Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Quick Poetry Review: Mute by Raymond Luczak

I stumbled into Galludet's Spring issue of the Deaf Studies Digital Journal (http://dsdj.gallaudet.edu/), and discovered several storytellers and poets I didn't know about, one of those being Raymond Luczak who recited a poem from his book Mute

Mute by Raymond Luczak (Midsummer Night's Press, 2010) is a collection of poetry that investigates language, the body, and where love intersects, falls away from, or struggles across those worlds.  

"How to Fall for a Deaf Man" begins the collection and sets up one of the recurring themes in the book, which is to ask the imagined, potential partner (typically a hearing person) to move outside of himself and experience the world in a way that creates shared experiences--shared experiences between the speaker in the poem and the experience the imagined partner does not have:

As you drive home, notice how rhythmic
telephone poles and corner signs are.
Wonder why no one ever thinks of making music
for eyes alone.

Pockets of vivid imagery like this occur across the book while colliding with the subtext that underscores many of the poems, which is how often the voice of the poems has been misunderstood, mistreated, isolated and interrupted by the "you," who is both the hearing partner (or potential partner) and, due to direct address, the reader.  Mute, then, is in some ways the total love poem--for it both understands what is keeping the I and you apart and is, therefore, trying to sew together, poem by poem, experiences and images and memories so that I and you can, as Adrienne Rich writes, 

move openly together
in the pull of gravity, which is not simple,
which carries the feathered grass a long way down the upbreathing air. 
(from II., in Twenty-One Love Poems)

Mute deals with more than just this, for it isn't just a beautiful how-to guide for pointing out the difficulties in loving across two languages; it also responds to the experience of watching friends die, of memories never said to those now gone.  But regardless the focus, the lines are always patient, careful, wondering.  

Overall, Mute is a well constructed collection, and the book itself is built nicely, enjoyable to hold in the hands, and about the size of your back pocket.

Ordering Mute online:
Order Mute from Amazon or the press itself (free shipping via the press, and more royalties to the poet, as always). 

Checking out Mute from your nearest library:
And, as always, check to see what library closest to you has the book available, and if it's not available, ask your librarian to order a copy. 

More about Raymond Luczak:
Visit his website here.  
Luczak recites one of his poems from Mute, "Instructions to Hearing Persons Desiring a Deaf Man" on YouTube.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finalist in Sustainable Arts Foundation Spring Awards

My Henry
Good news, kids:

Out of 900 applicants by artists and writers to the Sustainable Arts Foundation, I was a finalist. Said a juror about my work, "You are an intensely talented young writer and your story was filled with unexpected and unforgettable imagery.”

The Sustainable Arts Foundation's mission is to support artists with children.  Thanks to my son Henry Valentine, I became one such artist.  

For more information about the most fantastic Sustainable Arts Foundation, see http://www.sustainableartsfoundation.org/ 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Missing Time in Lake Effect (Volume 18)

My story "The Missing Time" is now available to read in the most recent issue of the literary journal Lake Effect.  I'm pleased because I especially like this story and because this is my third publication with the journal.  I was lucky to attend AWP in Seattle last weekend and pick up an advance copy.  You should pick up a copy, too.  Here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Looking Out of Broken Windows, Debut Collection

"[Dan] Powell uses surreality and magic – a wheeling-dealing cancer, unborn twins scanning their parents-to-be, a self-starting fire – to illuminate truths with poignancy and humour, paying subtle homage to the short story masters who inspired him, from Kafka to O’Connor and Carver." 

LOOBW cover--Tania Hershman, founding editor of The Short Review

Just a quick note that Dan Powell's debut story collection, Looking Out of Broken Windows, is due out in less than weeks from Salt Publishing.  I'm quite looking forward to reading his work, since I first encountered him several years ago when he'd stumbled across The Floating Order and took the time to write about it.  A few summers ago, Dan contributed to the Summer Library Series that I ran here on What She Might Think.  It seems fitting now to share Dan's childhood reading experience now that it has culminated in his first book.

Please enjoy Dan's piece, "The Library That Delivered."

Learn more about Looking Out of Broken Windows at his webhome.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Minnesota Review Features Excerpt of How the Sun Burns

The Minnesota Review, publisher of my story "How The Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble," is featuring the story on their blog today. The magazine has nominated the story for a Pushcart Prize and is in the process of featuring each of its nominees.  Today is the day for my story, so swing over and have a look, and consider purchasing the issue of the magazine in which the story appears.

The story is the title story for my next collection, How The Sun Burns.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

When the Frost Comes in Crossborder

"Prairie Thaw" by Artotem, used under CC license
The literary journal Crossborder will be publishing my story "When the Frost Comes" in an upcoming issue.  Crossborder is a relatively new journal and is run by Leapfrog Press and Guernica Editions.

"When the Frost Comes" is in my next story collection, How the Sun Burns.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pushcart Nomination: How The Sun Burns, Minnesota Review

Photograph by Marion Doss, used under CC license
Good news! The Minnesota Review has nominated my story "How The Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble" for a Pushcart Prize.  This is the title story of my next story collection, and the third time I've had a story nominated for a Pushcart.

"How The Sun Burns" was published in the Spring 2013 issue of the journal

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Man Walks into a Bar: An Interview about Time, Writing, and What Isn't Revealed

Photo by Mark Kelly, used under CC license
The incredibly generous writer and editor, Michael Noll, is featuring my story "The Midwife" on his website Read to Write Stories.

On Tuesday he featured a writing exercise based on the story, and today's installment is an interview with me in which I discuss why I don't use advertising in a story and some of the problems caused by writing in present tense and how I tend to deal with those.

A man also walks into a bar. Come on over. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Time Present and Time Past: The Midwife is Under Discussion

Photo by Alexis Fam Photography, used under CC license 
Over at Read to Write Stories, Michael Noll is featuring my story "The Midwife" this week in a discussion focused on ways that times moves in the story. Today he has based a writing exercise on it, and on Thursday, you can read an interview with me about some of the story's elements, and other writing-related thoughts.  

"The Midwife" was originally published in Glint literary journal and will be in my next collection, How the Sun Burns.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Million Writers Award Open for Nominations

The 2013 Million Writers Award is open for nominations.

Nominate any short story that was published in an ONLINE -magazine during 2012.

To fill out the nomination form, go here or copy/paste this link into your browser: http://www.storysouth.com/millionwriters/2013-individual-submit.html

Of my stories, "The Midwife" is eligible for nomination. Read the story here, at Glint literary journal.