Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Release

And How to End It, prose poems by Brian Clements

[The grammatical error is SPD's, not mine!]

Lahiri Reminder

Lahiri on campus, Nov. 5!

Don't waste time celebrating/mourning the election!

Come hear the author of The Namesake!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Essay at On The Brighter Side

My essay "Reason to Avoid Getting a Haircut" appeared in issue 2 of On The Brighter Side, which was released in pdf form recently. If you're interested, you can download the issue here.
The humor mag is new but it pays $50 for humorous fiction and essays (although they are currently closed to subs).

p.s. If for anything, download the pdf just to see my picture. Paunchy, portly, plump I may be. But I think the photo got screwed up because I look like an offensive lineman who was cut from the team for being out of shape.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Terese Svoboda's Reading & Workshop

Compliments to Brian for bringing Terese Svoboda to WestConn for October 10th reading of her memoir Black Glasses Like Clark Kent and Saturday morning workshop on creative nonfiction. Her writing, as well as her teaching is a gift to those who value truth over sentiment, objectivity over nuance and letting stories reveal their own moments of compassion amid the cruelty. All the while, her nonfiction follows the canon of good fiction writing: clear narrative, descriptive, yet unembroidered detail and leaving the reader with confidence they have followed a journey well worth taking.

Also, thank you to Harry, Alexis, Laura, Bernie and Kateri for sharing your talented work in Svoboda’s workshop.

Karen Smith Vastola

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Writers Roundtable for Danbury Regional Writers


The Housatonic Valley Cultural Alliance is sponsoring a meeting of writers.

(NOTE: HVCA is the group with which I did my enrichment project, and I was on their board.)

The "Housatonic Valley Cultural Alliance is a regional network that enhances the connection, collaboration, and conversation within the arts and cultural as well as among business and other interest groups.")

Lisa Scails, the HVCA Director, told me that the meeting is "the inaugural roundtable meeting for writers that is at the request of writers who have joined HVCA recently. So far there are a variety of writers that have expressed an interest, from journalists, book authors, etc. The idea is simply to provide an opportunity for writers to network and to identify and address common issues from a regional perspective. A framework will be provided but we will allow for a more organic process too. Those who are behind this are excited about the many directions this can take them. It will depend on the participants and what they want to do. I’ll draft an agenda for the meeting as we get closer."

I plan to attend - if you're in the Danbury area, this is an opportunity to network with other regional authors.

Holly Azevedo

Monday, November 10th 2008
7-9 PM
Western CT State University
Student Center (Midtown Campus) Room 226
Refreshments provided

Writers are coming together from surrounding areas to network, share ideas, and identify common issues. Join us!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spicy Slipstream Stories

Hi all. Just a quick note to say that my latest anthology, Spicy Slipstream Stories is percolating through the distribution system right now. has copies, other outlets soon will.

"Slipstream", as many of you may know, is essentially fiction that is published under the rubric of "general fiction" or even "quality literature" while actually trafficking in science fiction or fantasy. Call it postmodern fabulation. The "spicy" magazines of the pulp era threw a bit of cheesecake and ribaldry in along with the tales of dashing pilots, tawdry crime, or even gruesome horror.

Co-edited with the prolific Jay Lake, Spicy Slipstream Stories features work by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty and the Midnight Hour), David Schwartz (Superpowers) and other writers both prominent and obscure. Check it out!

Residency Reminders

Hello All,

Just a friendly reminder that the dates for our Winter Residency in Danbury are Dec. 28 through January 3. The first day, the 28th, will be similar to our first day in August--arrival, new student orientation, welcome dinner. The 3rd will be for travel EXCEPT that we will have our round-up meeting at 9 am that morning (we'll try to do it at the hotel).

If you do not plan to attend the residency (and plan to substitute it with five workshops), please let me know.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Get INTO Dodge

Two weeks ago, I attended the biennial Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival held at Waterloo Village in northwest New Jersey. Waterloo is a restored 19th century village along the banks of a small river - a perfect unhurried spot in which to soak up words. It's a buffet feast of poets, as I heard Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, and Edward Hirsch to name a few, as well as former Poet Lauerates Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, and Charles Simic. (Note: Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress is actually the official, rather unwieldly title of the Poet Lauerate.)
A few observations from poets that seem to apply to all writers:

Edward Hirsch: "Writing poetry is a way to try to outlast time."

Billy Collins: "Writing is about trying to obtain the love of strangers. It's a neurosis. I mean, isn't it hard enough to get love from the people around you?"

Ted Kooser: "I write to move from length to brevity, and from complexity to clarity."

Most inspiring? Hands down - Ted Kooser, who retired as Vice President of Lincoln Benefit Insurance Company after 30+ years. He wrote throughout his entire insurance career, rising every morning at 4:30 to work on his poetry. During his 20 month tenure as Consultant in Poetry...etc, he visited 48 states, conducted over 100 interviews, and made over 200 appearances - all to champion the cause of poetry.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Summer Internships at WSJ

The Wall Street Journal Online is seeking summer interns with strong multimedia skills and a keen desire to work online. Candidates will be paired with and mentored by editors in a newsroom environment, producing sections of the site, building or designing interactive graphics, working in Flash or shooting and editing photos and video. Over the course of 10 weeks, interns will also get the chance to showcase their talents through project work and further develop their skills.

Candidates must have prior experience or a demonstrated interest in news and the ability to work under constant deadline pressure. Those seeking production internships should be comfortable working with content-management system software and have at least basic HTML skills. Candidates for graphics, photo or video internships will be tested in their knowledge of development languages and editing software in relevant areas.

Pay is $700 a week, with internships running from early June through mid-August. Applicants for summer 2009 internships must have graduated from college or a Master's program or be slated to receive a degree between December 2008 and May 2009. Submit a cover letter and CV at <> , using the job ID number 250416. Please also supply links to your portfolio of online work.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Do Not Update to Java 6.0

Do not upgrade to Java 6.0.

Two weeks ago, I upgraded to Java 6.0. While I was able to access Blackberry Vista and the Online Genre Workshop I postings, I was able to respond to posting but I was not able to add a new attachment to a posting. In fact, when I tried, the "My Computer" logo failed to appear. This was a problem with both Mozilla Foxfire and Internet Explorer. If I clicked on the blank spot where the "My Computer" logo should have appeared, I had trouble closing out of the program and all typing on Vista and my AOL came out backward, e.g., if I typed "Rinker," it came out "rekniR."

I talked earlier today with the Computer Help Desk at West Conn and was told the problem was Java 6.0. Once I removed the upgrade and went back to a previous version, in my case an older Version 4, everything worked fine.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recent Publication

Hey Everybody,

I hope that life outside the MFA program is finding you all well.  Below is a link to a recent publication of mine on Cezanne's Carrot.  This story was reviewed on the MFA online multi-genre course and I'd like to thank everyone for their advice and editing.  I hope you enjoy.

Marc E. Fitch

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Late Breaking News...

As many of you know my enrichment project is teaching high school and middle school students how to write screenplays. Recently I was interviewed by a reporter from The Connecticut Post about this enrichment project. You can read the full article (in which the MFA is mentioned) here:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Enrichment Presentations at Residency

Hello All,

If you intend to present your enrichment project at the January residency, please let me know ASAP so I can write you into the schedule.

Hope to see some of you at the Svoboda reading this evening.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Svoboda Reading

7:30 Friday, Student Center Theatre (Midtown Campus)--Support your local MFA program!

Read about Svoboda here:

Travel Writing Opportunity

World Nomads has partnered with Footprint Guide Books to offer an exciting Travel Writing Scholarship. The scholarship recipient will receive mentorship from travel writer David Stott, plus the opportunity to be published in the Footprint India Handbook. The assignment will take the student on location to Kerala, India, where they will enjoy a unique tour of the River Nila region area including rare interactions with folk artists, musicians, potters and ritualistic healers. World Nomads is passionate about travel and our full Travel Scholarship program can be viewed at our website-

Monday, October 06, 2008

Slam Poetry Night

Hey Guys,

There will be a Slam Poetry Night tomorrow October 7th at 8pm along with a workshop from 3pm to 5pm for anyone interested. The w orkshop will be at Warner Hall North Ballroom from 3pm to 5pm with the show at the Midtown Campus Student Center Theatre from 8pm to 10pm.

The showcased poets will be Sierra Demulder and Rhe from the Talk Ugly To Me tour and there will be an open mike.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sample Balanced Reporting

There's some unanimity among communities in Fairfield and New Haven counties of CT that this is an example of balanced independent reporting in turbulent times. I am sharing it here for that purpose.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Students Needed! Svoboda Workshop

So far, I only have three people signed up. Good news for those three people, bad news for the future of on-campus readings and workshops at WestConn. Sign up now!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Pulp Faction" in The Writer's Chronicle

My article, "Pulp Faction", about the teaching of genre/popular fiction in writing programs, is in the current issue of AWP's The Writer's Chronicle. Naturally, as it deals with debased subject matter, it is listed last on the cover.

The article was born of a class assignment in Writing In The Secondary Genre. It did take the Chronicle, which actually insists upon the submission of completed work instead of taking queries like most magazines, nearly eleven months to get back to me, but after that things went fairly quickly. They even paid several months in advance of publication. So the mag isn't just some hopelessly ill-shaped thing designed to torture your mailbox, and students should certainly look at it as a venue for publication.

Brian Clements reads from new book, "Disappointed Psalms"

Brian Clements gave a reading of excerpts from his new book, poems that juxtapose biblical phrases and the terrifying news headlines of the last seven years' wars and rumors of war. In a few brief minutes, he spoke to our collective fear and outrage; and reminded us, once again, of the power of the written word.

Official Launch of Sanity

This week officially launched my new gig as "resident sanity expert" and a contributing editor for Check out this week's Sanity section, the inaugural issue.