Monday, April 26, 2010

AWP Recap and Recovery!

AWP was about 3 weeks ago, and we are still enjoying the memories. Here are a few "best of" moment's from a few of the editors of IR.

Keith's Top 5 (incoming Poetry Editor)
1. Hot tub!
2. The Mind's Wild Geography Panel
3. Photos with contributors.
4. The kind people of the Kenyon Review
5. Modcloth's Par-tay.

Editor Nina's Top Five
1. Meeting (and taking pictures of) all of our amazing contributors!
2. Being in Denver and seeing mountains again
3. The "How Words Matter" panel with Lance Olsen, R.M. Berry, Vanessa Place, and Lydia Yuknavitch
4. Working the IR table with our amazing editors
5. Selling out of the journals we brought!

Alessandra's Top 5
1. Buying breakfast burritos at the taco truck!
2. Taking photos with contributers and meeting people at the bookfair.
3. Seeing peoples faces when they realized the matchbooks were petite notepads (some disappointment, but mostly joyful surprise). 4. Thinking about how two words for one thing makes you more tender to the world, after a panel with Alberto Rios.
5. Going on a run through downtown Denver one early morning, seeing the cool archetecture.

Ryan's Top Five
1. The From the Fishouse Anthology reading. Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Oliver de la Paz, Major Jackson, Adrian Matejka, Erika Meitner, and Jeffrey Thomson delivered a knockout reading. What made it special was that the poets also read poems from the anthology that weren't their own--the pure love of poetry was on display during this reading.

2. Sarabande's "Performing Poetry: Good on the Stage, Good on the Page" panel. Karyna McGlynn, Brett Eugene Ralph, Kiki Petrosino, and Simone Muench all had smart things to say about reading poetry to an audience (Petrosino's talk on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as a gateway into poetry was particularly delightful) and then they all read killer poems. Brett Eugene Ralph's description of his reading style? "Loud and slow." Indeed.

3. Talking with the great editors at Washington Square, Ninth Letter, The Pinch, The Journal, Black Warrior Review, sycamore Review, Pleiades, and too many other journals to name. Also, having a 15-minute conversation about the Philadelphia Phillies with The Southern Review's Drew Ervin. (Their new baseball issue is outstanding.)

4. Ander Monson's reading with Graywolf. Never have I been so moved by a description of a giant ball of paint. (My low point of AWP: Graywolf selling out of Monson's new book, Vanishing Point, before I could buy one.)

5. Getting to spend AWP with the IR family.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Trust--A Writer's Best Friend


This word bugs me right now.

First, because writing requires tremendous trust in oneself. Second, because most of us, myself included, don't have much of it.

And yet, once the workshop is over, after the first draft doesn't look that great three months down the road, we're left with our stories, however raw they are. We sit on them for a while, and then we return. I think we're returning to that place, that internal trust that we can change the story, that we can find the "right" way to tell that story, that we are, indeed, the only people who can tell our stories exactly as they're meant to be told.

When students and contributors ask me what I mean exactly when I ask them to revise, I want to (and sometimes do, moreso with students) throw lots of ideas at them for improvement. Some of that is old-fashioned habit, a lot of it is about deadlines, and much of it may or may not be meaningful.

But in the end, what I really want to say is, "Listen to yourself. Trust what you know about this character, this place, this situation. Trust yourself and write."

I think I'll take my own advice.

(Thanks to Justin, one of IR's friendly neighborhood interns.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

New New New

We recently heard from former IR staffer about a new venue for writings of the stage. Check out the call.

Hunger Mountain is now accepting submissions for the Stage and Screen portion of our journal. Please submit a print submission consisting of a a typed, double-spaced manuscript no more than 10,000 words, or a video submission, consisting of a description of your project and a link to the video (we cannot accept files over 500KB). We welcome an array of examples of and responses to work on “stage” or on “screen”: film, theater, performance art, dance, dance film, animation, television, etc. We’re looking for both traditional and experimental work, including, but not limited to, video art/short film/recorded performances; excerpts from plays/screenplays; interviews of artists working in the field; critical reviews; and lyrical, personal or critical meditations about the genre/s. We like work that demonstrates an engagement with the world beyond its borders, clear stakes, and a beating heart.

P.S. See you all in Denver! We are so excited!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Recent Poetry Favorites

April is National Poetry Month; and in that spirit, we'd like to hear from Blue Light Readers about the last three awesome poetry collections you've dug on. Drop us a comment. Class participation is always nice. My picks appear below.

1. Gerald Stern, Lucky Life
2. Cheryl Dumesnil, In Praise of Falling
3. Larry Levis, Elegy