For National Poetry Month, today I read Sean Shearer’s “Conor Oberst” from Red Lemons (University of Akron Press):
Category: Bending Genres Store
Workshops & Retreats
Hi friends! We wrapped our third 2021 Bending Genres weekend workshop with Freesia McKee on March 19- 21. Her course, “Crustacean Adaptation: Writing Hermit Crab Forms” was so much fun! Many of the writers wrote abstract and unusual pieces. What I love so much about these weekends is the freedom to take off, try new ideas and forms, and this weekend did not disappoint. Thanks, Freesia and participants. Also Meg for producing, and Corey for the IT support. Next, in April, we welcome Wendy Oleson back. She will be teaching “Big Characters.” More information here:
Meg Tuite and I have made our deposits for our two week long Bending Genres 2021 Retreats. Our dates are August 24- 30 at Synergia Ranch, in Santa Fe: and September 11- 17 at Cedar Valley in Wisconsin. We have already approached the writers who were all set for our 2020 retreats before the pandemic hit. We had to cancel both last year. Our hopes are that with vaccinations picking up speed, and Meg already received hers; I have my first shot on Monday, March 29. These spots are going to go quickly. There is more information on our website:
Our next issue of Bending Genres Journal, March/ April will be forthcoming on April 6. It’s going to be fantastic!
Been reading a lot of good books lately: David Tromblay’s As You Were; Nicholas Jennings Lightfoot; Jess Bruder’s Nomadland, and William Walsh’s forty-five american boys. What are you reading? Would you recommend it?
A Couple of Busy Weeks
Two weeks ago, from Wednesday, March 3 through Sunday, March 7, my company, Bending Genres was a sponsor of an event called @SMOLfair. It was complete great fortune that I came across this event online, in lieu of not attending my first AWP in ten years. Six writers got together (I knew 1/2 of them) and decided to host an alternative to AWP, even though both were to be held virtually. I reached out to Jason Teal, EIC of Heavy Feather Review on TW: “Is there still time to get Bending Genres involved?” Jason said, “SURE! Here is what you need to do,” and he put me in contact with Jesi Bender, EIC of whiskeytitbooks. She got immediately back to me, and Bending Genres was added to the virtual BookFair! Then, through several conversations with Meg, and Adam and many others on our team, we created a flyer:
And decided to host our very first Bending Genres reading, Friday, March 5 at 9:00 pm EST.
Dominique Christina was our featured reader. She transformed the entire zoom room of all 60 of us!!! DC read three fearless, gut-wrenching poems.
And Sara Lippmann pinch-hit well beyond the park, reading “Neighbors,” from her upcoming collection, JERKS.
Three fantastic bending poems were shared by Despy Boutris.
We also had four OPEN MIKE readers and all were exceptional: Kona Morris, Ben Woodard, David Byron Queen, and Rogan Kelly. OH WHAT A NIGHT!!!
In addition, we gave away Bending Genres merch: John Steines won a BG mug! Victoria Buitron won our BG journal, pen and bookmark! Yunya Yang won our BG Anthology! Brittany Terwilliger won our Ron Kibble tee! Jason Teal won our BG Logo tee! And our GRAND PRIZE was the winner gets to select his/her free Bending Genres weekend workshop. Amy Q. Scott took that prize.
I want to thank Meg Tuite for co-hosting, and helping to envision and make this event happen. Also, to the readers and guests who made that Friday reading so spectacular! And to SMOLfair for providing the backdrop and support.
Two more things: Bending Genres found out recently that Leah Christianson has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her “Strawberry Jackknife” which we published in Nov/Dec 2020, Issue 18: https://bendinggenres.com/strawberry-jackknife/ Huge Congratulations, Leah! We are rooting for you.
And on a personal note, on March 1, I sent my latest manuscript to a publisher. Fingers and toes crossed. It’s a good month. Hope yours has been the same.
It’s a Wrap
Hi friends! We held our February Bending Genres weekend workshop over last weekend. Sara Lippmann returned for her second time, and taught “Rattling the Bars: limits, pushback, and possibilities of language.” Her course was superb, with multiple teaching examples from diverse, complex writers. And her prompts were magnificent! Here is a cross-section of what some of our feedback was:
“I was dazzled all weekend by the writing produced in this workshop.”
“I love the freedom of language and the possibilities it opens in me.”
“This workshop has been nothing less than stellar, what a transformative experience.”
As merely an observer, I have to agree. Watching the course manifest into so many deep, resourceful, risky materials. Then the soft touch of tremendously helpful feedback, not only from Sara, but from all 22 writers who showed up. In a time of much doubt, and dubious realities, to have a weekend like this feels like such hope, and such tenderness.
In March (19-21) we are excited to host Freesia McKee. Her course is Crustacean Adaptation: Writing Hermit Crab Forms. (A more in-depth description is on our BG website): https://bendinggenres.com/writing-groups/
Also, on a personal note, I had a rather bizarro piece published at Daily Drunk Mag on Valentine’s Day. It’s “This Long Day” and you can find it here: https://dailydrunkmag.com/2021/02/13/this-long-day/
I’ve been writing and submitting again, and it feels so, so good! I have two other pieces coming soon from Unpublishable Zine, and more out on the horizon. It’s been a few years since I have felt like I am back “at it,” and for whatever reason(s), I am so grateful that the floodgates are open!
We are also currently open for poetry, fiction and CNF submissions at Bending Genres. Information about our Submittable page is on our website: www.bendinggenres.com. Click on the About tab.
I’m reading As You Were by David Tromblay (Dzanc Books) and So Fast, So Close by William R. Soldan. They are both fantastic! More to come on these. What are you reading lately?
See you on the WWW!!!
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
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:
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
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 #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
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.
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.