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Published June 28, 2016
wwbcampusWords Without Borders promotes cultural understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of the contemporary international literature. Words Without Borders Campus brings that literature to high school and college students, teachers, and professors. On their website, you'll find fiction, poetry, and essays from around the world, along with resources for understanding it, ideas for teaching it, and suggestions for further exploration.

Most of the literature presented comes from the online magazine, Words without Borders. Words Without Borders Campus is asking for your help to reach more students and add new countries and literature to their site. With their collections of literature from Mexico, China, Egypt, and Japan, WWB Campus has already reached more than 1,500 high school and college students in the United States and throughout the world, with access to their site remaining completely free.

To take their program to the next level, WWB Campus is asking its supporters -- readers, educators, and even students – for help with a new crowd-funding campaign and to spread awareness of WWB Campus. WWB Campus would like to double the number of students reached, adding new features to the website, and introducing literature from more countries (Russia, Iran, and West Africa are in the plans). For more information about how you can help, visit the WWB Campus website. You don't have to donate money - using the site and spreading the word about it helps too - #InspireGlobalReaders!
Published June 30, 2016
The tenth annual August Poetry Postcard Festival opens for registration on July 4, 2016!

august po poFor you newbies, the August PoPo Fest goes like this: You sign up. You get a list of 31 names/addresses of other people who signed up. Starting late July, you write a poem a day on a postcard and mail it off to the next person on the list, so by the end of the month, you will have (hopefully) written and sent 31 poems and (hopefully) received 31 poems.

The poems are not supposed to be pre-written or something you've been working on for months. This is an exercise is the spontaneous, the demanding, the gut-driven, the postcard inspired - whatever it is that gets you to write once a day, each day, and send it off into the world.

New this year: poems from this year’s fest can be submitted for the 1st Poetry Postcard Fest Anthology, a project led by three volunteers.

I've done this event since it began! I don't always keep to a poem a day; sometimes I get ahead one day, or catch up another, with several poems in one day. But I try my best. The event does get me thinking of poetry in my every day, when I rarely have time for it, and writing it down - something I have time for even more rarely.

I've received poems from across the state, the country and around the globe. I've gotten postcards made from cereal boxes, some with gorgeous original artwork, and lots of the lovely tacky tourist cards from travel destinations. I have cards from "famous" poets, and some who have since become more famous, and some never signed, so I'll never know, and it hardly matters. I've gotten poetry. Sent to me directly. From strangers. Lovely, strange, absurd, and funny. Poetry.

It's an amazing event, and I hope you will take the challenge and join in this year. For the first time EVER, the organizers have decided to charge a nominal fee for the event ($10). I can only imagine the amount of work it is to run this (with up to 300 people participating), and keeping up virtual space to promote it. I'm not dissuaded by the fee, knowing the extraordinary event that it is, and knowing I've spent 100 times that on conferences from which I've gotten a great deal less inspiration...

So, please writers, wanna-bes and needs-a-kick-in-the-arsers, poetry lovers, postcard lovers - this event is for you. Join us!
Published April 11, 2016
writers hotel blogThe Writer’s Hotel, a hybrid writers conference that meets each June at a floating campus between three hotels in Midtown, Manhattan, is not just another writers conference. With an environment much like that of a Creative Writing MFA community, they work with each writer on a target manuscript from the moment of acceptance, for months before the conference, and offer the rare opportunity to polish manuscripts with professional editors before meeting with instructors, writers, agents, industry professionals and editors on site. There is no other writers conference quite like The Writer's Hotel.

Writers tend to arrive at the conference feeling an artistic momentum, and come ready to bring their work to market at the heart of the publishing industry in New York City. Writers will have reading opportunities at a well-known NYC venue, will attend daily events held in inspiring locations around the city, and will participate in several intensive writing workshops, attend lectures, pitch meetings and literary events, and go on historic literary walking tours.

This year’s conference takes place from June 1-7 and faculty includes Meghan Daum, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Scott Wolven, Shanna McNair, Marie Howe, Tim Seibles, Roger Bonair-Agard, Elyssa East, Wesley McNair, Bill Roorbach, Kevin Larimer, Carey Salerno, Elaine Trevorrow and Bethany Ball. Conference space is limited and the deadline for application is April 22, 2016Free to apply, writers may upload 20 -25 pages of writing with a brief letter of interest at TWH’s Submittable.
Published March 15, 2016
jimmy bacaInspired by the same-named memoir, A Place to Stand is the story of Jimmy Santiago Baca’s transformation from a functionally illiterate convict to an award-winning poet, novelist and screenwriter. Told through extensive interviews with Jimmy, his family, friends and peers, A Place to Stand follows Jimmy’s path from Estancia, New Mexico – where he lived with his indigenous grandparents – through childhood abandonment, adolescent drug dealing and a subsequent 5-year narcotics sentence at Arizona State Prison in Florence, one of the most violent prisons in the country. Jimmy’s extraordinary life is both inspiring and haunting, simultaneously an indictment of our current criminal justice system and a model of the potential for human transformation.

The filmmakers are looking to extend the reach of the movie through an Indiegogo educational campaign to do the following:

  • Hold over 50 public screenings across the US (see the website for information on how you can host a screening).
  • Release the film digitally and on DVD for consumers.
  • Partner with an educational distributor to maximize our reach to schools.
  • Secure broadcast distribution (TV presentation) for the film.
  • Provide the film, curriculum, and workbook materials to over 100 schools, prisons, and organizations.
  • Partner with prison reform organizations to use the film as an activism and awareness-raising tool.
A number of the perks include educational materials to go along with the film as well as copies of the film, works by Baca, and more.

Published March 14, 2016
lillian liIn her Glimmer Train Bulletin essay “Why Write Characters of Color?” UofM MFA candidate Lillian Li writes, “The question . . . is not rhetorical; it is not one a moderator asks to kick off a stale panel discussion. It is a real and urgent question, one of craft, of race, of character.”

Li discusses both the arbitrary and reasoned decisions writers make, from character names to plot points. She explains using a fire as a “placeholder” event for a story she’s writing. An arbitrary choice that, as her writing progressed, became more central to the story. But, to ignore the question of Why a fire? - “the event would have stood out, like a lump of flour unincorporated into the narrative gravy.” Li writes, “When American writers arbitrarily decide the race of their characters, and then ignore the question of race, they are courting the same conundrum, even if they phrase it a different way.”

Read the rest online in Glimmer Train Bulletin #110, which also includes essays by David Minzer and Christine Grace.
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