Back to Life, Back to Reality

The Secret Games of Words. (middle photo) And, Meg Tuite read her astonishing work, introduced the moment she walked into Brit’s Pub from her flight! FOL meKaren with bookMeg at FOL That evening, we ate at The Hyatt, in the Washburn room. A lovely game ensued in which we all chose one short story from another writer, and read them aloud. Here is Bill Yarrow taping Len Kuntz reading a Meg Tuite story: Bill Y and Len Thursday morning we had a meeting with the Literary Orphans staff at Muffin Top Cafe. Mike Joyce and Scott Waldyn, the current editors were on task and organized. There were twelve of us present. I currently serve as member of the Advisory Board. After lunch at Pinq’s, Len and I took in about half of the Book Fair. It’s vast, overwhelming and can make one wonder what am I doing in this sea of talented writers! And I met/saw these illuminati:  Jim Ruland (Forest of Fortune), Wendy Ortiz (Excavation), Sean H. Doyle (This Must Be the Place), Antonia Crane (Spent), Brandi Wells (This Boring Apocalypse), Marie Howe (What The Living Do) and so on, and so on… Friday was the HEAT reading, proceeds donated to VIDA: Women In Literary Arts. Championed by Anna March and Anna Short, and emceed by Antonia Crane. The room was lowly lit, jazz music played between sets of readers, a full bar in the corner. Was quite the speakeasy ambiance! In the first set, Extie Ecks,  and Wendy Ortiz slayed it; and in our set, Richard Peabody, Matt Bell, Meg Tuite, Len Kuntz and Bill Yarrow all dazzled. I read two short pieces: “No Face World Champ” and “Keep it Curt.” heat2 That evening, we took in the stellar Sara Lippmann, reading from her amazing short story collection, Doll Palace, with other Dock Street Press readers, including host Dane Bahr who is editor-in-chief (right), and Robert James Russell (bottom): Sara DSPDaneRobert Saturday I was on my first AWP panel: Literary Orphans Presents: Desire, Grief, Joy, Shame, and Fear. An Intimate Exploration of Identity. I was graciously asked to replace another writer who had taken ill, and was unable to make it to AWP. Our host, Mike Joyce, introduced us. And moderator, Anna March was superb. The other panelists included Zoe Zolbrod, Antonia Crane, Marie Lee and Brian Spears- they were all terrific, insightful, brave and inspiring. We had a packed audience, and the entire experience was transformative: panel RVunnamed-2PanelLO After we wrapped up our q & a, I blasted over to hear Meg Tuite on her Flash Fiction panel (The Flash Fiction Marketplace: What Editors are Looking For) with Tom Hazuka, Kim Chinquee and Lex Williford). Meg was fantastic, had so many insightful points about craft and read a story by Sara Henning called “My Grandfather’s Photographs” which is terrific. Originally published by Connotation Press (where Meg was former Fiction editor): http://www.connotationpress.com/fiction/2423-sara-henning-fiction Meg and Sarah Overall, the entire AWP #15 was outstanding. Saturday, I finally had a chance to see my publisher, Michael Seidlinger at the Civil Coping Mechanisms booth. He told me that Addicts & Basements sold out, as well as most of the other CCM titles. Fantastic news! Can’t ask for more than that. And AWP is also about friendships, and writing community comrades: Antonia LenHomiesBill and MegSara LenRobert and LenKS me Unforgettable memories, great moments. Thanks everyone for another truly remarkable experience. Los Angeles- here we come!!!        ]]>

Readings, Raffles and more

10426125_10205375485565130_1045649562077628047_nLen Kuntz Sa Fe 2015 We went to Santa Fe for the TWISTED Reading Series, hosted by our pal, Meg Tuite: El Flacco and Meg Santa Fe Our featured reader was the exceptional Kate Braverman, and once Karen Stefano and James Claffey arrived, everything was A-OK! Meg’s Santa Fe reading circle rounded out the twelve readers. Also the Denver writers, with Sally Reno, Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlman (at a Karaoke Lounge after the reading) : Kate Braverman and meReading in Santa FeThe gang Santa Fe 2015Len and me Santa Fe Last photo of me actually reading a new piece, “Keep it, Curt”: 10945029_1029094903774721_5854911798826018526_n Overall, it  was a festive event and a great extended weekend! RAFFLES: The winner of the January Raffle is…Julia Fiero!!! There were seventy-four entries and I asked a non-writer to select a name out of a hat (blind). Congratulations, Julia- I hope you enjoy Luke Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours as much as I did! February Raffle is Together We Can Bury It by Kathy Fish! To enter, simply comment here or on my Facebook Post, Twitter or Tumblr. This is another book you simply must have! And, my piece called The Fallow Heart, which is in my Addicts & Basements book, you can read at Fictionaut: “The Fallow Heart” by Robert Vaughan — Fictionaut And that, sugar plums, is a wrap…stay warm and informed.  ]]>

2014 Reading list (and more)

Addicts & Basements, my first full length collection, and my third book. * I received my first Kirkus Review, among many fine, insightful, and supportive reviews. * I’m a Gertrude Stein Award finalist (second year in a row!!!) * There were over 20 different events in which I read, cities like Seattle, New York (twice), Madison, and Milwaukee. (The list continues with bookings in Santa Fe, Denver, and New York for 2015!) * I attended a weekend poetry workshop at Omega Institute with Richard Blanco (and my good friends Michael Gillan Maxwell and David Carter!) * I edited Bud Smith’s Everything Neon, his first stellar full-length poetry collection, from Marginalia Press. * Grateful for several journals, new to me, that published my work: Everyday Genius, theNewer York, and The Miscreant, among others. * Two nominations for the Pushcart Prize (added to two former): “Ten Notes to the Guy Studying Jujitsu” (Deadly Press): and “What He Left to Me” (The Miscreant). Thanks editors, Joseph Quintela, and Amanda Harris. * I’ve started new columns on my writer’s blog to add to HUMP DAY: “Two for Tuesday” and the new monthly book give-away! Both will continue in 2015. * Recently it was announced that I am one of four new deputy editors for Civil Coping Mechanisms: About CCM-Entropy | ENTROPY. I am truly excited about this opportunity, and look forward to working with new authors. Thanks, CCM Editor-in-chief, Michael Seidlinger. My Reading List from 2014– (starred books I recommend (*) You Sang it Back to Me– Amanda Deo (poetry) Calendar of Regrets– Lance Olsen * My Ghost in the Bush of Lies- Paul Wessels Frantic Transmissions to and from Los Angeles– Kate Braverman (memoir) * White Girls– Hilton Als * Cunt Norton– Dodie Bellamy Dreaming My Animal Selves– Helene Cardona (poetry) The Physics of Imaginary Objects– Tina May Hall (flash fiction) Watering Heaven by Peter Tieryas- Liu (short stories) Beautiful Ruins– Jess Walter Murmuration– Ryan Warner (chapbook) I Am Not a Pioneer– Adam Fell (poetry) Call Me Burroughs, A Life– Barry Miles (biography) Antidotes for an Alibi– Amy King (poetry) A Life in Men– Gina Frangello Vow– Kristina Marie Darling (kindle- poetry) Masters of Sex– Thomas Maier (biography) Twilight of the Superheroes– Deborah Eisenberg (kindle- poetry) Zoom- Zoom Room– Penny Goring (poetry) The Isle of Youth– Laura Vandenberg (stories) * The Dark Sunshine– Len Kuntz (stories) * Tollbooth– Bud Smith * The Motion of Light in Water– Samuel R. Delany (memoir) * Girls Standing on Lawns– Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman Misadventure– Nicholas Grider (short stories) Family Trouble– Joy Castro (memoir anthology) * Everything Neon– Bud Smith (poetry) * I Want to Make You Safe– Amy King (poetry) Kill Marguerite.- Megan Milks (short stories) * Stories I Only Tell My Friends– Rob Lowe (auto-biography) Holding on Upside Down: Marianne Moore– Linda Leavell (biography) Shotgun Lovesongs– Nicholas Butler (fiction) e.e.cummings: a life– Susan Cheever (biography) Stone Bride Madrigals– Nicolette Wong (poetry chap) Hello, The Roses– Mei- mei Berssenbruegger (poetry) The Poetics of Space– Gaston Bachelard * The Mourning Diary– Roland Barthes Blood a Cold Blue– James Claffey (short stories) * Balefire– Shann Ray (poetry) Black Cloud– Juliet Escoria * Steal Me For Your Stories– Robb Todd (flash/ short stories) * I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying– Matthew Salesses (flash novel) * The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld– Justin Hocking (memoir) * The Mere Weight of Words– Carissa Halston (novella) flatscreen– Adam Wilson Tap- Root– Indigo Moor (poetry) Babel– Patti Smith (poetry) * Looking For the Gulf Motel– Richard Blanco (poetry) Deep Ellum- Brandon Hobson * Spent– Antonia Crane (memoir) Let Me See It– James Magruder Burnings– Ocean Vuong (poetry) * Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (re-read) Letters To A Young Poet– Rainer Maria Rilke (re-read) A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat– Arthur Rimaud (poetry) An Untamed State- Roxane Gay flatscreen– Adam Wilson F- 250– Bud Smith David and Goliath– Malcolm Gladwell (essays) The Sky Conducting– Michael Seidlinger (kindle) * ghostbread– Sonja Livingston (memoir) * The Mustache He’s Always Wanted But Could Never Grow– Brian Alan Ellis (stories) * Bad Feminist– Roxane Gay (essays) * Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (essay/ poetry) Ariel: The Restored Edition- Sylvia Plath (poetry) * Excavation– Wendy C. Ortiz (memoir) * The Fun We’ve Had– Michael Seidlinger * Lost in Space– Ben Tanzer (essay) * Forest of Fortune– Jim Ruland * What the Light Reveals– Rachel Heimowitz (poetry) * You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know– John Bradley (poetry) American Prometheus– Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin (biography) Sentence #10– ed. by Brian Clements (prose poetry anthology) Like a Beggar– Ellen Bass (poetry) * Tender Buttons– Gertrude Stein Preparation for the Next Life– Atticus Lish * The Doll Palace– Sara Lippmann (stories) * BOMB: The Interviews– ed. Betsy Sussler * nagging wives, foolish husbands– Nate Tower (short stories) * Calenday– Lauren Haldeman (poetry) * Our Secret Life in the Movies– Michael McGriff and J.M. Tyree Clotheslines– Mathieu Cailler (poetry chapbook) * The Inevitable June– Bob Schofield * Paul Chan Selected Writings 2000- 2014, ed. by George Baker and Eric Banks UnAmerica- Momus (a/k/a Nick Currie) Fourteen Stories: None of Them Are Yours by Luke Goebel * As you can see, indicated by how many stars, this was an incredible year for books. Here are my favorites by category: Fiction: three way tie- Forest of Fortune– Jim Ruland; Preparation for the Next Life– Attticus Lish; Fourteen Stories, None of Them are Yours– Luke B. Goebel Short Story: two way tie- Doll Palace Stories– Sara Lippmann; Dark Sunshine– Len Kuntz Poetry: Like a Beggar– Ellen Bass Memoir: two-way tie- ghostbread– Sonja Livingston; Excavation– Wendy C. Ortiz Essay: Bad Feminist– Roxane Gay Hybrid: two way tie- I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying– Matthew Salesses; Black Cloud– Juliet Escoria And that’s it! Not sure I can choose a best book, but so many great reads. How about you? Did you read any amazing books this year? Please do share them in comments! I’m always looking to buy. Thanks for another amazing year.      ]]>

Reviews and Year End List Mentions

Oh Omega, What a Week.) Many events transpired that week, among them, as Michael recently reminded me, my apparent declaration in the Omega cafe during a rare moment of self- assuredness, that I was on the verge of publishing a first collection, with many more to follow. In retrospect, Michael called those observations “prescient” (believe me, they weren’t!) Still, in the years since, I’ve had three books published, all by different independent publishers. And my very kind, astute, multi-talented and dear associate, Michael, wrote a wonderful review, which published here: MadHat Drive-By Book Reviews | Three Works by Robert Vaughan. Also, thanks for friends like Meg Tuite, Bill Yarrow, Joani Reese, and Bud Smith for helping spread the word about MGM’s review. Then, today, the uber-talented Kathy Fish (read her!) published her “My Favorite Reads of 2014” and both Diptychs + Triptychs (which Kathy blurbed) and Addicts & Basements are mentioned: My Favorite Reads of 2014 | Kathy Fish. Thanks, Kathy! I am thrilled to read with you in the Santa Fe TWISTED READING on January 24th. More information forthcoming on that! I’m finally reading Luke B. Goebel’s Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours. LOVE THIS! What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man! Tomorrow, the last day of 2014, I’ll publish my entire 2014 reading list. It’s staggering how many great books I read this year. Very few snoozers! What are your favorite reads? Least favorite reads?  ]]>

HUMP Day Hues

http://entropymag.org/best-of-2014-non-fiction-books/. And while at Entropy, check out the list of our 2014 Literary Advocates: http://entropymag.org/2014-entropy-thanks-the-literary-advocates/ Literary Orphans issue 16: Houdini has arrived: http://www.literaryorphans.org/playdb/issue16-houdini-2/ Sam Snoek-Brown has selected his 2014 book shopping list! Thanks for including Addicts & Basements, buddy: http://snoekbrown.com/2014/12/02/book-shopping-for-the-holidays-the-2014-edition/ Len Kuntz has three new poems at HOUSEFIRE: http://housefirebooks.com/three-poems-by-len-kuntz/ At Book Riot, Margaret Aldrich also compiles a Best Books List: http://bookriot.com/2014/12/02/riot-round-best-books-2014/ Melissa Broder’s “Salt” at Poetry Magazine podcast: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/249126 Janice Lee at The Volta’s “In Review”: http://www.thevolta.org/inreview-bestbooks2014-jlee.html Amber Sparks slays it with her essay, “Melville Never Wrote Me a Choose Your Own Adventure Book” at Electric Literature: http://electricliterature.com/melville-never-wrote-me-a-choose-your-own-adventure-book-writers-on-their-lowbrow-influences2/ At Camroc Press Review, Jim Breslin’s flash fiction, “The Graduate”: http://www.camrocpressreview.com/2014/12/jim-breslin.html Bree Barton at PANK with “&%@# Me” (warning: graphic content!): http://pankmagazine.com/piece/ And that, my friends, is a HUMP Day wrap. Choose a book (or two) as a great holiday gift.    ]]>

Recap: My Week in New York City

Saturn Series Poetry Reading Every Monday Nite. There was an open mike at the beginning, then three featured poets: Adeena Karasick, Larissa Shmailo, and Jonathan Penton (all of Mad Hat). Then Bud and I both read in the latter open mike. I read “Three for Carol” (which was my poems devoted to Carol Novack, original editor of Mad Hat), and “Hummingbirds.” Bud slayed three entirely new poems from his forthcoming collection: “In Their Pool,” “point taken,” and “Cherry World.” Tuesday, writing at Cafe Pick Me Up, then lunch with Andrea at Cafe Mogodor in East Village. My New York family. LOVE HER! We’d attempted Yaffa Cafe, but it was closed, so adjacent was Mogodor, and it was fantastic. I also met Andrea’s acupuncturist, Dr. Richard Hazel. My pal, Cyrus arrived in the afternoon. We walked over to SoHo, had a quick bite on a patio at Prince and Lafayette, then I found my local watering hole: Westville! One block from the Sheraton Four Points. Dinner at Spice Market, food fantastic, company even better: spice Wednesday, October 1, we went to McNally Jackson, where poets Kevin Simmonds and Ellen Bass read. A fantastic literary event, sponsored by The Poetry Society. Then, Bud and I went to Westville for IPA’s (Meg, we toasted to you!) at the bar. I highly recommend Ellen’s new book, Like a Beggar: Ellen Bass – Like a Beggar LikeaBeggar200px Thursday, October 2, was the reading at Mellow Pages in Brooklyn! This amazing lending library hosts events regularly http://mellowpageslibrary.com/: Jacob Perkins at Mellow PagesHost Jacob Perkins (and Matt Nelson) Mellow Pages Library readingReading “Temporary” from new book 10403236_653303894766909_5535559670162446680_nStill “Temping!!!” Bud Smith really rocked this reading, too. He did this cool thing where he turned off the lights and read from his phone. Killer! Thanks to friends Rae, Valentin, Cyrus and John Madera among others who turned out in support of Bud and me. Friday night party at The Smith- Buleri household (Haven Ave…appropriate name!) Prior I met my publicist, John, at my new favorite vegetarian restaurant, Blossom on Carmine Street. We had a great time! At the party, I saw so many friends, including the hosts, also Michael Maxwell was in the house, Julie Allen, Chuck Howe, Erin McParland, Gessy Alvarez, and many more. Because it was our dear friend Meg’s birthday, we took silly photos and posted them on her Facebook page. Silly, goofy fun: 10624972_871036116247522_7792553798582006191_nGlasses courtesy of Unknown Press Saturday started with watching videos of Sylvia Plath on YouTube, recorded at the BBC in 1962, only months before her premature death. “Did I escape I wonder?” So many great lines in her Ariel poems. Dear friend David met me at Cafe Pick Me Up, and we strolled around the East Village in search of a bag for his new bear poem books, a gift from Cyrus. Andrea and Ian met us for an early bite at Caravan of Dreams on E. 6th Street. That evening, we had our group reading for Too Much: Tales of Excess Anthology, edited by Chuck Howe, published by Unknown Press: Unknown Amazon.com: Too Much: Tales of Excess (9781500216771): Chuck Howe, Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow, Michael Gillan Maxwell, Melanie Page, Puma Perl, Ron Kolm, Robert Vaughn, James H Duncan, Misti Rainwater-Lites, Gus Sanchez, Ryder Collins, Ashley Perez, Sophia Sturges, Ted Jackins, John Saunders, Irene Stone, Bekah Steimel, Dave Roskos, Tracey Lander-Garrett, Meg Tuite, Heather Dorn: Books. Such a blast, Bud was a great host, and Chuck plied us all with his banjo strumming to wrap, while host of Jimmy’s 43 supplied us with free Stillwater Existent black IPA’s. Oh what a night! Outside Jimmy's 43Arriving at Jimmy’s 43 with Bud and MGM Bud SmithBud Smith, host and vivant reader David and MGMDavid Carter and Michael Maxwell Audience at Excess ReadingA great audience at Jimmy’s 43 And that, my friends, is a New York wrap! Also, I have a new poem at Fictionaut. “Solaris,” my first piece there in months: “Solaris” by Robert Vaughan — Fictionaut. Just as I was preparing to leave NYC, I saw this image on a boarded up excavation site adjacent to my hotel, and I knew I was ready to get back home: unnamed Thanks everyone for a great New York City week, big city of dreams! I’ll be back.  ]]>

Two September Readings: Bay View and Green Bay

Studio Lounge Bay View We do have a Facebook page set up for the event here: Studio Lounge Reading: Get Your Bay View Gallery Nite in Gear. Please help us spread the word and support your local writers!   Also, on Thursday, September 25th, I will be reading in Green Bay, Wisconsin at The Reader’s Loft, 2069 Central Court, Suite 44 in Green Bay. Fellow poets Cathryn Cofell and Marilyn Windau are also reading. Event will be hosted by Tori Grant Welhouse and is 6:00- 8:00 p.m. The Reader's Loft in Green Bay, WI We do have a Facebook page for this event: Poetry Reading with Cathryn Cofell, Robert Vaughn, Marilyn Windau. Would be great to see you at either event, please help spread the word if you are not able to come. We appreciate every single person who helps out! What are you reading lately?]]>

My music playlist at LargeHearted Boy

LARGEHEARTED BOY Publishes Robert Vaughan’s “Book Notes” for ADDICTS & BASEMENTS | Rhizomatic Check out my playlist: Largehearted Boy: Book Notes – Robert Vaughan “Addicts & Basements” Also, congratulations to mentor and friend Roxane Gay, her publication day of Bad Feminist, a collection of her Essays, is out now. Get your copy, you won’t be disappointed: unnamed Enjoy the week! Happy Birthday to my room-mate Gregory from college.    ]]>

Two for Tuesday

Addicts & Basements: Many of you already know about AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs), the annual conference attended by more than 10,000 writers. In February 2014, it was held in Seattle. Mike Joyce, writer and editor-in-chief at Literary Orphans| Analog dream in a digital world, and I sat down in the Seattle Westin lobby and chatted about writing, my new book (it launched in Seattle), my publisher, Civil Coping Mechanisms, and Michael Seidlinger, the man behind the logo. You can listen here: Impromptu Interview with Robert Vaughan, at A.W.P 2014 | The Tavern LanternThe Tavern Lantern. Thanks Mike, for the great times, and also co-editor at LO, Scott Waldyn, who masterfully edited the final product. Also, Addicts & Basements is the Book Club pick at Dr. T.J. Eckleberg Review and this from the editors: Miscommunication and misunderstanding can be an addiction, an albatross dictating the invisible creeds we often cling to. Age, time, desire, lust, and a cacophony of suppressed urges are intimated at in, “The Lost and Erasable Parts of Us: “My identity tied up in a bottle. I craved my smell back, my decency, my shameless will. I grew gills, slithered up the stairs, fettered away, toward some desert city, in undulating waves.” When identity is so intertwined with a bottle, an addiction, or a basement, it’s easy to get lost. In Vaughan’s symphony, those weaknesses are a path back to self-discovery, a melody, however distorted, to guide listeners up into revelation. This isn’t a AAA meeting though as addictions lead to other addictions and there’s no permanent egress, only leaps into oblivion. I’m a Robert Vaughan junkie now. You can find me drowning in his basement. Here is the remainder of the information: The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review | DC, Baltimore, NY » ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | Addicts & Basements By Robert Vaughan And, yesterday I heard from bookstore manager at OMEGA INSTITUTE, Jean LaPlante, that Addicts & Basements is now available in the bookstore! Another dream come true! bookstore-interior Are you living your dreams? Do you know what they are?

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