Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 5 posts of this blog in 2012

The end of the year is always a fascinating time to browse blog statistics, reflect on the posts, and see which were visited most often. For 2012, the most popular posts of this blog reach from a Women's Blog Carnival to Modern Poetry, and from How-to-posts to the list of current calls:

March On, Women
In honour of International Women’s Month, editor & writer Michelle Elvy created a mini-blog fest featuring women around the world...

How to create a book cover for print-on-demand services like CreateSpace 
Here are some notes on creating a book cover for print-on-demand services like Lulu or CreateSpace - back in August, YB-editor Rose Hunter and i mailed back and forth about her "Foal" cover. The mail dialogue includes the steps from first layout to final proof...

Current Calls
A list of current theme calls, weekly photo challenges, reading challenges, literary web events etc.

Literary courses online: Modern & Contemporary American Poetry + Fantasy & Science Fiction
The literary course "Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo)" by Al Filreis is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, from Dickinson and Whitman to the present...

top 50 book blogs, 65 literary tumblrs & 5 lit blog streams
There’s an abundance of book blogs out there, with a wide range of themes: from current prize winners to crime and science fiction, and from books in translations to historic books to newcomers. But how to find all those blogs? Here are some links...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Solstice Reflections - an online gathering

Solstice Reflections is an online gathering of reflections by seven women on the spirit of winter and the migration from darkness to light, collected by Stephanie in her blog Creative Living Experiment in the hope that these reflections may offer a momentary respite from a sometimes hectic season, allowing you to sit with your own reflections as you enter your personal winter.

The Solstice Reflections include photography, art, poetry, a solstice podcast, and other contributions by Pixie Campbell, Liz Coleman, Juliette Crane, Jo-Anne Guimond, Rebecca Klier, Jen Lee and Kelly Letky.

Stephanie writes: "I've always liked images of winter. They soothe me, calling me to slow down and take stock. It's why I've chosen to highlight the official arrival of winter in the past and why I choose to highlight it again here, now, with the help of other kindred spirits.

During the next three weeks leading up to December 22nd I will offer guest posts from seven lovely women to help welcome winter, its rituals and its transformations - each woman interpreting the subject through the medium of her choice.

I am warmed and humbled by the contributions I've seen, by the pieces of themselves these women have chosen to share with me and with you."

All posts to date:  Solstice Reflections

(this is a re-post from 2011)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Writer's Houses - field guide & database

Writers’ Houses is an online publication dedicated to the exploring of writers’ spaces and art of literary pilgrimage. The website link is: Writer's Houses

The website was founded in July 2010 by writer A. N. Devers, she explains that the site was inspired by "a growing obsession, since childhood, with books, travel, and making connections between a writer’s work and place. It also came from a realization that there wasn’t a comprehensive resource online, or in print, that helped literary pilgrims find their way."

The Writers’ Houses database is designed to be a field guide to deceased writers’ homes, searchable by author, state, city, and country. The site features more than 130 writer's houses.

Suggest a Writer's House
The plan of Writers’ Houses is to document all writers’ houses open to the public in the world. The site notes: "This is no small task and can’t be done overnight or without help. There are apparently 290 writers’ houses in France alone. For that reason, the website is looking for experienced writers and editors to contribute to the blog and field guide. If you are interested, please feel free to get in touch, but please note that Writers’ Houses, being a labor of love, cannot offer compensation beyond the pleasure of having your work in its virtual pages."

Link: Writer's Houses

(with thanks to poet Marcia Arrieta for sharing the link)

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Books They Gave Me

"The Gift of a book becomes part of the story of your life" 

Perhaps it came with a note as simple as “This made me think of you,” but it takes up residence in your heart and your home. The Books They Gave Me is a mixtape of stories behind books given and received. Some of the stories are poignant, some snarky, some romantic, some disastrous—but all are illuminating.

Jen Adams collected nearly two hundred of the most provocative stories submitted to the tumblr blog to capture the many ways books can change our lives and loves, revealing volumes about the relationships that inspired the gifts. These stories are, by turns, romantic, cynical, funny, dark, and hopeful:

There’s the poorly thought out gift of Lolita from a thirty-year-old man to a teenage girl. There’s the couple who tried to read Ulysses together over the course of their long-distance relationship and never finished it. There’s the girl whose school library wouldn’t allow her to check out Fahrenheit 451, but who received it at Christmas with the note, “Little Sister: Read everything you can. Subvert Authority! Love always, your big brother.” These are stories of people falling in love, regretting mistakes, and finding hope. Together they constitute a love letter to the book as physical object and inspiration.

Illustrated in full color with the jackets of beloved editions, The Books They Gave Me is, above all, an uplifting testament to the power of literature.

More about the book: The Books They Gave Me
& Tumblr-blog with new contributions

Saturday, November 24, 2012

74 episodes of PoemTalk (+ extra links)

PoemTalk is a collaboration of the Kelly Writers House, PennSound, and the Poetry Foundation.
PoemTalk's producer and host is Al Filreis, the series is also available on iTunes.
So far 74 episodes of PoemTalk are online, each with an own notes page which also includes the link to the audio, here's a choice of direct links:

PT#1: William Carlos Williams between walls PT#4: Allen Ginsberg sings Blake
PT#9: John Ashbery at a crossroads
PT#15: Lyn Hejinian’s change
PT#21: Charles Bernstein’s restlessness 

PT#26: wild Vachel Lindsay 
PT#32: Susan Howe’s Emily Dickinson
PT#41: Ezra Pound in Venice

PT#48: Edgar Allan Poe’s “Dream-Land”
PT#54: Ron Silliman’s “You”
PT#57: Djanikian & the alphabet of genocide


& an extra link: Poetry Foundation:

The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture, and publisher of Poetry magazine. On their website, they feature a large section of audio features: Poetry Audio & Podcasts 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012 Goodreads Choice Awards - Final Round

Goodreads is organizing their annual book award again: Readers can pick their favorites in 20 categories, including Fiction, Poetry, Memoir, Nonfiction and Goodreads Authors.

The Awards is now entering the final round:
  • Opening Round: 30 Oct – 10 Nov 
  • Semifinal Round: 12 Nov – 17 Nov 
  • Final Round: 19 Nov – 27 Nov 

Here's the vote page: 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards

Background Information on the Award & Some Interesting Comments:
The book nominations are based on Goodread site statistics, and as statistics turned out: "our new crop of nominees boasts a larger percentage of indie authors than ever before."

An additional blog post from Goodreads with some background information and comments, both on the nomination process and last year's awards finalists, and expectations for this year (here's the link to the blog entry: The 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards—Now Open for Voting!")

About the nomination process & the categories
  • "We analyzed statistics from the 170 million books added, rated, and reviewed on the site in 2012 and nominated books based on the number of ratings and average rating." - Jessica from Goodreads
  • "No short story/ anthology category? I love short stories, this category is clearly missing in these awards. That aside, voting is always fun!" - Sonatajessica
  • "I wish GoodReads had a category just for indie books, Like "Best Indie Book of Year or something like that. I hope no one finds my idea offensive because that was not what I meant it to be. I just feel like great indie books don't get the publicity they deserve!" - Lily
Note on last year's finalists and expectations for this year:

  • "Who will be the major break-out nominee of 2012? Last year's juggernaut Fifty Shades of Grey picked up speed when it reached the 2011 finals for Best Romance before becoming a viral hit." - Jessica from Goodreads
  • "Oh, great. Let's see what other awful Twilight fan fiction we can "launch" upon unsuspecting society. ETA: Oop, except there actually is another Twific in the voting. *slow clap* SMDH." - Alicia
  • "This was always going to be a popularity contest, so sit back, relax and await the predictability" - Marie

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

4 lessons in creativity - Julie Burstein

A Ted Talk from this month: Radio host Julie Burstein talks with creative people for a living -- and shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt and loss. Hear insights from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

 (From the Ted Talks series)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's Short Story Week! Links, lists, videos, reviews

It's Short Story Week upcoming! To join the big short celebration online, here some links, lists, videos, initiatives: 

A twitter initiative: on sundays, link to someone else's short story published somewhere online which will delight and astound readers this week. Make sure to add the hashtag #storysunday.

The storySouth Million Writers Award
The largest short story award in the web: the storySouth Million Writers Award highlights short stories published in online journals and magazines. Here's the link to the current Top10 list

A brief survey of the short story - a Guardian series 
In an online literary series that started in 2007, Chris Power portrays authors of short stories, and the development of the short story as format over time in the Guardian.

The danger of a single story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. - a TedTalk video.

The Short Review
Online reviews of new, not-quite-so-new and classic collections and anthologies

About Short Story Week
National Short Story Week is an annual awareness event. Its aim is to focus the attentions of the public and the media on the short story and short story writers, publishers and events. The central website is nationalshortstoryweek

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

2 facebook tips / tricks for all who follow lit magazines, authors, artists etc on facebook

This might be interesting for all who follow literary magazines, indie publishers, authors, books etc. on facebook: in the last weeks, facebook changed their algorithms (again..), to the effect that posts from pages you "liked" now are listed less often on your personal facebook pages.

One option to increase / get back the messages from those pages is to visit each page again in facebook, and then click on the blue control field next to "Liked", and select "Add to Interest List"... and repeat that with all pages..

Or, you could click to a new page that facebook added to their system: it lists all content from the pages you subscribed to is listed, sorted by date and time:

-  and creates a page that looks like this:

2 links with more background info: 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

First Mindful Writing Day

The first ever Mindful Writing Day happened November 1st!

The idea: to start November by dedicating some minutes to mindful writing and sharing this moment with others. Over 1000 joined already in the Mindful Writing Day Facebook Group.

Mindful Writing Notes
On November the 1st people all over the world took some minutes to pay proper attention to one thing and wrote it down, and then shared this moment ("small stone").

The notes are now online:

This day is organized by Fiona & Kaspa from Writing Our Way Home. Here's their introduction to Small Stones and the Mindful Writing Day:

Small Stones
"Writing small stones will stitch you to the world, one word at a time. They will point you towards the deep pink frilly roses in next door's front garden, and the swooshing sound of trains in the distance....

You don't have to have any experience of writing to write small stones. You just have to find three minutes, open your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, fingers and mind, and then write down what you notice. You can read examples of small stones at our blogzine, a handful of stones."

People all over the world will be joining us on the 1st of Novermber and posting their small stones on their blogs or Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Foreign Encounters - Writers Abroad

Writers Abroad has published their third Anthology entitled "Foreign Encounters" - a collection of stories, non-fiction and poems. All proceeds from the sale of Foreign Encounters will be donated to Books Abroad, an organization that helps to educate children worldwide by sending free school books that are carefully chosen to match the need of each school.

About the book: 
Encounters can be a chance meeting, a planned get-together or even a confrontation. This collection of stories, non-fiction and poems features a variety of foreign encounters: with family, friends, lovers, animals, cultures, or just with one's own prejudices and preconceptions.

About Writers Abroad
Writers Abroad is a community for Expat writers. The group was formed to help overcome the potential isolation and difficulties that Expat writers may face in their adopted country. Therefore the aim of the group is to provide mutual support via feedback, critiques and editing to enable members to develop their writing skills with a view to further publication including competitions.

Foreign Encounters
305 pages, paperback

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

24-Hour Comics Day 2012: Comics online (and survival tips for creative marathons)

Just a couple of days, then it's NaNoWriMo again - the time of writing a novel in one month. The comic artists already completed their creative marathon: for them, it's creating a full 24-page comic in 24 consecutive hours.

Thousands of artists from around the world join the 24-Hour Comics Day Challenge every year. This year, the event was on October 20th - and many of the comics are online already. To see photos from the different locations and the comics in process, visit the 24-Hour Comics Day blog.

24 Hour Comic Day Links, Notes, Comics:

Advice for creative tasks 

These might also be good for other creative marathon tasks:
Surviving Twenty-Four Hour Comic Day

The history of the 24-Hour Comic day
The original 24-Hour Comic was created by Scott McCloud, who says: "In 1990, I dared my friend Steve Bissette to draw a complete 24-page comic in a single day. To seal the deal, I agreed to do one too. I did mine, Steve did his, and two decades later, thousands of cartoonists have taken that same challenge."  - More about the day, on the official 24-Hour Comics Day website.

Extended Comic Reading Session
In a coincidence of time, there also was a comic fair happening in Germany exactly at 24 hour comic day, which lead to an extended print comic reading session, with "Noel, or: Charles Dickens goes Batman" + "In Search of Peter Pan" + Comic artists live:
Graphic Novels of the Dickens, Steampunk and Alpine kind (or: what are you reading?)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

International Book Fair Frankfurt 2012 - impressions, themes, snapshots

Last week, the Frankfurt Book Fair opened its doors again - it's one of the largest and oldest book fairs, a meeting point for over 7300 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, with a tradition that spans more than 500 years. The first 3 days of the fair are business days, the weekend is for the general public.

The guest country this year is New Zealand. Focus themes were: e-books, science and education, art books, comics. Some impressions with links:


books + books

and the Nobel Prize for Literature goes to... Mo Yan
(more here in an extra blog post: words, wars, books..)


Forum Discussions: E-Books (the neverending theme)

Guest Country New Zealand - extra hall (more)
"Long before books, there were stories"

Open Air Reading Zone

Science Books

CERN at the Book Fair with the Higgs-Field + the 1. www-server, more here:
the beginning of the web: "vague but exciting"

E-Book Installation

Reading Tent

word cubes: to learn, to know, to explore

and: Gutenberg Museum at the Book Fair

Handmade Prints
Frankfurt Skyline


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Writers + Artists share their "View From Here"

In a celebration across boundaries that is inspired by the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, where New Zealand is featured country, writers and artists from both countries share their persoanl "View From Here".

"We asked contributors to share entries for the theme "View From Here" and we ended up with a beautiful collection of photography, poetry, story and reports from all around New Zealand and Germany," says Michelle Elvy, who edited the issue.

The views reach from the north of New Zealand and meander through Northland to the west coast, from big city to country meadows, and all the way to ChristChurch — and in between scoot from Bavaria to Scotland, from Berlin to Hikurangi.

Contributors include Trish Nicholson, Beate Jones, Paula Green, Siri Embla, Gus Simonovic, Christopher Allen, Gill Hoffs, Andrew Bell, Marcus Speh, Piet Nieuwland, Leanne Radokjovich, Frances Mountier, Hinemoana Baker, Lesley Marshall, Rae Roadley, Helen Lowe, Karen Tribbe, Vaughan Gunson, Cecelia Wyatt, Maureen Sudlow, Michelle Elvy and Dorothee Lang.

Link: A View From Here

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Lit-Roundup: diversity, the poet's task & to be published now + 3 Reviews: Kino, Best Behaviour, The Lyre + 2 Interviews

On being published, diversity, the poet's task, the purpose of art...

What does it mean to be published now? 
An interesting discussion on writing and being published started in the fictionaut forum and continued in the blog of author Marcus Speh.

A More Diverse Universe Reading Tour 
Concerned by the lack of diversity in fantasy fiction, particularly fantasy fiction of the epic nature, a group of bloggers who got together to create a "More Diverse Universe". The idea of the blog tour: to highlight fantasy/sci fi/magical realism novels written by a person of color. The full blog page with links is now online.

The Purpose of Art + The Poet's Task
Ponderings on art, poetry and words, from the quote: "A poem is a machine made of words" to the Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) class, which sparked the discussion on the purpose of art (" Is the purpose of art to think about what art is?") - and: What's the task of a poet?

Reviews, Books, Blogs

Christopher Allen
reviews the novel "Kino": "Jürgen Fauth’s Kino arrived yesterday. I’m apprehensive. Jürgen is the co-creator of Fictionaut. What if I don’t like the book? Until I open it, I have no idea what it’s about—except for the word Kino, which I know means cinema in German."

Jean Morris takes you along for a read of Will Buckingham's "The Descent of the Lyre": "You’ve been looking forward to the new novel by Will Buckingham, a favourite blogger and a remarkably clever, versatile and talented writer. You very much liked his first published novel, Cargo Fever, about a man-like ape on an Indonesian island. It was a one-off, weird and wonderful and immediately engaging, where so many excellent novels these days are more of the same."

Alex Miller reads Noah Cicero's novel "Best Behaviour", and finds it "both pleasant to read and devastating. Cicero writes with a political edge that sets him apart from the “alt lit” crowd."

Dorothee Lang reads around the world, this time: Ayiti by Roxane Gay and African Sunrise by Nnedi Okorafor: Ayiti, Africa, and stories that aren't a story (global reading challenge)


2 Interviews: Anonymous Photography & Banned Books

Stephanie Dean interviews Patty Carroll about her project "Anonymous Women" at F-Stop: Patty Carroll: "And so when you can't see the eyes it's like one of those things where it's mysterious and kind of surreal but it also denies you access to the identity of that person. Right?" Anonymous Women

Last week was Banned Books Week. At Guernica, Alice Walker - one of America’s most censored writers - talks with Megan Labrise about finding wisdom in the songs of ancestors, why her acclaimed novel won’t be translated into Hebrew, and approaching writing in a priestly state of mind: Alice Walker: Writing What's Right


Blog Notes, Reflections Reads, Photos, Moments, etc:

For more reflections & reads visit:

Friday, October 05, 2012

Sea Bandits - Yay Words!

Sea Bandits is a project from Yay Words! - Poets were invited to submit short form poetry and artwork about the sea and/or thieves/thievery. Each poet who submitted was guaranteed at least one poem into the collection, the formats range from haiku, tanka, sequences, rengay, haibun, haiga to prose poems.

The collection is part of an ongoing series edited by Aubrie Cox, she notes: "As I was putting this collection together, it occurred to me that it’s nearly been a year since I started putting these PDF collaborations together on my blog, starting with the backlit fog at the end of September 2011." (note on the process)

Contributors include: Melissa Allen, Asni Amin, Johnny Baranski , Richard Cody, Kirsten Cliff, Martin Gottlieb, Aubrie Cox, Merrill Gonzales, Mark Harris, Yousei Hime, Shiteki Na Usagi, Cara Holman, Alegria Imperial, Kris Kennedy, Dorothee Lang, Ron Moss, Peter Newton, Christina Nguyen, Kathy Nguyen, Ellen Grace Olinger, Stella Pierides, Sapna, Lucas Stensland, Carmen Sterba, Alan Summers, Christine L. Villa, Michael Dylan Welch and Angie Werren.

You can download a free Pdf here:
Sea Bandits PDF

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

La Munkya

an epic three-and-a-half minutes narrative written by a kid


thanks to Tim Jones for spreading the word munkya: "‏@timjonesbooks: "I think this might be the best and funniest three-and-a-half minutes of pure narrative ever"

PS: there also is a Making-of-La-Munkya clip

and if you are in the mood for more book clips, try: "Read it Maybe"


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hybrid Beasts - Red Lemonade Community

Hybrid Beasts is a crowdsourced, mixed collection that developed in a collaborative process that was driven by readers and writers.

The collection features texts that are a hybrid of different genres - crossover between prose, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, essay, commentary, memoir, short story, poem..

Guest edited by Molly Gaudry, the collection includes hybrids written by Erik Wennermark, Kathryn Mockler, Jana McCall, Berit Ellingsen, Luke Dani, Gabe Wollenberg and R.V. Branham

You can read more about the project at the Hybrid project, and you can download the collection as free PDF or e-pub at: Hybrid Beasts

About Red Lemonade 
Red Lemonade is a writer community (like Fictionaut, but smaller) where writers post manuscripts and readers can comment to the texts directly in the text on the webpage, plus write comments in the margin. Here's more info about Red Lemonade

PS: the feature image is a visual hybrid of the pdf-cover and the photo in the editorial

Monday, September 24, 2012

now on: A More Diverse Universe Blog Tour

A More Diverse Universe is a blog initiative by a small group of bloggers who got together out of concern of the lack of diversity in fantasy fiction, particularly fantasy fiction of the epic nature by a blog tour. The idea of the blog tour: to highlights fantasy/sci fi/magical realism novels written by a person of color.

The call went up in August (here's the original call with introduction), and many, many bloggers followed. Yesterday the blog tour started, it runs from Sunday 23 to Saturday 29 September

The full schedule of the blog tour with links is online here: A More Diverse Universe: The Schedule

Hiromi Goto, current Writer-in-Residence at Athabasca University, has written an introduction for the blog tour: "The resonance of culture is difficult to measure. Essentialisms aside, one’s culture(s) creates a particular context of experience and understanding of the world. There is a grammar of seeing and perceiving that comes from being from a specific culture... I want to read stories and books that will let me see my world in different ways, not re-inscribe the world I’ve learned through the public education system and popular culture. Let me dream in a language not my own." (Hiromi Goto's Blog )

The hashtag for the blog tour on twitter is #diversiverse

2 ways of voices, or: a PS from the editor:
i wished i had come across the link to the blog tour earlier, when the call was out. in a coincidence, i chanced upon it after blogging about the very topic of global voices today, as part of the "It's Monday what are you reading" blog meme. a quote from the post: "You can easily read around the world and still stick with authors that entirely belong to your own hemisphere. Which will make it a very different read (and world impression) compared to reading around the world in the voice of the authors of the different continents." - here's the link: Ayiti, Africa, and stories that aren't a story (global reading challenge)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Read It Maybe

A "Call Me Maybe" parody from a bookstore:

The Short Story #10, a book video by Open Books: "Read It Maybe"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What does it mean to be published now?

Last week in the Fictionaut forums, a question by David Ackley (which picked up on yet another thread on the theme of "previous publication" in the age of the internet" lead to a longer thread: Fictionaut Forum / What does it mean to "be published" now? What's your definition of "publication?" Some quotes from the answers:

"They mean people are aware of you. That your work is being read, discussed, passed around..." - Darryl Price

"An editor reads it, accepts it, puts it out for the world..." - Linda Simoni-Wastila

"To me, publishing means that my piece is out there to be read in a format where I am incapable of personally making changes to it." - Magda Sullivan

"Getting a story published anywhere out there is still one of the great thrills of a lifetime, for sure" - Barry Friesen

"The thread also includes notes on the changing state of the literary world, or rather: the way the technical development changes a lot of things, including publishing. - "I am very excited about what electronic technology offers writers and readers. I am concerned that there is little quality control. In the end, having so much out there makes it more difficult to actually get your stuff read." - Linda Simoni-Wastila

"With anybody being able to put up their novel for sale on Amazon Books in five minutes flat, and anybody being able to put stuff on their own blog at will, publishing's become fully democratized. Ha. ... There's so much wonderful writing that the public never gets to see, because there's no model yet, during this long transition, to attract eyeballs to specific work." - Barry Friesen

The thread now also is moving on in blogs, like in the blog of author Marcus Speh, who notes: "While I’m affected (and saddened) by some of the experiences shared here, I don’t agree with the negative views on the demise (?) of either publishing or bookshops. .. The replacement of one paradigm by another, of one world by another, never is a pleasant process. It isn’t pleasant for people on either side: those who are left behind feel left out and dismissed; and those who build the new world share all the discomforts, uncertainties and fears of the pioneer."

Again, the theme lead to a thread which is online here: What does it mean to be published now? Some quotes from there:

"On “publication”, I’m bemused by the panic about the “changes” — it’s clear that e-publishing is going to be a giant part of the future reading experience, but is this really so different to our past? It used to be that stories were told around a fire — maybe even before fire — and this continues. .. Any old arse can write a book and publish to The Whole World! But in truth it’s no different to the man with a tale who takes it to the pub and wets a few palates before beginning because on the internet like any other stage or place or piece of paper, it’s all about storytelling, and all about the people who hear or watch us – and people haven’t changed." - Martha Williams

"One of the things I would LOVE to see being slapped into the garbage can is this idea of “vanity” publishing. Technology has given us all the tools to put out, truly INDEPENDENTLY, a brilliantly made (and hopefully written) project, if one is willing to work hard." - Lx


Writing & Reviewing
It seems to be a time of taking a fresh look at things, and of pondering - parallel to this theme, the review debate is also ongoing - and probably is also induced be the change of parameters - not only is the process of writing democratized, but also the process of reviewing. More on that theme, here: The Art of the Book Review + the Book Reviews Rage

Saturday, September 15, 2012

the week in review: a poetry-class of 30.000, review debate, short story survey & reviews of the week (short stories, satire, novel, essays, award winners..)

Some poetry / review / short story highlights of the week

Just started - you can still join: Modern & Contemporary American Poetry 
Some days ago, the literary course "Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo)" by Al Filreis started. This course is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, from Dickinson and Whitman to the present. Participants (who need no prior experience with poetry) will learn how to read poems that are supposedly "difficult." - almost 30.000 people enrolled so far.

The Art of the Book Review + the Book Reviews Rage 
Karen Lillies is currently posting a series of interviews with small press writers and reviewers about the art of book reviewing, and the state of book reviews. Following the current rich discussion of the state of bookreviews, the series now also includes an annotated timeline of the key essays: "Book Reviews Debate Rages On"

A brief survey of the short story 
In a literary series that started in 2007 and includes over 40 features so far, Chris Power portrays authors of short stories, and the development of the short story as format over time. In his own words, the portrays form "... a regular series of blogs that propose to offer a (very) partial survey of the short story, each post dealing with a single author who did or is doing something special with the form"


Reviews of the Week, via ReviewForward

Review Forward is a new online initiative for indie authors, for self published authors and for book bloggers. More about this initiative & how to join, here: reviewforward.

Berit Ellingsen reviews the flash and short story collection "Together We Can Bury It" by Kathy Fish: "from the harsh and beautiful Foreign Film, to the experimental Movement, the surreal Searching for Samuel Beckett, the magical realism of Snow, the darkness of The Hollow.."

Dorothee Lang writes about Reading the Hugo Award Prize Winners 2012 ".. many of the nominated and winning short stories and novellas are online. Great reads, with themes that speak to our times: multiculture, evolution, choice."

Marcus Speh got heavy mail: "my mini review/story when receiving Action, Figure by Frank Hinton": Action, Figure

Kate Brown interviews writer Christopher Allen' about his novel 'Conversations with S. Teri O'Type' - the interview with Kate is part of Chris Allen's book launch blog tour

** the way, there is a Goodreads List of the Reviewed Books & the Reviewers
the list includes most of the reviewed books (and books of the reviewers)


Reviews Continued:

The first review from Asia arrived: Birdy from India writes about a book that is about reading books - Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman"Ex Libris recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story." 

Sheldon Lee Compton wrote words about words that Brian Allen Carr wrote and called Vampire Conditions: "Every now and again there’s a book that just gives me that feeling of sitting in a warm living room on a winter day and listening to someone who has command of the room tell me something about life and the world I would have never seen in just that way before or maybe every again." - Read all of the words here: Preview Thoughts on Brian Allen Carr’s Vampire Conditions

Anne at Random Things reviews "An Island Between Shores" by Graham Wilson: "At just 148 pages long, this book can be read in one sitting, in fact I think really should be read like this as the story is compelling, often brutal but beautifully told."

More Reviews: review/forward: memoir, scifi, classic, poetry, comic, short stories...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Literary courses online: Modern & Contemporary American Poetry + Fantasy & Science Fiction

Literary courses online: Earlier this year, the online eduction platform Coursera launched. In partnership with several US universities, Coursera offers free online courses in the fields of Computer Science, Medicine, Biology, Finance and Information, but also in Humanities and Social Science. The current course program also includes 2 literary courses:

Starting Now: Modern & Contemporary American Poetry
In September, the literary course "Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo)" by Al Filreis will start. This course is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, from Dickinson and Whitman to the present. Participants (who need no prior experience with poetry) will learn how to read poems that are supposedly "difficult."

Starting date: September 10: "As Sunday night September 9 becomes Monday September 10, at midnight here in the eastern U.S., the ModPo site will open to everyone who has enrolled in the 10-week course. The course begins with poems by Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman."

To read more about it and to enroll, visit the ModPo course page. As sneak-peak, Al Filreis "leaked" a 20-minute video introduction to the course: Modpo-intro-video. There also is an ongoing poetry podcast series: PoemTalk. There also is a @ModPoPenn twitter feed with extra links.

Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World
There currently is another litarary course running at Coursera: "Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World" by Eric Rabkin. The course started in July, but you can still enroll and follolw the video lectures from the start to now. Here's a bit more: "We understand the world — and our selves — through stories. Then some of those hopes and fears become the world. This course will explore Fantasy in general and Science Fiction in specific both as art and as insights into ourselves and our world."

Friday, September 07, 2012

A brief survey of the short story - a Guardian series by Chris Power

In a literary series that started in 2007, Chris Power portrays authors of short stories, and the development of the short story as format over time.

In his own words, the portrays form "... a regular series of blogs that propose to offer a (very) partial survey of the short story, each post dealing with a single author who did or is doing something special with the form. In the interests of full disclosure I should point out that when I say "partial" I mean both "incomplete" and "biased", and I hope I'll get to hear dissenting opinions from you folks."

The series starts with Anton Chekhov, whose "subtle portrayals of complex, morally ambiguous characters set an example writers are following to this day" and with H.P.Lovecraft, "a master of fantastic horror tales, but the hate which drove his work was all too real."

Most recent features include Flannery O'Connor ("who brings an enigmatic intensity to her gothic vision of the American South" and Yugoslavian author Danilo Kiš ("Muddling the real and the fictional, the power of Kiš's stories lie in their ability to capture truth by doctoring history").

A series overview is online here: A brief survey of the short story.
So far 43 featuers are online.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Extract(s) - Your daily dose of lit

Extract(s) - Your daily dose of lit is a daily lit blog that also includes a video channel and is open to multiple forms.

In their own words: "Extract(s) features bite-sized literature in surprising forms. We don’t want to be your everything, but we do want to be one thing that makes your day more interesting. Drop by for a few minutes every day. We’ll give you something to think about."

Categories inlcude:
- Excerpts
- Haiku
- In Place
- Poems
- Stories

In Place Literary Video Series 
Extract(s) is currently running a Kickstrater campaign for the second season of their litarary project "In Place". A campaign video is online here, and the Kickstarter page is here: In Place Literary Video Series: Season 2 (deadline is September 19).

About Extract(s)
Extract(s) is edited and organized by: Christopher J. Anderson (Founder & Executive Creative Director;) Jenn Monroe (Founder & Executive Producer); Meg Cameron (Media & Communications Manager & Producer, “In Place”); Kyle Petty (Director, “In Place”)

Website: Extract(s) - Your daily dose of lit
Video Channel: Extract(s)

Sunday, September 02, 2012

the week in review/forward: memoir, scifi, classic, poetry, comic, short stories...

Reviewing the week in Review Forward

Review Forward is a new online initiative for indie authors, for self published authors and for book bloggers. More about this initiative & how to join, here: reviewforward.


Reviews of the Week:

Michelle Elvy interviews award-winning graphic novelist Chris Slane at Aotearoa Affair. His latest book -- Nice Day for a War -- won the 2012 NZ Post Children's Book Award. Well worth a view:  an interview with Chris Slane

Christopher Allen reviews Sheldon Lee Compton's new short story collection for Books at Fictionaut: The Same Terrible Storm

Beth Adams writes about reading Ulysses: (and if you wonder why Ulysses pops up in an initiative that is about indie / self-published books: "It was Sylvia Beach's small indie press in Paris that published the first copies of James Joyce's Ulysses." read more: Ulysses -- and the Trojan Horse Within

Berit Ellingsen reviews Ian Sale's new science fiction novella in her blog: Adrift on the Sea of Rains

Tim Jones interview Wellington poet Sugu Pillay, whose first poetry collection "Flaubert's Drum" just got published: An Interview With Sugu Pillay

Dorothee Lang reviews the self-published memoir by Melanie Steele, who set out in the hope that if you only keep following your heart, your dream will come true at some point: 13 Years in America

Marcus Speh discovers a little book from Proust about his home town at indie press Editiones Tartines: Kreusnach


Goodreads book list: there's a list with most of the reviews books (and with books of the reviewers) up at Goodreads:/ ReviewForward book list

Friday, August 17, 2012

First Light - An Anthology of Paraguayan Women Writers

First Light is an anthology that features works by 25 important Paraguayan women writers. Collected, translated and edited by Susan Smith Nash, it ranges from the transformation of Paraguay to virtually a matriarchy after the Triple Alliance and Chaco Wars of the early 1900's killed more than 90% of the male population of the country, to Alfredo Stroessner's 35-year dictatorship and its impact on Paraguayan artists and writers.

From the introduction: "This anthology of Paraguayan women writers is the culmination of more than two years of focused research and investigation into the nature of Paraguayan history, culture, and art, with special emphasis on literature. In the 12 or so visits I have made to Paraguay since November 1996, I have made a point to meet with the women authors (who have become very close friends) to conduct interviews and to participate in as many of the workshops, gatherings, book fairs, readings, and book presentations as possible. My primary objective in preparing this document is to introduce English-speaking audiences to a body of work that is largely unknown, and rarely included in anthologies. Of all the women authors represented in this anthology, it is perhaps Renee Ferrer who most directly addresses the issue of Alfredo Stroessner's 35-year dictatorship and its impact on the psyche and collective consciousness of Paraguayan artists and writers."

The full introduction and selected works by 14 authors are online here: An Anthology of Paraguayan Women Writers, and here's the printed version at Google Books.

About Susan Smith Nash
After receiving her Ph.D. in English from The University of Oklahoma, Susan Smith Nash has spent a great deal of time on educational, economic development, and literary projects in South America and the former Soviet Union, particularly Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia. In e-learning since the early 1990s, Nash is involved in e-learning and hybrid learning and training at universities, corporations, and not-for-profits.

Monday, August 13, 2012

MiCrow 7 - Summer 2012 - Home

MiCrow is the flash fiction section of Full Of Crow, edited by Michael Solender. The Summer 2012 issue is out now, it's theme: "Home"

Home is the place we most associate with self over any other. Home can be as large as a continent or as small as a tiny shack barely big enough for a bed. As a muse, storytellers both run towards and run away from that they call home," notes Michael Solender. "Whatever it offers you, our reader of edition 7, MICROW’s summer 2012 compendium, Home is where you’ll find splendid imagery, prose, and poetry that will capture your imagination and evoke notions that take you to places that are familiar and not so much."

The issue is available online: MiCrow 7: Summer 2012: “Home” , direct pdf-link: Home

The issue features words and imagery by: Lynn Alexander, Paul Beckman, Cortney Bledsoe, Jenny Bohatch, Samuel Cole, Stephen Cooper, Leon Jackson Davenport, Cristy Del Canto, Ceilidh Devine, Aleathia Drehmer, Kristin Fouquet,Leah Givens, Kate Marie Goff, Joseph Grant, Linda Hofke, Claire Ibarra, Rich Ives, Tyrel Kessinger, Len Kuntz, Dorothee Lang, Maude Larke, Paula Lietz, Doug Mathewson, Afzal Moolla, Ellen Orner, Jennifer Polhemus, James D. Quinton, Brad Rose, Marjorie Sadin, Linda Simoni-Wastila, Gita Smith, Michael Dwayne Smith, Michael J. Solender, Eric Suhem, Nicolette Wong, Christopher Woods, & Angel Zapata.

Michael J. Solender is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in North Carolina with his wife Harriet, and blogs at Not From Here, Are You?

About Full Of Crow:
Full Of Crow Press produces and promotes both print and web based content, including fiction, poetry, art, interviews, art columns, reviews, audio, flash fiction, zines, chapbooks, ebooks, and more.

related links: anthologies, e-books

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Screen Reading - reviews of online literary magazines

Screen Reading is a new column of reviews of online literary magazines by the NewPages Literary Magazine Review Editor Kirsten McIlvenna.

Just the sheer number of online literary publications that launch every month can be overwhelming both for  readers and writers. And in contrast to books, there weren't really many reviews for online magazine yet. That's how the idea of Screen Reading sparked:

"In an effort to 'give more love' to online magazines - which are fabulous but often don’t get as much attention," editor McIlvenna says, "this weekly column will introduce readers to some good writing and places to submit work."

Here's the link to the ongoing series: Screen Reading - reviews of online literary magazines

Magazines featured so far include, among others: Memorious, Eclectica Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, Carve Magazine, LITnIMAGE, Cigale Literary, pif Magazine. Each week Kirsten McIlvenna spotlights a new set of online literary magazines, offering a glimpse into some of the best and newest writing on the web.

New Pages is a portal of news, information and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, independent bookstores, alternative periodicals, independent record labels, alternative newsweeklies and more.

Screen Reading - reviews of online literary magazines

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

99 Books That Capture the Spirit of Africa + 1 on the verge

From the desert of Algeria to the savannahs of Kenya and the jungles of Equatorial Guinea, A Basket of Leaves: 99 Books That Capture the Spirit of Africa is a quintessential reader's guide that includes reviews and excerpts from notable books for each of Africa's 54 countries.

This collection explores many of the best-known works on Africa, such as Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou (Ghana), The Viceroy of Ouidah by Bruce Chatwin (Benin), Age of Iron by J.M. Coetzee (South Africa), Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey (Rwanda), and When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head (Botswana). The book is published by South-African publisher Jacana Media (worth visiting).

Geoff Wisner is an essayist and book reviewer with a focus on Africa, the Caribbean, and environmental issues. He blogs about African literature in translation at Words Without Borders.

Book on the verge:
Call for Support for "African Lives" anthology

Currently Geoff Wisner is looking for support for his second book, African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies. The book will appear next spring from Lynne Rienner Publishers. In order to bring the anthology to print, he still needs to raise an estimated $3,000 by September 5, so far 56% are funded - visit Worlds Without Borders for more: African Lives