Monday, February 28, 2011

ISO Submissions about the Darker Emotions...Obsessions & Anger/Revenge

Here are two calls for submissions that tap into the less pretty side of human nature:

Obsessions and Compulsions. We seek additional poems for an anthology project we started five years ago. Now that we’re gearing up again to complete the project and propose it to more publishers, we’d like more material to consider. What are you obsessed with in your poetry writing? What are you compelled to write about over and over? What subjects show up again and again across a wide body of work? The weirder the better. The National Enquirer? George Clooney? Psycho? Tattoos? Half-chewed cough drops from your grandmother’s purse? Broken rake handles in the cow barn? Artificial legs? Clam chowder? The ghost waiter at Cafe du Monde? Surprise us, delight us, and scare us with yourobsessions and compulsions. (We do not want to see poems about ex-lovers. We have enough already.)

Those accepted will be asked to contribute an additional short essay later that explains why their subject matters so much to them and why it’s important to write obsessively and compulsively about it.

E-mail attachments preferred. Send several poems about your obsessive,compulsive subject (so we can see just how obsessed you are) to Stephen Powers and Michalene Mogensen at

Deadline: May 31st

Snail mail (with SASE for response) should be sent to:
Dr. Stephen Powers,
Gordon College
419 College Drive
Barnesville, GA 30204


Postmark Deadline: March 16, 2011

For an upcoming issue, Creative Nonfiction is seeking new essays about anger and revenge, true tales of frustration and retribution, long-buried memories of outrage and reprisal--or the absence of either. We're looking for stories that explore the lost art of the thoughtful diatribe, illustrate the beauty of the lyrical barb, invent elaborate secret plots, and generally don't play well with others.

Essays must be vivid and dramatic; they should combine a strong and compelling narrative with a significant element of research or information, and reach for some universal or deeper meaning in personal experiences. We're looking for well-written prose, rich with detail and a distinctive voice.

Creative Nonfiction editors will award $1,000 for Best Essay and $500 for runner-up.

For more information, go here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Work in Progress: 10 Writing Tips I Wish I Would Follow

Here are some pieces of good advice that have come my way that I would like to follow. So why don’t I? Maybe, now that I can see it all in writing, I will...

1. When you print out your story/essay/etc. to revise it, put it in Courier font so it looks less “finished.”

2. Don’t put up barriers to your work time and space—i.e. “I can only work in the early morning; I can only work when it’s perfectly quiet,” etc. Look for ways to do the work even if the conditions are imperfect.

3. When you’re thinking about a large project like a novel, keep a scrapbook of items (items = any way you chose to interpret that word, i.e. articles, ticket stubs, menus, brochures, pictures) for all the main characters…then never look at that scrapbook again as you write.

4. Start each writing day by reading a poem.

5. Memorize a poem a week.

6. Keep an ongoing list of interesting words.

7. Make a spreadsheet for your submissions. (Okay, I know why I don’t follow this one—because I don’t want to learn Excel. And what’s so awful about little pen scribbles on index cards?)

8. Write about the thing(s) that scare you most.

9. Write as if the people you worry about reading the work are dead.

10. Don’t always be so anal and linear and literal—i.e. feel free to not force “10 tips” when there are actually only 9. (Haha—can you tell that I just made this one up?)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Link Corral: Biography, Submission Fees, and the Gatsby Movie

This new blog looks interesting, written by Charles J. Shields, Kurt Vonnegut’s biographer.

On convincing Vonnegut to say yes to the biography:

"I offered myself as Vonnegut’s biographer in July 2006. I had heard he was miffed, that no biography of him existed. In my first letter to him, I came on strong.

"His response was cool. A week after my letter to him, I received a large sketch of him smoking a cigarette. “A most respectful demurring by me,” read the caption, “for the excellent writer, Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer.”

On trying to navigate AWP as a biographer in a world of poets, fiction writers, and memoirists:

"Related to this fascination with self was agreement by panelists in two other sessions that they don’t know the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Nor does it matter. James Frey (A Million Little Pieces) was spoken of with reverence. So what if he made-up entire episodes for his supposedly real-life experiences? But then would Kerouac’s On the Road be a novel, or a memoir, artfully arranged for maximum effect and meaning? I don’t know."

Read more at Writing Kurt Vonnegut.

Writer Nick Kocz’s blog Ridiculous Words is also worth checking out. Here, he writes about submission fees:

“Putting aside the question of whether it’s ethical to set up pay hurdles for writers, I worry about the eventual aesthetic consequences. When editors start looking at submissions as revenue-generators, it changes in a very fundamental way the function of the end-product journal.”

Read the rest of this post:

Read the blog: Ridiculous Words

Thanks to Philip for sending along this information about the new Gatsby movie:

“What some consider The Great American Novel is now set to get the Great American Multiplex treatment, as director Baz Luhrmann's upcoming big screen version of "The Great Gatsby" will be filmed in 3D -- and in Australia.”

Oh, ugh. If you must read more:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Food Authors to Speak at WNBA Event

Here’s an event that looks interesting, hosted by the Washington Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA):

What's Eating You?

When: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: The Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street NW, Washington, DC
Who: All WNBA Members and Friends
Cost: FREE and open to the public!

The Washington D.C. chapter of WNBA will be sponsoring a panel discussion by local nationally renown authors on cooking and eating for good health on February 24, 2011 at Georgetown Library, 3260 R Street N.W. Washington D.C. from 6:30-8:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to RSVP contact Trudy Loo at

The panel will be moderated by, Washington Post Deputy Food Editor, Bonnie Benwick. She will be discussing with leading cookbook authors; Teri Cochrane, Wenonah Hauter, Sheilah Kaufman and Louisa Peat O'Neil ways in which food and how we consume it impact on health and well being.

Teri Cochrane is the owner and founder of Healing Paths, an integrative nutrition and wellness counseling practice, based in suburban Washington, D.C. She has helped clients from all over the country overcome a variety of chronic conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, food allergies, gastrointestinal problems, as well as achieve their weight management goals through her unique approach. She received her B.S. from the University of Florida. She is a graduate of American Health Science University, and the Upledger Institute. She is a Certified Nutritionist, Family Herbalist and Certified Coach Practitioner. She is member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners (IAHP), American Herbalist Guild, and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. In addition to her private practice, she teaches and lectures on a variety of topics, including introducing nutrition to children. She loves the outdoors; is an avid runner and hiker; and practices Yoga.

Wenonah Hauter is the Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. She has worked extensively on energy, food, water and environmental issues at the national, state and local level. Experienced in developing policy positions and legislative strategies, she is also a skilled and accomplished organizer, having lobbied and developed grassroots field strategy and action plans. From 1997 to 2005 she served as Direcotr of Public Citizen, Energy, and Environment Program which focused on water, food, and energy policy from 1996 to 1997. Hauter was environmental policy director for Citizen Action, where she worked with the organization's 30 state-based groups. From 1989 to 1995 she was at the Union of Concerned Scientists where as a senior organizer, she coordinated broad-based, grassroots sustainable energy campaigns in several states. She has an M.S. in Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland.

Sheilah Kaufman has earned a name for herself as a "chef extraordinaire" with her uniquely refreshing, creative yet practical approach that demystifies gourmet cooking." For the past 40 years, under the banner of "Fearless Fussless," She has been crisscrossing the country demystifying cooking and teaching "fearless fussless, easy ways to elegant cooking" to all ages. Her recipes are user friendly and simple, unique, and loaded with hints and tips. As a traveling cooking teacher, Kaufman teaches classes at Cooks Warehouse; Sur La Table; Kitchen Affairs; Publix; for organizations such as Hadassah, Federation, Brandeis Women, THIS, and Welcome to Washington. She has done programs for The Smithsonian, which included Sephardic Israeli Cuisine and several programs on Turkish Cuisine for Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. In addition, Kaufman is a food editor, freelance food writer and culinary lecturer. She is an active member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and a ADD Founding member of IACP. The author of 26 cookbooks Kaufman is also often a guest on TV and radio shows.

Louisa Peat O'Neil, a former Washington Post writer, is the author of Travel Writing: See the World-Sell the Story and other books. O'Neil's short fiction, travel and culinary journalism and essays appear in numerous print and online publications. Pyrénées Pilgrimage, about her solo walk across France, was released in June 2010 and is available online in print and Kindle versions through An award winning writing instructor, O'Neil has led writing workshops at several Washington, DC institutions, including Georgetown, GWU, NOVA and the USDA Graduate School. She has taught food writing workshops for L'Academie de Cuisine and the Smithsonian Resident Associates, as well as at UCLA. She has been an adjunct professor in UCLA's journalism program since 1997, teaching travel and food writing and nature writing. Her UCLA online travel-writing course starts April 7, 2011. O'Neil works in the Office of eDiplomacy at the U.S. Department of State as an advisor for Web 2.0 and new media programs. She was educated at Georgetown, the University of Toronto, Antioch University School of Law, National Defense University and the Corcoran College of Art. Her blogs include:,,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Cheesesteak Wars

We were in Philly and had to judge for ourselves: Pat’s vs. Geno’s.

And the winner is…Pat’s, still “the king of steaks.” Better bread, better Cheez Whiz, more onions. And yes, we skipped dinner that night after that bit of important research.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guest in Progress: Kathleen Nalley's "Starving Artist"

I have a fondness for villanelles—even more so when I learned here that “the villanelle incarnates obsession in a poem," obsession being, well, one of my obsessions—so of course I sat up a little straighter at the Converse Low-Residency MFA Program student reading when poet Kathleen Nalley announced that the next poem she was reading was a villanelle…about the creative life!

I loved it, and I’m so pleased that she agreed to let me post it on my blog. I hope that all of us busy “balancing art and job” can find some inspiration for our way through that messy thicket.

Kathleen is a fabulous poet and a commanding reader with a big, bold, commanding voice—literally and metaphorically. I mean this in the best way; there’s no choice but to listen to her words when she’s at that podium. (She confessed to me that she’s nervous when she reads to an audience, but I promise no one would suspect that; she’s a great reader.) And excellent news: Kathleen recently found out that her new chapbook will be published in October—yay!

Starving Artist
By Kathleen Nalley

Whether you wield pen, brush or Stratocaster,
you can either bow down to Money or Muse.
After all, you can serve only one master.

Balancing art and job could lead to disaster.
Satisfy mortgage or fill the soul: choose
your weapon — pen, brush or Stratocaster.

Expected to climb the corporate ladder faster,
networking when you want to be recluse,
knowing you can serve only one master.

While resting, your mind wanders ever vaster;
each idea, its own energy, your brain, a fuse
no matter you wield pen, brush or Stratocaster.

Around the cubicles, you spin on casters
from meeting to meeting; you can’t help feeling used;
obvious you can serve only one master.

To reach your goals, you must know what you’re after:
making a living and living can’t be confused.
Whether you wield pen, brush or Stratocaster,
you can serve only one master.

About: Kathleen Nalley currently works as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the College of Business and Behavioral Science at Clemson University. She received her undergraduate degree in literature from the University of South Carolina and studied poetry under James Dickey. She took a 16-year hiatus from creative writing, spending most of her career as a magazine editor and corporate marketing executive. A poetry workshop at Clemson University re-ignited her passion for writing, prompting her to enter the Converse College low-residency MFA program. A third-semester student, Kathleen's manuscript, Nesting Doll, was recently selected by Kwame Dawes as a winner of the S.C. Poetry Initiative's 6th Annual Chapbook Competition. It is forthcoming October 2011.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No-Fee Short-Short Contest and Essay Contest for DC-area Writers

Here’s a no-fee short-short fiction contest that looks good:

The Bevel Summers Prize for the Short Short Story

The Bevel Summers Prize in the Short Short Story is open to all authors of stories of up to 1,000 words. Stories should be sent to Bevel Summers/Shenandoah, Mattingly House, 2 Lee Ave., Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450 and must be received by March 31.

Send two copies, one with name and contact information, including e-mail address, and a duplicate with no identifying information, along with an sase for notification. The winner will receive a $250 prize and be featured prominently on Shenandoah's first online issue. There is no entry fee for the 2011 contest. A judge has not yet been selected.


And here’s an essay contest for local folks…but get cracking! The deadline is 2/25!

Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazine Writing Contest

The Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazine celebrate local writers at the Bethesda Literary Festival with a writing contest.

The deadline is approaching. Submissions must be e-mailed by February 25th. The essay contest is open to residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and is broken into adult and young adult categories. The short story contest is open to residents of Montgomery County, MD and Upper NW Washington, D.C., and is also broken into adult and young adult categories.

For more contest rules and details, and to read more about the fabulous prizes (including Writer’s Center gift certificates and publication in Bethesda Magazine), check their website:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Submit: Students, Poets Over 50, Poets in the DMV

Here are some specialized submission opportunities for:
1. Grad/undergrad students
2. Poets over 50
3. Poets in the DC area


The Charles Johnson Student Fiction Award from Southern Illinois University Carbondale is an annual award competition intended to encourage increased artistic and intellectual growth among students, as well as reward excellence and diversity in creative writing. Each year, $1000 and a signed copy of a Charles Johnson book will be awarded to the winner. The winning entry will also be published in the Winter/Spring issue of CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW. The award is co-sponsored by Charles Johnson, CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW, and the SIUC Department of English and College of Liberal Arts.

The award competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled full- or part-time in a U.S. college or university. There is no entry fee. Entrants may only submit one story. All entries will be screened by published and accomplished writers and editors. The award winner will be selected by Charles Johnson. Finalists must meet all contest guidelines and be able to verify their status as students. (Evidence of current enrollment: a xeroxed copy of a grade transcript, a class schedule or receipt of payment of tuition showing your full- or part-time status for the Spring 2011 semester. The name of the institution and its address must be clear. Please indicate the name of the department of your major field of study.)

Submit one unpublished short story, no longer than 20 pages in length. All entries must be typed double-spaced. Please type or print full name, complete address, phone number, e-mail address, and name of college or university attending on a cover page for the manuscript. Cover letters are not required. Submissions must be postmarked in February 2011. Entries will not be returned, and we are unable to provide feedback on the entries. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but the contest director must be informed immediately if a story is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for notification of contest results. If you would like confirmation that the manuscript has been received, please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard as well. The winner will be announced in September 2011 on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale website:

Mail entries (with a self-addressed stamped envelope) to:
Allison Joseph
Charles Johnson Student Fiction Award
English Department– Mail Code 4503
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
1000 Faner Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901

You may e-mail questions or comments to . Electronic submissions and faxes are not accepted.

2. 2011 Passager Poetry Contest FOR WRITERS OVER 50
Submit work: September 1, 2010 - April 15, 2011 (postmarked date)

Winner receives $500 and publication.
Honorable mentions will also be published.
Reading fee: $20, check or money order payable to Passager
Reading fee includes a one-year, two-issue subscription to Passager.

Submit 5 poems, 40 lines max. per poem
Introduce yourself with a cover letter and brief bio.Include name and address on every page.
Include a Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope (SASE) for notification of winners.
Poems will not be returned.
No previously published work.
Simultaneous submissions to other journals are okay, but please notify us if the work is accepted elsewhere.
No email submissions, please!

If you need more information, send us an email: , or call: 410.837.6047.

Send all submissions to:
1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-5779

3. poetry contest for DC/MD/VA residents
Deadline: March 11, 2011

First Place: $500
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $150
Winners will be honored at a special event during the Bethesda Literary Festival, held April 15-17, 2011. Winning poems will also be posted on the Bethesda Urban Partnership Web site.

Poems cannot be more than 21 lines of text. Do not double space your entry. Only one entry per person. Poems must be original work. Poems containing material that is obscene or objectionable will be disqualified.

Contest open to residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia and are 18 or older at the time of entry. Current and former employees, contractors, and officers of Bethesda Urban Partnership, their immediate family members, and those living in the same domicile therewith are ineligible. Current students, relatives, or close friends of the judge are also ineligible.

Submissions must be sent by email as Microsoft Word documents to (replace (at) with @ in sending e-mail). All entries must include a cover page with the author's full name, mailing address, phone number and email address. Submissions without this info will be disqualified.

All entrants retain the copyrights that they have in the poems they submit, but by participating in this contest, all entrants grant Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) the rights, license, and ability to use and publish all submitted poems (in complete or excerpted form) on the BUP web site, on other Web sites and in other media.

The poetry contest will be juried by Michele Wolf. Michele Wolf is the author of Immersion, selected by Denise Duhamel for the Hilary Tham Capital Collection, published by The Word Works.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sick as a Dog & Linked Stories

Yes, cough, cough…I shook hands with a germy poet or the cough drop scented waitress infected me or whatever, but I have the so-called AWP Plague. Regular posting will resume next week when I emerge from my DayQuil/NyQuil haze and am feeling fit as a fiddle (sorry for the clichés, but I can’t think clearly!).

In the meantime, please check out this great discussion of linked stories written by my friend Dylan Landis:

“I began rereading linked collections, among them Harriet Doerr’s Stones for Ibarra, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Elissa Schappell’s Use Me, and Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich, to see what I didn’t know. Sometimes, when you are in dire need of a craft lesson, one book opens itself up like a flower for your inspection, and for me, that book was Love Medicine. It revealed that stories can be crocheted together so intricately and dimensionally that they form a kind of lacework.

“It made my own linked stories look like a child’s paper chain.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

AWP Wrap-Up

Whew…I’m still not recovered from the big conference, but if I don’t write this up now, I probably never will, especially since I have a ton of work ahead and am on the edge of getting sick, the denial stage. (Those dang germy writers! Still, better this than bedbugs, right?)

So, some random highlights of my AWP experience. (I’m going to use quotation marks, but it’s all sort of a paraphrase, based on my scribbled notes, so I apologize in advance for any errors.)—

Maybe I’m getting good at this, because I didn’t go to a single dud panel! Nothing was endured, only enjoyed, and here are a few snippets from my notebook:

--in a panel about the nonfiction writer’s persona, Sherry Simpson discussed refraction, “what is the thing outside myself that I can use to tell the story…speak to that, that passion, not the passion about the self.”

--as Michael Downs put it, in a panel about shaping memoir, the challenge is “trying to write about a problem in my life without writing about me.”

--alas, several of the planned readers in the discussion about Moby-Dick (was this organized for me?!!) were absent due to weather, but I was so impressed with Dan Beachy-Quick that I had to race down to the bookfair to buy his book, A Whaler’s Dictionary. His experience with Moby-Dick was transformative: “Every question I know how to ask, this book has shown me how to ask.” His defense of Moby-Dick as a book that ultimately does address race was eloquent and convincing, and he reminded us that “the only way to judge something is to step into the squall.” Sigh. I could have listened to him talk about Moby-Dick all day long.

--Speaking of obsession…the panel on obsession was also interesting. Though, again, someone I really wanted to hear was snowed in (Lan Samantha Chang), I really enjoyed Peter Turchi’s take on obsession related to process: “resist the temptation to reach the end, to through, rather than to deliberately dwell” within the work. And C.J. Hrbal spoke about form and obsession, alluding to the artist Eugene Delacroix who said, “What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.” All very inspiring.

--But the prize for inspiration goes to Richard Bausch, my former teacher at Bread Loaf, who simply was his own fabulous self, in conversation with Jennifer Haigh, who wisely held the reins loosely. We were treated to Barry Hannah anecdotes, jokes, stories, and enough writing wisdom to fill a castle: “if you’re confused, it’s normal…if you don’t have that doubt, you probably don’t have talent”; on spending a year reading everything by Dickens—“don’t read books, read writers”; on writers—"you are not different in kind than anyone who ever sat down to write…you are the same kind of person that Shakespeare was.” He suggested watching Cool Hand Luke for great dialogue, and reminded us that “the movies are trying to do what we [fiction writers] do every day.” And finally, the only question the writer ever has to ask him/herself: “Did I write today?” Doesn’t matter if the output was good or crap…as long as the answer to that question was “yes.” Again, sigh. I could listen to him all day!

It’s different having a conference like this in my own town, as the food situation didn’t end up being as intense as it often is. Still, some good meals:

--I must confess that it was a treat to eat at McDonald’s, something I would never do in my real life unless I were on a road trip. Hard to beat those fries!

--Speaking of fries, I had AMAZING fries at a humble little diner-type restaurant on Connecticut Avenue, Woodley Café. (Boy, these reviews are mean! Maybe I didn’t have very high expectations, as it’s just a modest place and it was swamped by writers, so the service was a bit slow but well-meaning. Anyway, the fries were great and the tomato-basil soup and reuben sandwich were excellent.)

--Lamb shank special at Perry’s…yum! And we were lucky enough to get to sit at a table with couches, which felt very decadent.

--Tapas at Jaleo were as expected: stunning. This is one of my favorite places in DC, and always a crowd-pleaser and a good value. But it was sort of creepy that our server had lost her voice so had to whisper and smelled of cough drops.

--And the only thing that could get me to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant was the chance to spend more time with the fabulous editors/writers of The Sun Magazine…but I actually enjoyed the spicy food at Etete restaurant. (The honey wine, less so.) I had been planning on an early night, but found a way to rally.

--I escaped the conference to meet up with my husband and some friends at The Gibson, a craft cocktail place that had a line of 25 people at 6pm. Worth it!

Journals & Bookfair & Random Events
The bookfair was overwhelming, as always, so I tried to focus on publications that I might not know as well as some of the biggies, so, among others, I ended up with copies of Upstreet, Camera Obscura, Sycamore Review, Fairy Tale Review, The Los Angeles Review, and PMS. Very nice not to have to worry about shoving everything into a suitcase and dealing with an airport.

I would have to say that if I were a poet, I would submit to Autumn Hill Press, the Beloit Poetry Journal, and Carolina Wren Press, the editors of which were all incredibly nice to me. (Okay, my sister was working at the Carolina Wren Press table, so I may have had an in. But they have beautiful books and clearly do a great job of taking care of their writers.)

Sad lesson learned: No matter how comfortable you think those heels are, you just have to go flat shoes for any significant time in the bookfair.

Bought a Gatsby T-shirt from Hamline University and a coffee mug from The Rumpus: Write Like a Mother-F~ker, which my husband promptly claimed for his own.

Speaking of Fitzgerald, I didn’t know that Melville House published an edition of his 1920 novella, May Day: “a tale of the brutalities of the American class system.”

Finally, a heartfelt thank you to The Sun Magazine for inviting me to participate in such a wonderful and moving reading…and for having such a loyal readership who packed the house on a rainy night. Thanks to all who attended.

Oh, there’s so much more...but I don’t remember it now! Anyway, here I am, inspired and exhausted, eager for next year’s gathering in Chicago! And if you want more, here are two great wrap-ups:
Sandra Beasley
Kristin Berkey-Abbott

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Off to AWP, But Don't Forget My Reading with The Sun Magazine!

***AWP-goers: Do be sure to check out poet/memoirist Sandra Beasley's great guide to the neighborhoods around the AWP hotels: She'll tell you about restaurants, bars, and the closest liquor stores!

Well, I’m headed off to the AWP Conference with 7,000 writers—or however many have found a way to get here despite the massive snowstorm wreaking havoc everywhere but here. As a reminder, I’ll be reading an essay with other writers and editors from The Sun magazine: Krista Bremer, Lee Martin, and Heather Sellers, along with founder and editor Sy Safransky.

Here's a tiny preview of what I'll be reading, from an essay about Robb, my first husband who died:

“Recently, while working on her memoir about Robb, my husband’s mother e-mailed to ask if I knew when he had first read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the famous novel about European colonialism in Africa. Robb had taken a life-changing trip to Kenya in college, a year before I met him, and she thought that Heart of Darkness might have been on the reading list for the class. She remembered it as Robb’s “favorite book.”

“I remember differently.”

Logistical details:

Saturday, February 5, 2011
7:30 -8:30 PM

Go Mama Go!
(You'll find the theatre space through the store)
1809 14th St NW
(between S St & Swann St)
Washington, DC 20009
(U Street metro station)

This reading is open to all, whether you’re registered for AWP or not, though I hear that seating is limited, so don’t be late!

Blogging will resume sometime next week, after I recover.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mark Your Calendar for Conversations & Connections

This popular one-day conference will be back in DC on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Special guest speaker will be Steve Almond, author of Candyfreak and My Life in Heavy Metal, among others. He’s a great reader, asmart guy, and DEFINITELY a very big personality…not to be missed!

Details are being finalized, but this conference always sells out, so plan accordingly. More information:

Speak...and Win $1000 from the Missouri Review

An intriguing contest:

The Missouri Review announces its annual Audio Competition

$1,000 prize in each category

Prizes will be awarded for high-quality recordings of poets and writers reading their work and for audio documentaries on any subject. Winners and select runners-up will be featured on our website. All entrants receive a one-year subscription to The Missouri Review.

Deadline: March 15th

Entries should be sent by mail and must include a CD or DVD, entry form, entry fee, and author bio. For full details and to download an entry form, please see our website:


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.