Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

checklist-1316848_1280I Did It!

It doesn’t feel as though I’ve “accomplished” much, writing-wise, over this past week, but in the spirit of Lisa Romeo’s annual “I Did It!” lists, I’ll share a few things that I have managed to do over the past seven days.

  • Finished reading Robin Black’s wonderful Crash Course: Essays from Where Writing and Life Collide.
  • Began editing the Q&A (with Rachel Hall, author of Heirlooms) that will appear in the next issue of The Practicing Writer.
  • Began reading an advance copy of Alexandra Zapruder’s Twenty-Six Seconds, in preparation for a future Q&A.
  • Had a phone call with a program manager who might—might!—report back soon with good news about a way for a rejected AWP panel to find new life offsite next February in Washington.
  • Filed my August stats and updates for Poetry Has Value. (Not sure when they’ll be posted, though.)
  • Kept to the day-job’s blogging schedule and posted a new installment in our series of features spotlighting books that have won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. (Up this month: Eileen Pollack’s In the Mouth: Stories and Novellas.)
  • Drafted some remarks about Quiet Americans and practiced them for a panel event taking place tomorrow.
  • (more…)

    Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

    Newsletter Alerts!


    It’s one of those busy newsletter weeks for me. If you’re a Practicing Writer subscriber, your new issue went out this morning. And if you’re keeping up with Fig Tree Books, you’ve seen (I hope!) the issue that went out yesterday.

    My Letter to Poets & Writers

    I’ve spent a lot of time recently writing (and then, re-writing) a letter to Poets & Writers magazine regarding the “Dear President” feature that appears in the September/October issue. I’ll give the editors an opportunity to publish it before I go ahead and do so myself. Stay tuned.

    At Summer’s End, a Look Back to Its Beginning

    As we approach Labor Day, I think back to how this summer began: with my 25th college reunion. This week, I’m especially grateful to the spouse of one of my classmates, who wrote this piece for NPR, focusing on the memorial service that took place near the reunion’s end. (Yes, yours truly is the “literary maven” mentioned in the piece.)

    Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

    Sulak_GidaliFrom My Bookshelf

    Last week I had the great pleasure of attending a celebration in honor of Marcela Sulak and her new translation, Twenty Girls to Envy Me: Selected Poems of Orit Gidali (University of Texas Press). Sulak is another writer I’ve become acquainted with online. She is the author of three collections of poetry and three earlier book-length translations. She directs the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar Ilan University, where she is an associate professor of English. She also hosts the weekly “Israel in Translation” podcast on TLV1 FM, which you’ll see listed on the My Machberet blogroll.

    The evening gathering in New York was absolutely lovely. (more…)

    Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

    Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)

    Have spent a lot of time these past several days thinking of Elie Wiesel, who died Saturday at the age of 87.


    I was in his presence three times: first, attending a 1986 lecture of his following the Nobel prize announcement; next, at a much smaller event, a lunch during my senior year of college (shortly after I’d written a paper that quoted frequently from his book From the Kingdom of Memory); and finally, just a few years ago at a New York City fundraiser (again, a large event). I’ve read much (but not enough) of his work. And over these past several days, I’ve been reading many of the tributes. (more…)