Upcoming Events in NYC

Something wonderful makes its debut next Monday evening at the CUNY Graduate Center. Turnstyle, a new cross-genre MFA reading series that features the faculty and students of four CUNY graduate creative writing programs, will launch on February 9 at 6:30 p.m. The location: the CUNY Graduate Center (365 Fifth Avenue). The price: Free!

This first Turnstyle event will feature faculty readers Louis Asekoff and Kimiko Hahn. MFA readers will include Evan Ross Burton, LaForrest Cope, Eric Harte, Gabriel Packard, Jeffrey Price, Micah Towery, Peter Vandenberg, and Visola Wurser.

I think it’s going to be great. And there will be more Turnstyle events throughout the semester.

And then, for those of you in the NYC area who are writing fiction on Jewish themes, don’t forget about the Jewish Fiction Writers’ Conference planned for Sunday, March 15. Early-bird discounted registration is still available (until February 16), and yours truly is among the presenters. Find out more (and download the full conference brochure) by visiting the 92nd Street Y site.

Friday Find: The Best of the AWP Pedagogy Papers 2009

I’m actually not going to attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference this year (for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s coming up pretty soon in Chicago). But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy perusing a selection of AWP “pedagogy papers” now posted online. The 20 one-pagers compiled for this mini-collection–determined to be “the best” of the many papers submitted this year–span multiple instructional levels and genres, and they’re bound to give you some ideas for your own teaching practice.

I’m especially happy to see some familiar names in this year’s batch of “the best,” and I send warm congratulations to my good friend Rachel Hall and to my former MFA classmate Sylvia Hoffmire for making the cut. I’m also pleased to see a topic that was at the core of an AWP panel presentation I collaborated on many years ago–the role of “work” in fiction–resurfacing in David Lumpkin’s paper (“Make Your Characters Work: Jobs and Three-Dimensional Plots in Short Fiction”).

Have I piqued your interest yet? You can download the full document here. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Thirteen Ways of Looking at My Latest Cold

Given that I’ve been fighting my (very) latest cold for the past several days, it seems a particularly appropriate time to share with you my latest publication, a poem that’s part of a special section in the new issue of Babel Fruit. The section features poems that are clearly inspired by previous works/poets. It’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

My contribution,”Thirteen Ways of Looking at My Latest Cold,” which developed from an assignment in one of Matthew Lippman’s online classes, can be seen here. (Yes, I know the link to my Web site isn’t working, and I’m hoping that the editor will soon fix that and capitalize “My” in the poem’s title as well, but I’ve asked her twice now and I can’t do more than that!) And check out all the other work in the issue by visiting the table of contents.

Congratulations to Sage Cohen

For awhile now I’ve been admiring Sage Cohen’s writing and teaching, and I’ve been following the news of her two “babies”: her book, Writing the Life Poetic, which will soon be released by Writer’s Digest Books, and her little boy, Theo, who arrived in September. Sage has a truly remarkable perspective on life, and a beautiful way of expressing that perspective. You can get a glimpse of her “can-do” attitude in this new column. Congratulations on all your blessings, Sage, and kudos on your dedication to creating your own good news!

"New" Poems by Langston Hughes

One of the poems that left a deep impression on me way back in high school was Langston Hughes’s “A Dream Deferred” (that’s how I’ve always remembered its title, but I’m seeing it listed online as both “A Dream Deferred” and “Harlem”–can anyone help me understand that?).

So I was very interested to discover, in the latest issue of Poetry magazine (and thankfully published online), that a rare books cataloger at Yale University recently unearthed three Hughes poems, all of which are seeing their first known publication now. Read Arnold Rampersad’s explanatory article, which contains links to all three poems, too.

Friday Find: Featured Resources for Practicing Writers

Over on my Web site, you’ll find a “Resources” page designed to assist practicing fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction. A considerable chunk of the page is devoted to a chronological listing of the resources spotlighted in each month’s Practicing Writer newsletter. The newsletter will soon celebrate its fifth birthday, so I think this is a good time to remind you of the years’ worth of “finds” you can peruse via a single screen. Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend.