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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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:
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. ]]>
“Three Tide Pools,” and is published at New Flash Fiction Review, a terrific literary zine based in England. Thanks editor, Steven John, for this opportunity! The other piece, “Sirens,” was published at Eunoia Review, and I want to thank editor Ian Chung. He runs a very tight magazine, also online, and is very supportive of writers. Also I recently attended AWP19 in Portland. It blew my mind!!! My favorite city thus far (and this was my 10th AWP), and as always, a terrific way to experience a location, while catching up with so many of my writing tribe. I also had the opportunity to meet some of my writing idols, like Alina Stefanescu, among so many others. Bending Genres is now full for our Sara Lippmann “Mine What Matters” weekend workshop. Please consider joining us for Kaj Tanaka’s “Opening Up & Shutting Down- The Art of Beginning and Ending.” And Sabrina Orah Mark’s “Writing & Failure: On Disappointments, Shame, Failure and Getting Lost.” Also this Tuesday, Our March/ April Bending Genres issue will be live! Stay tuned for some great hybrid content!!! And Meg Tuite and I have some space available for our second summer writing retreat, July 21-27, at Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico: http://retreat.bendinggenres.com. And last, but certainly not least, Milwaukee lost one of our veteran, devoted, and passionate writers, editors and citizens this week. Philip Martin was a friend, a mentor, and a sweet, kind, generous soul. He also designed this website for my last update. I will miss him very much. I’m reading T. Kira Madden‘s Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, on the heels of finishing a life-altering book, Edinburgh, by Alexander Chee. What are you reading? How was your AWP or how did you experience it online if not in-person?]]>
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?!!