, demands and challenges inherent in living in a rapidly changing world: from environment, population, politics to social and cultural trends.

The poetry reading in conjunction with this exhibit, will also explore Balance and Imbalance in the context of change. Do you take the idea of “maintaining equilibrium” to suggest achieving healthy balance OR maintaining the status quo? What might change look like? Writers are encouraged to interpret this theme broadly.

Selections will be made with an eye to assembling a program that represents a diversity of poets, styles, and approaches to the theme.

Selected poets MUST be available to read in person. Please send 4 – 6 poems on the theme ALONG WITH a 50 to 75 word bio, IN THE BODY OF AN E-MAIL to:

galleryATwomanmadeDOTorg (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

by December 22, 11:59 p.m. We will make every effort to inform those chosen of our decision by December 30. Although we can't afford to pay readers, this is a great opportunity to sell books and read with other talented people in a very special environment.

For more information, visit our website.

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18. The Poem I Read First Thing Today

Before I rubbed the sand from my eyes, before I drank a cup of coffee, before I got dressed, I read this poem by William Stafford. Then I read it again, out loud, to my wife, before she rose from bed. Then I went downstairs, saw that the day was sunny and crisp, and that a dusting of snow covered the lawn.

I promised myself to be awake to the day.

Isn’t that something?

“the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe –

should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.”

Later I found this reading of the poem by a guy named Dale Biron. Not exactly how I hear it, but a pleasure nonetheless, because it’s always best when the words are heard, familiar units of speech floating on meaningful sound. Have a great day, people. Recognize the fact!

I suppose I should get to work, stop wasting time, eh? But here’s Stafford himself, 46 seconds long, reading “Scars.” Ah, poetry.

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19. Poem by Norene Cashen

A little over a month ago, I saw Norene Cashen read and really loved one of her new poems. She's been kind enough to allow me to post the poem here at the EWN:

 

WAR
By Norene Cashen

I’ve never seen peace.
I’ve seen a foxhole, combat boots, a drill sergeant
and a gun. I’ve heard the gun rattle
and talk and talk and talk
in its fast language, the clink of brass casings
spit out after each syllable.
I’ve seen girls in dog tags and dust
crawling under the barbed wire of the world
as if their mothers waited for them
on the other side, but there is no other side.
That’s what you learn.
There’s only more war.
There’s war outside and inside
war speeding on the highway
to get to work on time.
There’s war in our mouths, our hair,
our eyes. The best wars are in the movies
where we eat popcorn and tell ourselves
nobody dies. Then somewhere in the middle
of Afghanistan a boy from Wisconsin
is smeared inside a turret
just like the old poem says. It’s possible
we’re all walking cages
and it’s our job to keep ourselves closed
to keep the violence
from shaking out of our bones.

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20. Poetry Competition: The Frost Farm Prize

The Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH, and the Hyla Brook Poets invite submissions for their 3rd Annual The Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry. 

The winner will walk away with $1,000, publication in Evansville Review and an invitation, with honorarium, to read as part of The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry in the summer of 2013. This year’s judge is prize-winning poet and translator Catherine Tufariello. 

April 1 deadline. For more information, please read the guidelines at our website.

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21. a night of poetry for Barry Jones at fortyfivedownstairs

On February 12, fortyfivedownstairs is holding a poetry reading in honour of former MP Barry Jones' 80th birthday:

Barry Jones is one of the more remarkable politicians to have sat in the House of Representatives in Canberra, a much loved and respected figure on both sides of politics.

As a tribute for his 80th birthday late last year, the Chair of fortyfivedownstairs, Julian Burnside, has curated a night of some of Barry’s favourite poetry and music.

Readers include Race Matthews, Gareth Evans, Peter Craven, Marieke Hardy, Dr. Joan Grant, Max Gillies and John Stanton.

The Flinders Quartet will also perform on this memorable evening.

Get your tickets here.

 

 

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22. Call for Creative Writing Submissions: Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture


The Annual Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture since 1900 will be held at the University of Louisville, February 20-22, 2014. The conference committee invites submissions by creative writers of fiction, nonfiction, and/or poetry. Submissions should be suitable for a 20-minute reading. For full consideration, submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
 
    Creative submissions
    Send an email to:
     
    submissions(at)thelouisvilleconference(dot)com Change (at) to @ and (dot) to .)

    with two attachments in pdf, rtf, or word format. 
    The first attachment is to contain poetry or short fiction/nonfiction selections suitable for 20-minute reading. The second attachment should contain a cover page. Submitter's name to appear on the cover page only. 
    Creative submissions may be published or unpublished works. Manuscripts cannot be returned. 

    Full guidelines here.

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23. Call for Poetry Readings: Women Made Gallery Literary Series

Call for Poetry: Woman Made Gallery Literary Series
Theme: Of the Land
Date: Sunday, December 8, 2013 / 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Place: 685 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL

We are seeing work that addresses all aspects of the theme of LAND:

Through history, connotations of the word LAND have ranged from the political and economic, to the emotional and romantic. Poems on this theme might invoke landscape, environmentalism, ethnic or national identity, imperialism, wealth and ownership, revolution and redistribution, land as food source, home and community, inclusion and exclusion, and, of course, the physical/natural earth itself.

Selections will be made with an eye to assembling a program that represents a diversity of poets, styles, and approaches to the theme.

Selected poets MUST be available to read in person. Please send 4 – 6 poems on the theme ALONG WITH a 50 to 75 word bio, IN THE BODY OF AN E-MAIL to:

 gallery(at)womanmade.org (replace (at) with @ in sending e-mail)

by October 20, 12:01 a.m.. We will make every effort to inform those chosen of our decision by October 30. Although we can't afford to pay readers, this is a great opportunity to sell books and read with other talented people in a very special environment.

Read more about poetry events at Woman Made Gallery here.

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24. Call for NYC Area Writers to Read: Harlem Works

Harlem Works, a co-working space/artists collective based in Harlem, New York, is looking for dynamic writers to participate in a new reading series.

If you live in the New York area and would be interested in participating, please send a short bio (200 words or less) along with a description of the work you're interested in reading to:

harlemcoworkersATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

Or, if you would be interested in doing a workshop and a reading, let us know that too!

(Our readings are always Harlem-based; the next one will be held this Friday at Caffe Latte's 145th Street location.)

We look forward to hearing from you!

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25. Donalyn Miller’s “The Book Whisperer” Reaches Cultural Icon Status

I met Donalyn Miller at a Literacy Conference in Ohio. She was the keynote speaker and I came away impressed, inspired, and determined to read her book, THE BOOK WHISPERER: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child.

I started reading it yesterday, frustrated over my own 9th-grade son’s brutal, book-hating experience in advanced, 9th-grade English.

I underlined this passage from Donalyn’s book, page 18:

Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education. Through characters — the saints and sinners, real or imagined — reading shows you how to be a better human being.

The book is filled with passages that make you want to stand up and cheer.

Anyway, this morning Donalyn Miller shared her enthusiasm over this fun bit of pop culture stardom:

Good for Donalyn Miller, good for Jeopardy.

It’s funny, isn’t it? That’s a real touchstone in America today. An undeniable sign that you’ve arrived and made your mark. You become a clue on Jeopardy!

Donalyn is also a founding member of the Nerdy Book Club, which you should definitely follow. Seriously, I insist.

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