Thursday, March 15, 2012

'Riveting!': The Quandary of the Book Blurb

In Room for Debate, The Times invites knowledgeable outside contributors to discuss news events and other timely issues. Reader comments are moderated Monday through Friday. Past rounds have covered politics, culture, global issues, the economy, even a surprising number of "whither higher ed" topics. This round's debaters include novelists, a journalist, a literary agent ... and Steven King, addresses book blurbs. Maybe it's slow week at the times...

books at a bookstore 

“A Faulkner for our time!” “Can’t put it down!” “An up-all-night thriller!” At some point, you have to wonder: if so many books are being commended, are they all commendable? It’s the perennial question of whether the blurbs on book covers are still meaningful or have become just background noise. After all, Kindle Singles are doing just fine without covers — and cover blurbs.

Do book blurbs serve readers? Do they help writers?

'Riveting!': The Quandary of the Book Blurb - Room for Debate - Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Women & Creativity Rewriter's Workshop, World Poetry Day


I'd forgotten about World Poetry Day, "Poets convey a timeless message. They are often key witness to history’s great political and social changes." and it being March 21. That the US and UK do not share share the same National Poetry Month is already confusing. No telling about other countries (maybe an interesting topic down the road)

Catapult your first draft of fiction and poetry through a creative portal to the second draft with imaginative tips, techniques and tricks that will cross pollinate your brain cells! Explore the landscape, characters and themes of your writing with multi-dimensional, dynamic in-depth explorations that will crystallize the energy of your work. 
March 21, 1-3:30pm. Admission, $30. Dreaming Arts Studio, 1432 don Gaspar, Santa Fe/Taos. 505-988-1086. Bring your journal and a short piece of fiction, poetry or screenplay. 
This event is part of the Women & Creativity Celebration.

 Women & Creativity is organized and presented by the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) in partnership with more than 30 arts organizations, artists, writers and business owners in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Women and Creativity 2012 is a month-long series of events that celebrates women’s creativity across the disciplines. March is filled with over 50 art exhibits, performances, workshops, and discussions focused on creativity in every form.  

Women & Creativity Rewriter's Workshop in Honor of the World Poetry Day
Wednesday, March 21, 2012, a Women & Creativity organization Event

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Not to Be a Clever Writer

For better or for worse, Picnic is transitioning from mostly poetry and front loaded with announcement to a more varied content that includes translations, fiction, literary stuff, featured favorites (so far mine but suggestions and guest contributions welcome) and writing in general. 

Speaking of the latter here is some better than the usual Free Writing Advice from an unexpected source, io9 ("we come from the future"), feed normally filed under "peculiarosities." That may take care of the better too. "Worse" remains to be seen. 

In the meantime, In addition to a (hopefully helpful and enlightening) about page, I'm working on a FAQ. Input invited for both. 

Many people dream of being clever wordsmiths. Masters of fizzy, quotable dialogue. Creators of plots that are full of cool twists and nutty-but-brilliant ideas. The undisputed champions of madcap invention.... speculative fiction authors, in particularMore »

How Not to Be a Clever Writer 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Poetry Happenings, Workshops, Readings

Elaine Schwartz covers March and into April


March 15,  Librotraficante, a Texas-based caravan of writers who oppose the ban of the Mexican-American reading list in Tucson, will stop in Albuquerque.  

At 10 am, the caravan stops at Denise Chavez's Mesilla Cultural Center. Later that day, Librotraficante will hold a press conference in Albuquerque at 5pm. A reading follows at 7pm: Book Bash y Mas, featuring Rudolfo Anaya, Luis Alberto Urrea, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and other banned and supporting authors. Location TBA.For more information, visit Librotraficante online or the Albuquerque Cultural Conference on Facebook.

Saturday March 17, 1 to 3 pm. Bill & Annmarie Pearson  - Book Signing, Treasure House Books & Gifts in Old Town, Albuquerque. Books:  Annemarie Pearson's mystery,  The Fetish Ruby
Bill & Annemarie Pearson  - Coffee Table book (Poetry & Nature Photographs), Nature Rhymes with Natural Impressions.

March 17—April 14, Metamorphsis: Quilt Show, Eldorado Community Church, The Exhibit Space, La Tienda, Eldorado (off I-25 and 285). Featuring 24 quilters and 60 quilts. Free.

Evening of March 17, Peoples Poetry—Potluck at 6:30pm and, Performance at 7:30, Open Mic sometime later. Dancing afterwards. Featuring SETH and Mary Dezember, with Nate Maxson as Open Mic Host. Factory on 5th, 1715 Fifth St NW, Albuquerque. Free event. 

Sunday March 18, 3pm. Duende Poetry Series, Anasazi Fields Winery, Placitas. Carol Moscrip, Deborah Coy and Rich Boucher in Poetry Live Performance. Pamela Hirst will introduce the new Beatlick Press. Contact Jim Fish (505) 867-3062, 
Sunday, March 18, 3pm, The Albuquerque Word Weavers at Acequia Books, 4019 4th St, NW, Albuquerque: 

The Albuquerque Word Weavers, Chandra Bales, Karin Bradberry, Lisa Jacobs, Kate Padilla, Sylvia Ramos Cruz, Elizabeth Roll and Elaine Schwartz will read and sign copies of their first chapbook, Weavin'. This group of widely published poets has met bi-weekly over the last five years for poetry study, writing and critique. Their work ranges from fixed forms, such as villanelles and ghazals, to free verse and performance poetry. They address a vast array of topics, from the personal to the political, from loss to revelation, and sadness to joy.
March 21 and March 28 at 3:00 (Calif. time) in conjunction with Womens History Month: Poet Marilyn Stablein (author of eleven books including two memoirs, book of poems Splitting Hard Ground, winner of New Mexico Book Award), two part KPFA interview with Jack Foley on his Wednesday Cover to Cover shows. (KPFA is located online at Click on listen or live audio at 4:00 Albuquerque time to hear the show)
March 21 show features poet and artist Marilyn Stablein. Jack and Marilyn discuss three of Stablein's books: Splitting Hard Ground (winner of the 2010 New Mexico Book Award and the 2011 New Mexico Press Women's Poetry Book Award), Sleeping in Caves: A Memoir of the Sixties (a document of Stablein's Himalayan adventures) and More Night Travels to Tibet (prose poems from the author's "pillow book"). Part one of two. March 28, 3:00 Part Two of Two.

Saturday afternoon, March 24, 2 - 5 pm (or until all poets read) Fixed and Free Anthology Celebration and Poetry Reading. 516 Arts, 516 Central SE, Albuquerque. 

All poets with poems in the anthology are invited to read their poems from the anthology. Anyone interested in poetry, including the general public. Please invite friends & family  The Fixed and Free Poetry Anthology will be on sale: $10 contributor price (one copy); $15 regular price. ALL proceeds to support Fixed and Free poetry activities. 

Saturday March 24, 1:30. "Somewhere in Ireland" Poetry Reading by Linda Whittenberg, accompanied by flutist Danny Wilding, Eldorado Community Church. La Tienda, Building B, Eldorado (off I-25 and 285). The reading is part of an extended St. Patrick's Day Celebration

March 26  to April 16, 4 sessions Monday evenings, 7 to 9pm, OR 4 sessions, Wednesday afternoons, March 28 to April 18, 2 to 4pm. New Creative Writing Workshop in Santa Fe from Lauren Camp. "Writer as Witness" -- Choose Evenings or Afternoons!

This class is designed to explore personal memories or political / historical / current events at a deep level. Through writing exercises, readings and discussion, students will have the opportunity to take on subjects that may have eluded them before. These four sessions go beyond prompts. They open up the chance for in-depth, poetic consideration of a single theme or topic, and provide remarkable examples for expressing that hard-to-handle subject.

For more info and to register, go to or email

Thursday, March 8, 2012

In case you thought we'd forgotten what today is...

Here's a video of Bridget Minamore performing 'Hypocrites And Double Ds' for International Women's Day:

A Poem For International Women's Day: Bridget Minamore Performs 'Hypocrites And Double Ds' (VIDEO)
Bridget Minamore is a 20-year-old writer and student from London who has won numerous poetry slams across the capital, including respected spoken word events Farrago and Hammer & Tongue. In addition to being a regular on the slam scene, she has performed at 10 Downing Street and the King’s College C...

Call4Submissions: 200 NM Poems

Rick Boucher writes from the Local Poets GuildSeconding A Call for Submissions to 200 New Mexico Poems

Friends, there is a fantastic New Mexico-based online literary journal called 200NewMexicoPoems, and the editor, Lisa Hase-Jackson, is still looking for submissions! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Call for Papers - "Poetry of the Eighties"

Reposted from the Buffalo Poetics List. I am trying to get back into the habit of blogging from the list more frequently as an alternative to my current practice of forgetting about it until there are 300+ to sort through. Then it's skim subject lines and delete with no have time to read posts that interest me ~ the reason I subscribed in the first one. 

Why did I chose this one? Random chance. Short notice, you say. Indeed, deadline extended to March 15, I cannot but agree. If you have a topic in mind, how long will it take to write 300-500 words? Not long at all. If you don't have one in mind, any notice would be too short.

Do you have topic preferences? Let me know. If a topic interests both of us, I'll give it a try. 


Poetry & Poetics of the 1980s - Call for Proposals from the National Poetry Foundation, University of Maine, June 27-July 1, 2012. The deadline for proposals has been extended to March 15, 2012. Direct 300-500 word proposals for 20 minute papers to

The Editorial Collective of the National Poetry Foundation invites paper and panel proposals for the next in our sequence of "decade" conferences, to be devoted to The Poetry and Poetics of the 1980s, American and international, and to be held from Wednesday to Sunday, June 27-July 1, 2012, on the flagship campus of the University of Maine System in Orono, Maine.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Poetry & Money

Money is a kind of poetry (or not), once again, Al Fireis blogs, "Yet another attempt at the (non)intersection of poetry and finance — recruiting Wallace Stevens once again ("money is a kind of poetry") as gambit. This one appears in the March 2 Financial Times."

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