Monthly Archive:: May 2012

Why I’m Not On Twitter Yet

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Last fall, when I sold my debut story collection to Grove/Atlantic, a smart friend whose book had just come out (and was doing extraordinarily well) wrote to encourage me to get on Twitter, stat. He said it was far and away the best place to meet book people and

Interview with Tracy K. Smith – “Poets are Lucky”

Author: | Categories: Writing 1 Comment
I met Tracy K. Smith a couple of weeks before she won the Pulitzer Prize for her terrific and completely ravishing new book, Life on Mars.  We were at a book party for Stephen Motika and his lovely new book, Western Practice – a loft somewhere downtown, in the

Hearing Voices: Women Versing Life presents Wendy Mnookin & Daughters Writing Grief

Author: | Categories: Writing 3 Comments
I first heard Wendy Mnookin read her work during AWP, and later I discovered our odd, unfortunate commonality: Both of our fathers were killed in car accidents. The circumstances differ greatly, but the impulse to write about death, to look at it from every direction, is the same, so

Gatekeepers Part Four-point-Two: in defense of “telling” and sentimental preachiness

Author: | Categories: Writing 2 Comments
Two winters ago, brand-new to the creative writing community of Madison, Wisconsin, I was at ground zero of the national debate on union rights, caught in a throng of 70,000 protestors marching around the State Capitol, screaming “Whose Streets? Our Streets!,” “This Is What Democracy Looks Like!,” and “It’s

Dear Dr. Poetry

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
Darkroom Jazzy Danziger University of Wisconsin Press, March 2012 72 pages $16.95  Dear Dr. Poetry, I’m a mime currently looking to transition into set design, but I keep losing jobs because my sketches are just blank pages. I have no idea how to translate emotion into visual effects or

Literary Boroughs #3: Omaha, NE

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. The series will run on our blog from May 2012 until AWP13 in Boston. Please enjoy the third

First Drafts: Poetry

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A Conversation With Traci Brimhall, Amy Gerstler, Andrew Hudgins, and Timothy Liu 1. How do your poems come to you?  Traci Brimhall: They rarely come to me. Usually I have to go find them. They’re a bit wily like that and generally prefer midnight over noon and my office

People Are Funny

Author: | Categories: Writing 1 Comment
This is old news, but in 2005, the Poetry Foundation gave the poet Billy Collins something called the Mark Twain Poetry Award of $25,000, “recognizing a poet’s contribution to humor in American poetry.”   The press release included these two sentences:  “Billy Collins has brought laughter back to a melancholy

Literary Boroughs #2: Portsmouth, NH

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. The series will run on our blog from May 2012 until AWP13 in Boston. Please enjoy the second

Gatekeepers Part Four-point-One: on why the [red] pen is mightier than the sword (and other politically useful clichés)

Author: | Categories: Publishing 1 Comment
Nearly ten years ago, when I was a twenty-year-old baby-poet with a sense of self-importance even more inflated than it is today, I organized a “Poetry in Protest” reading in Amherst, Massachusetts to demonstrate against what became, a couple months later, “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” My work screening manuscripts for