All posts by Editor

Register now for the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference!

Registration is now open for the 8th Annual Ocean State Summer Writing Conference!

This year, we are thrilled to welcome our keynote speakers: graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel, poet Charles Bernstein, and novelist Percival Everett. Returning from last year to teach master classes are dramatist Ayad Akhtar and novelist Amity Gaige. Poet and critic Stephen Burt will lead an advanced workshop.

In addition to Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction workshops, we celebrate the addition of Memoir and Young Adult Literature, and, back by popular demand, Screenwriting.

The main conference features a panel of comics artists, discussion with editors, and a special presentation by artist Susan Bee, among many more events.

Don’t miss the opportunity to have a consultation with one of two editors from Penguin.

For more information visit the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference website here!

Follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

Thank you for continuing to put Rhode Island on the map for outstanding creative writing. We look forward to seeing you!

Kristin Prevallet class visit

This spring, returning Ocean State Summer Writing Conference teacher Kristin Prevallet visited via Skype with Rachel May’s creative nonfiction workshop, to talk about her book, I, Afterlife: Essays in Mourning Time.  Students were inspired by her discussion of what it takes to write a difficult story, and how she wrote the book in small parts that she later wove together.

IMG_0684

 

Prevallet’s latest book, Visualize Comfort: Pain Management and the Unconscious Mind, combines her work as a poet and therapist. She describes new ways to manage pain with hypnosis and other mind-body techniques.

At the conference, Prevallet will teach a one-day workshop in Trance Poetics. From the conference website:

“Friday, 1:45 – 2:45 pm: Embodied Narratives: Revising Your Cellular Stories

  • Instructor: Kristin PrevalletFor centuries, trance narratives have led people into wild dream and trance states where neurochemical and biological healing processes are activated. For writers and artists, following these narrative threads might awaken characters and plots, or unlock elliptical poetic processes useful for the generation of new work. If out of this workshop you write a few amazing poems or stories, that’s terrific; if you (among other things) learn how to overcome emotional blocks, deal with pain in a new way, and take action to change the catastrophic future, that’s the learning of an embodied poetics that can last a lifetime.”

See you there!

 

The Family Cannon by Halina Duraj now available

 

THE_FAMILY CANNON_cover

Debut novel, The Family Cannon, by past Ocean State Review contributor Halina Duraj is now available!

Duraj’s novel tells a family’s tale in vivid and beautiful detail, over a series of unforgettable short stories.  Augury Books describes the novel as such:

“The debut collection by author Halina Duraj brings readers an American family, strikingly individual but recognizable to us all — as strange and familiar as home. An escalating neighborhood feud takes an unanticipated turn. A college student visiting Poland learns about drinking, dancing, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of adulthood. A mother opens up about her youth and courtship. A daughter tries to understand her own relationship within the context of what she has been taught about marriage. These tender and generous linked stories illuminate the hidden corners of our family lives and, in doing so, cast beautiful light on the shadows”.

Melanie Rae Thorn, author of The Voice in the River and In this Light, had this to say: “With quiet astonishment, Halina Duraj explores the mysteries of love and madness, offering her readers the secret salvation of story. Between a father’s reinvention of himself, a mother’s perplexing fidelity, and a woman’s navigation of the complexities of betrayal, we discover the exquisite pleasures of a world restored and redeemed through Duraj’s luminous gaze, the loving attention and tender playfulness of an extravagantly passionate imagination.”

Read an excerpt here!

M. NourbeSe Philip visits Rachel May’s CW class

nourbese

Rachel May’s Creative Writing/Nonfiction class was honored and delighted to visit with M. NourbeSe Philip via Skype, to talk about her book Zong!. Philip is the author of three previous books of poetry, two novels, and many essays and stories. She’s been awarded the Guggenheim and residencies at the prestigious MacDowell Colony and the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy, among other honors.

Zong! is based on a 1781 court decision, to determine whether or not owners of the slave ship, Zong, could collect insurance money after 150 people were pushed overboard, murdered, by the ship’s captain. Philip, a lawyer as well as a poet, used the language of the document to tell the story of the Africans who were killed that day. She fragmented the language, recombined words, and moved them into the shape of what looks like water drifting across the page.

You can read an excerpt of the text, and an explanation of the book and Philip’s process here: Fascicle.

One issue with which May’s students grappled is the horror of this story, the details of what happened on-board Zong, much of which is given voice in the text. Class questions centered around whether or not this was poetry, history or historiography, how we take on another person’s voice to tell a story, and what it means to erase and fragment language, either found or our own.

Philip said, in response: “One of the things I was really interested in was that the reader was going to be allowed choices in how they read this. If you wanted, you could read it diagonally down, or when I read with some colleagues, one of my friends started reading backwards. There’s no right way. But there’s a shadow side to that, and the shadow side is that as we make our choices, we become contaminated by what happened on-board that ship. So, do we read this to avoid seeing some of the things that happened there? They’re happening in these fragments: Is a baby being cut out of a mother’s womb? Is somebody being raped? Are these people gambling for a woman? You can read the book in a way that you avoid that story or you sink into it.”

IMG_0687

The visit concluded with a powerful reading by Philip — followed by complete silence as the class processed her embodiment of the text.

The full transcript of the visit will be published in the Summer 2014 issue of The Ocean State Review; please look for it there.

Many many thanks to M. NourbeSe Philip for her work and for making time for this life-changing visit.

Afaa Michael Weaver, 2014 Kingsley Tufts winner, visits URI

photo-171

On Wednesday, March 26, the URI community was delighted to welcome Afaa Michael Weaver and to celebrate his recent award of the Kingsley Tufts prize. The Kingsley Tufts is “the world’s largest monetary prize for a single collection of poetry,” and “was created to both honor the poet and provide the resources that allow artists to continue working towards the pinnacle of their craft” (from the CGU site). He won for his book, The Government of Nature, from which he read at URI.

IMG_1127

The room was overflowing with students, who sat on the floor and crowded together to hear Weaver read and then tell stories of his life in Taiwan and the trajectory of his writing career. He explained how came to write about his troubled childhood, for example, and how his life as a Professor is in conflict with his working class childhood. Weaver spoke of his life as a poet (this is his 12th collection), his past as a factory worker, the experience of living in Taiwan for a year and learning Mandarin, and how his meditation practice influences his writing. He was especially generous in responding to students and engaging the community in conversation around the work.

IMG_1121

photo-18

A Professor and the Alumnae Endowed Chair at Simmons College, Weaver has also been awarded the NEA, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright, and a Pew Fellowship, among other honors. He read at URI as part of the Read/Write series, coordinated by Professors Peter Covino and Mary Cappello. We’re grateful for his visit and send our congratulations for his most recent well-deserved recognition!

Julia Lisella comes to URI & Sharon Dolin in the news

Last week, poet Julia Lisella visited Peter Covino’s poetry class to talk about her work. She read from her book, Terrain, and chapbook, Love Song Hiroshima, and talked with the class about the rhythms of her work, how she revises, and themes of motherhood, miscarriage, and friendship that run through the collection.

She and Covino talked about their connection as Italian-American writers, and her scholarship on modernists, in particular her recovery Genevieve Taggard’s work.

Also in the news this week is OSR contributor Sharon Dolin, who gave a reading to celebrate the Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. Hoorah, and congratulations to Sharon and the other contributors! Also included in the anthology is Jacqueline Osherow, whose work we’re honored to get to publish in the upcoming issue of the OSR. Stay tuned!

February 22nd – Fiction and Poetry Reading – Josie Sigler & Janaya Kizzie

University or Rhode Island English faculty, Josie Sigler, and fellow writer Janaya Kizzie will be reading on Saturday, February 22nd, at 6 pm at Ada Books (717 Westminster St., Providence, RI)

About the readers:

Janaya Kizzie is a historian by trade; she writes short-form horror fiction in her spare time. Influenced by writing from both worlds, from the personal papers of Maimie Pinzer and Nikola Tesla to the works John Hawkes and Clive Barker, her words come from different places and times, like a ransom note. 

Josie Sigler’s collection of stories, The Galaxie and Other Rides, was selected for the Ruby Pickens Tartt First Fiction Award and published by Livingston Press in 2012. Her book of poetry, living must bury, winner of the 2010 Motherwell Prize, was published by Fence Books. Her stories and poems have appeared in Story Quarterly, Prism International, Fugue, Water-Stone, Hunger Mountain, Redivider and others. Josie  holds a dual PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. She teaches creative writing at University of Rhode Island in Kingston and is currently a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow.  Josie is also one of our advising faculty for The Ocean State Review.  You can read some of her work on Josie Sigler’s faculty page.

AWP: the Ocean State Review Goes to Seattle

The staff of the Ocean State Review will be in Seattle, WA this year!  We will be representing our fine literary journal from the University of Rhode Island, now soon to be publishing our fourth annual issue.  We will be at the 2014 annual conference for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs from Wednesday, February 26th to Saturday, March 1st.  Join us to talk about our last issue and our upcoming one for 2014.  Also, you can purchase a 2013 issue at our booth.  You might consider the Ocean State Review for teaching or personal use.

While you’re visiting us at AWP, check out the many other events and presentations available:  https://www.awpwriter.org/awp_conference/overview

More details to come…

Peter Covino’s Graduate Poetry Workshop Reading

Peter Covino’s graduate poetry workshop celebrated a semester of writing, reading, and revision (repeat) with a reading at the Wickford Arts Association. Students’ printed chapbooks were available, and each person read in the two hour event.

Themes ranged from explorations of queer identity to divorce to the playful musings of a contemporary avant-garde. Congratulations, all, on a fabulous reading and semester!

image-6 image-5 image-4 image-3 image-2 image-1 image

Pushcart Prize nominations

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve nominated the following for the Pushcart Prize: William Olsen – “I Stop and Look Back Awhile”

Patricia Smith – “To Get Me to Jump”

Joel Long – “Amy Winehouse”

Cole Swensen – “Four Landscapes”

Natanya Ann Pulley – “Animal Kingdom”

Barrie Jean Borich & Laura E. Migliorino – “What the Water Said”

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR WORK!

For those who have yet to read this fantastic issue, please find it for purchase here: http://oceanstatereview.org/current-issue/