#ArtLitPhx: Piper Writers Studio Fall 2017 Courses

Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU is proud to offer creative writing classes through the Piper Writers Studio. Classes are taught by acclaimed and award-winning writers from the community, and they cover topics such as memoir writing, the relationship between art and writing, contemporary poetry, the relationship between politics and poetry, the reveal of information, inspiration, writer’s block, intimacy, flash fiction, and fairy tales.

The classes and workshops offered in Fall 2017 are the following:

Classes are open to individuals of all backgrounds, skill levels, and experiences, and are designed to fit around the schedules of working adults (taking place weekday evenings or weekend afternoons). Most classes are held at the Piper Writers House, the historic President’s Cottage on the ASU Tempe Campus. 
Class sizes range between 8 and 12 students in order to ensure an intimate, individualized educational experience, and fees range from $50 to  $250 (with discounts for students and individuals who are members of the Piper Circle of Friends). Classes can also qualify for professional development credit with the Arizona Department of Education. Individuals can register for classes through the Piper Center’s website, where they can also find more information about the courses.

Newsletter 11/4

“Superstition

11.4.16


Rigoberto Gonzalez Poetry Reading on ASU Tempe Campus

Rigoberto GonzalezRigoberto Gonzalez, acclaimed poet and Superstition Review contributor, will be reading from his work in the Memorial Union Pima Auditorium (MU 230), on ASU’s Tempe campus, Monday Nov. 7th at 7:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A book signing will follow.

Gonzalez is the author four books of poetry. Unpeopled Eden, his most recent, was awarded the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He is the recipient of Guggenheim, NEA and USA Rolón fellowships, a NYFA grant in poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award. Currently he is a professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, and has earned graduate degrees from the University of California, Davis, and Arizona State University.

The event will be hosted by the Department of English and Creative Writing Program at ASU, along with the Humanities Division of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

 

 

 


13 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writer’s Block

HemingwayWith National Novel Writing Month in full swing, it’s a good time to reflect on the writing process, whether you plan to pen a novel in 30 days or not. Famous authors, from Hemingway to Angelou, give their tips on how to avoid the dreaded writer’s block and keep on writing.

From walking, to having a good shave, to just stopping when you really get going, writers will always have a creative way to increase productivity and get words on the page.

Read all 13 authors’ advice here.

 

 

 

 

 


25 Books to Help You Understand America in 2016

James Baldwin2016 has been a year replete with anxiety and trepidations about the future. In a political climate and society thriving off so much division, books can provide a way to understand and work through important issues.

Penguin Random House lists 25 books to help readers to be better and more informed people in 2016. From classics works of literature from James Baldwin and Raymond Carver, to excellent works of non-fiction on issues such as climate, democracy, and liberty, there’s a lot for readers to take in.

In tumultuous times, it’s helpful to remember that F. Scott Fitzgerald quote, “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

See all 25 books here.

 

 

 


The Book Nerd’s Guide to Prioritizing Your To-Read List

Book NerdFor many readers, the realization that there are so many good books and not enough time to read them can be a daunting one. Piles of books take over nightstands and coffee tables, and soon the to-read list grows so long it feels hopeless. Luckily the Book Nerd over at Barnes and Noble has a few tips on better prioritizing the books you want to read.

What are your reading goals this year? What are your reading commitments, book clubs, etc.? How are you feeling, do you need a good laugh? Will the newest season of your favorite show be up on Netflix before you’ve gotten to that point in the book series? These are all questions that help whittle down your reading list so you can spend less time deciding and more time reading.

See all the tips here.


Featured Partner: The Florida Review

The Florida Review

The Florida Review is seeking submissions to the 2017 Jeanne L. Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award. The deadline for all submissions is December 30, 2016.

The Jeanne L. Leiby Award is given to the single best prose manuscript entry in Fiction, Essay, or Graphic Narrative. In addition to publication, the winner will also receive $1000. Second place will receive tuition at Sanibel Island Writers Conference and a selection of the entry considered for publication in The Florida Review.

Visit our submissions guidelines for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Featured Partner: Nimrod Journal 

NimrodNimrod International Journal announces the 39th Annual Nimrod Literary Awards: The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. The Awards offer first prizes of $2,000 and publication, and second prizes of $1,000 and publication.

For poetry, submit 3-10 pages (one long poem or several short poems); for fiction, one short story, 7,500 words maximum. Include a cover sheet with titles of the works and the author’s name, address, phone, and email. The author’s name should not appear on the manuscript. Entry fee: $20 (includes a one-year subscription). Postmark deadline: April 30th. Complete rules: https://nimrod.utulsa.edu/awards.html.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Featured Partner: The Los Angeles Review

Amy HassingerNew! from Red Hen Press

After the Dam – Amy Hassinger

Available where books are sold

“This book does what my favorite books always do: grab the reader with tautness and fierce intelligence, so that even the quiet drama of it gets pulled into the page-turning qualities of the narrative. I could say, Read this book. Instead I’ll say, Start this book. You won’t stop reading until its terrific ending.”

—Leigh Allison Wilson, author of Wind and From the Bottom Up

“Forces of nature—big water and big love—come together in this unforgettable literary page-turner. Amy Hassinger has woven a tale out of the very earth where the Ojibwe live. Her protagonist—Rachel—is a lover, mother, and activist, a woman of our time on a hero’s journey toward wholeness.”

—Patricia Henley, author of Hummingbird House, finalist for the National Book Award

 

 

 

 

 


Featured Partner: Post Road

Post Road

Guest Post, Charles Rafferty: Maxims and Observations on the Writing Life

Compression is achieved by leaving things out — useless details, obvious emotions. This is why I prefer espresso. Its blackness tells me there is just enough water. Consider the following maxims and observations on writing to be fifty cups of espresso:

  1. On the need to write every day: No one can shoot a nickel off the back of a galloping ox with just one bullet. The most one bullet will get you is a dead ox.
  2. On mistakes: There is a kind of progress we make when we trip and fall forward.
  3. The eye can see only by continuing to blink. This is an argument for stopping work when a poem gets stubborn and ceases to improve. Time in a dark drawer is always time well-spent.
  4. The critic has the blueprints, but the poet builds the palace.
  5. On my former aversion to prose poems: I used to think of them as mules — sterile hybrids. Now, I see the prose poem as a euglena — that cutthroat survivor with a foot in two kingdoms.
  6. There are works that I’m ashamed to have not read, and there are those that merely embarrass me. This is the difference between the greatness of the past and the enthusiasm of the present.
  7. Certain scenes are awkward because the characters don’t play well together — they are like dolls of different scales pushed into the same tea party.
  8. The painter with chopped-off hands will learn to sing better than the writer with inherited pitch.
  9. A good book should stay with you at least as long as your average tick bite. Reading it should make you itch.
  10. In a forest, the best poets think of axe handles and violins.
  11. On revisions: Don’t treat first drafts too preciously. Nobody carves a log before pushing it into the fireplace.
  12. Distancing yourself emotionally from the subject matter of your stories is important. But there’s a point at which the faces grow indistinct and we cease to have any stake in who dies or falls in love.
  13. On the popularity of confessional poems: The mirror always answers.
  14. The painter would make different choices if he began instead with a black canvas.
  15. On poems that refuse to get finished: It can be like carving your initials into the sea or digging up the shadow of your favorite spruce.
  16. I’m the kind of person who takes more pleasure in the novel he burned than he does in the novel he’s trying to finish. The former, at least, provides a good anecdote at a cocktail party.
  17. On the critic who tries to advance the careers of his friends by writing favorable reviews they don’t deserve: The dog is the planet to his fleas.
  18. On the charge of strangeness: The world is my materials. I won’t apologize for my materials.
  19. On ambition: Climbing the mountain doesn’t bring the stars any closer.
  20. Extra syllables at the end of a poem are like a squeaky piano stool as the final notes of a symphony try to evaporate.
  21. The dictionary is an anthology of one-word poems, footnotes included.
  22. A sonnet is a jail that lets us in.
  23. On the influence of dead poets: The wake of a swan continues long after it has taken flight.
  24. Trusting a poem is our first mistake. Living as if we had not read it is our second.
  25. That a poem means is more important than what a poem means.
  26. On obscurity: Poets in America are fourth magnitude stars, and everyone’s night vision has been ruined by sitcoms and football.
  27. On the growing number of people claiming to be poets: The tiniest flowers have no fragrance; America is full of tiny flowers.
  28. When I was young, if a poem wasn’t about being with a woman, it was about being apart from a woman — and all the great merits of either circumstance.
  29. On writer’s block: We need not fret about our occasional lack of inspiration. The guitar player needs to take a day off to let his calluses thicken and heal. A man needs a nap before screwing his woman a second time.
  30. On reading the lines I wrote when I was high: After the sunset, the pollution goes back to looking ordinary.
  31. Stories either start stable and become strange, or start strange and become stable. The ice is always melting or hardening.
  32. In defense of sonnets: The piano is an old instrument, but we can play new songs on it.
  33. On the charge of prettiness: Yes, the bell of the tulip is pretty, but it cannot rise without some dirt beneath it.
  34. The critic concerns himself with the parts of a poem the way a disreputable mechanic wants every piece to shine and be new. The poet simply wants the goddamned car to move.
  35. Nature poetry should be more than verbal postcards. In any glorious arrangement of mountains, we must find at least the shadow of a man.
  36. The poet transmutes the world into sound the way a bluejay turns trash into a nest.
  37. Don’t let your admiration of traditional forms override the notion of suitability. If the form doesn’t correspond to the subject, the poet will be accused of trying to fit a puppy inside a ringbox, of delivering a diamond inside an aircraft carrier.
  38. The will to criticism: It’s just the urge to have answers at a particularly severe cocktail party.
  39. We like listening to known liars. It’s the pleasure of hoping they’ll trip themselves up. A poem must proceed with the liar’s bravado. In this sense, a poem should leave the reader frustrated.
  40. On failed poems we can’t stop revising: There’s nothing so steady as a half-sunk canoe.
  41. On finding no one to publish a poem: It feels like a five-dollar bill with too much taped and missing.
  42. The worst poets treat their poems like puzzles — something merely to be figured out. In the most dire cases, they withhold several pieces, hiding them in their breast pockets, forcing us to come to them with questions we would rather not ask.
  43. Poems can fail in two ways: boredom or confusion. Boredom stems from too small a grasp — the ordinary sand grain in the palm of a hand. Confusion stems from extravagance — the attempt to palm a city. Given the choice, I prefer my poems to fail always by confusion.
  44. On self-promotion: A car can rev its engine just as loud whether the trunk is full of gold or horse shit.
  45. We are awestruck by actual sunsets, but embarrassed by their photographs. This is a proof that some beauty defies translation.
  46. On the need to take a break from the daily routine of writing: If a garden goes untended long enough, even the weeds come into flower.
  47. During the initial draft of a poem, when we are knocking on every door we come across, there is that moment when a peephole goes dark, and we know that the door must be kicked in.
  48. On inspiration: Sometimes, the girl is brought out of the marble by a single hammer tap.
  49. On our steadily fragmenting culture: At the rate things are going, someday even Jesus will require a footnote in the Norton Anthology.
  50. On ambition: I won’t be content to be called the American Shakespeare. I won’t be satisfied until Shakespeare is known as the English Rafferty.

Guest Post, Dixie Salazar: On Blogs and Blocks

Dixie SalazarRecently, I have had a block in regard to writing poetry. This really hasn’t happened to me before, at least not for this long. Something feels different, but I can’t quite put my finger (or pen) on what it is. When I started writing, I wrote a lot, like reams of really bad poems and then depended on my teacher to cull through it all and find the seeds that could germinate into real poems . Finally, he told me that I needed to do a little culling myself before turning them into to him. I just hadn’t trusted myself to know what was cull-able. When I got more confidence, I waited for the aha moment. That’s when I felt like a poem was coming that demanded to be written. Getting that idea was so exciting and the energy that emerged pushed the momentum of the poem forward, almost as if I couldn’t stop the poem from being born. These were fun, productive years.

But, gradually, I began to write more and more infrequently. There was still the initial rush that came from an idea that just jumped up and down and wouldn’t shut up, much like a two year old demanding attention. But as my poems matured (and maybe I did also) I found poetry less demanding of my attention and I could leave it alone for longer periods of time and trust that it would behave and still be there when I returned.

The years went by, and I would even wonder sometimes if my poems were leaving the nest for good, since I didn’t feel the urgency to write that I had before, and our relationship had certainly changed. We didn’t need each other in the same way that we had before. There was a phase where I wasn’t sure I even liked poetry anymore. It hadn’t really done a lot for me, in terms of tangible rewards. And the other poems that found their way to our house were not like the ones I had been taught to write as a younger poet. I was mystified by them sometimes and other times horrified by their shocking language and loose ways. Were they even poems? I wasn’t sure I knew anymore.

Which brings me back to where I started– five children sent out into the world, and living respectable lives, but none of them setting the world on fire. And I’m not sure where I go from here. As I write this, I’m sure of one thing. I will always love poetry, even if it doesn’t call me as often as it should, and even if it shows up pierced and tattooed, hungry and asking for a small loan. Maybe I need to branch out, think outside the poem—I might even write a blog.

Splash of Red Literary Arts Magazine

Splash of Red is an international online literary arts magazine that publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art, interviews, and graphic narratives. They have published interviews with many Pulitzer Prize winners, US Poet Laureates, and acclaimed writers as well as some of the top editors and publishers in the country for their Industry Interview Series. What sets these interviews apart from others is that they focus on the readers of the literary magazine, many of whom are writers themselves. The interviews delve into writing processes of the interviewees, editing techniques, and strategies for getting around writer’s block. And the Industry Series investigates the other side of the table that writers rarely get a glimpse into in order to better their odds at getting their work published. But the meat of the publication is the fantastic submissions that come from all over the world.

The name of the publication comes from three inspirations: 1) the infamous red ink in draft after draft to get the best quality writing, 2) the blood and passion that goes into only the most skillfully crafted art, and 3) great work stands out just like a splash of red.
In 2010, Splash of Red organized numerous live events where authors came to speak with audiences for live Q and As. Some of the authors included Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz, famed writer Eleanor Herman, and Daniel Wallace – author of Big Fish, who spoke with eager audience members following a showing of the film based on his novel at a local independent theater. Additionally, the online magazine involved local communities by spearheading a special public mural on the New Jersey boardwalk in Asbury Park. Three artists chose three poems published on the website and created pieces of art inspired by and including those poems which were then painted in multiple large murals across the backdrop of the mid-Atlantic.

Interested fans can follow Splash of Red on Twitter, Facebook, or become a member and get email updates about newly published work and events. One of the things they pride themselves on is creating an online literary arts community where readers can post comments on anything published on the website, submit art inspired by splashes of red for their Red Gallery, and involving members in creative decisions and directions for the publication including suggestions for interviewees.

If you take any one thing away from this blog post, take this: check it out. The website is www.SplashOfRed.net and feel free to peruse, read, comment, and investigate at your own leisure. Make it your own and enjoy!

The Southeast Review’s Writer’s Regimen Program

THE SOUTHEAST REVIEW’S WRITER’S REGIMEN PROGRAM AIMS TO INSPIRE

Every writer I know has trouble writing.”— Joseph Heller

It’s been said by hundreds of writers hundreds of ways, each more eloquent than the last, and certainly more eloquent than this: writers write. They don’t moan about it. They don’t mow the lawn to avoid it, and they certainly don’t get stuck while doing it—counting the cursor’s every pulse, praying that inspiration will strike, and fearing with every silent second that it never will.

Except, they do. Of course they do.

Despite the proliferation of writing programs in schools across the nation, despite writing groups and conferences and online communities like Fictionaut, Writers Café, and others, there’s no getting around the fact that most writers do the difficult work of generating original material all by their lonesome. And it’s hard work. Sometimes doing it well can seem impossible. But there’s also no getting around the fact that for many of us, writing is our reason for being. It can help to impose meaning on chaos, forge meaningful connections with readers and other writers, and do the necessary work of exploring the possibilities, challenges, and rewards of being human.

At The Southeast Review, we read hundreds of submissions each year. Poems, essays, stories, interviews, book reviews, comics, and everything in between. There are few feelings as wonderful as reading a submission that glimmers from the first word with that special something—a confident voice, striking image, surprising premise, linguistic deftness, or some other distinctive element. It’s hard to predict what kind of work we’ll love because we don’t look for specific kinds of pieces. Rather, we want to be moved, and we are well aware that the works that move us are the result of a writer’s daily struggle against the ticking cursor while she or he molds essays that refuse to cohere, trims bloated stories, and invents language that takes poems past familiarity into a breathtaking newness.

Because we know how hard it can be to face that blank page, we at The Southeast Review developed our Writer’s Regimen Program. Participating writers receive emails for 30 consecutive days full of prompts and exercises applicable for all genres, craft talks from working writers and industry professionals such as poet Matthew Gavin Frank, literary agent Nat Sobel, and memoirist Jillian Schedneck, podcasts of live readings by literary icons like Barry Hannah, Ann Patchett, and Robert Olen Butler, as well as riff words and inspirational quotes designed to ignite any writer’s natural creativity. Each cycle costs only $15 and that entire fee is funneled directly into the production of The Southeast Review. All participants also receive a copy of SER’s most recent issue. We run four cycles per year—two new and two repeats—and our next re-run launches on December 1. To crank up the motivation, we invite participants to submit work at the end of the cycle for a chance at publication on SER Online. You can read the work of our most recent regimen’s winner, Susan Bulloch, here.

Writing may always be a solitary process, and it may never get any easier, but we at SER believe that daily doses of inspiration are the best cure for the writing block blues. If you agree, sign up before December 1 to try out our next cycle, and leave the lawn for another day.

The Blogging Survival Guide: 10 Helpful Hints and Tips

Blogging isn’t as easy as it looks. If you’ve ever tried blogging, you know what I’m talking about. The immediacy and candidness of an internet platform can be both a blessing and a curse. To help you navigate the world of blogging, we’ve compiled a list of 10 blogging tips and tricks from some of our favorite blogging guides, Blogging For Dummies (Susannah Gardner) and Blogging Heroes (Michael A. Banks).

1. Just write anything. This isn’t to say that you should start pouring your heart out for all of the Internet to see, but the best way to overcome writer’s block is just to start writing. Getting something, anything, written down is better than staring at a blank screen and a blinking cursor, even if you think what you’ve written is absolute rubbish. What you write doesn’t have to be good (at least not right away). That’s why they call it a draft.

2. When you’re on a roll, don’t stop. I’ll have some great days where I feel I could write 10,000 words on every subject, and there are other days when I feel I would have difficulty writing my name. Understanding that I have that flexibility to think and creatively write ahead of time gives me a little wiggle room for those days when I am feeling compositionally-challenged. When creativity strikes, keep writing. You can always stockpile posts for another day.

3. Interact with other bloggers. The blogosphere is a great place to create new friends, talk about the things you love, and become inspired. Do you love grilled cheese? Well, there’s probably a blog about that. Commenting on other blogs can not only increase traffic to your blog, but can also lead to some interesting topics. Just don’t forget to be polite. No one likes an Internet troll.

4. Be authentic. Without passion and authenticity, your blog is going to fall flat. Write about something that interests you. Ask yourself if it is something you would want to read, because if you wouldn’t want to read it, neither will your audience.

5. Know your audience. There has been some debate as to whether or not analytic tools are an invasion of privacy. Even here at Superstition Review, we try to keep our readers updated with our latest stats through Google Analytics. Analytic tools do not store personal information. They do, however, allow bloggers to take a closer look at who is frequenting the site, what they’re looking at, how long they linger, and where they’re coming from. These tools are vital in understanding who you’re writing for. With this information, you can tailor your post to better meet the interests of your readership, and scrap ideas that aren’t working.

6. Don’t be afraid to fail. Your blog probably won’t become an overnight success. The best part about blogging is that you can experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. As blogger Scott McNulty advised, “It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s the same as everything else: If you work hard and stick to it, eventually you’ll grow your audience. Of course, if you are interested as I am in a particular subject, you’ll just do it for the love of the subject, and success will usually follow.”

7. Grow a thick skin. Not everyone is going to agree with everything you say and that is okay. What you write, what you think, and what you say will be under constant criticism. Because the Internet is a fairly anonymous platform, commenters will say things that they would never openly say to your face. It is important that you not take these comments personally. Be polite and never go on the defensive. Acknowledge their views and try to take a neutral ground. The chances that you’re going to convince someone they’re wrong is slim to none.

8. Post consistently. Once you build your readership, it is important that you keep them coming back. If you leave your blog dormant for a month or even a few weeks, interest is going to wane quickly. There are thousands of blogs that have been abandoned by their bloggers (can’t you hear their lonely sobbing?). If you don’t post consistently, your readers will think your blog is one of them. Try to make a schedule for yourself. Set goals and stick to them.

9. Cite your sources. Stealing ideas and images is just as bad as running out of Best Buy with a cart of electronics you didn’t pay for. It is okay to draw from other sources as long as you give them credit where it is due.

10. Have fun. Blogging can be a great learning opportunity and a lot of fun. It has opened doors for a lot of people over the past decade and has given voices to writers from every walk of life. Don’t let it overwhelm you.

I highly recommend you check out Blogging Heroes and Blogging For Dummies for more tips and tricks. Their guides have been invaluable to me and a wonderful resource to fall back on when I’m in need of some advice.