About Me

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My work can be found in REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, Pank, New Delta Review, and Gargoyle #57, among others. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. Currently, I'm an Associate editor for Narrative Magazine. In 2011, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Traveling

I'll be flying with my family to Connecticut; I'll be back after the new year.

I hope your year-end is filled with peace and love and your new year offers much to be grateful for.

XOXO

Kat

Thursday, December 22, 2005

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Results of the Yates Contest are in!

Night Train.

Congrats to all the winners and finalists and a special congrats to my friend and talented writer, Myfanwy Collins!

And another special congrats to Jim Ruland!

Friday, December 16, 2005

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The new issue of SmokeLong Quarterly is live and it's beautiful as always.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

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An interview with the New Yorker's fiction editor

Thanks to writer Steven Gullion for the original link.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

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Natasha Radojcic, author of You Don't Have to Live Here is interviewed by Alison Weaver, a contributing editor of Small Spiral Notebook.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

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Musician Jim Geezil has a new blog: Artists and Encores. Looks great!

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Alexander Laurence interviews Mary Gaitskill

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Dan Wickett interviews Danna Sides, editor of Salt Flats Annual.

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The deadline for the Crazyhorse contest is coming up.

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An essay by Nat Sobel from Eureka Literary Magazine

Thursday, December 01, 2005

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Here's an interesting new online journal: Per Contra.

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As writer and blogger Myfanwy Collins points out, today is World AIDS today.

Virginia Quarterly Review has designed their winter issue around World AIDS Day. Here's a sneak peek at this important issue.

Friday, November 25, 2005

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Writer and radio personality Jordan Rosenfeld reviews "Devil Talk"by Daniel Olivas on California Report

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I am in love with the stories in Corpus Christi a stunning collection by Bret Anthony Johnston.

Mr Johnston has thoroughly won my admiration and he's now pasted right at the top of the list of my favorite story writers next to Richard Bausch, Judy Budnitz, and Roxanna Robinson.

Here's his essay, On Rejection.

Good Reads Online

A short story by Stephany Brown at Blackbird

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A short story by Myfanwy Collins at Ghoti

another by Girija Tropp

and Debbie Ann Ice

and Kim Chinquee

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A short story by Mary Bailey at Small Spiral Notebook

A short story by Lisa Selin Davis at Swink

Poetry from Simon Perchik at No Tell Motel

An essay from Maryanne Stahl on Jordan's Muse.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Celebrate

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. I hope your joy is abundant and your cup overflowing.

Peace.

Friday, November 18, 2005

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Writer and blogger Cliff Garstang reviews "Devil Talk" by Daniel Olivas

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If you're planning on entering Night Train's Richard Yates contest, today is the last day!

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Laila Lalami and her book Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits are featured in Bookselling This Week.

Also Alan Cheuse reviews her book on All Things Considered.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

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The winners of the National Book Award have been chosen.

If you haven't read Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, do so as soon as you can. It's amazing.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

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Here is the latest panel of lit journals on Emerging Writers Network.

Friday, November 11, 2005

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New lit mag reviews are up at New Pages.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Monday, November 07, 2005

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A story from the incredibly talented Kathy Fish

and don't miss The Star by Bob Arter.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

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Stunning poetry by author Maryanne Stahl in Hiss Quarterly

Reminder

Night Train's Richard Yates contest will end by November 18. Less than two weeks.

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Only one of the books shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award is fiction this year.

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After 60 years of being stuffed in a trunk, Truman Capote's first novel will see publication.

Friday, November 04, 2005

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The latest online version of Small Spiral Notebook is live and it's lovely as ever.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Illuminate--Literary Events

It seems like there's a lot happening in the month of November!

This from AGNI:

Wednesday, November 2, 2005, 6:30 p.m.
The New School hosts

A Joint AGNI / Conjunctions Reading

66 W. 12th St., Room 510

with Shelley Jackson, Ben Marcus, Nicholas Montemarano, and Norman Rush



AGNI and Conjunctions pair up at The New School for a reading with Norman Rush (National Book Award for Mating), Shelley Jackson (author of the hypertext The Patchwork Girl), Nicholas Montemarano (If the Sky Falls, a story collection), and Ben Marcus (the novel Notable American Women and most recently the Harper’s article “Why Experimental Fiction Threatens to Destroy Publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and Life as We Know It”). Visit AGNI Online (www.bu.edu/agni) to read samples of their work.



Writer and editorFelicia Sullivan has a list of NYC/LA events on her site.


Laila Lalami will be interviewed this evening on Jordan Rosenfeld's Word by Word

Laila will also be reading from her book, "Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits" in NYC and Boston on these dates: Readings

On November 15, Narrative Magazine will sponsor a reading and cocktails with James Salter. Pia Z. Ehrhardt and Min Jin Lee, winners of the Narrative Prize for Fiction, will be there.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

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Writer and blogger, Cliff Garstang, reviews Michelle Herman's "The Middle of Everything" at Rain Taxi.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

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The literary journal, Third Coast, is featuring a web-exclusive conversation with the late Larry Brown, Dan Chaon, John McNally and Susan Straight.

Friday, October 28, 2005

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A story from Joe Levens at AGNI

A Bit Behind...

in my posting--I've actually been spending time writing fiction!

But before I get too behind I want to draw your attention to Felicia Sullivan's new venture: Rocking the Green Life. It looks fabulous and timely for this toxic environment in which we all live.

Also more great reviews are in for Laila Lalami's Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

Remember to check into Jordan Rosenfeld's Word by Word to catch the latest in author interviews.

READING UPDATE:

This past week I've read a back issue of Orchid; three back issues of The Georgia Review; a back issue of Calyx; Katherine Shonk's The Red Passport (excellent!); and Joan Didion's powerful memoir on grief, The Year of Magical Thinking.

WRITING NEWS:

This past month I'm delighted to have had my story "Bighead" accepted for publication (Summer 2006) by The Jabberwock Review and my story "Plunging Toward Rusalka" accepted for publication (Winter 2007!) in The MacGuffin.

I also have a short piece in the latest issue of Cranky available now for purchase.

Happy reading and writing to everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

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Happy Birthday to friend and writer, Myfanwy Collins.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

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Read an interview with poet Liesl Jobson at Lit Net.

Her poem "On the Death of a Young Chorister," is stunning.

Monday, October 24, 2005

What Are You Reading?


I've finished Mary Gaitskill's novel, Veronica and loved it. It's the story of a woman living with an illness, forced to slow down and examine her life. She remembers her days of being a model, living a life completely unexamined; she remembers her friendship with Veronica, a loud, brash woman hopelessly in love with her bi-sexual lover who gave her AIDS. A few of Gaitskill's metaphor's were over-the-top, but where Gaitskill shined, for me, was in her ability to describe the indescribable. Her abstractions were so beautifully rendered, her characters so honestly drawn, she took fiction to another level altogether.

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New work by Deb Ice at Salome

Sunday, October 23, 2005

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Patry Francis has a poem in NOO Journal.

There's also a short piece by Mitzi McMahon.

Friday, October 21, 2005

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The new issue of FRIGG is live!

Reminder

The deadline for Night Train's fiction contest is fast approaching!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

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You can find new lit mag reviews up at New Pages.

Monday, October 17, 2005

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Read Horseshoe by the talented Myfanwy Collins.

Also, in that issue of Ghoti are pieces by Girija Tropp, Kim Chinquee, Debbie Ann Ice, and others.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

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Salmon Rushdie speaks out on the threat of inprisonment for Turkish Author, Orhan Pamuk.


"On September 1, 2005, Pamuk was indicted by a district prosecutor for having “blatantly belittled Turkishness” by his remarks. If convicted, he faces up to three years in jail. Article 301/1 of the Turkish penal code, under which Pamuk is to be tried, states that “a person who explicitly insults being a Turk, the Republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly, shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of six months to three years . . . Where insulting being a Turk is committed by a Turkish citizen in a foreign country, the penalty shall be increased by one third.” So, if Pamuk is found guilty, he faces an additional penalty for having made the statement abroad."

Pamuk had reported thirty thousand Kurds and Armenians were killed in the 1984 conflict. His trial begins December 16.

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Over at Nerve, Rick Moody weighs in on "good" sex in fiction.

Excerpt:

"The literature of sexuality, for me, begins to do its job when it begins depicting sexuality in light of these everyday sexual experiences. Enlarged prostates, dry vaginas, sexually transmitted diseases, excessive body hair, too much yelling, not enough yelling, bitter tears, salacious come-ons that verge on the inappropriate. Every day, somewhere, someone, or probably a lot of someones, are living out these parts of the madness that is sexual congress, and they are feeling that maybe they can manage to do it, or maybe not. So if it's happening like this all around us, let's hear about it!"

Saturday, October 15, 2005

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I'm very behind in my literary journal-reading and will probably never catch up. Just as my pile of books keeps growing so does my pile of journals.

I just finished a Fall 2004 issue of Hunger Mountain, a beautiful, glossy-covered journal with a lot of excellent poetry, fiction, and essays within.
One of my favorite fiction pieces in this one was Mark Turcotte's "That Sunday Under the Table," a raw, evocative story of a boy's experience with an out-of-control father. The ending of the piece was incredibly perfect--as if the whole story had been honed to lead up to just that moment. Another favorite was Anh Chi Pham's "Mandala," a story of the burning of a monk told from five viewpoints: East, West, South, North, and Center. Each of the Directions were different witnesses to the event, and Center was the monk just before, during and after the burning. This design added to the story's power. I also appreciated Sheila M. Schwartz's "Poor Cousins," so much I ordered her story collection. "Poor Cousins" follows an American woman to Peru on a quest for magic to rid her body of cancer.

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Here's a useful resource for finding the right place to submit your story:

Every Lit Mag

although I'm not sure how often it's updated.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The editors of the stunning literary journal, Orchid, are busy working on another project, and this one's for children:

"826michigan is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success."

Check out the gallery!




If you scroll down they also have a list of items needed on the left.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

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John Banville's The Sea won the Man Booker 2005.

Donate

Please consider donating to help the people devastated by the earthquake in India, Kashmir and Pakistan:

IFRC.

Here's a link to an information blog: Quake Help Blog

Sunday, October 09, 2005

And Now A Break From Literature...

What is This?



ANY GUESSES?

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If you're yearning to read something different, Newpages has these latest recommendations: Noteworthy

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Four women and one man are shortlisted for Canada'a Giller Prize.

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Online Fiction Picks of the Week:

Two Lives by Michael Croley. There's also an audio version of this story.

The Importance of Form in Sketching by Matthew Kirby

A Wedding Story by Debra Spark

Family Therapy by Pamela Painter

May Your Next be Your Last by Lisa Selin Davis

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Ian Holding, author of "Unfeeling," picks ten books he feels best illustrate life in South Africa:
Guardian's Top Ten.

I've read one of his picks, "The Good Doctor," and agree it's an excellent read. And you can't go wrong with anything by Nadine Gordimer.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Reading


Young Woman Reading by Mary Cassatt




What are you reading now? Send me the name of the book you're reading, or post it in the comment box below, and I'll list the names of the books on Monday. I'll send along my copy of The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space, featured below, to the first person to email me at tdenza@nc.rr.com

UPDATE: The copy goes to Cliff Garstang.

Well, the response was meager, but I did receive one response (thanks Cliff).

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

and I'm reading The Practice of Deceit by Elizabeth Benedict

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I just finished another excellent collection, The Thin Tear in the Fabric of Space by Douglas Trevor. With stories published in The Paris Review; New England Review; Glimmertrain; Fugue; Epoch; and the Black Warrior Review, this group of stories makes for consistent, evocative reading.

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Narrative Magazine will host a reading and cocktail party in NYC featuring James Salter and the winners of the Narrative Prize, Min Jin Lee and Pia Z. Ehrhardt.

Friday, October 07, 2005

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Here's an excellent interview with Laila Lalami, author of the book, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

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Jordan Rosenfeld interviews T.C. Boyle and Mark Helprin tonight on Word by Word. Click on the Listen button at 7pm Pacific time; 10pm Eastern Time.

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After a couple of false starts with books I couldn't get into (a rare thing for me to not force myself through anyway), I finally read the much acclaimed Atonement and enjoyed.

I also read a wonderful story collection, American Dreaming. Every story is excellent and one of Iarovici's greatest strengths is her ability to render each character's unique voice.

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Laila Lalami, author of the novel-in-stories, "Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits," offers an essay on the issue of poverty in modern fiction at Powells.

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Prose poem from Cue: Peek-A-Moose.

Monday, October 03, 2005

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New lit mag reviews at New Pages.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

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An article about the Zion National Park by Stephanie Anagnoson.

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Read an essay by Myfanwy Collins at AGNI!

What a fabulous, well-written, riveting essay. Well done, Myf!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

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And speaking of Myfanwy Collins, you can find her amazing work in Swivel Issue #3 and Me Three; Issue #2, both out now!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005



I've just finished Yiyun Li's WONDERFUL story collection "A Thousand Years of Prayers," and although I don't have time right now to give the book its due, I will say this is one collection you must not miss reading. Intriguing and graceful; every story is stunning.

Yiyun Li

Monday, September 26, 2005

Congratulate!

Congratulations to Pia Z. Ehrhardt for winning the 2005 Narrative Prize! Well done, Pia!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Illuminate: Icarus Girl







Helen Oyeyemi’s "Icarus Girl" is a haunting first novel. Eight-year-old Jessamy is bothered by intensities and prone to screaming fits. She’s in between worlds: in between England and Nigeria; in between childhood and adulthood; in between rational and irrational; in between real and spirit worlds. When her parents take her to Nigeria to meet her grandfather and cousins, she also meets TillyTilly, a girl only she can see, a girl who is not a girl, but either a malevolent force or an alter ego, or both. When TillyTilly inexplicably shows up back in England, things take a dark turn. "Icarus Girl" explores the painfulness of not fully belonging and Oyeyemi captures brilliantly the mind of a clever and imaginative child. The language is poetic, lyrical, and as haunting as the premise. And of course, I won’t mention she wrote it when only eighteen. Oops, I just did.

You can read the first chapter of "Icarus Girl" online at Doubleday.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

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Read an essay from Katie Weekley in Moondance.

Friday, September 23, 2005

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A piece by Pia Z. Ehrhardt in Elimae: Brides.

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Felicia Sullivan interviews Adrienne Miller, Esquire editor and author of the novel, "The Coast of Akron.".

Great interview, and Miller's novel is in my stack. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

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The first story of Laila Lalami’s elegantly designed collection throws us into a tension-filled night with thirty Moroccans aboard a raft suited for eight. Through the unfolding of connected stories we come to know four of these desperate people intimately: Murad, Aziz, Faten, and Halima. They are all fleeing a life wrought with hardship in one form or another, in hopes of reaching the coast of Spain and promise of a better future. The trip is dangerous, and not all make it to the other side.

Lalami’s love for her characters is evident in the crisp, straightforward prose, and allowing us to see their dreams, their faults, their passions so vividly enables us to love them as well. In Part 1, we meet Murad, a lover of books and literature, who seeks a life in which such a calling is not as useless to his family as it is in Morocco. Aziz, jobless, newly married, is desperate to prove himself worthy of his new wife and to prove to himself he can succeed. Halima flees her abusive husband because she fears he may take her three children if she divorces him. And Faten, a young religious woman is forced to look outside her country when the corruption within gets her thrown out of university.

In Part 2, we learn what becomes of these four characters after their harrowing trip. We learn who must go back and face the difficulties they tried to escape. And even more than that, we learn of the complexities of social expectations; we come to understand the strength of conviction; and most importantly, we become certain of the resilience of the human spirit.

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits shows us a view of Morocco through varied and just eyes. It raises many questions, yet doesn’t attempt to offer pat answers. It inspires, enlightens, and at times, moves us to feel something unexpected. The writing is superb, the details, exquisite. This is an experience not to be missed.

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An editor of a literary journal speaks on the state of submissions.

Illuminate: I'm Reading...



And I'm LOVING it!

It's available now: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

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The latest issue of Bonfire, and International Conflagration is available for purchase. It's full of fiction and poetry by Randall Brown, Liesl Jobson, Tom Saunders, Maggie Shearon, Gary Caldwallader, and Ann Walters, among others.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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Night Train's Firebox Fiction Award results.

Congratulations to the winners and the finalists!

Celebrate--Autumnal Equinox



Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Illuminate--Dream



A copperhead bit me in my dream last night. I didn't tell my family; I didn't want to worry them. Instead, I drove to a doctor and he found eleven bite marks. After he applied a salve, he told me he wasn't sure if I would live or die. He placed a thick netting over me so I wouldn't harm myself (spread the poison) as I healed. I knew ultimately I would be okay.

I looked up the significance of snakebites in dreams and this is what I found:

"When the snake bites, in a dream, the story line usually turns into a healing and release situation." --Jane Anderson

11= purity

Hmmm.

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All of the stories in this first collection are as vibrant as the cover, with brighter-than-life characters who manage to illuminate the quirks and faults of human nature in a straight-up way.

My favorites were "Get Away From Me, David," about a man trying desperately to stay on the new side of sober; "Big Cats" which tells of a friendship tested; "Good to Hear You," in which a man discovers the unsettling aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers before he learns of the event itself;" and "By the Time You Get This," a heartbreaking story of a woman lost after a tradegy.

Holiday Reinhorn is a graduate of the Iowa's Writers' Workshop, and a recipient of many awards and fellowships.

Reading

It seems I've fallen behind in listing the books I've read since I went away on vacation. Here's a pulled together list, although I may be missing a couple here and there:

“Snow Island” by Andrea Levy

“City Boy” by Jean Thompson

“Broken Verses” by Kamila Shamsie

“What You’ve Been Missing” Stories by Janet Desaulniers

“Final Vinyl Days” stories by Jill McCorkle

“The Difference between Women and Men” stories by Bret Lott

“This is a Voice from Your Past” stories by Merrill Joan Gerber

“Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes” stories by Merrill Feitell

“Through the Safety Net” stories by Charles Baxter

“An Ambulance is on the Way” stories by Jonathan Wilson

“Little Beauties” by Kim Addonizio

“The Myth of You and Me” by Leah Stewart

"New Stories of the South" edited by Shannon Ravenel and prefaced by Jill McCorkle

"Big Cats" stories by Holiday Reinhorn

My favorites were "Little Beauties;" "Snow Island;" "City Boy." Actually this month virtually everything I read was outstanding. The collections were superb.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

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Poet Sharon Olds, (a favorite of mine) writes to the First Lady her reasons for declining the First Lady's invitation: The Nation.

Thanks to Moorish Girl for the original link.

Monday, September 19, 2005

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New at Salome.

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At Small Spiral Notebook, David Barringer reviews the book I'm reading now: "Big Cats," a story collection by Holiday Reinhorn.

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Three poems by Theresa Boyar.

Be sure to check out the rest of edificeWrecked.

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A novel excerpt by Patry Francis at Verbsap

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It's available!

Laila Lalami's powerful collection is finally available for purchase!

Here too: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

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Essay on Hurricane Katrina by New Orleans writer, Moira Crone.

Moira Crone is author of Dream State, a collection of short fiction, and the amazing short story, "Mr. Sender," also one of the New Stories of the South 2005.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

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Sliver

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New-to-me print journal: Conduit.

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Today I'm meeting the fabulous Shannon Ravenel, Algonquin editor and long time series editor of New Stories of the South. Here are a couple of interviews with her:

Emerging Writers Network, and Frank; An International Journal of Contempory Writing and Art.

Friday, September 16, 2005

RIP Joan Scott

My town and I lost a friend Monday. Joan Scott, owner of our local bookstore and a mother figure to our community, died after living with lung cancer for over a year. She was an amazing woman, always concerned with supporting area children, area writers, downtown businesses.

Joan, you will be missed.

The Pilot--Wednesday September 14, 2005.

ABS Tribute to Joan Scott.

Friday Editorial--The Pilot.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

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The latest issue of SmokeLong Quarterly is live and it's hot! Issue ten was guest edited by Joseph Young and once again the stunning cover art was done by Marty D. Ison.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

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The finalists for the Night Train Firebox Fiction Award have just been listed: Finalists.

Congrats to all! And good luck!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

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A new story from the very talented Joseph Young at Pindeldyboz.

Thanks to Myfanwy Collins for the original link!

Monday, September 12, 2005

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Beginning September 18, the New York Times will feature Graphic Novels.

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Dan Wickett of Emerging Writers Network once again enlightens with another e-panel. This time his interview is titled Long Time Writers, First Time Authors and features such artists as Ron Hogan, Benjamin Percy, and Felicia Sullivan, among others.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

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The new issue of Narrative is available with fiction by Ann Beattie; E.L. Doctorow; Debra Spark; among others, and the site has been improved to offer easier access.

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A poem by Corey Mesler: Right as Rain.

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Jeanette Winterson on writers and their websites (or lack of).

Thursday, September 08, 2005

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A Post from Southern Review editor, Bret Lott at Hurricane Poets Check-in.

If any of you writers that have been affected by Hurricane Katrina want to send him something, he says to contact Southern Review, as he's planning to dedicate an issue to that cause:

"If the campus of LSU can be HQ for physical relief efforts, The Southern Review would like to be HQ for artistic expressions by those who have been hit by this."--Bret Lott

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I'm going to stray from literature for a moment...

I've been looking for a good bath salt--without chemical perfumes and junk inside. I think I've found one: Tired Old Ass Soak from Little Moon Essentials. Click on bath salts and scroll down.


I love the name.

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Swivel #3 is now available with stories from Meghan Daum, Melissa Bank, Lisa Glatt, and Myfanwy Collins.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

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Roy Kesey interviews George Saunders at Maud Newton's.

I'm a fan of Saunder's humor, and this interview is enlightening. I particularly liked the mention of "Not Knowing," which seems to be going on with the story I'm working on at the moment. Glad to know there's another (better) way to look at things.

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Michelle Garren Flye has a piece at Long Story Short.

Girija Tropp has a piece at Word Riot along with New Orleans writer, Susannah Breslin.

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Coast of Akron author, Adrienne Miller is interviewed at Zulkey.com.

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Cindy Sheehan and her group have now gone to NO. If you want to help her reach the people directly with specific items here's how: Veterans For Peace.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

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Writer Ken Foster has started a new blog, Here is New Orleans.

And writer Richard Ford has this Op-Ed in the NYTimes.

Monday, September 05, 2005

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New lit mag reviews at New Pages.

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For over four years I've been outraged at this administration. Now I'm beyond outrage.

I have grown weary of this president whose most notable characterisics are incompetence, greed, and dishonesty, and I have grown weary of the unthinking, power-starved sycophants with whom he surrounds himself.

Hasn't America and the rest of the world suffered enough?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

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Novelist Anne Rice on New Orleans: What New Orleans Means to Me.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ruminate

I have tried for three days to write about the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and what is going on right now, and I have not been able to. I have literally been struck silent. Silenced by my shock. Silenced by my anguish. Silenced by my outrage.

I must push through this silence and write.

I have always had an ability to feel empathy for others, a habit of imagining myself in the life of another. That is part of what compels me to write. But how can I possibly understand how a mother feels when she has run out of formula and has nothing else to feed her baby? How can I understand the desperation that leads a person to break into a store and steal food because there is no other option? How can I understand what it is like to climb to the attic in hopes of escaping the rising water only to discover I've climbed into a trap? How can I know what it is to wait for days for the government and the people of this country to help and have no or little response? How can I know the nightmare of living through the hell of the hurricane and an even greater hell of the aftermath?

The media has made a great deal of “these people” living like animals. I remember when they first showed a clip of people looting a store and coming out with diapers, food, etc. I thought to myself, Why are they shaming these people? Why are they showing these people’s faces over and over? How dare they shame these people who are left with only an instinct for survival! And the media is still (shamefully) showing this same clip three days later.

I would ask the media: How would you expect these people to act in a situation like this? Do you expect them to politely and quietly die? Do you honestly expect the people who are desperate to feed their children, or their elderly parents, or themselves, to sit outside a store full of food and not DO anything? Do you expect the people who have been in 90 degree weather without water to act like they've been invited to a tea? And let's be honest here, do you expect the drug addicts and alcoholics, and yes, they are there among the crowds too, to sit demurely on their cots as their bodies are screaming for another fix? This is human nature pushed to the extreme. How dare you sit comfortably behind your news desks and call them animals. Show them some respect.

This is not say I understand or wish to excuse the violence, the raping, the murdering. I don’t. Because there is the rape of the ten-year-old girl. And there is the murder of the store owner who generously opened his store. I feel anguish these acts, and others, have occurred and are occurring right now.

I have felt some guilt over my own tears these past three days. Do I have the right to cry when I sit in a comfortable house with my family all safe and healthy near me? Do I have a right to feel empathy when I have such an inadequate understanding? After some thought, I have determined that my tears, my empathy, are what make me human like them, are what may connect us in the end, and are, finally, what pushes me to help, even when part of me judges my help to be insignificant.

List of Relief Charities

Thursday, September 01, 2005

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The very talented Myfanwy Collins is the featured writer on Michelle Cameron's website this month.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

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Seeing the pictures of the devastation and people's anguish is heartbreaking. I wish I could help them all. The fact that I can't makes me feel so small and insufficient.

Donate

To the Victims of Hurricane Katrina. So many need our help!

Red Cross

Help the children in the devastated areas by donating to:

Kiwanas Disaster Relief Fund.

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Writer Daniel Olivas reviews Laila Lalami's new book, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

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Scroll down for Emerging Writers Network's latest interview with editors of Word Riot; Story Quarterly; Fiction Attic; Western Humanities Review; Idaho Review; and others.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

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An short essay on literary journals in Five Points by Shannon Ravenel.

Donate

Red Cross

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

To those of you in her path...take care and be safe.

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Two more short-story collection recommendations:

"Sightseeing" by Rattawut Lapcharoensap. The title story of this debut collection gives us a son taking his soon-to-be-blind mother on a trip to see an island she's never seen before; in Farangs, a young boy who has lost in the game of love watches his pet pig slip in the ocean to escape a group of bullies; in Draft Day, a boy engages in the politics of draft day to possibly lose the closest friend he has; in Priscilla the Cambodian, a boy befriends a refugee with gold teeth while the elders in the town try to run all the refugees off; in the end novella, a father nearly loses everything as he tries to battle against the town bully.

My favorite of the group is Don't Let Me Die in This Place. An older man has a stroke and
ends up living with his son and daughter-in-law in Thailand. Not only does he have to endure being treated like a baby, but he's brought around to see the sights and the endless temples in which he has no interest. The story shines when he is taken to an amusement park and he asks to drive one of the bumper cars. Hilarious.

Another excellent collection I just finished is "This is a Voice From Your Past," by Merrill Joan Gerber. Thirteen stories, some connected, some not, all about women dealing with small and large issues: suicide, death, fear, annoying neighbors, relationships that don't quite work, and nasty in-laws. Wonderful, rich characters and surprising details make this collection stand out.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

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Novelist/Blogger Susan DiPlacido interviews novelist Ellen Meister about her upcoming book.

Thanks to Myfanwy Collins for the original link.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

RIP Six Feet Under

I am a HUGE fan of Alan Ball's writing. Ball's finale was nothing less than superb. Here's a look at the writer's perspective on the scene in which David finally faces and embraces his dark side: Everyone's Waiting.

I really do not watch television. I prefer to read. But every Sunday night, I was right there watching the incredible Six Feet Under. Thank you, Alan Ball, for writing an intelligent, provocative, sensitive, deeply beautiful show.

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New-to-me journal: The Strange Fruit.

Thanks to writer/blogger Myfwany Collins for pointing out the new lit reviews are up at New Pages.

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Natasha Radojcic's You Don't Have to Live Here is one powerhouse of a coming-of-age story. The novel's main character, Sasha, is smart, spirited, and tough as she is sent by her disapproving family to Cuba, Yugoslavia, Greece, and back to Yugoslavia. Eventually she moves to New York on her own, but no matter where she goes, she has a way of stirring trouble around her. The narrative is concise, poetic, and lovely.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

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Here's one short story collection you simply MUST read: Merrill Feitell's Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes.

Every one of these clean, elegant, emotionally resonant stories is near perfection.

In "It Couldn't Be More Beautiful," a young girl realizes over Thanksgiving holiday her older sister has moved on to other, more grown-up alliances, and still everything is okay.
In "Bike New York!" a man, a week just before his wedding, wakes up late for his bachelor-cycling group and ends up riding with a teen-aged girl. Throughout the ride he examines his decision to marry.
"The Marrying Kind," nearly broke my heart. A pregnant woman goes to her baby's father's wedding and wonders whether she will tell him the truth. During the wedding she thinks back to when he had asked her to marry him and she'd been unable to make up her mind.
In "Our Little Lone Star," a middle-aged woman drives out to Arizona with her college-aged daughter's car, and by doing so, faces her fear of risks.

I highly recommend this collection.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

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I've just finished Bret Lott's new collection, The Difference Between Women and Men. What I liked most about the stories was Lott's ability to tell a familiar story in a new and fresh way, sometimes by distorting reality, and sometimes by offering surprising details. The reader will find a couple who longs for the days when their children were young (and perhaps normal size); a man who develops a habit of storytelling to cover his affair; and a Southern woman who hides a secret; and many other moving and intriguing characters.

Bret Lott has written many other books and is the editor for The Southern Review.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

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In case you didn't catch it in July, here's the latest panel of lit journals interviewed at Emerging Writers Forum.

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If I had to pin down exactly what made me not want to have to finish Kim Addonizio's Little Beauties I'm not sure I could. It's an unpretentious, unselfconscious work, with a flow that felt natural and characters I couldn't help loving. It's told by three characters: a divorced, obsessive-compulsive who grew up with an alcoholic mother who loved her by taking her to child beauty pageants; a teen mother who's not really sure she wants to be a mother; and the baby, who's just come from the Before and isn't exactly enthralled with the Now. Addonizio's language is precise and lovely and her imagination, generous. If you're looking for a good book this is one to pick up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

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Don't miss a chance to purchase a copy of the last issue of Ink Pot. Also check out the amazing prose poem, the stunning art and the eye-opening interview with this month's Hot Pot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

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I love it when an artist combines words and images. Cecilia Johnson's stories and paintings are breathtaking.

Thanks to Kyle Minor for the original link.

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I'm in the middle of poet Kim Addonizio's first novel, "Little Beauties," and I'm loving it.

Hear a short review of it by Alan Cheuse on NPR

Addonizio's website

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New at Salome

Monday, August 15, 2005

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New litmag reviews from New Pages

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I've just returned from my almost-month long vacation and am still getting sorted. Regular posting will resume in a day or two. So glad to be back!

Hope you all have had success in your writing and have read some great books.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

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Please check out the latest issue of RE:AL, some of which is available to read online (a short story by Roy Kesey and one by me, just for starters.)

It would be wonderful if you could support the magazine by purchasing an issue. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

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I just received word my story "Autumn Leaves," previously published in Lynx Eye will appear in the August issue of the online journal Lily on August 1.

Also a prose poem will appear in the fabulous Salome on August 1.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Hiatus

I'll be traveling and spending time with family for the next three weeks. I'll be back sometime in the middle of August. In the meantime, I wish you much happiness, creativity, good reading, good writing, and good Karma.


Soksang...Santiphap...Keamana...Lumana...Fifa...Shanti...
Nye...Pokoj...Sula...Mir...Hau...Sidi...Pace...Fred...Taika...
Freiden...Hetep...Paix...Salaam...Patz...Pake...Peace

Thursday, July 21, 2005

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Read Night Work by Felicia Sullivan.

Night Work is an stunning excerpt of Sullivan's Memoir which will be published by Algonquin in 2006.

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A poem by John Poch: Backward.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

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I'm getting ready for our yearly trip to see family in Connecticut and a stay on the Cape. What books to bring? The trouble isn't so much WHAT to bring as it is how many. I average three books a week. I know on vacation I always read considerably less than I do at home. Funny, that. So my "to take" pile began at twenty. I managed to whittle it down to seventeen. Then yesterday I got brave and took out five more. So now I'll be taking twelve. A respectable number.

Anyway...these are my July reads PRE-vacation:




“Dreaming Water” by Gail Tsukiyama

“Little Children” by Tom Perrotta

“The Center of Winter” by Marya Hornbacher

“The Bright Forever” by Lee Martin

“Lost in the Forest” by Sue Miller

“Making It Up As I Go Along” by Maria T. Lennon

“O My Darling” by Amity Gaige



The Martin novel was an excellent study of the driving force in narrative; the Perotta novel was sadly hilarious; the Hornbacher novel was atmospheric; the Lennon Novel suprised me and was richer than I expected; and the Gaige novel was a study in language and character--tightly written.

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New work at Salome

Sunday, July 17, 2005

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Try to guess the book to which these first literary lines belong:


Famous First Words
.

(I got 9 right.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

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Writer Tom Saunders has recently joined the blog world. Saunders is the author of the excellent short story collection "Brother What Strange Place Is This?" and resides in England.

Look here soon for an interview.

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Got an extra $150 lying around???

Kirkus will take it off your hands: Kirkus Reviews/

Thanks to writer and poet Carol Peters for the original link.

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Novelist Tom Dolby presents a good argument against writers blogging the daily life: San Francisco Chronicle. I've had these same concerns which is one of the reasons I use my blog mostly for promotional purposes.

Thanks to Laila Lalami for the original link.

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New work by South African writer and poet Liesl Jobson at Salome.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

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Fiction in Pindeldyboz from talented writer and editor Kyle Minor

Minor edits the new journal Frostproof Review and recently won first prize in the Atlantic Monthly for his essay "Lay Me Down in the Blue Grass."

Friday, July 08, 2005

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Here's a link to a unique and beautiful experience:

Night

Photos and writing by Joseph Young

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Elizabeth Glixman interviews Daphne Buter.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

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View author M.J. Rose's vidlit for her new novel "The Halo Effect."

Thanks to Moorishgirl's Laila Lalami for the original link.

For every blog that links to the vidlit, Rose has pledged $5 to the nonprofit organization Reading is Fundamental

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

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Read a new nature essay by Myfanwy Collins at Moondance.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

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Ayelet Waldman explores the darker side of motherhood in her fiction: Interview with her at Literary Mama.

Thanks to author Maryanne Stahl for the original link.

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New work at Salome

Monday, July 04, 2005

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The new issue of Mississippi Review, "Location/Dislocation," edited by Ken Foster is now live.

Friday, July 01, 2005

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Felicia Sullivan chats with one of my favorite authors, Roxana Robinson at Small Spiral Notebook.

Many thanks to my friend and writer, Myfanwy Collins for the original link.

June Reading

Books I read in June:



“The Apple’s Bruise,” stories by Lisa Glatt

“We Are All Fine Here” by Mary Guterson

“There Are Jews in My House,” stories by Lara Vapnyar

“No Direction Home,” by Marisa Silver

“Last Night,” stories by James Salter

“Specimen Days” by Michael Cunningham

“Embroideries” by Marjane Satrapi

“A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That” by Lisa Glatt

“Bulletproof Girl” stories by Quinn Dalton

“The Red Carpet” stories by Lavanya Sankaran

“Wonder When You’ll Miss Me” by Amanda Davis

“Circling the Drain” stories by Amanda Davis

“House of Thieves” stories by Kaui Hart Hemmings

“The Brutal Language of Love” stories by Alicia Erian

My favorites were the Lisa Glatt collection and novel; the Sankaran collection; the Erian collection; the Cunningham novel; the Dalton collection; the beautiful "Embroideries;" the title story in the Vapnyar collection; the Davis novel; and the Hemmings collection.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

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There is an excellent review of "The Apple's Bruise" by writer Julie Benesh at Moorishgirl today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

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Stephanie Anagnoson has an excellent article on Spirituality in the Workplace

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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The new issue of Bonfire is available for your reading pleasure.

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New work up at Salome by the talented Michelle Garren Flye.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

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Living in North Carolina, and being a writer, I'd heard about the tragic, too-early death of Amanda Davis. I've had both her books, "Circling the Drain," and "Wonder When You'll Miss Me," for a while now. A couple of days ago I picked her novel to read, and just as I suspected, even more really, I was blown away by both the power of the novel, by the incredible talent Amanda Davis had, and deeply saddened that someone who offered so much of herself is no longer on this earth. At least her spirit will live on indefinitely through her words. Of that I have no doubt.

Amanda Davis

Saturday, June 25, 2005

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A new short fiction from the talented Alicia Gifford at Opium.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

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New lit mag reviews at New Pages.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Illuminate: A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That

Knowing that I loved Lisa Glatt's story collection, The Apple's Bruise I figured I would enjoy her novel A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That, I just didn't know how much I would love it. It's really a novel-in-stories or a collection of linked stories as each story could stand on its own and some already have been published in literary journals. The main character, Rachel Sparks, cannot seem to connect to any one man, at least while she's busy holding on to her dying mother. Georgia, a young bright teenager, gives herself away too often and easily and gains nothing but venereal deseases and unwanted pregnancies but still manages to keep her dignity. Emma, a student poet, works at the women's clinic and is married to a cheating bat scientist. Angela, friend of Rachel, is prone to allergic reactions that make her lips "swell up to look like a vagina" and her face and body break out in severe hives. In the background of Rachel's life is this young man in her poetry classes that keeps showing up with offers of friendship and support.

The writing really shines and the honesty is heartbreaking. I loved reading every word.

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Dan Wickett of Emerging Writers' Network reviews Laila Lalami's upcoming short story collection, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.

Thanks to Mary Akers for the link.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

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An interview with Ha Jin at AGNI

Friday, June 17, 2005

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Two poems by Olena K. Davis.

Thanks to Amber Curtis of the fabulous Cranky for the suggestion I check out Olena's work. I just bought "And Her Soul Out of Nothing." Cranky's issue 6, due out in September will feature an interview with the award-winning Ms. Davis.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Illuminate: "Embroideries"

Yesterday I bought a copy of "Embroideries" by Marjane Satrapi. I'd actually seen a recommendation by my friend Laila Lalami on her literary blog and it sounded intriguing. It's an insightful look at a gathering of Iranian women as they share tea after lunch in one of the women's living room. They also share intimate secrets and stories; many of the stories made me laugh out loud and many are truly universal. I loved the honesty of the novel, and the self-acceptance. The drawings are a delightful match for the text. Reading "Embroideries" was like being there in the same living room with that wonderful clan of women.

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Hear Michael Cunningham discuss "Specimen Days" on NPR

Illuminate: "Specimen Days"

I just finished the last page of "Specimen Days," the latest novel by Michael Cunningham. This was one cover I didn't want to close.

"Specimen Days" is a group of three novellas all linked on the surface by similar characters with the same names; by New York City as the setting; by a mysterious white bowl; and by the characters' desire to understand life beyond their own needs. It is what lies underneath the surface--terrorism, prejudice, understanding of death and the soul--that make this group of novellas really sing together.

The first part, In the Machine, is a ghost story. Set in New York back in the mid 1800s, Lucas, a young boy with a deformity and an uncontrollable urge to quote Walt Whitman lines loses his brother to the machine at which he worked. Lucas gets a job working that same machine so he can care for his ailing parents and win the heart of his brother's fiance. Lucas comes to believe the dead try to speak to us and reclaim us through the machines.

In the second part, The Children's Crusade, Cat, a sharp-witted, female crime deterrent has the job of trying to stop a band of child terrorists who quote Walt Whitman and leave pamphlets of "Leaves of Grass" as part of their manifesto. She leaves her young, successful boyfriend and takes off for something better with one of the children. Again violence and death are explored as well as love, loyalty, and prejudice. One of many brilliant moments in Cunningham's prose:

"But for now, she thought, they could go on together. They could put it off from hour to hour and maybe from month to month or year to year. She might still want to be his mother even if it proved fatal. And he might not, after all, be waiting to do it with a bread knife or a pillow as she slept; he might be willing to do it gradually, as children had been doing since time began. In a sense, he had killed her already, hadn't he? He had ended her life and taken her into this new one, this crazy rebirth, hurtling forward on a train into the vast confusion of the world, its simultaneous and never-ending collapse and regeneration, its rock-hard little promises, its owners and workers, its sanctuaries that never endured, that were never meant to be endured."

In the third part, Like Beauty, Cunningham has taken us years into the future where New York City has become a strange and cruel theme park. Simon is a nonbioligical, who has been programmed to quote Walt Whitman and is trying to stay undetected in a city that wants him disabled. He meets a female lizard nanny from the planet Nadia, who has dealt with prejudice on Earth since she arrived, and together they leave the city on a quest to find his maker. On the way they meet a young boy who helps them reach Denver, their final destination. Once there, Simon learns his capacity to feel something like love for his friend, Catareen, overrides the instinct for survival that had been implanted in him.

All three of these novellas rise off the page larger than life and certainly larger than their number of pages (about 100 each). They explore big ideas and themes all threaded together by Walt Whitman poetry, New York, and a desire to understand human nature. They work together to create something greater; a work of art to be explored again and again. Michael Cunningham truly is one of the best American novelists.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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I've been hearing about Nick Hornby and his books in the last few months but hadn't read anything by him. Last week I picked up his latest novel, "A Long Way Down."

Terry Gross interviewed him today on Fresh Air and listeners heard him talk about the book, learned what he thinks about being called a writer of "ladlit," and heard his thoughts on book buying versus book reading of which I have to say he's SPOT on!

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You must check out the new Hot Pot featuring a fabulous short piece by Kathy Fish and an exciting, gorgeous collage by Bev Jackson!

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Found out through Myfanwy Collins the new issue of SmokeLong Quarterly is live.

Monday, June 13, 2005

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Poetry by North Carolina Poet Laureate
Kathryn Stripling.

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An insightful conversation between Quinn Dalton and Tayari Jones at Small Spiral Notebook

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There's an excellent article on book marketing for independent publishers at New Pages.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

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Read this heartbreaking, gorgeous story:

The Dress

Thanks to Patry Francis for the original link.

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Rusty Barnes, Editor of Night Train, interviews Steve Almond at WebdelSol

Saturday, June 11, 2005

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read an interview of Curtis Sittenfeld, author of "Prep," at earthgoat.

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Thanks to Ellen Meister for this link to Jennifer Weiner's take on a review of Melissa Bank's new book, The Wonder Spot.

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an interview with James Salter and here

an interview with Lisa Glatt

an interview with Lara Vapnyar

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Three collections you may want to put on your reading list this summer:

There Are Jews In My House,” by Lara Vapnyar gives us the stories of Russian people both in Russia and elsewhere. The title story was for me, the strongest, with a sharp eye for human nature: Galina agrees to hide her Jewish friend and her daughter during the war. She soon grows resentful and she is confronted with her own fears, weaknesses, and prejudices.

Last Night,” by James Salter offers ten sexy stories about people feeling their way through relationships. Salter is a master at creating dialogue that intrigues. He makes every word count and his sentences are nothing short of gorgeous. Michael Dirda of the Washington Post says “Salter is the contemporary writer most admired and envied by other writers…He can, when he wants, break your heart with a sentence."

The Apple’s Bruise,” by Lisa Glatt is my favorite of the three. Each of the twelve stories is as strong and rich as the next. “In Dirty Hannah Gets Hit by a Car,” a young girl who is picked on by the girl who walks with her to school and who endures the gradual meltdown of her parents’ marriage is hit by a car on the way to school. In “The Body Shop,” a woman’s husband carries a stripper off stage on his back; in “Soup,” a mother finds herself attracted to the rough kid her son has begun hanging around; and in “Eggs,” a woman has a long distance affair with another professor and is confronted by an unruly student. "Grip" was the most haunting story for me, focusing on the narcissism of a couple resulting in their literal disregard and discard of their only child. Glatt’s ability to render complexities of relationships and deliver a satisfying end to the tension in her stories is amazing. This is certainly one of the strongest collections I’ve read this year and will go on my shelf of favorites.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

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Read Randall Brown's interview with the talented and lovely Myfanwy Collins on reading and critiquing: SmokeLong Quarterly

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An interesting essay on reading nonfiction by Michael Piafsky

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

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For an enlightening look at the BEA, here's a link to Nicole M. Kelby's blog

and to Laila Lalami's MoorishGirl

Sunday, June 05, 2005

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The June issue of Word Riot is up with excellent new work like this story by Don Capone

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Thursday, June 02, 2005

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A couple of days ago I received my copy of the lit journal "Cranky." It's loaded with incredible poetry and prose poems. A few of my favorites: "Foreign Film," by Kathy Fish; "His Two Dogs," by M. Lynx Qualey; "Be Prepared," by Barbara Decesare; and "Red Hat" by Mathew Zapruder and Joshua Beckman.

If you don't already have a subcription, get one before you miss another brilliant gem.

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As a subscriber, I know just how sharp and innovative the work inside Lilies and Cannonballs is. As you can see, they've updated their site and highlighted some excerpts from previous issues, one piece in particular a favorite of mine: "States of Residency" by my brilliant and talented friend, Myfanwy Collins. No doubt: this journal has EXCELLENT taste.

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Another fascinating interview session with a panel of litbloggers. Dan Wickett knows how to ask the right questions.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

On Writing

I've been working for the past week on revising a story. I used to revise with the old manuscript close by so that I could refer to it as I went. This time, I started the story again and didn't look at the old ms at all. What it allowed me to do was tell the story from the place I am now, rather than where I was when I first wrote it four or five months ago. I'm almost finished with it--I wrote about a thousand words today--and then I'll put it away for a bit before I begin my line by line revisions.

How do you revise? Do you start all over or do you stick to the original?


"Everything, especially the first draft. I don't mind revision. Revision is when it really happens. That's when you can bring artistry to bear on it and be crafty and smart. But, first drafts, it's like sandblasting with my forehead. I never do it for more than a couple of hours a day. And revising I can do all day."---Richard Bausch

read the rest of the interview: The Capital Times

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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Superb new story from Ink Pot #6 by Pam Mosher

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Books I read in May:


“The Evil B.B. Chow” by Steve Almond

“Towelhead” by Alicia Erian

“The Perfect Stranger and Other Stories” by Roxana Robinson

“In My Other Life,” stories by Joan Silber

“Come Up and See Me Sometime,” stories by Erika Krouse

“The First Desire” by Nancy Reisman

“Stop That Girl” by Elizabeth McKenzie

“Case Histories” by Kate Atkinson

“Asking for Love” by Roxana Robinson

“A Glimpse of Scarlet” by Roxana Robinson

“People I Wanted to Be” by Gina Ochsner

I liked all of my book choices this month but I especially loved the elegance and kick-ass writing of the Robinson collections; loved the wild symbolism of the Ochsner collection; enjoyed the fun of "Case Histories;" and loved the fun of "Stop That Girl."

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The Missouri Review has a gorgeous new look.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

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Here's an old interview with Swink's editor, Leelila Strogov

Friday, May 27, 2005

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A Party of Widows by Nin Andrews at AGNI

Monday, May 23, 2005

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Find out what Dan Wickett thought of recent issues of Swink; Night Train; Orchid; Frostproof Review; and others: Lit Journal Round Up

Sunday, May 22, 2005

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Parker by Steven Gullion

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Okay, I read LTC's recommendation, Case Histories by Kate Atkinson and was not disappointed. But certainly wondered if I would get through the slow start. If you can work your way past page ten, you will be rewarded. The design of this is most fun: Atkinson weaves three mystery storylines together throughout the book and the reader slowly learns of things that connect them. The first case is the disappearance of a little girl; the second a shooting of a man's daughter; the third, the mental break of a mother whose need for perfection proves to be her downfall. And there's detective Jackson Brodie, with a mysterious past who is called to solve these cases. Right up to the end, Atkinson keeps the reader guessing. Although due to excellent characterization by Atkinson, I did know who one of the actual killers was before it was revealed. Great fun!

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Elizabeth McKenzie's novel-in-stories, Stop That Girl is one of the best books I've read this year. The book follows Ann Ransom, the quirky, thoroughly lovable narrator from childhood to adulthood. What ties the individual stories together other than the gorgeously flawed characters is McKenzie's crystaline prose and sharp wit.

In the beginning story, young Ann is sent to Europe with her grandmother (mumsy but Ann calls her simply "Dr. Frost")while Ann's mother has her second child. When her mother has recovered sufficiently from the birth, Ann and the doctor fly back to LA and Ann meets her sister for the first time. In the airport she picks her up against her mother's wishes:

"That's it. I start to run. After carrying my suitcase all over Europe, she's only a tiny bundle.
My mother says, 'Wait! Stop!'
It was the beginning of my future, and I had the thought at that moment there was no one in the world who would ever understand my version of things. I plunged through the crowd, holding my sister close to me. I heard my mother crying out, my grandmother barking commands, and Roy Weeks shouting, 'Stop that Girl!' But no one seemed to connect them to me, so no one stood in my way."


If you want a laugh-out-loud read, this is the book for you!

Friday, May 20, 2005

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What's wrong with the modern book review?

The Book Seller

Thursday, May 19, 2005

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Writer Max Ruback reviews Amy Hempel's latest collection: Stop Smiling Online

Illuminate Me, Please

Anyone know why one of my stories is being used by this site to teach english as a second language: The Hub?????

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Thanks to Dave Clapper for the news Insolent Rudder is coming back.

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An article on the relationship of history and novel writing: The Yemen Observer

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An interview with India's Tarun Tejpal, a journalist turned novelist: The Independent Online

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Apparently The Paris Review's former editor, Brigid Hughes, is starting her own journal: WBZ1030.com

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Here's a bit on Nancy Reisman at Book Page

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Nancy Reisman, author of the award-winning short story collection has published her first novel: The First Desire." It is an amazing well-written, controlled book, with rich layers of characterization.

What does it mean to remain loyal to your family? What part of you would you have to hide in order to do so? Or would you be more inclined to disappear all together? This book takes a look at each member of the Cohen family and how they deal with their own familial ties. After the death of her mother, eldest daughter Goldie Cohen disappears. Her father believes she is dead, and if she isn't in reality, she is to him, so he holds shiva; Jo lives her entire life afraid to claim her sexuality; Sadie who lives her life in the ways she'd expected wonders at the end if she's chosen wisely; and Irving, a gambling man who can't settle down with one woman lives a double life: one his family can approve and one that feels closer to who he is. Finally, there's Celia, the slightly unstable, fragile member of the family whom everyone works hard to protect.

Monday, May 16, 2005

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Lit-Blog Co-op has announced its first book: LBC

I have this one in my pile (of course).

Friday, May 13, 2005

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Stunning flash fiction from Beverly Jackson

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Writer and good friend Myfanwy Collins has a flash fiction featured on Riley Dog

Thursday, May 12, 2005

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More about Nicole Kraus and her new book, "The History of Love."

I really must pull it off my shelf soon.

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Here you can be a part of the vote for the month's best literary sex scene: Henry Miller Awards.

Steamy.

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Yesterday while driving I listened to Brooke Shields discuss the circumstances that inpsired her memoir, "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression." I was impressed by the candid, beautifully articulate, and graceful Ms. Shields, and realized how helpful such a memoir can be for those not familiar with the seriousness and dangers of PPD.

You can listen to her interview with Terry Gross here: Fresh Air

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Foer a Ghost?

Jonathan Safran Foer's Last Post Ever

Thanks to Girija Tropp for the original link.

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The Perfect Stranger

The thirteen stories in Roxana Robinson's newest collection all share an amazing elegance, clear insight into human nature, and at times, breath-stopping tension.

In "Family Christmas," a young girl witnesses an event that opens her eyes to an adult world full of complexities, contradictions and class divisions. In "The Face Lift," a woman gets together with an old school friend who possesses a vitality she once envied. The woman soon discovers things are not always what they seem and no one is impervious to danger. The ending of this one is brilliant. In "Choosing Sides," a woman not only finds out her son has fathered a child but that he doesn't want to stick around to parent it. The woman must decide if she wants the child in her life.

Two of the most riveting stories in the collection, "At the Beach" and "The Treatment," showcase Robinson's command of a story and how much tension it should deliver and when. "At the Beach" captures perfectly the panic experienced by a beach full of people who for one moment fear the worst has happened, and "The Treatment" stars a woman with a terminal illness who eventually feels forced to protect her faith in her body's ability to heal.

I cannot say enough about how powerful and beautifully written this collection is. A fully satisfying read straight through.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Monday, May 09, 2005

Alternate Realities:

Here's what I missed this afternoon:

A pair of geese walking across our yard followed by their babies.

Here's what I didn't miss:

Alexander getting his first bicycle helmet and sharing an icecream with me.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

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Read "Sea Girls" by Theresa Boyar in Avatar Review.

Stunning.

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The new issue of Word Riot is up with many wonderful stories, flashes and stretching forms. Don't miss the book reviews like this one of Amy Hempel's Dog of a Marriage. I haven't read it yet, but it's on my pile and I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, May 06, 2005

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Night Train's Tom Jackson interviews novelist Grant Bailie before he enters his isolation writing cubicle.

Good luck to Grant and the others!

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Letters of condolence sent to Virginia Woolf's family are now being published.

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Interview with literary agent, Noah Lukeman

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

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In Towelhead, Alicia Erian’s debut novel, readers are offered a view of what it might be like to grow up a child of two parents of different cultures. We may not leave with any more idea about that than we had coming into the novel but we will get a glimpse of a whole lot more than we probably bargained for.
Thirteen year old Jasira, the main character of the novel, is at once notably naive and sophisticated as she determines the best way to walk across the thin ice of her parents’ making. Her mother, a controlling, self-centered, unloving school teacher won’t show Jasira how to shave her bikini line so that Jasira may feel comfortable at the swimming pool. For some unknown reason, Jasira’s mother is uncomfortable with Jasira’s developing body. Her mother’s boyfriend steps in and does the shaving, swimsuit on, and when her mother finds out, Jasira is sent away to live with her father.
If the reader is looking for some relief for Jasira in the home of her father, they will be disappointed because Daddy turns out to be even more uncomfortable than her mother with not only Jasira’s body, but the very idea of her existence. Not only are Daddy’s rules unreasonable but they are unpredictable and Jasira has to second guess everything that comes out of her mouth.
Next door lives a pedophile who throughout the book seems to be the one abuser of the three (mother, father, neighbor) that holds any amount of conflicting feelings and guilt regarding his actions whereas the mother and father remain oblivious to their offenses.
Added to the mix are the politics of war (although Erian does not dig all that deep in this area); adolescent sexuality; and racial issues.
Jasira is lucky to find an advocate in another neighbor: a pregnant newlywed with more of a world view than others around Jasira, who ultimately rescues her from both of her parents and the pedophile.
Among the criticism Towelhead has received, one fot he things that stood out to me was the complaint the narrator sounds younger than her thirteen years. Initially I thought the same thing. The first sentence: “My mother’s boyfriend got a crush on me, so she sent me to live with Daddy,” sounds as if it came from a girl a couple of years younger than Jasira’s thirteen. It’s only after reading further that I was able to gain some insight as to why Jasira’s mental and emotional health may have seemed arrested at times. Under the constant emotional and physical abuse of her parents it would have been more unbelievable if she had come across as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually together.
This is a book that is not easy to read—Erian’s straight storytelling does not make the abuse Jasira endures more comfortable for the reader. For that reason among others, I recommend you do read it.

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Why Steve Almond writes short stories.

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Writer Mary Akers on government and religion.

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New at Salome: Almost the Same Desert

Monday, May 02, 2005

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Article on Alicia Erian Here

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You can listen to Alicia Erian, author of "Towelhead" and short story collection, "The Brutal Language of Love" read one of her stories.

I've just finished her novel "Towelhead," and will be writing a review shortly. I've also recently purchased her collection and am looking forward to reading it.

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Uncle Frank on book awards: New Pages

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News from Carve:

2005 Raymond Carver Short Story Award:

First Prize, $2,500, Adam Stumacher
Second Prize, $1,000, Peter Fong
Third Prize, $500, Stephanie Kallos
Best Story by a non-North American Author, $250, Judy Crozier (Australia)
Editor's Choice Award, $150, Brian Meckley
All six remaining finalists received $100

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Books I read in April:


“Mrs. Kimble” by Jennifer Haigh

“Flesh and Blood” by Michael Cunningham

“Pearl” by Mary Gordon

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer

“A Year of Pleasures” by Elizabeth Berg

“The Laws if Invisible Things” by Frank Huyler

“The Quarry” by Damon Galgut

“The Good Wife” by Stewart O’Nan

“Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona,” stories by Ryan Harty

“Follies,” stories by Ann Beattie

Saturday, April 30, 2005

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Check out the latest Pot de Creme with wild and wonderful art from Terri Brown-Davidson and a kickin story from Joshua Weber

Don't forget to read the interview and see the bonus photos too!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Outside My Window...

A breeze is shaking Dogwood blossoms loose; they look like snow.

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I've just started Ann Beattie's recent short story collection, Follies. So far so good.

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A story by Tomi Shaw in Pboz.

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A tiny blip about Ryan Harty and his wife, Julie Orringer, author of "How to Breathe Underwater."

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An interview with Stewart O'Nan

Thursday, April 28, 2005

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Ryan Harty has recently wowed me with his prize-winning collection: Bring Me Your Saddest Arizona

Each of the eight stories deals with sadness in indelible forms. One of my favorites in the collection centers around a husband and wife and their robot son who seems to be coming apart. The ways in which each family member handles the boy's breakdown mirror survival techniques of people dealing with illness: The wife distances herself; the husband tries to fix the situation; and the son tries to hide his problems.

In another story, a brother cleans the apartment of his dead, mentally ill sister and sweeps all of her cats out onto the street, except one.

The last story, September, is a gorgeous account of one young man's first love: the mother of one of his friends.

I highly recommend this SSC!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

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What if you woke one morning to a phone call from your spouse telling you he or she was in jail? What if the charge was murder? Would you stand by him/her even after they were convicted? How long would be reasonable? A year? Five years? What if you had a child?
These are the questions Patty Dickerson faces in The Good Wife.

Stewart O’Nan offers us this story of the faithful, long suffering wife as she remains true to her ideal of the healthy family even as her husband spends over twenty years in prison. The strength in this novel lies in the superb characterization because as the reader asks what kind of person could live his life this way, O’Nan answers it with credibility. It may not be a road you or I would take, but as we grow to understand Patty Dickerson, the reader can at least appreciate her choices come from her background and her self-imposed limitations.

I highly recommend this novel. O’Nan has done it again.
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