Tara Skurtu published in The Common

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Tara Skurtu (poetry ’13) writes to us from Bucharest, Romania.  She’s just had a poem, “Richter Scale” (incidentally, about Bucharest) published in The Common!  Tara also had the opportunity to read at an international poetry festival, “Poezia e la Bistrita” in Bistrita, Romania.  Check out the poster below.

Congratulations, Tara, and best wishes for the remainder of your trip!

Tara Skurtu teaches Creative Writing at Boston University, where she received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship and an Academy of American Poets Prize. She was named one of Lloyd Schwartz’s 6 Favorite New Poets on WBUR’s Here and Now. Recent poems have appeared in Poetry Review, Memorious, DMQ Review, The Dalhousie Review, the minnesota review, B O D Y, and The Los Angeles Review.

Skurtu Bistrita Festival

Sasenarine Persaud featured on the BBC

Jun 2014 Whoa! We’re thrilled to learn that one of our alums, Sasenarine Persaud (Fiction ’06), was featured on the BBC!  Click here to listen to a short reading and interview.

In addition, Sase’s poem, “Georgetown,” will be distributed on postcards during the Commonwealth Games.

Congratulations, Sase!

Sasenarine Persaud is the author of twelve books of fiction and poetry. His awards include: The KM Hunter Foundation Award (Toronto) and fellowships from the University of Miami and Boston University. Persaud initiated the term Yogic Realism to define his literary aesthetics. His most recent books are Lantana Strangling Ixora (TSAR Books, Toronto, 2011), Unclosed Entrances: Selected Poems (Caribbean Press, Warwick & Georgetown, 2011) and In a Boston Night. (TSAR, Toronto, 2008). His next book, Love in a Time of Technology will be published in fall 2014.

He has been described as “one of those rare poets who gets the recipe of humanness exactly right” (Canadian Literature); and his poetry as “miniature raags, sensuous units of Indian music obeying conventions mysterious to western ears” (The Globe and Mail). Persaud was born in Guyana and has lived in Canada for several years. He tarries in Florida.

Wisdom from Robert Pinsky

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It’s been an exciting week at BU Creative Writing. Today was the last day of this year’s Poetry Institute for Educators, where teachers from around the US came to BU to study poetry with acclaimed poets, and discuss their teaching practices with leaders from BU’s School of Education.  The Institute was founded by Robert Pinsky, and you can read more about it here.

After one of the readings–I’m not sure how we got on this topic–Robert said, Do you know what the story of life is?
Us, eagerly: What is it?
Robert: The story of life is that you’re always a kid.  You know you are.  But then someone calls you Dad or Mom and you think, But I’m just a kid!   You never stop being a kid.

So I wrote a bunch of things down about what that meant for me, but it got so tangential and personal that instead, I’ll leave it at that, and let you unpack it for yourselves.

Oh, and here’s Robert’s advice on sunglasses:
I have one word for you when it comes to sunglasses. Are you ready? (Yes.) Peppers.

In light of this week’s Institute, here’s some poetry that has most recently amazed me. Even if you don’t usually read poetry, I really think that you guys will like these! and I hope you’ll be as stirred by them as I was/am.  Here you go:

“Speaking American” by Bob Hicok.  A book seller once told me that if I liked e.e.cummings in college, then I would like Bob Hicok.  (Although, who doesn’t like e.e.cummings in college?)

“Portrait of My Father and His Grandson” by Richard Jones.  One of the teachers at the Institute shared this with us.

“Love Is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

“Inside the Apple” by Yehuda Amichai.  I came in to work the other day and it was on my desk with some other poems.  Sometimes these things happen.

“Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop, because sestinas are awesome and if you haven’t read Elizabeth Bishop, this is a good place to start.

Welcome, Karl Kirchwey! + literary links

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We’re so pleased to welcome BU’s new Creative Writing Program director, Karl Kirchwey, to Boston this month!  Karl officially started as our director on July 1, and he is coming to us from Bryn Mawr College, where he was the Creative Writing Program Director and Professor of the Arts.  You can read more about him here.  Welcome, Karl!

Be sure to mark your calendars for the Favorite Poem Project‘s Summer Institute readings next week.  They’re free and open to the public, all from 3:45 – 4:30.

635 Commonwealth Ave, Sargent College, Rm. 101

Mon. July 14: Maggie Dietz & Eric McHenry
Tue. July 15: Duy Doan & Gail Mazur
Wed. July 16: Carl Phillips & Robert Pinsky

And now for a few literary links:

Favorite snacks of the great writers.  (And a few less great ones.)

Walls and walls of books.

I visited this sketchbook library two weeks ago.  Neato.

It’s (BU alum) Jhumpa Lahiri‘s birthday today!  Happy birthday, Jhumpa.

It’s also E.B. White’s birthday.  Check out this gem that he wrote with James Thurber.  Here’s some wisdom from it:

Let us say you have sat down to write a letter to your lady. There has been a normal amount of preparation for the ordeal, such as clearing a space on the desk … and the normal amount of false alarms, such as sitting down and discovering that you have no cigarettes. (Note: if you think you can write the letter without cigarettes, it is not love, it is passion.) Finally you get settled and you write the words; “Anne darling.” If you like commas, you put a comma after “darling”; if you like colons, a colon; if dashes, a dash. If you don’t care what punctuation mark you put after “darling,” the chances are you are in love — although you may just be uneducated, who knows?

And with that, have a wonderful weekend, all!

 

Jordan Coriza published in the Chicago Quarterly Review

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Excellent news for Jordan Coriza (fiction ’08), whose story, “Garcia and Sons,” has been published in the Chicago Quarterly Review!

Jordan says:

“García and Sons” is a story that came to me through the image of caskets floating down the streets of Buenos Aires during a flood. The protagonist, Agustín, is a boy that recurs in several of my stories. He is trying to make sense of his father’s abandonment and, in the process, realizes that in spite of the traumatic experience he can grow up to be okay.

Congratulations, Jordan!

Jordan Coriza is from Argentina, the primary inspiration and setting for his fiction. A longtime resident of Boston, Jordan currently makes a living as a communications director for an international development nonprofit. He’s at work on a collection of short stories and a novel.

Ryan Wilson’s translations published in Able Muse

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Ryan Wilson (Poetry, ’08) has translations of two sonnets—one by Charles Baudelaire and the other by Lope de Vega—appearing in the new issue of Able Muse. The issue, devoted to poetry in translation, was guest-edited by Charles Martin, and includes translations by Willis Barnstone, Rachel Hadas, X.J. Kennedy, A.E. Stallings, and more.

Here’s a link to Ryan’s translation of Baudelaire’s ‘Parfum Exotique.’

Congratulations, Ryan!

Ryan Wilson was born in Griffin, Georgia. He holds an MFA in poetry from the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University, and another from Boston University. His work has appeared in a number of journals, such as 32 Poems, The Hopkins Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Journal, Measure, River Styx, Sewanee Theological Review, and Unsplendid. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate at The Catholic University of America, and he lives in Baltimore with his wife.

Megan Collins published in Rattle and 3Elements Review

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Wonderful news for Megan Collins (Poetry ’08)!  Megan’s stirring poem, “After the Memorial,” recently appeared in Rattle.  The poem was published as part of the Poets Respond project, in which poets respond to current events.

Megan says:

“I wrote this poem in response to a local tragedy in which a teenager, Austin Tautkus of Ellington, Connecticut, was killed in an ATV accident. On Tuesday of this week, there was a memorial in which people gathered to let go of balloons filled with messages they had written for the boy. The idea of this tribute moved me, and I wondered what would happen to those messages, where they would end up, once the balloons popped. In writing this poem, I imagined a kind of healing end to that story, both for those who knew Tautkus and those who didn’t but are similarly affected by their own personal heartaches.”

In addition, Megan recently published this flash fiction piece at 3Elements Review for their Stories from Art project!

And, if that weren’t enough, she also has poems forthcoming in Blast Furnace, Blinders Literary Journal, Hartskill Review, Off the Coast, Toad, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, as well as a flash fiction piece forthcoming in Dialogual.

Major congratulations, Megan!

Megan Collins received her MFA from Boston University. She teaches creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, as well as world literature at Central Connecticut State University. Her work has appeared in 3Elements Review, Linebreak, Rattle, and is forthcoming in a number of literary journals.

Catherine F. Con published in HOOT Literary Review

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Yay, that’s me!  It felt weird to write about myself in third person as I do for other alumni, so, here I am in first person.  I’ve just had a petite poem published in HOOT.  Check it out here.  It features an audio recording, and my dear friend Suze Vagt did an illustration.

I received my MFA in fiction from BU in January ’14, where I’m now the coordinator of the creative writing program.  Most recently, my work has appeared in Teachers as Writers, an anthology of essays published by Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Microchondria: 42 Short Stories collected by Harvard Book Store.  

Literary Links

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Hi guys!  The first summer session here at BU is wrapping up, and some of our Global Fellows will be heading off to faraway places very soon.  You can follow their adventures here.  I’ll be adding more to that link as the blogs come in.  Be sure to check out Qais’ blurb about his Mark Twain adventure and Sarah’s Scotland reading list.

One of the fiction MFAs recommended the novel Skippy Dies, and now I can’t put it down.  Seriously, just open it up in Googlebooks and try and see if you can stop.  I went to three different book stores in Cambridge to find it, and none of them had it, but each bookseller nodded knowingly and said it was a great book.  Kinda weird.

Anyway, I’m posting early because I’ll be out of town tomorrow. Here are literary (and not so literary) links:

It’s Edith Pearlman’s birthday today!  I’ve got her collection Binocular Vision and it’s quite impressive.  I recommend the story “Day of Awe.”

Skippy Dies.  (No spoilers.)

This year’s Shakespeare on the Common is Twelfth Night.

What makes a bestselling novel?

Interesting vocab test.

Seven “bogus” grammar errors.

David Sedaris and his Fitbit.

George Orwell’s four motives of writing.

Someone recommended this documentary about chef Kenny Shopsin last weekend.

Saturday, my sister and I are going to Shopsin’s.  Check out their crazy menu.

Speaking of food, has anyone read this yet?  It’s getting good reviews.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Abriana Jetté featured in Stay Thirsty magazine

Check out this fantastic interview in Stay Thirsty magazine featuring BU poetry alum Abriana Jetté, where she talks about the BU Creative Writing Program, what it means to be an emerging poet, and how music and poetry influence each other.

Abriana Jetté is an internationally published poet, essayist, and educator from Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals, including the Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Review, The Iron Horse Literary Review, The American Literary Review, and 491 Magazine. She teaches at St. Johns’s University and the City University of New York, writes a regular column for Stay Thirsty Magazine that focuses on emerging poets and she is the editor of the recently published book, The Best Emerging Poets of 2013, that debuted on Amazon as the #3 Best Seller in Poetry Anthologies.