Showing posts from September, 2011
A poem from Wake Wake Wake - remembering AWP, taping this segment in the uproar of the book fair, while I was tired and really, really cold - but enjoying the whole experience!

PRE: Blood Clay - Valerie Nieman (2011-08-31)

Passing it on

I collect books - what writer doesn't? I fill the shelves and love to look at the colors of the spines and typography of the titles, remembering when I heard this poet read, or sat on a workshop led by that fiction writer.
So it's tough to give up a book. I lend with reluctance...knowing that books, once loosed, tend to be like wandering hounds, always headed for the next porch down the road.
But sometimes the book and the person come together. One young man went away with my (third) copy of Breece D'J Pancake's stories, and told me it changed his life. That book didn't come back, but it is where it needs to be. I'll get another.
A couple of weeks ago, a former student stopped by my office at North Carolina A&T State University. She had just landed a job as a schoolteacher, and one of her new duties would be teaching some creative writing.
"I don't know where to start," she admitted.
I rolled back to the bookshelves that loom ominously behind …

J. California Cooper and John Edgar Wideman Short Fiction Prize

Entries are being accepted now for the North Carolina A&T State University Creative Writing Program 2011 The J. California Cooper and John Edgar Wideman Short Fiction Prize. The deadline is Oct. 31 (postmark date).
Dr. Anjail Ahmad writes: "This competition seeks to honor the literary legacy of two of America's greatest writers. Both J. California Cooper and John Edgar Wideman have authored numerous collections of short fiction and novels among their accomplishments. They have been celebrated for their rich depictions of African-American families via their ability to translate the breadth of Black American experience into poignant tales of urban and rural life. Both Cooper and Wideman have labored long in the literary trenches of American literature, and as award winning writers, they each have championed the experiences of Black Americans by dealing with themes of pride, love, family, identity, the effects of racism and a people's will to triumph. Through their crea…
Come one, come all!
The Fall Community Day at Weatherspoon Art Gallery at UNCG will bring together poetry, music, and of course, incredible art. From 1-4 we'll "peek behind the mask" of superheroes and saints and write persona poems.
This is also part of the "17 Days" art event in Greensboro - and 100,000 Poets for Change worldwide.

The Big Tent

BookMarks comes back to Winston-Salem on Saturday, and these days it's downtown in the Arts District. This makes for an interesting melange of books, art, and good food (check out Sweet Potatoes!)
The first time I participated in BookMarks, it was set up on the fields of Bethabara Park, sharing space for the day with a gathering of Porsche aficianados. Booklovers walked the gravel paths and enjoyed views of the foundations of a Mennonite community. Readings and panel discussions pulled people into tents that offered shade from the late summer sun but allowed the literature to leak out!
I'll miss some of that "big tent" atmosphere, because it was a visual reminder of where we are as writers. Whether we write historical fiction or contemporary short stories, paranormal romance or poetry, accounts of worlds grittily real or loftily imagined, we are all under that big tent of the word.
And it's the word that matters. There is a lot of discussion about "platforms…