In art, books, essays, poetry, writing on March 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm
Aaron Shurin. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2013).
An introduction to Aaron Shurin, whose latest poetry collection is Citizen (City Lights Books, 2012). Shurin is the author of over a dozen books, both poetry and essay collections. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Gerbode Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the California Arts Council. He cofounded the Boston-based writing collective Good Gay Poets and was the director of the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco.
When asked if he has a philosophy for how and why he writes, Shurin answered, “Poetry is attention, and it is the means of attending experience. Attention is the key word both for what it requires and what its nature is.” And that sense of attention comes through when you read his work. One of the pleasures of Shurin’s poetry is the focus on sound and rhythm. It makes for a powerful experience to hear him read. He doesn’t rush the words—each phrase has its own breath, deliberately chosen to add meaning, and momentum builds throughout the poem. Shurin graciously read some poems exclusively for this interview. Read the rest of this entry »
In art, poetry, writing on January 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Virginia Bell. Photo by Ben Blustein.
An introduction to Virginia Bell, author of the poetry collection From the Belly (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012). Bell is a Senior Editor with RHINO Poetry and an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago, where she particularly enjoys teaching courses on Women in Literature, Early American Literature, and Nationalism and Literature. Her poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies, and are forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review. Throughout 2013, her poems will be heard on WGLT’s Poetry Radio.
When asked about the title of her new book, Bell shared that it “allowed me to group seemingly disparate poems together: ekphrastic ones and ones about the body generally, as well as the ones about food or the mother’s body. I think I liked the idea, too, of the belly as gut, as the place where poems come from.” Indeed, her poems are a gutsy, unflinching exploration of what it means to grow up, to be a woman and a mother, to remember, to tell stories—to live.
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In books, plays, poetry, spoken word, writing on October 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm
David Budbill. Photo by Joshi Radin (2011).
An introduction to David Budbill, author of the book Park Songs: a Poem/Play (Exterminating Angel Press, 2012). Happy Life, his most recent book of poems, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2011. Two other Budbill books have also been published by Copper Canyon Press, While We’ve Still Got Feet and Moment to Moment: Poems of a Mountain Recluse. His latest play, A Song for My Father, premiered at Lost Nation Theatre in Montpelier, Vermont, in the spring of 2010 and will be produced again in Salinas, California, at The Western Stage in 2013. Budbill’s prizes and honors include The Vermont Arts Council’s Walter Cerf Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts Play Writing Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, and The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award for Fiction. When asked about the role of humor in Park Songs, Budbill said, “All I know is, I can’t live my life without humor and neither can my characters.” Read the rest of this entry »
In art, books, fiction, poetry, short stories on July 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm
Mick Stern. Photo by Lucy Kehati.
An introduction to writer and artist Mick Stern, whose most recent books include The Chicken’s Guide to Crossing the Road, Fifty Thousand, and Get Out of Town. Stern received a PhD in English Renaissance Literature from New York University (NYU). He has taught English at Rutgers (New Brunswick) and other colleges. For more than twenty years, he taught screenwriting at NYU’s film school.
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In books, history, nonfiction, plays, poetry, writing on June 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm
Katherine Chiljan. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).
An introduction to Katherine Chiljan, author of Shakespeare Suppressed: The Uncensored Truth About Shakespeare and his Works (Faire Editions, 2011), and two anthologies: Dedication Letters to the Earl of Oxford, and Letters and Poems of Edward, Earl of Oxford. In 2012, Chiljan received the Vero Nihil Verius Award for Distinguished Scholarship from Concordia University in Oregon. Chiljan has studied the Shakespeare authorship question for over 26 years, has debated the topic with English professors at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco. She has written several articles for the newsletter of the Shakespeare-Oxford Society, was its editor, and is a former Society trustee.
In Shakespeare Suppressed, Chiljan examines the identity of the great author, presenting evidence that supports a somewhat unpopular but convincing argument that he was not the man who hailed from Stratford-upon-Avon, not the man commonly credited as the writer of masterpieces like Romeo and Juliet. Freed of the Stratford Man model, problems of dating plays, piracy, and more can begin to be solved, and a new exciting figure of the author emerges. The book explores why the man from Stratford was falsely credited as Shakespeare after his death, but the implications of Chiljan’s research extend much further and offer Shakespeare fans, students, and scholars fresh perspective on the most celebrated poet and dramatist in history. Read the rest of this entry »
In poetry, writing on May 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Arun Budhathoki (Daniel Song). Photo courtesy of Arun Budhathoki.
An introduction to poet Arun Budhathoki (Daniel Song), from Kathmandu, Nepal. Founding editor of The Applicant, a Kathmandu-based journal of literature and art, Budhathoki is also currently working on his second book of poems and a novella. When asked about his writing process, and where he would most want to live and write, Budhathoki shared, “I do not want to live in one place. Boundaries and geographic restrictions restrict creativity, at least in my case. That’s why you find my poems based in different places.” Read the rest of this entry »
In gardening, landscape architecture, nonfiction, poetry, writing on April 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm
Hazel White. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).
An introduction to Hazel White, author of the poetry collection Peril as Architectural Enrichment (Kelsey Street Press, 2011). White holds degrees in philosophy and literature, and has also studied crop agriculture and landscape architecture. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from California College of the Arts. The author of 11 gardening books, Peril as Architectural Enrichment is her first book of poems.
These two pursuits of White’s were recently fused for a UC Berkeley Botanical Garden symposium in February 2012. White described the experience as “an enormous moment. I was challenged to integrate what had previously been two separate parts of my life: the experimental poetry, and my commercial writing about landscape architecture. I made a presentation that was a sonnet, and it was a collage of prose, poetics, and philosophy, all around landscape architecture.” For readers of Peril as Architectural Enrichment, White’s background as a garden and landscape author seems absolutely fitting. In her poetry, the natural world intertwines with an intellectual and philosophical world to create thoughtful tension as the narrator searches for balance and an understanding of her place in this space. Read the rest of this entry »
In fiction, poetry, writing on February 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Bhuwan Thapaliya. Photo by Rehal Kharel.
An introduction to Nepalese writer Bhuwan Thapaliya, who works as an economist, and is the author of four poetry collections. Thapaliya’s books include the recently released Safa Tempo: Poems New and Selected (Nirala Publication, New Delhi), and Our Nepal, Our Pride (Cyberwit.net). Poetry by Thapaliya has been included in The New Pleiades Anthology of Poetry and Tonight: An Anthology of World Love Poetry, as well as in literary journals such as Urhalpool, MahMag, Kritya, FOLLY, The Vallance Review, Nuvein Magazine, Foundling Review, Poetry Life and Times, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, Taj Mahal Review, and more. When asked if there is a quote that motivates him, Thapaliya shared these lines: “Luck lies in bed and wishes somebody to bring him his tea every morning when he wakes up after a long sleep. Labor wakes up from his bed and heads towards the kitchen to make his own cup of tea every day after a brief slumber in peace.”
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In poetry, writing on January 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm
Patrick Duggan. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).
An introduction to poet and writer Patrick Duggan. Originally from New Hampshire, Duggan has studied writing and literature at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He is also a National Poetry Series finalist, and Duggan’s poems have appeared in Shampoo, Beeswax Magazine, 26 Magazine, Oranges and Sardines, Mirage: A Periodical, Monday Night, Noö Journal, Parthenon West Review, and The Inman Review.
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In poetry, short stories, writing on December 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm
Yon Walls. Photo by W A Moody.
An introduction to writer Yon Walls, who recently published an ebook called The Sultan’s Cook (Smashwords). The ebook includes three sudden fiction stories written after Walls returned from Istanbul, Turkey. Walls is a poet, diarist, and novelist originally from Kentucky. She’s lived in California since 1972. Walls holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College where she received the Zora Neale Hurston Writing Award twice. From 2000-2008, she taught college-level English and literature in the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley areas. In 2002 and 2007, she was a teacher and writer-in-residence in Hiroshima and Kofu, Japan. Since that time, she completed Island of Swallows, a collection of poems about Japan. Walls is currently a contributing editor for Tertuliamagazine.com. Read the rest of this entry »