Friday, February 29, 2008

Phoebe and So To Speak Party

This coming Monday, March 3rd, Phoebe and So To Speak will have a joint party and reading to celebrate the leap year. We are also, coincidentally, celebrating the launch of our latest issues. This all will occur at the Arlington Busboy's and Poets. Everyone is invited. Please bring other people. And tell other people about this. And bring things to read if you want, aloud.

The party will begin at 8pm, so you have time to eat dinner before you arrive.

We'll have a mix of editors and contributors reading from the issues, as well as an open mic somewhere in there.

Okay, here are the facts:

Monday, March 3, 2008
8:00 P.M.
@Busboys and Poets
Arlington Location
4251 South Campbell Ave.

In Shirlington Village

Easily accessible by car - just follow the 395 exit marked "Shirlington" and follow the sign to "The Village at Shirlington"- located across the street from Harris Teeter, The Arlington Public Library, and the new Signature Theater.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Favorite Thesaurus

I was talking to Erin the other day about The Synonym Finder. It's the best thesaurus in the universe and I always try to keep one nearby when I write. I showed her one page, and Erin immediately bought it online. So, I thought I'd share it's wonderfulness with you all fellow Mason MFA writers (past, present, and future). No, I am not receiving commission as a salesperson for The Synonym Finder, but maybe I should apply for such position!

For each word entry, all synonyms are linked under separate sections, categorized according to the different meanings of the word. The format is more alike to that of a dictionary. The real benefit to this book is the extensive list for each entry. For some, there are hundreds of synonyms. Anyways, you got to trust me on this one. I'm buying another myself because my old copy is literally falling apart.

You can buy it here on

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mason Poets Win Prizes

Mason alums Danielle Deulen and Nancy K. Pearson recently won the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes for 2007.

Congratulations to them.

To see their winning poems (and the official prize page) go here. Click on "prizewinners" under 2007 Awards in the left sidebar.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fiction Dinner at Steve's

Last weekend, Steve Goodwin hosted the first fiction dinner of the Spring 2008 semester. We talked about the history of the Mason MFA program, the thesis portion of our degree, and life after the MFA: different ways that we, as alumni, can remain within the writing field, often involving writing non-fiction. We also talked about memoir-writing, and Steve read to us from The Liars' Club. If you've ever met Steve, you'll know he has a wit that's irresistible; he had us exploding with laughter every 5 to 7 minutes. Thanks to Priyanka, David R, and Steve for making this event possible.

There are three more fiction dinners planned for this semester, to be hosted in turn by Bill Miller, Alan Cheuse, and Kyoko Mori (in a combined fiction-non-fiction dinner). Stay tuned for more information.

The last image in this series illustrates how much fun we had all night:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Candid Yak Schedule for this Spring

From the caretakers of the yak:

CANDID YAK – Spring 2008

February 22, 2008--------------GMU Campus: Johnson Center 3rd Floor Mtg. Room E

POETRY: Corey Spaley
FICTION: Rebecca McGill
NON-FICTION: Mike Scalise

March 7, 2008-----------------Firehouse Grille (3988 University Dr., Old Town Fairfax)

POETRY: Dan Ford
FICTION: Elizabeth MacBride
NON-FICTION: Misty Thomas

March 21, 2008-----------------GMU campus: Johnson Center 3rd Floor Mtg. Room E

POETRY: Angie Mazakis
FICTION: Kirsten Clodfelter
NON-FICTION: Kristin Hahn

April 4, 2008--------------------Firehouse Grille (3988 University Dr., Old Town Fairfax)

POETRY: Joe Hall
FICTION: David Rider
FICTION: Becky Bikowski

April 18, 2008------------------The Prose House (4131 Leonard Dr. Fairfax, VA)

POETRY: Ed Davis
FICTION: Jennifer Goldsmith
FICTION: Allyson Armstead

May 2, 2008-------------------Firehouse Grille (3988 University Dr., Old Town Fairfax)

POETRY: Caren Scott
FICTION: Kristin Von Kundra
NON-FICTION: Abby Martin

OPEN MIC Featuring 1st Year MFA Students: Sandy Marchetti starts it up

Latest Issues of Journals...For You

Over at Phoebe, we came back with quite the haul from AWP - here's a list of what we have. If you're interested in reading some of it, stop by, grab some issues, etc.
  • Willow Springs #61/Spring 2008
  • Quarterly West #65/FallWinter 20072008
  • Passages North 29.1/WinterSpring2008
  • The Yalobusha Review Volume XIII 2008
  • Cutbank #68/Winter 2008
  • The Hopkins Review Winter 2008 (first issue)
  • Redivider Volume 5, Issue 1
  • Santa Clara Review FallWinter 2008
  • Portland Review Summer 2007
  • Sonora Review #51
And others...I think those are the most recent issues. There might be more. I am tired of typing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Another Contest Announcement

The postmark date for the Chicago Tribune's annual Nelson Algren award is fast approaching (Feb 15th). The contest is free. For more information, go here.

Basically, here's the info:


Submissions must be written by an American and must be unpublished.
Stories must be typed and double-spaced, between 2,500 and 8,000 words.
Authors should enclose a cover sheet with name, address, phone, email and title of entry.
Author's names should not appear on the manuscript. However, each page should be numbered.
Manuscripts should be stapled or paper clipped for submission.

The competition will begin accepting entries November 1, 2007. Entries must be postmarked by February 15, 2008.

Please send all submissions to:

Chicago Tribune
Nelson Algren Awards
435 N. Michigan Avenue, TT200
Chicago, IL 60611

Friday, February 8, 2008

New Book from Jennifer Atkinson - Spring 08

A few random things for the weekend, but first two faculty related links, and some contest info:
  • I don't know how new this news is, but Jennifer Atkinson has a new book coming out with Etruscan Press - Art Taylor wrote up a quick, five minute interview in the The Mason Gazette.
  • And a friend of mine pointed out this old radio interview on KCRW's Bookworm, during which Michael Silverblatt talks with Courtney Angela Brkic about her book, The Stone Fields.
Okay, now for the contest links.
  • Drama over in the UK: the people running the 2008 Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize (that includes judge Zadie Smith) decided not to give out the award this year. The whole thing is sort of confusing, but basically it starts with Zadie Smith's decision to withhold the award, followed by lots of chatter from contest participants about this and that, then some weird talk of splitting the award among the short-listed authors, and then lots of shit-talking in the comments section. The happy ending? The award money will go to an international charity.
  • In other contest news, Playboy is currently reading for their annual College Fiction Contest. For work-safe guidelines go here. To read last year's winner, a story called "Lizard Man" by David James Poissant from the University of Arizona, go here. And yes, MFA students are eligible, and there is no entry fee. But this is coming up soon; the post mark deadline is Feb 15th.
  • The L Magazine announces its fourth annual Literary Upstart, The Search for Pocket Fiction competition. Basically, semi-finalists give live readings of their work (no more that 1,500 words) at NYC bars and compete for cash, and the judges' approval. Go here for details.
Okay, now for a few random things - click away:
  • Luna Park, the popular lit-mag review blog, just launched their first issue. Contents include an article from Gary Percesepe on reading for the Antioch Review, an interview with Plimpton Prize winner Benjamin Percy, and an interesting essay on the latest AWP conference in NYC.
  • Writer, Rejected has started a new feature at his blog Literary Rejections on Display: the Rejected Story Corner. Basically, he posts a much rejected story by some anonymous reader, and then everyone comments on it. Afterwards, he posts excerpts from the many rejections it has received so everyone can compare notes.
  • An online Times article on Master Eggers.
  • Discussion over at Kelly Spitzer's blog about magazines that pay versus magazines that don't and contest fees versus prize money.
That's all. Go to Candid Yak. Go to the Fiction Dinner.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Candid Yak 2/8 at 8pm

You've probably seen the fliers that Wade made, you know the shark-televisions eating each other, so this is a quick reminder.

Candid Yak Friday (2/8) at the Firehouse Grill in Old Town Fairfax. Looks like things will get started around 8pm.

Readers for the evening are poet Rachel Lyon, non-fiction writer Casey Wiley, and fiction writer Regan Douglass. I hear that Ed will also be there doing things, like introducing people, which should be a pleasure. If you cannot go, kick yourself - he has a fine looking mustache these days.