Victoria’s Stone (haiku)

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Mild winter earth is

easy to dig; maple and

azalea bush wait.

Victoria's Stone by Azalea & Japanese Maple

Victoria’s Stone by Azalea & Japanese Maple

We lost our first chicken this past weekend. She’d been noticeably unwell since about Thanksgiving, but we think her condition had been going on for at least a year, when she started drinking a lot of water and laying peewee eggs. We treated her for the typical parasites and infections one finds in backyard chickens, but the other two girls had no symptoms, so we weren’t surprised that she didn’t really improve. We finally took her to the vet, who said it was something more serious, e.g., ovarian cancer, heart disease, kidney disease. We weren’t going to spend the $$ to get a full diagnosis because we knew we weren’t going to treat her beyond offering comfort.

So, for the past couple weeks she lived in the garage (actually on and off for the past couple months). She didn’t seem like she was in pain, but she couldn’t eat much and didn’t seem to be getting nutrients from what she did eat. She just got weaker and quieter. She finally died Saturday. We were glad to be home with her when it happened, and we found a nice spot to bury her in the garden.

She was our little sweetie! Goodbye, Victoria!

Victoria, Our First Chicken

Victoria, Our First Chicken

Poetry just in time for the winter holidays!

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I don’t know about you, but I could use a good poetry fix to get me through the rush and tumble of the winter holidays. If you feel the same, come on in to Unvined Wine Bar, 7pm, Wednesday, December 17, for a little poetry reading (and maybe a glass of wine to fortify you against the cold). Good bud Harry Calhoun and I will be featured readers, then it’s a free for all (I mean open mic)! Wanna read? Let me know!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

See? THIS is what you have to be ready for. Poetry is the only hope!!

See? THIS is what you have to be ready for. Poetry is the only hope!!

 

Another published poem!

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I got a nice Thanksgiving surprise—a poem to be published in Stirring : A Literary Collection, Volume 16, Edition 12 : December 2014. And here it is!

Incidentally, Sierra Golden, Raleigh Review‘s poetry editor and a fabulous person to work with, also has a poem in this issue!

Thanks to the Stirring editors for publishing my poem and special thanks to guest editor Janeen Pergrin Rastall for encouraging me to submit my work. :-)

Did you vote?

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After a busy day of meetings and appointments, I just got back from voting on just about the longest ballot I can remember, including one judgeship with 19 candidates. Yup, that’s the way we roll here in NC.

What’s that? You haven’t voted yet?

Go to it, people!!

Kindle sale: 99 cents for Stories of the Brazilian Backlands

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A Hero for the People, by Arthur Powers

A Hero for the People, by Arthur Powers

I’m in the midst of reading A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands

Arthur spent much of his adult life in Brazil, where he and his wife worked with the Franciscan Friars in the Amazon, doing pastoral work and organizing subsistence farmers and rural workers’ unions in a region of violent land conflicts. His short stories quickly ground you in the Brazilian landscape and culture. I am put in mind of Isak Dinesen’s stories in a way (though admittedly it has been many years since I read them). There’s a simplicity and clarity in Arthur’s writing that I find appealing.

A Hero for the People is published by Press 53, an indie press in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Check them out; they do nice work. (And if you’re a writer, it looks like they have a call for short fiction right now.)

Last Southern Recitations Workshop for Fall

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Raleigh Review‘s Southern Recitations workshop and reading series is almost half over! The final workshop for this fall is with Zelda Lockhart November 8-9, 2014. I’m really looking forward to this one as it is a generative workshop, i.e., a lot of writing time. How ’bout you? Need some good, productive, creative-writing time? Sounds like this one will be good for poetry, fiction or memoir! (I’m going for poetry myself.) Incidentally, I recently read Zelda’s novel Fifth Born and found it very compelling.

SouthernRecitationsLogo2_resizedMining the Mirror: Turning Emotional Landmines into Good Literature

November 8-9, 2014 | 10am-4pm Sat & 10am-2pm Sun | 410 N. Boylan Ave., Raleigh | $250, Early bird price $187 through October 25, 2014 | Lunch included both days

Zelda Lockhart

Zelda Lockhart

Writers of all kinds use their personal experience as a starting point for their work, but they often neglect, avoid, or simply don’t realize the deep, rich potential that is there. The Mirror Exercise is designed to help writers use the complex layers of their relationships to bring depth to literary plot. This and others of Lockhart’s writing exercises within The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript reveal the ways in which our personal plots parallel and are the artistic building blocks for literary plot.

Participants will create a whole short piece of fiction, memoir or small collection of poems within this two-day workshop. Whether you are experienced or novice, this workshop will offer you a way to instill emotional depth into your writing. Register now.

Zelda Lockhart is Director of LaVenson Press Studios, and author of novels Fifth Born, Cold Running Creek and Fifth Born II: The Hundredth Turtle. She was awarded a Barnes & Noble Discovery Award and was a finalist for a Hurston Wright Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Lockhart served as the 2010 Piedmont Laureate for Literature.

Need a literary fix?

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Randall Kenan and Jeremy Hawkins will be giving a free, public reading 7pm, Saturday, October 18, 2014, at the NC State University Club (4200 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC) as part of Raleigh Review‘s Southern Recitations series.

SouthernRecitationsLogo2_resizedRandall Kenan_Photo_Credit Miriam BerkleyRandall Kenan is an author of fiction (short stories and novels) and nonfiction (biography, essay, and more). Among his books is the collection of short stories Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, which was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was among The New York Times Notable Books of 1992. Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century was nominated for the Southern Book Award. His latest book, The Fire This Time, was published in May 2007. He edited and wrote the introduction to The Cross of Redemption: The Uncollected Writings of James Baldwin (2010).

Kenan is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the John Dos Passos Prize, and was the 1997 Rome Prize winner from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2005 and was elected to the Fellowship of Southern Writers in 2007. Currently he is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Jeremy Hawkins - CroppedJeremy Hawkins‘ debut novel, The Last Days of Video, will be published by Soft Skull Press (an imprint of Counterpoint Press) in March 2015. His fiction has appeared at Diagram, Pacifica, The Molotov Cocktail, and other venues. He earned an MFA in Fiction from UNC-Wilmington, and he is the founder and lead editor of The Distillery, a web-based editing service. Hawkins is also an independent bookseller at Flyleaf Books, and he teaches creative writing at the Carrboro ArtsCenter. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

I just read Randall’s book of short stories Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, and loved it! Haven’t read Jeremy’s stuff yet, but, hey, he has chickens, so must be good, right?? :-)

It’s about time

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Happy to report that gay marriage is now legal in North Carolina. Was appalled when Amendment One passed in 2012, making it unconstitutional for NC to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. It’s a pity we had to count on judges rather than voters to make the right decision.

Congratulations to those who now have the same marriage rights I do. Use them well.

Vote AGAINST Amendment One

Vote AGAINST Amendment One