Writing workshop

bplAre you a teenager (grades 8 through 12) interested in creative writing? Do you live near Albany, NY? If you said “yes” to both questions, well then, do I have news for you.

I’m running a writing workshop for teens next month at the Bethlehem Public Library. This will be on the first three Thursdays in November at 7 p.m. You don’t have to bring anything to the workshop except paper and pen.

According to the official description, students will “learn creative writing techniques and participate in a peer review group.” I’ll try to remember to do both those things.

All the info you need:

Teen writing workshop (grades 8 – 12 only)

Thursdays, November 5, 12, and 19
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Bethlehem Public Library
451 Delaware Ave.
Delmar, NY 12054

Registration required: Do it online or call the library at (518) 439-9314

A St. Bernard with a little bucket of cheer

perf5.250x8.000.inddYou can now read a review of The Ship is Sinking over at Headlock Press.

HP’s editor, Paul Agostino, read the book and emailed me about it, then gussied up his note through the magic of editing, and now it’s a review.

He talks about the “dark ride” the book takes, and he provides a couple excerpted poems. It’s a really thorough, insightful read. This may be one of those times when the review is better-written than the thing it’s reviewing.

In any event, I’m damn grateful for the support.

This One Dad Arranged A Couple Dozen Words In Funny Lines And Called It A Poem, What Happens Next Is Crazy

Continuing the dumb Buzzfeed-style headlines. I’m enjoying myself, at least.

A very short new poem called “Let me hold on to this” went up on Red Fez just yesterday. It’s part of issue #78 for Red Fez, and I’m sharing space with some great folks like fellow Epic Rites Press author Zarina Zabrisky.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been in Red Fez: Check my “profile” which has links to the other stuff of mine that the Fez has published.

You Won’t Believe What Helen Keller And The 52-Hz Whale Do In This Video

whaleGonna try doing misleading Buzzfeed-style headlines like the above from now on. Enjoy that.

Anyway, I have a short story titled “Helen Keller in Reverse” in The Lonely Whale Memoir: An Anthology, which just came out from Chatsworth Press. My story is not about whales. Most of the book isn’t about whales. Instead, here’s what the jacket copy says:

Since 1989, the world has been following the heartbreaking journey of the Lonely Whale. For reasons unknown, he or she cannot speak the same language as other whales. Referred to by some as the 52-Hz Whale—because of its unique frequency of whale song—the Lonely Whale has been tracked roaming the oceans alone, listening in vain for a song that will never be returned.

The Lonely Whale Memoir gives voice to the unheard song within all of us, capturing themes and feelings sparked by the actual Lonely Whale. Through compelling stories and passionate poetry we will swim past the isolation that normally separates us and, for a moment, truly connect.

I just finished reading my copy of the book last night, and I highly recommend it. A lot of great stories and poems in there; among them, there’s one called “Neighborhood Watch” by a Courtney Bird that’s worth the price of admission alone, I think.

Looks like you can purchase a copy from Amazon, or straight from the publisher. Get your whale on.

Free beer!

ship-freeFree books, actually. Just trying to catch everybody’s attention.

Copies of The Ship is Sinking are now up for grabs in a couple of giveaway contests: There are two copies available via LibraryThing, and two copies via Goodreads.

If you’ve been holding out on ordering the book, now’s your chance to get one for the low-low price of free. You have till the end of February to request a copy from either place. Winners get selected at random by LibraryThing/Goodreads.

So…best of luck? Head here for the LibraryThing giveaway, or here for the Goodreads giveaway.

Small Press Black Friday Ideas

Ah, Black Friday, our most Holy of Days. I assume that you’re all reading this on your phone while waiting at Wal-Mart to buy your new flat screen dishwasher or whatever. But, just in case you’ve already been trampled, I have some suggestions for Giftmas presents you can order right from your hospital bed!

First off, I’m assuming you already bought ten or twenty copies of The Ship is Sinking. I feel like this guy every time I mention it, so let’s speak no more of that book except to say you can purchase it on amazon or straight from me or…

Ahem. Let’s talk about other people for a change.

You know Lawrence Gladeview by now, right? A typical Gladeview poem is straight-forward, funny, and human. Always accessible: Perfect for the folks in your life who don’t read poetry, or think they don’t like poetry. Seek out his first collection, Just Ignore the Beer Stains, then grab Lowlifes, Fast Times & Occasionally Love. This year, his excellent chapbook Praying For a Spare, the story of a group of bowlers finding comfort and friendship along the lanes, was part of the Punk Chapbook Subscription from Epic Rites Press.

Praying For a Spare reminded me of another fantastic book I read this year, Waiting at the Dead End Diner by Rebecca Schumejda. This one’s a full length collection of poetry drawing on Schumejda’s years as a waitress. It reads like a novel, and is really pretty awesome. Her previous book, Cadillac Men, is about running a pool hall with her husband; I haven’t read it yet but would like to, in case you’re shopping for me.

Kevin Ridgeway is another favorite of mine. Inventive, exciting poems. He’s published everywhere, just search around and you’ll find a ton of his work. I loved an earlier chapbook from him, All the Rage, but recently was impressed with On the Burning Shore, a new one from Arroyo Seco Press. A really nice collection of poems reflecting on his younger years, nostalgic but never sappy. Great stuff. There’s also an earlier chapbook of his out there called Burn Through Today that I haven’t read, in case you’re still shopping for me.

How about one more? If you haven’t yet, read R L Raymond. Raymond writes poems that tell stories, that satisfy, that intrigue. His first collection, Sonofabitch Poems, is probably his most accessible. Powerful, brutal poems there. Then there’s a chapbook called Weakdays and a full length called Half-Myths & Quarter Legends that both offer a hell of a ride. He released another chapbook, anTipas, earlier this year, though print copies are sold out as I understand, so if you missed out, I guess you missed out.

This post is getting long. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just say that pretty much anything from Epic Rites Press or Lummox Press is worth the money, and would make a great Giftmas present. Order something at random, even. Your Great Aunt Susan is sure to love whatever you get her.

Punk chapbooks

dreamsThis past summer, I mentioned something about the Punk Chapbook Subscription series being released by Epic Rites Press/Tree Killer Ink. The set of 14 no-frills, no-bullshit chapbooks has started arriving on doorsteps around the world–did you get yours?

My entry in the series is a creepy short fiction piece called The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of. It involves car accidents, transcription services, and The Maltese Falcon. As most stories do.

I’ve been tearing through my set of the chapbooks, and it’s a great collection. In particular, I thought Lawrence Gladeview’s Praying for a Spare and Janne Karlsson’s Street Life were fantastic, as were two other short fiction pieces, RD Armstrong’s Magic Fingers and Zarina Zabrisky’s The Beast Generation.

The full set of chapbooks is selling for $40 plus shipping, and is worth every penny. If your allowance won’t cover that, though, I’m offering a few copies of just my title here.