on “what’s at stake” in a poem

“The poem’s power and authority reside within the notion that particular (and feel-able) risks have been taken by the speaker—something hard to say, something nearly impossible to say, is ventured. (This is what makes me sad, this is what I adore, this is what I hate, this is what I fear.) Once the hard thing is said (or suggested), then there’s danger on the page. It takes a special sort of nerve to spell (just enough) the connection between the imagery (symbols) of the outer world and what the poet wants us to take from that imagery about how that imagery enhances, reflects, refracts and intensifies the poet’s inner landscape.

How overtly drawn does this correspondence have to be? I think the answer is: just overt enough so that readers can feel the risk taken. Whether or not a reader actually feels the danger on the page depends entirely upon whether the poet has provided us with sufficient correspondence between description and metaphor on one hand, and what’s human, on the other. There must be that ineluctable tension between what we understand abstractly and what we feel concretely. Without that kind of correspondence (and corresponding tension) there’s no felt urgency. Without those risks, the description and metaphor, no matter how well turned, turn merely symbolic. Without sufficient evidence of that correspondence, a symbol is just a symbol, stripped, then, of its power, like an electric circuit whose wiring reaches a dead end: the light won’t go on. Sound and fury are fine, so long as they signify something. Within this correspondence—this levering—the real work of the poem gets done.”

–Jeffrey Levine, from http://jeffreyelevine.com/2011/11/16/how-resonant-diction-and-correspondence-propel-a-poem-part-1-in-what-we-look-for-at-tupelo-press/

November 17, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

Reading this Saturday, November 19, 7-11:30 at Cafe Hey in Tampa

Cafe Hey
1540 N. Franklin Avenue
Tampa, FL

More Info:
Come one, come all and join us for the very first Ubernothing art show and poetry reading, featuring the work of the very same artists who adorn the pages of our magazine! This event is FREE OF CHARGE with FREE COFFEE, TEA AND TREATS for the guests!! So join us in celebrating the artists and works that make Ubernothing Tampa Bay’s Premier Art Review and Literary Magazine.


Bradley Paul Valentine
CyberCraft Robots
Brad Kokay
Jon Ditty
Kym O’Donnell
Leah Renee Pecoraro


Robert Annis
Wayne S. Williams
Wayne Mason
Meg Godbout
Louis Kern
Victor Florence
Jeffrey J. Skatzka

Featuring an appearance by the Bluebird Books Bus! http://www.thebluebirdbus.com/



November 17, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

Readings in the Tampa area Oct-Nov 2011

Peter Trachtenberg, reading

Peter Trachtenberg is the author of The Book of Calamities: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning (Little, Brown 2008), a book that combines reportage, memoir, and moral philosophy to explore suffering and its narratives, which won the 2009 Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Award for works that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity. In 1997, his debut book, Seven Tattoos: A Memoir in the Flesh (Crown) was published. Of this book, the Montreal Gazette wrote, “Seven Tattoos is like a Lou Reed record: off-key and on the mark at the same time….A reminder that the memoir, when it’s revealing and reflective, can go where the best literature has always sought to go—straight to the human heart.”

Trachtenberg’s fiction, essays, and reportage have appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, Bomb, A Public Space, Bidoun, O: The Oprah Magazine, and The New York Times Travel Magazine. He has performed his monologues at Dixon Place, PS 122, and The Kitchen and broadcast commentaries on NPR’s All Things Considered. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award, the Nelson Algren Prize for Short Fiction, an Artist’s Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a 2010-2011 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2008-2009 he was a visiting professor of creative nonfiction at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

(click for directions to the GraphicStudio)

October 13, 7-10pm

thread will be having its 3rd Annual Reading is Sexy Showcase– a more formal (with free food) event than last month’s fundraiser. But more importantly, this event differs from last month’s in that we want to revive the celebration of last year’s published writers with the goal in mind that those who were published in the Spring will read at this specific event.

Also, Oct. 13th marks the open submissions date for thread this year! We will be accepting submissions in literary criticism (max 15 pages), fiction (max 15 pages), poetry (max 5 pages each, 4 poems total), creative non-fiction (max 15 pages), and a short screenplay (max 15 pages or 1 Act). *Note: the submission guideline has changed from last year. Please submit all submissions to thread.submishmash.com/submit

Come on out all you threadies and be inspired to submit!

Readers include:
Robert Alderman (published before; short story)
Ryan Bollenbach (published before; short story)
Amanda Molinaro (published before; short story)
Jenni Nance (graduate student; short story)
Neil Pepi (published before; screenplay)
Alan Shaw (graduate student; non-fiction)
Brogan Sullivan (published before; short story)

Mon, November 7, 7pm – 9pm
Ella’s Folk Art Cafe, 5119 N. Nebraska Ave
This year’s writers harvest will feature poets Erika Meitner and Michael Hettich and fiction writer Karen Brown. The event raises money and canned goods for Feeding America.

October 5, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

Upcoming events of interest to students and writers in the Tampa area:

Friday, September 23, 1-2:30pm, CPR 125 (on the University of South Florida campus): MFA Information Session
All undergraduate students considering pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing are invited to a session led by Professor Ira Sukrungruang on Friday, September 23, 2011, from 1:00-2:30 in CPR 125. Come learn about how to find the best MFA program for you, how to maximize your chances of acceptance, and how to strengthen your chances of receiving financial aid for graduate work. The number of students applying to MFA programs rises every year, so it is well worth your time to attend the session and learn how to make your application a successful one!

Friday, September 23, 6:30-9pm, Hillsborough Community College Ybor Campus, Performing Arts Center, 1304 E. 11th Avenue, Tampa: The 4th Annual Florida Poets Happy Hour and Prime Time Show
YellowJacket Press, Florida’s only publisher of chapbook manuscripts,
presents the 4th Annual Florida Poets Happy Hour and Prime Time Show,
featuring the Poets Laureate of Tampa and St. Petersburg.

This year’s Happy Hour and Prime Time Show celebrates an historic publishing achievement—the simultaneous publication of new chapbooks of poetry by the Bay area’s poetry dynamos–James Tokley, Poet Laureate of Tampa, and Peter Meinke, Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg. The event will feature James Tokley, whose book The Epic of the Sandwiche Cubano will be debuted, along with Peter Meinke, whose book Lassing Park was published by YJP in April. Both poets will read from their books and other work. They will be joined by acclaimed local poets Erica Dawson, Enid Shomer, Pamela Hill Epps, Gregory Byrd, Cole Bellamy, and Kirsten Holt. YJP is honored to partner with the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus. The readings will take place in the Performing Arts building on the Main Stage.

YellowJacket Press is an independent poetry press and currently the only publisher of poetry chapbook manuscripts in Florida. Established in 2005 by Gianna Russo, YJP sponsors an annual Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets and the newly established annual contest for the Peter Meinke Prize in Poetry. Renowned across the state, YJP identifies the state’s most vital and vibrant poets and brings their exhilarating, well-crafted poems to the public eye.

The publication of Tokley’s and Meinke’s books is the result of a community fundraising effort called The Poets Laureate Project. Almost 60 donors from across the Bay Area and Florida contributed to YellowJacket Press, a 501c3 non-profit, in order to make the book publications and the reading a reality.

The Happy Hour and Prime Time Show has become a favorite fall literary happening. The public is invited to come and go throughout the evening, not necessarily staying the whole night. The event will include the readings, photo opportunities with the Poets Laureate, refreshments, YJP’s famous raffles, book signings, and all-around frivolity. Come for a reading, an hour, or the whole evening–but do come! A $5.00 donation will support YellowJacket Press.

Saturday, September 24, 8-11pm, Mojo Books & Music (http://mojotampa.com/Location.html): thread fundraiser
We threadies are poor, so we’re bringing you readers, music, and delicious baked goods to raise money for our organization this year! Please come out and help support thread while listening to fabulous readers and musicians!~

Ryan Bollenbach
Melissa Carroll
Ryan Cheng
Whitney Egstad
Jenni Nance
Alan Shaw
“Claire” Stephens

Mono Lakes
Month Mind
Dan Sutter

September 16, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

3 events to end National Poetry Month

Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 5-6:30pm, USF Marshall Center Room 2708
thread (the undergraduate literary magazine of USF) Volume 5 Launch Party & Reading
USF undergraduate students who appear in this issue of the magazine will read their work; copies of the magazine will be available; free Chipotle burritos and Kaleisia tea.

Wednesday April 27, 2011, 7:00 p.m., Traditions Hall, USF Alumni Center
Poetry Reading and Discussion
Galway Kinnell
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the USF Humanities Institute/University Lecture Series/Department of English will host poet Galway Kinnell on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in Traditions Hall (USF Alumni Center). Galway Kinnell is the author of ten books of poetry, including The Book of Nightmares, When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone, Imperfect Thirst, and most recently A New Selected Poems and Strong is Your Hold. He also published a novel, Black Light; a selection of interviews, Walking Down the Stairs; and a book for children, as well as translations of works by Yves Bonnefoy, Yvan Goll, Francois Villon, and Rainer Maria Rilke. A former MacArthur Fellow and State Poet of Vermont, he has been a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. In 1982, his Selected Poems won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and in 2002, he was awarded the Frost Medal by the Poetry Society of America. He taught for many years at New York University, where he was Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing.

Friday, April 29, 2011, YellowJacket Press Poetry Party
6-9 pm, Eckerd College, Flamingo Room (Continuing Education Center)
4200 54th Ave. South
St. Petersburg, FL
Readings, art and music featuring Peter Meinke, James Tokley, Laura Sobbot Ross, Melissa Carroll, Charles Flowers, Rhonda Nelson, Helen Wallace, and Scott Ward; raffles, YJP books and bumper stickers for sale, refreshments.

April 25, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

Tampa area poetry readings coming up!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 7:00 p.m., Marshall Student Center Room 3707
Poetry Reading & Discussion
Janet Sylvester
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the USF Humanities Institute and the Department of English will host poet Janet Sylvester on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Room 3707. Janet Sylvester is the author of two collections, That Mulberry Wine and Mark of Flesh. Sylvester has been a research fellow at Harvard, and her poetry has won a number of distinguished awards, including a PEN award and Pushcart Prize. Visitor at the Gate, her latest collection, is forthcoming from Norton. She is visiting professor at the University of Tampa.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 7:00 p.m., Marshall Student Center Room 3707
Poetry Reading & Discussion
Peter Meinke
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the USF Humanities Institute will host poet Peter Meinke on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Room 3707. Peter Meinke has published seven books of poems in the prestigious Pitt Poetry Series, the most recent being The Contracted World: New & More Selected Poems (2006). His book of short stories, The Piano Tuner (U. of Georgia Press, 1986) received the Flannery O’Connor Award; his second, Unheard Music, was published in 2007 by Jefferson Press, which also reprinted his book about writing, The Shape of Poetry (2008). In addition, he has published two children’s books, a monograph on the poet Howard Nemerov, and seven poetry chapbooks; a bilingual collection of poems, Maples and Orange Trees, was published in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2005. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and dozens of literary magazines; and has received numerous awards, including two NEA Fellowships, three prizes from the Poetry Society of America, and two O’Henry Awards.

Friday, April 15, 2011, 6:00 p.m., USF Graphicstudio
Poetry Reading & Discussion
Dennis Hinrichsen
USF’s English Department, the Florida Literary Arts Coalition, and the Institute for Research in Art are pleased to host a poetry reading by poet Dennis Hinrichsen on April 15 at 6:00 p.m. at the USF Graphicstudio. Dennis Hinrichsen’s recent works include Cage of Water, a full-length collection of poems, and a chapbook, Message To Be Spoken into the Left Ear of God. His other collections of poetry are The Attraction of Heavenly Bodies, The Rain That Falls This Far, and Detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights, which won the 1999 Akron Poetry Prize. He has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and two grants from the state of Michigan. His poems have appeared in American Literary Review, Black Warrior Review, Crab Orchard Review, Field, Notre Dame Review, and Passages North, have been featured on the Poetry Daily and The Academy of American Poets websites, and have won awards from Carolina Quarterly and Poetry Northwest. He lives in Lansing, Michigan and teaches at Lansing Community College.

Saturday, April 16, 10am, USF Botanical Gardens
Poetry Garden reading, including Katherine Riegel, Ira Sukrungruang, Jared White and others.

Sunday, April 17, 2pm, Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave. in Tampa
Poetry and Jazz
Poets Erica Dawson, Debra Gingerich, Peter Meinke and Gianna Russo will read their original poetry as the Michael Ross Duo, Michael Ross on double bass and Daniel Jordan on saxophone, will accompany the prose with their jazz.

April 6, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

some poetry prompts

So here you can find a bunch of writing prompts for both poetry and fiction. I’ll copy some of the best poetry ones below.

1. Choose a poem that you’ve written and rewrite it in its reverse, making the last line the first, etc. Revise this version, creating a new poem.

2. Set a timer for five minutes and freewrite—writing anything that comes to mind without stopping until the timer goes off. Then circle every third word or phrase of what you’ve written. Use these circled words as the starting point for a poem.

3. Make a list of objects. One thing should be from your desk, one from your closet, one a body part, one a thing you covet that belongs to someone else, one enormous, one slippery, and at least one that makes an odd or evocative sound. Now, describe each using a simile. Do this twice for each one. Using as many of the similes as you can, write a poem with a title such as “Checklist to Survive a Nuclear Winter” or “Things That Have Nothing To Do With Grief.”

March 7, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

March readings in the Tampa area

Thursday, March 3, 2011, 6:00 p.m., Marshall Student Center Room 2709
Poetry Reading, Reception, & Book Signing
Gianna Russo
USF’s Department of English is pleased to present a reading, reception, and book signing by poet and alumna Gianna Russo on Thursday, March 3, 2011, 6:00 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center, Room 2709. Joining Gianna to celebrate the publication of her first full-length collection, Moonflower, will be Pamela Epps, jazz saxophonist; Peter Meinke, poet laureate of St. Petersburg; poet Silvia Curbelo; actress, artist, and poet Phyllis McEwen; actress Sarah Pachelli; and poet/writer and USF instructor Jeff Karon. Gianna Russo has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was the recipient of two Hillsborough County Artist Fellowships as well as an honorable mention for the Florida Artist Fellowship. She was a Fellow of the Surdna Foundation and of the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences. She has had poems published in The Bloomsbury Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, The MacGuffin, Calyx, and Tampa Review, among others. Her essays have appeared in the St. Pete Times. A teacher of creative writing and English for over 20 years, Gianna is the founder of YellowJacket Press.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 7:00 p.m., Marshall Student Center Room 3704
Fiction Reading & Discussion
Elizabeth Stuckey-French
USF’s Department of English and the English Graduate Association is pleased to host novelist Elizabeth Stuckey-French on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Room 3704. Stuckey-French will be reading from her new novel, The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady. Stuckey-French is associate professor of English at Florida State University. She is the author of a short story collection, The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa, and the novel Mermaids on the Moon. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Five Points, and other literary journals.

Monday, March 21, 2011, 6:00 p.m., USF Graphicstudio
Creative Nonfiction Reading & Discussion
Dinty Moore
USF’s English Department, the Florida Literary Arts Coalition, and the Institute for Research in Art are pleased to host a reading and discussion by author Dinty Moore on Monday, March 21, 6:00 p.m. at USF Graphicstudio. Dinty W. Moore is the author of the memoir Between Panic & Desire (University of Nebraska Press/American Lives). His other books include The Accidental Buddhist: Mindfulness, Enlightenment, and Sitting Still (Algonquin), Toothpick Men (Mammoth Press), The Emperor’s Virtual Clothes (Algonquin), and the writing guide, The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction (Longman/Pearson). He has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Normal School, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Arts & Letters, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, Crazyhorse, and many other venues. Moore edits the on-line nonfiction journal Brevity. He is also coordinating editor for the anthology The Best Creative Nonfiction (W.W. Norton). Moore serves on the editorial board of Creative Nonfiction magazine, and edited the anthology Sudden Stories: The Mammoth Book of Miniscule Fiction.

March 24, 2011, 8pm in Fletcher Lounge at the University of Tampa
Kate Greenstreet’s poetry films
March 25, 8pm in the Grand Salon at the University of Tampa
Kate Greenstreet poetry reading
Kate Greenstreet is the author of two books of poetry— The Last 4 Things, which includes a DVD containing two short films based on the two sections of the book, and case sensitive, both from Ahsahta Press. Her new work can be found in Chicago Review, Colorado Review, Volt, Fence, Boston Review, and other journals. Greenstreet is also a painter and graphic designer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 6:00 p.m., North Tampa Branch Library
M.F.A. Student Reading
Graduate students in USF’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program will present a reading, “Fresh Lit for Spring,” at the North Tampa Branch Library, 8916 North Boulevard, Tampa.

February 27, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

submit your work to publications

I’ve come across some interesting calls for submissions recently, and there’s been a fascinating discussion of gender and literary publishing going on, started by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. So I thought I’d post some links here, as well as pointing out that according to several magazines, they get more submissions from men than from women. To my students: look around your creative writing classes, and tell me how many of your classmates are male and how many are female. There are usually more women in creative writing than men, but they don’t send out their work as much. There are various theories as to why–but the message to all of you is: be relentless. Send out your work. Revise. Send out again. Don’t give up.

So check out a count of gender representation in some of the biggest literary publications in America at the VIDA website.

Consider some of the responses from journals and other organizations.

Then check out some of the wonderful publications you can send your work to on NewPages.

And look at a couple of calls for submissions from new-ish places Moonshot Magazine and Espresso Ink.

February 11, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

political poetry, 2

I don’t know why I keep posting about social justice and political poetry–maybe because I don’t write it, but feel a bit like I should? Maybe because I’m afraid my own aesthetic tends to squash the political impulse in my students? Maybe because I want these students and others to have an outlet for what they’re writing?

Anyway, this is a fascinating site: Writing for Human Rights

Make sure to read their “about” page, too.

January 23, 2011. Uncategorized. No Comments.

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