Archive | April 2013

Poems by Mark Prudowski

Two new poems by Mark Prudowski (poetry, ’09) appear online at the poetry blog On Barcelona.

The radio says sequestration before sunrise

so that the soft vowels and hard que alliteration
put in my mind equestrian, though
another part knows it for an accretion of cuts.
People are losing their jobs. In an interesting twist
a public defender lays himself off rather than
a less senior beneath him. That from his mouth
I hear the poor can’t get a fair shake is not thus ironic.
If not forever, hasn’t this been true for an awfully long time?
Three cheers for those who still give a damn,
by which I mean actually do something about it.
                   Like the  torturer’s horse,  I just want
relief for the itch on my ass.
I obey the bit and bridle.
The alternative is just too damn hard.

Read more at On Barcelona

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Deadline Tomorrow

From the organizers of the 2013 MFA Program Alumni Conference:

What you can do at the God Wally Alum (Post MFA) Conference this July 28-August 3:

Take a class in sequencing poems in a collection and/or on geographies and culture, isolation, relocation and the effects thereof and/or landscape and the willing suspension of disbelief and/or more; learn how a stupid computer program recognizes poetry; inhabit the roles of characters in the reading of a Shakespeare play; explore the connection between improv theater games and writer; participate in a caucus on discipline; churn out pages of your latest work in progress while the scent of eucalyptus wafts through your open window to emerge from your immersion for dinner and camaraderie; soak up readings from some of the best writers on the planet; outbid your new pals on the funkiest objet d’art that you never knew faculty member so-and-so crafts in his spare time; develop your interpretive dance skills; reconnect with God Wally alums from graduation year 400 B.C. to 2013; amid the golden hills daydream for hours and call it pre-write; immediately increase your blog audience by a factor of x; exchange literary witticisms (“this is like Virginia Wolfe meets Brett Easton Ellis” or “this is what might result of TS Elliot challenging Elizabeth Bishop at arm wrestling”) over manuscript workshops just like in the old days; bring your books for your fellow writers who can’t wait to hold signed copies in their hot little hands; beef up your resume; pump up your reading list; take some extra time to explore the magnificent San Francisco Bay area, stopping out at John Muir Woods or driving throat-in-heart Highway One or perhaps catch a glimpse of Ferlinghetti at City Lights…

What you can’t do: imagine for one second you’re at home making breakfast for the family; languish in morning traffic on the 405; squirm through the “three truths and a lie” icebreaker at your company’s Q1 offsite meeting; haul home swag to dump in the landfill; kick yourself in the booty for not coming to the conference years past, because you’re here now.  Where are you?  St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA, [http://www.stmarys-ca.edu]: which boasts one of the beautiful campuses in the country. This is July 28 through August 3 (short stay available). This is you replenishing and revitalizing you.

Join us. April 30 is the deadline to register without a late fee and make your preferences known. Go on line now and do it. We’re waiting for you. Yes, you!

[http://www.wwcmfa.org/alumni/conference-information/]

Peg Alford and Cass Pursell on behalf of the God Wally Post-MFA Alum Conference

Your friendly organizers, 2013

Post-MFA Conference Deadline

Tomorrow, April 30, is the deadline to  register for this summer’s 2013 Goddard/Wally Alumni (Post MFA) Conference!

As a reminder, The conference itself is July 28 – Aug. 3 (or shorter stay option of July 31 – Aug. 3) at St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA (SF Bay Area).

From Peg Alford and Cass Pursell, your friendly conference co-coordinators:

We’re getting very excited as the registrations come in, from alums all over geographically — and temporally, as in grads of early days to brand spanking new.  Alums who have never attended before, ever, will be there.

The proposals for the classes and panels are varied and delectable, such as (very roughly paraphrased) theater games & improv & writing; writing “away from the self”; getting your mojo back; & more. There will be a fun Shakespeare reading, and of course, YOUR readings of your work.

To your choice of workshops, in addition to poetry & fiction, you may choose creative nonfiction this year.

Really, there’s simply too much to cover in this communiqué! You’ll have to come and see for yourself and from all the tasty offerings select your own smorgasbord.

You can be as involved as you like. Give a class, organize a discussion, participate in a panel. Attend those of your choice. Attend none. Hang out in your room, in the library, in the courtyard (St. Mary’s is gorgeous) and write, sleep, daydream. Hike! Swim!

Dance? Why, yes, if you care to. We’ll have one for sure.

The one thing you need to do, however, is get your registration in — now! Go to the website link and fill in the forms and pay on line, or download the forms, print out and fill and send the paper forms to us at the address listed.

http://www.wwcmfa.org/alumni/conference-information/

You’ve heard it said before and if you haven’t you need to: it doesn’t matter if you don’t know a soul who’s coming to the conference. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t interacted with another alum in years, decades. You belong. Your presence is wanted. You’ll find initial awkwardness will dispel quickly. You’ll see.

Questions? We’ve got answers! Just ask.

Interview with Kingsley Tufts Winner Marianne Boruch

Faculty member Marianne Boruch, winner of Purdue’s $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, was recently interviewed at Indianapolis Monthly. Marianne accepted the award at Claremont Graduate University, alongside Heidy Steidlmayer (poetry, ’00), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Marianne was honored for her collection The Book of Hours (2011, Copper Canyon Press), and Heidy for her collection Fowling Piece (2012, Triquarterly).

Heidy_MarianneLAbookFestival
Heidy and Marianne at Claremont University

To tell the truth, I would have been happy—and was—just to be finalist for the Kingsley Tufts prize. I was stunned by that news alone. It’s true I’ve been given other awards in the past—a Guggenheim fellowship, and a couple from the National Endowment for the Arts—but these were to write future poems. Those bought me time. This one was truly a bolt from the blue, and recognized work out there, already completed. …[Read the Full Interview]…

For more photos and video of the ceremony, visit the Claremont Graduate University Facebook page.

“Letting Words Bear Down and Burn”

“Letting Words Bear Down and Burn,” an interview with Dilruba Ahmed (poetry, ’09) appears online at RHINO.

Ahmed_photo_BW_sm(credit Mike Drzal)

…Bengalis hold the Bangla language very dear to them. It’s a very soft, beautiful, expressive, and poetic language—and a matter of regional and cultural pride and political import. Bangla (Bengali) was my first language, English my second. I grew up in a bilingual household in which, over time, my parents spoke Bangla to my sisters and me, and we responded in English. (To this day, this is typically how we communicate.) While my siblings and I have retained our comprehension of Bangla, our spoken Bangla lags behind.

I think that growing up that bi-cultural and bi-lingual environment deeply shaped my cultural identity—my lived experiences spanned more than the small towns where I grew up, and I was keenly aware of my parents’ “ghost homeland” that seemed to exist just out of reach. My bilingual upbringing also heightened my awareness of language, I think—I discovered early that a very funny story relayed by my mother in Bangla sometimes failed to have the same richness and deliciousness in English, for example; or that certain English words had no counterpart in Bangla. I learned, too, that languages could provide access and power as much as they could create barriers to communication and belonging.

[Read More]

Twenty Little Poems That Could Save America

“Twenty Little Poems That Could Save America,” an essay by faculty member Tony Hoagland, appears online at Harper’s Magazine.

tony-hoagland-portrait

What went wrong? Somehow, we blew it. We never quite got poetry inside the American school system, and thus, never quite inside the culture. Many brave people have tried, tried for decades, are surely still trying. The most recent watermark of their success was the introduction of Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg and some e.e. cummings, of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “In a Station of the Metro” — this last poem ponderously explained, but at least clean and classical, as quick as an inoculation. It isn’t really fair to blame contemporary indifference to poetry on “Emperor of Ice-Cream.” Nor is it fair to blame Wallace Stevens himself, who also left us, after all, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” a poem that will continue to electrify and intrigue far more curious young minds than are anesthetized by a bad day of pedagogy on the Ice Cream Poem. Let us blame instead the stuffed shirts who took an hour to explain that poem in their classrooms, who chose it because it would need an explainer; pretentious ponderous ponderosas of professional professors will always be drawn to poems that require a priest.

Read More…

Post-MFA Conference Registration Deadline

From Peg Alford and Cass Pursell, your friendly conference co-coordinators:

Hello, everyone,

Here’s your friendly little reminder that the deadline to register for this summer’s 2013 Goddard/Wally Alumni (Post MFA) Conference is quickly approaching. April 30 is the date.

The conference itself is July 28 – Aug. 3 (or shorter stay option of July 31 – Aug. 3) at St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA (SF Bay Area), a beautiful place particularly in the summer (that offers plenty to do, and we’ve got pages of them listed for you).

We’re getting very excited as the registrations come in, from alums all over geographically — and temporally, as in grads of early days to brand spanking new.  Alums who have never attended before, ever, will be there.

The proposals for the classes and panels are varied and delectable, such as (very roughly paraphrased) theater games & improv & writing; writing “away from the self”; getting your mojo back; & more. There will be a fun Shakespeare reading, and of course, YOUR readings of your work.

To your choice of workshops, in addition to poetry & fiction, you may choose creative nonfiction this year.

Really, there’s simply too much to cover in this communiqué! You’ll have to come and see for yourself and from all the tasty offerings select your own smorgasbord.

You can be as involved as you like. Give a class, organize a discussion, participate in a panel. Attend those of your choice. Attend none. Hang out in your room, in the library, in the courtyard (St. Mary’s is gorgeous) and write, sleep, daydream. Hike! Swim!

Dance? Why, yes, if you care to. We’ll have one for sure.

The one thing you need to do, however, is get your registration in — now! Go to the website link and fill in the forms and pay on line, or download the forms, print out and fill and send the paper forms to us at the address listed.

http://www.wwcmfa.org/alumni/conference-information/

You’ve heard it said before and if you haven’t you need to: it doesn’t matter if you don’t know a soul who’s coming to the conference. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t interacted with another alum in years, decades. You belong. Your presence is wanted. You’ll find initial awkwardness will dispel quickly. You’ll see.

Questions? We’ve got answers! Just ask.

 

Alix Ohlin on Inspiration

Faculty member Alix Ohlin gives some advice for creative inspiration as part of the Poets & Writers’ “Writers Recommend” series:

ohlin_color_author_photo_

Here are two things that have helped me when I feel depleted or confused, which is often. One: I find that ideas like to come when they’re most inconvenient. So I daydream my way through situations where writing is impossible. In the shower. While dog-walking. On the subway. I don’t rush out of that situation to write anything down—I just let my mind go, fabricating and wandering, until the end of the day, when I make a record of where my thoughts have gone. It gives me material to start with the next morning. Two: When I’m in direst need of inspiration, I do what I call ‘sentence stealing.’ I find a sentence from a writer I admire and write it down. ‘In the beginning I left messages in the street.’ Or, ‘Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.’ Then I write my own version of the sentence, focusing only on its rhythms: by which I mean, replacing a noun with a noun, a verb with a verb. What’s left is a ghostly echo of the original sentence with no relationship to its actual content. And I follow that new sentence wherever it takes me, down the road to an unfolding story.

Read more at Poets & Writers.

Poems by RJ Gibson

Two new poems by RJ Gibson (poetry, ’11) appear online at jdbrecords.

Sub Rosa

Something sexy there

in those sounds,

the necessary depth

of Sub, the uh of it.  Hiss

to uh, to buh.  Begin with

the fricative, the rub

against, the slip, like sliding

between the sheets, moving into,

walking in a wind. …[Keep Reading]…

RJ Gibson is the author of the poetry collections Scavenge (2010) and You Could Learn a Lot (2012), available from Seven Kitchens Press.

Flash Fiction by Nan Cuba

“Sociology 101, Professor’s Lecture #1,”  a story by Nan Cuba (fiction, ’89) appears online at Atticus Review.

img10

Tell your young eyes to listen. There’s a reason this is my first lesson.  No matter how much yours plead, growing wistful, don’t give them what they want: a prettied past. Make them SEE. At first, they’ll glance past a boy slapped by his mother in the airport, or a woman on TV listing reasons she’s lucky to work at Wal-Mart.  Students, pay attention! No, sit down. You may not be excused...[Keep Reading]…

Nan Cuba is the author of Body and Bread, available May 2013 from Engine Books.