Three Percent Podcast is now expanding from their weekly(ish) episodes to include weekly Two Month Review mini-episodes. Each season of the new mini-episode series will highlight a different Open Letter book, reading it over the course of eight to nine episodes. Rotating guests will join host Chad W. Post, using the reading selection as a springboard for further discussion on literature, pop culture, reading approaches, and more.
Two Month Review gives the feeling of a book club—weekly readings and discussions—but with an accessibility that doesn’t require listeners to read along. For listeners that do want to read along, Open Letter has set up a Goodreads group and is currently offering 20% off two titles (with code 2MONTH at checkout) that will be discussed: The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán and Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller by Guðbergur Bergsson.
Saturday is the day! April 29 is the 4th Annual Independent Bookstore Day. Indie bookstores across the United States are gearing up to celebrate with exclusive items, literary activities, readings, author signings, giveaways, and more this upcoming Saturday.
Find a great indie bookstore in your area on the NewPages Guide to Independent Bookstores and show your support.
Broadsided posters are available for free download and postering all about town. Become a Broadsided Vector today!
"We want your writing and art in response to the Action at Standing Rock," write the editors. "In the past, we've provided art for you to spring from. This time, we want to open our submissions to visual artists as well as writers. Guest editor Tiffany Midge will help select final pieces. We waive submission fees for those directly involved in the resistance. Please help share the word."
Broadsided Press was founded in 2005 and publishes an original literary/artistic collaboration each month for download with the mission, quite simply, "to put literature and art on the streets."
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
Emilie Buchwald was the co-publisher and founding editor of Milkweed Editions in Minneapolis going on forty years ago, and that press grew up to become one of the finest literary publishers in our country. Today she edits children's books at Gryphon Press, which she also founded. Here's a lovely remembrance from her new book, The Moment's Only Moment, from Nodin Press.
My Mother's Music
In the evenings of my childhood,
when I went to bed,
music washed into the cove of my room,
my door open to a slice of light.
I felt a melancholy I couldn't have named,
a longing for what I couldn't yet have said
or understood but still
knew was longing,
knew was sadness
untouched by time.
the music was a rippling stream
of clear water rushing
over a bed of river stones
caught in sunlight.
And many nights
I crept from bed
to watch her
swaying where she sat
overtaken by the tide,
her arms rowing the music
out of the piano.
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2016 by Emilie Buchwald, “My Mother's Music,” from The Moment's Only Moment, (Nodin Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Emilie Buchwald and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.
Unlike the Olympics, the Poetry Marathon is an annual event. I originally posted on it here, and the PM website offers a complete history and FAQ of the event. While I've known about the event for several years, this is the first year I participated. Luckily for me (and many others), the organizers have created a half marathon, which is what I completed. Both marathons start at 9:00am ET on writing day (Aug 13 this year), then every hour for 12 or 24 hours, participants are expected to write a poem and post it to the PM website. Each participant gets their own login on a group Wordpress site, then as each participant publishes a poem, which is housed on their own blog space, it is also posted to the whole group blog. If you look at the site now, what you see are the poems posted by the participants as they came in.
If this sounds like a big commitment of a day, it is - or it can be. The organizers are flexible in letting participants commit to (on their honor) writing one poem every hour and then posting them when they can get to a computer. Some participants commented on having to go to work, so while they were writing the poems, they wouldn't be posting them until later. Even for me, with a day "off," I couldn't be at the computer every hour of the day.
Bottom line: Was it fun? Was it engaging? Was it worthwhile? Yes, yes, and yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Until you do it, you don't quite "get it." Write a poem an hour? Anyone can do that on their own. But it was motivating (even a bit demanding) being in the community, committed to having to publish poems up to the website, having to be responsible every hour of the day. In fact, even while I was just sitting working at the computer, I almost missed one of the hours because I was so caught up in my work. I realized it with only five minutes left in the hour and scrambled to catch up! The pressure! It was wonderful. As were the prompts, which the organizers provide at the top of every hour. I admire those writers who had their own ideas for poems, but I relied heavily on the prompts to give me something to write about and get the writing done. There were many who did the same, and it was engaging to see the various interpretations of the prompts - a lot of really creative writers.
When it was done - 12 hours and 12 poems later - I felt a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. Not that I believe I wrote 12 astonishing poems that will shake the world. But because I wrote 12 poems in 12 hours as part of a community of people who were just as eager and committed as me. Surrounded for a whole day by an entire community of poets - reading, writing, commenting, and then doing it all over again, and again, and again. I think immersion is the right word.
I also learned that not everyone will be able to appreciate the experience if you try to share your joy at the accomplishment. "I just finished a poetry half marathon!" I exclaimed to my husband as I walked away from the computer at 9:00pm after just having posted my final poem. "Okay," he said, not turning away from his laptop.
What you get out of it is definitely personal. Unlike the foot race, and unlike the Olympics, there aren't throngs of people cheering your completion, no competitors there to hug you for a good race won. Though the organizers and participants do post encouraging comments for one another and have chat groups running to motivate one another, in the end, the sense of whatever it has meant to you will be completely up to you to generate and to own.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I was challenged, I accomplished my goal, and I hope to be back to do it again next year.
Thank you Poetry Marathon! Congratulations to everyone who completed the half 12 hours of writing and the full 24 hours of writing. I get it: You are amazing!
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
As children, just about everyone has experienced the very real fear of an imaginary monster. But what if our mothers could have spoken to our childhood fears? Carrie Shipers of Wisconsin, the author of Family Resemblances: Poems (University of New Mexico Press), depicts just that when a protective mother talks back to her son's Bogeyman in this fine poem.
Mother Talks Back to the Monster
Tonight, I dressed my son in astronaut pajamas,
kissed his forehead and tucked him in.
I turned on his night-light and looked for you
in the closet and under the bed. I told him
you were nowhere to be found, but I could smell
your breath, your musty fur. I remember
all your tricks: the jagged shadows on the wall,
click of your claws, the hand that hovered
just above my ankles if I left them exposed.
Since I became a parent I see danger everywhere—
unleashed dogs, sudden fevers, cereal
two days out of date. And even worse
than feeling so much fear is keeping it inside,
trying not to let my love become so tangled
with anxiety my son thinks they're the same.
When he says he's seen your tail or heard
your heavy step, I insist that you aren't real.
Soon he'll feel too old to tell me his bad dreams.
If you get lonely after he's asleep, you can
always come downstairs. I'll be sitting
at the kitchen table with the dishes
I should wash, crumbs I should wipe up.
We can drink hot tea and talk about
the future, how hard it is to be outgrown.
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2015 by Carrie Shipers, “Mother Talks Back to the Monster” (North American Review, Vol. 300, no. 4, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Carrie Shipers and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2016 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.
The Poetry Marathon is run (no pun intended) by Caitlin Jans (Thomson) and Jacob Jans, two writers and web publishers living in the Pacific Northwest. There is no charge to participate in the marathon, and in 2015, over 300 writers participated from nearly every continent but one (c'mon Antarctica!).
The Poetry Marathon website has an FAQ that answers the burning questions, like: How do I prepare for the Marathon? What if I can't be at a computer all day? What happens to the poems once I post them? and more. The site also features blog posts from previous participants who offer commentary on their marathon experience.
This year, the organizers plan to publish a Poetry Marathon Anthology of poems written during the marathon.