Autumn events

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Photo courtesy of the High Arts Festival.

Autumn is a beautiful time in Ohio, and this is a busy month for poetry events. Last Friday I had the pleasure of serving on a literary arts panel for the High Arts Festival (pictured above) with fellow writers Eris Eady, Noor Hindi, and Mwatabu S. Okantah, and David Giffels as moderator. Tomorrow (10/6, 7:30 pm) I’m looking forward to reading at the Cleveland celebration for They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing at Visible Voice Books in Tremont. This volume is newly released by Black Lawrence Press, and it’s magnificent.

Later in October I’m packing my bags and heading to the College of Charleston for a poetry reading and craft talk about first books of poetry. My biggest piece of advice there: don’t be afraid to take risks in your collection. Growl a little. Show some teeth. Also, the right press and editor are out there, even if your classmates or writing group friends or Twitter frenemies aren’t always sure what to make of your work. I always felt like my intrinsic weirdness was a liability based on what others told me, but it ended up being an advantage instead.

mary biddinger

Three new poems at SMOKING GLUE GUN. Thanks for taking a look!

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marybiddinger1marybiddinger2marybiddinger3MARY BIDDINGER is the author of five full-length collections of poetry, most recently Small Enterprise (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and The Czar (with Jay Robinson, Black Lawrence Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Five Points, Green Mountains Review, jubilat, The Laurel Review, and Pleiades, among others. She is the recipient of a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship in poetry, and is currently working on a book-length volume of prose poems. Find her work online in Blackbird, Ampersand Review, Toad, & Thrush.

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Mary Biddinger and Matthew Cheney in Conversation

New interview!

As It Ought to Be

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*Mary Biddinger and Matthew Cheney have both published books with Black Lawrence Press, in Mary’s case five books of poetry and in Matthew’s a collection of short stories. Both are also ensconced in academia: Mary is a professor of English at the University of Akron, where she also edits the Akron Series in Poetry, and Matthew is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Hampshire, where he studies modernist prose and its legacies.***

MATTHEW CHENEY: First, maybe we can start with the most important question: Do you have any pets? Dogs? Cats?

MARY BIDDINGER: Matt, this is my favorite kind of question. When at home I’m surrounded by pets: four cats, and one dog. Sure, they can be pesky (try sequencing a poetry manuscript on a hardwood floor with an overzealous tabby who wants to give her input on section breaks), but they are…

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The Blurbs Are In. All Networks Project the Czar as the Czar.

The Czar Has Blurbs!

Jay Robinson

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The book blurbs have manifested themselves, and it is good.Such fantastic words from fantastic and admirable poets and people:

As a child, my mother taught me to zigzag Z to avoid getting eaten by an alligator. Mary Biddinger and Jay Robinson employ this technique here: in the clever curve of C around the subject, in the sharp switchback tack of Z for zealous. They commit to wordplay revolution, erasing origins, replacing narrative with wit, sound, and imagery so surprising it feels, by poem’s end, perfectly natural: the thing that waited, haunting, in the swamp. I don’t know how else to explain The Czar, whose unexpected becomes so expectant with meaning. This is a brilliant collection/collaboration.

–Carol Guess, author of Doll Studies: Forensics

 

This exquisite, feature-length project is the comic jam. But it’s no joke. You can thank Mary Biddinger and Jay Robinson later. For now, arm yourself…

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SpotiCzar

The Czar is now on Spotify. Give it a listen!

Jay Robinson

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The Czar is now on Spotify. Czarname: theczarofczars.

Hence, the Czar can now make playlists for his playthings and otherwise create the soundtrack to the Czar.

In other updates, consideration of cover art has begun. The book has an ISBN. And the manuscript will be delivered on 12/1/15.

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Pre-Order Small Enterprise through Black Lawrence Press

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Special pre-order price when ordering directly through BLP.

ADVANCE PRAISE:
“Swift heels in oily puddles. A toaster wrapped in a bundle of t-shirts. A toddler clutched to the chest. So much stale beer, so much burnt coffee. Biddinger serves you a slice of pie and a double. Tells Tom Waits to eat his heart out. Gives Johnny Rotten the finger. Poems that salvage a grandmother’s ring, bleed standing up, nurse, and run. Remember pinhole lakeside constellations, what it felt like to travel by train in a buttoned coat. To be a girl, then woman, weary scavenger, city mouse, wanton, the record of your petty crimes, the small business that keeps the clockwork sky in place.”  –Danielle Pafunda

Mary Biddinger at NEA Writers’ Corner

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The 2015 National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellow profiles are now available. Much gratitude to the NEA for its invaluable support of writers and artists.

I realize that receiving an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship is not going to have the same kind of momentous impact on the morale and local economy of my Rust Belt town, but nonetheless I feel that it is a victory for all of us here in Northeast Ohio. I write poems about ordinary folks in the Midwest, using everyday artifacts from their lives, and this award demonstrates that someone is listening. –Mary Biddinger