Marissa Bell Toffoli

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Interview With Writer Virginia Bell

In art, poetry, writing on January 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Virginia Bell. Photo by Ben Blustein.

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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Interview With Writer & Photographer Tom Carter

In art, essays, journalism, nonfiction, photography, travel, writing on December 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm
Tom Carter

Tom Carter. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to travel writer and photographer Tom Carter, whose recent book CHINA: Portrait of a People is being hailed as the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China published by a single author. The book is organized by region with thoughtful descriptions for photos that offer a candid and moving glimpse of life in China. As Carter says in the introduction, “Where I have been, you will be; what I have seen, you will see.” Carter, who is originally from San Francisco, California, is now at work on a few books, including another photo book, INDIA: Portrait of a People. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Mark L Arywitz

In art, books, fiction, film, plays, writing on October 20, 2012 at 10:39 am
Mark L Arywitz

Mark L Arywitz. Photo by Caitlin Sanders.

An introduction to Mark L Arywitz, author of the novel The Legend of Little Great Grandfather (TheWriteDeal, 2012). Arywitz’s background in writing for the screen instilled in him that “it’s not only about good prose, I’m also going for a story that has some narrative drive.” His screenwriting credits include the feature film “Just Before Dawn,” the TV drama “Mozart’s Requiem,” and many commissioned screenplays, among them “Holier Than Thou.” Arywitz teaches in the Department of Film & Television in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Legend of Little Great Grandfather is his debut novel, and the first in a trilogy in progress. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer David Budbill

In books, plays, poetry, spoken word, writing on October 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm
David Budbill

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 »

Interview With Writer Bill Hutchinson

In books, journalism, memoir, writing on September 14, 2012 at 11:03 am
Bill Hutchinson

Bill Hutchinson. Photo by Lisa Amand.

An introduction to journalist Bill Hutchinson, the author of the memoir Sushi and Black-Eyed Peas (TheWriteDeal e-leaf, 2012). A senior writer for the New York Daily News, Hutchinson has also worked as a reporter for the Boston Herald, the Fresno Bee, the Contra Costa Sun and the Daily Ledger-Post Dispatch in the California Delta. Hutchinson grew up in Central California, the youngest son of an Okinawan mother and a Black, Irish Cherokee father. He began to write his memoir because “too many kinfolk were dying and taking great stories to their graves.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Lissa Evans

In books, fiction, writing, young adult (YA) on September 4, 2012 at 7:38 am
Lissa Evans

Lissa Evans. Photo courtesy of the author.

An introduction to Lissa Evans, author of the new novel Horten’s Incredible Illusions (Sterling, 2012). This book is the sequel to Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms, Evans’s first novel featuring young Stuart, and written with a middle-grade or junior high school audience in mind. Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms was short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, the Costa Book Awards, and UK Literacy Association’s Children’s Book Award, and long-listed for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Branford Boase Award. Her adult fiction includes the novels Spencer’s List and Odd One Out. As the cover blurb reveals, “Lissa Evans’s route to children’s fiction author is perhaps as roundabout as Stuart’s adventures in Beeton.” Evans embarked on a career in medicine, then moved briefly to stand-up comedy, and became a comedy producer in radio and television before finding her voice as an author.

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Interview With Writer Jim Lynch

In books, fiction, journalism, writing on August 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm
Jim Lynch

Jim Lynch. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).

An introduction to Jim Lynch, author of Truth Like the Sun (Knopf, 2012), Border Songs, and The Highest Tide. Lynch’s history as a journalist shines through in his new novel, and in the delightful, conversational, and inquisitive way he manages to draw you out while you’re interviewing him. Lynch shared that his latest book “started with my desire to write a very urban novel . . . I also wanted to write a book about power and ambition, and journalists and politicians—all the gray morality involved in all that.” So yes, it would be easy to say this book is about politics, journalism, and cities, and leave it at that. What has stayed with me after reading it is that in its heart Truth Like the Sun is about people and growing up. Nobody’s perfect, and you can’t escape who you are; you can’t escape the past. Part of growing up, no matter how long it takes, is recognizing those things, and that goes for people and cities.  As Lynch explained, and his characters illustrate, it is not easy “to size people up and try to boil down their integrity into a nice, neat newspaper article.” There’s always more than one side to a story. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s New With Writer Deborah Harkness

In books, fiction, history, writing on August 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm
Deborah Harkness. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

Deborah Harkness. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2011).

Since it came out in 2011, the Words With Writers interview with Deborah Harkness has  been one of the most popular reads on the blog. In July 2012, Harkness published Shadow of Night, the sequel to her bestseller A Discovery of Witches. During her book tour, she came through Danville, California for a reading and signing event at Rakestraw Books. It was a pleasure to catch up with Harkness, learn about the new book and its place in the All Souls trilogy, and to hear more of her thoughts on the writing life.

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Interview With Writer Jim Boots

In books, business, consulting, nonfiction, writing on August 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm
Jim Boots

Jim Boots. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2012).

An introduction to Jim Boots, founder of the consulting group Global Process Innovation and author of BPM Boots on the Ground (Meghan-Kiffer Press, 2012), a book about how to implement strategic business process management (BPM). Boots shares what he learned from working for one of the world’s largest organizations, and gives readers an idea of how to create change within any company. When Boots recently retired after thirty years at Chevron, he pursued a new adventure as a BPM consultant that began with writing this book. As Boots explains it, BPM is about representing processes graphically “to get people to think very deeply about what they do together and how to improve on it.” Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Katherine Chiljan

In books, history, nonfiction, plays, poetry, writing on June 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm
Katherine Chiljan

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 »

Interview With Writer Arun Budhathoki (Daniel Song)

In poetry, writing on May 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm
Arun Budhathoki (Daniel Song)

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 »

Interview With Writer Hazel White

In gardening, landscape architecture, nonfiction, poetry, writing on April 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm
Hazel White

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 »

Interview With Writer Brian Griffith

In books, history, nonfiction, writing on April 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm
Brian Griffith

Brian Griffith. Photo courtesy of Brian Griffith.

An introduction to author and independent historian Brian Griffith, whose new book titled A Galaxy of Immortal Women (Exterminating Angel Press, 2012) ties mythology, archaeology, history, religion, folklore, literature, and journalism into a millennia-spanning story about how Chinese women—and their goddess traditions—fostered a counterculture that flourishes and grows stronger every day. Griffith’s previous books are The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History, Different Visions of Love: Partnership and Dominator Values in Christian History, and Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Allan G Johnson

In fiction, writing on March 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm
Allan G Johnson

Allan G Johnson. Photo by Paul Johnson.

An introduction to sociologist and writer Allan G Johnson, whose latest novel is Nothing Left to Lose (Plain View Press, 2011). Johnson’s first novel was The First Thing and the Last, and his nonfiction books include The Gender Knot: Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, and Privilege, Power, and Difference. Since 1972, when he received his PhD in Sociology, Johnson has worked on issues of gender, race, and social justice. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Writer Bhuwan Thapaliya

In fiction, poetry, writing on February 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm
Bhuwan Thapaliya

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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Interview With Writer Lowry Pei

In books, fiction, writing on January 25, 2012 at 10:22 am
Lowry Pei

Lowry Pei. Photo by Vaughn Sills.

An introduction to Lowry Pei, author of the novel Over the Fence (TheWriteDeal.org). Pei’s first book, Family Resemblances, was published by Random House in 1986. His stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories 1984, The American Story: The Best of StoryQuarterly, and his book reviews have been published in the New York Times Book Review. Pei’s unique point of view owes much to his unlikely origins as the son of an engineer from Suzhou, China, and a schoolteacher from a small town in Kansas. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, and teaches writing at Simmons College.

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Interview With Writer Patrick Duggan

In poetry, writing on January 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm
Patrick Duggan

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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Interview With Writer Yon Walls

In poetry, short stories, writing on December 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm
Yon Walls

Yon Walls. Photo by W A Moody.

An introduction to writer Yon Walls, who recently published a novel called Seeing Collette. 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 »

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