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Mid-April Poetry and Literary Events

Every year since I can remember after moving to the D.C. area, I have attended the Bethesda Literary Festival. The events range from readings to fun activities for kids. I enjoy learning about the latest creations from local artists and authors and being exposed to new authors and poets. Please feel free to click on the link above for a schedule of this year’s events.

One of my favorite events will take place on April 18 at 8PM, The Poetry Slam. While I do not participate in the slam as a performance poet, I enjoy the works of the participants. My poetry is more the run of the mill reading or academic event poetry, rather than performance art. I really enjoy performance works and admire the artists that create them, but I guess I am not wired to create them myself. Probably because of my wallflower status for much of my life. I hope some of you blog readers will be in the area and will join me at this year’s slam. I even picked up a self-published book from one of the poet’s last year. I will have to locate it and post one of the poems in homage to this year’s National Poetry Month-30 ways to celebrate.

I will probably attend the following on Sat. April 19 as well:

11am – Distinguished Novelist

Hyatt Regency Bethesda

Join New York Times bestselling novelist, Alice Hoffman, as she discusses her newest book, The Third Angel, a novel that examines the lives of three women at different crossroads in their lives, tying their London-centered stories together in devastating retrospect.

12:30pm – The Government & The Media

Hyatt Regency Bethesda

Hear from Marvin Kalb, award-winning reporter for CBS and NBC News, former host of Meet the Press, currenthost of The Kalb Report and author of The Media and The War on Terrorism, as he explores the interaction between the government and the media during times of war and national emergency.

1-5pm – 15 th Annual Writer’s Center Small Press Fair

The Writer’s Center

Browse displays of literary journals and other publications by dozens of regional presses and literary organizations. The afternoon will include a used book appraisal, and a creative writing program for young children. For additional information, please visit www.writer.org.

2pm – White House Press Corps

Hyatt Regency Bethesda

Meet Helen Thomas, 47-year member of the White House Press Corps, first woman officer of the National Press Club, first woman president of the White House Correspondents Association and author of Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed The Public, as she speaks about her latest book and her career covering Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and G.W. Bush.

7pm – CakeLove

Heineman Myers Contemporary Art

Meet Warren Brown, owner of CakeLove and Love Café, host of Sugar Rush on the Food Network, and author of his first cookbook, Cakelove, as he discusses his entrepreneurial bakery business and how he has achieved success.

8pm – Sidesplitting Standup!
The Barking Dog

Come see DC Improv comedian Matt Kazam, who has appeared on Fox’s “Big Red Couch,” Comedy Central’s “Stand-Up Stand-Up,” VH-1’s “Fools For Love,” TLC’s “Two For Vegas” and The Discovery Channel’s “Lux List.” He has served as the opening act for such notable comedians as Chris Rock, Pauly Shore, Robin Williams and Drew Carey. Ages 21+.

Sunday, April 20, I will likely be attending these:

11am-1pm – Authors’ Reception
Barnes & Noble

You are invited to roam the aisles, chat with authors and have your books signed. Authors include: Ron Orol, Extreme Value Hedging; Melvin Goodman, Failure of Intelligence; Jennifer Allison, Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator;Jon and Beverly Meyerson, After the Glass Slipper; Kay Shaw Nelson, Art of Scottish American Cooking; Suzanne Mintz,A Family Caregiver Speaks Up: It Doesn’t Have to be this Hard; Harrine Freeman , How to Get Out of Debt; Susan Fraser King, Lady Macbeth; Con Lehane, Death at the Old Hotel; Toby Devens, My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet); Howard Eisner, Essentials of Project and Systems Engineering Management; John Dimes, Intracations and E. D. Baker, Wings: A Fairy Tale.

2pm – State of the Unions
Hyatt Regency Bethesda

Join Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist, Philip Dine, for a discussion of his recent book, State of the Unions, to explore what’s happening to American workers and the middle class, labor’s decline, and why a rejuvenated union movement could turn things around.

Many of the Children’s events are on Saturday and Sunday.

Please do not forget to enter the Poetry Book contest this month via the Welcome post, which has all the necessary rules and information.

Pre-Conference Reading

OK, so while I thought the pre-conference reading would be poets, there was not one. The readers were fiction writers.

Mary Gaitskill, author of Veronica, was introduced by the editor of Potomac Review, Julie Wakeman-Linn, and she read from Veronica, which is a very poetic work. I have never read her work, but it is certainly descriptive, poetic, and uses imagery to get to the heart of the matter. I’m not too sure she is my cup of tea, to use a cliche.

She then introduced Dave Housley, an editor of Barrelhouse Review and author of Ryan Seacrest Is Famous, who read “Combat Photographer.” It was a great short story about a combat photographer attempting to re-enter society to find a steadier job with benefits because his wife is pregnant and she wants him to be more stable and not off to war.

The next reader, Nathan Leslie, read from his collection, Madre. “The Towel” was a great story about young families and the adjustments they go through; the main character Norman and his wife have very different views of parenthood. The descriptions of the various stroller models are hilarious. I just had to select the book of short stories for my free conference book. I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories.

Lalita Noronha is the author of Where Monsoons Cry, and she was the third reader. Her descriptions of Indian culture and life were phenomenal. I was torn between this book and Madre for my free conference book. Noronha has a performance-like presence when she reads her prose, and it transported me to India quickly–even though she only read a few pages. I think this book will be one of the next ones I pick up in the bookstore.

Another Arab-American author, Susan Muaddi-Darraj, read last and her book is The Inheritance of Exile. Anna picked this book as her free conference work. I can’t wait for her to read it and I can finish Madre; we’re going to switch off and trade, so we can each discuss them. She was another reader that I really enjoyed, who easily transported me into the world she created.

It was a good reading, and I got to check out Rockville’s revitalization, which is amazing with the new town center. It was a great walk, though a bit chilly. There also was a great Tapas restaurant on the corner near the VisArts Center. It smelled delicious and look reasonably priced. We’ll have to make a point to go there sometime.

You’ll just have to wait for the conference review later.

Please do not forget to enter the Poetry Book contest this month via the Welcome post, which has all the necessary rules and information.

Welcome to National Poetry Month…

Here it is, another April. In honor of April, I would like to invite everyone to share their favorite poem throughout the month here on my blog, and I would like to open the blog up to a contest.

Those interested in winning three volumes of poetry–sorry the authors will be a surprise–please leave a comment below. I will put the names in a hat and then draw the winner on April 15.

I will probably hold another contest for the end part of the month as well. I hope we can generate a lot more interest in National Poetry Month this year.

I will start off with this poem:

THE TIGER

by: William Blake (1757-1827)

      IGER, tiger, burning bright
      In the forests of the night,
      What immortal hand or eye
      Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
      In what distant deeps or skies
      Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
      On what wings dare he aspire?
      What the hand dare seize the fire?
      And what shoulder and what art
      Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
      And, when thy heart began to beat,
      What dread hand and what dread feet?
      What the hammer? What the chain?
      In what furnace was thy brain?
      What the anvil? What dread grasp
      Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
      When the stars threw down their spears,
      And water’d heaven with their tears,
      Did He smile His work to see?
      Did He who made the lamb make thee?
      Tiger, tiger, burning bright
      In the forests of the night,
      What immortal hand or eye
      Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

April Writer’s Conference in Washington, D.C.

On April 5, 2008, I will again be at an all-day conference in Washington, D.C., Conversations and Connections. I cannot wait for another opportunity to network and learn from my peers. It will be great to among creative writers. This is the second, all-day conference in the region. Registration is $45 for an all-day conference.

I may even head out to the readings on April 4th in Rockville.

The first breakout session will have the following:

  • Crafting the Poem (panelists: Kim Roberts, Eric Pankey, Kim Jensen, Sean Conrey)
  • The Business of Getting Published (panelists: Nancy Naomi Carlson, Holly Sneeringer, Mark Drew)
  • Finding a Home for Your Brilliant Work: Amy Holman Workshop
  • Starting Your Own Independent Press (Ed Perlman)

The second breakout session will have the following:

  • The Long Haul: Writing the Novel (panelists: Michael Kimball, Fred Leebron, Carolyn Parkhurst)
  • How Can an MFA/MA Help Me? (panelists: Kenra Kopelke, Geoff Becker, David Everett)
  • Short Fiction: Process and Craft (panelists: Merrill Feitell, Lalita Norohna, Susan McCallum-Smith)
  • Writing Nonfiction (Eric Nuzum, Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson, Lucie Snodgrass, David A. Taylor)

The third breakout session will have the following:

  • The Disciplined Writer (panelists: Michelle Brafman, Jen Michalski, Kathy Volk Miller, Tim Wendel)
  • Poetic Forms (Ned Balbo)
  • The Novella: Form and Potential (Cyndi Reeves)
  • Web Markets and Marketing (panelists: Rachel Adams, Thom Didato, Reb Livingston)

I suggest anyone in the area sign up and join me. It will be a great time. And if you haven’t been to D.C. before, it will be a great time to come because the Cherry Blossoms are expected to be blooming.

I am so excited. It gives me something positive to look forward to, and I definitely need it. Maybe it will get my creative juices flowing more as well.

May Poetry Event Advanced Notice

The Sound of Words: A Scheme to Rock the Writers Center
Featuring: The Caribbean (a rock band) and 32 Poems Magazine (a poetry magazine)
DATE: Friday, May 9
TIME: 8 PM
LOCATION: The Writer’s Center,
4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD 20815

DESCRIPTION

32 Poems Magazine, The Caribbean (an indie rock band), and the Writer’s Center join
together to bring you outstanding poetry from Sandra Beasley and
Bernadette Geyer and songs from The Caribbean

Writer’s Center

32 Poems
32 Poems BLOG

The Caribbean
LISTEN TO THEIR MUSIC

AWP Writer’s Conference 2008

It is that time again. The upcoming AWP Writer’s Conference will be held in New York City, NY, next year. I hope to go to the conference, since I have not been to a writer’s conference, other than the one-day conference in Bethesda, MD, at the Writer’s Center.

I’m excited about the New York City Conference because Yosef Komunyaka, Bruce Weigl, Joyce Carol Oates, Billy Collins, Frank McCourt, Robert Pinsky, Ha Jin, and John Irving, among others will be there. Poets and writers I just love. Listening to their wisdom and possibly meeting them would be a great bonus. Mostly, I just want to see what these conferences are like for myself and determine if they are even worth the money.

While everyone I have talked to says the AWP conference is good and bad, many do not regret going at least the one time they went. The brochure I received yesterday has information about possible discounts on hotel rates and airfare. I will have to call and see how discounted those rates actually are, considering I’m one of the more poor writers in the world. I also have to account for the AWP conference registration, which is quite hefty.

It would be great to go with a fellow writer to the conference, but all of us seem to be really poor at the moment.

Unfinished Business

No, not Poetry magazine again. This time a poem from Issue 44 of Columbia–a Journal of Literature and Art caught my attention. “A Death in the Snow” by Julianne Buchsbaum reminded me of all the to-do lists I have lying around, which may or may not get finished in my lifetime. Not only will these lists possibly live on without me, but I will also not be attached to them in any meaningful way after I have passed. “my list of things to do, leave it lying//in the snow like an old book/” I suppose I could put my name on these lists before I die, but what would that accomplish, except to raise more questions with the person finding them.

While the discoverer could simply shrug off questions as unanswerable, they could also be consumed with a compulsion to find the answers. Would I want to be responsible for that kind of obsession? Would I really incite that kind of devotion in another human being? Those too are unanswerable questions.

Instead, this poem forces me to take an introspective look at the reasons I make these lists. Do I make them simply because I cannot remember all that I want to accomplish or is it that I am too afraid to actually take the plunge and do some of the items on these lists? Right now, this poem unleashes an urge within me to burn, shred, and otherwise to destroy these lists so they can never be connected to me. I would rather everyone coming after I have passed to simply remember “Epitaphs covered with mold,/” A bit morbid I’m sure, but true. When we pass, unless someone cares for our graves throughout eternity, they will indeed be overgrown by nature, making the cycle complete.