Megan Collins Hatfield’s novel to be published

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Megan Collins Hatfield (Poetry ’08) is publishing her novel!  Persephone’s Sister will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in spring 2019.

Below is a blurb of the book from Megan herself:

Sixteen years ago, Sylvie’s sister never came home. Persephone, out too late with the boyfriend she was forbidden to see, was missing for three days before her body was found — and her murder is still unsolved. Now Sylvie’s back in town reluctantly caring for her cancer-stricken mother, Annie. Prone to unexplained Dark Days even before Persephone’s death, Annie’s once-close bond with Sylvie completely dissolved in the days after. To make matters worse, Persephone’s boyfriend Ben is now a nurse at the cancer center where Annie is being treated. Sylvie’s always believed Ben was responsible for the murder—but she’s also carrying her own secret guilt over the night Persephone didn’t come home, guilt that’s trapping her in the past while the world goes on around her. As she navigates the uncomfortably revived relationship with her mother, Sylvie begins to gently dig into the secrets that fill their house—and what really happened the night Persephone died.

As indicated by its title, the novel is influenced by the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter. In particular, I was interested in the idea of what might have happened had Demeter had another daughter who was left to fend for herself in the wake of her mother’s grief over losing Persephone.

Congratulations, Megan!

Megan Collins holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University (Poetry ’08). She teaches creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Connecticut, and she is the Managing Editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many journals, including Off the Coast, Rattle, Spillway, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal

Tara Skurtu launches The Amoeba Game in the US

We’re so proud of Tara Skurtu (Poetry ’13), who’s launching her book of poetry, The Amoeba Gamein the US this month!  The book was published last fall and launched in London in October.

Tara’s reading schedule is below.  We hope to see some alumni at these events!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 7 PM
Grolier Poetry Book Shop, Cambridge, MA
with Lloyd Schwartz (reading from his new book of poems, Little Kisses)

Thursday, January 11, 2018, 7 PM
Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop, Brooklyn, NY

Saturday January 13, 2018, 4 PM
Porter Square Books
, Cambridge, MA
with Michael Robbins and Sam Solomon

Congrats, Tara, and break a leg at your readings!

Jordan Coriza’s publication news

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We’re so pleased to share publication news from Jordan Coriza (Fiction ’08)!  His story “The Fittest” is out in the current issue of the Worcester Review.  Jordan says, “It’s about Agustin, a recurrent protagonist in my stories, who is constantly trying to make sense of some traumatic events of his childhood.”

Jordan’s story “The Dead Phone” was also a finalist in the Robert and Adele Schiff Awards in Poetry and Prose (Cincinnati Review).  It “tells the story of a woman who, desperate in the wake of her husband’s murder, helps the people of her community connect to the disappeared. The story is set in 1980 Argentina during the country’s last military dictatorship, where tens of thousands of people disappeared at the hands of the regime. I am currently working on turning that story into a novel.”

We also asked Jordan what he was reading these days, and he says, “Two authors I’ve been devouring lately are Ottessa Moshfegh and Dan Chaon. I love their voice, style, and the subject matter that seems to interest them.”

Congratulations, Jordan!

Jordan Coriza is from Argentina, the primary inspiration and setting for his fiction. A longtime resident of Boston, Jordan makes a living as a communications professional for a global health NGO. He’s currently focused on writing a novel and continues to work on a collection of short stories.

D.M. Aderibigbe published in The Nation

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D.M. “Dami” Aderibigbe (Poetry ’16) has just published his poem “Oedipus” in The Nation!  Congrats, Dami!  We also had the chance to ask the poet some questions, below:

What was the process of writing this poem? By the way, I love the rhythmic repetition of “By that I mean.”

The process for writing this poem was kind of weird.  It’s one of the few poems that I was able to write without having to alter the idea I had. But then, midway, the narrative took over — like the repetition of “by that I mean” came out of nowhere — but the poem still ended the way I envisaged. And thanks for the compliment about the poem.

I’ve noticed that a lot of your work is about family and grief. Can you say more about that? 

Most of the poems I’ve published are part of my first manuscript which deals with family, grief among other things. But I have a lot of other poems on other themes. With that said, family, no doubt is my most important theme and I find myself coming back to it one way or another. This has to do with what family meant to me as a kid, and what it means to me now as an adult.  Grief on the other hand slipped into my family even before I knew what it meant. So, there is no way I can write about this familial past without grief not spilling out of the narrative.

Do you have any rituals that help you get into a space to write? Is the writing ever painful, and how do you deal with this? 

Usually, reading poets who explore similar things help me get into the groove.  Yes, most times the writing is painful. Most times, it draws tears out of my eyes. Knowing that many people also go through this, and feel exactly what I feel helps me deal with it in ways I can’t even imagine.

What are you reading these days?

I’m always reading Naomi Shihab Nye, Ama Ata Aidoo, Seamus Heaney. I also just reread Chloe Honum’s Then Winter, EC Osondu’s Voice of America, Jamaica Kincaid’s My BrotherRainer Maria Rilke’s Letter to a Young Poet and Nandini Dhar’s Historians of Redundant Moment (which I actually just reviewed!).

Thanks so much, Dami, and congrats again!

D.M. Aderibigbe is from Nigeria and came to the US for graduate studies in 2015. He earned his MFA in creative writing from Boston University, where he also received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship. His chapbook is In Praise of Our Absent Father and his poems have been published widely.

Laura Marris’ upcoming readings

Laura_Marris_bioWe’re so excited for Laura Marris (Poetry ’13) whose translations are forthcoming this fall!  Laura traveled to France on her Global Fellowship in 2013, where she translated a book by (and spent time with!) the Breton poet Paol Keineg.  Since then, she’s been hard at work on a few translations as well as her own poetry.  We’re happy to be spreading the word about her upcoming readings, listed below:

October 20th at 8pm, Molasses Books, Bushwick
Laura will be reading with writers/translators David Larsen, Kyle Dacuyan, and Todd Portnowitz to celebrate the release of BLOOD DARK, which she describes as “a creepy tale of patriotism gone wrong.”  Set in 1917 during WWI, it tells the story of Cripure, a failed philosopher who teaches high school ethics.   Richard Sieburth calls this character “a monstrous Ahab of the intellect suicidally in quest of his Nietzschean white whale.”  Intrigued?  Copies of the book will be on sale at the event!

October 25th at 7pm, McCormack Family Theater, Brown University
Paol Keineg and Rosmarie Waldrop will be reading with Laura to launch Triste Tristan and Other Poems, a volume they co-translated. “Triste Tristan” knits early medieval versions of “Tristan and Iseult” together with a demythologizing perspective that “takes down the pants of the lyrical tradition.” Other poems layer the landscapes of Brittany and America with meditations on history, writing, memory, and exile. These are the poems that Laura began translating on her Global Fellowship!

PrintOctober 30th at 6pm, Columbia University Maison Française (Free with RSVP required)
Christophe Boltanski will be reading from Laura’s translation of THE SAFE HOUSE, a novel about his formidable grandmother and his family’s mysterious house in Paris.

Congratulations, Laura!  Break a leg at your readings and we’re looking forward to your books!

Stacy Mattingly reading in New York

Stacy

Stacy Mattingly (Fiction 2011) has been invited by the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation to read at the Bulgarian Consulate in New York!  The reading is part of their “Small Countries in Big Literatures” series.  Stacy will be reading from her recently completed novel Kata, which she says is set mostly in current-day Sarajevo and centers on a friendship between two women — an American and a Croatian.  The other readers that evening are Josip Novakovich and Miroslav Penkov.  The reading will be at 7 pm on Thursday, October 19.  Click for the Facebook event, where you can see event details and information about the other readers.

Congratulations, Stacy, and we’re wishing you great luck with your newly completed novel!

Stacy Mattingly is the coauthor, with Ashley Smith, of the New York Times bestseller Unlikely Angel, now a feature film, Captive. Stacy’s work has appeared in EuropeNow, Oxford American, and elsewhere. In 2012, she launched the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop, a bilingual group of poets and prose writers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Stacy has taught creative writing at Boston University and at GrubStreet, and helped lead the first Narrative Witness exchange (Caracas-Sarajevo) for the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. Currently, she is based in Boston and is an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music. Her first novel, Kata, just completed, is set largely in present-day Sarajevo.

Tara Skurtu’s book available for pre-order!

Skurtu Georgescu bw for Eyewear

We’re excited to share that Tara Skurtu’s book, The Amoeba Game, is available for pre-order!  It launches in London this week.  You can buy a copy here, and those who order this week will receive a discount.

From the publisher:

On a journey that begins in South Florida and ends up in Romania, the country of her family’s forgotten history, Tara Skurtu plays “the amoeba game,” a game that has no rules. With subtle and serious humor, with the vivid spontaneity of memory and dreams, and with surgical precision, these compelling, mysterious poems hold up a lens that reveals the slippery and changing dimensions of our many selves.

And here’s info about the London book launch:

Venue: The London Review Bookshop, Bloomsbury, WC1A 2JL
DateWednesday, October 11th7-9pm.
Entry Fee: Free Event

Congrats, Tara!

Tara Skurtu (Poetry ’13), born in Key West, Florida, is a two-time Fulbright grantee and recipient of two Academy of American Poets prizes and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Salmagundi, the Kenyon Review, Plume, and Poetry Review. She is the author of the chapbook Skurtu, Romania (Eyewear, 2016) and the full collection of poems The Amoeba Game (2017).

Publication news and an interview with Dariel Suarez

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We’re so proud of Dariel Suarez (Fiction 2012) who currently serves as the Head of Faculty & Curriculum at Grubstreet.  His short story “Mudface” was published in the Winter 2017 issue of The North American Review, and the opening story in his collection, titled “The Man From the Zoo,” is forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review.  In addition, Dariel’s collection A Kind of Solitude was a finalist for the Autumn House full-length fiction manuscript contest and the New American Press Fiction Prize!  Hearty congrats, Dariel!

We were lucky enough to have a chance to pick Dariel’s brain about literary magazines and the submissions process:

What are a few of your favorite literary journals and what do you like about them?  How do you decide where to send your work?

I love literary journals that publish culturally diverse and international works. Some good places include Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Granta, AGNI, Michigan Quarterly Review, Guernica, and Hayden’s Ferry Review

I usually send my stories to my favorite journals first, in tiers. I wait about 3 months before doing another round of submissions if the story hasn’t been picked up, and so on. I use resources like Duotrope.com. Poets & Writers, and Newpages.com to browse through journals, note submission periods, dates for contests, themed issues, etc. 

There seem to be a lot of new journals popping up.  Why do you think people are founding new ones when there are already so many out there?

With the internet and social media, there are many new ways to publish nowadays. There also seems to be a demand for historically underrepresented voices, and with some of the more traditional literary journals perhaps taking longer to catch up, people have just been launching new journals instead. I think it’s good to have a broad range of options, particularly for writers who are just beginning to submit work and need to build their publication credits. The first few publications I had were with really small online and print magazines, and this prepared me to successfully submit work to more established places later on. I’m not saying this is the way every writer should do it, but having the options certainly helped me.

Do you have any advice for other writers who are submitting work?

Read the submission guidelines! Always. Editors will appreciate it if you properly follow instructions. Make sure to write a succinct and friendly cover letter. Most importantly, revise whatever piece you’re submitting until you don’t know how else to improve it. Share it with a couple of trusted readers for feedback if you can before you send it out. Finally, research publications so that you can submit your work to places where it might be a good fit. 

Who’s actually reading literary magazines?  Are people subscribing to them and reading them on the regular?  Are you?

I think writers, agents, and editors are definitely reading literary magazines. I have two shelves in one of my bookcases filled with lit mags. I’ve subscribed to a few in the past, and every time I submit to a contest, it includes a year’s subscription to the publication. I also occasionally buy an individual issue if I really like the magazine and/or the writers being featured. I always encourage my students to familiarize themselves with contemporary publications, so that they can enter into an intellectual, critical, and artistic conversation with what’s being published.

What’s a good short story that you’ve read this summer?

 “Spiderweb” by Mariana Enríquez. It’s in her wonderful collection Things We Lost In The Fire

Thank you, Dariel!  We wish you the best with your writing!

Start a charrette! Daphne Kalotay tells us how

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In this last month of summer, we’re excited to feature a few blog posts about the writing life, alongside the usual publication announcements.  This essay by Daphne Kalotay (Fiction 1994) is about creating discussion groups that make for meaningful, stimulating, and rich conversations among writers, conversations that also seek to creatively address matters of craft.  Such groups are called charrettes, and Daphne defines one as:

1. An intensive group enquiry into a technical issue or design challenge

2. A collaborative meeting focused on solving a problem through a diversity of ideas

“In the case of definition number one,” Daphne writes, “I wanted to signal that our charrette was an inquiry: that we were to show up with open minds and honest questions. By “design challenge” I meant matters of composition that arise when we write. By “technical issue” I meant that things might get nerdy.”

Daphne also says, “It wasn’t the first time I’d found myself in a wonky technical discussion about the nitty-gritties of written composition, but the energy and caliber of our conversation was striking. It had to do, my poet friend and I decided afterwards, with our varied genres, ages, backgrounds, and experience…”

Click here to read the essay, which was recently published in VIDA, and includes a list of tips for starting your own charrette.  Congrats, Daphne, and thanks!  We hope many more charrettes will form in our city and beyond.

Daphne Kalotay’s books include the award-winning novels Sight Reading and Russian Winter (Harper) and the fiction collection Calamity and Other Stories (Doubleday). She has written for the New York Times Book Review and Poets & Writers, and her interviews with Mavis Gallant can be read in the Paris Review’s Writers-At-Work series. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts and for the 2017-18 academic year is teaching at Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing.

Ryan Wilson wins prize for first book, among other honors

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We’re so proud to share this update from Ryan Wilson (Poetry ’08)! Ryan’s first book, The Stranger World, was awarded the 2017 Donald Justice Poetry Prize. The book is out in hardcover via Measure Press / West Chester University Poetry Center. Hearty congratulations, Ryan!

In addition to his book, Ryan has had a slew of other pieces accepted for publication. His essay “Eliot’s Magic” appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of The Hopkins Review, and his essay “The Polyvocal Poet: Tradition, Translation, and the True Original” will be in the Birmingham Poetry Review, which will also feature his original poem, “Lemons.”

Ryan has a number of other original poems forthcoming: “Complainte du Miroir” in the Winter 2017 issue of Innisfree Poetry Journal, “Yo La Tengo” in the Summer issue of Five Points, and “For a Dog” in the October issue of The Yale Review. Ryan also published perhaps the first English-language bref double, “Face It,” in the March 2017 issue of The New Criterion.

Ten of Ryan’s translations (including versions of Dante, Baudelaire, Catullus, Giovanni Pascoli, Rilke, and Verlaine) as well as a short essay, “Love Strong as Death: On the Poetry of The Song of Songs,” appear in the Candlemas 2017 issue of Dappled Things.  He also published three translations (Horace’s second and fifth epodes and Baudelaire’s Au Lecteur) in the Winter 2017 issue of Unsplendid, and he has two forthcoming translations from Horace’s odes: ode ii.3 in Measure and ode ii.10 in Able Muse. Ryan also published a short prose tribute to the poet, Dave Smith, in the current issue of Five Points, alongside similar contributions from Richard Ford, Edward Hirsch, Yusef Komunyakaa, Helen Vendler, Charles Wright, and others.

Finally, Ryan has just launched issue 9.3 of Literary Matters , the online journal he edits for the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, completing his first volume (3 issues) for the journal. Over the past year, Literary Matters has published writers such as: David Bottoms, David Bromwich, Kelly Cherry, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Erica Dawson, David Ferry, Rachel Hadas, Ernest Hilbert, Joan Houlihan, Jee Leong Koh, Brad Leithauser, Marjorie Perloff, A.E. Stallings, Jean Valentine, Rosanna Warren, and David Yezzi, alongside a number of current and former B.U. students. Congratulations, Ryan!