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NCAC's Censorship News, Spring 2007

Published June 11, 2007 Posted By
Check out the National Coalition Against Censorship Newsletter: Censorship News, No. 104. Available online and as PDF, "NCAC's newsletter, published quarterly, contains information and discussion about freedom of expression issues, including current school censorship controversies, threats to the free flow of information, and obscenity laws." In this issue:

Reading the Fine Print

Published June 11, 2007 Posted By
A Minor History of Miniature Writing
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.

Pinsky Speaks on Music and Literature

Published June 10, 2007 Posted By
Poetry Northwest Web Exclusive
"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.
"Founded in 1971, the PEN Prison Writing Program believes in the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing, by providing hundreds of inmates across the country with skilled writing teachers and audiences for their work. The program seeks to provide a place for inmates to express themselves freely with paper and pen and to encourage the use of the written word as a legitimate form of power. The program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a free handbook for prisoners, provides one-on-one mentoring to inmates whose writing shows merit or promise, conducts workshops for former inmates, and seeks to get inmates' work to the public through literary publications and readings."

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.

How to Sustain Your Labor of Love

Published June 09, 2007 Posted By
Love’s Labour Lost?: Working for a sustainable alternative press
By Nicole Cohen
Briarpatch Magazine
June/July 2007

"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.

Recipe for Inspiration

Published June 09, 2007 Posted By
File this under the "finding writing ideas in the most unlikely places" category. Check out some of these great recipe names, courtesy of Backwoods Home Magazine:

Dragon’s Breath Chili
Earth’s Greatest Cookies
Egg Thingies
Humble Stew (Served with humble pie for dessert? Oh, c'mon, you saw that one coming...)
Dishpan Cookies
Baked Macaroni and Cheese to Kill For
Czarist Chicken Salad
Chow-chow (I read the recipe and still don't know what this is - ?)
Lazy Housewife Pickles
Emergency Casserole (Maybe to help the person killed for the mac and cheese...)

Can't you just see it now: "She went to the kitchen and started banging pots and pans onto the stove. She'd have the last laugh for his cheating on her, the Dragon's Breath Chili would see to that..."

Inspiration can indeed come from the strangest places. If nothing else, some of these really do sound worth trying!

New Online Issue: Dark Sky Magazine

Published June 08, 2007 Posted By
The June 2007 issue of Dark Sky Magazine is now online, featuring literature by Jenny Steele, Michael Phillips, Charlie Geer, Meredith Doench, Jack Emery, Martin Brick, Luke Boyd, Richard O'Connell, Richard O'Connell, Louise Snowden, Rupert Fike, John Grey, and artwork by Elizabeth Cadwell, Isabel Barnes, Miranda Clark.

From "Bend" by Meredith Doench:

I.
"No one’s ever loved me before. People have told me they did, like my mom. But she only said so when I’d done something to please her, or after she’d had too much to drink or smoke. So when Alison Rogers said, Nicole, I love you, I cried harder than I’ve ever cried before. And the weird thing was Alison cried too, hugging me close, her tears getting the shoulder of my old t-shirt wet and warm.

Now the staff at Lakeridge Psychiatric Center would have called this inappropriate touch between patients, so we were wedged tight into the cubby hole of a maintenance closet that someone left open while getting a mop. I could hear..."

Read and see much more on Dark Sky Magazine.

Writing: Characters in Africa

Published June 08, 2007 Posted By
Africa Settings: Writers in search of characters
From Worldview Magazine (v20n2)by David Arnold

"Before being there, my only reference point for any African country was a reading of Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King which, as I recall, was more about crazy Henderson than about Africa. It turns out that this is typical of Americans who write about Africa. Even those like Hemingway who were there...

In this issue of WorldView, we're sampling writers whose work has become part of our Africa bibliography: Norman Rush, George Packer, Paul Theroux, Leonard Levitt, Kathleen Coskran, Sarah Erdman, Richard Wiley, Maria Thomas and Tony D'Souza..."

Read more here: Worldview Magazine.
From The Humanist by Heidi Bruggink:

"In her new book, The Feminine Mistake, Bennetts asserts that women's decisions to abandon their careers may save them stress in the short-term, but the repercussions are enormously dangerous-and women often fail to understand this until it's far too late. Further, she argues, the financial and psychological benefits of working outside the home are enormous. Bennetts herself serves as a prime example of this assertion, having crafted an enviable journalism career over the past thirty years while simultaneously raising a family. She spoke with the Humanist in March, shortly before her book's release, to discuss the urgent message she wants to impart on today's younger women..."

Read an excerpt of the interview here: Don't Give Up Your Day Job: Leslie Bennetts on The Feminine Mistake

The Language of Global Warming

Published June 08, 2007 Posted By
Sustaining Change from the Middle Ground
James Biggar and Michael M'Gonigle
Alternatives Journal Online, April 2007

"'Climate porn.' That's how the Institute for Public Policy Research in Britain depicts the portrayal of the climate crisis by media and governments. In the organization's report, 'Warm Words,' the authors claim the apocalyptic and external framing of global warming convinces the public that climate change is inevitable and therefore beyond human control. In the context of that frame, appeals for changes in individual behaviour, such as the Liberals' One Tonne Challenge and the endless 'Ten Things you Can Do' lists, seem pretty lame, even to advocates. After all, how many times can a dutiful bicyclist be squeezed into the curb by a lumbering SUV before she feels there is no point to her action?"

Read the rest of the article at: Alternative Journal Online

Contest Winners: McSweeny's Convergences

Published June 08, 2007 Posted By
A Convergence of Convergences
"To celebrate the release of Lawrence Weschler's Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences, we are launching an extravagant new contest: A Convergence of Convergences. Submit your own convergence—an unlikely, striking pair of images, along with a paragraph or three exploring the deeper resonances. The best contributions will be posted on the site, along with responding commentary from Weschler."

See the list winners at McSweeny's.

Submissions: Fault Magazine

Published June 08, 2007 Posted By
"FAULT Magazine (www.faultmag.com) is seeking short stories, nonfiction essays, photographs and animated works that deal with human flaws. Each issue of the magazine will focus on a single undesirable characteristic, exploring who is affected by it, the impact it has on individuals, when it can be especially bad (or actually good), and any other aspect of the flaw that is interesting to consider."

More info here: www.faultmag.com

Poetry and Visual Imagery

Published June 07, 2007 Posted By
standing in stillness
reflections on ritual & routine from the zendo


Poet Darren Bifford stands with a cup of tea on the steps of the zendo and contemplates different ways of opening and arriving with Flash animation by Geoffroy Tremblay of images from the Centre Zen de la Main in Montr

"Tomiki Sensei, in addition to being a superb martial artist, was also a man of the letters and of arts. As a man of letters, Tomiki published numerous articles on Judo, Aikido, the relationship between the martial arts and Eastern religious and philosophical traditions, articles on the proper place of the martial arts in the modern world, and of course articles on the technical aspects of various martial arts techniques. His masterwork is entitled Budo-ron, or The Theory of Budo. This book is widely acknowledged in Japan to be one of the most significant 20th Century contributions to martial arts theory and thought. Unfortunately, it remains to be translated into any Western language. However, two of Tomiki Sensei's more influential essays, fortunately, have been translated: 'The Fundamental Principles of Judo' and 'On Jujitsu and Its Modernization'." (Vassar College Aikido Club)


To read both translations, visit the Vassar College Aikido Club Website.


Film: Gay Movie Marathon on TBS

Published June 07, 2007 Posted By
From "Movie Marathon" by Alonso Duralde, The Advocate, June 4, 2007:

"Well, it's June again, and for many cable networks that means it's time to mark Pride Month with a halfhearted rerun of every notable post-1990 queer film they can get their hands on. But leave it to Turner Classic Movies to dig deeply into its vaults for 'Screened Out: Gay Images in Film,' a 44-film series running Mondays and Wednesdays all month long. Based on Richard Barrios's book Screened Out: Playing Gay in Hollywood from Edison to Stonewall, the series offers a varied look at gay characters in American film: from swishy supporting roles (mostly banished from the screen after the Hays Code went into effect) to butch prison matrons to seductive, unscrupulous, exotic inverts of any gender."

For more on this, see the rest of Alonso Duralde's article on The Advocate.

Submissions: Dive Bar Stories Wanted

Published June 07, 2007 Posted By
Tell Us Your Dive Bar Stories
"Barrelhouse is searching for non-fiction about your favorite dive bar, your best or worst dive bar story, the 'I never thought these letters were true until I wound up shirtless drinking shots of Black House with three old men on a Sunday afternoon' kind of dive bar story. It's not really a contest, but the ones we like best will be published in a special section of our next print issue."

Uh...pseudonyms allowed?

For more info, stagger on over to Barrelhouse.

Submissions: Ballyhoo

Published June 06, 2007 Posted By
Ballyhoo Stories: 50 States Project
Ballyhoo is currently "accepting submissions for all states except California, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Ohio, and Indiana. Stories should show a strong representation of the people and culture of the particular state. Stories should be no more than 5,000 words and have the state as either the subject or the setting. Please be sure to read one or two of our current stories for an idea of what we are looking for."

Stop by Ballyhoo for more info: http://www.ballyhoostories.com/

Submissions: New Magazine Feature

Published June 06, 2007 Posted By
War and the Environment: Cause and Effect

The literary anthology, North Atlantic Review, is open to submissions on war and its effect on the environment or the environment and its effects on war. We invite you to write an essay, short story, poem, song, or journal based on personal experience or philosophy. Please keep submissions under 5,000 words. This is a new section of the journal and will be included in future issues.

For more information: North Atlantic Review Submissions

Recess! Funny Times Cartoon Playground

Published June 06, 2007 Posted By

Set aside at least twenty minutes in your day to play on the Funny Times Cartoon Playground where you can create a one- or two-panel comic from preset characters (including a few from the White House), settings, props, and text ballons you fill in yourself. You can then save your masterpiece and allow it to be publicly viewed in the gallery, or keep it private and e-mail it to select recipients.


Just be sure to mind the bell and get back to class on time!

Photography: New Orleans After the Flood

Published June 06, 2007 Posted By
Photography After the Flood
By Nicolaus Mills
Dissent Magazine, Spring 2007

A review and commentary on the photography of Robert Polidori:

"Robert Polidori's photographs of New Orleans challenge our sense of how the world is supposed to look. Cars stand upside down. Uprooted trees rest on houses. In contrast to the familiar photos of bombed-out Hiroshima, where everything but the walls of a few buildings lies flattened on the ground, Polidori's post-flood New Orleans is a collage of random disorder. Nothing is where it should be."

Read the review/commentary and view the photos at Dissent Magazine.

Submissions: Appalachia

Published June 06, 2007 Posted By
"Founded in 1876, Appalachia is the Appalachian Mountain Club's mountaineering and conservation journal, published twice a year in June and December.

Appalachia welcomes nonfiction submissions on the following topics: hiking; trekking; rock climbing; canoeing and kayaking; nature; mountain history and lore; and conservation. We recommend reading a sample issue before submitting materials.

Writers should submit unsolicited material by December 1 for the June issue, and by June 1 for the December issue.

Original poems about the above topics are also welcome. Shorter poems are preferred. Only eight poems are published per issue, which makes this the most competitive section of the journal; on average, one in 50 submissions is accepted."

For more information, visit Appalachia online.
HRIC Supports Campaign to Free Golden Pen of Freedom Recipient Shi Tao
June 05, 2007

"Human Rights in China (HRIC) congratulates imprisoned Chinese journalist Shi Tao and his family on his receiving the 2007 Golden Pen of Freedom on June 4 at the opening ceremony of the World Newspaper Congress (WNC) and World Editors Forum (WEF).

The Golden Pen of Freedom, established in 1961 and awarded by the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers, is an annual award recognizing individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the defense and promotion of press freedom.

Shi Tao's mother, Gao Qinsheng, accepted the award on her son's behalf, thanking everyone for not forgetting Shi Tao, and stating that her son had 'only done what a courageous journalist should do.'"

Read the full article at HRIC.

By Ursula McTaggart from the May/June 2007 issue of Against the Current


"AS A JEWISH child growing up in Nazi-occupied Poland, Irena Klepfisz had parents who taught her only Polish so that she could pass for Aryan and escape the concentration camps. It wasn’t until after the war that she began to learn Yiddish, the language she would try to maintain and revive in her adult work as a poet.


For Klepfisz, then, language has always been intensely political. As a child, language meant life and death, and today, in her work as a professor at Barnard College in New York, Yiddish is a remnant of pre-Holocaust Jewish culture and a sign of hope for the future. But attuned to the political nature of even the language used for communication, Klepfisz also uses her poetic language to call our attention to urgent political issues in our own lives."


Read the rest of the article here: http://www.solidarity-us.org/node/527
THE NEW VERSE NEWS covers the news and public affairs with poems on issues, large and small, international and local. It relies on the submission of poems (especially those of a politically progressive bent) by writers from all over the world.

The editors update the website every day or two with the best work received.

See the website at http://www.newversenews.com for guidelines and for examples of the kinds of poems THE NEW VERSE NEWS publishes.

New Lit on the Block

Published June 05, 2007 Posted By
Greatcoat - A biannual publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, interviews, and photography, the editors of Greatcoat, "being of relatively sound mind and possessed of radically different literary tastes, do hereby relinquish any claim to rational thought, free time, and dreams of profit; in short, we have no illusions about what makes a literary journal successful."

Nano Fiction: A Journal of Short Fiction from the University of Houston, "NANO Fiction is a non-profit literary journal run entirely by undergraduate students at the University of Houston. We plan to publish twice a year, with issues appearing each spring and fall. Our purpose is to share undergraduate work with others in a form that can be easily digested in a short amount of time."
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