Spring into Summer

Hi friends! In Wisconsin, we look forward to the longest day of sunlight during each year, which arrives this week, on the Summer Solstice. We’ve had stunning days of searing sunlight, but cooler temps and this makes for frolicking outside a tad easier than holing up in one’s basement.

I’m also excited for my upcoming Bending Genres weekend workshop- Stop Making Sense, June 19- 21. It’s filled up, with 20 writers total, and many older and new friends have signed aboard. I look forward to a variety of innovative explorations. Here is a course description: https://bendinggenres.com/product/robert-vaughan-stop-making-sense-writing-the-absurd-meaningless-whimsical-and-silly-june-19-21/

In July, Meg Tuite will be leading our BG weekend workshop with something to do with violence in writing. More to come on that, and the dates!

Jonathan Cardew, our Microviews Editor, asked Leonora Desar to choose her Fave Five pieces from May and her selections are here: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/06/15/leonora-desar-my-fave-five/

Recently, Michael Maxwell wrote a lovely and creative review of our first Bending Genres Anthology. He notes ten particular pieces, some of which have been read in Jonathan Cardew’s new series, Bending Genres Presents: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/06/17/bending-genres-anthology-review-by-michael-gillan-maxwell/

Soon, we will have our Bending Genres t-shirts available for sale on our Merch page: https://bendinggenres.com/bg-store/

And that, my friends, is a wrap. Stay safe, and love each other.

 

 

 

Bending Genres Issue 15

Hi Friends!

It’s hard to believe we launched our 15th issue of Bending Genres yesterday! With over 35 pieces, hybrid in style: poetry, flash fiction and creative non-fiction. This is a superb issue and I have to thank our excellent, devoted editors: Jonathan Cardew, Emily Bertholf, Corey Holzman, Connie Malloy, Sara Comito, Davon Loeb, Samuel Fox, Len Kuntz, David O’ Connor, and Meg Tuite. Also huge thanks to KJ for the upload, and to Adam Robinson for that and so much more. We are a fortunate team, indeed.

Also, when our Wisconsin BG Retreat location, Cedar Valley, had to close until September 4th, this left us without a location. Within ten days, we secured French Country Inn in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Same dates as originally planned: August 16- 22. A perfect time to create, to generate new work and ideas, to be with like-minded writers and artists.

Our second BG retreat at Synergia, on the high desert outside of Santa Fe, will be September 1- 7. Meg Tuite and I plan to practice all of the safety aspects: distancing, working 6 feet apart, even our meals will be practiced with safety in mind. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have these plans. Especially now. There are only a couple of spots open. Join us, and if you have any questions, just email Meg or me. Or both:

Robert- rguyvaugh5003@gmail.com

Meg- mfetuit@earthlink.net

I will be leading the June 19- 21 Bending Genres online weekend workshop, “Stop Making Sense.” More information is here: https://bendinggenres.com/product/robert-vaughan-stop-making-sense-writing-the-absurd-meaningless-whimsical-and-silly-june-19-21/

This is a great time to say thanks, to everyone who has made me a better person. To all of my friends and family. To anyone who thinks change is still possible. You are important. Your life has meaning.

 

 

Mid May Update

Hi friends!

It’s middle of May, the trees are leafing, the grass is greener than a dollar bill, the birds are nesting, and gobbling up seeds, insects, suet and whatever else moves. We had a turkey strutting through our yard yesterday, and the occasional deer saunters through the edges of our back yard. Life goes on, and on.

At Bending Genres we have our next online weekend workshop with Tyler Barton, May 22- 24. He’ll be teaching “Artifact Lit,” and the workshop is full, so it ought to be terrific.

I will return to the helm on June 19- 21, with “Stop Making Sense,” and here is the course description and registration page: https://bendinggenres.com/our-online-workshops/

On our Bending Genres blog, Haley Papa reviewed My Autobiography of Carson McCullers 

Also, Jonathan Cardew returns with his My Fave Five column for May, asking poet Alina Stefanescu for her favorite reads from April: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/05/15/my-fave-five-with-alina-stefanescu/

Meg Tuite is in charge of our Bending Genres Online Roundtable for May- August, 2020. She has nine writers signed up, and they did their first group ZOOM today: https://bendinggenres.com/bg-store/

And look at all of that new Bending Genres merchandise, mugs, journals/ notebooks, pens, bookmarks. And our first Bending Genres Anthology- Best of our first two years!

Have a terrific time today. Be safe, take care, love yourself.

National Poetry Month Recap

The end of April is always a sad occurrence for me, because National Poetry Month closes. This doesn’t mean poetry can’t be read throughout the year, of course. But the focus on poetry, and poems, especially given the current state of our world, has been such a boon. Here is how I wrapped up the last three days of my National Poetry Month readings:

On April 28th, I read Nick Flynn’s “Emptying Town” from Some Ether (Graywolf Press):

On April 29th, I read Mary Ruefle’s “Little Golf Pencil” from My Private Property (Wave Books):

On April 30th, I read Joy Harjo’s “Remember” from Academy of American Poets:

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And at Bending Genres, we wrapped up our “Found in the Forest” weekend workshop led by Wendy Oleson. So many incredible, innovative pieces were developed, and the support was off the charts. Join us on May 22- 24 when Tyler Barton will teach his “Artifact Lit” weekend workshop: https://bendinggenres.com/product/tyler-barton-artifact-lit-may-22-24/

Also, our fiction editor, Meg Tuite, kicked off a new project called Bending Genres Productions. She selected a poem by Colin Pope from his stunning book, Why I Didn’t Go To Your Funeral. Meg chose “Still Life with Casket in the Distance,” and with a cast of 15 or so writers, a videographer Brian Mihok, they captured this haunting, evocative experience: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/04/30/colin-pope-video/

Get outside. Be safe. Take care of yourself and of each other. Life is precious.

National Poetry Month Recap #3

I love April! The gentle unassuming rain, buds forming on surrounding trees, birds arriving from their Southern climes. And poetry, yes… poems! It’s National Poetry Month, so daily I have selected a new poem, and read it aloud on my YouTube channel. Here is a recap of the last few days:

On April 23rd, I read Sara Comito’s “Pristine Creatures” from Bury Me In The Sky (Nixes Mate): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubGY1db5om8

On April 24th, I read Matthew Olzmann’s “To the One at the Bottom of Loch Ness” from Mezzanines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvY48o7da28

On April 25th, I read Ellen Bass’s “The Long Recovery” from Indigo (Copper Canyon Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVy2FpsH-ww&t=4s

On April 26th, I read Mark Doty’s “Hungry Ghost” from Deep Lane (W. W. Norton): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2gVdIoPXxk&t=28s

On April 27th, I read Marie Howe’s “Low Tide, Late August” from Magdalene (W. W. Norton): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUaJvqv1YZ8&t=28s

I’ll post the links to my last three National Poetry Month selections in a day or two. Thanks everyone, who has let me know what these poems/ readings have meant to you. I hope you are all taking good care of yourselves and loved ones.

The world recently lost a remarkable man, and honorable friend, my pal Robby Browne. We met in the early 1990s and became good friends. And although I eventually left New York, any time I visited Robby eagerly invited me to social engagements. He was one of the most social and well loved friends that I was fortunate to know. R.I.P. sweet, brilliant Robby.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Robby, his friend Jeff Dupre made a monumental video dedicated to Robby’s life and legacy: https://www.robbybrowne.com.

And at Bending Genres, we have launched our “Bending Genres Presents” reading series, in which Authors read their selected pieces from our new Bending Genres Anthology,¬†and Tara Campbell reads her poem, “The Fish.”

 

 

National Poetry Month Recap

I’ve been reading a poem a day for April’s National Poetry Month! My caveat this third time around has been that I have to own the physical book so I can “show it,” and select a signature poem each morning. Here is the recap since my last blog:

April 14th, I read Justin Marks from The Comedown (Publishing Genius): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG4eBQW9HxI

April 15th, I read Kelli Agodon’s “Sketchbook with an Undercurrent of Grief” from Hourglass Museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pvLBdzTW3w&t=8s

April 16th, I read Rogan Kelly’s “Withers Street, Next to the Greif Trucking Company” from Demolition in the Tropics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DYVY-7rXJY

April 17th, I read Katherine Seluja’s “The Psychiatrist Said” from Gather the Night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JppUE3mTYu8&t=8s

April 18th, I read Philip F. Clark’s “Learning” from The Carnival of Affection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piwHuL9CPVs&t=3s

April 19th, I read Ruth Awad’s “Lessons in Grief” from Set to Music a Wildfire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EfSJ0Vu2lc

April 20th, I read Adam Clay’s “Immortality for Mary Ruefle” from To Make Room For The Sea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWyItu22nPQ&t=4s

April 21st, I read Dorianne Laux’s “The Shipfitter’s Wife” from Smoke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djj1nhLvUY0&t=28s

April 22nd, I read Kaveh Akbar’s “Fubu” from Calling A Wolf A Wolf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DrgSGWpiJM

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On the Bending Genres website, we have several new projects, including a new column curated by MicroViews editor, Jonathan Cardew called “My Fave Five.” His first contributor, Jude Higgins, adds her selections: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/04/16/my-fave-five/

Also, we will be rolling out some of our Bending Genres Anthology contributors, like Jayne Martin, who kicks off our new reading series “Bending Genres Presents”: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/04/21/bending-genres-presents-jayne-martin/

We have our next Bending Genres Weekend Workshop, Found in the Forest, with stunning writer/ teacher Wendy Oleson, April 24- 26: https://bendinggenres.com/our-online-workshops/

Thanks BG staff: Meg, Len, David, Samuel, Davon, Sara, Corey, Connie, Emily, Jonathan, Adam, and KJ. You rock my world.

And finally, please hold the ones you love even more dearly. We lost a dear college friend this week, and the world appears slightly upside down. Be bold, let those you love know how important they are to you. Stay safe, and healthy.

 

National Poetry Month Recap

One of the many reasons I adore April is because it’s National Poetry Month. And for the third time, I am reading a poem a day. This time, my caveat is I have to own the book in which the poem I choose daily is published, and also, that I have read, or re-read the poem within the past twelve months.

Here are the poems I’ve read since last Monday, April 6th:

4/6/20: I read Ocean Vuong’s “Untitled (Blue, Green and Brown): oil on canvas; Mark Rothko: 1952” from Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFkWKFz_XMk&t=4s

4/7/20: I read Jules Archer’s “How to Love a Monster with Average-Sized Hands” from Little Feasts (Thirty West): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhAzftRDM60&t=11s

4/8/20: I read Nico Amador’s “Self- Portrait with Cropped Hair (after Frida Kahlo) from Flower Wars (Newfound Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sESlflVKSs

4/9/20: I read Hala Alyan’s “Ordinary Scripture” from The Twenty- Ninth Year (Mariner Books): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md856nWuDms&t=3s

4/10/20: I read Joe Wenderoth’s “First Impression” from It Is If I Speak (Wesleyan University Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTii-0_C29k&t=7s

4/11/20: I read Kim Addonizio’s “The Work” from what is this thing called love (W.W. Norton): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3ZaenvwU80&t=2s

4/12/20: I read Patrick Johnson’s “Transubstantiation (AWOL)” from Gatekeeper (Milkweed Editions): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWCkqyJfcTA&t=11s

4/13/20: I read Mary A. Koncel’s “When the Babies Are Missing Again” from you can tell the horse anything (Tupelo Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugAL6b7wq7w&t=4s

Thanks for watching! And thanks for all of the wondrous poetry that you are all writing. Stay safe and take care of each other.

 

 

Bending Genres Issue 14

It’s such an interesting journey, living through these daunting times, and I’m buoyed by the creativity and impulses surrounding us. One friend mentioned he’s dipping back through the Twin Peaks series, another is watching the now most popular Netflix projects. I had the longest ZOOM workshop/stimulation/exchange with three of my dearest writer pals yesterday. It’s amazing what we can manifest. And this morning, I had a lovely message from a complete stranger who lives in Serbia: his mission is to send love, and eliminate fear, one person at a time.

Yesterday we reached another Bending Genres milestone: We launched our 14th issue: March/ April. We now have an incredible staff: for fiction we have Meg Tuite, David O’ Connor, and Len Kuntz. Reading poetry we have Samuel Fox, Davon Loeb and Sara Comito. We have added Corey Holzman to our CNF team. And Johnathan Cardew, recently returned from Cape Verde, will re-join Emily Bertholf on MicroViews. Also, thanks Adam Robinson for all that you do, and KJ for your behind the scenes support.

We also sold our 100th copy of the Bending Genres Anthology today, this tally is only from our website, not including the sales from our AWP20 launch in San Antonio.

Coming soon, we will have merchandise and our online store, including the Anthology, Bending Genres mugs (designed by Michael Seymour Blake), BG Journals (also MSB), pens, bookmarks and stickers (designed by MSB and Ron Kibble). Eventually we will have tee shirts (Ron Kibble Design) also.

And that, friends, is it for now. Be kind. Wave at a stranger. Be safe, keep distance. Send a loved one a kind note.

National Poetry Month 2020

Happy National Poetry Month! This year, to coincide with hunkering down at home, I decided to revamp my poem a day project on YouTube. I did this previously in 2013 and 2014. Every day, I select a poem with one self-imposed guideline… this year, I have read, or re-read each poem within the past twelve months. And so, each week, I will re-cap the poet, poem, book and link to my reading on Youtube.

On April 1st, I kicked off National Poetry Month with poet Molly Brodak, and her poem “Going Back to Sleep,” from her chapbook a little middle of the night (University of Iowa Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq2uHJRXz44.

On April 2nd, I read Charles Jensen’s “H. Himbo” from Nanopedia (Tinderbox Editions): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55lgxUqLhwg.

On April 3rd, I read Katie Schmid’s “The Boys of Midwest 5” from her Split Lip chapbook, forget me hit let me drink great quantities of clear, evil liquor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0GbGrF0gqI.

On April 4th, I read Luke Johnson’s “Liner Notes to Benjamin” from :boys (Blue Horse Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYNNiB0KVjw.

On April 5th, I read Alina Stefanescu’s “But How Did He Look When You Told Him?” from stories to read aloud to your fetus (Finishing Line Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouMY5hhjGbE

Join me tomorrow when I will be kicking off an entirely new week with all new outstanding poets, poems of intrigue, hue and glow, and the alluring sounds, smells and tastes of a new dawn.

 

Bending Genres update

We recently launched our July/ August issue of Bending Genres Journal: issue 10! It is our most full issue since we began publishing BG in January, 2018. We have 18 flash pieces, 10 poets (some with more than one poem included) and 6 CNF pieces. A total of 36 all together. And we also reached another high: we had 1,788 hits (reads) on Tuesday, the day we published, and another 1,100 hits yesterday. This is incredible, and I’m so grateful to every person who read, shared, or posted about our new issue. Also, so happy to have the best editorial and IT team assembled: Meg Tuite, David O’ Connor, Jonathan Cardew, Jessica Mehta, Samuel Fox, Davon Loeb, Corey Holzman, Adam Robinson, and KJ. To read our latest issue: https://www.bendinggenres.com.

Our next Bending Genres weekend workshop is August 23-25 with Nancy Stohlman. She is leading a workshop in Absurdity, and says “let’s get weird!” Only five more spots left, don’t wait to register for this stimulating and terrific course! https://bendinggenres.com/monthly-workshops/.

Also, Meg Tuite and I have scored a new location for our very first MIDWEST RETREAT in 2020! This is very exciting! So, in addition to returning to Synergia Ranch on May 10-16, we’ll also be at Cedar Valley in West Bend, Wisconsin on August 16- 22. We will have the Wisconsin webpage up and working very soon! http://retreat.bendinggenres.com. Also, will share some photos from Synergia and Cedar Valley in my next post.

A dear friend of mine is finally free today. Congratulations! It’s been quite a year. Janis Joplin said, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Are you free? Truly? Do we ever really know?