Sunday, April 30, 2006
Ben Mitchell, director of exhibitions at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, notified wyolitmail about a publication that writers don’t think much about: monographs. I had to look up the term, as I didn’t really know what it was either. High school Latin tells me that the mono prefix means “one” or “single.” So if you said that monograph means “one paragraph” you’d be pretty close to the truth. It’s a scholarly tract on a specific or limited subject (usually more than a single paragraph). The Nic’s new monograph is "Marie Watt: Blanket Stories, Almanac." It’s for the museum’s new exhibition in the Contemporary American Indian Art Series. The book, Mitchell, says is 52 pages with more than 30 full-color plates “and quite beautifully designed.” It includes “a lovely, lyrical essay on Marie's work (and much more) by the important Acoma (N.M.) Pueblo poet, Simon Ortiz.” The price is $25 at the museum store, and may be ordered directly from the Nic for $30 which includes tax, packing and shipping. I have read a lot of poetry by Simon Ortiz, but not much prose. He’s been a frequent visitor to Wyoming, serving as a creative writing fellowship judge for the 1994 awards and he’s visited the Wind River Reservation and a number of WYO schools. The exhibition will be at the Nic through Sept. 5. (Photo: "Blanket Stacks," by Marie Watt.)
Friday, April 28, 2006
WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN'S WRITERS: Best-selling authors Denise Vega and Debbie Dadey will be featured speakers at The Plains Hotel in Cheyenne for a May 20 workshop by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. “Who’s Doing What?: Developing Character and Plot in Your Writing” is designed to get you thinking about character and plot in your own books and stories. Denise is the author of Click Here (to find out how I survived the seventh grade), a featured title in the Scholastic Book Fair and Clubs and VOYA's 2005 selection for its list of “Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers.” She will lead the sessions “Buried Treasure: Digging Deep for Engaging Characters” and “Children’s Publishing 101,” a Book (Boot) Camp for those just entering the children’s book market. Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of many popular children’s books. She has written five series for Scholastic, including the Bailey School Kids series. Debbie will present a session entitled “Playing Tennis With Plot.” She will share insights into the writing process, which apply to adult and children’s authors, and give tips to avoid writing pitfalls. Registration is $35 for SCBWI members and $50 for non-members. Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Authors will be available for book signing after the conference.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
BOOKFEST RECEIVES NEA SUPPORT: The Wyoming Arts Council and consortium partner Casper College have received a $7,500 National Endowment for the Arts grant to support the Equality State Book Festival in Casper Oct. 19-21. I wrote the grant for the bookfest planning committee, so I’m especially pleased. This is Wyoming’s first statewide book festival. It’s also the 20th anniversary of WAC’s creative writing fellowships and the Casper College Literary Conference, which is part of the bookfest. Wyolitmail will post more news about the event as it becomes available.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
“DEAD MAN WALKING” AT CC: The Casper College Criminal Justice, Political Science, and Theatre departments, and The National Death Penalty Discourse Center, invite you to a non-partisan discussion of the death penalty in association with the Casper College Theatre production of “Dead Man Walking” by Tim Robbins. The panel discussion will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Monday, May 8. From 7-8 p.m., Sister Helen Prejean, author of the book “Dead Man Walking,” will talk about her work and her book. Both events are free and will be held in the Krampert Theatre. At 8 p.m., a special presentation of the play will be held at the theatre. Tickets go on sale May 1.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
SIGN UP FOR BOOKFEST: The Equality State Book Festival invites writers with one or more books in print to reserve a spot to read their work and sign books on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006, at venues in downtown Casper. You may sign up for 15-minute reading slots from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Feel free to specify a time, but note that several writers might ask for the same spot and we may have to assign you another. Times are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so get in your requests now. In order to have your books for sale that day, book information must be provided to Kathy Coe at kcoe@caspercollege.edu. More information will soon be available on the bookfest web site and on this blog.
Monday, April 24, 2006
NIGHT HERON BUYS A&A COLLECTION: Melodie Edwards, proprietor of Night Heron Books in Laramie, writes that her store has purchased the stock at Adams & Adams Booksellers. Here’s what she told wyolitmail: “I wouldn't mind letting the Wyoming book reading community know that we (at Night Heron Books in Laramie) feel we're performing a public service by keeping the Adams & Adams collection together. We won't be moving our location (107 Ivinson Ave.), but will be putting as much of the A&A collection on our shelves as possible. The rest of it will go on our web site. I also wouldn't mind if you let people know that we will be taking a break from book buying until further notice as we get these 20,000 books sorted through.”
Sunday, April 23, 2006
WARTIME SEDITION IN MONTANA: Here’s the intriguing lead-in on the web site for the Montana Sedition Project: “Imagine going down to your local brewpub or coffee shop. You meet some friends. The talk turns to the war. You criticize the President and his wealthy supporters. Next thing you know, a couple of husky fellows at the next table grab you, hustle you out the door and down to the local police station. You are arrested on a charge of sedition. Within months you are indicted, tried and convicted. The judge sentences you to 5-10 years in prison — and off you go! Think this could never happen? Well, it happened not that long ago — during World War I — to scores of ordinary people in Montana. They discovered very painfully that their free speech rights had been stripped away by the state legislature.” This timely site was created by Clemens C. Work, journalism professor at University of Montana. His new book is “Darkest Before Dawn: Free Speech in the American West.” It documents the 75 men and women convicted of sedition in the state in 1918 and 1919. They all served terms as long as 20 years at the state pen in Deer Lodge. Professor Work's site features photos of these convicted citizens and is seeking more info on their backgrounds, as many seem to have disappeared after release from prison. Who knows -- maybe some of them left Deer Lodge for the anonymity of The Equality State. If you have any info, e-mail Work at clem.work@umontana.edu.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
SAVE THIS DATE: Chip Carlson is Cheyenne notified me that the date for this year’s Author’s Day at the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas is Saturday, Aug. 19. Authors interested in promoting their books can reserve a space by e-mailing Chip at chiptheauthor@hotmail.com. He emphasizes that “this is a truly great way to gain publicity, meet a lot of interesting people, and sell books.”
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
ADLER REMEMBERS PUGILISTS: Jackson novelist Warren Adler ("War of the Roses") reminisces about the golden age of boxing in his most recent Warren Adler E-sheet. He covered boxing as a reporter for the New York Daily News and the Armed Forces News. Later, as an advertising exec in Washington, D.C., he produced a TV commercial for a new soft drink beverage with boxing greats Joe Louis and Rocky Graziano. The commercial was a flop – and Adler never got paid. “It was worth every penny,” he concludes.
Monday, April 17, 2006
HUSEAS DOCUMENTS HOPKINSON MURDERS: Marion McMillan Huseas has released her book, “Legacy of Fear: Mark Hopkinson and the Bridger Valley Murders.” She documents Hopkinson’s brutal crime spree in southwestern WYO and the consequences, resulting in the “the most complicated murder investigation in the history of Wyoming jurisprudence.” Marion is the author of three books relating to Western history, including “Sweetwater Gold,” the story of the state’s gold rush which won first prize from the National Federation of Press Women. She has worked as a curator of history at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne and at the Fort Bridger State Historical Site near Evanston. FMI: Merimac Publishing Company, 307-640-2444.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
“RAZOR CITY” BECOMES “POETRY CITY:” Midge Farmer of Prairie Pens sent this e-mail: “The Mayor of Gillette, Duane Evenson, has proclaimed April as Gillette Poetry Month and April 22 (the day of WyoPoets spring workshop here) as Gillette Poetry Day. I am looking at the proclamation and it is fantastic.” This is the only WYO town to do this, as far as I know. Mayor Evenson has enacted some visionary arts programs for his city, with more to come. The WyoPoets’ workshop, “Weeds and Wild Roses–The Words We Share,” will be in Gillette (a.k.a. "Razor City") on April 22. Registration is from 8:30-9 a.m. and the writing sessions go from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with a break for lunch. Robert Roripaugh, Wyoming’s Poet Laureate emeritus, will lead three sessions on the art of making poetry. Pre-registration is $25, $30 the day of workshop (lunch included). FMI: Connie Brewer, 682-9724, cbrewer@vcn.com; or Midge Farmer, 682-3488, pmfarmer@vcn.com. Registration form available at Wyoming Writers, Inc., site.
Friday, April 14, 2006
POETRY OUT LOUD WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Kamaria Stephens of East High School in Cheyenne was named the winner of the Wyoming Poetry Out Loud recitation contest April 11 at a ceremony at the State Capitol rotunda in Cheyenne. She wins a $200 cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the Poetry Out Loud national finals May 15-16. Her school receives a $500 stipend to buy poetry books for the library. Runner-up was Josh Schaberg of Buffalo High School, Buffalo. He wins a $100 cash prize and a $200 poetry book stipend for his school library. Seven of the 11 schools that participated in the first year of Poetry Out Loud sent their champions to the finals. Joining Stephens and Schaberg was Christoper Curley, Triumph H.S., Cheyenne; Rebecca Boyer, Cokeville H.S., Cokeville; Brittany Hinderman, McCormick Junior High, Cheyenne; Arlis Perry, Pathfinder H.S., Lander; and a student from Attention Homes, Cheyenne. Each contestant received a personalized certificate and signed books by U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and Wyoming Poet Laureate David Romtvedt. In the finals, held the evening of April 10 at The Plains Hotel, each competitor recited two works from the Poetry Out Loud anthology. They were judged on memorization, voice inflection, stage presence, and other criteria. Contest judges were Wyoming State Auditor Max Maxfield, Cheyenne; Harry Woods, director of the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players, Cheyenne; and Stephanie Painter, a poet from Saratoga and founder of Casper’s WordBand. Woods and Painter wrapped up the two-day event with a writing and performance workshop for the students. The next session of Poetry Out Loud will take place during the 2006-2007 school year. Students in grades 9-12 are eligible. Sponsors are the Wyoming Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The Serendipity Poets group celebrates its tenth anniversary at a National Poetry Month event on Saturday, April 22, 1-3 p.m., at City News, corner of 18th St. and Carey Avenue in Cheyenne. FMI: Ed Warsaw, 307-635-4725 or warsaw2muse@yahoo.com.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
ATTENTION ROSTER ARTISTS: Postmark deadline for the 2006-2007 Wyoming Arts Council artists’ roster is April 15. Open to writers, artists, performers, and folk artists who are full-time WYO residents. Remember, all roster artists must apply this year, including those who are on the current roster. Get the details at the WAC web site.
Monday, April 10, 2006
The Flavor of Time
by Lalo Delgado

At times time tastes bitter,
Like a jungle herb about the wither.
Other times time tastes like honey,
like new found money,
just in time to pay the rent.
Today here in Cheyenne
within the last hour or so,
at the tip of the rainbow many saw
a Cessna plane
drop from the dark clouds
into sudden death
for the seven year old pilot
on the verge of breaking a record
for being the youngest flyer
to cross the American sky,
youngest to try, youngest to die.

Lalo Delgado, Denver's late poet laureate, wrote this poem on April 10, 1996, following the crash of seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff's plane after take-off from the Cheyenne airport. She was killed, along with her father and a flight instructor, as she tried to set a cross-country flight record by the youngest pilot. Lalo, in town for a series of WAC Tumblewords events, was touched by her death and penned the poem for an April 11 reading with C.L. Rawlins at the Laramie County Public Library.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
HOT OFF THE PRESSES: My book of short stories, The Weight of a Body, made its debut last Friday from Ghost Road Press in Denver. You may have seen me on Hwy. 30 east of Cheyenne last weekend, selling copies out of the back of my van, parked strategically between the “Velvet Elvis” truck and the religious relics stand selling pieces of the true cross. Look for me each weekend when the weather is nice. If you can’t wait, go to Ghost Road Press or come to my reading on April 15, 2-4 p.m., at the Laramie County Public Library. I’ll be joined by Colorado poets Laurie Wagner Buyer and Bob Cooperman. We'll be selling and singing books after the reading.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
CO-OP BOOKSTORE IN THE NEWS: My old friend Dick Lechman and his Grandfather Cooperative Bookstore in Old Town Arvada, Colo., were featured in a recent article in Mile High News. Dick has contributed many books for prizes in my e-mail newsletter’s litquiz the past three years. And still his little store is bursting at the seams with 28,000 volumes. The bookstore went co-op in 1998. Volunteers can work in the store and earn free books. Memberships also are available. Dick is a fine writer, possibly the only one I know who can mine metaphors for baseball and The Psalms in one poem.
Friday, April 07, 2006
KOOSER AT UW: Ted Kooser, poet laureate consultant to the U.S. Library of Congress, read from his work and signed books at the UW Art Museum in Laramie Thursday night. His poetry is wonderful, and he’s a crack-up as a storyteller. An audience member asked him whether winning the Pulitzer Prize or being named poet laureate was the greater honor. He launched into a story. He was asked via phone whether he would like to be the new poet laureate. He hemmed and hawed (that's what they do in Nebraska) and the caller said to think about it and he would call back. A bit stunned, Kooser decided to return some overdue DVDs to the video store in town. He immediately smacked into a pole, breaking off his car’s side mirror. He stopped at the garage in town to get the mirror fixed, then returned home. As he got out of the car, he glanced over at the passenger seat and saw the DVDs still sitting there.

He said he reacted to the Pulitzer Prize announcement by walking outside and falling into a pile of leaves. That’s when the photographer from the Omaha paper pulled up and snapped a photo. Kooser said it took him awhile to talk the photographer out of using the picture. Too bad – it would have been terrific. A man with a British accent asked Kooser if he had ever been asked to write a poem for an official state occasion, as is the case with England’s poet laureate. He could only think of one. A few months ago, some fans of Dick Cheney e-mailed him to ask if he would read at the vice president’s birthday. “I e-mailed them right back and said I was not available that evening," said Kooser wryly. “Then I realized that they hadn’t told me when it was.” That got a big laugh at the Veep’s alma mater.

The main event preceded the Q&A, when the poet read “At the Cancer Clinic,” “A Washing of Hands,” “The Beaded Purse,” and about two dozen other poems. The latter poem, one of his longer ones, was “like a condensed Willa Cather novel,” he said. It actually was more like a condensed version of Cather’s story “The Sculptor’s Funeral.” I also was entranced by “A Box of Pastels,” in which he writes about the experience of “holding on my knees a simple wooden box in which a rainbow lay dusty and broken.” It was a box of pastels that once belonged to painter Mary Cassatt. It was an appropriate piece to read in the same space featuring a collaborative exhibit, “Poetic Works as Metaphor,” combining the paintings of Robert Motherwell and Jasper Johns with the writings of Spanish poet Rafael Alberti and Irish-born poet Samuel Beckett.

To get a weekly dose of poems selected by Kooser, go to American Life in Poetry.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
POETRY FINALS SET FOR CHEYENNE: The Wyoming Arts Council will conduct the statewide finals for the Poetry Out Loud recitation project on Monday, April 10, 7-9 p.m., at the Plains Hotel, 1600 Central Ave., Cheyenne. The event is free and open to the public. Students in grades 9-12 from schools in Cheyenne, Buffalo, Afton, Cokeville, and Lander will be competing in the final round. Judges will be Stephanie Painter, a poet from Saratoga; Harry Woods, director of the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players; and Max Maxfield, Wyoming State Auditor. The Wyoming winner will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip (with a chaperone) to Washington, D.C., for the national finals May 15-16. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. At the national finals, winners will receive $50,000 total in scholarships and school stipends, with at least a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud national champion. First Lady Nancy Freudenthal will preside at an awards ceremony in the Wyoming Capitol Building rotunda, 24th St. and Capitol Ave., from 8-9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 11. The public is invited. Sponsors are the Wyoming Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation. The next session of Poetry Out Loud will be conducted in the 2006-2007 school year. For more information, contact Mike Shay, 307-777-5234.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
BOX BOOSTS UW LIBRARIES: The University of Wyoming Libraries Development Board invites the public to its 2006 Author Luncheon featuring Cheyenne crime novelist C.J. Box. The event will be held Wednesday, April 19, noon, at William Robertson Coe Library, Laramie. Tickets are $50. R.S.V.P. by April 12 by calling 1-888-831-7795. Box’s latest book in the Joe Pickett series is In Plain Sight, which will be released next month. Other books in the series include Out of Range, Trophy Hunt, Winterkill, Savage Run, and Open Season. He has received numerous awards, including a creative writing fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council. Check Box's web site for the dates and locations for In Plain Sight readings and signings. He also will be on the mystery writers panel at the Equality State Book Festival Oct. 19-21 in Casper.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
National Poetry Month (a.k.a. NatPoMo) rages across the U.S. in April. Wyoming boasts as assortment of literary events, in poetry and prose. U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will be in Laramie April 6-7, and our own poet laureate, David Romtvedt, will read at the Teton County Public Library in Jackson April 20. Other readings and book signings are scheduled for Sheridan, Cheyenne, Buffalo, Gillette, Wheatland, Rock Springs, and Meeteetse, among others. The Wyoming Arts Council will be holding the finals for the Poetry Out Loud recitation project April 10-11 in Cheyenne. I’ve been listing WYO and assorted Rocky Mountain events in my weekly wyolitmail newsletter. You can subscribe by leaving a blog comment with contact info. See the national events calendar at the Academy of American Poets site.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
PARK COUNTY READS THE COLD DISH: From a press release: The Park County Library System will conduct a "One Community Reads One Book" program over the next several weeks. "Park County Reads The Cold Dish" the program will culminate with readings and book discussions led by the author, Craig Johnson of Ucross, at all three Park County libraries: May 11, Powell Branch Library; May 12, Cody Library; and on May 13 at the Broken Spoke in Meeteetse. The Park County Library Foundation has purchased 50 copies of The Cold Dish. They should arrive from Penguin Publishing on April 5 and will be available for check out. At the end of each community's program, those who have checked out the book will be entered in a drawing for a copy of the book. Friends of the Library groups will help coordinate events and serve refreshments. Contact Cheryl Wright, 307-527-8820.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will read from his work at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at the UW Art Museum, 2111 Willett Drive, Laramie. On Friday, April 7, 9 a.m., he will host a breakfast discussion at UW’s Mathison Library in Hoyt Hall, Room 212. Both events are free and open to the public. FMI: 307-766-2867.

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