Seamus Heaney

Interview: Sara London

Sometimes the right book falls into your hands at just the right time, and that’s how we feel about Sara London’s new collection of poems, Upkeep, which is released today by Four Way Books. The poems in Upkeep feel somehow like burnished stones, solid and familiar in the hand, yet full of surprising veins and glinting minerals. Every word feels perfectly etched just where it ought to be, making each poem feel so fully formed you can’t imagine them being written any other way.

Through these poems, Sara London traces the pain of losing someone dear, the paths to finding a solid grip on the world again, and the ways we can all be both strangers and neighbors to each other. As the poet Tom Sleigh put it, “…her work embodies what Seamus Heaney once called ‘the steadfastness of speech articulation,’ in which her care for language is continuous with her care for other people and the world.”

We are so delighted that Sara agreed to do an interview with us, and we are even more delighted that Upkeep is here in the world at last! Go get your copy, and then read it out loud!

Sara will be reading along with Sue Burton at the Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington, Vermont, on Thursday, September 12 as part of the Painted Word Poetry Series. This is a great opportunity to see two wildly talented poets in one great evening.

 
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Literary North: Upkeep begins with an epigraph from Seamus Heaney's “Clearances" and contains a poem titled “Letter to Seamus." The language in your poems also certainly shares a linguistic heritage with Heaney's poems (blunt, concrete, chewy, Anglo-Saxon vocabulary). Can you speak a bit about your connection to Heaney and his influence on this book and your writing?

Sara London: I love your adjective “chewy” to describe Heaney’s diction—those tongue-to-teeth words that afford so much pleasurable munching for the reader. His language dazzled me early on, the alliteration and percussiveness of the consonance, the imagery, his invocations of a rural Irish childhood amongst frogs and bogs. And his edibles, blackberries of course (“when the bath was filled we found a fur”), oysters (“The frond-lipped, brine-stung / Glut of privilege”), and milk’s “scuts of froth.” I love all his books, but Death of a Naturalist was a revelation to me as a young poet, and I still go to his many volumes and teach his poems routinely.

Within that lyrical feast, there are loamy, pitted layers of human complexity. It was a treat to hear him read on a few occasions, and when he and his wife Mary visited Smith College, I was able to join a more intimate afternoon chat with students. He struck me as a deeply generous, wise and unpretentious man. His sonnet cycle, “Clearances,” an elegy in memory of his mother, is one I return to again and again. And on the topic of language, in one section, he writes of his mother’s feeling of verbal inadequacy. “She’d manage something hampered and askew” — which makes the speaker “naw and aye /…relapse into the wrong / Grammar which kept us allied and at bay.” (Of course the Irish-inflected idiom is a famously rich dish, no matter the grammar!) I still feel sad that he’s gone—that big, profound poetic heart.

LN
: Speaking of language, we were struck (and comforted) by your use of Yiddish in several poems. Did you grow up with Yiddish as part of your language at home? Does it enter your poetry naturally? How does it feel to play with multiple languages in a poem?

SL: My grandparents and great aunts and uncles (all gone now) would sometimes spice their English with Yiddish asides. These were uttered amidst laughter for private commentary or as punchlines inappropriate for the youngsters around the dinner table. And they used endearments like shayner-kops (“pretty heads”) for my sisters and me. Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish was as thumbed through as any dictionary or encyclopedia in my parents’ home.

My father seemed to take special pleasure in the humorous application of Yiddish, and in translating for us. I’ve kept a note he wrote in Yiddish after making a quick stop at my house in Northampton many years ago. In part, it reads: “Ich hob zum der w/c (oo) geganger . . . Das ist alles. Pa!” The full translation he provided reads: “I came, I saw, I drank a glass of water, I used the facilities, I sat on the porch. Be well, I love you, thanks, that is all — Dad!” For me, my father will always be associated in part with that older world in which Yiddish commonly punctuated Jewish American conversation. (These days, Yiddish is mostly used among Orthodox Jews.)

I love the sound of the language, though sadly I know little of it myself. (For Yiddish enthusiasts out there: Philip Roth has a hilarious riff on the word “pupik,” belly button, in Operation Shylock, where he perfectly characterizes the “sonic prankishness of the [word’s] two syllabic pops…” And I recommend Aaron Lansky’s Outwitting History, his richly anecdotal account of founding the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts.)

LN: The Martian poem series in the section titled “Fugitive You" is clearly about someone considered alien to our world or culture, but maybe not a true interplanetary alien. "Rain on the Red Planet," for example, made us think of the Jew as an alien in America. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the Martian poems and the interplay between Judaism and "Martianism"?

SL: So many thoughts converged in that poem. As we uncover more details about Mars, we come closer to “touching” the red planet, yet human touch comes with such serious liabilities historically and environmentally. There’s an apocalyptic note in that “hard rain.” And though I wasn’t making an explicit association between Martians (aliens) and Jews, I can see how one might decipher a link. The persecuted Jew and the Jewish immigrant hover as ghosts in some of my poems; they’re fixtures of my cultural and historical imagination I suppose. The Martian I’ve imagined, on the other hand, dwells in a sort of cosmic innocence—alien, yet safely so.

But the Martian series actually began as a sort of linguistic thought experiment: How might I describe both mundane and more profound aspects of human experience to “someone” who doesn’t know our world? It began with the playground swing—that universal apparatus of “escape” and “return”; children’s first release into “space.” I wanted to capture that uniquely kinesthetic sensation anew, “without any irritable reaching after fact and reason,” as Keats once put it. So the Martian became my test audience, but grew quickly “real” and complex for me, a being from afar for whom I grew increasingly affectionate. Not a god, but perhaps a sort of analogue of myself—a “nobody” in another realm of space and time, who became for me a pulsing “somebody” on the far side of my grief.

LN: The book includes several touching and personal poems about your father's death. What was your experience in writing these poems? How does it feel to be sharing them with the world (including your family)?

SL: Death is such a strange thing—there’s nothing commensurate, nothing like the thrust of close personal loss to so unsteady us. It’s a bit surreal. When I think of those days now, my father’s dying, I see it as a kind of cruel yet fascinating “magic” played upon the family, that “there/not there” conundrum. In that last phase, there’s an intensified physicality, as we note each breath; we lean in closer and closer, yet ultimately the very mystery of endings holds us at bay. We remain “outside” the experience.

An odd theatricality characterized my father’s last days—there was much that I couldn’t write about. Of course, there’s such a highly personal aspect to this sort of writing; a lot of raw emotion involved. One hopes that family members will understand that these privacies of grief are also shared, gleaming, human moments—they’re ours, yet also part of the sweeping mortal saga. I’m so grateful to have had poetry and family to help me through that time. And if my poems resonate with anyone, that’s a true bonus. The work simply flooded forth; never before or since have I been as prolific. The elegy is a vital inherited form, and poets’ lives are in some ways spent in preparation for a dip into these powerful waters.

LN: Did this collection begin with a specific idea or poem? How did the experience of writing this book—your second—differ from writing the first (The Tyranny of Milk, 2010)? What do you look for when you are gathering poems together to put in a collection?

SL: Unlike the first book, this one came together tonally, through elegy, though it took some time to get it all right. Organizationally, it was tricky; many poems focus on my father, but not all. And issues of tone created some challenges—the question of how to blend the humor, irony and sobriety in a way that would make for dynamic and logical reading and provide that desired “narrative arc.” I ended up taking out at least ten poems from the original manuscript (mostly more topical poems). And, at my editor’s wise suggestion, I placed the Martian poems at the front of the book rather than at the end, where they’d originally been. (They’re the most recent work in the book.) I think this reversal helped establish a more surprising, and, ideally, a more interesting point of view at the outset. I thought I’d go on to address this alien figure for a longer series (a couple of Martian poems were not included), but my weirdly extraterrestrial imagination proved finite. The Martian just stopped visiting. Nonetheless, I keep a glass of luminescent milk on my windowsill, in case my poem-pal returns!

LN: What are the simple things that you encounter in a day that might move you to begin a new poem? Do you keep a notebook?

It’s hard to say just where most of my poems come from, but reading good contemporary poetry inspires me to write; reading has always been ignition for me. But often a memory or a phrase will come unbidden, and I’ll write something down that might develop into a poem. Observation, experience, memory—all feed my impulse to write. And I’m always eager to get those initial pen scratches onto the computer. I’m an inveterate reviser; my first drafts are typically weak. But I try to nail that first inspiration quickly, so I don’t lose it, and then I work on poems for months. I make notes constantly—words, ideas, images, phrases, little sparks that could lead me to greater illumination. I don’t use a single notebook; I’m not that organized or particular, but I do put scraps in (paper) files, to keep track of poems when they’ve made it to the “in-progress” phase.

LN: The final poem in the collection ("New Worlds") feels so uplifting after many poems of sadness: "the heart's / pipes never yet wrung, old tubes, they play on." What was the source of this poem and how did you choose it to cap the collection?

SL: That poem, dedicated to the Ghanaian-born artist El Anatsui, was, in fact, unique in that I wrote it for a Mount Holyoke College Art Museum exhibition catalogue. As a member of the MHC InterArts Council, I worked with an interdisciplinary team of faculty members involved in collaborating on the Anatsui exhibition catalogue. His dazzling bottle-top sculptural pieces inspired the poem, and my own memory of collecting bottle caps in Mexico as a child helped me respond very personally to his process of trash-redemption. I was thrilled to meet him when he came to campus to talk about his work. And I wanted my book to close on a note of affirmation. I’m passionate about the visual arts in general, and for many years wrote arts journalism and reviewed contemporary exhibitions. I also love ekphrastic poetry (poems about art) and often teach it in my classes. I find that visits to art museums can be poetically soul-pumping.

LN: What is the most memorable thing you've read this summer?

SL: The most memorable book of poetry I’ve read in recent years is Tyehimba Jess’s Olio. The artful ambitiousness of that collection, its use of many forms and employment of technical acrobatics (his graphically sprung “syncopated sonnets,” for example), is truly inspiring. The poems are instructive historically, and awaken a world of voices from unheralded African American musicians and performers of the past. The book is a paean to lost artists, and a political statement so crucial to our moment.

As for what I’m reading now: a fascinating study of empathy in the primate world, Frans De Waal’s Mama’s Last Hug. This summer has been one of interruptions, so I’ve begun a number of excellent books that I’m still finishing: Margo Jefferson’s Negroland; Tom Sleigh’s new essay collection, The Land Between Two Rivers; Tracy K. Smith’s Ordinary Light and Patrick Donnelly’s Little Known Operas. In these terribly distracting and very troubling times, stretches of reading are too often broken up. But I’m always eager for the kind of linguistic, intellectual and emotional pleasure that’s most reliably found amidst the pages of books. I treasure that simple task of scrutinizing words, roaming among lines of poems—like Heaney’s lantern of Diogenes in “The Haw Lantern” —for that one honest thought.

 
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Sara London is the author of Upkeep and The Tyranny of Milk, both published by Four Way Books. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including The Common, Quarterly West, The Hudson Review, Poetry East, The Iowa Review and the Poetry Daily anthology. She teaches at Smith College, and has also taught at Mount Holyoke and Amherst colleges. Sara is the poetry editor at The Woven Tale Press. She lives in Northampton, MA.

The Dipper - April 2018

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know!

April News

We're excited to (finally) celebrate Robin MacArthur and her fabulous second book, Heart Spring Mountain, at the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont, on Friday, April 6, at 7:00 pm. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. We do hope you'll join us!

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If you haven't joined the Slow Club Book Club, please note that you can join anytime. The email announcing our second selection, Good Woman, poems by Lucille Clifton, just went out to subscribers, just in time for National Poetry Month. Even if you think you aren't a poetry fan, we hope you'll give our latest selection a try. Remember: it's fine to read slowly. You can dip in and out. Poetry is perfect for this. Pop the book in your tote or in your glovebox and you can read whenever you have a spare moment. We can't wait to hear what you think. Tag us on Instagram or Twitter with #slowclubbookclub or send us an email. We'd love to hear from you.

As we mentioned last month, we're partnering with JAG Productions and Yankee Bookshop to hold a one-meeting book group on Tuesday, May 15 to discuss Billie Holiday's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, at the Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, Vermont. If you haven't signed up/bought your book, now's the time! A reminder that Yankee Bookshop has generously offered to donate $5 per book purchased at their store directly to JAG Productions. To read more about this event and to RSVP, visit our LN Events page.

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We want to wish a very Happy Book Birthday to Feast by Hannah Howard! We've got a lovely interview with Hannah and an excerpt from her book over on our blog.

Finally, make sure you celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, April 28! We love our local indies: Yankee Bookshop, The Norwich Bookstore, and Left Bank Books. Show your favorite local independents some love.

 

April's Shooting Stars

A cool literary find from each of us to help light up your month!

  • Are you familiar with The Tournament of Books? The Morning News hosts one of my favorite events in March that I neglected to mention last month. No matter. You can go back and read up on all of the literary match-ups and see if you agree with the outcomes. —Shari
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  • There are a lot of great poetry podcasts out there—and I hope we'll talk about many of them here—but the one that really moved me recently is the March 21 New Yorker's Poetry Podcast with Marie Howe, who reads and discusses the work and loss of Lucie Brock-Broido and her shiver-inducing poem, "The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act." Just that would have been enough, but then Marie reads one of her own remarkable poems, and then she and Kevin Young go on to talk about Seamus Heaney and one of my favorite books of his, Seeing Things, and, well, let's just say it's a riveting 38 minutes. —Rebecca

April Highlights

Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly, Melissa Febos, and Michael Dickman are reading at VCFA's Cafe Anna in Montpelier, Vermont, on Friday, April 6 at 5:30 pm.

On Saturday, April 7, The New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, is hosting the second annual Storytelling Festival from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The festival features a variety of forms of storytelling and will be emceed by NHPR's Peter Biello.

In Montpelier, Vermont, PoemCity 2018 celebrates its ninth year with a variety of workshops, lectures, music, history, and art revolving around poetry throughout April. The festival opens with a keynote reading by Chard deNiord, Alice B. Fogel, and Stuart Kestenbaum on Saturday, April 7, at Lost Nation Theater. For more information about this and other festival events, visit the PoemCity website.

Meanwhile, PoemTown Randolph 2018 events are scheduled in Randolph, Vermont, throughout the month. The first event is on Monday, April 9 at 6:00 pm: dinner with poets Major Jackson and Didi Jackson at Black Krim Tavern, followed by readings. While you're in you're in Randolph, browse the more than one hundred poems by Vermont poets posted in windows all over town during April. See our calendar for more information about PoemTown Randolph events.

New England Review's Vermont Reading Series will be taking place at the Marquis Theater in Middlebury, Vermont, on Wednesday, April 11, featuring Didi Jackson, Jodi Paloni, Ben Pease, and Layla Santos. This event is free and open to the public.

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera

Wednesday, April 11 also brings you readings from two former US Poet Laureates: Juan Felipe Herrera—reading at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, at 6:30 pm—and Billy Collins, reading at the Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester, Vermont, at  7:00 pm.

Spend Saturday, April 14, immersed in the 603: The Writers' Conference, the New Hampshire Writers' Project annual conference. The event, held on SNHU's campus in Manchester, New Hampshire, features keynote speaker Richard Russo, special guest Ann Hood, and an agenda full of master classes, workshops, a reception, and other events.

Bianca Stone and Alison Prine will be reading from their poetry collections at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, on Tuesday, April 17, at 7:00 pm.

Blair Braverman. Photo by Christina Bodznick

Blair Braverman. Photo by Christina Bodznick

Blair Braverman will be at the Sanborn Library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, April 19 at 4:30 pm. We both adored her non-fiction book, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube. Not to be missed!

Our friends at Green Writers Press are holding a Spring Celebration to celebrate the release of their new spring books in fiction and poetry. The celebration will be at 7:00 pm on Friday, April 20 at Next Stage Arts in Putney, Vermont. Sounds like a fun evening.

Five Colleges Book Sale in Lebanon, New Hampshire, will be happening at Lebanon High School on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22 (half price on Sunday!). For more information, visit their website.

Visit our calendar for detailed information about these events and more!

 

Worth a Drive

Leslie Jamison will be in conversation with literary critic and writer James Wood about her new non-fiction book, The Recovering, on Thursday, April 5, at 6:30 pm, at the Cambridge Public Library, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison

The Juniper Literary Festival will be held April 6 to 7 at UMass Amherst. The festival features readings, workshops, and a literary journal and book fair. Edie Meidav and Ocean Vuong will teach community workshops. For the full schedule of festival events, please visit their website.

The Newburyport Literary Festival takes place April 27 to 28 in Newburyport, Massachusetts, with Ann Hood, Tom Perrotta, Andre Dubus III, Mark Doty, and more. For more information, please visit the festival website.

 

Worth a Listen

Short Story podcast by BBC Radio 4. Just the perfect thing for your commute.

 

We're Looking Forward to These April Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The Vermont Writers Roundtable is holding a weekend workshop (June 22 to 24) in Londonderry, New Hampshire, on writing creative nonfiction for children and teens. The deadline to apply for this workshop is April 7. For more information and to apply, please visit the Workshop page.

The Odyssey Writing Workshop (June 4 to July 13) is accepting applications until April 7. The Odyssey workshop, for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, is held on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Prospective students must include a 4,000-word writing sample with their application. For more information, please visit the Workshop page.

Registration is open for 603: The Writers' Conference (April 14) on the SNHU campus in Manchester, New Hampshire. The keynote speaker is novelist Richard Russo. The conference includes master classes, workshops, panel discussions, lunch, and a reception. $85 to $135. For more information and to register, please visit the Conference page.

The Frost Place 2018 Conference on Poetry and Teaching (June 23 to 26) and Writing Intensive (June 27 to 28) is now accepting applications. The scholarship application deadline is April 19. The conference application deadline is May 17. The application fee is $25. Tuition is $725. Meals are $145. The Writing Intensive is $180. For more information and to apply, please visit the Conference page.

The Frost Place Conference on Poetry (July 8 to 14) is also accepting applications. The scholarship application deadline is April 30. The conference application deadline is May 31. The application fee is $25. Conference rates are from $250 (day rate) to $1550 (includes all tuition, meals, and lodging). For more information and to apply, please visit the Conference page.

Registration is still open for the VCFA Novel Retreat (May 15 to 21). Faculty includes Connie May FowlerJeff KleinmanRichard McCann, and Crystal Wilkinson. A $200 non-refundable deposit is required. For more information, please visit the Novel Retreat page.

The Bennington Review is open for submissions through May 15 with no reading fee. For more information, please visit the Bennington Review Submissions page.

nErDcampVT is accepting registrations for their "unconference" (May 20), which focuses on literacy, at Burlington High School in Burlington, Vermont. The event is free but you must register in advance. For more information and to register, please visit their website.

The New England Review is open for poetry and digital submissions through May 31. For more information, please visit the NER Submissions page.

The Frost Place Poetry Seminar (July 29 to August 3) is accepting applications. The scholarship application deadline is May 24. The seminar application deadline is June 28. The application fee is $15. Seminar rates are from $250 (day rate) to $1550 (includes all tuition, meals, and lodging). For more information and to apply, please visit the Seminar page.

Green Writers Press is accepting submissions through June 1 for the 2nd Annual Howard Frank Mosher First Novel and Short Story Prize. This prize is for a novelist or short story writer who writes about Vermont and/or the themes that resonate so well with Howard's work: nature, small-town stories, love, friendship, forgiveness, Vermont, solitude, and rural life. All ages are welcome to submit. For more information, please visit the Green Writers Press website.

The Hopper, a literary magazine from Green Writers Press, is accepting submissions of full-length manuscripts to its 2018 Hopper Poetry Prize through July 1. Open to poets with an identified interest in the natural world and whose work explores issues tied to our ever-changing environment. There is a $25 entry fee. For more information, please visit the Hopper Prize page.

Clara Martin Center is seeking submissions for their third annual art/poetry show entitled "Abundance: Celebrating Creativity in Mental Health, Wellness, and Recovery" (September 10 to November 2). You are invited to submit poetry, 2-D or 3-D artwork to display in the exhibit. Submissions are due by July 31. Applicants must be Vermont residents, and preference is given to artists/writers in the Upper Valley. For more information, please visit Clara Martin Center's website.

Registration is open for the 3rd Annual Poetry Festival at the Fine Arts Work Center (August 5 to 10) in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Festival includes poetry and songwriting workshops. Faculty includes Traci Brimhall, Cornelius Eady, Nick Flynn, Vievee Francis, Ross Gay, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Patty Larkin, and Patrick Rosal. For information on tuition, housing, and registration, please visit the FAWC Festival page.

The Burlington Writers Workshop 2018 anthology team is pleased to invite submissions from the BWW community. Fiction, flash fiction, poetry, memoir, personal essay—it's all welcome. The only requirement for submission is that you must have attended at least one BWW workshop within the past five years. For more information, please visit the Burlington Writers Workshop website.

Registration is now open for The Center for Cartoon Studies Summer Workshops (June 11 to August 10), in White River Junction, Vermont. This year's workshops include everything from drawing and writing single-panel comics, to creating graphic memoirs and novels, taught by award-winning artists and writers, including Hilary Price, Jo Knowles, Tillie Walden, and Melanie Gillman. Tuition ranges from $600 to $1200. For more information and to register, please visit the Summer Workshops page.


April Workshops and Classes

On Monday, April 2 (6:30 to 8:30 pm), join poet Gary Margolis for "The Technique & Mysteries of Line Breaks," a poetry master class hosted by Burlington Writers Workshop, in Burlington, Vermont. Workshop participants should bring three original poems to class. Participants will also write new poems during the workshop. For more information and to register, please visit the BWW Workshop page.

Kingdom County Productions in collaboration with the Second Wind Foundation is offering a ten-week writing workshop for people who are in recovery from addiction, and their siblings and friends. The workshops will be held on Tuesdays, beginning Tuesday, April 3 (1:15 to 2:45 pm) at the Turning Point Center in White River Junction, Vermont. For more information, please call the Upper Valley Turning Point Center at (802) 295-5206 or visit the Writers for Recovery website.

Join storyteller Recille Hamrell for "The Art of Storytelling" workshop on Wednesday, April 4 (6:00 to 7:30 pm) at Burlington City Arts, in Burlington, Vermont, then stay for the open mic following the clinic to share your story in a safe and open-minded environment. The cost is $10. For more information and to register, please visit the BCA Event page.

On Saturday, April 7 (1:00 to 5:00 pm), Join River Arts in Morrisville, Vermont for a Coptic Bookbinding Workshop. Participants will select handmade papers for the hardbound coves and sew the open-spine binding using a traditional Coptic binding technique. The workshop fee is $85. For more information and to register, please visit the River Arts Programs page.

The League of Vermont Writers is hosting two workshops in April: "Getting Your Author Blog and Website Started" on Saturday, April 14 (4:00 to 6:00 pm) in Burlington, Vermont, and "The Road to Publication" on Saturday, April 28 (9:30 am to 3:00 pm), in Killington, Vermont. For more information and to register, please visit the League's Gatherings page.

On Tuesday, April 24 (6:30 pm), Annalisa Parent will host a workshop entitled "Writing for Pantsers" at The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, Vermont. The workshop will focus on adding order to your writing life. For more information, visit The Galaxy Bookshop Events page.

Join poet Julia Shipley on Saturday, April 28 (10:00 am to 2:00 pm), for "The Husbandry of Poetry," a rumination and discussion of best practices for the care and feeding of poetry. The workshop is free, bur registration is required. For more information, please visit the River Arts Programs page.

The Center for Cartoon Studies offers a free One-Week Cartooning Workout. This seven-day email course is for aspiring cartoonists who need help getting started, cartoonists who need a refresher to get back into the creative groove, and those interested in graphic memoir, comics, journalism, or fantasy genres. Sign up at any time; the course begins when you sign up! For more information and to sign up, please visit the Center for Cartoon Studies website.

The Dipper - December 2017

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know

 

December News

We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.

To show our gratitude for the support you've given Literary North, we are having four giveaways this month just for newsletter subscribers. We thought it would be nice to revisit our first event of 2017, the Mud Season Salon, by giving away a poetry chapbook by Taylor Mardis Katz; the CD Salt by Ben Cosgrove; Half Wild, a book of short stories, by Robin MacArthur; and The Family, a nonfiction book by Jeff Sharlet. We'll draw names on December 15th. Good luck!

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Save the Date: January 10, 2018
Heart Spring Mountain Launch Celebration!

We're partnering with the Norwich Bookstore to help launch Robin MacArthur's fabulous new novel, Heart Spring Mountain, on Wednesday, January 10, at 7:00 pm at the Norwich Bookstore. We'll be there to celebrate and provide refreshments. We hope you'll join us!


December Highlights

Join the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program for "The Hoot," their monthly poetry reading and open mic, on Wednesday, December 6, at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00). This month's featured poets are Gigi Thibodeau and Ben Berman.

Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee and Porochista Khakpour will be reading at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont, on Thursday, December 8, at 5:30 pm.

On Wednesday, December 13, at 7:00 pm, folks will be gathering at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to celebrate the publication of Collected Poems, by Galway Kinnell. There will be refreshments and multiple readers of his work.

Anne Fadiman

Anne Fadiman

The Mudroom, live storytelling at the AVA Gallery in Lebanon, New Hampshire, presents this quarter's theme, "Guilty Pleasure," on Thursday, December 14, starting at 6:30 pm. Refreshments will be available. Advance tickets are available online for $7.50 to $10. Tickets at the door are $20.

Anne Fadiman will be at the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont, reading from her new memoir, The Wine Lover's Daughter, on Friday, December 15, at 7:00 pm.

 

Recommendations for Winter Reading & Listening

Recommended by Shari:

Recommended by Rebecca:

  • Mandible, an essay by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, with music by Linda Buckley
  • Emily Wilson's brilliant new translation of Homer's The Odyssey
  • Any episode of VPR's Brave Little State podcast
  • In the winter, I love reading about polar exploration. If you're like me, and you haven't yet read Apsley Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World, do it now. You can get it for free for your epub reader courtesy of Project Gutenberg. 
  • Or follow an Antarctic expedition as it happens by sledging over to Ben Saunder's blog, where he's posting daily updates as he attempts the first solo, unsupported, unassisted crossing of the continent.

 

We're Looking Forward to These December Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College has announced the 2018 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards, each with a $5000 honorarium: The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Speculative FictionThe Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction, and The Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting. Any work published no earlier than June 1, 2015 is eligible. The deadline for submission is December 31, 2017. For more information, please visit the Neukom Awards website.

Applications are now open for two scholarships at The Frost Place:

  • The Gregory Pardlo Scholarship for Emerging African American Poets is open to African American Poets writing in English who have published up to one book of poetry. The winner will receive a full scholarship to attend the Poetry Seminar, including room and board, and will give a featured reading at the Seminar. For more information, please visit the Gregory Pardlo Scholarship page.
  • The Latin@ Scholarship is open to applicants that self-identify as Latin@, have a strong commitment to the Latin@ community, and are at least 21 years of age. The winner will receive tuition, room and board, and travel for The Frost Place Conference on Poetry. For more information and to apply, please visit the Latin@ Scholarship page.

The Frost Place is accepting submissions for its 2018 Chapbook Competition until January 5, 2018. The competition is open to any poet writing in English. Entries must be accompanied by a $28 entry fee. For details about submitting your manuscript and more information about the competition, please visit their Competition page.

Also until January 5, 2018, The Frost Place is accepting applications for the Dartmouth Poet in Residence program, a six-to-eight-week residency in Robert Frost's former farmhouse. The residency is July 1 to August 15, and includes an award of $1,000 from The Frost Place and $1,000 from Dartmouth College. For more information and to apply online, please visit their Residency page.

Applications for the 2018 MacDowell Colony Summer Residency (June 1 to September 30, 2018)  are being accepted through January 15, 2018.  A residency consists of exclusive use of a studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for up to eight weeks. For more information, please visit the Application Guidelines page.

Hunger Mountain, the literary journal from VCFA, holds four annual contests: The Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize, The Hunger Mountain Creative Nonfiction Prize, The Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, and The Katherine Patterson Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing. All contests are open to submissions through March 1, 2018. For more information, please visit their Contests page.

Vermont Literary Review is taking submissions of creative work about New England until March 31, 2018. For more information, please visit Castleton University's website.

Registration is now open for the VCFA Writing Novels for Young People Retreat (March 23 to 25, 2018). Faculty includes Donna Gephart, Nova Ren Suma, Amanda Maciel, Maggie Lehrman, and Sarah Aronson. A $200 deposit is required (refundable if the retreat is able to fill your spot). For more information please visit the Writing Novels for Young People Retreat page.

Registration is also open for the VCFA Novel Retreat (May 15 to 21, 2018). Faculty includes Connie May Fowler, Jeff Kleinman, Richard McCann, and Crystal Wilkinson. A $200 non-refundable deposit is required. For more information, please visit the Novel Retreat page.

The New England Review is open for Poetry and digital submissions through May 31, 2018. For more information, please visit the NER Submissions page.