Tag Archives: Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers & Me

I’m convinced that Poets & Writers compiled their most recent Inspiration Issue just so I would renew my subscription. What else could explain the reason I am currently reading the magazine cover-to-cover, something I don’t think I’ve done with any other magazine subscription. At first, I thought that the magazine’s arrival was perfect timing for my impending travel to Georgia for the holidays. Then, on the plane, I realized that it was perfect timing as my last issue of my previous subscription.

Melissa Madenski’s Why We Write article reminds me that I’m lucky, as a writer, to benefit creatively from tragedy as much (usually more) than from happy times:

I don’t know what made me persist, what made me rise on icy mornings, shake myself awake and perch by the coffeemaker. When people said I was disciplined, I knew the truth. It would take more discipline to stop writing than to continue.

Then there’s Frank Bures’s “Inner Space: Clearing Some Room for Inspiration” with a take on technology’s infringement on the writer’s creative space that is not accusatory, but rather empathetic, gentle. With humor and just the right amount of personal anecdote, Bures presents a very real obstacle to the issue’s subject of inspiration without pointing fingers or damning Google.

I suppose I’ll get back to finishing the issue, and my internal struggle of to renew or not to renew.


Things They’ve Read Thursday: New Year’s Travel Edition

By Melanie Yarbrough

Since I’ve been back in the Bean, I’ve been doing some serious reading, making up for the time I spent in the Bermuda Triangle that is home. Doing some extended traveling for the holiday weekend like I am? Here’s some essential reading for the train/plane/car/Vespa/airport waiting room.
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Publish or Perish #1: Electric Literature Leads Us Forward

By Shane Solar-Doherty

This is the first entry in a series that I’m dubbing Publish or Perish. Each Friday Here and there, I’ll reflect upon an update or two that’s shaking things up in publishing. This one’s about Electric Literature and the crucial steps they’re taking to usher literature forward into a new phase of publishing.

I remember the first time I learned about Electric Literature. It was the spring of 2009 and I was flipping through the pages of the newest issue of Poets & Writers. Then there was this ad: A young woman, decked out in a hospital gown and puffing on a fat cigar, holding onto an IV pole, glaring at me like I’d made a distasteful remark about pissing into a bedpan. The caption read, “Reading That’s Bad For You”. I remember thinking, holy shit, and then immediately jumping online and going to their website. I remember both the doubts that were raised and the excitement I felt that this was the beginning, that the shift was being embraced, and the embrace was carried out not by a veteran publication, but by a fresh lit mag that hadn’t even yet published its first issue. To me, it sounded promising. Somehow I was rest assured, by the punkass gaze that the woman in the hospital gown was giving me, that this was going to work.

On Monday, Andy Hunter, co-founder of Electric Literature, wrote an absolutely incredible article for Publishers Weekly about how Electric Literature has adopted a model that is supported by, rather than struggling against, the changes in publishing, and how other publishers, lit mags, and authors can follow their lead and embrace the new publishing era. Hunter says that Electric Literature is “taking on iBooks and Kindle in a bootstrap revolution we believe could grow into a takeover of digital publishing.” That’s an encouraging sign for the future of the distribution of quality literature. I’ve plucked some of my other favorite quotes out from the article to share with you.

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Short Fiction Deadlines: List them before you miss them!

Sometimes I spend Friday nights sitting cross-legged in pajamas and a ski hat (because I’m too lazy to close the window), drinking my roommate’s whiskey and ginger, writing and reading. This past Friday, I did just that: Nabila is visiting so we holed up in my living room – she working on her website, and I working on a recent story that I wanted to enter into the Zoetrope: All-Story short fiction contest. Deadline: Friday night at midnight.

Though I have no illusions of grandeur that I’ll actually win, it felt good to hunker down, do some serious revision and send my baby out into the world. Rejection is just a reminder that you’re still trying.

That said, I want to start off the month of October with that attitude, and I thought I’d share some fiction contests coming up.

October 4: Opium Magazine’s 7-Line Story Contest. From About.com: “$1000 and publication in Opium9 for a story or prose poem of seven lines or fewer (8.5″ x 11″ paper with 1″ margins). The winning story along with runners-up will be featured in Opium11, slated for release in March. Submit stories online. $10 entry fee.”

Opium’s a pretty cool magazine. I attended a Literary Deathmatch that they hosted at the enormous room in Cambridge, and it was a great representation of how lively and interactive writing can be.

More contests after the jump… Continue reading

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