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Denise Hill

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Open Book Toronto: What is the best thing about being a poet….and what is the worst?

Janice Tokar: Best two things: the heightened flow state on those rare occasions when a poem catches fire and words spontaneously pour out; the creative and generous people I’ve met through writing. Worst two things: being stuck with a line mid-poem that has the exact right words but the wrong rhythm; the inevitable self-doubt and second-guessing that flutters about after I press SEND.

the rest of the interview on Open Book Toronto, "celebrating and profiles Toronto and Ontario's non-stop literary scene, with a special focus on the books and events produced by Ontario's independent, Canadian-owned publishers."
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Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction published online regularly features insightful craft essays with each issue. With the emphasis on "brief" (under 750 words) nonfiction, the essays allow authors more word count to explore aspects of writing. The May 2014 issue includes "Can You Hear Me Now? How Reading Our Writing Aloud Informs Audiences and Ourselves" by Kate Carroll de Gutes, "The Editor at the Breakfast Table" by Charles J. Shields - a perspective on the need for writers to both seek and be receptive to feedback, and "The Nose Knows: How Smells Can Connect Us to the Past and Lead Us to the Page" by Jeremy B. Jones, in which he explores "how our awareness of the undeniable connection between scent and the past helps us to come upon essays. How might our noses get us to the page?"
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Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their May Short Story Award for New Writers. This competition is held quarterly and is open to all writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation greater than 5000. The next Short Story Award competition will take place in August. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here.

1st place goes to Caro Clark [pictured] of Wakefield, RI. She wins $1500 for “The Kind I Really Am” and her story will be published in Issue 94 of Glimmer Train Stories. This is Caro’s first published story.

2nd place goes to Robert Kirkbride of Chicago, IL. He wins $500 for “These Things.”

3rd place goes to Gaetan Sgro of Chicago, IL. He wins $300 for “We Are All Snowflakes and Cities.”

A PDF of the Top 25 winners can be found here.

Deadline soon approaching! Very Short Fiction Award: July 31
This competition is held quarterly, and 1st place has been increased to $1500 plus publication in the journal. It’s open to all writers, with no theme restrictions, and the word count must not exceed 3000. Click here for complete guidelines.
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Daniel Sperry, a quirky 59-year-old cellist, composer and spoken word artist, from Ashland, Oregon has recently received permission through the Permissions Company of Mount Pocono, PA, on behalf of the William Stafford Family Trust, to undertake a musical body of work with the poetry of William Stafford, America's first poet laureate, as its centerpiece.

The end result of the project is that people will come to a show that is incredibly entertaining, deep, and joyful. Stafford's words are just the vehicle to carry a thread of discovery about life, and the music will carry that feeling. Each member of the audience will leave transformed from the connection to that special quality that comes through the words and through the music. Daniel's mission is to bring that sense of connection that the world needs now, through music and great poetry, sung and played by vibrant, masterful musicians.

Daniel recently completed 200 concerts in living rooms around the country, traveling solo in his 200 Toyota Sienna van, couchsurfing along the way, sharing his original cello music and the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, David Whyte, William Stafford and others. His current catalogue of creative work consists of two spoken word CDs and four instrumental CDs.

The new project focuses on the poetry of Willam Stafford, the reknowned American poet and author of some 20,000 poems. Stafford would have been 100 this year, and his poetry is being celebrated all over the world.

The goal of Daniel's Stafford Project is production of a CD, which will include 12 of Stafford's poems, the formation of a band with four vocalists, three cellos, mandolin, banjo, piano and upright bass and the production of a video featuring the new group. The band will be touring in performing arts centers around the country. This production is being funded by a Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign.

The funding through Kickstarter ends July 31st. The goal is to raise $6000 by then.

The recording will take place both in Nashville, TN, and in Ashland, OR.

Daniel's goal is to make great poetry available as a performance art in a fun, beautiful, entertaining setting that can be enjoyed by an audience of all ages.

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Amy Stolls. Photo by Carrie Holbo
Amy Stolls, author of the Palms to the Ground and The Ninth Wife, former literature professor at American University, and environmental journalist covering the Exxon Valdez oil spill, has been appointed Director of Literature of the National Endowment for the Arts. Stolls has served as acting director since May 2013, and has been with the NEA literature office since 1998.

Stolls says of her appointment: "To be part of the literary community—that passionate, wonderful lot of writers, teachers, publishers, editors, presenters, librarians, translators, and more who work tirelessly on behalf of books and reading—is an honor. To be in a position to help this community is a gift. I have always believed deeply in the NEA’s mission; I look forward to carrying out that mission as best I can in my new role.”

Read more on NEA News.
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James Duncan's blog post Dear Editor, Dear Writer, PLEASE STOP! should be required reading for every writer sending out works for publication, for every publication accepting and rejecting writing, for every teacher, every student - cripes! JUST EVERYBODY PLEASE READ THIS!

A well-published author himself as well as an editor, Duncan has learned the intimacy of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the relationship between editors and writers - either having experienced it himself or having heard about it from others. His insight goes well beyond the response times and cover letter content. Such issues as editors giving rude rejections and ("on the flip side" for each topic) writers responding rudely to rejection, extraneous e-mails from both editors and writers, complicated guidelines and writers not following guidelines, closing submissions and over submitting, and many more such issues.

I've already had a side conversation with Duncan about one of his issues here, and we agree, there are some tough lines to walk in our business of writing and publishing. It would seem much of his advice is common sense and common courtesy. But it's not that easy when new writers are trying to learn the publishing arena, and new editors likewise - or even established writers and editors wondering what they're "doing wrong" or how to improve their professionalism. For all these reasons and more, Duncan's essay should be the go-to guidelines for all writers and editors.

The Book Map

July 29, 2014
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Created by the artists of Dorothy, The Book Map is an artistic rendition of a street map made up from the titles of over 600 books from the history of English Literature. The Map includes classics such as Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Bleak House, Vanity Fair and Wuthering Heights as well as 20th and 21st Century works such as The Waste Land, To the Lighthouse, Animal Farm, Slaughterhouse 5, The Catcher in the Rye, The Wasp Factory, Norwegian Wood and The Road.

The Map, which is loosely based on a turn of the century London street map also includes fictional areas dedicated to the works of Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Tolkien, Harry Potter and a children's literature district featuring such classics as The Railway Children, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Where the Wild Things Are. There's an A-Z key at the base of the Map listing all the books featured along with the author's name and the date first published.
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No kidding. New Balance has announced a line of shoes called the "Authors Collection," with color schemes inspired by American novelists and their works. Reminiscent of old hardback book covers, the styles are "earthy" in their color schemes. Almost more fun than the shoes is reading the comments on this new line from Twitter feeds:

JamesAllder: "I guess these shoes are designed for writers. On behalf of all writers, may I just say that we write in our socks. Thanks for thinking of us, though."

aarontpratt: "Nothing quite says 'I'm a casual yet cultured 30- or 40-something male' like these. Reading Hemingway while grilling steaks, etc."

JenHoward "Kickin' it with Papa." & "This is why we need English majors!"
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"Gabo the man is now gone, but the power of his words and the beauty of his vision remain with the millions who treasure them. For a fiction writer of his stature, we would have to look back to the nineteenth century, when Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo could spin out novels that thundered artfully and passionately at social injustice and brimmed with humane compassion, winning the hearts of millions in the process." — Gene H. Bell-Villada, Against the Current

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