Friday, April 19, 2013

Minnesota Review Spring 2013: How the Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble

the minnesota review: Spring 2013, Issue 80
My story, "How the Sun Burns among Hills of Rock and Pebble" is published in the Spring 2013 issue of minnesota review, which is now available for purchase (Issue #80).

The story is the title story for my next book, How the Sun Burns, and the story was a finalist in the 2012 Kore Press Short Fiction Award.

It also happens to be one of my favorite stories.

Here is the opening:

But aside from the black crepe ribbons that flap on the white poles of the fair entrance archway, anyone who didn't live in the town last summer or close enough to hear the nightly news or who didn't ask about the luminaries lining the dirt avenue that ran along the fair's midway last night, wouldn't know that a young woman named Helen Greene disappeared from last summer's Agricultural Fair.

To read the rest, order this Spring's edition of minnesota review.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Featured Author on LibraryThing

Evidently I'm one of the two featured authors today on LibraryThing, so that's pretty lovely.  It's also my nephew's birthday.  So, a good day all around.


Featured Authors

Today's featured LibraryThing Authors. Are you an author? Join up!

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Burning Bard: The Great Fires by Jack Gilbert

These Great Fires: 1982-1990 
by Jack Gilbert

This week I read Jack Gilbert for the first time.  The poems I read are from his book The Great Fires.  Gilbert is an excellent poet.  One of our great bards.  I need not read all of his books to know this, to make what may seem like a sweeping claim. But I've read enough dead books to feel when a book is real, when the person's words come from are honest and display the rawness that is right.  No differently than a child can tell when an adult is talking down to her and when an adult is not.

Most every poem has hurt with its vision, but hurt in the way that happens when one finds that someone else has put words on life, held it still long enough to say, Yes, me, too, but this way.

The two poems that so far have shifted the world of words are these: "Guilty" and "Married."  The poem "Guilty" must be read out loud and alone, but here is the other:

(from the anthology Earth-Shattering Poems, edited by Liz Rosenberg--Google Books preview)

Those interested in hearing the man behind the poetry might be interested in the Interview with Jack Gilbert at the Paris Review.  The questions are sometimes inane, but the answers never are.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Poem in Your Pocket: Celebrating National Poetry Month

We're four days into National Poetry Month over here in the United States.  If you know a poet, probably you know that this is the month where most everyone who writes and reads poetry takes the time to encourage the writing and reading of poems in any number of attempts to spread poems like a beautiful virus into the minds of others.  It's the month when readers are allowed to become desperate to find and infect new readers.

There are a number of ways this is done. One, for example, is by overheard transmission: this is when you find yourself in an elevator, on the way to floor 5, and a stranger begins to recite a poem.  Another method is by invitation to listen, or to be part of, a community poetry reading; many of these are recently inspired by the Favorite Poem Project begun by our former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. 

Aside: This is one of my favorite Favorite Poem mini-documentaries: 
undefinedWe Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks
read by John Ulrich
South Boston, MA

Photograph by Ella Novak
used under CC license
This year, a new attempt at trying to grow Reading Culture and sustain poetry into the next century is a pocketed one.  You may never know that someone beside you has a poem in his or her pocket.  But it's true.  And if you ask, you might be given an incredulous look or, better, the poem for your pocket.

Poem in Your Pocket is a recent phenomenon that began in North Carolina, travelled to New York City, and is now spreading into the national scene.    

The Way It Works:
It's pretty self-explanatory. Put a favorite poem in your pocket and carry it about on April 18 (this is Poem-in-a-Pocket day, evidently). Make a copy for your friend's pocket. Then, join in any pocket-poem events near you, or lead one. These are some suggestions from the website:

  • Start a "poems for pockets" give-a-way in your school or workplace
  • Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
  • Post pocket-sized verses in public places (Do this one. Also, it would be good to leave lone pockets about, with poems in them.)
  • Handwrite some lines on the back of your business cards
  • Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
  • Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines
  • Add a poem to your email footer
  • Post a poem on your blog or social networking page
  • Project a poem on a wall, inside or out 
  • Text a poem to friends 
  • If you want to find a new poem that is already pocket-size, then you can select one from the Poem-in-a-Pocket page on

    If today were April 18, I would carry this poem in my pocket: "The Committee Weighs In" by Andrea Cohen.  And I would print a copy for your pocket, too.