NewPages Blog Archives
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WHAT IS PONGO? Since 1992, the Pongo Publishing Teen Writing Project has worked with teens who are in jail, on the streets, or in other ways leading difficult lives. We help young people express themselves through poetry, and the teens often write about traumatic life experiences. Through creative writing, Pongo helps its authors communicate feelings, build self-esteem, and take better control of their lives. Each summer we publish chapbook compilations of the teens’ work. The chapbooks are distributed free to incarcerated youth and others. You can find out more about us at www.pongopublishing.org.
We are looking for mature individuals who have a clear understanding of personal boundaries and an ability to adapt to institutional rules. Ideal candidates will write poetry, have education as teachers or counselors, and have experience working with distressed youth. Candidates must make a commitment to attending the weekly Pongo sessions, being on time, and staying with the program until its completion in April.
If you are interested in becoming a Pongoite, please contact us soon. Spaces are limited, and the application and interview process must be completed in July. You can begin this process by emailing us a copy of your resume and a writing sample to . We welcome your questions, too.
by Hyejin Kim
"Based on true events, Jia is the first novel about present-day North Korea to appear in English. All but closed to outside visitors, North Korea is among the most opaque nations on earth. While most readers know only the bleak outlines of its politics and history, Hyejin Kim illuminates Korea from within."
From MIDNIGHT EDITIONS, an imprint of CLEIS PRESS.
For more information: Switchback Books
by David Gessner, Ecotone Editor
Ecotone, Volume 2 Issue 2
"I admit that it is a strange and contrary impulse to focus on retreat during times of war, when you can’t help but find a military connotation in the word. But one thing I’ve learned from my reading is that retreat often leads to its opposite..."
Read more: Ecotone.
by John A. Johnson
"The lawn is a symbol that humankind, with its big brains, has fought nature for survival, and won. And because nature got it wrong the first time, we're re-making it the right way. The idea is that we take nasty, 'undeveloped' land, and reshape it, groom it, and reconfigure it into proper, 'developed' land, which can be sold for a nice chunk of change. Sans dandelions, of course..."
More serious irreverence can be found at Eat the State! A Forum for Anti-Authoritarian Political Opinion, Research and Humor.
By Julie Hollar
Extra! May/June 2007
“Africa is sexy and people need to know that,” declared U2 singer Bono (New York Times, 3/5/07), promoting his new (RED) line of products that propose to save Africa one iPod at a time.
Celebrity interest in Africa is not particularly new, but today more stars than ever seem to be converging upon the continent, with television crews seldom far behind. But, as Bono clearly understands, what media tend to find sexy about Africa is not Africa itself, but the stars like himself who have taken up causes in the region. In television news in particular, with its typically cursory treatment of subjects and emphasis on the visual, African countries and issues are to a striking degree seen through the prism of celebrity.
Read this and more from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) at Extra! online.
Milkweed Editions seeks works of short fiction for an anthology to be published in fall 2008. The editors hope to solicit work suggestive of the increasingly diverse and multicultural nature of Minnesota, and the volume’s publication is timed to mark the sesquicentennial of the founding of the state. Authors must be residents of Minnesota, and may not have more than one previous book-length publication. Unpublished writers and writers of color are encouraged to submit manuscripts for consideration. All contributors will receive an honorarium of at least $500 (the final amount to be determined according to the number of contributors included).
For more information visit Milkweed Editions.
"This is the first in a three-part series from Nublu founder and band leader Ilhan Ersahin's Wax Poetic project. On this record, there's a subdued Northern European energy creeping through the rocky, Garbage-esque tracks. This series will take Ersahin to different countries to collaborate with its musicians. Next up is 'Wax Poetic Istanbul,' followed by 'Wax Poetic Brasil.'"
The online sampler for Copenhagen includes two music videos and two songs, and for Istanbul and Brasil, two songs each. Full album available for purchase via Amazon and iTunes. Worth the Quicktime download to check this smack out!
An interview with the cofounder of New Orleans' Common Ground Collective
by Doug Pibel
Doug: What has the experience of Common Ground taught you about how communities can learn to act together?
Malik: I’m going to tell you, that’s the reason why I continue on. Not only has it taught me what we can do, it has shown me the true greatness of this nation. Yes we are a rich nation; yes we are one of the most powerful nations. But, the greatness of our nation is not in our government—it is in our people. I have seen the essence of that greatness in those who made sacrifices to come down to help us in our time of need.
Read the rest of this interview and more on Yes! Magazine, Summer 2007 Issue: Latin America Rising.
Tillie Lerner was never supposed to be a writer. She grew up poor. She dropped out of high school. She was a teenage mother. She worked long hours to support her kids. She got fired. Too often, she recalled, “the simplest circumstances for creation did not exist.” Yet, she wrote. (More at Z Magazine Online)
Memorial for Molly Ivins
Mary Tyler “Molly” Ivins (August 30, 1944–January 31, 2007) was a U.S. newspaper columnist, political commentator, and bestselling author from Austin, Texas. Ivins was born in Monterey, California, raised in Houston, Texas and attended St. John’s School in Houston. (More at Z Magazine Online)
BH: Remember that, when I say I want my root beer without ice, I mean it.
Read the full interview in Gulf Coast, Volume 19 Number 2, Summer/Fall 2007, where you'll find more humor as well as insight in response to questions such as:
MS: So many poets are rushing to get that first book out, spending hundreds of dollars on contests and reading fees. Do you believe this is the best way for young poets to get noticed?
MS: Some of your newer poems seem to be much more meditative and less "witty" than your earlier work. Also, I've been told that you are trying to turn away from this perception of you being a "funny" poet. Is this true" If so, what do you find troubling about being called a "funny" poet?
"BBC investigative reporter and international gadfly Greg Palast has dug into many critical stories in recent years—particularly those, like the vulture funds saga (see Palast's article in the current issue of D&S), that lie at the intersection of political decision-making and corporate greed. Dollars & Sense recently interviewed Palast about the sometimes-surprising appraisals that he offers in his latest book, Armed Madhouse, which came out in a revised paperback edition in April."
Also from the current issue of Dollars and Sense and available online:
The Homeownership Myth by Howard Karger
A contrarian asks whether homeownership really benefits low-income families.
The Real Political Purpose of the ICE Raids by David Bacon
Using immigration raids as a pressure tactic to get Congress to approve new guest worker programs is not a legitimate use of enforcement.
Fidelity and Genocide by Chris Sturr
Activists are calling on Fidelity and other investment houses to divest from Chinese oil companies that help fund the killing in Darfur.
Yellow Jackets by Patti White (2007)
The View from Zero Bridge by Lynn Aarti Chandhok, winner of the Levine Prize in Poetry (2007)
All you have to do is ask by Meredith Walters, winner of the Anhinga Prize for Poetry (2006)
Visit Anhinga Press for more on their publications.
This Sunday, June 17, chat live with Kevin Smokler, David Wellington, Andi Buchanan and Josh Kilmer-Purcell about successful online marketing and how you can be your own marketing & publicity machine. Previous shows available on podcast.
Visit Writers Revealed: www.writersrevealed.com.
By Joshua Foer
Cabinet Magazine Online
"Miniature book collector George Salomon of Paris disperses his seven-hundred-title collection, a library that reportedly “could be carried in a moderate-sized portmanteau.” His spirit lives on today in the Miniature Book Society, an organization whose interests extend only to printed works three inches or smaller."
Read the article and see images of miniature writing through history on Cabinet Magazine Online.
"On March 21, 2007, in Portland, some 400 people crammed the sold-out Wonder Ballroom to hear to hear the former poet laureate speak, read poems, & launch the Music Issue. Robert Pinsky condemned educational administrators who want to break the chain of culture by cutting funding to music, arts, & creative writing programs. 'Woe unto them,' said Pinsky, who also read recent & new poems, & closed the night with an electrifying reading of John Keats's hymn to music & poetry, 'Ode to a Nightingale.'"
Listen to an excerpt (apprx 45min) of this performance lecture on Poetry Northwest.
For more information about this program, read writing from contest winners, or how to get a copy of the writing handbook, visit PEN American Center.
By Nicole Cohen
"I don’t recall the exact moment I became skeptical of the term labour of love, but I do remember the day it began feeling like an inappropriate descriptor for Shameless, the independent, feminist magazine for teens I co-founded in 2003 and edited until recently.
[. . .]
While it is critical for media activists to talk seriously about the business of producing alternative media and to find innovative ways to boost circulation, it is dangerous to believe that the only way to become commercially viable is to make content more mainstream. Alternative media exist to disseminate an oppositional or radical stance, and the development of creative, sustainable business models should centre on strengthening that goal, not abandoning it."
Read the rest of the article HERE, with Cohen's assessment as well as advice for small, independents who wish to remain alternative.