Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category


The Future of Publishing according to Jennifer and Penguin

March 28, 2010
--Jennifer Simpson

For a long time I’ve been saying (actually re-saying what I heard Richard Rodriguez say at a writers conference back in 2005) that publishing is not dead, that there are readers out there, that it is our duty (as writers) to meet our audience where they are.  I say that publishing is undergoing a transformation.

That same writers conference included a panel of publishers, and I was shocked at how few of them even had the most basic  information online.  Five years later and I am still frustrated;  publishers are not fully embracing the new channels of communication and are only using a handful of tools out there…  an example I’ve seen online only literary journals that are nothing more than PDFs.  In other words, using the web only as a means of delivering the same paper-based version of the journal.   No audio, no video, no images, no interactivity.

When I saw this video, produced for an internal presentation at Penguin, I thought wow, Penguin gets it! (or they will)

What I like about this video is that it utilizes the technology to tell the message.  Be sure to watch all the way through.

(thanks to my friend, novelist Amy Wallen, for sharing this on Facebook!)


Poetry Noir giving words to silent films

March 17, 2010

Love this idea:

The mission of Poetry Noir is to explore the universal moments presented or “spoken” in Black-and-white films with poetry writing.

We will feature a film clip and challenge you to observe the film and to capture in words the poetry evoked by the cinematic moments.

The current film clip is from Buster Keaton’s 1928 classic, “The Cameraman” and if you participate, let us know how it worked out for you.

View the clip and submit your poem at the Poetry Noir website–  a program of the Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Poetry Program


February DimeStories Audio uploaded!

February 26, 2010

This Could be YOU

Our first DimeStories event was a success–  over 20 people, from
CNM, UNM, ABQ and even Belen!  Thanks to everyone who came, and most of all for sharing their awesome 3 minute stories.

The selected “best of” the evening included two of UNM’s own… Annarose Fitzgerald, who although she is not IN the MFA program (I call her a lit geek) she is a darn good writer.  MFA Candidate, fiction writer David Rubalcava also ranked “best of” with a piece that is untitled.

As curator, I added an honorable mention shout out to MFAer Dawn Sperber and undergraduate Randi Beck.  Two more awesome writers in our creative writing family.

To listen to the top 3 selected, head on over to the DimeStories website.

And put the next event on your calendar:

Thursday, March 18, 2010.  7 pm.

At The Source, 1111 Carlisle Ave. SE (1 mile south of Central)

or the next, or the next…  we’re doing this every THIRD Thursday!


Contemplating a career in academia?

February 18, 2010

Dana Levin, poet and professor at UNM (the current endowed Russo Chair) sent along this link to an article on the recent shooting by a Harvard PhD. She included the note:  For myself, I found this to resonate:  “I am rarely surprised by violence on a campus… Every day I see wonderful, wonderful people at work, but I have also noted…the moral equivalent of manslaughter through reviews, tenure and promotion letters, memoranda, and gossip.”

I know I’ve been thinking a lot about tenure lately.  Coming from outside academia, especially coming from a business world where if you don’t do your job your ass is fired…  I understand the philosophy behind tenure,  I want our scholars to be free from political persecution, but I also want them to be accountable if they are not doing their job, especially if my tax money is paying for them!

Anyway, here’s the article that Dana sent over:

Campus Dispatch [by Catharine Stimpson]

This was to be a genial post about snow and the city during Valentine days.

Then death intervened.

On Friday, at a faculty meeting,  Amy Bishop murdered three of her colleagues in the Biology Department of the University of Alabama/Huntsville and badly wounded three others.

I learned about this homicidal violence the way one does these days: first a crawl at the bottom of a newscast, which noted her Harvard training as a neuroscientist. Apparently, the fact that a Ph.D. from a prestigious university would fatally ransack a human body with bullets can still shock us. Then TV elevated the murders to “Breaking News” and a “Developing Story” with law enforcement officers giving their sober press conferences.

Then The New York Times began to run its fact-filled stories.

Dr. Bishop left her pistol in a second-floor bathroom.Dr. Bishop is a wife, married to another scientist, James Anderson.  Dr. Bishop is a mother, with four children. Dr. Bishop and her husband have been responsible for some promising biotechnology inventions. Dr. Bishop,perhaps significantly, had been denied tenure and was appealing the decision.  Dr. Bishop was outspoken about university policies….. CONTINUE READING –>


Students learn value of self-expression

February 16, 2010

Idris Goodwin really isn’t part of our MFA program, but he IS married to a former member of our MFA program, a dear friend and talented writer in her own right (Felicia Chavez)… Anyway if you have not had a chance to see Idris perform, look for him, he has a new album out. And here he is spreading the word about words!

Idris Goodwin, a local hip-hop and rap poet and playwright, engages with a group of fifth and sixth grade students in a "Roll Call" rap activity at the Four Oaks Bridge after school program on First Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids on Monday. (Julie Koehn/The Gazette)

Idris Goodwin, a local hip-hop and rap poet and playwright, engages with a group of fifth and sixth grade students in a "Roll Call" rap activity at the Four Oaks Bridge after school program on First Avenue NE in Cedar Rapids on Monday. (Julie Koehn/The Gazette)

Taliah McGriff expects she’ll be writing more, and not just for school.
“Because it was fun,” said Taliah, 10. “Because like they said, you can write anything, and it doesn’t have to make sense.”

“They” are the dozen or so other fourth and fifth graders in Taliah’s after-school group at the Four Oaks Bridge neighborhood center in northeast Cedar Rapids.
Monday afternoon was their last session with playwright, poet and hiphop artist Idris Goodwin under the Bridge’s Freedom Writers program.
The program, which started in November, is an effort “to demonstrate the lifelong relevance of writing and self-expression,” according to Four Oaks spokeswoman Lisa Pritchard.



Tanaya at Church

February 16, 2010

At the January 31 Church of Beethoven, poet (and fellow grad student)Tanaya Winder read three pieces.  In addition to listening to her poetry, I enjoy hearing Tanaya talk about her own work….

When Tanaya talks about the doctors and the MRIs…  that will become like the dishes, I think of my sister, who has breast cancer.   She’s fine, but I’ve been fascinated how her chemo appointments (going on 6 years now) are like the dishes. It is such a part of her routine….

Tanaya’s second poem is a nice lighter touch after such a heavy poem…

but her third and final poem she wrote, with inspiration from the music that was scheduled to play that day:

AND if you want to take a listen to the music that inspired Tanaya’s work, check out this video:


Is Blogging Writing?

February 16, 2010

I’m not sure of the answer to that question, but it seems several of my MFA colleagues have been bit by the blogging bug, though none has been blogging here…  hint hint.

I mentioned Elizabeth Tannen’s blog in an earlier post.  And now, I want to take this opportunity to introduce Nar Nar’s blog….

Nari’s Blog:  Solopsistic Forays

Here’s how she describes her “self”

“This writer suffers from both cynicism and naivete, which makes for dry, unenlightened, and occasionally offensive prose.”

She really is a deep thinker, and a smart woman… so DO check out her blog.

Anyone else want to join the party?