Friday, March 06, 2009

Maurice Jackson at the Library Company

Dr. Maurice Jackson's new book, Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism, is taking off like a rocket. Here's a great photo of him at the Library Company of Philadelphia this week. This office hosted him on campus last week, and his talk was electrifying. As soon as photos are available (the bookseller from our campus bookstore took some great shots), I'll post them here as well.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Revenge of Bonnie Morris

I get a major kick out of Georgetown Women's Studies lecturer Bonnie Morris, who appeared like a comet in my office when Booklab was just getting rolling. I went to see her amazing one-woman show "The Revenge of the Women's Studies Professor" when she performed in DC a couple of years back, and now I'm happy to note that it's a new (last month!) book from Indiana University Press. "Dr. Bon" is an oldskool feminist with two books that were finalists for the Lambda literary award, and a seat on the board of Mothertongue, a DC-based spoken-word theatre space for women. She has more energy than a sugar-fed fifth-grader, and if you thought sexism was a thing of the past, her books will get you thinking twice.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It be National Grammar Day

To celebrate March 4, the official National Grammar Day, I'm gonna confess something. I was never hot stuff at grammar. Ever. I was always one of the best writers in class, and one of the most mediocre grammarians. Apparently I have an ear for the vernacular, and I even do okay with formalish text, but when it comes to not splitting one's infinitives, um, I do. Sometimes.

Even so, they have a fun way to celebrate that I might just participate in anyway... if you find an example of bad grammar on the web, take a screenshot of it (hit "print" and then paste into an e-mail) and send it to (SPOGG is the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar -- a club that would never have me as a member).

Here's a link to the Official National Grammar Day website. Those of you who have better grammar than me can freely correct whatever nudge-wink blips you find in this post.

In love with the "Most Coveted Covers"

If you want to fall happily into a blog and not come back, visit Readerville Journal and check out the Most Coveted Covers. The founder and editor, Karen Templer, is a former art director at who now works as a writer. I was immediately taken with the artful way she describes the covers she loves and craves. Most artists I know are less adept at saying why they love something, and helping the not-so-artful understand not just that it works, but some of the reasons why.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Kudos to the Authors Guild

Amazon backed down remarkably easily on the text-to-speech question, and it now leaves the decision to individual copyright holders whether or not to include their books in Kindle2's new text-to-speech feature. Amen, amen. I haven't read the Guild's press release on this yet (maybe they're snowed in), but it seems like a victory.

Journal Experiments -- Back to Basics

Last year I started The Journal Experiments, but then life and work got in the way and I drifted. Now I'm back to them again, and interested in hearing your thoughts about supporting journals. The Experiments consist of subscribing to, reading, and getting to know journals as unique entities -- little artistic corporate cultures, if you will -- and then submitting to them based on that understanding. This is the opposite of the usual author or poet strategy of writing something and then sending it out scattershot to see where it lands. The latter is part of I Am Writer, World Bend To Me... whereas the Journal Experiments are about the writer serving the medium (think about 17th-century bards writing for the stage, that sort of thing). One is author-focused, the other -- my preferred -- is audience-focused. Neither is correct in contrast to the other's incorrectness, they're simply different.

On that note, the Winter 2008 Georgia Review that I'm just now getting around to contains a fun Call For Submissions. The journal plans a special feature, "A Devil's Dictionary for the Twenty-First Century," "an update of sorts of Ambrose Bierce's brilliant satirical work... published just about one hundred years ago." Interested in submitting? Here be the link.