Sunday, May 31, 2009

Will Wilbur Get a Sister?

News flash, we may be adopting this dog:

And while we're doing mug shots, a side view:

What do you think? I like her black nailpolish. She's about 2 years old and can jump really high. Will Willie like her as much as we humans do? What about the cats? And what the heck breed is she? A Corgiweiler? I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Audio Joys

You may already know I'm a podcast junkie. Here are a few of my recent faves:

Tobias Wolff reads the Denis Johnson classic short story "Emergency" on the New Yorker Fiction Podcast. Time to buy milk for the preemie rabbits and save some lives. Some of my favorite dialogue ever written, the kind that makes me laugh aloud on the subway. (And news to me--I learned that Johnson himself played the patient with the knife in his eye in the movie version of Jesus' Son!)

Zadie Smith talks about language, social class, and inclusion/exclusion in her NYPL lecture "Speaking in Tongues." From Pygmalion to Obama (both president and memoirist). What exactly is "keeping it real," and does education make that impossible? And if so, is that a tragedy, as it has been painted in the past, the so-called "tragedy of the mulatto?" Or, are people like Obama (and Zadie Smith too) teaching us a new way to think about "real?"

Luis Alberto Urrea lectures at Bread Loaf 2008: "The Road Out of Tijuana is Paved with Ink." Talk about keeping it real. Dude has wild stories to tell about his aunt, La Flaca, and her terrifying fireside tales, along with other early experiences that formed who he is as a writer. Instructive and entertaining. Sorry I could not figure out how to deep link to this episode. Click on the "lectures" tab in iTunes. Also recommended from Bread Loaf: Robert Boswell's lecture on omniscient narration, a pared-down version of his essay from The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction, my new favorite craft book ever.

Alan Davis Drake's podcast of Anton Chekhov's unabridged short stories is fun and well-produced. It's a good way to get up to speed on the classics. There are two things I love about Chekhov (so far)... One: he makes characters' motives transparent--often selfish ones--without completely sacrificing their likeability. Is this the essence of comedy? Or at least the kind of comedy I love, which laughs at the self and the other at the same time? And two: he doesn't appear to be following strict rules of beginning-middle-end. You know how I feel about that crap. Character motive pulls you right on through. That, and the feeling you're sitting around a campfire or card table hearing the story. The structural surprises are welcome and satisfying.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Two Gigs in Same Week? What Are the Odds?

After a long period of silence, I have two gigs in the same week! I'm feeling lucky.

Both in NYC, one poetry, one prose. Both are lineups I'm stoked to be in.


NYQuarterly series
Monday, May 18 2009, 6PM
Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia Street, NYC 10014
Cover $7 (includes one house drink)

Host: Ted Jonathan
Featuring: R.D. Coleman, Anne Elliott, Jason Tandon

Friends of and contributors to NYQuarterly celebrate one of America's finest poetry journals by reading from its pages.


Drunken! Careening! Writers!
Thursday May 21, 7PM
85 E. 4th St. NYC

Hostess: Kathleen Warnock
Featuring: Anne Elliott, Jessie Male, Felicia Sullivan


In 2005, Jessie Male's advanced knowledge of the frozen foods section earned her the title of assistant editor at the number two grocery trade magazine in the country. She has since been published in numerous food and dance publications and is currently working on two nonfiction collections. Jessie recently emigrated from Brooklyn to Manhattan to serve as a program coordinator at Columbia University. Her family is a constant source of support and material.

Felicia C. Sullivan is the author of The Sky Isn't Visible from Here, which has been featured in Vanity Fair, Elle, USA Today, Redbook, Newsday, and The Washington Post. In 2008, her memoir was optioned for film by Gigi Productions. Sullivan lives in New York where she is presently writing the screenplay adaptation of her memoir and working on her novel, Women and Children First. Visit her online at:

Jason Tandon is the author of two collections of poetry, Give over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award for a first book (Black Lawrence Press, 2008), and Wee Hour Martyrdom (Sunnyoutside Press, 2008). His poetry and reviews have appeared in many journals including Columbia Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, Fugue, Laurel Review, Madison Review, Notre Dame Review, Poetry International, Red Cedar Review, Poet Lore, and Quarterly West. He is currently a Lecturer in Writing at Boston University.

(I'll add info as it becomes available.)