Monday, October 31, 2005

JENTEL PRESENTS: Comes to BuffaloResidents at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner will be featured in a public event at Sheridan County Library Inner Circle, 335 West Alger, Sheridan, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 6-7:30 p.m. What does a Western landscape have in common with Saudi Arabia? These are just two of the topics that inspire current residents at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner, who will be featured in an event open to the public at DeerFieldDeerfield Boutique and Espresso Café in Buffalo on Tuesday evening, July 1st from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. “Jentel Presents” is a community outreach program that features slide presentations and readings by the visual artists and writers at the residency. Presenters include Dennis Bertram, Buffalo, NY, a painter who takes his tripodeasel out into the hills at daybreak at the residency for paintingplein aire studies; Anne Sanow, St. Louis, MO, a writer who is working on a collection of stories set in Saudi Arabia; Sarah Manguso, Brooklyn, NY, a poet with aboutmany published pieces including a collection of poetry entitled, “The Captain Lands in Paradise”; Mary Henderson, Philadelphia, PA, a painter who currently has a solo exhibitionshow in Chicago utilizing family photographs in an extraordinary style; and David Harmon, Osceola, IN, quite often paints on location using watercolors and pastels and exhibits his work nationwide. Presenters include sculptor Kate Clark, New York City; painter Elaine Defibaugh, Rochester, N.Y.; conceptual artist Charles Gute, New York City; essayist Meredith Hall, Pownal, Maine; ceramic artist Alison Reintjes, Helena, Mont.; and fiction writer Liza Ward, Duxbury, Mass. . The event is free and refreshments will be served. FMI: Lynn Reeves, 307-737-2311.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cheyenne native Charles Hardy, author and editor of the Cowboy in Caracas web site, will discuss his life in Venezuela and “The World’s Best-Kept Secret of Democracy” on Sunday, Oct. 30, 6 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 3005 Thomes Ave., Cheyenne. Hardy left Cheyenne at 18, became a priest, and eventually was assigned to Venezuela, living for eight years in a cardboard- and-tin shack on the edge of Caracas. No longer an active priest, Hardy lives and writes in Caracas, with occasional forays to his windswept Wyoming homeland.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

YOUNG WRITERS GROUP FORMS IN SHERIDAN: The always energetic Micah Wyatt is working with the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library to form The Sheridan Young Writers Group for teens ages 12-18. The group will meet every other Saturday from 1-3 p.m. for informal creative writing sessions prepared by Wyatt, director of the Young Writers Camp held each summer near Story. This program is free and all materials are provided. Registration at the SCFPL Main Desk is required. FMI: Kyan Rios, 307-674-8585 ext. 29, or Micah Wyatt, 307-673-1209.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

CONFERENCE IN S.D.: On Thursday I travel to the John R. Milton Literary Conference at University of South Dakota in Vermillion. I understand that Vermillion is beautiful this time of year. It will be alive with writers from throughout S.D. and even some stray Wyomingites, thanks to conference organizer Lee Ann Roripaugh. She grew up in Laramie and is the very talented daughter of Robert and Yoshiko Roripaugh. I will be reading with Robert at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, in USD's Coyote Student Center. The conference title is “Frontier Nostalgia” and it features many readings and panel discussions, including one on the HBO series “Deadwood” and its veracity or lack thereof. The characters in “Deadwood” are the most foul-mouthed bunch this side of Tony Soprano and his goons. Historians do say that Deadwood in 1876 was not a dainty place. Wild Bill Hickok did get gunned down there – he should have stayed in Cheyenne, which was halfway civilized. And Calamity Jane was constantly getting tanked, which led to some unseemly behavior. I have read that there was a shooting per day during Deadwood’s first year, which makes it safer than Chicago during Prohibition and Baghdad in 2005.

Friday, October 21, 2005

WYOMING WRITERS, INC., MEETS IN ROCK SPRINGS: The dates are June 2-4, 2006, at the Rock Springs Holiday Inn for the annual conference for Wyoming Writers, Inc. I hear that some terrific presenters have been lined up. As soon as the full slate is ready, it will be announced on the web site at and in the newsletter. You have to join WWI to receive the newsletter, reduced conference registration rates, and other perks. It’s $25 for a year’s membership, a bargain at twice the price. Contact Megan Johnson, PO Box 818, Thayne, WY 83127-0818.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

WHO WOULDA THUNK IT: “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is getting a facelift. Penguin Press just released an illustrated version of the book, with artwork by New Yorker Maira Kalman. While she was painting her illustrations to accompany various grammar rules, she found herself singing the text and later dreaming of a Strunk & White opera. According to an Oct. 19 New York Times article, she met with young composer Nico Muhly and a concert was born. Muhly’s Strunk & White-inspired songs were performed Oct. 19 at the New York Public Library. Tenor Matt Hensrud sang from the library’s elevated catwalk: “Do not use a hyphen between words that can be better used as one word: water-fowl, waterfowl.” I’ve owned an impressive number of “Style” copies. Now I’ll have to add an illustrated version, and get the CD of songs whenever that’s released. I can imagine no better way to pass the highway miles than listening to punctuation tips set to music.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

GEARS RELEASE NEW BOOKS: In “The Athena Factor,” Thermopolis writer W. Michael Gear imagines a world where gene thieves are stealing celebrities’ DNA and selling it to the highest bidder. So, if you have dreams of cloning a Paris Hilton of your very own (and who doesn’t?), and you can afford the DNA manipulation services of Genesis Athena, your wish may come true. At least in fiction. The book is $24.95 and is published by Forge. Kathleen O’Neal Gear, Michael’s wife and writing partner, also has a new novel from Forge. Entitled “It Sleeps in Me,” it follows the adventures of Sora, high chieftess of the Black Falcon Nation. It is the first in a series of Native American erotic fiction. Later this month, Forge will release a new book. “People of the Moon,” co-written by the husband-wife team. This novel focuses on the lives of the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon, and is the latest installment in this very popular series (“People of the Lightning,” “People of the Owl,” etc.).

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Laramie County Public Library in Cheyenne will host a discussion and book signing by Colorado author Lauren Myracle on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 4 p.m. All ages welcome. Myracle is the author a series of novels for tweens and teens. They include “Kissing Kate,” “Eleven,” “ttyl,” and “Exposed: The Fashion Disaster that Changed My Life.” You can read an excerpt from “Fashion Disaster” by going here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

HOME, HOME ON THE VELDT: Linda Hasselstrom imagines a “New West” in which rodeo riders would lasso giraffes (cowboys would need “longer ropes and taller horses”) and “baboons, chimps, and gorillas might revitalize small towns by providing the cheap labor we’ve lost to cities.” Hasselstrom was responding to a recent Nature magazine article that suggested threatened African wildlife could be saved by a move to our Great Plains. Her commentary appeared as part of the Writers on the Range series from High Country News and was in the Sept. 28 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle in Cheyenne. She also proposed changes to our favorite western songs: “Home, home on the veldt/Where deer and antelope once dwelt./Lion and leopard/are what we now shepherd,/We’re playing the hand we’ve been dealt.” And this version of “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” might reenergize those disappointed UW football fans: “How he sings/raggy music to his camel/as he bumps/back and forth in his saddle…/on his hump.” You can read more at High Country News, although you have to buy a subscription first.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

PRONGHORN RELEASES NEW COLVERT BOOK: News from Barbara Foote Colvert in Cody: Pronghorn Press in Greybull has just released my second book, "Resolutions.” It is an end-of-life chronicle written in poetry and prose of the passage of my mother-in-law, mother, and father that occurred within one year. Hospice informed me of my mother-in-law's passage and helped me through the other two. This odyssey of life and death led to my volunteer work for Spirit Mountain Hospice here in Cody. A reading and book signing will be held at 3 p.m., October 29, at The Thistle, 1243 Rumsey Ave., Cody. FMI: 307-587-6635.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

SARA BAKES UP NEW LITMAG: Some of you may know Cheyenne's Sara Burlingame as the proprietor of Sara's Breads. She's a mainstay at Farmer's Markets in Cheyenne, Laramie, and other towns in the region. When she's not baking, Sara writes poetry and competes in (and judges) poetry slams. She now has published her first issue of Brokeback Mountain Review. This literary magazine, partially funded by a Wyoming Arts Council Individual Artist Professional Development grant, features the work of Sara, Fletch Nelson, Chris Sullivan and Olivia Jones. The second issue is in the works. Send your submissions (and buy a copy for $2) by writing Sara at 501 E. 6th St., Cheyenne, WY 82007.

Monday, October 10, 2005

CREATIVE WRITING COURSES SPICE UP UW HOMECOMING: "Caribbean Cowboys: Turning up the Heat at 7200 Feet" is the theme of the 2005 University of Wyoming Homecoming Week in Laramie Oct. 10-15. Free literary-type activities on Friday, Oct. 14, include the College of Arts and Sciences Morning of Courses in the Wyoming Union Family Room, featuring faculty from the Creative Writing Program. Professor Brad Watson will discuss "My God, You've Changed (and not for the better, I might add)," from 9-10 a.m.; and from 10:30-11 a.m. Professor Vicki Lindner will talk about "Broth: The Art of Spilling the Beans."

Sunday, October 09, 2005
THE SUNSET GANG REVISITED: In Warren Adler's latest e-mail newsletter, the Jackson writer muses on the staying power of "The Sunset Gang." This was a book of nine short stories about Florida retirees published in 1976. Adler based it on his own parents' experiences living in a condo in West Palm Beach. Many of these retirees were mostly Jewish immigrants who had fled Europe and Russia for lives in Brooklyn and later in sprawling retirement communities in Florida. While only nine of the stories were included in the '76 version from Viking, all fifteen stories are in "Never Too Late for Love," published by Carl Schrier's Homestead Press in Teton County. Linda Lavin adapted three of the stories for a PBS series. One of the stories, "Yiddish," was turned into a stage musical.
Saturday, October 08, 2005

SPOKEN WORD IN CHEYENNE: People around Cheyenne are excited about the “Diverse Voices of Poetry” events going on next week. Spoken-word poets George Lee Miles, Akilah Oliver, and Jack Collom will teach workshops Oct. 13-14 for more than 160 school kids and their teachers at the Historic Atlas Theatre downtown. You might have heard Miles being interviewed by Bob Beck and reading one of his poems on KUWR's “Wyoming Today” on Sept. 29. Miles is dynamic, to say the least, and will get the kids revved up to write and then perform their work on the Atlas Stage at 7 p.m. on Oct. 14. Tickets are $3 for the evening performance. FMI: Megan Oteri at 307-778-7832.

Friday, October 07, 2005

TO AVOID GOLFERS, BISON MUST BE CAREFULLY TAUGHT: In Geneen Marie Haugen’s novel-in-progress, “Emergence,” a young woman from Jackson seeks solace in the wilderness after a bison is shot to death on the local golf course. Haugen, recipient of a 2006 WAC creative writing fellowship, read an excerpt Oct. 1 at the Casper College Literary Conference. Aurora, the book’s protagonist, has been in the back-country for more than two months when she recalls the bison’s death: “The bull bison made the mistake of regarding a succulent green fairway as sustenance and could not be dislodged, even by a regiment of angry, putter-waving golfers driving menacing electric carts.” One of the clueless golfers poses next to the bison. The bison charges and tosses him “like a sack of dough.” The golfer is unhurt physically but is so outraged he calls the local wildlife management official who has the bison “dispatched” for trespassing on the links. There ensues a hue and cry by the country-clubbers to protect them from rampaging bison. Haugen paused in her reading and said: “This hasn’t happened yet, but it will.” She then plunged back into the world of fiction. It progressed, in turns, from dark humor to surreal passages to serious moments. As I remembered the golfer passage almost a week later, I laughed out loud, imagining the pompous man in pastel polyester tumbling ass-over-teakettle across the golf course. That one scene will have to stick with me until I get a chance to read the published book. Look for Haugen’s work as part of “Writers on the Range” from High Country News and in the anthology "Going Alone: Women's Adventures in the Wild." Also find her at various conferences about the western outdoors, where she teaches and leads “contemporary vision quests.” You can bring her to your Wyoming community through a WAC Tumblewords grant.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

THE IRISH CONNECTION: Have you spent enough time in WYO to be declared a bona-fide citizen and not just another transient? There are some telltale signs. First, any accent (foreign or domestic) has been honed by the wind, allowing you to say “crik” with a straight face. Second, if you have kids born and raised Wyomingites, they may have affinities for fishing, hunting, barrel-racing, pick-up truck buying, or some other pastime either rare or unavailable on your native turf. So feel free to consider Casper’s John English a Wyomingite. A native of the Republic of Ireland, his 25 years in the U.S. -- much of it in Wyoming -- has almost totally banished any hint of Dublin from his voice. He and his wife Meg’s 16-year-old son is the reigning state champ in bareback riding. John is an expert in woodworking and has made his living writing about the subject for more than 20 years. He can swap tips about cordless drills and carving knives with any homegrown artisan. His 500-plus articles have appeared in Today’s Woodworker and Woodworker’s Journal. He has written or co-written four books and is editor/publisher of an Internet site, woodezine.com. Whatever he writes, his love for the English language shines through. His latest project is a contemporary thriller entitled “A Terrible Beauty” set in Ireland and the U.S. On Oct. 1, he read the book’s second chapter to a crowd of about 25 souls at the Casper College Literary Conference. He admitted later that he was nervous reading his fiction in public for the first time. An excerpt from the novel won a $3,000 creative writing fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council. It was the first fiction he had ever submitted to a writing contest. Maybe that’s why he sounded so surprised when I called him with the good news in August. At the Casper conference, John told me that he plans to use the money to borrow some fiction-writing time from his day job profiling workworkers such as Wyoming’s Ellis Hein, Mark Koons, and Dave Freudenthal, a guy who spends his time restoring old sheepwagons when he’s not busy being the state’s governor. And he hopes he gets more occasions to watch his rodeo son defend his title in bareback riding at high school rodeo events.

Monday, October 03, 2005

PUPPY IN PERIL: The audience gasped when the puppy went out the truck window. Alyson Hagy paused briefly, and then resumed reading her story “Border” to the crowd at the Oct. 1 Casper College Literary Conference. We were rapt, consumed by the puppy’s fate. Did it survive? Was it just a smudge on the Colorado highway? In the story, the truck’s driver braked to a stop and fought his passenger, a drunken fellow rodeo cowboy, the guy who had tossed the puppy from the moving truck. Meanwhile, the story’s main character, a 14-year-old runaway, fled the back seat and ran back down the highway, afraid of what he’d find. Alyson’s pace was measured, building suspense, while I sat, wanting her to hurry up. I might have been on the edge of my seat, but can’t remember because I was one with the story. If Alyson had stopped there, a riot might have ensued. But she continue, and we found that the puppy survived, a satisfactory ending, but most likely a foreshadowing of what’s to come in the last half of the story, which she didn’t read because her 20-minute time allotment was up. “Border” is part of a story collection “that attempts to explore conflicts that ‘haunt’ the West as images of cowboys and outlaws fade.” The story earned Alyson a Wyoming Arts Council creative writing fellowship in fiction. She teased us with the first half of the story, making at least this one reader anxious to buy the collection whenever it comes out.

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