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Archive for September 2012

Author Eric K. Goodman, English professor and director of the creative writing program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His latest novel is Twelfth and Race, published by University of Nebraska Press as part of their Flyover Fiction Series. Many thanks to Elizabeth G., a listener from Michigan, who requested that I interview Eric.

Today's Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Eric K. Goodman. It's one that he's been using in master classes. He calls it "The Things They Cherish," which has obvious links to a well-known short story and story collection by Tim O'Brien. We all have items we cherish, objects that have almost a talismanic presence in our lives. In Eric's case, it's a serape he's had since he was a teenager, that his parents bought for him in Mexico City. It doesn't matter what it is, so long as it has real meaning. The writing prompt is to describe the object, both physically and how you came by it. Work towards how it helps to define you.

If you are a writer of fiction, give that object to a character so that it helps to define him or her. And try giving it to a character about whom you have moral doubts. It's hard to dismiss a character if that character loves an object that you, the author, also loves.

Good luck with this prompt and tune in next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band that existed briefly in 2008 and 2009, featuring several South Burlington High School students - now grads)

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An interview with Burlington Book Festival founder and organizer Rick Kisonak, in celebration of the 2012 festival, which will take place in a variety of downtown Burlington venues September 21-23. According to the website, "The Queen City’s 8th annual celebration of the written word will offer readings, signings, panels, workshops, demos, family activities, and special events featuring literary luminaries from around the world-and just around the corner. All events will be free of charge and open to the public." Check out this years offerings here. Rick Kisonak is a film and media critic who lives in South Burlington, Vermont. His reviews can be found in Vermont's independent weekly paper Seven Days, and on the website Rotten Tomatoes, among other places.

Today's Write The Book Prompt is to write about a writing workshop. Include a leader and several participants. Let a moment of tension turn into something unexpected, and allow at least one member of the group to surprise him- or herself by behaving uncharacteristically.

Good luck with this prompt and tune in next week for another.

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band that existed briefly in 2008 and 2009, featuring several South Burlington High School students - now grads)

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Award-winning Irish poet Greg Delanty, whose book, The Greek Anthology, Book XVII, comes out in December 2012 (Carcanet Press).

Today's Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Greg Delanty. When his students come in on the first day of a term, he'll ask, "How are your spirits?" They'll answer great or fine or good or bad... whatever. Then he'll ask them if they've seen their spirit.

"Where is it?" He'll ask. "Is it in your toe, or is it in your ear, or where? In your chest?" Generally, nobody has an answer. He then discusses "spirit" as an abstract word. Love and death and happiness and sadness are all abstract words for things that are, of course, much harder to pin down. In order to renew such a word or concept, an artist can physicalize it. As an example, he suggests students read "The Vacuum," by Howard Nemerov, in which a woman's soul is sucked up by the vacuum cleaner.

This week's prompt is to think in these terms about spirit, or love, or another hard-to-pin-down word or concept. Write about it in a poem and renew it by somehow physicalizing it.

Good luck with this prompt and tune in next week for another. Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band that existed briefly in 2008 and 2009, featuring several South Burlington High School students - now grads)

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Xu Xi, award-winning author of nine books of fiction & essays, and editor of three anthologies of Hong Kong literature in English. Her latest book is Habit of a Foreign Sky (Haven Books, 2010). We spoke in 2008 about her memoir, Evanescent Isles: From My City-Village (Hong Kong University Press, 2008).

The show didn't air live this week, as Monday was Labor Day, the federal holiday that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. So this week's Write The Book Prompt is to write about the worker. Write a poem about your mother's or father's work in a factory. Or invent a story about someone whose work somehow comes into conflict with his or her home life. Write an essay that touches on your own feelings about the role of unions in America today. Or a personal piece about your own work history. Bottom line: think about workers, and see what you're motivated to write.

Good luck with this prompt, and please tune in next week for another...

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band that existed briefly in 2008 and 2009, featuring several South Burlington High School students - now grads)

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