Friday, July 28, 2006
CALL FOR ENTRIES: Looking for tangible, earthy, edgy poetry by Asian-American women writers to include those with Middle Eastern, East Indian, and Pacific Islander heritage. Editor thrilled by vibrant, diverse voices and subjects, special surprises in approaching the page, and how you beat the drum of language. Send up to three poems; seven pages maximum. Please include your name, address, phone number, and a working e-mail address on each poem submitted. All work must be original, written in English, and unpublished unless submitting previously published work by special invitation. Translations not accepted for this anthology. Decisions will be made and notifications sent by the end of June 2007. Please mail submissions to: Asian American Anthology, c/o Anne Marie Fowler, P.O. Box 9543, Cheyenne, WY 82003.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
OLAUS AND MARDY LIVE ON: National Public Radio’s Morning Edition featured a July 26 report commemorating a July 1956 trip by Olaus and Mardy Murie to the upper Sheenjek River of Alaska's Brooks Range. The survey by these Jackson residents, writers and wilderness activists set in motion the effort to protect what is now the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). George Schaller, a young field biologist who volunteered for the trip, went on to become a world-renowned naturalist. To celebrate the golden anniversary of that first voyage, he returned to the Sheenjek. He found the region still pristine -- and yet still threatened by the potential for development and oil exploration. In a film created after their 1956 voyage, the Muries described a “a wide-open valley defined by a sinuous river and towering limestone peaks, a place where even superlatives seem small.” Using photos and records from the original expedition, Schaller and a group of graduate students looked for signs of climate change. "Olaus and Mardy would be pleased," Schaller told NPR. "Have the trees grown? Are there new trees in the picture? There are, so things are going at their own slow pace here in the Arctic. And that is, in many ways, how Olaus and Mardy worked -- one step at a time, learning, advocating." On the last night of the 2006 expedition, the group listened to a 1956 recording of Mardy Murie reading from the "Letter from the Sheenjek": “This, then, is the Sheenjek country. The Arctic wilderness of the Brooks Range. Will we have the wisdom to cherish such places? To leave such parts of the earth in their natural state, humbly and with appreciation?” The Murie Center in Moose carries on the traditions of these naturalists.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
“JENTEL PRESENTS” AUG. 1: From a press release: “Jentel Presents” gathers the current residents at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner for a free event open to the public at Davis Gallery, 32 North Main, Sheridan, on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 5:30-7 p.m. It is a community outreach program that features slide presentations and readings by the visual artists and writers at the residency. Presenters include: Patricia Alexander, Baltimore, Md., installation and public artist, as well as a painter; Robyn Art, Brooklyn, N.Y., a poet who has worked as a waitress, barista, bartender, inventory clerk, daycare worker, personal trainer, new age dance studio receptionist, signature-canvasser and college English professor; Robin Barcus, Las Vegas, Nev., a native of Chicago who is on a mission to create a site-specific “dress” sculpture in every state; Karina Hean, Durango, Colo., a mixed-media artist and teacher; Ann McCutchan, Denton, Texas, a writer/musician and WAC fellowship recipient who was at the helm of the University of Wyoming Creative Writing Program as it was being launched; Karen Schiff, Hamden, Conn., who recently left her teaching job to return to studio art via an M.F.A. program.
Monday, July 24, 2006
WELLING NOVEL DEBUTS: Tina Welling’s novel, Crybaby Ranch, is now available for pre-order from Ghost Road Press. Tina, a long-time Jackson resident, is a writer, writing teacher, and entrepreneur. She works with Tim Sandlin to put together the annual Jackson Hole Writers’ Conference. Tina is the recipient of a Blanchan/Doubleday writing award from the Wyoming Arts Council, and she’s on the WAC artists’ roster. Here’s a short description of the book from the press’s catalog: “Could something as simple as pineapple pizza cause a woman to reconsider everything in her life? For Suzannah, an argument over dinner is just the catalyst she needs to awaken her senses, propelling her from marriage in Ohio to life alone near Wyoming’s majestic Teton Range. As she untangles her most important relationships, Suzannah finds herself plopped into an unexpected attachment—this one with a rugged artist. With optimism and passion, Crybaby Ranch shows Suzannah’s journey to happiness and compassion—for herself and everyone she loves.” The novel is a trade paperback (ISBN 0-9778034-4-9) and its cover price is $17.95.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Editors Jennifer Wingertzahn (Clarion Books) and Susan Burke (Atheneum) will be offering one-on-one critique sessions with local authors at the “Critique Clinique” in Golden, Colo., as a part of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators’ (SCBWI) conference Sept. 23-24. Submitted manuscripts will first be reviewed by a panel of published authors who will make recommendations for the editorial critiques. You must be an attendee of the Fall Conference on Saturday, Sept. 23, to participate in the Clinique. Participants who do not receive a one-on-one with an editor will be eligible for a 10-minute pitch session with editor Erin Murphy of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency during the conference. She focuses primarily on picture books and on novels for middle-graders and young adults.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
NOT JUST “ANOTHER WAR STORY:” Wheatland author and decorated Vietnam veteran Lee Alley will be at the Wyoming State Museum, 2301 Central Ave., Cheyenne, on Wednesday, July 26, 12:30 p.m., to speak and sign his book “Back from War: A Quest for Life After Death.” Governor Dave Freudenthal will then join Alley Thursday, July 27, 11 a.m., for a book signing. “I had no intention of telling another war story,” Alley said in a press release. “But, rather wanted to let people know what soldiers go through in readjusting to civilian life after war. It doesn’t matter what the war or the conflict – if just one veteran, a veteran’s family member or a loved one reads this and says, ‘maybe, I’m okay after all,’ this book is a success.” Lt. Alley was shipped to Vietnam in July 1967 and served as the infantry platoon leader, recon platoon leader and infantry company commander. FMI: 307-777-7022
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
WHICH BOOKFEST IS WHICH?: I have received queries from several writers confused about the upcoming book festival. They recently received a postcard promoting the Wyoming Book Festival, scheduled for Cheyenne in September 2007. They wondered if that is the same book festival set for Oct. 19-21, 2006, in Casper.
Alas, no, dear readers. The Casper version is the Equality State Book Festival. Named for Wyoming’s motto, it’s the brainchild of the Casper College Literary Conference planning committee. I’ve represented the Wyoming Arts Council on that committee since 2003. In December 2004, we began brainstorming ideas for the first statewide bookfest. Planning kicked into high gear last fall. The Casper College Foundation pledged major funding for the bookfest, which also includes the 20th anniversary version of the college’s literary conference. We applied for – and received – grants for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Natrona County Travel and Tourism Council. Other organizations pledged their support. Here’s a partial list: Casper College, ARTCORE, Natrona County Library, University of Wyoming Creative Writing Program, Nicolaysen Art Museum, the National Historical Trails Interpretive Center, Wyoming Council for the Humanities, and the Casper Area Community Foundation. Talented young book/magazine illustrator (and Casper native) Zak Pullen designed our poster. AdBay Inc. designed our web site. To sign up for the Oct. 21 author readings, e-mail Kathy Coe.
Forty authors (e.g., Annie Proulx, C.J. Box, Linda Hasselstrom, David Romtvedt) who either live in WYO or have WYO books will be featured presenters. We expect another 30-40 writers to sign up for readings on Oct. 21. Publishers, literary organizations, and educational entities are signing up for the vendor fair at the Nic on Oct. 21. Children’s writers and illustrators will talk about their books. Several panels of historians and writers will convene at the Trails Center to discuss (and possibly argue about) the legacy of the Mormon Trail. Olympic wrestling champ Rulon Gardner will visit with K-12 students in Natrona County and former UW and pro rodeo champ Abe Morris will be on a panel about the myths and realities of modern-day cowboys. As we get closer to the festival dates, nervousness grows as we contemplate the enormity of the project. But Director Tom Rea and Chair Laurie Lye have kept us all focused and motivated, sometimes with doughnuts.
Now, about this other bookfest, planned for September 14-15, 2007. The Wyoming Book Festival will be held in Cheyenne and sponsored by the Wyoming Center for the Book, which recently mailed promotion postcards with Sarah Rogers' colorful buffalo art. It is possible that we may alternate the Casper and Cheyenne sites year-to-year. That’s still unclear. One thing that is clear: Wyoming, one of the few states without a book festival, now has two.
Monday, July 17, 2006
THINGAMABRARIANS ON THE WEB: The July/August issue of Poets & Writers magazine contained an article about a new web site that has bibliophiles buzzing. On Library Thing, readers can catalogue their personal libraries – and then connect with others via books. You can list your first 200 books for free, and then pay a whopping $10 a year to list as many books as you have on the shelves and in boxes in the basement. This may be the first time you’ve actually looked at your library. This could have very practical advantages when it’s time to prune your overflowing collection (do you actually need three copies of “Middlemarch?”) or if you’re subjected to fire or flood and have to make an insurance claim. But the main reason for the site is for people to connect via their books. There is one thing inveterate readers/book-buyers like more than reading – talking about their books. In the P&W article, writer C. Max Magee notes that Library Thing users call themselves "Thingamabrarians," and they “can find those with whom they share literary tastes.” The site is only a year old and already had more than 50,000 users cataloguing more than 10,000 books a day. Says Library Thing founder Tim Spalding: "When you find someone that shares ownership of an obscure or meaningful book," he says, "all of sudden every [book] that person has is of interest to you." Writers with at least one published book can become a “Library Thing Author.” Other Thingamabrarians can access info about your book – and those books that you own and have undoubtedly influenced your writing. It could be a subtle way for writers to promote their work to people who actually buy books. Are any wyolitmail readers using Library Thing?
Saturday, July 15, 2006
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE CENTENNIAL KIND: Devils Tower National Monument is the site for the 12th annual Cowboy Poet Festival from 1-5 p.m. on Sept. 3. Come to the monument’s picnic area as cowboy poets from the region bring their verse and humor to northeast Wyoming. This event is part of a cultural series funded by the Devils Tower Natural History Association. It’s also part of a long list of events to mark the monument’s centennial. It culminates in an anniversary celebration Sept. 22-24 with a keynote address by Theodore Roosevelt IV, descendant of President Theodore Roosevelt, whom some call the "Conservation President." The American Indian Heritage Celebration will be held Aug. 25-27 includes presentations on Indian cultures and performances by musician Kevin Locke (Friday, Aug. 25, 7 p.m.) and the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Dancers (Saturday, Aug. 26, 2 p.m.). Another centennial item: Jeanne Rogers’ book about the history of Devils Tower is due for release in September. Jeanne in a member of Bearlodge Writers in Sundance. FMI: DTNM, 307-467-5283 ext. 635.
Friday, July 14, 2006
NEW NOVEL SET AT CHEYENNE RODEO: One-time Cheyenne resident Lily Burana caused a stir with her first book, Strip City, her personal account of life on the road as a stripper. She now has debuted her first novel, Try, which her publisher, St. Martin’s Press, calls “a western romance.” On the web site, Lily says that she wrote most of the novel while a resident at WYO’s Ucross Foundation. In the book, Daryl Heatherly, a promising young artist, returns to her native Cheyenne “hoping to find the place she fits in.” She then “rubs up against J.W. Jarrett, a world-champion rodeo cowboy and old-school Southern gentleman.” Fireworks ensue. The novel has garnered advance praise from novelists Madision Smartt Bell and Elizabeth Gilbert. W.K. Stratton, author of Chasing the Rodeo and Backyard Brawl, has this to say: “Rodeo and romance have gone together ever since vaqueros in New Spain first tried their luck roping and riding while smitten senoritas looked on. Lily Burana's novel Try is a spicy, engaging love story that captures the sexual tension between women and modern rodeo cowboys better than any other novel I've read. Lily did her homework. Give Try a try -- you'll like it." The novels’ sizzling cover artwork might even transform a few male bookstore browsers into “western romance” readers.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
GETTING VERTICAL AT VEDAUWOO: Don’t miss the annual "Vertical dance" at Vedauwoo Recreation Area off of I-80 between Cheyenne and Laramie. You can see performances July 14-16 as part of University of Wyoming's 2006 Snowy Range Summer Theatre and Dance Festival. It starts at 11 a.m. daily. Tickets cost $6 and, due to limited seating, you have to buy a ticket for your dog(s). Shuttle buses for the entire performance will take patrons from the free outer parking area outside of Vedauwoo into the Box Canyon area beginning an hour before the event. Audience members then will have a short ten-minute walk from the shuttle drop-off. Shuttle patrons are advised to arrive no later than 10:30 a.m. Vertical dance is a unique blend of modern dance using ropes and the natural contours of rock to allow free-flowing aerial movement. Margaret Wilson and Neil Humphrey have choreographed the performance and created a UW program in vertical dance. Wilson, assistant professor of theatre and dance, also directs the 2006 Snowy Range Dance Festival and concert series. "The rock faces at Vedauwoo are our stage, and the choreography will emphasize the relationship the dancers have to this surface," says Wilson, who notes that the rock wall face allows dancers to explore movement unrestricted by the confines of gravity. "The dancers explore the natural rock surface, but are also able to take flight from the surfaces and explore movement with multiple revolutions or suspensions that seem physically impossible," she adds. UW music faculty member Kevin Hart has composed original music for the Vedauwoo vertical dance. This year's composition, "Stonewall Sketchbook," consists of free improvisations recorded on location using a frame guitar. New this year to the Vedauwoo show is the addition of a children's theatre performance and live music. Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance Cecelia Aragon will direct "Alicia in Wonder Tierra," an entertaining adventure loosely based on "Alice in Wonderland" with a touch of "The Wizard of Oz." The play charts the adventures of young Alicia on her mystical journey from a Mexican curio shop to the Aztec Temple as she comes to understand her cultural heritage. Additionally, live music performances by Thomas Pfotenhauer, Rod Garnett and Peter Queal will resonate throughout the natural rock amphitheater. FMI: 307-766-6666. or visit www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
Monday, July 10, 2006
IN SEARCH OF CRAIG JOHNSON: I keep hoping I’ll run into writer Craig Johnson while I’m in his neck of the woods. I don’t mean that literally, as I hear that Craig is known to drive his beat-up old pick-up really fast down the same narrow roads I’m on while living in the outlying reaches of Sheridan County. I keep expecting him to show up in the police blotter of the Buffalo Bulletin – either him or his alter-ego, Sheriff Walt Longmire, who’s the protagonist in his novels The Cold Dish and Death without Company. But maybe he’s been in the paper anonymously. The most recent edition carried this ominous item: “Writer detained in downtown Buffalo for possession of action verbs. He was released when he showed the officer his poetic license.” Anyway, I’m leaving these parts soon so will have to track down Craig at one of these upcoming appearances: Wednesday, July 19, 6 p.m., Book Club discussion at High Crimes Bookstore, Boulder, Colo.; Saturday, July 22, 11 a.m., High Plains Book Festival, Billings, Mont.; Monday, July 24, 5 p.m., “Raising Readers” at Kendrick Park, Sheridan, Wyo.; and Saturday, August 19, 2 p.m., Red Lodge Books, Red Lodge, Mont. Remember that Craig, C.J. Box, Michael and Kathleen Gear, and Clinton McKinzie will all be on mystery writers panel and will sign copies of their books at the Equality State Book Festival Oct. 19-21 in Casper.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
WRITING INTO FALL WITH PAGE: Seems a little early to be talking about fall events, but Wyomingite-in-exile Page Lambert informs me that the fall equinox is barely barely ten weeks away. She sends this info about her fall retreat at venues in and around Denver: "The Mount Vernon Writing Retreat for Women blends peaceful walks in the woods and serious writing instruction with outdoor picnics and two gourmet meals at Mount Vernon Country Club. Held at Page’s cozy cabin in the mountains above Denver, this five-day retreat (September 19-24) includes creative facilitation, journaling time, writing discussions, a visit to Lake Steam Baths, time at Denver’s famous Tattered Cover Book Store, a barbeque, readings under the stars, and much more! Space is limited. $799/$699 includes most meals and sleeping accommodations at Page’s. For more information, go to my web site."
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
CULTURAL WYO – IN PRINT: The colorful Wyoming Cultural Guide features “highlights of Wyoming culture and heritage.” The cover artwork, “Trail to the Rockies,” comes courtesy of Jeanie Schlump of Laramie. Visual treats abound in the brochure – check out the gallery of WAC visual arts fellowship winners on pages 4-5. WAC co-sponsors the guide with the Film, Arts, and Entertainment Program at the Wyoming Travel and Tourism Office. Some 100,000 copies of the brochure are printed each year, and distributed to venues throughout the state. I found my copy at Margo’s Pottery in downtown Buffalo. Writers aren’t forgotten. A poem by Barbara Smith of Rock Springs, “Rock Springs, from the Inside,” is reprinted on page 27. It explores, literally and figuratively, the town’s underground history of “secret mines” dug by immigrant freelancers, “one man’s dream/apart from the company/paying in scrip.” You might have read it first in Deep West: A Literary Tour of Wyoming. Page 33 has a suggested reading list of new WYO books. Words and visuals come together on the inside front cover with a display ad for the Equality State Book Festival. Poster art by Zak Pullen of Casper, design by AdBay.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
ART AND FIREWORKS FOR THE FOURTH: The Ucross Foundation always invites the Wyoming Arts Council staff to attend its annual fireworks extravaganza. I’ve never made it, since I’m usually involved in Fourth of July family events such as picnics, lawn mowing, camping, baseball, or just hanging out. This year I’m a resident at the Jentel Artist Residency Program, just a few miles and a road-kill porcupine away from Ucross. So we writers and artists piled in a van and joined the 3,000-plus people from Sheridan and Johnson counties arriving at Ucross on Fourth of July Eve for food, music, and fireworks. The FFA folks make a fine steak sandwich, and Jalan Crossland and Band provided some fine folk and alt-country tunes out on the lawn, still wet from an evening sun shower. Our first stop was the exhibit at the Big Red Barn Gallery. It featured Lindy Smith’s “sunprints” or “kallitypes” made by exposing native plants to the sun on special photo papers. Some of the prints seem otherworldly (the “Wyoming Grass” series) but you see some of these weeds and grasses every day on the prairie. As Tom McGuane writes in his catalog essay: “Their shapes seem to belong to dreams while for all their unexpectedness they are no more accidental than dreams. What we see emerges from the lives they’ve lived in deep time; their importance hangs over them as an aura.” The evening at Ucross ended with the promised fireworks. But you can view Smith’s sunprints at Big Red though Sept. 15. Call 307-737-2291 for hours. And McGuane’s new book of stories, Gallatin Canyon, should be out any day from Knopf.
Monday, July 03, 2006
GREETINGS FROM JENTEL: I've been occasionally posting to the blog from the Jentel Artist Residency Program along the Lower Piney Creek Valley near Sheridan -- or Buffalo, depending on your county preference. I hadn't yet posted any photos so I thought I'd make up for that today, on Independence Day Eve. Shown at right is the view from the Writer's Aerie on the escarpment in the Snake Hills above Jentel. It takes me about an hour every morning of some pretty heavy-duty climbing to get to my assigned writing spot. I carry my laptop with me along with the satellite dish I need for Internet access. I also have to pack in food and water. It's lucky I'm in shape because Jentel did not provide the Sherpa porter I specified in my application. At various times during the day I hear the shake of a prairie rattler, warning me to get back to work and quit playing FreeCell. The past couple days have been stormy and I've had to seek shelter in a cave up here. I am surrounded by the bleached bones of the writers who came before me and didn't make it out alive. I have to get back to work now. If I don't produce my ten daily pages of fiction, vultures will come down and pluck out my eyes.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
EXHIBIT DOCUMENTS COAL-BED METHANE BOOM: “The New Gold Rush: Images of Coal-bed Methane” exhibit opened June 26 at the Esther and John Clay Fine Arts Gallery at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. The exhibit, showing through July 26, documents coal-bed methane development in northeastern Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. “The New Gold Rush” has already kicked up a fuss, as the energy industry has portrayed it has a one-sided attack on the issue. Earlier this year, the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper cancelled its scheduled showing. Ted Wood, one of the exhibition’s artists, told the Associated Press that “when you go after any sacred cow -- here in Wyoming that happens to be the energy industry -- you can expect it to create a little controversy.”
Saturday, July 01, 2006
EVENING READINGS AT NIGHT HERON: Ken from Night Heron Books in downtown Laramie sent this schedule for the store's reading series: Erika Staples, poetry, July 12, 7 p.m.; Rose Marie London, stories, August 23, 7 p.m.; Peter Anderson, nature essays, September 30, 7 p.m.; Matter Literary Magazine authors, eclectic, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. Free and open to the public. FMI: Ken at 1-888-742-9028.