HUMP day: leaves

http://www.everyday-genius.com/2014/10/tobias-carroll.html 2) Bud Smith’s “Falling Horse, Stacked Demons” at theNewerYork: http://theneweryork.com/falling-horse-stacked-demons-bud-smith/ 3) The Guardian expands its roster of US Opinion Writers: http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-us-press-office/guardian-expands-roster-us-opinion-writers 4) Amber Sparks and Mike Meginnis will be talking books live today, at 6:30 EST here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1iysoAY-uM 5) Tanya Olsen’s “Ain’t I Pretty” at PANK: http://pankmagazine.com/piece/aint-i-pretty/ 6) Will Chancellor chats with Sheldon Compton at Revolution John: http://revolutionjohnmagazine.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/lightning-steers-the-world-an-interview-with-author-will-chancellor/ 7) Sara Lippmann at David Abrams’ The Quivering Pen talks about “My First Time”: http://www.davidabramsbooks.blogspot.com/2014/10/my-first-time-sara-lippmann.html 8) Matthew Simmons and Litsa Dremousis with “The Challenge” at Hobart: http://www.hobartpulp.com/web_features/the-challenge-an-interview-with-litsa-dremousis-on-writing-about-death-grief-and-getting-better 9) Mallory Ortberg “Talks Shit About Hemingway and Thoreau” at Flavorwire: http://flavorwire.com/485203/talking-shit-about-hemingway-and-thoreau-with-the-toast-founder-and-texts-from-jane-eyre-author-mallory-ortberg 10) Wendy Ortiz’s new memoir, Excavation, in the Los Angeles Times: http://touch.latimes.com/ – section/-1/article/p2p-80884386/ Also, I want to congratulate Kim Suhr, and the Red Oak community for a fantastic, inspiring reading last night at Saz’s. What a superb turnout! Stellar words from Pam Parker, Jonnie Guernsey, Beth Huwiler, Jack Douthitt, Jessi Vertz, Jennifer Vanderheyden, Jo DeMars, Christine Baerbock, Bruce Campbell and Jennifer Rupp. More information about Red Oak Writing. Please join us this Thursday, October 30th, for our next installment, Middle Coast Poets reading at Riverwest Public House, 815 E. Locust Street, 7 p.m. Frank Berg, Marilyn Windau, Paul Scot August and Robert Vaughan (me). We hope to see you there!]]>

Two for Tuesday: Sheldon Compton and Len Kuntz

Excavation: A Memoir by Wendy C. Ortiz I’ve just been waiting for the chance to write and tell somebody about Wendy C. Ortiz’s memoir Excavation. Now’s my chance, by god. I cannot overstate the pure courage Ortiz brings to the table in this memoir, which covers her teen years while preyed upon by her middle school English teacher, Jeff Ivers. Feels good to exclaim his name here publicly. That’s the kind of impact this book can have on you. It changes you. The book, working beautifully in a broken up narrative scheme that shifts from her childhood to the present day, follows Ortiz from a thirteen-year-old girl who is amorously attracted to her teacher who then, in turn and disgustingly, returns this emotion and spends the next five years manipulating her in a pseudo-relationship. Before reading Excavation I thought I had seen bravery in action through the written word. I had seen hints of it. Ortiz not only trumps any other attempt at this, but also does so with the most beautiful and readable prose I’ve come across in possibly the last decade. And speaking of time-frames for best-of lists, I’m going to go ahead and so that, so far, this is the best book I’ve read this year. It would take a motherload of a book to unseat it at this point. http://www.futuretensebooks.com/futuret/books.html Paperback: 242 pages, Future Tense Publishing (July 18, 2014) Excavation Galaga by Michael Kimball I’m going to tell it to you straight: I had no idea when I received Michael Kimball’s Galaga for review from Small Press Book Review that it was about the game Galaga. Let’s skip how I could have been so unintelligent about the gaming world and move on from there. When I discovered I was, in fact, reading a book about the arcade game, I balked. I had made a mistake and was now committed. Oh well, at least it was Michael Kimball. I never could have imagined how well he came to bat on that expectation. Kimball’s fantastic novel currently holds the number two spot for best books I’ve read this year. The book is about so very much more than the game Galaga, yet exactly about the game. Yep, it’s a beautiful thing to see, full of heart and hurt and perseverance and so much more. I wrote my review, gushing and gushing, and was not the least bit embarrassed. I felt like I was telling the world a golden secret. To entice, here’s the first paragraph of that review from SPBR: “Galaga is Michael Kimball’s love letter to the game of the same name, his textbook, his instructor’s manual, his encyclopedia and fan fiction, and is so much more than any of these things. The book covers every nuance of the game, references in pop culture, merchandising, and just about any other thing related to Galaga.  Tattoo anyone?  He’s got those to talk about, too.  No worries.  And that’s fine and good, but there’s something Kimball displays with this book – courage and love and survival.  How’s that for a magic trick?” Yep, it rolls like that. http://bossfightbooks.com/products/galaga-by-michael-kimball Paperback: 136 pages, Boss Fight Books, (July 1, 2014) GALAGA-cover-nospine-shadow-wide_1024x1024   Sheldon’s bio: Sheldon Lee Compton lives in Eastern Kentucky. He is the author of The Same Terrible Storm (Foxhead Books). His work has appeared in numerous journals, has been nominated for several awards, and has been widely anthologized. He is the editor at REVOLUTION JOHN and blogs here: BENT COUNTRY. ******************************************************************************* Two for Tuesday: LEN KUNTZ The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter This is a wonderful stew of rich and individualized characters, all walking the tight rope of love.  Anything that begins with this opening line has to be good: The man—me, this pale being, no one else, it seems—wakes in fright, tangled up in sheets. From there our narrator leaves his bed in the middle of the night, walks to the University of Michigan football stadium, plops himself down in the stands and spots a young couple making love on the fifty yard line. Full or delightful surprises, gut-searing emotion and peppered throughout with enough humor to keep the ship righted, The Feast of Love is perhaps my favorite book ever. http://www.amazon.com/The-Feast-Love-A-Novel/dp/037570910X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1414445076&sr=8-2&keywords=The+Feast+of+Love Paperback: 308 pages, Vintage (May 1, 2001) Charles Baxter The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar HiJuelos Lush, vibrant writing infiltrates every sticky sentence of this book.  There is love, betrayal, sex (lots of it, steamy, too), music, movie stars, you name it—all set in 1949, where two young Cuban musicians make their way up from Havana to the grand stage of New York. HiJuelos has such a flare for capturing the mix of different ethnicities, and how these mingle or tug at each other.  The writing is so vivid that you’ll feel like you are there are on the street corner, or up on stage, or being thrown about on a mattress. Early in the book we get a taste of what we’re in for with this zinger: She expected to turn around and find the devil himself standing beside her, a smile on his sooty face, saying, “Welcome to America.” I’ve recommended this book to every person who’s ever asked.  Read it.  You’ll be glad. Paperback: 448 pages Hyperion (May 4, 2010) http://www.amazon.com/Mambo-Kings-Play-Songs-Love/dp/B0043RT8M2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414445192&sr=1-1&keywords=the+mambo+kings+play+songs+of+love Oscar Hiluelos   Len’s bio: Len Kuntz is the author of The Dark Sunshine (Connotation Press) and an editor at the online literary magazine Literary Orphans.  His work appears widely in print and also at lenkuntz.blogspot.com. ******************************************************************************* Thanks so much, Sheldon and Len; these are all great books. Remember to support your local bookstores, and attend readings (like tonight, a Writer’s Showcase at Saz’s in Tosa, 7- 9 p.m.) Read often, and share your passion with others! What are you reading?    ]]>

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?]]>

HOME

unnamedcropped-bud.jpgcropped-1477829_10152076445982472_727471328_n.jpgcropped-69495_10200388385650749_1199773541_n.jpg After the reading, a smaller group of about ten of us headed to a local watering hole in Brooklyn, and sat at outdoor picnic tables. I had a blast (reminiscing, mostly) with Cindy List, Valentin Ortolaza, Michael Thompson, Andrea Falkenstein, Gessy Alvarez (and her sister), Jamez Chang, Bud Smith, Rae (Spout) Buleri, Julie, Robb Todd and Emily, and Russell Dillon. What a cool mix of writers and artists: Andrea Cindy List and me, June 13, 2014   On Thursday, my pal David and I went to Jones Beach for the 1,000,000th time. It never gets old. Nor do we: cropped-tn.jpg IMG_0012 On Friday, we left for Omega Institute, where we made a detour for lunch and Bee Cake! Intoxicated by sugar: photo-15photo-16 Friday evening until Sunday I took a course called Spirit and Craft of Poetry with Richard Blanco. He is the fifth inaugural poet, Obama selected him for his 2012 inauguration where he read his poem, “For All of Us, One Today.” Richard Blancophoto-13   Richard is smart, insightful, sensitive, funny. He lead us mostly through workshop, each of the 25 poets chose one poem, and received feedback. The bulk of the weekend was taken up by this exercise. My pal, Michael Gillan Maxwell was there, and another writer Gloria who we’d both met at Omega in 2010 (another workshop, another time). We discussed some craft tools like Imagery and Figurative Language, Show Don’t Tell, Rhythm and Iambic Pentameter, and were guided to two writing exercises at night: Why I Write (prompted by Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones) and also My Obsessions. Both were very effective. And we read some excellent poems like “A Blessing,” by James Wright, “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, and “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. My favorite moments of the workshop came at the very end. We witnessed Richard reading three of his monumental pieces: “Betting on America,” “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” and “For All of Us, One Today.” The return to the city was swift and fun. I was off to LaGuardia, David off to a life-altering surgery (he’s healing magnificently!) Then, home again, home again, jiggety jig: IMG_0007our-driveway-in-summer-2003.jpg What does HOME mean to you?]]>

Addicts & Basements at 2paragraphs

Amy King, Bud Smith, and Robert Vaughan Reading at Unnameable Books I’ve been inviting everyone I know (and their illegitimate cousins and poolboys), and imagine how honored I was when one Facebook invite responded with a possibility for Addicts & Basements to gain more exposure! Joseph Mackin runs a site called 2 paragraphs, and defines it as “Short. Smart. Shareable.” Basically, articles are compressed, wetting one’s thirst for the current sound-bite of news, culture, etc. If curious, please check out my Addicts & Basements publication at the site here: Addicts & Basements — by Robert Vaughan I hope to see you in NYC! Until then go get some vitamin D!  ]]>

A Reading, a new magazine, and an acceptance or two!

exceptional job with the art, and layout, and it looks so fantastic (I’m the fiction and poetry editor so I line up writers for each issue). This issue includes work from Justin Bond, Matthew Sherling, Megan Lent, Sharon Foley, Erin Parker, Aaron Dietz, Lucas Crawford, Emily Bertholf, Karen Stefano, and Sam Rasnake: Lost in Thought | Lost in Thought: Issue 6 | MagCloud Kyle and I have decided to scale back to three annual Lost in Thought issues in 2014, so we will re-open submissions in September. Also, I had the great fortune of an “acceptance” (versus a “rejection”) for the next issue of Literary Orphans (thanks, Mike Joyce), and will have another of my stranger pieces featured in the anthology EXCESS (poems and stories about overdoing it), edited by Bud Smith. More forthcoming! See you soon!]]>

National Poetry Month: April 1-3, 2014

images   Russell’s poetry is dark, smart and infused with just the right amount of humor. Here is more about the collection: Eternal Patrol: Russell Dillon: 9780988228733: Amazon.com: Books And here is my reading of “Eternal Patrol: Robert Vaughan reads Russell Dillon’s “Eternal Patrol” – YouTube Yesterday, April 2nd, I also read the title poem from Laura Kasischke’s “Space, In Chains,” which is a phenomenal poetry collection and won the National Book Critics Circle Award: books   “Kasischke’s intelligence is most apparent in her syntactic control and pace, the way she gauges just when to make free verse speed up, or stop short, or slow down.”—The New York Times Book Review Here is my reading of “Space, in Chains:” Robert Vaughan reads “Space, In Chains,” from Laura Kasischke – YouTube What will I read today? More importantly, what will YOU read today? A subway poem? A billboard poem? Maybe it’s a conversation you have with a friend about poetry? I chatted on Facebook with Brian Alan Ellis the other day about Kenneth Patchen (among many other poets). Imagine how different our world would be if we spoke more about poetry than guns? If we read infinitely more poems than listen to stories that contain violence?

 
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A reading, An Indie Press Preview, and An AWP Conference

Addicts & Basements, my new full length collection from Civil Coping Mechanisms. I’ll be opening for Gina Frangello who is touring with her new novel, A Life in Men. We’ll be at Boswell Books at 7 p.m., Monday, February 24th! Here is a link for more information: Upcoming Events | Boswell Book Company My latest publisher, Michael Seidlinger,  worked endless hours on this massive and incredible Indie Press Preview for 2014: The Great 2014 Indie Press Preview | The Outlet: the Blog of Electric Literature. Published at Electric Literature, it has many wonderful choices from leading writers in the indie community. Thanks to Brian Allen Ellis for mentioning Addicts & Basements. And so, AWP, the largest annual writer’s conference descends: February 26- March 2. I will be available at the Civil Coping Mechanisms booth, L15 most mornings. Please come by, chat and shop: 1380068_10202515717927235_1540051373_n “Well I don’t know why I came here tonight, I got the feeling that something ain’t right, I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair, And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs, Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, here I am, Stuck in the middle with you.”   Stealers Wheel from “Reservoir Dogs” I am also reading in these four events: Feb 26, 5- 10 p.m. A Festival of Language, Rock Bottom in Seattle Feb 28, 1-5 p.m. HEAT: Burning Down the House (Proceeds to benefit VIDA), Daily Grill; also Hot Pillow Reading (TBD) Mar 1, 7-9 p.m. Left Bank Books: Civil Coping Mechanisms/ Lazy Fascist Press/ Broken River/ Two Dollar Radio reading There are some great sites with suggestions about what to expect if this is your first AWP, including this from Roxane Gay: Association of Writers & Writing Programs And these tips from writer Mitch Parker, nail the entire experience: “My AWP survival tips: show up, talk to people you don’t know. Talk to people you do know. Attend a couple of events. Go to a couple of readings. Have a few drinks. Go to the book fair. Don’t worry much about much.” See you in Seattle! Hopefully not sleepless, but you never know!  ]]>