Archive for April, 2013

Fellowships Available: Norman Mailer Center

April 24, 2013
Fellowships_half_page

J. Michael Lennon offers a tour

Fellowship applications are now available for the 2013 season at The Norman Mailer Center. The Center and the Colony offers Fellowships for fiction, nonfiction and poetry writers during the second half of 2013. During a Fellowship period of three weeks, the mentoring faculty will be headed by three highly regarded writers. Greg Curtis will mentor Nonfiction, Meena Alexander, Poetry, and Jeffery Renard Allen the Fiction fellows, each of whom will be in residence.

This year, from July 20 to August 10, 2013, Michael Mailer will host the Center’s fellowship programs at Norman’s home in Brooklyn Heights, New York.  Wilkes faculty member J. Michael Lennon will again be leading workshops with NMC. The Workshop schedule and details are also available online: http://nmcenter.org/pages/view/13/workshops

Previously, Wilkes alum Patricia A. Florio attended the Provincetown sessions. She has this to say:

“We all were in awe of our surroundings as Norman Mailer’s energy filled the room. Dr. Lennon gave us a tour of the home early on Sunday morning. You have to experience this tour through his home to understand the magnanimous legacy that he left behind. His office and writing desk were exactly as he left it on the day he died.  Books surrounded him. Papers, drawings, ideas on index cards filled his desk. We were on the third floor of his home looking at the view of Provincetown. A view, we were told, that Norman Mailer loved….

Every morning as we entered the house, the view of the beach and Cape Cod Bay filled our eyes. Dr. Lennon’s voice filled our ears.  It was the perfect storm for creative juices to flow. And flow they did.”

For more information about The Norman Mailer Center and available programs, visit http://nmcenter.org.

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Lennon’s Mailer Biography News

April 17, 2013

lennon-jacket-220Norman Mailer: A Double Life, by J. Michael Lennon, will be published by Simon and Schuster on October 15, 2013.

J. Michael Lennon, Norman Mailer’s archivist, editor and authorized biographer, teaches creative writing at Wilkes University, and is the founding president of the Norman Mailer Society.

Lennon has a new website where news about the book, related events and signings, and more is now shared online. Visit www.jmichaellennon.com. The site will be regularly updated, and you can sign in and comment on the displayed materials.

J. Michael Lennon

J. Michael Lennon

J. Michael Lennon was authorized by Mailer and the Mailer estate to write his biography, and as such, had access to family and friends, and to unpublished documents, notably Mailer’s letters (Lennon has edited the letters for publication by Random House, Mailer’s longtime publisher). He has interviewed more than 80 people for this biography, but most important of all, he knew Mailer for decades before the latter’s death in 2007.

Norman Mailer: A Double Life reflects Mailer’s dual identities: journalist and activist, devoted family man and notorious philanderer, intellectual and fighter, writer and public figure. Mailer himself said he had two sides “and the observer is paramount.” Readers of Lennon’s biography may find this self-assessment to be debatable.

Norman Mailer: A Double Life will be 800+ pages in length (around 330,000 words), contain a bibliography, 43,000 words of notes, an index, and about 55 photos which will tell the story of Mailer’s life in another way. It will sell for $37.50, but pre-ordered is $24.28, or $19.99 for an electronic version. You can also order it via the website.

Kait Burrier interviews Crystal Hoffman

April 10, 2013

Typewriters, Pilgrims, and Poetry:

An Interview with Crystal Hoffman

By Kait Burrier

Crystal Hoffman has led poetry workshops across the country, from public libraries to Burning Man Arts and Music Festival. She has taught at cover-sulfurwaterAmerican University of Beirut. Poems from her chapbook Sulfur Water (2012, Hyacinth Girl Press) have been translated into three languages. Hoffman studied creative writing at Carlow University and earned her M.A. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is currently walking across the United States, gathering and scattering American myths via poetry.

Hoffman began her journey on March 25th, 2013, equipping herself with a tent, a change of clothes, an Olivetti 32 typewriter, and a modified cart affectionately named Connie. She left western Pennsylvania and is headed toward the Pacific northwest on what she anticipates will be a 6 month long journey spanning 2,550 miles on foot. She may be one of the few people who clicks the pedestrian icon while long-distance Google-mapping.

Crystal intends to revive the American myth and engage interested strangers in acts of poetry, much like she did as a founding member of the Typewriter Girls Cabaret. Along with poet Margaret Bashaar, Hoffman organized cabarets focused onparticipatory compositions. Many Typewriter Girls performances included various performing artists and writing games like Exquisite Corpse, and each event began with a typewriter at the door where, upon entering, audience members contributed a phrase to a collective poem.

In her Poetry Pilgrim Project, Crystal will engage in narrative therapy techniques with willing storytellers. Each poem will reflect that individual’s “hero’s journey” in the form of a poem. Crystal will type the poetry on card-stock, tie it with a ribbon, and present it to the individual, unearthing collective glorified narratives that will upturn a trail of American mythologyforged by poetry.

Kait BurrierPhoto: Jason Riedmiller

Kait Burrier
Photo: Jason Riedmiller

I recently had the opportunity to ask Crystal about her write life and about the Poetry Pilgrim Project:

Kait Burrier: You’re a poet, a performance artist, a teacher, an activist—how has all of this informed your writing?

Crystal Hoffman: When I write, I typically hear a voice speaking the words in my head. If I don’t or I’m concerned that something needs altered from how it came out originally, I will repeat it over and over out loud until it sounds right. This sometimes makes me look like a psycho in coffee shops—adds color to the place. I blame this need to hear on how central performance has been to my creative career.

As an activist, I attempt to resolve the paradoxes that frustrate me most in my work. I write poems that I wouldn’t call “issue” poems necessarily, but they attempt to work out why certain injustices and absurdities occur through narrative and images—not necessarily consciously, but they come up. The actual experience of protest I also find to be a poetic one, an energizing one, one wherein you can hear the magic of certain phrases.

There is also a beautiful absurdity to it. I used to be the one always itching for the game to be stepped up, looking for confrontation, hoping for a battle. It was in this space where I could see very clearly how I try to write the situations around me and get frustrated when I can’t manifest them. I have a lot of need for the control of my own story. I’m trying to get over this.

Crystal Hoffmanpoetrypilgrim.com

Crystal Hoffman
poetrypilgrim.com

In terms of being a teacher, I think that I’ve learned more about writing from teaching poetry at the American University of Beirut than I have in all of my schooling—preparing the classes, clarifying concepts for students, grading, re-evaluating my own standards, being forced to assess things I wouldn’t typically read. It was radical. It was possibly the most vital experience of my life.

KB: You are a founding member of the Typewriter Girls. Will you share about this experience?

CH: The Typewriter Girls were my central creative project for about five years. It was a beautiful thing. I was able to utilize the performances to serve as an outlet for nearly all of my creative urges: comedy, collaboration, theater, poetry, dancing, games, performance pieces, even writing the press releases became a pleasure—I wrote them like stories, absurd ones, and people responded to them!

However, this was also problematic, as it came to consume too much of my creative energy, which made me angry, as I became too attached… It was a rush, but a draining one. Margaret (Bashaar, of Hyacinth Girl Press) and I are actually planning on doing a reunion show, but we’re not going to be doing them regularly as we were before. I would love to start writing sketch comedy again and writing scripts for performance art pieces, but I think I’d like to do it as a part of festivals or in someone’s already established troupe.

I see this walk as almost the opposite of the Typewriter Girls, despite the fact that the interview-poem process I will be writing along the way was developed through them.

KB: You have been active in multiple cities across the country in alternative poetry readings. You have taught both locally and abroad. Now you will travel across the country on your own with a typewriter. What do you hope to find? What do you hope to share? Do you have any plans or will you take a day-to-day approach?

CH: I’m definitely taking the day-to-day approach. I know that I’m going to be taking the Great American Discovery Trail at first through West Virginia and to Cincinnati. At that point, I’m going to see what feels right. Hopefully, I can head north from there and get to Montana by July. The only big thing that I want to make is the Rainbow Gathering, but it’s not a huge deal if I don’t. I’m going to try to set up last minute readings/writing sessions as I get a better idea of my timeline, but for now, it’s nebulous. Anything can happen. I like that.

www.poetrypilgrim.com

poetrypilgrim.com

***

If you’re feeling generous, you can donate to Crystal Hoffman’s Kickstarter here: http://www.poetrypilgrim.com/ 

If you’re still feeling generous and want to give her a pair of new walking shoes in exchange for a poem, or if you just want to see what she is up to, you can see Poetry Pilgrim Project updates here: http://www.poetrypilgrim.com/

Kait Burrier is an MFA candidate in the Wilkes Creative Writing Program. She and photographer Jason Riedmiller travel near, far, and further to bring NEPA the latest in live music. Pick up a copy of the Weekender or check www.theweekender.com for updates.

Poyer’s Latest Adventure: Available Now

April 2, 2013
PoyerWilkes University teacher and sailor Dave Poyer’s newest book, THE WHITENESS OF THE WHALE, is hot off the press!
After a tragic accident maims her laboratory assistant, Dr. Sara Pollard’s career as a primate behaviorist lies in ruins. With nothing left to lose, Pollard – descendant of a Nantucket captain whose ship was sunk by a rogue whale – accepts an offer to join anti-whaling activists on a round-the-world racing yacht as the resident scientist. The plan is to sail from Argentina to the stormy Antarctic Sea.  There they’ll shadow, harass, and expose the Japanese fleet, which continues to kill and process endangered whales in internationally-declared sanctuaries. But everyone aboard Black Anemone has a secret, or something to live down.  Her crew—including a beautiful but narcissistic film celebrity, an Afghan War veteran in search of the buzz of combat, and an enigmatic, obsessive captain—will confront hostile whalers, brutal weather, dangerous ice, near-mutiny, and romantic conflict.  Yet no one aboard is prepared for what Nature herself has in store . . . when they’re targeted by a massive creature with a murderous agenda of its own.
Filled with violence, beauty, and magical evocations of life in the most remote waters on Earth, The Whiteness of the Whale is a powerful adventure by a master novelist.

The Whiteness of the Whale is available now and has received some wonderful advance praise:

Publishers Weekly posted this review of David Poyer’s forthcoming novel, The Whiteness of the Whale. In what PW calls “a riveting modern-day tale of high-seas Antarctic adventure,” the review goes on to praise the book, saying: “Poyer’s intense, fast-paced prose creates palpable suspense….”

Kirkus Reviews also had great stuff to say about The Whiteness of the Whale: “Poyer’s thriller takes fans on a frightening ride that will have them reaching for their Dramamine…. Poyer spent a great deal of his life on the ocean, and it shows. This is a fine thriller.”  Read the full review here.

Library Journal said Poyer’s intricate experience on the subject matter “should be rousing good fun for thriller fans.”

And, the Feb 15 issue of Booklist has this to say: “It’s the crew members who propel the story, the author exploring their hidden pasts, their personal agendas, and the relationships that spring up among them. Some readers might feel Poyer goes a bit far—the book takes a very dark turn about two-thirds of the way through that might stretch credibility a little—but the story is undeniably powerful.”  Find more here.

The Whiteness of the Whale by David Poyer

St. Martin’s Press, $26.99 (336p). April 2013.

ISBN 978-1-2500-2056-7

Order on amazon

Media & Review Copies: Contact Joseph Rinaldi from the St. Martin’s publicity department.