Category Archives: happenings

Dzanc Books Write a Thon!

Yo, all ya all,

Again, like last year, I am participating in the Dzanc Books Write-A-Thon which will take place July 21st through July 24th.   I plan to spend twenty hours on those days, writing away with the same furious obsession that Captain Ahab had when pursuing the elusive white whale of fate. 

Not only will it be a treat for me to have a dedicated time for my writing, but hopefully this will also benefit Dzanc.  Last year I produced two stories during the four days, both which I quickly placed in established literary journals: Fiction International and The Indiana Review. This year I may attempt a novella, depending on the writing prompt theme.

Dzanc is a wonderful non-profit independent publishing company that supports literary magazines, small presses, and publishes fantastic work; after all, their imprint, Black Lawrence Press, published my collection of stories, Pictures of Houses with Water Damage, last year. Also, Dzanc funds writing programs in public schools where creative writing classes are not offered. They also sponsor the Dzanc Prize which benefits not only the writer awarded it, but pays for a community based project like writing workshops in prisons, cancer centers, or working with immigrant populations.

I would be honored if you would sponsor my writing this year. Your dollars will help Dzanc Books to continue to support great writing and foster the creative talent of public school kids. If you’d like to pitch in, please click on the following link that will take you to a page where you can make a donation: 

Hit the donate button to the left and make it in my name. You will need a Paypal account. Paypal is a wonderful online method of virtual currency with zero gold or silver backing up the symboligy of what we deem money.  A sign of the end times? What they hey…and please remember to do so in my name, and good luck with the big drawing they’ll have for all people that donate!

Thanks for your time!


Michael Hemmingson

A Possession Sound Writers Symposium with David Rigsbee

Poet David Rigsbee, whose new chapbook Pilot House is now available, will be a featured poet at the Possession Sound Writers symposium celebrating the arrival of the spring 2011 issue of Poetry Northwest, a tribute to founding editor Carolyn Kizer. The symposium takes place at Everett Community College on Wednesday May 4.

Favorable Reviews for the “Attack Critic”

Recently two bloggers read and reviewed Anatolia and Other Stories by Anis Shivani. Both reviewers became interested in Shivani’s work after reading his article for The Huffington Post titled “The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers“. When this article went live in August, the blogosphere and the world of social networking sites lit up. “Who does this guy think he is?” seemed to be the resounding response to the article.

The two bloggers who recently reviewed Shivani’s short story collection asked exactly this question as they read Anatolia and Other Stories. They seem to agree that, even though Shivani has developed a reputation for being an “attack critic” he also happens to be a very talented short story writer.

You can read the reviews here and here.

Anatolia and Other Stories is available from Black Lawrence Press and Amazon.

BLP Poets Julia Cohen and Michele Battiste to Read in Denver

BLP poets Julia Cohen and Michele Battiste will read with National Poetry Series Award winner Julie Carr on Thursday, November 18 in Denver.

Julia, Michele and Julie are participating in the Umbrella Factory Reading Series held monthly at Fluid Coffee Bar. Fluid is located at 501 East 19th Avenue (corner of Pennsylvania). The reading takes place at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 18. This event is free and open to the public.

Julia’s book Trigger Moon Trigger Moon is forthcoming from BLP. Michele’s Ink for an Odd Cartography was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award and was published by BLP in 2009.

Larry Matsuda Remembers the Seattle Nisei Veteran’s Memorial Wall Dedication

On September 5, Larry Matsuda read from his book A Cold Wind from Idaho at the dedication for the Nisei Veteran’s Memorial Wall in Seattle. Below are Larry’s memories from that day.

This was no ordinary memorial wall dedication in Seattle. Approximately 1200 people of all ages were in the audience, mostly Japanese Americans. The event organizers wanted the occasion to be a celebration so they asked me to be last.

The wall is 90 feet of black granite and 12 feet high with names of 2,800 Japanese American veterans and Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. My wife Karen and I have over 16 family names on the wall. My name is next to my father, mother, and brother. Karen’ s father won a Silver Star and Bronze Star for valor. His name resides next to his brother who was killed by snipers in France.

After former Washington State governor Lowry, Congressman McDermott, a taiko group, and Minidoka swing band, I read four poems from my book A Cold Wind from Idaho. The poems focus on the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II and the men and women from the concentration camps who volunteered  to fight and die for freedom in Europe and the Pacific.

My poems are uncompromisingly direct and are like black and white photographs that deal with emotions most Japanese never reveal about the concentration camp experience. I read for all remembered in granite and all those connected to the wall. I read because it was time to break the silence about the injustice. Finally, I read as areminder to never let it happen again.

My voice cracked twice when I saw some in the audience weeping. After the reading, I pondered how poetry touches people’ s hearts and heals. Later one woman told me she never cried for Minidoka until that day. The event organizers anticipated these emotional reactions to my work, which is why I was the last presenter.

You can learn more about the event by following these links:

A Cold Wind from Idaho is available from Black Lawrence Press and Amazon.

*Photos by Eugene Tagawa

BLP Expands Its List

If you’ve been following the BLP blog, then you know of a few recent additions to the BLP family. In January, we announced that we’d accepted Killing the Murnion Dogs by Joe Wilkins and Instructions for Killing the Jackal by Erica Wright, two new collections of poetry due out in August and September of next year, respectively. In February, we announced that Carol Guess had become a part of our crew of poets; her collection Doll Studies: Forensics will be out in the beginning of 2012. Also in February we announced the acceptance of the novel/novel-in-stories/memoir/we don’t know what we’re calling it yet other than “rad” Pulled from the River by Jon Chopan.

There’s been lots of action since February and we are very pleased to announce that we’ve added a few more authors to the BLP family and also have new titles forthcoming from authors who have published with us in the past. Next fall we will publish Marginalia for a Natural History, a collection of poems by Keith Taylor.

We’ve also accepted two new books by Marcel Jolley, winner of the inaugural St. Lawrence Book Award and author of Neither Here Nor There. His short story collection, Priors, will come out in the spring of 2012, to be followed by his novel Milk Run in the spring of 2013. We’ve also got some new blood in our stable of fiction writers. Loving You the Way I Do, short stories by Ron Savage will be published in the summer of 2012.

We’re also very pleased to announce that our translation list is expanding as well. Daniele Pantano, author of the poetry collection The Oldest Hands In The World and the translation The Possible is Monstrous has two more translations coming out from BLP in the next few years: Oppressive Light: Selected Poems by Robert Walser (Spring, 2012) and The Complete Works of Georg Trakl (Spring, 2014). We’ve also got Dream Weed, a translation of Yvan Goll poems, by Nan Watkins coming out in July, 2012.

Those of you who are fans of T.J. Beitelman (Pilgrims: A Love Story) and David Rigsbee (winner of the Spring, 2009 Black River Chapbook Competition) will be happy to know that we have full-length collections from both poets coming out in mid-2012.

And, just so you know what you have to look forward to, BLP will release the following titles before the end of 2010: Every Bitter Thing by Hardy Jones, Perishables by Tina Egnoski, Pictures of Houses with Water Damage by Michael Hemmingson, The Consequence of Skating by Steven Gillis, Triggermoon Triggermoon by JuliaCohen, Speech Acts by Laura McCullough, and The Pilot House by David Rigsbee.

We’ve currently closed submissions until August 15th while we catch up on submissions. We’re hoping to have more good news by the end of the summer once we read all of the manuscripts in our queue. As always, thanks for reading!

-Diane Goettel
Executive Editor, Black Lawrence Press

P.S. Don’t forget that the deadline for the St. Lawrence Book Award is August 31st!

Poets for Living Waters: A Response to the BP Oil Disaster

Both Michele Battiste, author of Ink for an Odd Cartography and James Reidel author of My Window Seat for Arlena Twigg have contributed poems to Poets for Living Waters.

Poets for Living Waters is a poetry action in response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico begun on April 20, 2010, one of the most profound human-made ecological catastrophes in history.

The first law of ecology states that everything is connected to everything else. An appreciation of this systemic connectivity suggests a wide range of poetry will offer a meaningful response to the current crisis, including work that harkens back to Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing regional effects.

You can read all of the Gulf Coast Poems, including those penned by Black Lawrence Press authors, by visiting

Ink for an Odd Cartography and My Window Seat for Arlena Twigg are both available from Black Lawrence Press.

BLP Celebrates National Poetry Month

Black Lawrence Press will celebrate National Poetry Month by featuring a poem by one of our authors every day on the blog. Each poem will be accompanied by a short Q&A with the author. Participating authors include:

Abayomi Animashaun
Michele Battiste
T.J. Beitelman
Helen Marie Casey
Lisa Fay Coutley
Matthew Gavin Frank
Rachel Galvin
Brent Goodman
Carol Guess
Sandra Kolankiewicz
Frank Matagrano
Lawrance Matsuda
Laura McCullough
Kevin Pilkington
Shelley Puhak
Katharine Rauk
James Reidel
Brad Ricca
David Rigsbee
Hayden Saunier
Marcela Sulak
Jason Tandon
Keith Taylor
Stefi Weisburd
Joe Wilkins
Erica Wright

So be sure to check the BLP blog every day in the month of April for some great reading!

Poems, Short Stories, and Revelry

Black Lawrence Press–and its fantastic stable of writers–invites you to read, drink, and be merry on Friday, April 9th at 7:30 PM. Join us at Lola for drinks as we toast the release of The Giving of Pears by Abayomi Animashaun. The Giving of Pears won the Hudson Prize in 2008. Readings by Hayden Saunier (Tips for Domestic Travel), Paul Kilgore  (Losing Camille), and Michele Battiste  (Ink for an Odd Cartography).

What: Book Release Party and Reading
Where: Lola, 1575 Boulder Street, Denver
When: Friday, April 9th
Time: 7:30 PM  – 11:30 PM
Also: Did we mention the free drinks?

Email if you have a question about this event.

Double Congratulations to Brent Goodman

It’s official: Black Lawrence Press is totally rocking this awards season.  First we got the news that both Brent Goodman and James Morrison were finalists for Lambda Literary Awards. Then we found out that James is also a finalist for a ForeWord Book of the Year Award. And just now we found out that Brent Goodman is a finalist for The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry.

The winners will be announced on Thursday, April 29 at the New School in New York City. The event is free and open to the public, with a reception afterward.

The Brother Swimming Beneath Me is available from Black Lawrence Press and Amazon.