Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"A Sudden Absence of Bees" in Nature

This week's Nature magazine, a most unusual mix of popular consumer slick and peer-reviewed science journal, contains my short story A Sudden Absence of Bees, as its weekly "Futures" feature. Check it out.

There are very few slicks these days publishing fiction of any sort, much less "genre" fiction, and much much less fiction by unknown writers, so I'd strongly recommend that fiction writers in our program check out the submission guidelines. A collection of stories published in the magazine in previous iterations of the Futures column will be released in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Into The Wild

Last night my wife and I saw the film, Into the Wild. I’m a huge fan of Krakauer’s book and this is quite possibly the best film version of a great book ever. Don’t miss this movie! Completely soul-stirring. Into the Wild is about dreams; it’s about what is important. No car chases no futuristic bullshit no special effects. Sean Penn’s direction is chocked full of texture and nuance, and he pulls tour-de-force performances out of the entire acting ensemble. Hal

After the movie at home we got lucky (no, not THAT kind of lucky...). Flicked on the TV (usually a major mistake on “date night”) and a cable show called ICONOCLASTS came on and lo-and-behold it featured an hour-long documentary with Sean Penn and Jon Krakauer talking about Into the Wild. I’ve long admired Penn -- he’s his own guy -- but he rises even higher in my esteem since seeing these two productions. (I’d forgotten that he self financed a personal trip to pre-invasion Iraq and wrote several prophetic articles. At the time people called him a traitor. Every word turned out to be true. The most prescient? His article on “going into Iraq will be much easier than getting out.” Wonder why that never dawned on anyone else?)

Forget Puerto Rico: I hope the next residency is in ALASKA! Did I mention I liked this movie?
Don L.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Miranda Film Review

Miranda Literary Magazine will be reviewing a film in The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press. Might make a nice holiday gift for someone on your literary wish list.

Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb, now well into her nineties, tells the story of how she and her husband Jon Webb published the avant-garde literary magazine The Outsider from a small apartment in the French Quarter in the early 1960’s. By day Gypsy Lou sold paintings on street corner, and by night she set the type that introduced the world to the beat poet Charles Bukowski whose work Jon Webb also chose for their first two Loujon Press books– It Catches My Heart In It’s Hands and Crucifix in a Deathhand. The books are now rare collectibles, along with two others by Henry Miller, also hand-crafted and published by the Webbs.

Filmmaker Wayne Ewing, well-known for his three documentaries about the late Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson, has a new film, The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press, premiering at the Starz Denver Film Festival November 11, 2007. DVDs of the one-hour film will be on sFale for Christmas at If you or someone at your organization would like to review the film, please advise to whom and where we can send a screener.

(This isn't our review, just a synopsis)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

3 Contests for MFA Students

1) The Creative Nonfiction MFA Program-Off: DEADLINE COMING SOON!

One MFA student's work will appear in next year's Best Creative Nonfiction edited by Lee Gutkind. Winning piece will be chosen by Gutkind. Guidelines:
  • 3,000 words or less
  • No excerpts
  • Work must be previously unpublished
  • Student must be enrolled currently in an MFA program
  • One submission per person
  • Deadline: Nov. 1

Send submission and cover letter including name, university, and contat info to WW Norton, ATTN: Vanessa Hope Schneider, Creative Nonfiction MFA Program-Off, 500 Fifth Ave., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10110.

2) The Atlantic Student Writing Contest (Poetry, Fiction, Personal or Journalistic Essays)

First prize, $1,000; Second Prize, $500; Third, $250; Runners up in each category--one year subscription. Guidelines:

  • Must be currently enrolled grad or undergrad student
  • Work must be previously unpublished
  • No more than 3 poems or 7,500 words of prose
  • One submission per person per category
  • Deadline: December 1 postmark
  • Manuscripts must be double spaced
  • Cover letter must include title(s), category, word count, author's name, address, phone number, email address, and academic institution
  • ONLY THE TITLE should appear on the manuscript pages (no names, etc.)
  • Winners notified March 2008

Send entries to Student Writing Contest, The Atlantic Monthly, 600 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20037

3) Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Winner will be published with Penguin with $25,000 award. Deadline: November 5

Guidelines at

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dan Pope Workshop--Reserve a Seat While They're Available!

Don't miss this one! Dan Pope is the author of In the Cherry Tree ( a surprise hit in 2003) and a Writing Mentor in the MFA program. Dan will give a short craft lecture and workshop two student stories.

If you can't make the workshop, come to the reading Wednesday night in the Reimold Theatre in Berkshire Hall (midtown campus).

Support these MFA programs so we can keep funding coming in for similar programming!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Paid Internship--Danbury Public Schools

I forward this from Maureen Gernert of the WCSU Career Development Center--stipend is $7500...

Hi Brian,
This is the information that was forwarded to me by the Danbury School System person, Denise Gagne. I had asked for more of a job description. What I can tell you is that the biggest project they are working on is the Annual Report which is a writing project but also a marketing piece. They are trying to tell the school system's story. The person would be going out to the principals and gathering information for the report. They are likely to be working on other pieces with the view to marketing the school system to the general public (successes, accomplishments etc.). Someone with excellent writing skills but with a marketing slant or interest would be ideal.
Please share with your professional writing students and they can call me if they have some questions about this ( for background). They should forward their resumes to Denise Gagne (probably e-mail would be best) and identify themselves as students in the graduate professional writing program and were notified through the Career Development Center. I would also ask that they shoot me an e-mail if they apply so I am in the loop and can track the progress on this search.

Thank you for your help!

Maureen Casey Gernert
Director Career Development Center
Western Connecticut State University
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: (203) 837-8266
Fax: (203) 837-8540
----- Forwarded by Maureen Gernert/CDC/WCSU on 10/10/2007 12:20 PM -----
"Denise Gagne"
10/09/2007 08:34 AM



Good Morning Maureen,
As discussed last week, Danbury Public Schools (DPS) has an immediate need for an intern to perform a wide variety of marketing/public relations type work.
The prospective candidate should possess excellent communication skills and the ability to work with multiple projects simultaneously, without direction.
Presuming an October start date, the budgeting stipend for ths position will be $7,500 (through June 30, 2008) - no benefits.
You suggested that 2-3 MFA candidates may be a good fit for this opportunity. Please have their resumes forwarded to me so that I may set up interviews ASAP.
Thank you for your help in this matter. I look forward to working with you.
Denise Gagne
Director of Human Resources
Danbury Public Schools
63 Beaver Brook Road
Danbury, CT 06810
Telephone: (203)-797-4705
Fax: (203)-830-6560

Friday, October 05, 2007

Award-Winning Faculty

Peter Selgin's collection of stories, BODIES OF WATER, has won the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Prize and will be published by University of Georgia Press in the Fall of 2008.

DISAPPOINTED PSALMS, a book of poems by Brian Clements, has won the inaugural Colombian Poetry Prize from Meritage Press and will be published in 2008.

Post your recent publication news here!