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Guest Host: Heather Fowler April 3, 2013

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in guest host, poetry.
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Guest host for Friday, April 5, 2013: Heather Fowler.

Heather Fowler in #litchatPoet and author Heather Fowler turns ordinary words into seductive coils of ideas and impressions. “Writing is my mode of expressing the thoughts that become poisonous if let to sit. I write in many genres because the ideas demand them, request them.” Fowler joins us as guest host on Friday to discuss the importance of poetry in contemporary literary arts.

Heather Fowler is the author of the story collections Suspended Heart (Aqueous Books, Dec. 2010), People with Holes (Pink Narcissus Press, July 2012), This Time, While We’re Awake (Aqueous Books, forthcoming May 2013), and Elegantly Naked in My Sexy Mental Illness (Queen’s Ferry Press, forthcoming May 2014). Fowler’s People with Holes was named a 2012 finalist for Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award in Short Fiction. She received her M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University. Her stories and poems have been published online and in print in the U.S., England, Australia, and India, and appeared in such venues as PANK, Night Train, storyglossia, Feminist Studies, Quarterly West, Surreal South, JMWW, Prick of the Spindle, Short Story America, The Nervous Breakdown, and others, as well as having been nominated for the storySouth Million Writers Award, Sundress Publications Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. She is Poetry Editor at Corium Magazine and a Fiction Editor for the international refereed journal, Journal of Post-Colonial Cultures & Societies (USA). Please visit her website: www.heatherfowlerwrites.com.

Follow Heather Fowler on Twitter: @hfowlerwrites.


A Celebration of Poets & Poetry April 8, 2012

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in poetry.
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Each April LitChat joins thousands of other individuals, schools and organizations to celebrate National Poetry Month. Established in 1996 by the American Academy of Poets as a means to recognize the cultural importance of poetry—past, present and future. Poetry readings, classes, special publications, and other activities occur all over America throughout the month, many of them listed on the American Academy of Poets website. We have three exciting chats planned to celebrate National Poetry Month, beginning with poet and publisher Daniel Halpern on Monday, poetry scholar Edward Moran on Wednesday, and poetry open mic chat on Friday.

Monday: Daniel Halpern

Daniel HalpernDaniel Halpern was born in Syracuse, New York, and has lived in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City, and Tangier, Morocco. He is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently Something Shining. For 25 years Halpern edited the international literary magazine Antaeus, which he founded in Tangier with Paul Bowles. Halpern is the editor or co-editor of anthologies including The Art of the Tale; The Art of the Story; On Nature: Nature, Landscape, and Natural History (with Dan Frank); Reading the Fights (with Joyce Carol Oates); and Not for Bread Alone: Writers on Food, Wine, and the Art of Eating. He is also the co-author of two books about food, Halpern’s Guide to the Essential Restaurants of Italy (with Jeanne Wilmot) and The Good Food: Soups, Stews & Pastas (with Julie Strand).

Halpern has received numerous grants and awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the 1993 PEN Publisher Citation. In 2009, he received the first Editor’s Award, given by Poets and Writers. From 1975 to 1995 he taught in the graduate writing program of Columbia University, which he chaired for many years. He has also taught at The New School for Social Research and Princeton University.

Halpern is publisher and president of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. He lives in New York and Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife, the writer Jeanne Wilmot, and their daughter Lily.

Follow Daniel Halpern on Twitter: @Daniel_Halpern.

Download transcript of @Daniel_Halpern in #litchat.

Wednesday: Edward Moran, Hyam Plutzik scholar

Edward MoranEdward Moran will lead a conversation in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pulitzer finalist poet Hyam Plutzik. Moran is literary consultant to the Hyam Plutzik Centennial Project. He was literary advisor to the 2007 documentary film Hyam Plutzik: American Poet, directed by Oscar nominee Christine Choy and Ku-Ling Siegel. In this capacity, he worked with the directors in filming interviews with poets Hayden Carruth, Donald Hall, Galway Kinnell, Stanley Kunitz, and Grace Schulman. Prior to his involvement with the Plutzik project, Moran was associate editor of the World Authors biography reference series published by H. W. Wilson, a project that had originally been published in 1941 under the direction of Stanley Kunitz.

Follow Edward Moran on Twitter: @EdwardJMoran.
Hyam PlutzikHyam Plutzik was born in Brooklyn on July 13, 1911, the son of recent immigrants from what is now Belarus. He spoke only Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian until the age of seven, when he enrolled in grammar school near Southbury, Connecticut, where his parents owned a farm. Plutzik graduated from Trinity College in 1932, where he studied under Professor Odell Shepard. He continued graduate studies at Yale University, becoming one of the first Jewish students there. His poem “The Three” won the Cooke Prize at Yale in 1933.

After working briefly in Brooklyn, where he wrote features for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Plutzik spent a Thoreauvian year in the Connecticut countryside, writing his long poem, “Death at The Purple Rim,” which earned him another Cooke Prize in 1941, the only student to have won the award twice. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Air Force throughout the Amerian South and in Norwich, England, experiences that inspired many of his poems. After the war, Plutzik became the first Jewish faculty member at the University of Rochester, serving in the English Department as the John H. Deane Professor of English until his death on January 8, 1962.

Plutzik’s poems were published in leading poetry publications and literary journals. He also published three collections during his lifetime: Aspects of Proteus (Harper and Row,1949); Apples from Shinar (Wesleyan University Press, 1959); and Horatio (Atheneum, 1961), which made him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry that year. To mark the centennial of his birth, Wesleyan University Press published a new edition of Apples from Shinar in 2011.

Follow Edward Moran on Twitter: @EdwardJMoran.

Download transcript of Edward Moran, with special guest Tanya Plutzik, widow of Hyam Plutzik.

Friday: Open Mic

LitChat continues its celebration of poetry on Friday when it opens the mic to poets anywhere within Twitter range. Poets will have the opportunity to discuss trends, influences, favored poets, as well as post links to their own work.

Small Press Showcase October 24, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in classics, creative non-fiction, literary fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, poetry, small presses.
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It’s that time of year again. Once annually #litchat features a week of discussion led by publishers, editors and authors of independent presses. These are the rebels of publishing, the audacious leaders willing to produce books that the big houses won’t touch for a myriad of reasons. Independent, small presses often operate on a shoestring budget, with more vision than provision. What keeps independent presses rolling in this age of literary plenty? What types of manuscripts are they looking to publish? How do they position themselves between the big houses and the start-ups whose only authors are themselves? Will Amazon’s new publishing empire affect legitimate small presses? These questions and others will come up this week during Small Press Showcase.

Monday, October 24: Engine Books
Victoria Barrett, publisher/editor

Established in January of this year by Victoria Barrett, Engine Books is a boutique fiction press publishing novels, short story collections, collected novellas, and related volumes. Barrett is a writer, editor, and professor whose fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Massachusetts Review, You Must Be This Tall to Ride, and Confrontation. Her career as an editor began at Puerto del Solwhere editor Kevin McIlvoy called her “the most significant managing editor” in the journal’s history. Her work there trained her to read fiction submissions on their own terms, rather than see them through the lens of her own aesthetic preferences.

This work continues at Freight Stories, where she and co-editor Andrew Scott have published the work of finalists for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize, bestsellers, and long-seasoned authors alongside emerging authors, some of whom saw in Freight Stories their first publication. The wide variety of styles and forms published in FS speak to Barrett’s enthusiasm for all kinds of fiction.

Engine Books seeks to publish four titles each year, ensuring full attention to the editing, production, and promotion of each title.

Follow Engine Books on Twitter: @enginebooks.

Wednesday, October 26: Press 53
Valerie Nieman, author
Kevin Watson, editor/publisher

Press 53 is an independent publisher of literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that was founded in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson, who serves as Fiction & Poetry Editor; Tom Lombardo is Poetry Series Editor (Tom Lombardo Poetry Selections); Robin Miura is Novel/Memoir Editor (Robin Miura Novel and Memoir Selections); and Sarah Elizabeth Younger, who serves as eBook editor.

Press 53 is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the Community Arts Cafe building at Fourth & Spruce. They publish full-length books by established writers. In addition to finding and showcasing new writers in our Press 53 Open Awards Anthology, and established writers in our short story and poetry collections, novels, and creative nonfiction books, we also have a fondness for bringing back great books that are out of print, which we re-issue under our Press 53 Classics imprint.

Follow Press 53 on Twitter: @Press53.

Kevin Morgan Watson is founder of Press 53 and serves as editor in chief with a special focus on short stories and poetry. As a publisher, he has worked with writers ranging from first-time published authors to winners of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. As a writer, his short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the 2002 TallGrass Writers Guild/Outrider Press anthology Take Two—They’re Small, where his short story “Sunny Side Up” won first prize. Kevin also serves as an advisor for student adaptation of short stories to screenplays with the screenwriting faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking in Winston-Salem, NC.

Follow Kevin Watson on Twitter: @Press53.

Valerie Nieman, author of Blood Clay has also published a collection of short stories, Fidelities, from West Virginia University Press, and a poetry collection, Wake Wake Wake. She has received an NEA creative writing fellowship, two Elizabeth Simpson Smith prizes in fiction, and the Greg Grummer Prize in poetry. A native of Western New York State, she graduated from West Virginia University and the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte. She teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University and is the poetry editor for Prime Number Magazine.

Follow Valerie Nieman on Twitter: @ValNieman.

Friday, October 28: The Overlook Press
Frances Hill, author 

The Overlook Press is an independent general-interest publisher, founded in 1971. The publishing program consists of nearly 100 new books per year, evenly divided between hardcovers and trade paperbacks. The list is eclectic, but areas of strength include interesting fiction, history, biography, drama, and design.

The house was launched by owner Peter Mayer as a home for distinguished books that had been ”overlooked” by larger houses. At the time Mayer was at the helm of one of them, Avon, and would go on to a twenty-year tenure at Penguin, which he eventually headed as well. He joined with his father Alfred, a retired glove manufacturer, to nurture Overlook Press, supervising business from Manhattan in his off hours, while Fredy ran the upstate operation, picturesquely housed in an old apple shed on Overlook Mountain in Woodstock.

Another cherished mission is to revive and bring to new audiences classic books and authors. We are renowned for our stylish editions of the works of P.G. Wodehouse, as well as bringing back the beloved Freddy the Pig series by Walter R. Brooks. In addition, they have just completed new paperback editions of fiction by Joseph Roth, one of literature’s modern masters. In 2002 the Overlook Press acquired Ardis, the premier publisher of Russian literature in English. More recently the Overlook elephant has spread its wings across the Atlantic to take under new ownership the 106-year-old company Duckworth.

Follow the Overlook Press on Twitter: @overlookpress.

Author of Outlook Press’s recently published novel Deliverance from EvilFrances Hill was born in London in 1943 and went to Keele University, Staffordshire, where she obtained a BA Honours degree in English Literature and Philosophy. For many years she was the radio critic for the TES as well as a fiction reviewer and obituary writer for The Times and feature writer for many other publications including The Times Higher Education Supplement, The Guardian and The Spectator. Her first novel, Out of Bounds, was published by John Murray in 1985 and was followed by a second novel, A Fatal Delusion (John Murray), in 1989. In 1992 she began work on her acclaimed account of the Salem witch trials, A Delusion of Satan, which was published by Doubleday in New York in 1995 and Hamish Hamilton in London in 1996. A new edition with a new preface appeared in 2002. Her second book on the Salem witch trials, The Salem Witch Trials Reader, was published by da Capo in 2000 and her third book on the same subject, Hunting for Witches, A Visitor’s Guide to the Salem Witch Trials, was published by Commonwealth Editions in 2002. Such Men Are Dangerous, The Fanatics of 1692 and 2004 was published by Upper Access in March 2004. Frances Hill lives in London but visits the U.S. regularly, spending every summer in Connecticut.

Poetry Open Mic March 28, 2011

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in poetry, Uncategorized.
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We’re a little bit early with this, but National Poetry Month will be here by Friday. We’re preparing for this annual celebration with open mic chats all this week. Poetry open mic will include discussions of poetry’s contribution to literature past, present and future, as well as opportunities for established and emerging poets to post links to published work.

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events. (From the Academy of American Poets).

Celebrating Poetry April 12, 2010

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in poetry, Uncategorized, weekly topics.
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Topic of the Week: April 12-16, 2010

LitChat is delighted to participate in National Poetry Month with a week of poetry discussion. Although an American tradition inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, LitChat would like to see this important element of literature receive international spotlight.

Zinta Aistars

Joining us for a special evening edition of #litchat on Wednesday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET, is Zinta Aistars. A bilingual, published author of three books (in Latvian) and working on a fourth (in English), Zinta is founder and editor of The Smoking Poet, a literary ezine established in 2006. Her work (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, book reviews and blogs) has been extensively published online and in print publications and appears in several anthologies. She is a writer and editor for a large health care organization and resides in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Diane Seuss

Diane Seuss

In addition to her visit on Wednesday evening, Zinta Aistars has prepared a round of questions for our regular Monday and Wednesday afternoon chats (4 p.m. ET) that are sure to stimulate lively discussion between to poets and non-poets alike.

On Friday, April 16 at our regular 4 p.m. ET time, poet Diane Seuss joins us as guest  host. Diane Seuss’s new collection of poems, Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, won the 2009 Juniper Prize for Poetry and will be published at the end of April 2010 by the University of Massachusetts Press. New Issues Press published her first book, It Blows You Hollow, in 1998.  Recent poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Poetry, New Orleans Review, and Brevity. Seuss is Writer in Residence at Kalamazoo College, where she won the Florence J. Lucasse Award for Excellence in Teaching.

See what is happening throughout the remaining days of National Poetry Month at Poets.org.

Follow Zinta Aistars on Twitter at @ZintaAistars and @TheSmoking Poet.

Follow Diane Seuss on Twitter at @DlSeuss.

Read chatscript from National Poetry Month discussions here.

Topic of the Week: Contemporary Poetry April 13, 2009

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in poetry.

Topic of the Week for April 10-17:
Contemporary Poetry


Dobby Gibson

LitChat honors poets and poetry along with the rest of the nation during National Poetry Month. Joining us as guest host on Friday, April 17th is Dobby Gibson, author of two poetry collections, Skirmish and Polar. Skirmish was released by Graywolf Press in January of this year. Polar (Alice James Books) won the Beatrice Hawley Award in 2004. Dobby lives in Minneapolis.

Reviewers said about Skirmish:

“These mostly short, free verse poems hum with gloomy humor and the mood of pregnant anticipation one finds in a Paul Auster novel. Gibson is no escapist, though, portraying an anxious America in the new millennium.” Publishers Weekly

Skirmish.indd“Like a photo whose power lies in having its focal point not in the middle of the picture but on its periphery, Gibson demonstrates that it’s not about what you’re seeing—it’s about what you’re ignoring.” Library Journal

Reviewers said this about Polar:

“Gibson’s land teems with a language so alive and so imaginative that one cannot help but read on with wonder and rapture.” Bloomsbury Review

“Polar can mean opposites, harsh light, or a vast white blankness, and it is an apt title for Gibson’s first poetry collection, which reverberates with absences—weather, time, places, sensations—either going or gone.” Library Journal