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The Dipper - February 2019

"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

 

February News

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Save the date! Literary North is proud to partner with our friends at the Brownsville Butcher & Pantry for Poetry & Pints in Brownsville, Vermont, on Sunday, March 10, from 5:15 to 7:00 pm. Doors open at 4:30 pm. Admission is by donation. The evening features poets Colin McKraig, Peter Money, and Ruth Antoinette Rodriguez; fabulous food, beer, and wine; plus an open mic so we can hear YOUR original work. Chef Peter Varkonyi is creating a cozy a la carte menu for the evening. Beer, food, poetry! It’s what you need to survive the end of winter. We hope you’ll join us. Visit the Poetry & Pints page on our website for full details.

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If you haven’t gotten tickets yet for this year’s JAG Fest—JAG Production’s annual festival of new in-process plays by African-American playwrights—what are you waiting for? This year’s festival shines the spotlight on black female poets. Four staged readings will take place the weekend of February 9 to 10 at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, Vermont. Each performance features a post-show conversation with the artists, moderated by Dartmouth scholars. Tickets are $20 per performance, or $50 for a weekend pass that includes access to all presentations. Last year’s performances were stunning. You don’t want to miss this! (Note: You can meet this year’s playwrights for conversation and lunch at Dartmouth College on Tuesday, February 5.)

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Are you already a member of the Slow Club Book Club? If not, here are five reasons you might want to join us for our first pick of the year, Yoko Tawada’s The Emissary, translated by Margaret Mitsutani:

  1. It’s short. 138 pages!

  2. It won the National Book Award for Translated Literature.

  3. New Directions, a fantastic small press, published it!

  4. It takes place in a world of giant dandelions where only crows and spiders are thriving. (Aren’t you intrigued?)

  5. In Yoko Tawada’s author photo, she is posing with a pomegranate.

If you’re reading along, let us know! And if you post about it to Instagram or Twitter, be sure to tag us with #slowclubbookclub or #literarynorth.

Several of our friends are hosting workshops or events soon that we wanted to bring to your attention. Full details for all of these are in the Deadlines and Workshops sections later in this newsletter:

  • Poets, please consider applying for the Free Verse Farm Residency in the hills of Chelsea, Vermont. The location is stunning and we can’t imagine better hosts than Taylor and Misha. Applications are due April 1.

  • James Crews is hosting his online Mindfulness and Writing workshop beginning on February 2. James was a featured poet at our first Poetry & Pie event. His poetry is outstanding, and he’s such a kind person. You’re sure to enjoy his class.

  • Jo Knowles and Tillie Walden will be teaching their “Creating Graphic Novels for the YA Market” workshop at The Center for Cartoon Studies this summer. We interviewed this dynamic duo last year about the class. Registration for CCS Summer 2019 classes is open now.

To make room on our site for new events, we’ve collected information and links for all of our past events and projects on a single page. We hope this makes it easier for you to find out what we’re up to and what we’ve done before. We have some really fun ideas for 2019 and can’t wait to add them to the list. As subscribers, you’ll hear about all of it first! Thank you, as always, for your support, kind words, and enthusiasm. Your energy helps fire up this two-woman team!



February’s Shooting Stars

A cool literary find from each of us to help light up your reading life:

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  • Need a brush-up on your grammar? Look no further than Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer, the copy chief of Random House. Witty grammar lessons? Yes, please. —Shari

  • This amazing and moving essay in The New Yorker by Gregory Pardlo about his father and the 1981 air-traffic controller strike includes beautiful sentences like this: “All your delicate ideas have to remain perfectly clear and distinct in your mind at all times.” —Rebecca


February Highlights

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Thursday, February 7 at 4:30 pm, Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, celebrates the life and work of Andre Dubus II in Sanborn Library with readings and discussion about Dubus’ work. The event features the editor of his re-issued series of Collected Stories, Joshua Bodwell, and the distinguished publisher David R. Godine.

The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont is holding A Celebration of Vermont Poets on Saturday, February 9, at 4:00 pm. The great lineup includes Dede Cummings, Chard deNiord, Karin Gottshall, Syd Lea, Gary Margolis, Julia Shipley, and Bianca Stone. With chocolate!

The Center for Cartoon Studies’ own James Sturm is on tour for his new graphic novel, Off Season. Catch him at the CCS in White River Junction, Vermont, on Thursday, February 14 at 4:00 pm. James’ presentation will also touch upon the drawing of dogs, crooked contractors, LSD, and 4 x 6 index cards.

Jane Brox. Photo by Luc Demers

Jane Brox. Photo by Luc Demers

The lovely Jane Brox will be at The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on Saturday, February 16, at 11:00 am to read from her latest non-fiction work, Silence.

Poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi reads at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, February 21, at 4:30 pm in the Sanborn Library.

You’ve got two great chances to see Pam Houston read from her recent book, Deep Creek. On Sunday, February 24 at 6:00 pm, she’ll be at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont; she’ll be at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire, on Tuesday. February 26.

Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard

Emily Bernard, a professor of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Vermont, reads from her book, Black Is The Body, at 6:00 pm on Friday, February 22 at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont.

The Painted Word Poetry Series is back at The Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington, Vermont. Stephanie Burt reads on Wednesday, February 27 at 6:00 pm.

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

 

Worth a Drive

LitFest 2019 begins on Wednesday, February 27 and goes through Sunday, March 3 at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Jamel Brinkley—whose amazing collection of short stories, A Lucky Man, was nominated for a National Book Award and for The Story Prize—will be reading on Thursday, February 28 along with fellow NBA nominee Brandon Hobson. Other writers in attendance will be Jennifer Egan, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Cullen Murphy.

 

Worth a Listen

  • What a treat to hear Zadie Smith and her husband Nick Laird speak about their books, both titled Feel Free, on the Shakespeare & Co. podcast.

  • Every single episode of the Slowdown podcast with Tracy K. Smith. Period.

We're Looking Forward to These February Releases:

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

It’s PoemCity and PoemTown season again! Submit your poems for consideration to be displayed in downtown windows in Montpelier, Randolph, and St. Johnsbury, Vermont, during the month of April. The submission deadline for Montpelier and Randolph is February 4. The submission deadline for St. Johnsbury is February 28. For more information about Montpelier and St. Johnsbury submissions, please visit the PoemCity Submission page and the PoemCity website. For Randolph submissions, please send 1-3 original poems as Word attachments to musbird@gmail.com. Include your contact information in the email (name, mailing address, email address and telephone number). Then attach each poem separately with the title of the poem as the document name and no identifying information other than the poem’s title on each document.

The Upper Valley Fiction group is accepting new members. The group meets monthly, September though June, to offer honest feedback on each other’s work. An MFA or publication is not required, but comparable writing expertise is preferred. To apply, submit one short story or one chapter (no longer than 20 pages) by February 11 to uppervalleyfiction@gmail.com.

The Poetry Society of Vermont is accepting submissions to its publication, The Mountain Troubadour, until February 14. You can submit up to three poems, of 40 lines or less. You must be a PSOV member to submit. For more information, please visit the Mountain Troubadour Submission page.

Applications for the next round of Vermont Studio Center residency fellowships for artists and writers are due by February 15 (for residencies scheduled between May and December 2019 in Johnson, Vermont), including the James Merrill Poetry, ALSCW, VSC/Callaloo, Helen Zell Residency, and Voices Rising fellowships. Every VSC residency includes private room, private studio space, all meals, and full access to the VCS’ schedule of evening programs and events. For more information, please visit the VSC Fellowships page.

The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is seeking nominations for the 2019-2021 Poet Laureate. The Laureate is the PPLP’s main bridge to the community, a role model and recruiter for future generations of poets and sets the tone for two years in the life of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program. Nominees should live in Portsmouth, Dover, Durham, Eliot, Greenland, Kittery, Madbury, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, North Hampton, Rye, or Stratham, or work at least half time in Portsmouth. To make a nomination, send an email about your nominee to info@pplp.org by February 20.

The AVA Gallery in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is looking for storytellers for its next Mudroom event (March 14). Selected storytellers will be awarded an AVA membership and may bring a guest to enjoy the evening. Please include a very brief summary of your story (no more than 300 words) and a short bio (no more than 150 words) by February 24. For more information, please visit the Mudroom page.

Applications are open for Free Verse Farm’s week-long poetry residencies. Residents will stay in an off-grid small vintage camper on the farm in Chelsea, Vermont. The residence fee is $250/week, which includes coffee and tea, but all other groceries must be provided by the resident, with meal preparation occurring in the camper. Poets are welcome to bring a partner at no extra charge. The application deadline is April 1. For more information and to apply, please visit the Free Verse Residency page.

The Juniper Summer Writing Institute in Amherst, Massachusetts (June 16 to 22) is accepting applications. The institute includes manuscript consultations, craft sessions, workshops, readings, and other events, led by a wide range of instructors, including CAConrad, Gabriel Bump, Ross Gay, Khadijah Queen, Bianca Stone, Ocean Vuong, Dara Weir, and Joy Williams. The non-refundable application fee is $40. For more information and to apply, please visit the Juniper Institute website.


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Poet James Crews is offering his four-week Mindfulness and Writing Online workshop from February 2 to March 9. This generative online writing workshop will examine connections between the practice of meditation/mindfulness and the act of writing fearlessly from the heart. Though not required, attendees will be invited to share their work via email with each other. Beginners and all skill levels are welcome. You do not need any previous experience with mindfulness, meditation, or online courses; all you need is an internet connection, email, and an open mind. $295 for four sessions. For more information and to register, please visit the Northshire Books events page.

On February 9 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, join the New Hampshire Writers’ Project and romance author Ana E. Ross at SNHU in Manchester, New Hampshire, for “So You Think You Know Me?” This workshop focuses on three vital elements of characterization in storytelling: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (GMC). This interactive workshop invites you to bring a character you’re working on. $65 for members; $80 for non-members. For information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

The New Hampshire Writers’ Project is hosting a six-week “Preparing Your Manuscript for an Agent’s Eyes” workshop, where you can work your manuscript into a polished version ready for agents, professional review, and publishing consideration. You will work directly with Amanda Forbes Silva, a professional writer and editor who will help you better evaluate your writing and determine how to edit your work for clarity and concision. All genres are welcome! The workshop meets on Saturdays, February 16 through March 23, 1:00 to 4:00 pm at SNHU in Manchester, New Hampshire. $390 for NHWP members; $510 for non-members. For information and to register, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

On March 9, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, the AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is offering a “One Photo, Four Stories” writing workshop where you will use a photo of your choice as a prompt for four separate stories. This class is open to all levels. $68 for members; $80 for non-members. For more information and to register, please visit the AVA Gallery website.

Already dreaming of summer? Registration for Summer Workshops at The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont, is already open. This year’s workshops include Graphic Memoirs with Melanie Gillman, Creating Graphic Novels for the Young Adult Market with Jo Knowles and Tillie Walden, and a Graphic Novel Workshop with Paul Karasik. For all the details and to register, please visit the CCS 2019 Summer Workshops page.

The Dipper - November 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

 

November News

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Want to hear some gorgeous music, listen to two fabulous authors read, take part in a conversation about the writing process, and stuff your face with homemade biscuits? Well then, look no further than our own Writers’ Process Night happening this Saturday, November 3 at Open Door in White River Junction, Vermont.

Join us, Laura Jean Binkley, Camille Guthrie, and Peter Orner, and a mountain of biscuits made by Literary North’s favorite baker and all-around fan, Dr. Hermann Puterschein. Scurry over to the Event page now and claim your seat at the biscuit bar! See you on Saturday!

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Slow Club Book Club members, have you started reading our final book of 2018 yet? If not, please don’t worry; you’re in fantastic company! At least one of your SCBC hosts hasn’t started either. And guess what? That’s just fine. October always seems to be a month when everything hits the fan at once. Between finally waking up from the summer drowsies and suddenly realizing that the end of the year crazies are nigh, this time of year is often overstuffed with deadlines, new projects, school meetings, and making appointments to get winter tires put on. Never fear… Sara Maitland’s A Book of Silence will wait patiently for you to dip in as you have time, maybe while waiting for those tires to be changed.

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It always feels a bit awkward to promote one’s own stuff, but if you can’t do it in your own newsletter, where can you? So this is just to say… Rebecca has written a science book about rivers for kids aged 7 to 10, and it's coming out later this month! Rivers and Streams! is part of a set of four “Explore Waterways” books published by the excellent Nomad Press in White River Junction, Vermont. It’s packed with really fun illustrations by the very talented Tom Casteel, and it includes 25 river-related activities. If you have a young person in your life who’s into science—or even one who isn’t yet into science—check out the set, or the many other wonderful non-fiction books for kids that Nomad publishes.

November’s Shooting Stars

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

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  • Tommy Orange’s review of Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah in The New York Times was fantastic. Here’s a snippet:

“Now more than ever I believe fiction can change minds, build empathy by asking readers to walk in others’ shoes, and thereby contribute to real change. In “Friday Black,” Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah has written a powerful and important and strange and beautiful collection of stories meant to be read right now, at the end of this year, as we inch ever closer to what feels like an inevitable phenomenal catastrophe or some other kind of radical change, for better or for worse. And when you can’t believe what’s happening in reality, there is no better time to suspend your disbelief and read and trust in a work of fiction—in what it can do.”

—Shari

  • I’m in a bit of a glum mood, what with the current dreary weather and the state of the world and all, so Emily Dickinson’s Patreon page in The New Yorker is giving me a welcome lift as I put the finishing touches on this newsletter. I’ll be scraping my shekels together to afford patronage at $100 a month (“I will tell you which parts of the Bible would be made better with bees. Plus all previous rewards.”) How about you? —Rebecca


November Highlights

On Friday, November 2, at 7:30 pm, GunSense Vermont, the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, and Bear Pond Books present “Bullets Into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence.” This event features Major Jackson, Matthew Olzmann, and Kerrin McCadden and takes place at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier, Vermont.

Ed Koren

Ed Koren

You have plenty of opportunities to catch cartoonist Ed Koren in November. He’ll be at The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, on Saturday, November 3, at 6:00 pm; at Phoenix Books in Burlington, Vermont, on Thursday, November 15, at 7:00 pm; at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, on Friday, November 23, at 12:00 pm for a book signing; and at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock, Vermont, on Tuesday, November 27, at 6:00 pm.

On Sunday, November 4, at 3:00 pm, poet Sue Ellen Thompson is giving a lecture on “Marriage, Metaphor, & Mortality: The Poetry of Jane Kenyon” at BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vermont. The lecture explores Kenyon’s lifelong struggle with depression and her marriage to fellow poet Donald Hall.

Also on Sunday, November 4, the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, will be dedicating the Colony’s Library to James Baldwin, who was a resident at the Colony three times in the 1950s to work on his books. The outdoor ceremony at 11:00 am will be followed by light refreshments.

Eugene Lim will be reading as part of the Cleopatra Mathis Poetry & Prose Reading Series at Dartmouth College’s Sanborn Library, in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, November 6, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm.

First Wednesdays, a program of the Vermont Humanities Council, brings DeRay McKesson to Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, on Wednesday, November 7, at 7:00 pm to talk about politics and activism.

Catherine Lacey. Photo by Jesse Ball.

Catherine Lacey. Photo by Jesse Ball.

Catherine Lacey is at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, on Wednesday, November 7, at 7:00 pm, reading from her new short story collection, Certain American States.

On Tuesday, November 13, poet Kevin Goodan reads from his new collection, Anaphora, at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire. The reading begins at 5:30 pm.

Jeremy Holt visits Phoenix Books in Burlington, Vermont, on Tuesday, November 13, at 7:00 pm for his graphic novel, After Houdini.

Robin MacArthur will be at The Bennington Free Library in Bennington, Vermont, on Thursday, November 15, at 7:00 pm, in support of the paperback release of her fabulous novel, Heart Spring Mountain.

Kim Adrian

Kim Adrian

Poet Sidney Wade will be at the Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington, Vermont, for the Painted Word Poetry Series on Thursday, November 29, at 6:00 pm.

As part of the UNH Writers Series, Kim Adrian, author of the memoir The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet, will be reading at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham, New Hampshire, on Thursday, November 29, at 5:00 pm.

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

 

Worth a Drive

Edward Carey visits The Odyssey Bookshop in Hadley, Massachusetts, on Thursday, November 8, at 7:00 pm to read from his new novel, Little, about Madam Tussaud. The event is free but registration is requested.

 

Worth a Listen

We're Looking Forward to These November Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The AVA Gallery in Lebanon, New Hampshire is looking for its next batch of true-life storytellers for its December 13 Mudroom event. The theme is “Holiday Disasters.” Storytellers of all ages and from all towns in the Upper Valley and beyond are welcome to submit their stories for consideration by November 23. In your submission, include a brief summary of the story (no more than 300 words) and a short bio (no more than 150 words). For more information and to submit your story, please visit the AVA Gallery’s Mudroom page.

Marble House Project is a multi-disciplinary artist residency program in Dorset, Vermont, that fosters collaboration and the exchange of ideas by providing an environment for artists across disciplines to live and work side by side. The three-week Artist Residency is open to artists in all creative fields, including but not limited to visual arts, writing, choreography, music composition and performance. Applications for 2019 residencies are open through December 16. The application fee is $32. For more information, please visit the Residency Applications page.

Bloodroot Literary Magazine is accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction for their 2019 Digital Edition through December 31. Submission guidelines are available on the Bloodroot website.

The Frost Place is accepting submissions for their annual Chapbook Competition. The competition is open to any poet writing in English. The submission fee is $28. Submissions will be accepted through January 5, 2019. For more information, please visit the Chapbook Competition page.

Applications are now open for the Dartmouth Poet in Residence program at The Frost Place. This is a six-to-eight-week residency in poet Robert Frost’s former farmhouse in Franconia, New Hampshire. The residency begins July 1 and ends August 15, and includes an award of $1,000 from The Frost Place and an award of $1,000 from Dartmouth College. The recipient will have an opportunity to give a series of public readings across the region, including at Dartmouth College and The Frost Place. Applications will be accepted through January 5, 2019. For more information, please visit the Residency page.  

Every summer, the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, awards residency Fellowships to artists in seven disciplines, including literature. A Fellowship consists of exclusive use of a private studio, accommodations and three prepared meals a day for two weeks to two months. The deadline for the 2019 Summer MacDowell Literature Fellowship is January 15, 2019. The application fee is $30. For more information, please visit the Residency Application page.


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Do you have an interview project in mind but don’t quite know where to begin or how to proceed? The Vermont Folklife Center is offering an “Oral History: An Introduction” workshop that can help you move your project forward. The workshop will be held on November 3, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Dorset Historical Society in Dorset, Vermont. Tuition is $95-$50. For more information and to register, please visit the Vermont Folklife Center Workshop page.

The pressure’s on if you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, the creative writing project that challenges participants to write a 50,000 word manuscript in November. Take some of that pressure off with the free “NaNoWriMo Expressive Writing” workshop, lead by Joni B. Cole on November 5, at the Norwich Public Library in Norwich, Vermont, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. This workshop invites you to write from a prompt to develop a character….add a plot twist…or discover a scene that’s just been waiting to burst onto the page. For more information, please visit the Writer’s Center of WRJ Workshops page.

Looking for quality instruction, feedback, and inspiration in a beautiful Vermont setting? This half-day retreat on November 10, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, offers all that and more. You’ll have the opportunity to share pages of a new or revised work for personalized feedback, learn tips and techniques to get started and stay motivated, and reap the benefits of gathering within a supportive creative community. Both nervous beginners and seasoned authors are welcome. Tuition is $115 and must be paid in full prior to the retreat. For more information, or to register (required), please visit the Writer’s Center of WRJ Workshops page.

NaNoWriMo too easy? Become a Centurion by earning 100 poetry, essay, or short-story rejections in twelve months. Lead by R. W. W. Greene, this two-hour workshop hosted by the New Hampshire Writers’ Project will “take you through the steps of submitting your work, the mystery of rejectomancy, and the best methods of recuperation from a ‘thanks but no thanks.’” The workshop will be held on November 17, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, at The Ford House on the campus of SNHU in Manchester, New Hampshire. $50 for NHWP members; $75 for non-members. For more information, please visit the NHWP Workshops page.

Storytelling is a powerful tool for the documentation of voices, memories, and histories. It can also be a catalyst for activism and social change. In this “Storytelling for Social Change” workshop—held on December 1, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Saint Albans Museum in Saint Albans, Vermont—we will explore the ethics and techniques of oral history, ethnography, and storytelling as activist research methodologies. Attendees will be invited to take a critical and analytical look at the history of documentary work, and will learn the basics of skills such as interviewing, story circle facilitation, and ethnographic observation. We will also cover the technical aspects of storytelling, providing an introduction to tools for minimal-resource and mobile audio recording. Tuition is $95-$50. For more information or to register, please visit the Vermont Folklife Center Workshop page.

Interview: Dan Chiasson

The Burlington Book Festival lands in Burlington, Vermont, on October 12 to 14, with an amazing lineup including Mary Jo Bang, Dan Chiasson, Maria Hummel, Mark Leyner, Bethany Morrow, and Sharon Olds. This is the second in a series of four interviews in celebration of the Festival.

Poet and critic Dan Chiasson is author of four books of poetry: The Afterlife of Objects (2002), Natural History (2005), Where's the Moon, There's the Moon (2010) and, most recently, Bicentennial (2014). A book of criticism, One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America, was published in 2006. He has received the Whiting Writers' Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation.

Dan is the poetry critic for The New Yorker, as well as a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, where he writes about poetry, pop music, and film. He was poetry editor, and later advisory editor, of The Paris Review. A Vermont native, Dan teaches at Wellesley College and lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.

His 2014 book, Bicentennial is both a book about Chiasson’s childhood in Vermont and an elegy for his father. In her review in The New York Times, Daisy Fried writes, “Dan Chiasson is after beauty of a kind, so his poems are often beautiful, odd and quite moving. He seldom resorts to lilting cadences or glow-in-the-dark imagery to achieve this, and complicates any move toward traditional lyric warmth; his poetry is genially brainy, jokey, casually formal, sometimes essayistic and humorously oracular.”

Thank you, Dan, for your thoughtful answers to our questions!

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Literary North: Tell us a little bit about your writing process.

Dan Chiasson: I write in the mornings, once my kids are off to school, and before teaching or other obligations. I sit at a small, painted farm table, at a purple Eames chair I got 25 years ago. It's in the hallway of our upstairs. I look out at the main street we live on. People scurry by to the T station at the bottom of the hill. If I'm writing poetry, it comes very fast. But I am hardly ever writing poetry. Usually I'm working on a book review, which is like pulling teeth. I get a few sentences down, then a few more. The openings take me forever. Once I have an opening and I can see where the argument is headed, I take a break. Usually I go for a run and think about the sentences I just wrote, and often I think of new ones when I'm out exercising.

LN: What influences have helped shaped you into the writer you are today>?

DC: I would name two especially. Jamaica Kincaid, whom I met at Harvard, was my greatest influence. She has a phosphorescent mind, and we became instant friends—partly because of our connection to Vermont. I was trying to write fiction when I met her; she convinced me that my stories were really poems. We drank gin and tonics at the old Upstairs at the Pudding in Harvard Square and gossiped about people at Harvard. Just talking to her was a training in what words to use, how to be interesting, funny, alert, lyrical and truthful. Around that same time, 1997 or so, I called up Frank Bidart, a poet I admired. He invited me to his classes at Wellesley, where, needless to say I stood out. Frank, too, was such an easy presence, kind, passionate, and (most importantly) incapable of pretending to like things he didn't like. He kept odd hours then as he does still, so often I'd drop a poem off during the day at his apartment in Cambridge, and hear from him late at night, when he woke up.

LN: As the poetry critic for The New Yorker, you share poetry criticism with very literate readers, not all of whom know much about poetry. What goes into deciding which poets and books to share with readers each week?

DC: I think I'm a teacher by nature. A person happiest explaining things to people who are curious to learn. New Yorker readers are the perfect audience because they love critical prose. How many readers of, say, Alex Ross go to the concerts he reviews? Some, but not many. They read him because of his prose, his arguments, his distinctions. The popular music critic Amanda Petrusich may convince more people to go to a show or buy a record, but still, it's her prose, it's the quality of her mind and the cadences of her sentences. So I try to pick books that interest me, that stir up my desire to put good sentences together, that allow me to convey what's beautiful and necessary about poetry. I would suspect that only a small percentage of my readers go out and buy the books. Maybe I'm wrong, I hope so; but I would contend that criticism is its own end, its own fulfillment, and I'm probably at one extreme in that I do not see my essays as serving the books I'm reviewing, but rather the art of poetry, with the books I'm reviewing as especially rich examples of what it can do.

LN: What brings you joy?

DC: Our sons, ages 12 and 14, both bring a huge amount of cultural information into our house. What brings me joy is hearing them argue about the merits of a movie or a band or a performance, which they do constantly. I would say, animated conversation brings me joy. The discovery of a new work of art or body of work. Being in the places that mean the most to me: many of them in Vermont. I would say, swimming in Bristol Falls or at that little rocky public beach in Charlotte. Also, Al's French Frys. The old places in downtown Burlington that are still there from when I was 12 or 13 and discovering the city on my own: Pure Pop Records, Old Gold. Leunig's. Sneakers in Winooski, where I worked from 6th grade until the summer before my last year of college.

LN: What was the most memorable thing you read in the past month?

DC: I'm deep in teaching Emily Dickinson now. There's a poem that is not that well known, "I watched the moon around the house—" about tracking the moon as it passes across the windows of her bedroom. These stanzas blow my mind, comparing the moon to a severed head and then a stemless flower:

But like a Head — a Guillotine
Slid carelessly away —
Did independent, Amber —
Sustain her in the sky —

Or like a Stemless Flower —
Upheld in rolling Air
By finer Gravitations —
Than bind Philosopher —

Photo by BrianSmithBoston.com

Photo by BrianSmithBoston.com

The Dipper - July 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!

 

July News

With the summer solstice just behind us, the strawberries are ripe, the days are long enough to fit in some extra reading after dinner, and Northern New England is blooming with literary festivals and summer reading series, including the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum's Readings in the Gallery, Brownington, Vermont's Back Roads Readings, the Hyla Brook Reading Series at Robert Frost's farm in Derry, New Hampshire, the Troy Hill Reading Series in Warner, New Hampshire, the Canaan Meetinghouse Reading Series in Canaan, New Hampshire, Authors at the Aldrich in Barre, Vermont, and the Joan Hutton Landis Summer Reading Series in Rochester, Vermont.

If that's not enough to keep you busy, Woodstock, Vermont's 10th annual Bookstock Literary Festival is happening at the end of the month and promises three chock-full days of readings, workshops, live music, used book sales, and other goodies.

You can find details about all of these series and festivals on the Literary North calendar.

Poetry&Pie

And of course our very own Poetry & Pie is happening in just a few weeks! We're making lists, finalizing pie recipes, and putting in an order for a perfect summer day. We hope you'll be joining Didi Jackson, Julia Shipley, Ocean Vuong, our friends and volunteers, and us on Saturday, July 21 for a delicious afternoon. All of the seats for this event are already reserved, but if you're interested in attending, please add your name to the waiting list in case there are cancellations!

Oh! And speaking of festivals, we're excited to be sponsoring the 14th Annual Burlington Book Festival, which is happening in Burlington, Vermont, October 12 through 14. The three-day festival takes place in a variety of downtown venues and features author readings, signings, panel discussions, workshops, exhibits, lectures, Q&A sessions, performances, the 12th annual Grace Paley Poetry Series, and more. Keep your eyes on this space for more details soon.

We can rest in the winter, right?

This time of year, we love to talk to area writers and readers about their summer reading suggestions. This summer, we've started a new series with summer reading picks from our favorite local indie bookstores. First up are suggestions from the booksellers at Left Bank Books in Hanover, New Hampshire, and The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont. Their suggestions are terrific, and you'll get a real feel for each book by reading their descriptions. Check out their suggestions on our blog!

SlowClubBookClub-Summer

If all of this is just too much excitement for you and your TBR pile is already wagging an accusing finger in your direction, we can empathize. Maybe you want to read just one book this summer? If so, our Slow Club Book Club might be right for you. We just announced that our summer book is Lost in the City, by Edward P. Jones. (Yes, that's right: just one book for the entire summer.) We'll start reading on July 1. If you'd like to join us, just subscribe to our newsletter, and then read the book at your leisure. No strings attached!

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New to our blog is our recent interview with Ray Keifetz, whose first collection of poetry, Night Farming in Bosnia, was published in April. You don't want to miss this book, or Ray's moving and thoughtful replies to our questions. To find out more and to read selections from Night Farming in Bosnia, visit our interview with Ray.

One final note for our blog readers: we've added a new Blog Directory page to our site so that you can find a full list of our posts, organized by category. We hope this helps make it easier for you to find a specific interview, reading list, or Dipper edition.

We're taking August off from this newsletter so we can have more time to read and go to readings. We'll see you back here in September. Happy summer, friends!

 

July Shooting Stars

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

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July Highlights

Vermont College of Fine Art's summer residency readings continue July 1 to 3 with Danielle Evans, Jeffrey Thomas Leong, and Mary Ruefle. The readings begin at 7:00 pm and take place in the College Hall chapel on the VCA campus in Montpelier, Vermont.

Nicole Homer. Photo by Maria Del Naja.

Nicole Homer. Photo by Maria Del Naja.

Nicole Homer—the 2018 Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place—will be reading at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, on Thursday, July 5, as part of the Readings in the Gallery Series. The reading begins at 7:00 pm.

On Sunday, July 8, poets Jody Gladding and Sharon Olds share the bill at the first event of the 2018 Back Roads Readings series at Brownington Congregational Church, in Brownington, Vermont. All readings begin at 3:00 pm and are followed by a book signing and reception.

Peter Manseau

Peter Manseau

Peter Manseau and Ivy Pochoda launch this year's Meetinghouse Readings in Canaan, New Hampshire, on Thursday, July 12, at 7:30 pm. The series, which continues through early August, includes readings by Christopher Wren, Lauren Groff, Howard Mansfield, Robin MacArthur, Lloyd Schwartz, and Joan Silber.

The Third International Thorton Wilder Conference takes place at the Monadnock Center for History & Culture in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The conference features paper panels, roundtable discussions, presentations, readings, and social events from Thursday July 12 through Saturday, July 14. Limited seats are available to the public to attend conference sessions.

Marcelo Gleiser, theoretical physicist, will be giving the 2018 Dartmouth Library Book Talk on Wednesday, July 18, at 4:30 pm. Gleiser will present his book, The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected, at Dartmouth College's Baker Library in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The 10th annual Bookstock Literary Festival takes place from Friday, July 27 through Sunday, July 29 at various venues in Woodstock, Vermont. The Festival features headliners Richard Russo, Robert Pinsky, Alexander Chee, Ezzedine Choukri Fishere, plus many other presenters, workshops, food, live music, and children's activities. You can see the complete schedule of events on our calendar. You can find details about the Festival, its presenters, and its events on the Bookstock website.

Amy Siskind

Amy Siskind

On Sunday, July 29, catch local authors Jensen Beach and Bianca Stone at BigTown Gallery in Rochester, Vermont, as part of the Joan Hutton Landis Summer Reading Series. Readings begin at 5:30 pm in the main gallery. Refreshments follow the readings.

Amy Siskind visits The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, in support of her book The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump's First Year on Saturday, July 28, at 7:00 pm.

 

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

 

Worth a Drive

You have two chances to catch Ottessa Moshfegh, who is on tour for her latest novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. She will be at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday, July 26, at 7:00 pm, and at the Odyssey Bookshop in Hadley, Massachusetts, on Friday, July 27, at 7:00 pm. Both events are free.

 

Worth a Listen

I enjoyed listening to Silas House on the WMFA podcast discussing his new novel, Southernmost. He spoke about otherness, sensitivity, writing from a young character's point of view, his complicated relationship to the South, his writing routine, and more. —Shari

 

We're Looking Forward to These July Releases

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Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

Nominations are open for the next New Hampshire Poet Laureate, who will serve a five-year term beginning in March 2019. To be eligible for the position, the nominee must be a resident of New Hampshire, and must have published at least one full-length book of poetry. Nominations are due by July 20. For more information and to submit your nomination, please visit the Poetry Society of New Hampshire website.

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, or 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.

The Center for Cartoon Studies announces the third year of The Cornish CCS Fellowship Residency (October 16 to November 18). The month-long residency in Cornish, New Hampshire, includes a $3000 stipend. The application deadline is August 15. For more information and to apply, please visit the Cornish CCS Fellowship page.

Registration is open for the New Hampshire Poetry Festival (September 15), which will be held in Henniker, New Hampshire. Speakers include Adrian Blevins, Robert Crawford, Sharon Dolin, Matthew Guenette, and Linda Pastan. For more information and to register, please visit the NH Poetry Festival website.


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Joni Cole of The Writer's Center in White River Junction, Vermont, is offering Fast Feedback on July 7 from 9:30 to 11:30 am. For more information and to register, please visit The Writer's Center Workshops page.

The Word Barn in Exeter, New Hampshire is offering a summer writing workshop that explores the translational power of writing from photographs into memory and imagination through poetry. The workshop, "From Poetry to Ink to Poetry to Ink to ~," will meet on Monday evenings at 6:30 pm from July 9 to July 30. Tuition is $200. Registration is limited to 10. For more information and to register, please visit The Word Barn Workshops page.

Matt Miller will be teaching an Advanced Poetry Workshop at The Word Barn, in Exeter, New Hampshire. The workshop will be held on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm, from July 10 to July 31. Tuition is $300. Registration is limited to 8. For more information and to register, please visit The Word Barn Workshops page.

In her exhibition The Firmament, Toyin Ojih Odutola presents an interconnected series of fictional portraits chronicling the lives of two aristocratic Nigerian families. This dynamic workshop—held at Hood Downtown in Hanover, New Hamphire from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on July 11—fuses an exploration of the Ojih Odutola’s work with a fun and meaningful creative writing exercise using thematic prompts. All writing levels welcome. Free and open to all. Space is limited. Register by July 9. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshop Registration page.

Literary North friend and book fiend Beth Reynolds is hosting the Vermont chapter of the worldwide Summer of Proust book club. The Vermont group will be reading Lydia Davis' translation of Proust's Swann's Way, with the first 49 pages due by the first meeting at the Norwich Public Library on July 16. For more information and to join the group, send an email to summerofproustvt@gmail.com. If you're outside the Upper Valley area, you can join a group in your area, or simply join the group online. For more information, please visit the Summer of Proust website.

The Burlington Writers Workshop is hosting an Historical Fiction Workshop with Stephanie Storey on July 18 in Burlington, Vermont. This workshop will give students the skills to navigate the tricky waters of historical fiction. This class is not only helpful for those writing traditional historical fiction, but also for writers of creative non-fiction, memoir, or any fiction that requires research. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshop page.

On July 21, the League of Vermont Writers hosts its popular Writers Meet Agents event at Trader Duke's Hotel in South Burlington, Vermont, from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. All writers are invited to this event, which includes presentations, pitch sessions, panels, seven agents, and more. $135-$165; $35 for each pitch session. Registration deadline is July 7. For more information and to register, please visit the League's Gatherings page.

The Burlington Writers Workshop is hosting several day-long writing retreats in the coming months. Robin McLean leads the Prose Retreat in Grande Isle, Vermont, on August 25 (registration closes on July 28). Baron Wormser leads the Poetry Retreat in Adamant, Vermont, on September 8 (registration closes on August 11). Jericho Parms leads the Creative Non-fiction Retreat in Burlington, Vermont, on November 11 (registration closes on October 28). For more information and to register for a retreat, please visit the Writing Retreats page.