Writing News

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.

Read the rest

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."

Read the rest

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Pang, The Wandering Shaolin Monk Vol. 1
Iron Crotch University Press, 2010
Hardcover, 192 pages, $20 ($25 for the artist's edition)

Heralded by Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai as "a well-researched saga, with wonderfully exciting action sequences." Ben Costa (MFA Writing 2008) won a Xeric Grant for this web comic featuring the titular monk. Early on Costa details the attack and burning of the Shaolin Temple by the Kanxi Emperor's forces and the harrowing escape of Pang, who finds himself on a quest for the remnants of his brotherhood, in the care of a beautiful inn attendant, and confronting an army captain for the return of a sacred book. Pang himself is a charmingly human character often filled with doubt.

Read the rest

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."

Read the rest

Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 by Lindsey Westbrook

Beauport
Litmus Press, 2010
Paperback, 120 pages, $15

This is the third published book by Kate Colby (MFA Writing 2003), who won the Norma Farber First Book Award in 2007 for Fruitlands. The poet and artist Norma Cole observes: "Beauport opens windows framing history framing natural and unnatural settings (traffic, waves, skylines, sky). The work presents a series of displacements, smoke and mirror memory experiments, stitching together with anachronism the physical and the metaphysical. This is a fascinating book, composing and collapsing (wing, telescope), foregrounding subject, object and sightlines in between. With its architecture of vignettes, lullabies, hymns and fragments, Colby's Beauport constructs resistances, ever confronting its considered grace and precision in ripples of savory humors."

Read the rest

Posted on Thursday, October 28, 2010 by Jim Norrena

As writers, we all turn to various sources of inspiration to lend our work; it's an inevitable part of the journey. Sometimes we seek interaction—engaging with others at readings and exhibitions. Other times we delve into our imaginations, relishing in our own personal sanctuaries.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010 by Lindsey Westbrook

Brian Teare: Pleasure
Ahsahta Press, 2010
Paperback, 88 pages, $17.50

A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Brian Teare. lives in San Francisco and makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books. His publications include The Room Where I Was Born, Sight Map, and Transcendental Grammar Crown. Like Tennyson's In Memorium, Teare's book sees within a personal loss evidence of an epochal shift that is simultaneously historical, political, and cosmological. Asserting the lover's body as a lost Eden, revisiting again and again the narrative of "the fall"—its iconic imagery as well as Gnostic reinterpretations—the book also records the eventual end of mourning and a return to the ecology not of myth but of the literal weather and landscape of California.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

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)
Read the rest

Pages