Writing News

New Micros: Exceptionally Short Fiction, was published by W.W. Norton. This was expertly edited by Robert Scotellaro and James Thomas, and I was fortunate to have two of my pieces included, both formerly published in RIFT, my co-authored collection with Kathy Fish. Writer and Editor Tommy Dean is now conducting interviews about the craft, the construction, and ideas behind the pieces chosen for New Micros. I was so happy when he asked me to participate in his project, and our exchange was published at New Flash Fiction Review. Thanks, to everyone, for believing in my writing, both in the publishing realm, and in these kind editors like Tommy, who endlessly support writers and writing. Also, thanks to NFFR, who have a terrific team and publish innovative writing. Check out their journal and submit your best! In three short days, I head to Portland and AWP commences. I hope to see so many of you, my writing tribe. I’m both excited and terrified. And I have new Bending Genres postcards, thanks to Adam Robinson and his talents, so be forewarned. And last, here is a goofy office photo of me in rad shades. Future’s so bright?!! Happy Spring:  ]]>

New Online workshops

  • Published ten solid issues of fiction, poetry, CNF, art, and VOICES
  • Our first Flash Fiction Contest with guest judge Kathy Fish; vetters Len Kuntz, Dianca Potts, and Nicholas Cook (winner was Quinn Madison)
  • Held three other postcard contests, (winners were Kara Vernor, Meghan Phillips, and Becky Robison)
  • Three readings at different venues in Milwaukee (with hosts Dora Diamond, Jonathan Cardew). Many of our magazine contributors read at these events.
  • Opened our new offices in Walkers Point, added our exceptional intern, Corey Holzman. Thanks, Ricco!
  • And to our amazing staff, some who remain, some who’ve moved on, I am eternally grateful: Meg Tuite, Chelsea Laine Wells, Jamal Parker, Caitlin Scarano, Samuel Fox, David O’Connor, Jessica Mehta, and Corey Holzman. Your hard work and editorial skills have made it the magazine for so many writers and diverse voices: over 30 different countries, a multitude of cultures represented, outstanding risk-taking writers.
  • In 2018, we will be launching our all new Bending Genres ONLINE WORKSHOPS!!! Beginning January 19-21, with Meg Tuite teaching Fast Flash Fiction: Close to the Edge. More information is here: http://boinkzine.com/january-fast-flash-fiction/. You can take this workshop from anyplace in the entire world! Don’t wait too long to nab your post, we are already filling up! Also we are adding to our current magazine staff: Fiction Editors Meg Tuite and David O’Connor; Poetry Editor Samuel Fox and our new Poetry editor Jessica Mehta; all new column curated by Jonathan Cardew called Microviews (might include reviews, interviews and more), and our inimitable intern, who does so much more than any intern, Corey Holzman. All this, and these are just a tip of the entire journey. I’m indebted, and so grateful to you all. Thanks for the amazing year. Sincerely, Robert Vaughan, Editor-in-Chief, Bending Genres]]>

    Omega Institute: Nick Flynn

    You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, his new memoir about his mother. Plenty of bewilderment! The workshop was held in the Creekside cottage, which was a tight space for 25 writers! After selecting a word from the white board (I chose “to Lose”) we were given a postcard image. We meditated for seven minutes (a welcome recurring theme before our writing prompts) and then wrote “descriptive writing”- trying to stick with details. We repeated this exercise with slight suggested revisions, so that eventually we had written four or five different prompts. We also read Larry Levis’s lyric poem, “Sensationalism.” My small group was Laura, Kathryn and Carrie. I also partnered with Sean on a couple of exercises. Teacher Nick Flynn, author of several books, including his memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which I read during our Omega workshop. (http://www.nickflynn.org) One evening, we saw Aja Monet read from her stellar poetry collection, My Mother Was A Freedom Fighter at the Omega Library. She was amazing. In class we also drew maps of a specific location, and a map of our body (placing both trauma and joys on the body). These were used for prompts. We did a movement exercise with Omega staff and writer JoJo that helped us to identify a place in which we might go deeper into a writing piece. Then we wrote a piece toward a direction on our maps. We also visualized our ‘home direction,’ and figured out a gift to give to our “person,” (used from our original postcards) and wrote a fairy tale prompted piece to a younger self in a deep woods. Stanley Kunitz, a mentor of Nick’s said: “You have to become the person that can write the poem.” (of compassion, of anger, of solace, etc.) On Wednesday, Nick’s friend and music collaborator, Guy Barash visited the Omega campus. We did an afternoon workshop with Guy, directing us with non-musical instruments, graphed and designed on paper. We did a silent meditation just listening to local ambient sounds (heater, planes, crickets, etc.) and “recorded” them, then attempted to translate them to the class (from our papers). Then, in groups, we performed our pieces. Then Guy directed the entire class as an aural orchestra. We dubbed ourselves the Unstable Atomic Pigs! Nick was so kind, he invited us to open for Nick and Guy’s performance in the Lake Theater that evening. Also Jared Handelsman, another collaborator, provided video footage. Their show was beyond inspiring! On Thursday our class occupied the Lake Theater at Omega. This was an entire day devoted to our “working project.” We went through our various collected pages, new writing and brought pieces, and various favorites from the group. We marked the “resonant parts,” and Nick coached us to be generous- not one or two words, mark “whole passages.” From there, we literally cut out those parts, and placed them onto 30 blank sheets of white paper. I sort of figured out that I had three or four threads for my project. And I had organized them all in these groupings. Then Nick came over, listened as I described my chaos, and said, “okay, now you can switch them all up- move them around, etc.” I literally felt nauseous! But so did everyone else. Chaos… opposite of organized. The last morning, Nick fielded a quick question and answer. Because I had to leave early on Friday, I was the first in order for the final reading. I read “Tributaries,” and “When He Left it all to Me.” I was only able to stay for the first four or five other readers. I felt so badly when I slipped out, but I had to catch the train, to the cab, to the plane, to the car ride home. My dear friend David Carter (who incidentally was the first friend I workshopped with at Omega in 1994), came and spent an overnight on Thursday, and transported me to the Rhinecliff train station. Bless his heart. What a week. So grateful to Nick Flynn, teacher extra-ordinaire, my co-writers and creators, to Omega for hosting this amazing workshop. To friends, new and old. And always to my honey, who makes life seem more technicolor than ever.]]>

    The Hardest Thing to Express

    When I first began to publish more actively in online and print journals, around 2009 and 2010, there was a community called 52/250. I just ran into one of the three editors of 52/250 in D.C. at the AWP conference, John Wentworth Chapin! It brought back so many memories of that entire year, workshopping and showcasing our work as a supportive online community, and even more, using the venue as a vehicle for experimentation, pushing writing conventions, or “rules,” or boundaries. Being willing to fail on the page (as Beckett made famous- ‘fail better!’) Simultaneously, I was taking notice of the online journals that seemed to have pizazz, and moxie, the journals that published more edgy, experimental, or a range of writing that interested me. Among many was a site called The Nervous Breakdown, started by Brad Listi in the mid- 2000s. On a whim, after seeing the Joan Rivers documentary movie, I wrote a whimsical “review,” but not really a review, more a commentary piece about Joan. I decided to send it to The Nervous Breakdown, and although Brad was confused about what category of writing it was, he sent it to Cynthia (pictured above). She was the Arts & Entertainment Editor. She loved it, and published the piece: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/rvaughan/2010/07/a-piece-of-work-joan-rivers/ Then, a few months later after I’d seen a rather bizarre movie called “Inception,” directed by Christopher Nolan, I wrote another strange piece called “I Had a Dream” (Thanks Mr. King), and Cynthia again loved it, despite it being a sort-of fiction/ prose poemy/ creative non-fiction piece. She published it at Nervous Breakdown: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/rvaughan/2010/07/i-had-a-dream/ Years later, when RIFT (my last book, co-written with Kathy Fish) was selected as the Nervous Breakdown‘s Book of the Month Club (December, 2015), Cynthia sent me the most flattering congratulations “fan letter.” I was buoyed by her sweet, wonderful words and enthusiasm, and her referencing those earlier pieces she’d published in the journal. Her work, and her words are still online here: http://cynthiahawkins.net/blog1/ Dearest Cynthia, we miss you. I MISS YOU. The world seems slightly less lovely without you here.  I will miss discussing all things cultural: movies, actors, plays, etc. If you knew Cynthia, or are reading this and feel moved to help her family (husband, and two girls), you can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/CynthiaHawkins In short, I’m so grateful for everything you ever gave to me, and my writing, Cynthia. I hope that in our support of one another, I gave you as much encouragement and gratitude as you have towards me. Thanks for your bright light, your laugh, and your writing and wit.]]>

    Last Tuesday

    JOURNEY TO PLANET WRITE. And it’s the type of writing that lends itself to vomit. But this time, and in terms of what is going on in our American climate backdrop, I only hid in the hamper for an day or two. It’s called “The Sound of Rushing Waters”: http://wordsinplace.blogspot.com/2017/01/journey-to-planet-write-sound-of.html#.WI-h1LGZNBx And on the same day, my poem called “On the Wings of a Dove” which originally appears in my third book, Addicts & Basements, was published at Voicemail Poems. Thanks, editors!!!: http://voicemailpoems.org/post/156359866536/on-the-wings-of-a-dove-by-robert-vaughan-when I wrote this poem to honor the life of Matthew Shepard. R.I.P. Enjoy the snow!!!  ]]>

    Readings Etc.

    Microtones This was a reading for Red Oak Writers, hosted by our fearless director, Kim Suhr, soon after Microtones was published by Cervena Barva Press in 2012. Diptychs This was a reading in Chicago in early 2014 with Meg Tuite and David Tomaloff, hosted by Bill Yarrow. I’m reading from the newly published Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps). My pal Meg’s entire family came (or nearly). It was a blast! A & B I think this was shot at the Seattle AWP#14. Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) had just been released. Jane Carmen’s “Festival of Language” typically kicks off the AWP Conference with an ambitious line-up on Wednesday (opening day), 5-10 p.m. RIFT And last, but certainly not least, a RIFT (Unknown Press) photo! This was taken by uber-talented Nancy Stohlman at her F-BOMB Flash Fiction Showcase last July in Denver. I was able to read with Kathy Fish, co-author and celebrated writer. I recently returned from this year’s AWP Conference in Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to read in two different readings. The first, States of Terror’s “Creature Features” included many writers whose work I admire. One of them, Gabino Iglesias, wrote a stunning review of RIFT, and upon his return, published this great article about readings at Dead End Follies: http://www.deadendfollies.com/2016/04/essay-why-most-readings-suck-and-how-to.html I sure hope that Gabino was not referring to me! In any case, I took note, Gabino, and thanks for the succinct list. We have a few spots left for our August fiction workshop in Taos at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, August 20-26. Please contact Kathy Fish or me. More info at www.kathy-fish.com. Also, please join us at the Marion Center tomorrow (Thursday, April 14th) night for our Red Oak reading, a mix of writers from several of our roundtables, to honor our years spent at this venerable institution. I will be reading, too! Pot luck starts at 5:30- 5:45 and reading begins at 6:30 p.m.]]>

    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.      ]]>