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WAC debuts new all-arts blog
The Wyoming Arts Council now has a new blog for arts news and events in the state. It's called "Wyoming Arts" and you can find it here. I've been posting to that blog since March 1 as a test, and now it's up and running. Please send your e-mail announcements to Mike Shay and I'll do my best to get it on the blog in a timely manner. Assisting me is Linda Coatney, whose come to the WAC as a writer and editor for the blog and our new print newsletter, due to debut this summer. Some of you may know Linda from Casper where she was editor of the college literary magazine and also served on the literary conference planning committee. She's finishing up her degree at UW and now is living in Cheyenne.
What about wyolitmail? It will be on hold for now. My new assignment as grand poobah for all WAC arts disciplines makes "Wyoming Arts" a higher priority that wyolitmail. I encourage writers and poets to e-mail to me their blog and/or web site links. The new blog's sidebar features links to the state's arts organizations, writers, artists, performers, and folk artists. We want to add your link to the list.
Labels: Wyoming Arts Council
On the Road with Absaroka County's Finest
This narrative comes from Craig Johnson's very entertaining monthly e-mail newsletter (March 1 edition). The only mystery writer in Ucross is preparing to launch his annual spring book tour with the mytical yet compelling Walt Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Here's what's happening in Craig's world:
I'm calling this one the Kindness Goes Unpunished-High Noon or 7 PM Tour. It's that time of year when I take my dog-and-pony show on the road. Unfortunately, neither the dogs nor the ponies will be accompanying me, but my wife Judy will be...
The tour for Kindness Goes Unpunished starts a little early with an event at the Johnson County Library, which seems appropriate since Johnson County is home and was the model for Walt's Absaroka County. This is an event I've been looking forward to for quite a while, since not only are the attendees going to know all the street names, half of them are going to have been in the books. The Friends of the Library will have The Cold Dish and Death Without Company for sale and the promise of signed copies of Kindness Goes Unpunished, which can be picked up on the on-sale date of March 15.
Speaking of on-sale dates, look for the paperback of Death Without Company on February 28. My name's in red. As Vic would say, "What's up with that?" I'll be at the Johnson County Library Banquet, Buffalo, Wyo., Saturday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Casper got the nod for the actual kickoff, because Lisa Craft is such a sweetheart. I'm on Brian Scott's radio show in the morning, which is always a gas. He's funnier than I am. I'll be at Blue Heron Books in downtown Casper on Thursday, March 15, 6-7:30 p.m.
Montana poet and author Robert Pack will talk about his work on Thursday, March 29, 7 p.m., at the Center for Conferences and Institutes at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. A new collection of his poems, Still Here, Still Now, will be published this year. Admission is free. Sponsored by the LCCC Foundation. FMI: 307-778-1285.
Kennedy Featured in Bombshells
WyoPoets will hold its spring writing workshop on Saturday, April 28, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Hampton Inn, 400 West F St., Casper. Sheridan writer (and WAC roster artist) Joan Puma Bennet will lead the workshop. For more information -- and to reserve a spot -- contact Mary Hein in Casper or Lee Ann Seibken in Douglas.
Hagy Novel Explores Friendship Forged by WYO & War
Yesterday’s mail brought a review copy of Alyson Hagy’s new novel, Snow, Ashes, published by Graywolf Press. Alyson teaches in the University of Wyoming M.F.A. program and is a WAC creative writing fellowship recipient. The book’s formal release date is May 1. According to the press, Alyson will hit the road for a regional author tour, but no details yet.
Here’s a book jacket description:
The uneasy friendship between Fremont Adams and C. D. Hobbs worked best when both men had a job to do, when they could fall into the rhythm of hard labor. Neglected by his mother at an early age, Hobbs found his way into the Adams family. But everyone could tell he was always a bit off. Fremont resigned himself to watching out for Hobbs, who had the innocence and optimism that can come only from ignorance. After a grueling tour of duty in Korea, however, Adams and Hobbs return to the ranch marked in dangerous ways.
In four parts -- alternating between the Wyoming ranch and Korea -- Alyson Hagy reveals the intricacies of a profound friendship between two very different men. Snow, Ashes is a suspenseful, engaging exploration of survival and failure and of how the most vulnerable among us can have a wisdom beyond measure.
What Would Walt Read Out Loud?
High School students from throughout Wyoming will participate in the state finals of the "Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest," at 7 p.m., March 5, at the Plains Hotel in downtown Cheyenne.
Winners of this year’s competition will be announced at an awards ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda at 8 a.m., March 6. The public is invited to attend both the evening competition and awards ceremony.
During the state finals, contestants will recite works they selected from an anthology of more than 400 poems. It includes old favorites by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, as well as poems by dynamic living authors who've read their work or conducted workshops in Wyoming, such as Joy Harjo, Jorie Graham, Robert Bly, and Li Young-Lee. You can read those poems -- or memorize them yourselves -- by going to the Poetry Out Loud web site.
The Wyoming Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation are co-sponsors of POL. It's a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance and competition. This is the second consecutive year that Wyoming has participated in Poetry Out Loud.
Poetry Out Loud encourages mastery of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic competition to high schools across the country. The process begins at the classroom level. Those winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to the state capital competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. More than 250,000 students across the country are expected to take part this year.
The NEA and Poetry Foundation created a standards-based teacher’s guide, a comprehensive website and a CD featuring poetry recitations by well-known actors and writers such as Anthony Hopkins, Alyssa Milano, N. Scott Momaday and Rita Dove.
FMI: Wyoming Arts Council at 307-777-7742.
Teton County Library Hosts Fantasy Author
T.A. Barron, who writes "epic tales of young heroes on their paths to self discovery," will conduct a talk and book signing at the Teton County Public Library in Jackson from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 2, in the Ordway Auditorium. The program is free and open to the public.
"Barron’s talk will explore how he finds great inspiration in the wonders of nature and the heroic potential of every person," says Lara Lovett, Young Adult Coordinator. "During the talk, he will illustrate his words with pictures and welcome questions from kids, teens and parents."
Lovett says that Barron’s stories of heroic young people set in a variety of places and times have proven to be a popular pick among the library’s young adult readers. "Fantasy fans have devoured The Lost Years of Merlin epic and are equally enthusiastic about Barron’s most recent trilogy," says Lovett. The new trilogy, The Great Tree of Avalon, has become a New York Times bestseller, while Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin is being developed as a feature film.
Barron says that he cultivated a love of the outdoors while growing up on a ranch outside Colorado Springs, Colo. In elementary school, he wrote, illustrated and printed his own magazine called The Idiot’s Odyssey. He continued to write in college and during backpacking journeys through Asia and Africa.
Barron took a detour through the business world where he worked as president of a venture capital firm in New York. In 1989, Barron moved back to Colorado where he now lives with his wife and five children on a small farm. Barron has been awarded the Wilderness Society’s highest honor, the Robert Marshall Award, for his efforts to protect America’s wilderness heritage.
While in town, Barron will also make presentations for Jackson Hole Middle School, Summit School and Journeys School students.
FMI: Lara Lovett at 733-2164 ext. 221 or via e-mail
Ron Franscell Returns
Ron Franscell announces "Wyoming Book Tour II" for his book Fall: The Rape and Murder of Innocence in a Small Town, which the Chicago Sun-Times has called "heartbreaking ... the girls' last terrifying moments are delivered with such vivid texture that they are almost too painful to read. The technique and execution is not unlike Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.... And just when your heart is broken by this terrible tragedy, Franscell adds a coda that will further disturb your peaceful sleep."
Here's Ron's schedule:
Saturday, March 10, 7-9 p.m., Discussion and Q&A, Natrona Co. Library, Casper
Monday, March 12, noon-2 p.m., Hastings Books, Gillette
Monday, March 12, 6-7 p.m., Book Shop on Main, Sheridan
Tuesday, March 13, 1-3 p.m., Books & Briar, Riverton
Wednesday, March 14, 1-2:30 p.m., Wheatland Mercantile Book Nook, Wheatland
Thursday, March 15, 5-7 p.m., B. Dalton Books, Rock Springs
Friday, March 16, 4-7 p.m., Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Rawlins
Saturday, March 17, 1-3 p.m., Main Street Books, Lander
Go to Ron's web site for more info.
Brush Up on Your Writing at YWC
Micah Wyatt in Laramie informs me that the dates have been set for the 2007 Young Writers Camp at the scenic Thorne-Rider Youth Camp near Story.
Writers (ages 15-18) will gather June 16-23 at the camp. Instructors/mentors/chaperones will be the same as last summer. Micah, a writer and YWC alumnus, returns as director. Danica Wyatt, a fine essayist, physicist, and Micah's sister, will be there, as will poet Jesse Loesberg from San Franscisco.
Guest teachers are wont to drop in. Last June, I joined the teachers and students for some mysterious homemade stir fry and we sat around the fire pit on a balmy evening and discussed short story writing. Everyone read a sample of his/her work.
Here's where I have to admit that my son, Kevin Shay, is a YWC alumnus. He says he'd love to come back as a visiting writer and may someday because he's a pretty good writer (I'm biased) and is working towards a career as a high school language arts teacher. As we speak, he's taking courses at Pima County Community College in Tucson, a place he enjoys very much in the winter months but not so much in July.
Sign up for the 2007 camp by going to the Young Writers Camp web site and downloading the printable application. It's open to teen writers who live in WYO and elsewhere.
Memoirs Highlighted at NWC Writers Series
The Northwest College Writers Series in Powell will feature these writers during the spring semester:
Mary Clearman Blew (pictured at right), author of the memoir "All But the Waltz" and professor at University of Idaho, Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Fagerberg Building, Room 70.
Kim Barnes, an Idaho native whose memoir, "Into the Woods," was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Thursday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m., Fagerberg Building, Room 70.
Garry Wallace teaches biology and English at NWC and will read from his memoir, "Biography of a Bird Dog," on Tuesday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. Listen to a live interview with Garry on Tuesday, April 3, on KODI’s Party Line show at 9 a.m. (1400 AM on the dial; simulcast on KZMQ 1140 AM).
Wyoming Poet Laureate David Romtvedt on Friday, April 20, 7:30 p.m., in the Nelson Performing Arts Building. David will be interviewed at 9 a.m. on April 16 on KODI’s Party Line show.
All the events are free and open to the public. FMI: http://www.northwestcollege.edu/hum/writers.htm