Archive for December, 2008

Nano-interview with Suzanne Matson

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

This is one in a series of extremely brief interviews with participants in the Commonwealth Reading Series.

Suzanne Matson, the next writer to brave the Q&A shrink ray, reads on Thursday, January 8 at Grub Street in Boston, at 7 PM.

Accomplished as both a novelist and a poet, Suzanne has a uniquely thorough perspective on the writing craft – and, it turns out, on the sport of paintball.

MCC: What are you working on these days?

Suzanne: An historical novel about a family of immigrant, socialist Finns against a backdrop of WWI politics. But it also has a great love story.

MCC: What writer do you most admire but write nothing like?

Suzanne: I really like reading novels of epic sweep–Tolstoy, Dos Passos, and the like. I wish I could do Epic Sweep, but I end up getting engrossed in closely focused character fiction–although my last novel, The Tree-Sitter, and my current project, The Liberty Committee, are very interested in social and political contexts.

MCC: What’s the most embarrassing sentence/line of poetry you’ve ever written?

Suzanne: Most of them end up in my cyber trash bin, so I can’t remember, but as an undergraduate, I had the honor of having W. S. Merwin poke fun at the first line of a poem I had written: “Winter walks the china sky.” He really didn’t like that line.

MCC: Who wins the poets vs. prose writers paintball war?

Suzanne: My sons, who play paintball, are sure the prose writers would cream the poets. They seem to think poets are too dreamy to get a bead on a target. As someone who writes in both genres, I’m not so sure they’re right: Poets are very attuned, as Ezra Pound once said, to the “pith and gist” of things. That might translate into sharp-shooting talent. Although novelists, used to thinking in plots, might best the poets in battle strategy.

Suzanne joins Kim Adrian, Ben Berman, Xujun Eberlein, and JD Scrimgeour for a reading on Thursday, January 8, 2009, 7 PM at Grub Street, 160 Boylston Street, Boston MA. Read about all of the events in the Commonwealth Reading Series.

Suzanne Matson is the author of three novels, most recently, The Tree-Sitter, and two books of poetry. A professor of English and creative writing at Boston College, she lives in Newton with her husband and three sons. Her full list of works is at www.suzannematson.com.

Read all of the nano-interviews.

Nano-interview with Kim Adrian

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

This is one in a series of nano-interviews with participants in the Commonwealth Reading Series, featuring literary fellows and finalists from our Artist Fellowships Program.

Kim Adrian, the next writer to generously take part, reads on Thursday, January 8 at Grub Street in Boston, at 7 PM.

Kim is an essay, memoir, and short story writer (read a story of Kim’s published in AGNI) whose answers to absurdly brief interview questions are as intriguing and idiosyncratic as her wonderful prose.

MCC: What are you working on these days?

Kim: A memoir called “The Oyster’s Autobiography” and a short story about a boy with a limp called, at least for now, “Why Dim Sum Makes Me Feel Tender.”

MCC: What writer do you most admire but write nothing like?

Kim: Thomas Bernhard.

MCC: What’s the best/worst day job you’ve ever had?

Kim: The best was at a bakery in Cambridge… I loved getting up at 5 am & biking over the Charles when nobody was on the road but truckers, & I loved rolling out baguettes & drinking cappuccino with my boss, working together in silence. The worst was as a cashier at DeLuca’s market on Beacon Hill. People were rude & my feet killed from standing all day. Most of all it was suicidally boring. I only lasted one shift.

Kim joins Ben Berman, Xujun Eberlein, Suzanne Matson, and JD Scrimgeour for a reading on Thursday, January 8, 2009, 7 PM at Grub Street, 160 Boylston Street, Boston MA. Read about all of the events in the Commonwealth Reading Series.

Kim Adrian has work forthcoming in Tin House, Ninth Letter, and the Raritan Review. Her essays and short stories have appeared in AGNI, The Gettysburg Review, Tin House, Crazyhorse, the New England Review, and elsewhere. In 2008, she received a P.E.N. New England Discovery Award in fiction; and an excerpt from her memoir-in-progress, “The Oyster’s Autobiography,” won the Editors’ Prize in nonfiction at the New Ohio Review. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Snow day: a roundup

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Sitting in our dark rooms, snowed in.

As you may know, this blog is hand-cranked by the folks at the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. On Friday, the day of the first snow storm (and the day I meant to write this post), Governor Patrick instructed non-emergency state workers not to come in. So I was home Friday, and the post got a snow day.

Anyway, we’re back in the office, so… to the art! There’s a fascinating interview with 2008 ICA Foster Finalist Rania Matar (Photography Fellow ’07) in the most recent Big RED and Shiny, where she discusses her photographs in war-torn Lebanon and why she was drawn to go back.

Via Practicing Writing: good news, web writers – you can now be the Best Americans. (In that writers who’ve been published in web-based literary journals are eligible for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories anthology. I’m not saying you can necessarily be better than the best Americans overall, such as the American Ninja or National Arts Council member Lee Greenwood. But you know, of writers.)

Check out Lloyd Schwartz’s NPR review of the CD of Scott Wheeler’s (Music Composition Fellow ’05) opera The Construction of Boston. Schwartz calls the recording of Boston Cecilia’s 2002 performance “close to an ideal realization.” The work uses the text of Kenneth Koch’s poem of the same name, an ode to the building of Boston. “I think anyone who loves cities will be charmed by this inventive and moving work,” says Schwartz.

In the ’60s, David Wheeler’s Theatre Company of Boston included Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Pacino in its acting troupe. But the standout was Paul Benedict, who recently passed away in Martha’s Vineyard. The Globe has an excellent obituary (and check out the tributes in the comments section, too). And the Playgoer, the eponymous blogger shares his personal memories of Mr. Benedict.

In The Public Humanist, filmmaker Larry Hott argues that, along with visual skills, film & video artists ought to be able to string a few words together, to get ahead in their field.

Via the NY Times: according to an NEA report, supply of non-musical plays is outstripping demand. But is this on an aggregate demand curve or a marginal utility curve? And have all exogenous variables been considered? Or could it be, as the UK’s Guardian Theatre Blog suggests, that “demand” for art can be helped along, as with the NEA’s Big Read program for literature. A Big See, anyone?

Via Publishers Weekly, Dennis Lehane, scribe of such iconic Boston tales as Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, will edit Akashic’s forthcoming Boston Noir anthology of mystery stories.

The roster of artists for President-elect Obama’s inauguration is shaping up. Elizabeth Alexander will be inaugural poet (Mass. connection: she studied with Derek Walcott at BU), and Cambridge master cellist Yo-Yo Ma is among the musical performers. (Based on the musicians and the instruments they play, Alex Ross takes a stab at guessing the musical selection.)

A handful of calls to artists…
Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theatre is accepting submissions of features, shorts, documentaries and student films that have some connection to Cape Cod for a juried festival called the 2009 Cape Cod Filmmaker Takeover. Chosen films are screened at WHAT’s Julie Harris Stage, the audience votes, and the grand prize winner participates in the Provincetown International Film Festival. Submission must be postmarked by January 23, 2009; guidelines and submission criteria here.

Central Productions has an open call for submissions for the 8th Annual Boston Cinema Census, showcasing innovative works by emerging New England filmmakers. The BCC is hosted by the Brattle Theatre. Deadline Feb. 10, 2009. Check here for details.

Visionary drawings conveying a dwelling/structure/architectural concept can be submitted to Kidspace @ MASS MoCA’s March 2009 Exhibition Cribs to Cribbage and the publication Visionary Architecture. Interested artists should procure a submission form (find out how here), then use the form to create your drawing and submit by January 15, 2009. Selected drawings will be compiled in Visionary Architecture.

And finally…
In case you missed the excellent traditional arts performances in conjunction with the Keepers of Tradition exhibition at the National Heritage Museum, you can check some of them out at the MCC YouTube Channel. (Perhaps during the next snow storm?)

Image: Timothy Horn (Sculpture/Installation Fellow ’05), WATERSPORTS (Installation, 2002), mixed media, variable dimensions. Timothy’s works are currently on exhibit in In Pursuit of Beauty at the Montserrat Gallery at the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, through January 24. Read the Boston Globe’s review.

Nano-interview with Ben Berman

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

In January and February, we’re putting on the Commonwealth Reading Series, featuring literary fellows and finalists from our Artist Fellowships Program. The readings will include both poets and prose writers and will be, to mix vernaculars, all milieus of awesome.

To promote the readings, the participants were invited to take part in miniaturized versions of interviews. The first to do so is poet Ben Berman. Ben will read on Thursday, January 8 at Grub Street in Boston, at 7 PM.

Reading Ben’s answers, I suspected he had a bit of Marx Brothers in his worldview. So I asked, and he confirmed.

Always a good sign for a live reading.

MCC: What are you working on these days?

Ben: A poem called The Great Molasses Flood (what a tidal!) It’s about The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 that killed 21 people in the North End.

MCC: What’s the most surprising reader response you’ve ever received?

Ben: A student once told me that my ears look like they’re made of wax.

MCC: Who wins the poets vs. prose writers paintball war?

Ben: The poets paintball is an amateur sport no place for pros.

Ben joins Kim Adrian, Xujun Eberlein, Suzanne Matson, and JD Scrimgeour for a reading on Thursday, January 8, 2009, 7 PM at Grub Street, 160 Boylston Street, Boston MA. Read about all of the events in the Commonwealth Reading Series.

Ben Berman has received honors from the New England Poetry Club and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times. His poems have been published in Salamander, The Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, Connecticut Review and other journals, as well. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and high school English teacher, he now coaches Humanities teachers in the Boston Public Schools.

Tapestry of Voices poets in Boston

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

If you find yourself free, poetry-hungry, and within reasonable reach of Boston tonight (Thursday, December 18), check out the Tapestry of Voices Poetry Reading Series at the Boston Omni Parker House. The free reading features Tracy Strauss (who, you may recall, guest-blogged for us on her experience at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference) joining Richard Hoffman (a multiple recipient of our Artist Fellowships), genre-bending poet and storyteller C.D. Collins, and Boston Globe literary columnist Ellen Steinbaum, reading selections of their diverse poetic work.

Tapestry of Voices Poetry Series
Thursday, December 18, 6:30PM
Boston Omni Parker House Hotel

Commonwealth Reading Series

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

I’m pleased as various flavors of punch to announce the Commonwealth Reading Series, a statewide series of readings featuring literary fellows and finalists from the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship Program.

There are five events in all, with the first on January 8 at Boston’s Grub Street and subsequent events continuing to the end February.

If you have the chance to attend one or several or all of the readings, don’t hold back! They’ll be great. Participating readers for each event are listed below. Read their bios here – and check out our series of nano-interviews with readers and event partners.

All events are free and open to the public.

Thursday, January 8, 2009, 7 PM
Grub Street, 160 Boylston Street, Boston MA
Co-sponsored by Grub Street
Featuring:
Kim Adrian
Ben Berman
Xujun Eberlein
Suzanne Matson
Monica Raymond
JD Scrimgeour

Thursday February 5, 2009, 7 PM
Porter Square Books, 25 White Street, Cambridge MA
Co-sponsored by Harvard Review
Featuring:
Steve Almond
Lisa Nold
George Rosen
Tracy Winn

Tuesday, February 10, 2009, 7 PM
Porter Square Books, 25 White Street, Cambridge MA
Co-sponsored by AGNI Magazine
Featuring:
Michael Downing
Rachel Kadish
Rebecca Kaiser Gibson
Joan Wickersham

Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 8 PM
Amherst Books, 8 Main Street, Amherst MA
Co-sponsored by jubilat and Juniper Initiative
Featuring:
Noy Holland
Caroline Klocksiem
Elizabeth Porto
Susie Patlove

Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 7 PM
Forbes Library, 20 West Street, Northampton MA
Co-sponsored by Mass Humanities
Featuring:
DM Gordon
Liz Hughey
Bill Peters
Michael Teig

Elects: a roundup

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Fiber artist Adrienne Sloane sent us the above image of jewelry depicted (in an unfinished form) in her recent Studio Views. It’s called the Inaugural Necklace and Bracelet (and if anyone can get them into the First Lady-elect’s hands, let us know!).

Speaking of -elects… via Modern Art Notes is the news that former Whitney and SFMOMA director David Ross has posted on Twitter ten arts policy recommendations for the new administration. Included are “1. Support and sign bill giving artists tax incentives for donating their work to museums… 2. Create a new public work program for artists and writers… 8. Consider the creation of a cabinet-level post for culture.”

Now I know it’s not a race. But the Commonwealth’s very own Ploughshares is totally number one yeah wooo hooo! when it comes to Pushcart nominations for literary journals.

At the Boston Handmade blog is an update on their storefront at Downtown Crossing. Anyone surprised to hear that the gallery of lovingly and inventively created handmade goods by local artists and artisans is, in short, hopping?

In the Mass Humanities Public Humanist blog, art historian Jack Cheng explores how “I could do that” isn’t necessarily a slam against a piece of art.

In the unlikely event that whoever stole Ariel Kotker’s hand-sculpted nail from her Northampton Center for the Arts show is also an ArtSake reader: return it, Mr/Ms. Naughty. Seriously, that was not cool. To say nothing of the time it took to create, this piece of art – any work of art – deserves more respect than that.

A filmmaker who took part in the The Content + Intent Documentary Institute at MASS MoCA shares how the residency shaped her efforts to build a grassroots audience for her film. (Incidentally, the residency is a five-day workshop to help documentary filmmakers enhance the community engagement and impact of their films-in-process.The next one is in March ’09.)

The publishers of Play: A Journal of Plays have created an online magazine to accompany it, called Device. Notably, playwright/MacArthur Genius Sarah Ruhl has contributed a series of short essays on topics like “On the Loss of Sword Fights” & “And what of gut-roiling aesthetic hatred?”

From our sibling blog, Keepers of Tradition, comes the fantastic news that the Keepers of Tradition exhibition of Massachusetts art and folk heritage at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington has been extended through June ’09!

Via Our Daily RED: a panel has recommended Harvard University expand it’s commitment to the arts. Was Marjorie Garber’s op-ed about universities becoming society’s great patrons of the arts prophetic?

And finally, in St. Paul, MN, they’re doing a version of A Christmas Carol in Klingon (with English subtitles). “Scrooge has no honor, nor any courage. Can three ghosts help him to become the true warrior he ought to be in time to save Tiny Tim from a horrible fate?” goes the plug. I found it via playwright Adam Szymkowicz’s blog in a post titled “what we have in MN.” And I’m saying: why don’t we have this in MA? Get on it, local Klingon Assault Groups!

Image: Adrienne Sloane, INAUGURAL NECKLACE AND BRACELET (2008)

The Sopranos

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Otis B. Driftwood: Youre willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie.- Groucho Marx from A Night at the Opera, 1935

Apparently it is all the rage. It being a program called The Met: Live in HD, which started in 2006 and has grown into a worldwide phenomenon.

Thanks to the modern technological invention of high-definition broadcast, theres no need to go to Lincoln Center anymore to see the Metropolitan Opera. All you have to do is go to your local movie theater or playhouse and experience what has become known as a virtual opera house experience, well, kind of, sort of.

After having seen my very first opera in HD performance at a movie theater in Braintree a short time ago, I couldnt help but think this is the music equivalent of watching sports on ESPN, particularly seeing interviews with the perspiring singers just after they have exited the stage. Theres nothing like the HD quality projected on the silver screen emphasizing the physicality of the performers work. Its also great to hear the artists speak about the conductor, the set design, and the composers work they are performing.

There are numerous cities and towns in the Commonwealth that participate in The Met: Live in HD program, including Boston, Braintree, Burlington, Foxboro, Framingham, Hadley, Lowell, Marlborough, Millbury, Randolph, Revere, Swansea, and West Springfield, as well as the Cape Cinema in Dennis, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, and the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.

So goodbye Logan Airport, bye-bye Amtrak train, see ya later Fung Wah bus; its off to Braintree. And who really cares if the parking lot at the cinema has an architectural quality that is somewhat different from the stunning design of the plaza at Lincoln Center? Witnessing world-class opera in a local theater is a great use of these venues, as well as a boon for the local economy. And you can buy M&Ms from the concession stand. Did I say that?

And lets not forget that Boston is home to not one but two incredible opera companies: the Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Boston. Seeing the real thing live and in person is always superior to the HD experience. So be sure to check out our homegrown talent. And heres a good tip: the ArtsBoston ticket booth sells half-price tickets on the day of the performance for many local cultural events. Heres a list of participating cultural organizations.

Postscript: Since I never purchase soda at the movies, I was shocked to discover how large a large has really become. It really is a supersize generation, Im sad to say. The drink that I ordered during the intermission of La Damnation de Faust was so big that I had to use two hands to lift it. But I digress.

Image Credit: Photograph of the facade of the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, New York, New York. Taken on 12 March 2004 by Paul Masck and released with a Creative Commons license on 30 July 2005 by the photographer.

Kristin Bock talks Cloisters

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Kristin Bock

Kristin Bock (Poetry Fellow ’06) recently published the poetry collection Cloisters, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award. We spoke to her about her new book and her art (literary and otherwise), and the conversation ranged from Pre-Raphaelites to stealing her father’s apprentice to the benefit of ungentle critiques to writing about a Space-Age Paul Bunyan. Enjoy!

MCC: Reading Cloisters, I kept jotting down language I loved and found my page filled with it – “I lay my head like a hive in your hands” (from Phrenology); “Inside my chest an apple darkens” (from Scarecrow); “Clearly, she’s ruined./Her face an overripe peach,/her hand a blowzy peony” (from Watercolor Left in a Humid Kitchen). I read Michelle Blackley’s review and was curious to see that my reactions, while equally favorable, were very different from hers. Have any responses to your writing really surprised you?

Kristin: Yes, but pleasantly so. Blackley focuses on the interconnectedness between Nature and the unrequited desires of the speaker. In its early stages, a writer friend of mine labeled the book a “re-appraisal of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.” At first this surprised me, but when I thought about the book’s emphasis on the imagination, nature, symbolism, and the divine, and how many of the poems were inspired by Pre-Raphaelite art and philosophy such as The Romantic Sublime, and The Artist as Rossetti’s Sitter, I realized the collection could be read that way. Certainly, the Pre-Raphaelite movement had a significant influence on my writing, and once I embraced this idea, it helped to shape the rest of the book. Aside from its themes, I’m always pleased to hear that people are enjoying the language itself. Like you, many say they like the terse, imagistic quality of the lyric. It’s all in there I suppose, and listening to readers unravel various threads has been enlightening.

MCC: I’m fascinated by your choice to group the poems into five “months” – October, December, February, April, August. It was interesting to see how some of the imagery carried through the different sections, like a cast of characters (bees, birds, apples, bones) set in different landscapes. Was the grouping into months something you had in mind while writing, or a structure that emerged along the way?

Kristin: The structure of the book attempts to document a year of estrangement from a friend. The speaker of the poems struggles with the idea of letting go and resists grief, as if completing the process would mean some form of forgetting which is unacceptable. Nonetheless, the book is divided into sections which loosely mirror the five stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and finally a kind of acceptance, or in this case – forgiveness. Because most poems are set in the New England landscape, I found they reflected the passing seasons and fell naturally into sections. I think the repetition of certain images or a “cast of characters” comes from my propensity to see the world, especially the pastoral, in terms of symbols. I didn’t consciously set out to write “symbolic” poems, however, after I wrote about 20 or so, I began to notice the ubiquitous bird and apple and bee, and once I did, I let them evolve and take center stage.

MCC: I know, apart from your poetry, that you’ve worked with your husband (Geoff Kostecki) to refurbish liturgical paintings and sculptural iconography. I’m curious whether this work finds its way into your writing. I’m thinking of – and I apologize if this reading is too literal! – the poem Restoring the Fourteen Stations of the Cross. Is there overlap?

Kristin: Absolutely. Painting has influenced my work from the very beginning. My father was a still-life artist, a realist, and I was always at his side watching him paint. His paintings made me aware of texture, the qualities of light, and the language between objects at a very early age. They facilitated my understanding of symbolism and metaphor and nurtured my love for dark imagery. In short, art taught me the vocabulary of poetry. One of my first poems was inspired by my father’s painting of a naked china doll with its eyes extracted, a dark hole on top of its head where hair should have been. I imagined if I could peer down inside its head, I would find a lost button, some balls of dust, or a few dried bees. The doll was cocked awkwardly to one side, and its right arm stretched out to the viewer. I was frightened and fascinated at the same time, and as despairing as it may seem, I came to identify with the doll, and it became my first conscious metaphor. As Emily Dickinson writes in her poem “Tis So Appalling — It Exhilarates”–”the Truth is Bald and Cold.”

When I was older, and to my father’s dismay, I stole his one and only apprentice and we married. The restoration work I do with my husband finds its way into my poetry much the same way my father’s did. I guess you could say it was an easy transition! You’re right; the poem Restoring the Fourteen Stations of the Cross is the best example of this cross-fertilization. While refurbishing fourteen very large stations in bas-relief for nearly a year, bending over the figures, mending their broken limbs, sanding, scraping, painting them, becoming intimate with each scene and its symbolism, I had the sensation of literally being the hand that created them. Therefore, the speaker of the poem emerged as the voice of God.

Similarly, the poem Washing the Feet of Crucifix was written while painting a life-size figure of Christ inside a mausoleum. I found myself on my knees washing the feet of Jesus. As a former Catholic, myth and idolatry are ingrained in my psyche, and like it not, they still have a hold on me. Fortunately, tending to the idols of my childhood has been strangely provocative. There is a tenderness involved, an intimacy, and certainly a blasphemous thrill too (I often have to refrain from painting Mary’s toenails red). I believe it was T.S. Eliot who branded himself a “Doubting Believer,” and it’s that inner conflict that keeps me interested in the work and makes rich fodder for poems.

As far as the title is concerned, a cloister is a part of monastic, medieval architecture. It consists usually of four corridors with a courtyard in the middle, intended to be both covered from the rain, but open to the air. While most poems in the book are pastoral in setting, albeit enclosed pastorals such as bower meadows, the hermetic vision of the speaker leads us into the interior of the Self. Cloisters served the primary function of quiet meditation or study gardens. In this way, I like to think of each poem as a cloister, a place that offers regeneration through Nature, devotions, reflection, and solitude. In this respect, my work as a poet and as a restorationist is similar in its aims.

MCC: In an interview* with fellow Montague poets Chris Janke and Elizabeth Hughey (who won a poetry fellowship in 2008), you mentioned that you have found a thriving poetry community there in Western Mass. Do you still meet with a writing group? What makes a group like that work?

Kristin: I owe a debt of gratitude to my writer’s group for their role in Cloisters‘ publication. I wrote the majority of the book in 2004 and sent the manuscript to about 15 contests, placing as a semi-finalist in one of them. My group gave the manuscript a stiff haircut and I got busy revising it. When I sent the manuscript out a second time, I placed 12 times as a semi-finalist and won the Tupelo Press First Book Award. Not surprisingly, I’m still meeting with my group and their presence in my life as poets and close friends is invaluable to me. I believe what makes our particular group work well is our respect for each other as poets and people. Just as important, our critiques are not gentle.

MCC: What’s next for you?

Kristin: If my husband had his way, I’d convert completely to a painter and we’d spend our nights sleeping on scaffolding in dark churches. I’m still doing restoration work with him, but lately I’ve been sitting for a series of portrait paintings inspired by Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s work and the imagery in Cloisters. It’s our first official collaboration.

I’m also writing poems that are very different from the ones in Cloisters. Instead of looking to nature, the past and inward, I’ve turned my gaze outwardto space and technology. When I told a friend of mine I’m thinking of writing a book of folktales from the future, he said “will Paul Bunyan brandish a light saber instead of an ax?” “Yes,” I said, “I think he will.”

Kristin Bock’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines and journals, including Cream City Review, The Seattle Review, Prairie Schooner, The Black Warrior Review, and FENCE. Cloisters is her first book.

* Incidentally, the interview with Kristin, Liz Hughey, and Chris Janke was conducted by Andrew Varnon, who won an MCC Poetry fellowship in 2004.

Deadline day: a roundup

Friday, December 5th, 2008

It’s deadline day for our Artist Fellowships applications (Fri, Dec. 5). Which means: not so much time for blogging today. But interesting stuff is still happening all over the wonder-ific web-o-sphere, and here’s some of it:

Elizabeth Graver, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow from 2006 (and terrific writer and mind), gives Paper Cuts (the NY Times book blog) some tantalizing details about her next writing project.

HubArts reports on an effort to score some Berklee profs the gig to perform at President-elect Obama’s inauguration.

Innovative theater director Anne Bogart ponders how snapping cellphone pictures in art museums reveals a society that consumes, rather than engages, its art.

The Independent Film Festival of Boston announced Dec. 31 as the deadline in their call for entries for films, including narrative and documentary features, short films, animated, experimental, horror, and GLBT interest works. More info at the Filmmakers Workshop page (a resource of the Center for Independent Documentary).

New England Film explores the LEF Foundation’s recent changes in its Moving Image Fund.

Berkshire artists who want to buy homes but also want homebuyer training have the perfect confluence of their wants in these meetings at Berkshire Bank in Pittsfield. From Assets for Artists.

Congratulations to Boston poet Henri Cole, who recently received a 2009 NEA Fellowship in Poetry.

Good stuff from our fellows/finalists
Ben Berman (Poetry Fellow ’08) has received a Pushcart Prize nomination from The Raintown Review.

Julie Mallozzi (Film & Video Finalist ’07) has announced the launch of 60.30.1, an 11-site installation over three campuses of Harvard University. The light installation commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Julie is the project’s artistic director, and the official launch is at 5pm on Monday, December 8 outside Widener Library (Harvard Yard, Cambridge).

Rania Matar (Photography Fellow ’07) speaks as part of an artist talk with the 2008 James and Audrey Foster Prize Finalists at ICA Boston, on Sunday, December 7, 1 PM.

More Fellows Notes.

And finally: GalleyCat created and posted a video interview with Joan Wickersham (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow ’08), conducted at the National Book Awards ceremony (her memoir The Suicide Index was a finalist for the award). It’s fascinating insight into her writing process.