Today, I read Jean Valentine’s “I Came to You,” and I dedicate this to Giancarlo DiTrapano, who I will miss as long as I live:
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:
- You have never been to the Southwest, or if you have, never been to the high desert.
- You’d like a break from emails, cell phones, business memos, ZOOM readings or conferences, monotony.
- It’s been tough to write lately. Nothing like actual 2020, but still.
- You miss your tribe. Or you want a new one. And gourmet food prepared by a highly skilled chef.
- The last trip you took, you had to bump elbows “hello.”
- You’ve never seen a roadrunner, or stayed in a room of same name.
- You like to bend genres, but you’re not quite sure how.
- The only retreat you ever took, there were a bunch of people in yoga pants who shouldn’t have been wearing them.
- You consider yourself the sort of person who is an outsider.
- 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.
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?
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.
Hi friends! It’s always a good day, deep into Winter, to mention my first publication of 2021. I have two short hybrid pieces up at No Contact Magazine, issue 17: https://www.nocontactmag.com/issue-seventeen. I’m so grateful to editors, Guaraa & Elliott.
I also want to link back to a piece I had published last September, “Illusions,” at Pioneertown Lit: https://www.pioneertownlit.com/robert-vaughan. Thanks for this, EIC Brenna Kischuk.
Next week, my experimental piece, “This Long Day,” will be published at Daily Drunk Magazine.
I’m grateful for several things of late, but to be back in the submission game is truly among the top. It’s great to be writing again, also. Working on my first all poetry collection. More on that to come.
In case you missed it, Bending Genres Issue 19 is live: www.bendinggenres.com.
Also, the wondrous Sara Lippmann is teaching our February Bending Genres weekend workshop, and it’s full. In March, we host Freesia McKee, and in April we welcome Wendy Oleson who taught her “Found in the Forest” in April 2020. More information here: https://bendinggenres.com/writing-groups/
Take care. Stay safe. Be well. See you on the webs.
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.
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.
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:
And at Bending Genres, we wrapped up our “Found in the Forest” weekend workshop led by Wendy Oleson. So many incredible, innovative pieces were developed, and the support was off the charts. Join us on May 22- 24 when Tyler Barton will teach his “Artifact Lit” weekend workshop: https://bendinggenres.com/product/tyler-barton-artifact-lit-may-22-24/
Also, our fiction editor, Meg Tuite, kicked off a new project called Bending Genres Productions. She selected a poem by Colin Pope from his stunning book, Why I Didn’t Go To Your Funeral. Meg chose “Still Life with Casket in the Distance,” and with a cast of 15 or so writers, a videographer Brian Mihok, they captured this haunting, evocative experience: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/04/30/colin-pope-video/
Get outside. Be safe. Take care of yourself and of each other. Life is precious.
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.”
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.