Writing and Literature News

Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Coffee House Press, 2011
Paperback, 63 pages, $16

Testify is the latest collection of poems by Joseph Lease, MFA Program in Writing chair and associate professor in the Writing and Literature Program. Lease is the critically acclaimed author of Broken World (Coffee House Press, 2007), Human Rights (Zoland Books, 2000), and The Room (Alef Series of Poetry and Verse Translation: 2, Alef Books, 1994). (See a complete list of Lease's published works.)

Lease, who was raised in Chicago, has been featured on NPR and published in The AGNI 30th Anniversary Poetry Anthology, VQR, Bay Poetics, Paris Review, and The Best American Poetry 2002.

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 by Jim Norrena

MFA Writing program manager Teresa Walsh (left) and adjunct professor and playwright Claire Chafee

MFA Program in Writing adjunct professor Claire Chafee knows theater. And San Francisco–based Magic Theatre knows Claire Chafee—after all, it was the Magic Theatre that gave her award-winning, surreal comedy, Why We Have a Body, its world premiere in 1993.

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Where a road had been
BlazeVOX, 2010
Paperback, 68 pages, $16

This is the first book by Writing and Literature faculty member Matt Shears. Cal Bedient says: "Matt Shears enters American poetry already far to the fore, just perceptible at the limit of a strenuous, refined thinking about the dirt and destructions of new beginnings.

At once super-sophisticated and an American original, Shears comes out of Gertrude Stein via the great late-20th century French thought about the constant coverings-up of language ('they were always covering up. / what they were saying, and so baroque'), and about the torsions and wipings-away, the fear and the featherings, in any attempt to arrive at (to be) the new, there 'where dis-covery [is] becoming. / in a fledgling sky, with a destructible wing.' Once or twice he tantalizes the reader with the possibility that the new might actually be, despite history, a pure 'yes / hosanna / hello'; but in the main, he's a tough-minded realist."

Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Really Funny Thing About Apathy
Sunnyoutside, 2011
Paperback, 68 pages, $13

Four easily digestible shorts fixate on fleeting incidents in the life of the young and fearful. Says Kevin Sampsell, author of A Common Pornography: "These stories are awesome little jigsaw puzzles that turn into a whole miraculous universe. And in this universe, Chelsea Martin (Individualized Major 2008) is yearning for the answers to life's biggest questions in the most entertaining way possible. This contemplative little book is both funny ha ha and funny peculiar." A knock on the door precipitates the nonaction of "At the End of This Story the Door Will Open and Under Eight Seconds Will Have Passed," in which the narrator mulls over who might be calling. She runs through a series of insignificant scenarios, testing out irony and earnestness, before concluding, "I half believed that the world made sense and I just didn't get it."

Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 by Jim Norrena

What Is Humble Pie?

Humble Pie is the undergraduate literary journal written and published by students enrolled in the Literature and Writing Program at California College of the Arts, which is part of the college's Humanities and Sciences Division.

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 by Lindsey Westbrook

Michael McClure: Mysteriosos and Other Poems
New Directions, 2010
Paperback, 144 pages, $15.95

This newest book of poetry by Michael McClure (longtime CCA faculty member and 2005 recipient of CCA's honorary doctorate of fine arts) speaks of working toward freedom and beauty during a time of interminable war and the destruction of our natural surroundings. Included in this new collection is: a long travel poem to an Indian forest where an enraged elephant charges then recognizes an old human friend and turns back into the trees; "Double Moire," which "reads like a fulfillment of Goethe's prophesy and Shelley's: the whole universe seems to be in it, down to the smallest and up to the most vast. It is absolutely what the ultimate nature poem might be" (Jerome Rothenberg). "Dear Being," a garland of 37 stanzas, uses the freedoms of Buddhist hwa yen.

Posted on Monday, October 11, 2010 by Jim Norrena

MFA Program in Writing faculty member Gloria Frym's new chapbook, Any Time Soon (Little Red Leaves, 2010) was just released this week as part of issue 5 of Little Red Leaves (LRL), which is a collectively edited annual online journal of poetry as well as an ebook/paperback series of original chapbooks and reprints.

Posted on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by Jim Norrena

Congratulations to CCA alumna Robin Powlesland (MFA Writing 2005), who was recently named a finalist in the 2010 Omnidawn Chapbook Poetry contest, a prestigious small-press award, for her work verbs without a past. Powlesland currently resides in Taos, New Mexico, and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of New Mexico–Taos.

The five Omnidawn finalists (listed below in alphabetical order) were selected by Elizabeth Robinson:

  • The City Salutes Itself by Jackie Clark (Jersey City, NJ)

Posted on Friday, October 1, 2010 by Lindsey Westbrook

The Best Travel Writing 2010
Travelers' Tales, 2010
Paperback, 352 pages, $19.95

In "12 Hours in Barcelona" Writing & Literature professor Marianne Rogoff has a dusk-till-dawn layover in the city of Gaudi. She leaves her bags in an airport locker, buses to the center of town, and finds herself one among many on a festival occasion, out "on a night when free ballets and symphonies and theatrical performances are taking place all over town, lending a glow, heightening our pleasure, focusing the eye out of the chaos of so-much-to-see into the framework of the arts: dance, music, language. Over there, young spoken-word poets are rapping hip-hop beats; here, it's Shakespeare in Spanish; now, a celebratory speech; in my ear, the stories of Barcelona's past and future. I see it all from my perch atop this slow-moving red bus."

Posted on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 by Jim Norrena

[photo: Jim Norrena]

MFA Program in Writing second-year student Alka Joshi is heading off to Florida in October for a three-week artists residency (Comic Book Workshop / Graphic Novels Residency) at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) with Russian master artist and seasoned graphic novelist Svetlana Chmakova (Dramacon, 2007, and Nightschool, 2006), who also drew and wrote a monthly serialized manga strip (aka comic strip) for CosmoGirl and has recently finished