Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Opportunity: FREE table space – AWP Chicago

This is a freebie opportunity open to A) writers, B) indie lit journals and small presses wanting an additional way to flag down passers-by, and C) low-res MFA students, alumni, or program reps who’d like the opportunity to talk up your institution. 

The Fact:
Chicago’s 2012 AWP is fast approaching and I have an opportunity to share.

The Setting: 
Thanks to my publisher, Continuum Books, I have a table exclusively to myself, for The Low-Residency MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Creative Writing Students (link). Last year, I invited writers and low-res program reps (directors, faculty, students) to hang with me and talk to folks about their programs and their interviews in The Handbook and it was a HUGE success. It was also successful for some author pals who were able to brag about and sell their books. (As you can see from these candid shots, my table’s a good time.) I want to share my space again by opening up my second chair throughout the conference.

If you’ve ever attended AWP, you know the Bookfair is a wonderful chance to meet and mingle with just about everyone (or, 9,000+ attendees if you want to get particular). The Bookfair runs Thurs-Sat from 8:30am – 5:30pm. 

The Opportunity:
I’m currently scheduling for the Bookfair and will freely offer my second chair and half of my table space to any low-res related person, author with a need to promote, or indie journal/small press rep who needs an opportunity to reach new people. I’d like to divide the schedule into 2-3 hour chunks, so have a look at the Conference Schedule to see when you might be able to devote some time to promoting your books/program/self/press and let me know when you’d like to sign up. If you want to sign up for more than one block of time, that’s fine. If you want a friend/colleague to tag along, that’s fine. Let me know your avails.

You’re invited to bring along your books/lit journals, program brochures, biz cards, appropriate signage, and your stellar personality. My table this year is located at A5, which looks pretty good on the map (close to restrooms and coffee carts!). Once you confirm a time with me, I’ll even help promote your presence via social media, word of real-life mouth, etc.

Oh, sure, you think there’s a catch. Not really. Well, yeah, sometimes I’d like a break to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, maybe walk around the Bookfair to stretch my legs and say hi to folks, and I do have two sessions I am participating in, so – yes - it matters to me that I have some break relief here and there. But, really, I’m giving up a free chair and half a table’s worth of space while you’re in that chair. It seems fair to cover for me while I re-caffeinate, right?

Email me and we’ll chat. Soon. The conference is right around the corner and the sooner my table schedule is solid, the sooner I can start bragging about your presence and location in the Bookfair. 

While I’d love to say yes to everyone, this is a limited time offer since this is a limited space kind of situation. So, what are you waiting for? Email me now: lori@loriamay.com

Friday, December 2, 2011

PMC: grad-level CW classes open for audit


For Immediate Release
Contact: Tanya Whiton, Assistant Director
whitontanya@pmc.edu (617) 731-7697 

[Chestnut Hill, MA, November 2011] Pine Manor College is pleased to announce that a select number of graduate-level creative writing courses will be open to the public for auditing during the winter residency of its Solstice MFA Program, scheduled from December 30, 2011 to January 8, 2012. Classes are open to serious writers working at all levels; auditors are encouraged to complete the advance preparation requirements for any MFA class they wish to attend. The registration fee is $30 per course for Solstice graduates/$40 per course for the general public; the deadline for enrolling as an auditor for winter 2011 Residency is Friday, December 23, 2011.

For course descriptions, our audit policy, and a downloadable registration form, go to: http://www.pmc.edu/mfa-classes-for-audit.

Winter 2012 MFA classes that are open to the public include:

Prose (fiction and nonfiction):
· Looking Back In Fiction
· Seeing Anew: What Prose Writers Can Discover From Graphic Novelists About Crafting Stories
· Everything Matters: The Sentence

Creative Nonfiction: 
· The Fundamentals Of Food Writing: An Introduction
· Sentimentality In Memoir

Writing for Young People:
· Inspiring Young Readers & Writers
· Picture Book Techniques

· Talking Back, Taking Back: Moments Of Re-appropriation In Native Poetry
· Saying The Poem: Bringing The Fictionist’s Art Of Dialogue Into Poetry

Inspiration, Outreach, and Social Media:
· Higher Ground: How To Enrich Your Community And Make A Difference Through Your Art
· The Demons That Keep You From Writing
· Best Practices For Writers Using Social Media

As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change.

For more information, visit www.pmc.edu/mfa


Friday, November 4, 2011

MFA Clinic @ Politics & Prose

The Fiction MFA Clinic:
An Insider’s Insights on Applying, Getting in, and Making the Most of Your Time in Graduate School
Facilitated by Nicole Idar 

If you’re in the midst of researching MFA programs and need a little insider know-how, you may want to check out this upcoming workshop hosted at Politics & Prose Bookshop in DC. The two-hour lunchtime class will cover the application process, how to decide on a program right for you (or if, indeed, the MFA is right for you), tips on writing strong letters, and will also cover how to succeed in and after the program, etc. Questions are welcome in a supportive setting. Everyone is welcome regardless of publication history. 

The Details
Info and sign-up here, on the Politics & Prose website
Price: $30 ($25 members)
Monday, November 14, 12 – 2 p.m.

Suggested Book
The Creative Writing MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students, by Tom Kealey

Also Recommended
The Low-Residency MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Creative Writing Students, by Lori A. May (!)

Writer's Workshop in a Book: The Squaw Valley Community of Writers on the Art of Fiction, ed. Alan Cheuse & Lisa Alvarez 

Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer, by Bret Anthony Johnston

About The Instructor
Nicole Idar left a career in financial journalism to pursue an MFA in fiction from George Mason University, enrolling 10 years after she earned a BA in English & American Literature from Harvard University. She was the 2010-2011 Thesis Fellow in Fiction at GMU, and won the Mary Roberts Rinehart and Dan Rudy awards for her stories. Her work has appeared in the New Ohio Review and World Literature Today, and is forthcoming in Rattapallax. She remembers feeling anxious about whether or not to apply to MFA programs when she was still a journalist, and wishes this class had been available at the time!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

latest publication: accents poetry anthology

I’m very pleased to share my latest publication, Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems (edited by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer). In this anthology of 250 poems, you’ll find my poem “Hindsight” in good company, alongside authors like Barry George, Joy Gaines-Friedler, Thom Ward, and many, many more. 

Visit the Accents Publishing website for more info and to order.

The Official Info
Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems is a 316-page volume of poems of up to 50 words, including titles. Whether poignant, funny, tragic, or inspirational, each poem is always complete and memorable, representing a world larger than the space it takes on the page. This book features work by 192 contemporary masters of the short free-form poem. 

What Others Say About Bigger Than They Appear
"There are sharp flashes of light, moments when the miraculous world reveals itself to us swiftly, fully. And, because the mind is also a miracle, the lucky words sometimes arrive to capture that revelation and through it witness what it means to be alive. That is the gift of this gorgeous collection."
– Mary Ann Taylor-Hall

Details and Ordering
Publication Date: December 1, 2011
Format: Softcover, 5" x 7"
Pages: 316
ISBN: 978-1-936628-07-0
Price: $15.00
Shipping begins Nov 21/11

Sections in the Anthology
The 250 poems in the anthology have been organized into the following nine sections:
  • A Field Remembers 
  • Open Season 
  • Perfect Dwelling 
  • Portrait of the Artist as an Anagram 
  • Miscellaneous Merchandise 
  • Directly Across from Me 
  • Ritual 
  • The Meaning of Need 
  • When You Become a Body
Visit the Accents Publishing website for more info and to order.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reviewer to Student: Low-Res MFA Handbook

Back in January of this year, Rhonda Browning White shared a review of The Low-Residency MFA Handbook on amazon. In her review, as a prospective student, Rhonda shared this sentiment: 
May's discussions on teaching philosophy, format, residency community, pedagogy (or lack thereof), and even life after the MFA held priceless information that helped to direct me to programs that will best fit what I need and desire…. Highly and strongly recommended to anyone considering a low-residency MFA program. Kudos to Lori May for putting together such an informative, concise piece of work! 
Recently, on her Inspiration for Writers blog, Rhonda shared her experience as a first-timer in a low-res program. From her research, Rhonda selected – and was selected by – Converse College. I was so pleased to hear about Rhonda’s program acceptance and her entrance into Converse, I simply have to share her excellent blog post about what it’s like to take the big step.

Without further ado, here is a repost of Rhonda Browning White’s account, originally posted on her blog here:

My First Semester in an MFA Writing Program 
by Rhonda Browning White 

I had no idea what to expect when I arrived on the idyllic campus of Converse College for my first semester in their MFA in Creative Writing Program. I was nervous about meeting my dorm-mate (Me? Staying in a dorm? With a total stranger? At my age?), who turned out to be a spectacular poet, mother and now my sweet friend. I wondered if I’d be accepted among a group of sixty students, forty-five of whom already had a history together, or if the professors and visiting authors would look down from their lofty positions as they berate my writing. After all, these people were real writers—authors whose names I recognized, whose novels and poetry collections sit on my bookshelves even now. 

I needn’t have worried.

These same instructors and brilliant students are now my friends: we touch base via email, follow each other’s daily lives on Facebook, share links to interesting blog links and sometimes chat on the phone about everything from a class assignment to a great novel we’ve read to a recipe you’ve just got to try! 

But what is a low-residency program, and what do you do in it, I’m often asked. Well I can’t speak for all of them, but I can tell you about mine. Here’s a typical day in the life of a Converse low-res student:

Breakfast in the dining hall (surprisingly yummy food), begins at seven and lasts until nine, and you are welcome at a table with your cohorts, or you might want to sit with a professor or a visiting author to chat about, oh, anything. 

Before the first session of the day begins following breakfast, students can attend one-on-one meetings with their faculty mentor to discuss the semester syllabus, to brainstorm about a current project, or to chat about suggestions for their reading list. On some days, student group meetings are held in this time frame, as well. If students don’t have a scheduled meeting, they’ll often use this for a leisurely chat over coffee, free writing time, strolling the campus grounds (beautiful gardens, impressive statuary and quiet nooks for settling in with a good book). 

The day’s first craft lecture follows. Doesn’t this sound boring? I mean, come on, a craft lecture? Let me tell you, these things are amazing! This semester, Dan Wakefield taught us using his late friend Kurt Vonnegut’s fiction, authors Leslie Pietrzyk (my mentor this semester—Yay!) and Marlin Barton gave inspiring lectures on story beginnings and using violence in fiction, and national bestselling author Robert Olmstead lectured on how characters’ thoughts can change the whole direction of a story. Powerful stuff, and these were only a few of the fiction lectures! “But wait,” you say, “do you mean you studied things other than fiction in a fiction program?” Absolutely! One of the reasons I chose Converse is that students are encouraged to attend lectures by professors outside their primary genre. Not only does this present inspiration in directions you might not have considered, but it provides a broader scope should you decide to teach in the future. Hence, I enjoyed seminars by phenomenal poets Denise Duhamel, Suzanne Cleary and Albert Goldbarth. I also benefited from seminars, lectures and readings by guest faculty and speakers, including Brock Clarke and Marshall Jon Fisher and faculty Susan Tekulve and our amazing program director Rick Mulkey. 

A leisurely two-hour lunch followed each day’s first seminar, when you’d hear chatter and laughter throughout the dining hall and across the campus as new relationships budded and old friendships grew fonder. Of course, some of this two-hour period was usually spent writing or reading, digesting not only dessert but the instruction and information we’d received in our day’s first lecture. 

A walk in the sun across the campus green led us to our afternoon workshop. Workshops are broken into genre—fiction, non-fiction and poetry—and each workshop includes only five to ten students and one or two professors in a roundtable setting. It’s here where the real work occurs, where students watch their skills grow like magic and their writing improve before their eyes. No kidding. I’m still amazed at how much better my writing was on the last day as compared to the first day. Not only were we instructed in methods to improve our work, but we applied those things to our writing and discussed what worked and what didn’t. Workshops were very “hands on,” and over the course of the residency, each student had an hour’s discussion and constructive critique of their own work by the workshop instructors and fellow students. Instructors welcomed our questions and encouraged each student to offer feedback and share their opinions of the selections we read and the writing exercises we completed. 

A second stimulating lecture period followed our craft workshop. Some days, these periods consisted of events like a panel discussion of authors or even a sit-down Q & A with Algonquin Publishing’s Executive Editor Chuck Adams. Receiving this kind of insight into the world of publishing is critically advantageous to a developing author’s success and, as students, we were ever aware that we were being provided a “secret map” that will guide us through the tangled jungle of submission and publication. 

Dinner (and more laughter) follows this last lecture of the day, then we’re treated to an hour of guest speaker, faculty or student readings. The readings are casual and comfortable, and some of the stories and poems shared take us from hilarity to tears and back again. The night’s readings end with a social hour, which tends to morph into social hours. As our ten-day residency progressed, these social gatherings grew longer as our conversations grew deeper and our friendships became stronger. A few at a time, students and faculty disbursed to grab a snack, study, write, or do a load of laundry. The common areas of the dorm (usually the veranda) always remained a social meeting place, however, even into the wee hours. Get an idea you need to bounce off someone? Head to the veranda. Can’t think of a word you need to complete a rhyme in your sestina? Head to the veranda. Can’t finish your bag of popcorn? Don’t worry, your friends on the veranda will devour it for you. Eventually—sometimes as the sky begins to brighten again—the rocking chairs slow, and the last few upright writers head to their beds and dream of new stories before time to rise and do it all again.  

Too soon, our residency ended, but the flame of passion for writing still burns strong as each of us work from home to complete our semester assignments. We study the novels and books on our individualized reading lists. We write critical theory papers about what we’ve read, discerning what works and what doesn’t in those stories, and deciding what we’ve learned that we can apply to our own writing. We also write our own stories or essays or poems—creating packets that we’ll send to our mentor every three or four weeks. We stay in touch with our mentors and our cohorts, and always, we look forward to the next semester, when we’ll be together with our like-minded, creative family at Converse. 


Thanks to Rhonda Browning White for the permission to repost this excellent description of a first-timer’s experience in a low-res program! 

Visit Rhonda’s blog here
Learn more about the Converse College MFA program here
Buy a copy of The Low-Residency MFA Handbook on amazon.

If you have a low-res experience you'd like to share, email lori@loriamay.com.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

MCEA – Conference & Reading

This Friday, October 14, I’ll be reading poetry and nonfiction at the annual Michigan College English Association (MCEA) conference. The full day of events begins at 9:30, with my reading taking place 11am-12:15pm. A full schedule and registration forms are available online here

Conference Theme
The theme for the 2011 Michigan College English Association Conference is “Taking Risks” and will be held the campus of University of Michigan – Dearborn on October 14, 2011. The conference is at the Fairlane Center Campus, 19000 Hubbard Drive, Dearborn, Michigan 48126. Registration begins at 8:30. Sessions run from 9:30 to 3:15.

Keynote Speaker
This year’s keynote address, entitled “The King James Bible in Contemporary American Works”, will given by Professor James Vanden Bosch. Vanden Bosch has taught English at Calvin College for over twenty-five years, with a special interest in English grammar, grammar for ESL teachers, corpus linguistics, and Cormac McCarthy’s fiction and drama. He regularly teaches short courses in Moscow, directed a semester-abroad program in Budapest, and recently taught in Lintong, China.

Vanden Bosch has degrees from Calvin College, Ohio University, and the University of Chicago Divinity School. At Calvin, he has been named the Professor of the Year (2001) and has won the Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching (2010). 

This 400th anniversary of the King James Bible has prompted Vanden Bosch to explore the influence of the King James Bible on several contemporary American writers. 

About MCEA
The Michigan College English Association is an organization dedicated to the following mission:

•Providing opportunities for the discussion of the preparation and professional improvement of college teachers of English through annual meetings, publications, and conferences with representatives of other professional organizations;

•Encouraging the humane as well as the immediate practical study of language and literature;

•Maintaining and developing the functions of English studies as a major element in American higher education;

•Promoting fruitful interrelationships among English and other disciplines; and

•Interpreting the relationships of the study and teaching of English to society at large

MCEA is a state affiliate of the College English Association and sponsors an annual conference dedicated to promoting the above goals.

For more info, visit http://www.michcea.com/.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rochester Writers' Conference - Oct 8th

The 4th Annual Rochester Writers' Conference will be Saturday, October 8, 2011 at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

Workshops, Lectures and Panel Discussions
Fiction and Non-fiction
New, Published, and Working Writers Welcome

Register by October 1st for Early Bird Rate
  • Book Publishing 
  • Magazine Editors
  • Travel Writing
  • Non-Fiction Book Proposal 
  • Culinary Writing 
  • Traditional Research Methods
  • Staging a Scene in a Novel 
  • Self-Publishing
  • Writers' Workshop
  • And More!

Visit http://www.rochesterwriters.com/ to download a registration form or to sign-up online today!

September 27, 2011

Rochester, Michigan – Local writers, authors, and educators will be presenting a variety of workshops, lectures, and panel discussions at the Fourth Annual Rochester Writers’ Conference on Saturday, October 8, 2011 on the Oakland University campus.

“The ongoing success of the conference proves the need for this kind of professional development in the Greater Rochester Area,” states Michael Dwyer, founder and organizer of the event. Dwyer, freelance writer and speaker, goes on to say that, “This year’s theme is Get Published!” 

Dwyer, a Rochester Hills resident, will be presenting Travel Writing Basics for freelance writers interested in delivering travel articles that are unique, fresh, and sell. Also new this year is Culinary Writing presented by Lisa Howard. Ms. Howard has attended the conference the last three years. From attending the conference she took home with her valuable information that she put toward her culinary writing career. Lisa is now published monthly and will share her knowledge with her own workshop.

Authors will have many reasons to attend the conference. Three area authors will be holding a Self-Publishing Panel at the event: Cindy LaFerle and Gerry Boylan from Royal Oak and Cynthia Harrison from Macomb. Christine Purcell, Acquisitions Editor for Elder Signs Press, will talk about Book Publishing the traditional way. Karen Knox, author and IT Manager at the Rochester Hills Public Library, will offer a presentation on Traditional Researching Methods. Lori A. May will offer a talk on The Non-fiction Book Proposal and Annick Carthew, of Rochester Hills, will teach attendees how to Stage a Scene for a novel.

Freelance writers need to keep up with trends and network to stay working. Several local magazine editors will be presenting ways to pitch publications and get published as a freelance writer. Online outlets, local magazines, and national publications all need good content. New and established writers will benefit from hearing the thoughts of working editors.

Attendees will select four out of a dozen presentations to tailor-fit their interests. Lunch and refreshments will be included with registration. “Networking with the presenters is one of most beneficial aspects of attending – so bring your business cards,” remarks Dwyer, “And all of our presenters are Michigan residents. We support our state and prove that local writers can be and are successful. The event is truly Made in Michigan.”

Early Registration is only $99.00 until October 1, 2011. After that and on the day of, registration will be $125.00. A complete list of all the presentations, details and secure online registration are available at http://www.rochesterwriters.com/.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Solstice & The Foundation for Children’s Books


[Chestnut Hill, MA, September, 2011] The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College is proud to announce a new partnership with The Foundation for Children’s Books (FCB), a nonprofit organization that cultivates children’s curiosity, creativity, and academic achievement by igniting in them a love of good books. The FCB and Solstice MFA Program will co-host the first in a series of biannual events, “What’s New in Children’s Books” —a half-day conference featuring authors, illustrators, and library and bookstore professionals— Saturday, November 5th from 8 a.m.–noon on the Pine Manor College campus, 400 Heath Street in Chestnut Hill. 

“What's New in Children's Books?” will feature illustrator Bryan Collier, winner of the Caldecott Honor Award and the 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, written by Solstice MFA faculty member Laban Carrick Hill; middle-grade and teen novel writer Mark Peter Hughes, whose book Lemonade Mouth is now a Disney Channel movie; Penny Noyce, doctor, educator, mother of five, and author of Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers; and Terry Schmitz, owner of the Children's Book Shop in Brookline, MA. The conference includes coffee and refreshments, new books from the Children's Book Shop, and book sales and signing.  

As one of the few low-residency MFA programs to offer a concentration in writing for children and young adults, the Solstice MFA Program of Pine Manor College has worked to integrate writers whose work is targeted toward a variety of audiences.“The Solstice MFA Program believes that our children and young people deserve high quality literature that reflects the diversity of America,” says Solstice MFA Director Meg Kearney. “Our new partnership with the Foundation for Children’s Books underscores our mutual goals of putting good books into the hands of young readers, and introducing writers and illustrators to the people who play a vital role in exciting children about literature: teachers and librarians.”  

As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change.  

Founded in 1983, the FCB has served librarians, teachers, and children’s authors and illustrators by presenting a professional development speaker series and workshops. Beginning in 2005, the Foundation expanded its mission to serve teachers and urban students in grades K-8 by bringing acclaimed children’s book authors and illustrators into under-served schools in Boston. As part of its mission to build a bridge between the inspiring and dynamic creators of children’s books and their audience of young readers, the FCB has brought 23 authors and illustrators into 18 elementary and middle schools in Boston; these visits include book donations.  

Directions to Pine Manor College, complete bios of our authors, and more information about the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program can be found at www.pmc.edu/mfa


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Solstice/Pine Manor: 4 new fellowships


[Chestnut Hill, MA, September 2011] The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program of Pine Manor College is pleased to offer four $1,000 fellowships for writers: The Dennis Lehane Fellowship for Fiction; the Michael Steinberg Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction; the Jacqueline Woodson Fellowship for a Young People’s Writer of African or Caribbean Descent; and the Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry. 

All fellowship awards are based on the quality of a writing sample. 

Fellowship applications are due October 14, 2011 (not a postmark date; materials must be received in our offices before or on October 14). Fellowship applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early. Notification letters will be mailed to winners only on November 15, 2011. Awards must be applied toward the winter residency/spring semester directly following acceptance; fellowships cannot be deferred or applied toward a summer residency/fall semester start.

About our donors (underwriters of the Sharon Olds Poetry Fellowship wish to remain anonymous): 

A former staff writer for HBO’s The Wire, Solstice MFA writer-in-residence Dennis Lehane is author of nine novels, including Mystic River, Shutter Island, and Gone, Baby, Gone —each of which has been made into a feature film— and the fall 2010 release, Moonlight Mile. 

Solstice MFA writer-in-residence Michael Steinberg is a memoirist, essayist, and founding editor of the literary journal, Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. His memoir Still Pitching was named the 2003 Independent Press memoir of the year.

Solstice MFA consulting writer Jacqueline Woodson is author of numerous books for children and young adults, including Feathers, a Newbery Honor Book; Miracle’s Boys, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award; and Locomotion, winner of the Horn Book Award. 


As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change. 

Directions to Pine Manor College, complete bios of our authors, and more information about the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program can be found at www.pmc.edu/mfa


Thursday, September 8, 2011

call: hand-to-hand book sale tales

Inspired by this recent blog post at Vouched Books (thanks to Leslie Pietrzyk, prof at Converse College, for sharing on FB & of course to VB for writing in the first place), I’d like to make a Call for Hands – true tales about your fave hand-to-hand poetry book sales

Be it at readings, literary festivals, or in your office cubicle, if you’re a poet you’ve most certainly sold a book hand-to-hand – and it’s that personal one-on-one sales that keep us selling. Oh, sure, some poets will say they’re not interested in sales or that poetry, actually, doesn’t sell. Well, if you have a book the reality is you need to sell it. If you want another book. If you want to help keep our small presses alive. If you want to keep poetry alive. 

So, then, here’s the call: send me an email at lori@loriamay.com (rather than posting here in response, so we can keep these stories accumulated for a later reveal) sharing a favorite hand-to-hand sales moment. Maybe you sold a book to someone who “just doesn’t get poetry” or maybe you met a fellow poet and struck up a conversation that turned into a years-long friendship. Go on. Dig up the past and share the goods. Because, industry necessity or not, we all do enjoy sharing our work with others. 

Send in your fave moments of doing so and I’ll compile a hit list for the world (or at least my modest blog readership) to see. Who knows. You may just inspire a shy seller to get out there and work it a bit more. 

Send your hand-to-hand poetry book sales recaps to lori@loriamay.com

(Yes, of course, if you’re compelled to share your prose sales story, send it along. I’m open!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

new low-res MFA: U of Tampa

The University of Tampa is joining the ranks of institutions offering low-residency MFA creative writing programs. With its first residency just around the corner—January 5-14—I’m pleased to share this Q&A with the director, Jeff Parker. 

Jeff, thanks for joining us. Congratulations on your recent appointment to Director of The University of Tampa low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. Maybe you can start by sharing a bit of your own background and what drew you to the Tampa program. 
Sure. I'd been Director of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto, which reserves its second year exclusively for one-on-one mentorships between each student and a mentor. I'd also spent the better part of the last decade organizing parties for writers in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Lisbon, Portugal, in which we bring North Americans together with writers from abroad. In short, I saw in the Tampa program an opportunity to bring these two kinds of things together. So I left my cushy teaching job at UToronto and came down here to do a lot of work and see if we could make something bang-up.

I see the first residency is scheduled for January 5-14; what can incoming students expect during this inaugural residency and those that follow? 
Well, for a taste, they can expect a reading and craft talk from George Saunders, and they can expect Francine Prose giving her awesome Chekhov lectures. They can expect a program including trips to Zora Neale Hurston's place in Eatonville and Jack Kerouac's last house in St. Petersburg. They can expect to be part of the first cohort in a very unique program. It will be the smallest group there will ever be. We're expecting 20, so about six or seven each from fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. To be on the ground floor...

For the four terms in between residencies, how will students work from home? Can you tell us a bit more about the one-on-one mentoring and what Tampa has set up as goals for these project semesters? 
The main goal we have for the students is that they get better. Students will work with mentors however best suits the two of them. This is what it's really all about, this experience, and it's the heart of the program. We'll spend a lot of time during the residency getting the two together to come up with a plan, knowing in advance that plans and writing don't always will out. 

What makes the Tampa program unique? Why should prospective low-res students consider your program?
The most important thing for me is getting faculty who are among the most interesting writers working today and who also have reputations as great teachers. Also, our program will bring in writers from all over the world: Canada, Europe, Russia, Portugal, South America, Africa--you name it. We intend down the line to hold optional residencies abroad as well, but not simply as study abroad components, as part of larger programs that immerse our students in the cultural and literary scene abroad. It's part of a larger emphasis on writers getting up and doing things with their work. We're working on so many aspects of the program right now, and defining as we go.

What are your plans for the upcoming AWP conference? What presence will Tampa have in Chicago?
We're working with the University of Tampa Press on a book about literary mentors, which might sound kind of boring but when you start collecting the little writings and scraps from letters and photos that we've been getting, it's a riot and something like a tribute to what we're trying to do. We'll probably have a reception for the book and hand them out at the booth. Other than that we'll just kind of be there with the UT Press and Tampa Review to talk with anyone about the program if they want to talk about it.

Finally, where might students find more information about the program and what are the application deadlines for the January residency? 
Deadline for the first residency in January is Nov. 1. All the info is on the website: http://www.ut.edu/mfacw. Or anyone can email me directly utmfacw@gmail.com.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

new: The Towers by David Poyer

If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you may recall an interview I did with author David Poyer back in Oct 2010. Poyer is back with an intense new release. I’m pleased to share the details below: 

THE TOWERS – A Novel of 9/11/2001.
St. Martin’s Press.
August 30, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0312613013
Get it on amazon.com

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Commander Dan Lenson, USN, is visiting the Pentagon. On that same morning, his wife, former Undersecretary of Defense Blair Titus, is at a job interview at the World Trade Center. In the action-packed scenes that follow, both Dan and Blair have to fight to survive the attacks. Meanwhile, NCIS agent Aisha Ar-Rahim is investigating a terror cell in Yemen, and former SEAL Teddy Oberg is pitching an action movie to investors in LA.

Teddy, Aisha, and Dan immediately become involved in the military reaction to the attack. Dan is assigned to the staff of the Joint Special Ops team in Afghanistan. His mission: to overthrow the Taliban government. Aisha undertakes a dangerous undercover mission in Yemen to uncover links to Osama bin Laden and ultimately his location in the Shah-i-Khot Valley, Afghanistan. Teddy, having rejoined the SEALS, is assigned to Task Force Cutlass, a mission that takes him to the border of Pakistan to hunt down and kill bin Laden. Meanwhile, Blair struggles with recovery from serious injuries, and has to decide which course her life will take from here. 


The 13th Dan Lenson novel, The Towers is a fascinating, accurate depiction of the events of September 11 and the military response, informed by interviews and deep sources in the Navy, the SEALS, the Marines, the NCIS, and the author's own military experience. A past master of fast-paced sequences and heart-pumping drama, David Poyer takes the reader into the center of the action and face-to-face with the enemy.

Buy The Towers on amazon

About the Author
Captain David Poyer is the most popular living author of American sea fiction. His military career included service in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arctic, Caribbean, the Middle East, and Pacific. The Towers is the thirteenth in his continuing novel-cycle of the modern Navy and Marine Corps, following The Med, The Gulf, The Circle, The Passage, Tomahawk, China Sea, Black Storm, The Command, The Threat, Korea Strait, The Weapon and The Crisis (all available in St. Martin's Press paperback and ebook formats). He lives with novelist Lenore Hart and their daughter on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Visit him at at http://www.poyer.com/ or on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2011 Critique Mania – Soundings Review

I’m pleased to say I’ve been invited to participate with the Soundings Review Critique Mania yet again this year. Annually, Soundings Review (part of Whidbey Writers/NILA) gathers the support of authors, editors, and agents to read over submitted manuscripts in a fundraising effort. Here are the details if you’d like to submit your work for feedback and help support this great organization: 

see details & submission guidelines here and see list of participating editors, agents, and authors here

What: Critique Mania: Professional Agents, Authors, and Editors will write a critique of your writing!

When: Submission between August 1 and August 31, 2011; authors have until October 1, 2011 to respond and return manuscripts.

Where: By mail or online! No gas to buy, no planes or ferries to catch, no clock to watch!

How to submit: By Mail – Submitters will mail one poem or one prose manuscript that is postmarked August 1 - 31. We have authors for all genres. Length varies – most accept work of up to two pages of poetry or up to 1,000 words of prose, but some will take longer work. Check out our authors’ bios for length restrictions and genre preferences. 

Online – Visit http://soundingsreview.submishmash.com/submit and follow the directions for submitting and paying online – this will be through PayPal or credit card; this is only for work that is up to 2 pages of poetry or up to 1,000 words of prose. If you want to submit a longer piece online, you may do so; however, you’ll need to send us a separate check to cover the longer work. We will hold the work until we receive your check in the mail.

Request an author: As work arrives, it will be disbursed in the order received; you can request your first three choices off the list of authors; if that person has already received all the manuscripts they’ve agreed to review, your work will be sent to the next author on your list. If all your authors have maxed out, your work will go to another author (alphabetical) who works in your genre. First come, first served. 

How much: Twenty-five bucks! That’s $25.00 for the base length (2 pages poetry or 1,000 words of prose) when you submit by mail. If you submit online, the base fee is $30.00 (but no envelopes, paper, or postage are required). What a deal! For each additional page of poetry or each additional 500 words of prose, add $5. Note: online submission has a set $30 rate, so if you want to do longer work online, you have to mail a check for the difference. 

How to figure cost: a 4-page poem submitted by mail would cost $35.00 ($25.00 base rate plus $10.00 for extra two pages); the fee online would be $30.00 base rate plus $10.00 for extra two pages, for a total of $40.00. Fiction of 2,000 words submitted by mail would cost $35.00 ($25.00 base rate plus $10.00 for additional 1,000 words) and online would be $40.00 ($30.00 base rate plus $10.00). Each submission is one fee; if you want to submit more manuscripts, submit them individually. 

For mailed submissions, enclose two stamped envelopes, one for forwarding the material to an agent/author/editor and one for returning the material to you (so one envelope should have your address on it, and one should be blank). If you submit the material online, your response will be through e-mail, so be sure to include your e-mail address. 

Professional critiques normally range from $30.00 – $75.00, and most of these people aren’t usually available for this work. Should you wish to include an additional donation toward Soundings Review, we’ll be ecstatic! 

Why? Because receiving this sort of feedback is a terrific benefit to you AND because ALL the proceeds go to support our magazine, Soundings Review. Everybody wins! 

see details & submission guidelines here and see list of participating editors, agents, and authors here

Monday, August 1, 2011

The St. Lawrence Book Award

The St. Lawrence Book Award

About the Prize
Black Lawrence Press is currently accepting submissions for the 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award, an annual award that is given for an unpublished collection of short stories or poems. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection of short stories or poems. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes are awarded on publication.

The entry fee for the prize is $25 and the deadline is August 31. For more information about how to submit your manuscript for the prize, follow this link.

Previous winners of The St. Lawrence Book Award include Marcel Jolley, Stefi Weisburd, Jason Tandon, Fred McGavran, Yelizaveta P. Renfro, and Brad Ricca. Last year’s winner was Katie Umans.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Visiting The Red Earth MFA at OKCU

I’m finally caught up just enough that I can take a few moments to share my experience in visiting one of the newest – and hottest – low-residency MFA programs. When I met Danita Berg at the 2010 AWP Conference and Bookfair in Denver CO, it was evident how excited the then soon-to-be Director was about the launch of Oklahoma City University’s Red Earth MFA. We immediately clicked and kept in contact since that fateful meeting and I was ecstatic when Danita invited me as a guest speaker and workshop presenter for the inaugural residency. 

Let me tell you, visiting Oklahoma City in the middle of July is a hot, hot experience. Temperatures averaged in the 105-107 range and yet the environment couldn’t have been more inviting. This was my first time visiting the city and I was sure to take advantage of all it has to offer—great food, significant landmarks, and a gorgeous scenic Route 66 drive were all a part of my trip. Of course, the purpose of my visit was centered on the campus and what a lovely campus it was. There is a beautiful juxtaposition of old meets new and I enjoyed having a tour of some of the more unique components of this campus. Let’s just say if you’re a writer interested in furthering your education and you just happen to also be a former beauty pageant winner, we need to talk. I think I may have found a financially beneficial program for you!

Now, more about the residency…. This was the program’s first residency and I was truly impressed with the welcoming and energetic faculty. No one seemed anxious about getting things right; it already felt like each and every person had made themselves at home and that a community had been long ago established. Really, it was just a few days into the program when I arrived so it was quite the sight to see that students and faculty had already bonded so closely in so little a time. I had the pleasure of speaking throughout a day dedicated to visiting writers, including myself and novelist Matthew Quick. We had the run of the afternoon and evening and it was great to spend so much quality time with the students. 

Matthew read from The Silver Linings Playbook and then presented a workshop on using first person narration; then I took over to read poetry from stains and discuss the ins and outs of working within multiple genres, prior to presenting a workshop on social media and online networking for writers. We both spoke to how we came to the writing life, but the meat of that discussion was reserved for the public event in the evening, “Literary Living: Developing a Creative Career.” Matthew and I shared the stage of The Kerr McGhee Auditorium where not just students and faculty, but general members of the public – and a surprise visit from Telemundo! – filled the seats. We read; we gave a brief history of how we each became and continue to sustain ourselves as writers; then we opened up the floor to a wealth of inquisitive and insightful questions. 

All in all, the visit was a success. As authors, we were welcomed and treated as valued guests. As visitors to a new program, we saw a lovely community in the making. The students seemed to feel that they had made a strong choice for their writing paths and were receptive to the sessions presented to them. The faculty I had the pleasure of getting to know – like Kerry Cohen and Jeanetta Calhoun Mish – only cemented for me the idea that this program is one that will grow with its dedicated foundation team. It’s certainly a program to watch and Director Berg should be proud of this strong launch.

The Red Earth MFA is a two-year program that includes five residencies. Students have the option of working within fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, or any other sub or cross genre that speaks to them and, through the course of the program, students will complete a manuscript length project for which they will receive continual feedback and support. What’s more, The Red Earth MFA provides two optional concentration strands for students: pedagogy and professional writing. For those interested in the professional strand, students will work on developing their skills in communications and editing; for the pedagogy strand, students are guided in the skills of teaching writing. Each strand provides students with an opportunity for individual study as well, and for those who prefer to focus solely on their creative work this is also an option. So, it seems to me, The Red Earth MFA provides a number of customizable options, making this a truly personalized experience based on what the student’s needs and goals may be. For more info on the program, visit this link

All in all, I had a wonderful time visiting Oklahoma City University and feel honored to have been a part of this inaugural residency. The Red Earth MFA is a newcomer to the scene of low-res programs and you can learn a bit about its development in The Low-Residency MFA Handbook, but keep an eye on it. I know you’ll continue to hear more as the months and years progress. I can already see how this program is going to flourish with its unique approach to providing real-world opportunities for students. I’m just so pleased and honored to have been witness to part of its successful kick-start.

Monday, July 25, 2011

USA Today’s Collegiate Correspondent Program

Did you know USA Today provides opportunities for undergrad students to gain hands-on journalism experience with a leading national newspaper? The USA Today Collegiate Correspondent Program selects applicants to write weekly news pieces under the editorial direction of the pros—and students receive some modest compensation for their experience.

The mentoring experience is a definite perk, plus students also get to see their work published on usatodaycollege.com. Selected works are also considered for publication in the print and online versions of USA Today. 

For more info about the program, visit the USA Today Collegiate Correspondent Program. Don’t forget to share the link with your students!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

more than one MFA?

Today I'm working with writing students at Macomb College. We're working on building and designing writing blogs, so we're mostly just posting for fun. But, here's a question that came up in discussion:

Is there such a thing as having too many degrees?  

What do you think about this -- Can you have more than one MFA? Why might you pursue a second masters in writing? Or is that just redundant? 

We're curious. Respond away. We'll be right here, moving around pics and stuff.

Friday, July 22, 2011

low-res job opening: Spalding University

This job posting comes from the AWP eLink job bank. Good luck!

Spalding University’s brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program is seeking qualified applicants for part-time adjunct teaching in all areas: poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children & young adults, screenwriting, playwriting, & fiction. Applicants should hold an MFA or PhD in the area of concentration, have published at least one book in that area or have one fully produced play or screenplay, & have had teaching experience. Applicants of diverse backgrounds, particularly African American & Hispanic, are strongly encouraged to apply. An application should consist of a packet including (1) a cover letter, (2) professional vita, (3) a writing sample of at least twenty pages from a book, & (4) two letters of recommendation concerning suitability for teaching in a low-residency program. These materials will not be returned, but a stamped, self-addressed postcard if included in the packet will be returned to acknowledge receipt of the applications. Materials should be sent to: Sena Jeter Naslund, Program Director, MFA in Writing, Spalding University, 845 South Third Street, Louisville, KY 40203-2188, & marked "Faculty Application in (Area of Interest, poetry, etc.) Applications for the MFA adjunct positions will be received during the month of September 2011 only. For information on the program, see www.spalding.edu/mfa. Spalding provides transportation for faculty to & from the residency, as well as housing. All job offers are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check & pre-employment drug screen.

For more academic job listings, visit the AWP eLink job bank.

Friday, July 15, 2011

new discussion forum for writing students

AWP has opened up a section of the Writers' Circle web forum to former and current creative writing students to discuss their experiences with prospective students.

If you're a graduate who can share tips and advice for prospective students, you may want to stop by to share your experiences. If you're a prospective student, you'll find resourceful folks who can respond to your pressing questions. 

Current Discussion Topics Include: 
- Choosing a Residential Program
- Choosing a Low-Residency Program
- Getting the Most Out of a Program 

Join the discussion here: http://forums.awpwriter.org/

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

social media & resources for writers

As promised to the students at OKCU's low-residency MFA creative writing program, I am sharing a few links related to social media and online networking. This post has been updated since the previous list with a few new updates--so, it's happily shared with any and all who might find these resources useful.

Happy surfing….

Social Networking & Community Sites
Web & Blog Hosting
Reasonably Priced Website Design Software
Authors on Amazon
Amazon.com: Author Central
(if you currently have books for sale on amazon, take advantage of this free program!)

Marketing Tips
Writing Magazines with Online Resources
Agent/Editor Research
Book Trailers Video
For those of you looking to expand your promotions with multi-media, I thought I’d suggest a few links to demonstrate some of the really cool things writers are doing lately, in an effort to market their work. I hope you enjoy these examples:

There are so many more great resources for writers to take advantage of online, but hopefully this small sampling inspires you to research, network, and connect with others passionate about the pen!

Feel free to comment and share some of your favorite online resources for connecting writers to the greater community.