Thursday, July 16, 2009
Zack Rogow's book, The Number Before Infinity, recounts a love affair, through poetry. Along with the erotic poems to his lover (I used racy in the title because of the alliteration, but erotic seems more apt) the narrator also tells of the impact on his marriage. In the video, Rogow reads one very sexy poem to the lover and one about the daughter's displeasure with the father breaking up the family.
This is not a big book, but one that I think most couples would benefit from reading aloud to each other. It raises issues - passionate love, passionate love of someone outside the marriage, the impacts on the family - that couples shoud talk about, but I suspect don't, until it's too late. And since he's such a good poet, he captures in a few, well chosen words, what academics can't say in long volumes.
The UAA Readings go on tonight (Thursday) in the UAA Pub. David Grimes is doing a concert. There've been around 60 folks each night. A good chunk are people taking the workshops, but also strays like us. Dark Friday night, then back in Rasmuson Hall 101 at 8pm Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The detailed schedule with bios is here. For all the other posts on the Summer Reading Series.
For an interesting Saturday night double header - go to the UAA Readings at 8pm and then to Out North for the final episode of Midnight Soapscum.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
You have to work hard to hear the words - the sound on the video is not good. But such magnificent words describing the boys becoming men, growing, spreading, from green to ripe like tropical fruit on the trip to Iraq.
It was the third night of the Reading Series. Linda and I were once faculty members together at UAA and I know how brilliantly she illustrates ideas with words. But I was still surprised.
And I thought, perhaps poetry's time is once again here. Sure, I know there are poetry slams and there's been a revival of sorts. But that's still only the fringe. Given people's short attention spans, poetry is the perfect medium. Poets can now sell their poems one at a time on iTunes. Download a new poem each week onto your iPod. Each time it flows through the earbuds it tickles new brain cells.
Though good poetry doesn't come artificially sweetened in familiar flavors. It lays traps for your stereotypes and startles you with previously unseen glimpses of the heart. The common sparkles. Linda's "Green" does all that. Watch her on the video. Less than two minutes. But look her in the eye as she reads to you. It's magic.
Josip Novakovich read from one of his books, April Fool's Day I think. I really don't have the energy at this point to do him justice, so I just want to note that he was there and his reading was dark and funny. Finally he looked up to check on the time and saw he was just past 9:30pm and said, "It goes on, but it doesn't any get better."
Wednesday night Zack Rogow will read his work. I was impressed enough last year to buy one of his books and bought another one the other night. His poems tell difficult stories so easily. You can come hear him and others read.
8pm - Rasmuson Hall at UAA - Room 101. Free.
Click here for a complete schedule with bios.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Last night we heard John Keeble - no we'd never heard of him before, but that is part of the fun, discovering new (for us) writers - reading from his new book Nocturnal America. We got excerpts from a longish (80 pages) short story, I think it was called Freeing the Fish. There's no one way to convey the story, you should have been there, as they say, but there were negotiations with Pakistani rebels, an uncomfortable scene where his wife is packing up the marriage, crosses on the lawn, and a budding relationship with the new neighbor.
When Keeble was done, there was a long pause as the audience waited to see if there was more. Then applause. Then it looked like Keeble and the audience waited in vain for someone to come up and say the normal thank you's and allow for questions from the audience. (To be fair, we were late because I didn't look carefully and we first went to the Art building where this event was last year, so I'm not sure what was all said in the introduction. We got there as Keeble came to the podium.)
I really don't understand why so many stages in Anchorage - Rasmuson Hall 101 and 110, the Arts Building rooms at UAA, Loussac's Marston Auditorium, the Museum's auditorium - all have such bad lighting for speakers/performers. The picture at the top is what it was like. I messed with the brightness on this second picture.
Then Keeble walked down from the stage and sat down. Only then did the faculty member stand up and wave the red program for the Series and invite people to come to the other sessions. And to buy books in the lobby.
People who complain about the cost of entertainment or the lack of entertainment in Anchorage,(neither of which is a valid complaint in most cases) well, here's over a week of live authors reading from their works, FREE!! It's at Rasmuson Hall at UAA (the 3 story green building connected to the sports center on the west end of campus) and after 7pm parking should be free. Better yet bike over in these great summer days we're having.
The website has a link to a pdf file with info on each night and all the speakers. That's way too much work for people, so I've just posted it all below. Most are people I don't know, but Willie Hensley will be presenting on Saturday night. Also, the website says through July 22, but the pdf file says July 21 is the last night.
Anyway, take advantage of having a university in town that does stuff like this.
From the UAA website on this:
Summer 2009 MFA Evening Author Readings
All readings are FREE and open to the public and are organized and sponsored by UAA’s Creative Writing & Literary Arts Department, Low-Residency MFA Program.
NEW Location: UAA, Rasmuson Hall 101.
Time: 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The UAA Campus Bookstore will showcase and sell books authored by MFA faculty, special guest writers, and suggested coursebooks during each of the (9) evening writer programs.
For more information, contact Kathleen Tarr, MFA Program Coordinator at 907-786-4394, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Derick Burleson is the author of two books of poems: Never Night (Marick Press, 2007) and Ejo: Poems, Rwanda 1991-94 (University of Wisconsin Press, 2000). His poems
have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, and Poetry, among other journals. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, Burleson teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska—Fairbanks and lives in Two Rivers. He’s also an associate faculty member in the Low-Residency MFA Program at UAA.
Eva Saulitis has taught English and creative writing at the Kachemak Bay branch of Kenai Peninsula College, in Homer, Alaska, since 1999 and is also on the faculty of the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. Trained initially as a marine biologist, she received her M.S. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1993. Since 1986, she has studied the killer whales of Prince William Sound, Kenai Fjords and the Aleutian Islands and is the author and co-author of numerous scientific publications. Dissatisfied with the objective language and rigid methodology of science, she turned to creative writing – poetry and the essay – to develop another language with which to address the natural world, receiving her MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1996.
Her essay collection, Leaving Resurrection, was a finalist for the Tupelo Press Non-Fiction Prize, and was published by Boreal Books/Red Hen Press in 2008. Her essays and poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Northwest Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, Carnet de Route, Seattle Review, Ice-Floe, Connotations and Kalliope. They have also appeared in several anthologies, including Homeground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez; she has read essays she contributed to that volume on the PBS radio series Living on Earth. She’s been a recipient of fellowships from the Island Institute, the Alaska State Council on the Arts (Connie Boochever Fellowship) and the Rasumuson Foundation. In 2007, with the help of grants from Rasmuson Foundation and Ventspils House, an international center for writers and translators, she spent a month in Latvia, her parents’ birthplace, where she began a new book of lyric essays and completed a poetry collection entitled Many Ways to Say It.
Tuesday, July 14 Linda McCarriston
Linda McCarriston is the senior core faculty member and Professor of Poetry in UAA's Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. Linda McCarriston has received two literature fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as two from the Vermont State Council on the arts. A winner of the Grolier Prize and the Consuelo Ford Prize from Poetry, she was awarded the poetry fellowship at the Bunting Institute (now the Radcliffe Institute) at Harvard for 1992-1993, after which she was named Jenny McKean Moore Visiting Writer in Washington at the George Washington University.
Her poetry books include: Little River New & Selected Poems; Eva-Mary; and Talking Soft Dutch. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Ohio Review, the Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner ( where she has work forthcoming), New England Review (which also solicited her oft-reprinted essay "The Grace of Form: Class Un consciousness and an American Writer" for a special issue on Class and American Writers), ICE-FLOE: An International Journal of Poetry of the Far North, Calyx, Kalliope, Sojourner, Sojouners, TriQuarterly, Poetry Ireland, and many others. She has read at Berkeley, Poets' House in NYC, The Library of Congress, and countless other sites around the country, is a featured poet in Bill Moyers' latest PBS Poetry Series, The Language of Life (her tape, with Sandra McPherson: "The Field of Time"), and has been twice interviewed by Terry Gross for Public Radio's Fresh Air. In addition to poetry readings "on the circuit," she's read and spoken in prisons, public schools, family shelters, women's centers, and such gatherings as the Alaska Governor's Summit on the Neglect and Abuse of Children, as well as been invited to represent the United States and the English Language at the 2004 Festival de las Lenguas, in Mexico City. One of fourteen poets from the Americas, she was honored for her expression of solidarity and compassion for Native American women in the poem "Indian Girls," which caused great controversy in Alaska. Other poems, including "Le Coursier de Jeanne D'Arc" and "God the Synecdoche in His Holy Land," have also generated political controversy. McCarriston has been invited to contribute to panels and speaking series on subjects including women's history, American education, censorship and self-censorship, and her poems and prose are anthologized across a wide range of subject areas.
She lives in Rockport, Massachusetts.
Josip Novakovich moved from Croatia to the U.S. at the age of twenty. He wrote the Fiction Writers Workshop, and has published a novel, April Fool's Day (translated into ten languages), three story collections (Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust, Yolk, and Salvation and Other Disasters) and two collections of narrative essays. His work was anthologized in Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize collection, and O. Henry Prize Stories. He has received the Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Ingram Merrill Award, and an American Book Award, and he has been a writing fellow of the New York Public Library. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati, Bard, Penn State, and now Concordia University in Montreal. He lives in Warriors Mark, Pennsylvania.
Wednesday, July 15 Anne Caston
Anne Caston's first book, Flying Out With The Wounded, won the 1996 New York University Press Prize in Poetry. Her second collection, Judah's Lion, is now available in a second edition from Toad Hall Press (2009). Anne is currently at work on a third collection of poems, The Empress Of Longing, and a memoir, Deep Dixie: A Southern Woman's Take on Life, Love, Friendship, Romance, Faith, and Coming-of-Age Among Southern Baptists. Anne is core faculty in poetry in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage and divides her time between Alaska And Central Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two miscreant cats in Central Pennsylvania.
Richard Chiappone received a BA in English at the university of Alaska Anchorage in 1991, and an MFA in creative writing there in 1994. He has published dozens of stories and essays in both commercial and literary magazines including Playboy, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Alaska Magazine, Missouri Review, Crescent Review, Sou’wester, New Virginia Review, ZYZZYVA and others. His collection of short stories “Water of an Undetermined Depth” was published in 2003. One of the stories in the collection, “Raccoon” was made into an award winning short film featured at international film festivals including Aspen, Montreal, Palm Springs and others. Chiappone lives in Anchor Point, Alaska, where he writes a newspaper column, teaches creative writing, and serves on the faculty of the annual Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. He has won writing awards including an Alaska Press Club award, and the John W. Voelker Award for short fiction. Chiappone is also an associate faculty member in the Low-Residency MFA Program at UAA.
Zack Rogow is the author, editor, or translator of eighteen books or plays. His sixth book of poems, The Number before Infinity, was published by Scarlet Tanager Books in 2008. His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines, from American Poetry Review to Zyzzyva. He is the editor of an anthology of U.S. poetry, The Face of Poetry, published by University of California Press in 2005. Currently he teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the California College of the Arts and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
Thursday, July 16 (FREE PUBLIC CONCERT!) David Lynn Grimes An evening with Alaskan singer/songwriter, David Grimes
David Lynn Grimes is a bardic trickster, songteller and wandering fool who has howled with wolves, run from bears and cavorted with killer whales. In the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, David has been one of the primary citizen artists and activists working to protect and praise wild habitat for critters and human communities in Alaska's Prince William Sound and Copper River ecosystems. David's adoptive Eyak name—given by Chief Marie Smith Jones, last speaker of the Eyak language—is YaxadiliSayaxinh, which means "The Thinker" or more literally, "He who causes his mind to involuntarily roam in an indeterminate direction."
Friday, July 17
Saturday, July 18 Nancy Lord
Nancy Lord, Alaska’s current Writer Laureate, holds a liberal arts degree from Hampshire College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Vermont College. In addition to being an independent writer based in Homer, she fished commercially for many years and has, more recently, worked as a naturalist and historian on adventure cruise ships.
She is the author of three short fiction collections (most recently The Man Who Swam with Beavers, Coffee House Press, 2001) and three books of literary nonfiction (most recently Beluga Days: Tracking a White Whale’s Truths, Counterpoint Press, 2004.) A collection of essays/memoir, Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life, will be released by the University of Nebraska Press in September. She teaches part-time at the Kachemak Bay Branch of Kenai Peninsula College and in the low-residency graduate writing program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her awards include fellowships from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Rasmuson Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, and residencies at a number of artist communities. See www.nancylord.alaskawriters.com.
Willie Hensley’s memoir, Fifty Years from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in December, 2008. In March of 2010, a Korean language version will be published in Korea.
In 1966, he spearheaded the formation of the Northwest Alaska Native Association which filed a claim to 40 million acres in that part of Alaska. He was instrumental in fighting for passage of the historic Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act of 1971, signed by President Richard Nixon. The act provided for payment of close to $1 billion to Alaska Natives and 44 million acres conveyed to corporations owned and controlled by Alaska Natives. He also spent eight years in the Alaska State Legislature, and has been in many top leadership positions in AFN. Though now retired, for 10 years, he represented the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in Washington, D.C.
Willie Hensley received an honorary doctorate of law from University of Alaska in 1980. Hensley presently serves as Chairman of the First Alaskans Institute, providing leadership development, research and analysis to improve the Native community. He also serves as Chairman of the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership; and sits on the Board of Trustees of Charter College. He and his wife Abbe have raised four children.
Sunday, July 19 Jo-Ann Mapson
Jo-Ann Mapson grew up in Southern California, attended Johnston College at the University of Redlands, and received her B.A. in English/Creative Writing at California State University Long Beach. In 1992, she received her MFA in Writing at Vermont College in Montpelier where she completed thesis projects in both poetry and fiction. Her students include writers Joyce Weatherford (Heart of the Beast), Judith Ryan Hendricks (Bread Alone) and bestselling mystery and mainstream author Earlene Fowler (The Saddlemaker's Wife). Her awards include The California Short Story Award sponsored by Squaw Valley Community of Writers and she was a semi-finalist for the Barnes & Noble inaugural Discover Great New Writers Award. Two of her novels have been national bestsellers (The Wilder Sisters and Bad Girl Creek), and one was made into a movie for television (Blue Rodeo). Her stories, personal essays and poetry have been widely published and anthologized, most recently in Wild Moments: Adventures with Animals of the North. Several of her novels have been BookSense 76 picks. Her literary papers are being collected in Boston University's Twentieth Century Writers "The Jo-Ann Mapson Collection."
She is Assistant Professor on the core faculty of UAA’s Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she is completing a new novel.
Sunday, July 19 Ernestine Hayes
Ernestine Hayes is a member of the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan Clan of the Lingit [sic]. Her book, Blonde Indian, an Alaska Native Memoir, won a 2007 American book Award, was a HAIL (Honoring Alaska Indigenous Literature) recipient, and was a finalist for the 2007 Kiriyama Prize and the 2007 PEN Creative Non-Fiction Award. She is the author of other published work in fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.
Ernestine's recent presentations include "Tlingit Literature" at the 2009 Tlingit Clan Conference, "The Negotiation of Identity in Alaska Native Transitional Generations" at the San Francisco American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, and "What Shall We Do with Our Histories?" at the International Polar Year in Nome. She was the 2009 featured writer for University of Alaska Southeast's journal, Tidal Echoes, where her poetry, nonfiction, and fiction appeared. She has recently had a short short published in BellaOnline Literary Review, and her creative essay "Winter in Lingit Aani Brings Magpies and Ravens" is scheduled for publication in Studies in American Literature in Fall 2009.
Grandmother of four, she is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast Juneau campus, and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program at UAA as an associate faculty member.
Monday, July 20 Judith Barrington
Judith Barrington is a memoirist and a poet. Her Lifesaving:A Memoir won the Lambda Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. Her best-selling Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art is enormously popular with writing groups, university programs, and individual memoirists. Her most recent poetry collection, Horses and the Human Soul was recently selected by the Oregon State Library for "150 Books for the Sesquicentennial" (from among books by Oregon writers, 1836 – 2009).
Her awards include the Andrés Berger Award for Creative Nonfiction, the Dulwich Festival International Poetry Contest, and the Stewart H. Holbrook Award for outstanding contributions to Oregon's literary life. Judith grew up in England and moved to the United States in 1976. She has lived in Portland, Oregon since then, returning to Europe to give readings and workshops in England and Spain every year.
David Stevenson is the director of the Creative Writing and Literary Arts Department and the Low-Residency MFA Program at UAA. He has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years at the University of Utah, University of California Davis, and at Western Illinois University where he was full professor and director of the Graduate Program in English. He first came to Alaska in 1977 on a ski mountaineering expedition to Mt. Kennedy, a remote peak near the Alaska-Yukon border in the St. Elias Range.
He was educated in the west at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington (BA ’78) and the University of Utah (Ph.D. ’94). He writes often about the mountaineering experience both in fiction and nonfiction prose and has published widely in journals such as Ascent, Alpinist, Isotope, and Weber Studies, as well as in The American Alpine Journal where he has been book review editor since 1996. In the late 1990s he spent several summers working for the US Forest Service in the Inyo National Forest (California). There, he was editor and lead writer for the “Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway,” a project that placed 23 interpretive kiosks along Highway 395; he also designed and wrote much of the “Restoration Ecology in the Mono Basin” exhibit for the Mono Lake Scenic Area Visitor Center. His short story, “Native,” won the Boulevard Award for Emerging Writers in 1999.
Recently he contributed to Contact: Mountain Climbing and Environmental Thinking, edited by Jeff McCarthy (University of Nevada Press 2008), edited a book length collection of student writing Practice: Twelve Stories and a Novella, and privately published a short folio of photographs of climbing in the Dolomites (Italy). His novel-in-progress, Forty Crows, is set in Mexico City in the early 1970s.
Sherry Simpson is the author of two collections of essays, The Way Winter Comes, and The Accidental Explorer: Wayfinding in Alaska. Her essays and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Creative Nonfiction journal, Orion, Great Writers on the Great Outdoors, and In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction. She is the winner of the inaugural Chinook Prize and the Andres Berger award for nonfiction, and she was a Bakeless Scholar at Breadloaf Writers' Conference.
She is working on a book about people and bears for the University Press of Kansas. Simpson is the core faculty member in literary nonfiction in UAA's Low-Residency MFA Program. She also teaches for the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University
Tuesday, July 21 (final summer 2009 reading and art presentation) Margot Klass Frank Soos
Among Margo Klass’s influences are medieval altarpieces, and the work of constructionist Kurt Schwitters and architect Tadeo Ando. Her work has been exhibited by various galleries and museums in Maine and Alaska. In addition to work in private collections, she has work in the collections of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, the Anchorage Museum of Art and History, and Davistown Museum in Liberty, Maine. She is a 2008 recipient of a Rasmuson Foundation Artist Award.
Frank Soos has published two works of fiction: Early Yet, and Unified Field Theory, the 1997 winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and one book of essays, Bamboo Fly Rod Suite. His short essay responses to Margo Klass’s work represent a new and unexpected direction in his work.
Margo Klass and Frank Soos began their collaboration in 2002 and make their home in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
For a taste, here's the beginning of one of Carlson's stories I found on line
The rest is at NarrativeMagazine.The NThe head nurse blocked my way and asked what exactly didn’t I understand about the word no, and I told her: the N. It is exactly what I do not understand about what she said. I’ve never understood it very well, and now it has tried to kill us, and I know that I will never ever understand that. It stands there at the beginning of a word, like what?—some guard or a wall. I mean, I think about it now, the N, the shape: up, down, up. Who can get over it? Listen: I never will. I have seen it up close, and I do not understand.
Monday night it was Chicago's Second City in Wendy Williamson Auditorium. They said no flash photography and no videotaping. This is a key Saturday Night Life farm club and the skits were well polished - even the improvised ones.
Wednesday's writer/speakers will be:
These two descriptions and all the rest of the program descriptions are at the ADN link.
• ZACK ROGOW has published five collections of poetry, three anthologies, four volumes of translation, a children's book and two plays. He teaches at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and has a sixth book of poems due out soon, "The Number Before Infinity."
• VALERIE MINER has written 13 novels and collections of short fiction and nonfiction, including memoir and essays. Her latest novel is "After Eden." She is a professor and artist in residence at Stanford University in California.