Identity, fragile, gives way to identity…
Last month, two beloved writers, Meena Alexander and Louise DeSalvo, made their transitions into a fully spiritual existence. Meena was 67. Louise was 76. Both, in addition to authoring numerous books, were Distinguished Professors at Hunter College, CUNY. Each, in their own way, helped to shape my path as a writer.
Today my first book is “officially” released unto the world. The Shame of Losing was picked up by Red
Hen Press fall of 2015, so here I am, three years later, wondering how to be a book marketer meanwhile
not choke on my own self-promotional worry tears.
I didn’t know how obsessed I was with the world – with the actual word world – until I went through my last book of poems and saw that I used the word at least 30 times. Actually, another poet told me I used it 30 times but of course I went back and counted the words myself (because they were my words) to see if this was true. I’d never done anything like that – count how many times a word got used. I wonder if other poets do this?
About the author: Joe Ricker is a former bartender for southern literary legends Barry Hannah and Larry Brown. He has also worked as a cab driver, an innkeeper, acquisitions specialist, professor and in the Maine timber industry. Esquire magazine referred to him as “[a] man of letters who’s gentle in the way that only the toughest of hard-asses can be.” He grew up in Sanford, Maine, and earned degrees from Marion Military Institute, Ole Miss, and Goddard College. Ricker now lives in Reno, Nevada, where he teaches in the University of Nevada’s English department.
During World War II, black Americans were fighting for their country and for freedom in Europe, yet they had to endure a totally segregated military in the United States, where they weren’t considered smart enough to become military pilots. After acquiring government funding for aviation training, civil rights activists were able to kickstart the first African American military flight program in the US at Tuskegee University in Alabama. While this book details thrilling flight missions and the grueling training sessions the Tuskegee Airmen underwent, it also shines a light on the lives of these brave men who helped pave the way for the integration of the US armed forces.
MFAW-VT student Sassafras Lowrey just signed a contract with Mango Publishing to write a new book called, TRICKS IN THE CITY: For Daring Doggos and the Humans That Love Them. Sassafras’s (not-so-secret) other life is as a Certified Trick Dog Instructor.
MFAW-WA faculty member Victoria Nelson’s New York Review Books edition of Robert Aickman’s story collection COMPULSORY GAMES, with reviews in the New Yorker, Washington Post, and elsewhere, made the Lit Hub/Bookmarks “Best Reviewed Books of the Week”. It should be noted that anything Victoria Nelson turns her impeccable attention towards is always worth reading.
“Set in the Central California countryside and the Southern California desert, By the Lemon Tree’s old school stories chronicle the collision of wide-eyed childhood with the end of lives human and animal. In “Twice Good” a downtrodden city administrator shows up for a Black Panther protest forty years too late. “Funeral in Fresno” introduces us to an impatient reverend who is forced to confront his past and his future, while in the title story, a young boy born and raised in East Oakland bears witness to life and death in an ancient rural world.”
MFAW-VT alumna Cheryl Heller just launched The Intergalactic Design Guide, which illuminates a process for leading change that contradicts the prevalent assumption that the future is “someone else’s” responsibility. It’s a book about leaders who are doing what others consider impossible, and a map for how anyone who wants to step up can become one.
“Black-hole Chronicles: Chasing the Gravitational Beast” is the tag-line/title of MFAW-VT faculty ember Richard Panek’s reviews of Einstein’s Monsters by Chris Impey and Einstein’s Shadow, by Seth Fletcher–both on the . subject of black holes (and, not incidentally, Albert Einstein) in the new issue of Nature.
MFAW-WA alumna Sarah Townsend’s thesis–a memoir called Setting the Wire: A Memoir of Postpartum Psychosis–has been accepted for publication by The Lettered Streets Press in 2019 (April 1st publication date) and a launch at the AWP conference in Portland, OR at the end of March.
I’ve never kept a diary. At least not since I was eight, when my father bought two blank journals and suggested that he and I spend time together every evening writing in our diaries. For several weeks we did just that, sitting side by side on the living room couch and recording the events of the day. One day I came home from school and found my diary in the wrong place on the bookshelf. When I inquired about this, my dad said, “I have to admit something to you. I was so curious about what you’ve been writing that I couldn’t help myself, so I went in your room and read it.”
MFAW-VT alumnus Charlie Bondhus‘s second poetry collection, Divining Bones, has just been accepted for publication by Sundress publications.
MFAW-VT alumn Lizz Schumer has just been offered a full-time job as staff writer at the Hearst Lifestyle group, writing for Good Housekeeping, Redbook Magazine, and Woman’s Day Magazine‘s print editions. And, at the beginning of August, Lizz;s personal essay “The Ravine” is featured