February 28, 2013

Versal @ AWP: Contributor Edition

Everyone everywhere has a "guide to AWP" already, so no need for that here. But we would like to give you two pieces of advice:

1. Jetlag is your friend.
2. Come to Versal's table (J20) and eat licorice with us.

More Versal-AWP shenanigans? It's called Red Light Raffle and it's all yours.

In the meantime, if you're still not sure what panels to go to, we've gathered a list of panels our past & present contributors will be shining on. Which means: these panels will kick ass.*

Tomorrow, stay tuned for a list of panels our editors are on. Which means: more ass kicking.


9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Room 206, Level 2
R117. Writing Masculinities. (Samuel Ace, Thomas McBee, Farid Matuk, Rickey Laurentiis, Brian Blanchfield) This panel will offer a cross-genre/cross-sexuality/cross-gendered reading, with discussion to follow, about the interweave of the (other than) masculine in one’s work by writers who use “he” but put the “he” in question. Panelists will read from work that reimagines the landscape of the masculine, directly or obliquely, through a dense exploration of subject matter and language, while raising important questions about how masculinity is defined and what it represents.

12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m.
Room 312, Level 3
R184. Prose and Verse Consubstantial: The New Mixed Form. (Peter Streckfus, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, C.D. Wright, Carole Maso, Julie Carr) Prose is our culture’s default for narrative. Writing organized by the poetic line is our default for lyric expression. This panel presents writers who, in lieu of erasing the boundaries between the paragraph and the line, alternate both forms in the same work. Authors will read from their own mixed-form work and discuss precedents from the rich history of the mixed form, ranging from Zukofsky’s “A” to Basho’s Narrow Road. How can mixed form serve the poet? The novelist?

4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Room 204, Level 2
R259. Beyond Ekphrasis: The Pedagogy and Practice of Other Art Forms in the Creative Writing Classroom. (Rachel Marston, Caitlin Horrocks, Shena McAuliffe, Nicole Sheets, Robert Glick) Whether a text/image hybrid, such as the paintings of Frida Kahlo, or a photo/text novel like W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz, the combination of artistic media can create an emotional and intellectual power greater than its individual parts. Techniques used in painting, sculpture, and music can be invaluable in teaching the creative writer new ways to think about his or her work. In this panel, we’ll show you how, without outside expertise, you can bring other arts into the creative writing classroom.

3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Room 110, Plaza Level
R224. Larkin to Love or Hate: British Poetics in Conversation. (Carrie Etter, Carol Watts, Lytton Smith, Tim Liardet, Zoe Brigley Thompson) Four leading British poets of distinctly different styles discuss the current state of British poetics by beginning with the common dividing line of Philip Larkin’s importance for contemporary poetries in the UK. Together, their talks will bring to light and explore the exciting array of recent developments in British poetry.


9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Room 111, Plaza Level
F113. 1913 10th Anniversary Reading. (Sandra Doller, Ben Doller, Srikanth Reddy, Charles Bernstein, Ronaldo Wilson, Jane Lewty) Celebrate ten years of innovative cross-genre publishing with 1913, a journal of forms and 1913 Press! Indebted in name and notion to the radical early modernist spirit, 1913 publishes emerging international writers and artists alongside some of our most renowned. 1913’s 10th anniversary is the 100th anniversary of the year 1913—the year Rosa Parks is born and Harriet Tubman dies; Malevich’s Black Square and Stein’s Tender Buttons; and the movies move to Hollywood and Russian Futurist books proliferate.

9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Room 206, Level 2
F118. The Colloquial Baroque: Productively Deploying the Arcane. (Lisa Russ Spaar, Brenda Hillman, Joanna Klink, Gregory Pardlo, Brian Teare) How do damasked registers of diction and syntax contribute more than dazzling surface texture to poems of erotic, religious, aesthetic, and psychological complexity? What are the risks and pleasures of working in mixed modes of difficulty? Five aesthetically diverse poets discuss their use of Keatsian fine excess and their relationship to Hopkins’s statement that “Obscurity I do and will try to avoid so far as” is consistent with excellences higher than clearness at a first reading.

10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Room 313, Level 3
F160. Yoga and the Life of the Writer. (Krista Katrovas, Melissa Pritchard, Pam Uschuk, Suzanne Roberts, Andrea England) We’ll give brief testimonials regarding our Yoga practices and discuss how meditation as well as physical aspects of Yoga enhance writing/reading lives. The session concludes with demonstrations of chanting and chair Yoga, the latter offering practical, safe techniques, for counteracting the effects of sitting still for long periods. The audience is encouraged to participate. Career status is irrelevant to this panel, which will consist of writers/Yoginis at different stages of their careers.

12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m.
Room 101, Plaza Level
F161. Experimental Fiction Today. (John Parras, Daniel Green, Alissa Nutting, Ted Pelton, M. Bartley Seigel) Editors, writers, critics, and teachers discuss recent trends in experimental fiction and how such work enriches the publishing landscape, the creative writing workshop, and the direction and function of literature itself. What are some of the more exciting trends in innovative fiction? What are the special challenges and rewards for writers testing fiction’s limits? How does fabulist work work? If all literature is innovative, what distinguishes the experimental from other types of fiction?

1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Room 200, Level 2
F200. Making the Case for Community Outreach / Service as a Part of the MFA Experience. (Eric Heald-Webb, Jessica Kinnison, Dora Malech, Nina Buckless, Amana C. Katora) As the role of graduate writing programs has expanded beyond the teaching of writing, service programs have become one way to offer graduate students experience in both teaching and community outreach. In this session, panelists who are closely involved with such community outreach organizations will reflect on the benefits to themselves, their graduate program, and their community, in order to make a case for formalizing Community Outreach/Service Programs as a part of the MFA experience.

1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Room 306, Level 3
S204. How to Lose Friends and Alienate Loved Ones: Exploitation vs. Documentation in Creative Nonfiction. (B.J. Hollars, Roxane Gay, Marcia Aldrich, Ryan Van Meter, Bonnie J. Rough) Not every story is flattering, nor is every character. Nevertheless, nonfiction writers continue to document their lives and the lives of others, often at the risk of violating personal relationships. How should writers navigate between revealing the true nature of their subjects without alienating the people themselves? Join four writers as they explore the fine line between documentation and exploitation, among other ethical dilemmas inherent in writing of friends, family, and loved ones.
4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Room 312, Level 2
F278. Ready for Prime Time? The Future of Enhanced Digital Publishing. (Martin Lammon, Karina Borowicz, Julie Marie Wade, Benjamin Mitchell, Emily Chamison) Editors of the new digital literary journal Arts & Letters PRIME discuss the future of enhanced digital publishing, from start-up to design, from production to distribution. Designed for tablet readers such as the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and Kindle Fire, enhanced digital books and journals are changing the way we read. Joining the editors are two PRIME contributors, author Julie Marie Wade and poet Karina Borowicz, who discuss how digital media has impacted their work and literary exposure.


10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Room 107, Plaza Level
S133. Lower Your Standards: William Stafford in the Workshop. (James Armstrong, Philip Metres, Alissa Nutting, Jeff Gundy, Fred Marchant) This panel considers how William Stafford’s complex and still-controversial approach to the poetry workshop can help overcome some of the pitfalls of that system (such as writing for the teacher or writing the safe poem). Panelists recount their own experiences using Stafford’s ideas in the classroom; they discuss how Stafford’s no praise, no blame stance towards the imagination, his notion of the centrality of daily practice, and his insistence on overcoming writer’s block through lowered standards can help students become fluent practitioners.

10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Room 303, Level 3
S149. We Are Homer: A Reading of Collaborative Poetry and Prose. (Ryan Teitman, Traci Brimhall, Laura Eve Engel, Adam Peterson, Brynn Saito) In this reading of poetry and prose, two pairs of writers (Traci Brimhall & Brynn Saito and Laura Eve Engel & Adam Peterson) will read from their collaboratively written works. Ryan Teitman will also read from a set of poems cowritten with Marcus Wicker. After the reading, the writers will discuss their writing process, how they came together to write collaboratively, and the challenges and joys of writing with a partner.

10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Patricia Olson Bookfair Stage, Exhibit Hall A, Plaza Level
BF34. Lynx House/Lost Horse: How Two Presses Collaborate. (David Axelrod, Greg Pape, Bill Tremblay, Ray Amorosi, Dawn Lonsinger) Lynx House Press and Lost Horse Press, both small, active literary presses based in the inland Northwest, have discovered that their missions are much the same: to publish the highest quality poetry and literary fiction in editions that are above trade standard in design and to achieve for these books the widest possible circulation and cultural impact. The terrific results of their collaboration, on display at this event, suggest a model that other small presses might consider.

12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m.
Room 110, Plaza Level
S162. Courting the Love Poem: Challenges of Sincerity and Sentimentality. (Alyse Knorr, Timothy Liu, Joe Hall, Beth Ann Fennelly, Nate Pritts) Who’s afraid of the big bad love poem? How does the contemporary love poem fit in today’s postmodern literary landscape? This panel discusses the poetics and politics of writing the love poem, including the challenges of evoking sincerity, avoiding sentimentality, and working with a theme as old as poetry itself. What are the current poetic modes of writing love poems, from the autobiographical narrative to intentional experimentalism? How do gender and sexual orientation influence poetics?

4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Room 103, Plaza Level
S238. Winter in the Blood: Adapting Fiction into Film. (Prageeta Sharma, Alex Smith, Andrew Smith, Ken White) The screenwriting panel will discuss the methodology of adapting literature for the screen using the 2011 production of James Welch’s novel Winter in the Blood as a model. The directors and screenwriters will focus on strategies of adaptation, including writing in consideration of culture, geography, budget, and practical production elements in an ever-changing contemporary independent film market.

4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Room 204, Level 2
S250. Celebrating Your Own Backyard: How Regional Literary Magazines Engage and Build Writing Communities. (Carla Spataro, John Henry Fleming, Chris Haven, Maureen Alsop, Christine Borne) This panel, with representatives from regional literary magazines from across the country, will explore the joys of celebrating what they know and how regionally focused literary journals help build writing communities through workshops, professional development events for writers, and readings.

*Apologies for any mistakes, oversights, or inconsistencies. We copied and pasted this off AWP's site. If you're a Versal contrib and we missed your panel, let us know! Also, feel free to add links to your offsite in the comments and we'll tweet it.

February 24, 2013

Contributor's Notes – Candy Shue

Interviews and guest posts from the writers and artists of Versal 10. This week, we hear from poet Candy Shue, a poet and reviewer who can be heard online on Poet as Radio. A recent recipient of a Kundiman Fellowship, she holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco. Her work has appeared in Spiral Orb, Eratio, The Collagist, EOAGH, Switchback, Washington Square, and recently in Drunken Boat and the current issue of Mead Magazine.  Right now Candy is putting together a chapbook titled "Whiskey, Water, and White Dwarves", which is looking for a home!

Have you been to Amsterdam?  What did you do while you were here? If you've not been yet, what do you think you'd do in our fair town?
Yes--I loved taking the trams to the outdoor markets and perusing the bookstores!  I found a first British edition of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast in a secondhand bookshop, which was exciting. 

What is the first creative thing you ever did?  

When I was four, I turned my baby quilt into a magic carpet and sailed into the wild blue yonder.  On one adventure, I journeyed into the night of the forest (my bedroom closet) where I fell asleep and missed dinner.  

What is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said to you about being a writer?  

People have actually been really great about it.  I was filling out a medical form once and under “Occupation,” I decided to write “Poet”--the first time I had ever declared it officially.  My doctor looked at the chart and said, “You’re a poet?  That’s wonderful!” and told me about some Italian poetry he’d read, since he was Italian.  It surprises people when you tell them you’re a poet.  

If you were an angle, what kind of angle would you be?  

I’d be an angle fish.  I mean an angel fish.  An angel angler.  An angle wrangler.  I’m sometimes acute and often obtuse, but I’m not a right angle.  

If you could meet a writer from the 15th, 16th or 17th centuries, who would it be? And what would you talk about?

If I could go back to the 9th century, I’d like to hang out with Hanshan, the Chinese hermit poet.  He wrote on nature--bamboo, stones, wood, cliffs and even people’s houses.  I expect we wouldn’t talk very much, but that would be ok.  For a later era, I’d choose the Japanese Zen Poet Monk, Ikkyu.  I think he’d get a kick out of hearing how his character keeps popping up in Japanese anime and manga.       

Tell us something few people know about you.

I grew up swimming and playing water polo, so I spent a lot of time in pools!  The rhythm of swimming is something that I feel when I’m writing poetry, and I’m attracted to the imagery and dynamics of water in my work.    

Other than Versal (which has clearly been awesome), what's one great place you've been published?

Versal has been awesome!  I was also happy to have my poem “Love Is a Weather of Body” hyperlinked to the other poems in the journal Spiral Orb Four.  And I’m looking forward to have poems in Drunken Boat’s upcoming issue on Hypnopoetics.  

Why did you send work to Versal? Be honest. 

I was introduced to Versal when I was printing a poetry chapbook at the San Francisco Center for the Book.  The SFCB is a fantastic place--they have drawers and drawers of old metal type and three vintage Vandercook printing presses.  I was drawn to Versal’s crisp design, especially the contrast between the bold title type (DIN1451 Engschrift) and the seriphed body type (Bauer Bodoni).  I loved the crispness of the writing as well, so I was excited when my poems were accepted for the journal.

What has lasted you ten years?

I have an 11-year old station wagon, but I’m not sure it counts because I had to replace the engine a few years ago when it died as I was driving up the Grapevine (in California) in 113 degree heat.  Books last, though!  I was just re-reading my copy of W.S. Merwin’s The Miner’s Pale Children.  Here’s the first line from his story, “Ends”:  “When a shoelace breaks during use the ends do not always indulge at once in their new-found liberty.”  I love that.    

Tell us what you're working on right now.

I recently finished a syllabus for a poetry workshop and now I’m writing poems and working on book reviews for Poet As Radio.  I’m doing a series of poems on hypnogogia, which is the transitional state between being awake and asleep.