P&W Prompt 7: Abject Recipe

This week’s Poets & Writers prompt:

For one week, collect words and phrases you encounter throughout the day from signs, advertisements, menus, overheard conversations, radio programs, headlines, television, etc. At the end of the week, write a found poem, using these snippets.

Here’s what I came up with:

objectum-sexuality; Camille Paglia; abject; documentary; hava nagila; spicy black bean soup; cayenne; sazón goya; erika eiffel; amazon jungle; tena, ecuador; illegitimate and unenforceable

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The New Radiation Recipe Book & Other Oddities

The shortlist has been released for The Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of 2010.  What is perhaps the oddest thing about the list is how, well, normal most of the titles seem:

  • 8th International Friction Stir Welding Symposium Proceedings, Various authors (TWI)
  • The Generosity of the Dead, Graciela Nowenstein (Ashgate)
  • The Italian’s One-night Love Child, Cathy Williams (Mills & Boon)
  • Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way, Michael R Young (Radcliffe)
  • Myth of the Social Volcano, Martin King Whyte (Stanford University Press)
  • What Color Is Your Dog?, Joel Silverman (Kennel Club)

Granted, there are a couple of pretty good exceptions. But, really…ho hum!

Forget 2010, what are the oddest book titles you’ve ever encountered?

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

Betsy Lerner’s The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers has a bit of an identity issue. On the one hand, it claims to be advice to writers which, in places, it actually is. On the other, it reads like an insider’s exposé of what editors and agents really think of we writer types. I couldn’t help but wonder if Lerner’s audience wasn’t actually intended to be other editors who would get the inside jokes and find the stereotypical caricatures of authors funny.

Lerner recently posted on her blog that: “My writing book is about publishing from an editor’s perspective, but the part that people seem more interested in is the inner life of writers. The wicked child and all that jazz.”  Well. I can see why.

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P&W Prompt 6: Memphis Blues

**I’m slightly behind on the P&W prompts – this is the sixth which should have, technically, been posted last week. I have no excuse for such behavior except to say that my closets are completely, beautifully, and happily organized! I’ll try to get caught up by doing the 7th prompt this week as well.

This week’s Poets & Writers prompt:

Choose a poem that you’ve written and rewrite it in its reverse, making the last line the first, etc. Revise this version, creating a new poem.

I figure: what better poem to put through yet another revision than Memphis Blues? So, I went in search of the 47 versions I had of the poem to realize that it was one of the many (including my entire, more than 200 page, dissertation) items that were lost in the computer crash of ’09. That crash, by the way and completely as an aside, led to my switching – forever and ever, amen – to a mac. I may, in fact, write a post dedicated to my teenage crushing all over some awesomeness that is my macbook.

But that’s another story.

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Editor Spotlight: Lee Gutkind

Lee Gutkind is founder and editor of, Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary journal to publish nonfiction, exclusively.   He is editor of Best Creative Nonfiction, an annual anthology and author of Keep It Real: Everything You Need to Know About Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction, both published by W.W. Norton.  In all, Gutkind has written 15 books, and edited 18 collections and volumes in the past 25 years.  In celebration of his impact on the genre, In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction, was published in 2004 by W.W. Norton.  Book List called In Fact “an electrifying anthology . . . an exciting and defining creative nonfiction primer.”  Lee Gutkind is currently the Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University.

Cleaning House

My closets are a disaster area.

Literally. I’m surprised there’s no police tape surrounding the doors (which haven’t been able to be fully closed for weeks for the piles of clothes on the floor). And this makes me stop and look around. It’s tax season, and the W-2s are piled up on the printer just begging for someone to do something with them. The weather is finally starting to break which reminds me that the grass is going to grow again which reminds me that the tractor needs servicing. Buford has walked into another wall which tells me I’ve put off his doggie eye appointment too long. And the oil light is flashing in the car.

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Interview with T.R. Hummer

Some people write like going to work in a factory (punch in, punch out). I grew up on a farm, and so that is my base metaphor for process: prepare the ground, plant the seeds, and after awhile something is there—or not.

AngelSpeak welcomes T.R. Hummer to the Friday Interview Series.

T.R. Hummer is the author of 13 books of prose and poetry (including two forthcoming). He is the past editor in chief of The Kenyon Review, of New England Review, and of The Georgia Review. Hummer is the winner of a Guggenheim and an NEA Fellowship for poetry, the Hanes Poetry Prize, the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence, and two Pushcart Prizes. He currently teaches at Arizona State University.
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