Hossein M. Abkenar: “Classmates” (Witness, Trans/lation Issue, Spring 2015)

We were some forty or fifty students in a large class. After we graduated, we each went our own way. That same year, Javad decided not to continue with his education. Reza Karimi went to the front and was martyred. When they returned his body, a ceremony was held at the school. Afterward, a large crowd went to his memorial service at the mosque. When Ramin finished his military service, he started his own company. Supposedly, in the services industry. Rassouli became a pilot. His plane crashed during the war and he was captured.

— “Classmates” by Hossein M. Akbenar, translated from the Persian by Sara Kahlili (Witness, Spring 2015)

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue (Spring 2015)

Where is self? She is here, right here:

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue, Launched at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, April 2015

Witness: The Trans/lation Issue, Launched at the AWP Book Fair in Minneapolis, April 2015

This issue of Witness features writing from around the world. And self is more than proud to be in the same issue as:

  • Dario Belleza (translated from the Italian by Peter Covino)
  • Arthur Rimbaud (translated from the French by Donald Revell)
  • Hossein M. Abkenar (translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili)
  • Christos Chartomatsidis (translated from the Bulgarian by Velina Minkoff, Rayna Rossenova, and Borislava Velkova)
  • Moniru Ravanipour (translated from the Persian by Shirindokht Nourmanesh and Moniru Ravanipour)
  • Karl Ove Knausgaard (translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett)
YAY! Self made it! She is here!

YAY! Self made it! She is here!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Afloat 4: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

DSCN9288

Self went to the Walker Art Center today. It was a beautiful day — warm! When she was reaching for her wallet to pay the entrance fee, the woman stopped her and said people attending the AWP writing conference received free museum admission.

!!!!

Unfortunately, she doesn’t know the name of the artist who was responsible for this particular installation. She’ll look through the Walker Art Center website when she has a little more time.

DSCN9287

Look carefully: each bubble has a different design.

Robert Motherwell, "Untitled"

Robert Motherwell, “Untitled”

Self took a picture of this Motherwell painting because it really does seem to float out from the white wall. There is something so inscrutable about Motherwell’s paintings. It’s as if he’s constantly challenging the viewers to say: “What’s this about?” Motherwell cheekily left a corner of the painting white.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Bluestem, Spring 2015

Yay, Bluestem! They launched the spring issue at AWP 2015!

Here is the lovely Poetry Editor, Charlotte Pence, holding up a copy of the issue.

Self’s story of climate change, “The Freeze,” is in this issue. She just picked up her author’s copy today.

Exciting!

Charlotte Pence, Poetry Editor of Bluestem. Her poetry collection, MANY SMALL FIRES, was just published by Europa Press.

Charlotte Pence, Poetry Editor of Bluestem. Her poetry collection, MANY SMALL FIRES, was just published by Europa Press.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2015 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, Open for Registration

The Mendocino Coast Writers Conference takes place August 6 – 8, 2015 in the beautiful coastal village of Mendocino.

You’ll work closely with top authors, agents and editors to bring your work closer to fruition. Find expertise, encouragement, and inspiration to bring your story, poem, book, or memoir to the next level.

A few of the teaching faculty this year:

Lisa Locascio * Indigo Moor * Sheila Bender * David Corbett * Catherine Ryan Hyde * Albert Flynn DeSilver

Back by popular demand, James Maxwell will coach writers to “Make Your Mark on Stage” followed by open mic night.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

Before self left the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland, last May, they gave her a hardbound copy of a book called, simply, Annaghmakerrig. A compilation of the best of Irish literature, by writers who had all done residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

She brought the book with her to Mendocino, and this evening she finally gets a chance to crack it open. She lets her fingers land on a random page, and finds a poem by Rita Ann Higgins:

Anything Is Better than Emptying Bins

 I work at the Post Office.
I hate my job,
but my father said
there was no way
I could empty bins
and stay under his roof.

So naturally,
I took a ten week
extra-mural course
on effective stamp-licking;
entitled
‘More lip and less tongue.’

I was mostly unpleasant,
but always under forty
for young girls
who bought stamps with hearts
for Valentine’s Day.

One day a woman asked me
could she borrow a paper-clip,
she said something about
sending a few poems away
and how a paper-clip
would make everything so much neater.

But I’ve met the make-my-poems-neater type before;
give in to her once,
and she’ll be back in a week asking,
‘Have you got any stamps left over?’

Well I told her where to get off.
‘Mrs. Neater-poems,’ I said,
‘this is a Post Office
not a friggin’ card shop,
and if you want paper-clips
you’ll get a whole box full
across the street for twenty-pence.’
Later when I told my father,
he replied,
‘Son, it’s not how I’d have handled it,
but anything is better than emptying bins.’

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lydia Davis, “The Other”

From the Lydia Davis collection Almost No Memory (1997):

The Other

She changes this thing in the house to annoy the other, and the other is annoyed and changes it back, and she changes this other thing in the house to annoy the other, and the other is annoyed and changes it back, and then she tells all this the way it happens to some others and they think it is funny, but the other hears it and does not think it is funny, but can’t change it back.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Stanford Creative Writing: How Self Came To Be

Self is thinking this more and more: how different her life would have been if she hadn’t taken that summer creative writing class from John L’Heureux, who was the Director of the Stanford Creative Writing Program back then.

He told self she should try applying, and since she didn’t have anything better to do (BWAH. HA. HA), she did. And lo and behold, she got a fellowship.

That’s how she met Penny Jackson, Beth Coryell Alvarado, Ehud Havazelet, and Jeffrey Eugenides.

Now, she’s checking out the Stanford Creative Writing Program website, which she only does about twice a year. She discovers that the Program’s been at Stanford “for more than 50 years,” and that it was founded by Wallace Stegner in 1946.

Well, I’ll be darned.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The $10,000 You Don’t Want to Spend (If You’re a Struggling Writer)

Reading Susan Kushner Resnick’s “The Heartbreak of Publicity: A Cautionary Tale”, in the November/December 2013 Poets & Writers (Clearly, self is way behind in reading magazines she’s been subscribing to for years and years). Read the rest of this entry »

Ephemera 3: The Trips Self Takes

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is EPHEMERAL

“So looking forward to seeing the fleeting moments you’ll capture.”

Here are a few from self’s trip to the East Coast, a few weeks ago. As dear blog readers can see from these pictures, when self is on the move, she can’t be bothered with such things as alignment.

Taking the Bolt Bus from Boston Into Manhattan, mid-March

Taking the Bolt Bus from Boston Into Manhattan, mid-March 2015

Landscapes Still Blighted With Winter

Landscapes Still Blighted With Winter, March 2015

The occasion for self’s trip east was the performance, by the Symphony New Hampshire, of Drew Hemenger’s The Marife Suite, which was based on a novella self wrote, Marife.

New Hampshire was cold and wet, the night of the performance, on March 14.

Drew's brother drove us to the concert. This is what New Hampshire looked like that night, seen through the car windows.

Drew’s brother drove us to the concert. This is what New Hampshire looked like that night, seen through the car windows.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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