Ten Reasons to Retreat

This morning, I was thinking about the list concept and the Ian & the Blockheads song, “Reasons to be Cheerful, part 3” came to my mind. I loved Punk and New Wave in the late 70s, and so this song was frequently played in alternative clubs, as well as their other massive hit, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.” Anyway, I digress.

Here is a Top Ten Reasons to Attend a 2021 Bending Genres Retreat:

  1. You have never been to the Southwest, or if you have, never been to the high desert.
  2. You’d like a break from emails, cell phones, business memos, ZOOM readings or conferences, monotony.
  3. It’s been tough to write lately. Nothing like actual 2020, but still.
  4. You miss your tribe. Or you want a new one. And gourmet food prepared by a highly skilled chef.
  5. The last trip you took, you had to bump elbows “hello.”
  6. You’ve never seen a roadrunner, or stayed in a room of same name.
  7. You like to bend genres, but you’re not quite sure how.
  8. The only retreat you ever took, there were a bunch of people in yoga pants who shouldn’t have been wearing them.
  9. You consider yourself the sort of person who is an outsider.
  10. You want exposure to writers you don’t even know exist.

If you have ticked off any of these boxes, then visit our website, and look over the information. We’re roughly 1/2 full at both locations. Don’t wait! Every day another person contacts us asking questions and considering the possibilities.

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:

https://bendinggenres.com/writing-groups/

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:

https://bendinggenres.com/retreats/

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?

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!!!

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

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.

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?

I'm Back!

We have some more exciting workshops to check out in our Bending Genres monthly weekend workshops, including Nancy Stohlman on August 23- 25; Robert Russell on September 20-22, and Steven Dunn on October 18-20. More information is available here:

https://bendinggenres.com/monthly-workshops/.

And on July 21-27, we will be back at Mabel Dodge Luhan House for our second Bending Genres retreat. There is more information about that here: http://retreat.bendinggenres.com. We’ve added our very first MIDWEST RETREAT for August 16- 22, 2020. More details are forthcoming! Needless to say, we are so excited.

And we will have our July/ August issue of Bending Genres available at the beginning of August. Some terrific writers are submitting, and we are still taking more fiction, poetry and CNF. Send us your best! www.bendinggenres.com

I hope your summer is rocking your world. Wasn’t it so great to see our Women’s Soccer USA team win the World Cup? Terrific for young girls and boys everywhere. For everyone, really. ¬†]]>