Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Eagle Harbor Reading (April 19th)

Crab Creek Review celebrated our Fall/Winter '09 Issue with a fantastic poetry reading on Sunday, April 19th at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island. Many thanks to our amazing readers--Jenifer Browne Lawrence, Nancy Pagh, and Susan Rich. Special thanks to John Willson and Eagle Harbor Book Company for hosting our reading and to Marilyn Liden Bode for bringing her linocut/collage, which is featured on the Fall/Winter '09 cover.

CCR Staff and Readers with We Are The Reason Our Ancestors Existed (linocut/collage featured on our F/W '09 cover) at Eagle Harbor Books.

Left to Right: Jenifer Browne Lawrence, Ronda Broatch, Annette Spaulding-Convy, Kelli Russell Agodon, Marilyn Liden Bode, Nancy Pagh, Lana Hechtman Ayers, Carol Levin, Susan Rich, and Jennifer Culkin.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crab Creek Review Staff Celebrates Book Releases

Crab Creek Review's Carol Levin and Jennifer Culkin have new books available.

Carol Levin is the Editorial Assistant (Seattle) for Crab Creek Review. Carol is in charge of the CCR database, which involves sorting the large amounts of mail we receive, entering author/submission information into our database, and passing the submissions on to our various editors.

Her new chapbook, Red Rooms and Others, is published by Pecan Grove Press. According to Carol, "Each poem in Red Rooms and Others has some relationship to a room. The rooms have many qualities and are scattered around the world. The room that inspired the original concept of the collection is our red guest bedroom where many people have rested throughout the years generously leaving an aura for us to enjoy."

Carol will celebrate the release of her new chapbook with a reading at the following bookstore:
Open Books: A Poem Emporium (Seattle)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
7:30 PM

Carol's first chapbook Sea Lions Sing Scat was a semi-finalist in Finishing Line Press' open competition '06 and released from Finishing Line Press in '07. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Gander Press Review, Aquila Review, Late Blooms postcard series, The Massachusetts Review, Third Coast,The Seattle Review, The Pedestal Magazine, issues #16 and 35 of the Cortland Review, The Comstock Review, Junctures Journal, Umbrella and others. Poems were set as a choral work by composer Carol Sams and have been performed by various choirs. She collaborated in translating Anton Chekhov’s four major plays, now being offered in a manuscript “The Three Sisters and Three More, Plays by Anton Chekhov." She also wrote a dictionary of Stanislavski terms for theater artists. Carol teaches the Alexander Technique in Seattle.

Carol's book is available for purchase at Pecan Grove Press, Amazon, and at Open Books.

Jennifer Culkin is the new Non-Fiction Editor for Crab Creek Review. In addition to poetry and short fiction, Crab Creek Review will begin publishing non-fiction in our next issue, due out in late summer/early fall of 2009.

A Final Arc of Sky: A Memoir of Critical Care, published by Beacon Press, is Jennifer's first book. Author Judith Kitchen describes Jennifer's essays, "This book gives us so much more than the details of Jennifer Culkin's experiences as an intensive care nurse; it lifts us into the world of the helicopter and into some of life's highest dramas. A Final Arc of Sky carries its 'mortal freight' with candid honesty as it addresses how we choose to live our lives, and sometimes how we end them. "

Jennifer will be reading from A Final Arc of Sky at the following bookstores:

University of Washington Bookstore (Seattle)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
7:00 PM

Village Books (Bellingham)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
4:00 PM

Eagle Harbor Books (Bainbridge Island)
Sunday, May 3, 2009
3:00 PM

Jennifer is a critical care and former emergency flight nurse. In the course of a thirty-year career, she has cared for people across the life span, from the smallest premature infants to adults entering their second century. Educated at Russell Sage College & the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University where she received her MFA, Jennifer's essays have appeared in publications such as Utne Reader and The Georgia Review. She has received awards from the Atlantic Monthly and was a 2008 recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award.

Jennifer's book is available for purchase at Amazon and at local bookstores.

Congratulations, Carol and Jennifer!

The Writer's Notebook featuring Monica Schley

Monica Schley's poems have been published in Burnside Review, Cranky, Cream City Review, Naked Joy, Raven Chronicles, Wandering Hermit Review, and the Seattle Review. She also has a chapbook, Black Eden: Nocturnes, forthcoming from Pudding House Press. A classically trained harpist, Monica has worked on recordings or live performances with many reputable musicians including Bill Horist, The Dead Science, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Greg Sinibaldi, Masada, Kanye West, Lori Goldston, Monktail Creative Music Concern, The New Seattle Ensembles, Parenthetical Girls and Amanda Palmer. She has also worked with the butoh dance and performance art ensembles P.A.N. and Implied Violence. She is the former president of the American Harp Society Seattle Chapter.

Monica's poem, Nocturne #17, appeared in Crab Creek Review's Spring/Summer '08 Issue. At our Hugo House reading in October of 2008, Monica gave an amazing performance in which she read her poetry while playing the harp. We asked Monica to write her thoughts on poetry, music, and the inspiration for Nocturne #17:

On the Making of Diamonds

Nocturne #17, the poem that appeared in the Spring/Summer 08 issue, is part of a series called Black Eden: Nocturnes. All of the pieces are in prose, and were composed during evening hours, either just before sleep or after waking. They are heavily influenced by the surrealness of dreams, subterranean urban scenes and music. Writing Black Eden was a bit like working in a subconscious mine where I went down and chipped away every night.

Something new happened at the time I was writing this: I didn’t edit. It was as if NO filter WAS the filter, so I there was no judgement on myself. Because of that, the train was able to keep moving. Though I didn’t know what I was doing while I was doing it, the writing felt honest, so I just kept it up with encouragement from a close poet friend. Very importantly, I trusted that there were no accidents in this process, expecting nothing and improvising all along. Stephen Nakmonovich has a great book about these ideas called Free Play: Improvising in Life & Art. After a year had past and I had 70 pieces. Then, I started to edit.

The music part of these poems (nocturne means meloncholic evening piece for piano) encouraged me to play while simultaneously reading. Though a musician for most of my life, I’m a shy songwriter, but I used some of the poetry as a springboard for lyrics, which worked better than attempts in the past. Eventually, I called upon a dancer friend and other musicians to turn the piece into a performance.

As a shared performance, the poems were given aural space just as much as written space, which is something I feel pretty strongly about. I don’t think every poem has to become a performance piece, but I do believe a good poem has to both sound pleasing and look pleasing. This is not to say good poems are spoken versus written or vice versa – I don’t live in a black and white world. There just needs to be a balance of both expressions, and a writer should be conscious of this in order for the poem to live after she isn’t there to present it.

Donald Hall wrote that “poetry out loud is never quite so beautiful as poetry read in silence." I don’t agree with this much, but I do think that for a poem to last longer than the poet, it must be read privately. However, I do take his notions to into great consideration (even though in this specific case - because the nocturnes are prose - it was stylistically easier for me to do then say, write a sestina, or even free verse). Hall also wrote that “Keats exists without being spoken. Performance poetry flames out like a match.” Personally, I prefer to have my poetry live somewhere between those two places.

The narrativity that came out of these Nocturnes are loose and surreal, stemming from a first person perspective in a pychological underworld. In Nocturne #17, the use of woman’s make-up is a way to disguise the real from the unreal. Waking and dreaming are blurred concepts. In truth, the entirety of Black Eden is an exploration of those deep subconcious things we all know but don’t want to, or dismiss in passing moments. It is only when those thoughts ride up to our ears and whisper a little random joke that we might see a connection to something else more concious and wonder – what!? Where did that come from? I didn’t want to forget all of the randomness in life, because for the most part, I don’t believe its all that random.

One last thing that inspired these poems for me was Seattle. I love the city in which I live, even in its worst. And for all of our urban banalitites, inconveniences, and stereotypes, I wanted to capture that too. I think that’s something that all artists have the opportunity to do, which is perhaps the greatest challenge: to make sense of the garbage and take beauty from the wreckage – create a new message with your own voice.

That’s how you make diamonds.

Hall, Donald. Knock Knock II. American Poetry Review March/April 2005.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tom Holmes and Crab Creek Review featured on Verse Daily

Tom Holmes' poem, "A Corpse of Vortices" —Sophie's Last Coherent Journal Entry to Henri from the County Mental Hospital, Barnwood Rural District, Gloucester, from Crab Creek Review's new issue (Fall/Winter 2009) is featured today (April 12th) on Verse Daily:

Tom Holmes is the editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics. He is the author of After Malaguena (FootHills Publishing, 2005), Negative Time (Pudding House , 2007), Pre-Dew Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2008), and Poetry Assignments: The Book (Sage Hill Press, 2009).

About the background of his poem, Tom told Crab Creek Review, "Henri is Henri Gaudier-Brzeska--Modern French Vorticist Sculptor who died in WWI at the age of 23. Sophie is his lover."

Congratulations, Tom!

And thank you, Verse Daily, for featuring Crab Creek Review.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Annie Lighthart and Crab Creek Review featured on Verse Daily

Annie Lighthart's poem, There Were Horses, from the new issue of Crab Creek Review (Fall/Winter 2009) is featured today (April 11th) on Verse Daily: http://www.versedaily.org/2009/therewerehorses.shtml

Annie's poem won the Crab Creek Review 2008 Poetry Contest, judged by Kathleen Flenniken.

A mother and environmental writer, Annie lives in Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, CALYX, Good Foot, and So To Speak, among others.

Annie told Crab Creek Review about the inspiration for There Were Horses: "Writing this poem was like sensing a storm coming on. By degrees, I felt a change in the air, remembered being a small creature among the magic ones in the fields, felt the encroaching world."

Congratulations, Annie!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Article on Crab Creek Review in the North Kitsap Herald

Crab Creek Review awoke to a lovely surprise this morning--an article in the North Kitsap Herald, which not only talks about our journal, but also discusses National Poetry Month here in Kitsap County and the numerous writers hidden in our forests.

The article is entitled, "National Poetry Month Shines Light On The Recluse" and can be read online: http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/kitsap/nkh/entertainment/42758647.html

An excerpt:
A pair of North Kitsap residents, and poets, Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy have taken the volunteer editorial reins from former editor Natasha Moni, effectively “placing” the longtime Seattle-area journal’s operation in Kingston. Which, given the wealth of writers scattered throughout the woods of North Kitsap, isn’t all too surprising.

We have moved a portion of our literary operations to Kingston, but Crab Creek Review is still partly housed in Seattle. Look for us on both sides of the Sound!

(Special thanks to Bill Mickelson for the great interview at the coffee house)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Elizabeth Austen and Crab Creek Review featured on Verse Daily

Elizabeth Austen's poem, Humans, from our new issue of Crab Creek Review is featured today (April 9th) on Verse Daily, http://www.versedaily.org/2009/humans.shtml

Elizabeth is a Seattle poet and is the literary producer for KUOW, 94.9, public radio. Her audio CD, "skin prayers," is available on her website, http://www.elizabethausten.org./

Elizabeth told Crab Creek Review about the inspiration for her poem: "Humans came together while I was in residence at the Whiteley Center on San Juan Island. I spent many hours watching birds and wondering if they found human behavior as interesting as I found theirs."

Congratulations, Elizabeth!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Writer's Notebook featuring Jenifer Browne Lawrence

We are delighted to feature Seattle area poet, Jenifer Browne Lawrence, in our Writer's Notebook series. Jenifer is the author of One Hundred Steps from Shore (Blue Begonia Press, 2006) and her work has appeared in Court Green, North American Review, and Potomac Review, among others. She is also the recipient of a Washington State Artist Trust GAP Grant.
Jenifer's poem From Involution appears in Crab Creek Review's Fall/Winter '09 issue, and here the poet talks about her writing process:

Last weekend, the wind blew hard enough to knock out the internet connection for a few hours. At loose ends, my partner and I opened our (paper) notebooks and wrote together. We gave each other writing prompts as the sky turned black and freezing rain pelted the glass. The storm blew in and out overnight, and brought a few pages of words written in the dark. Sunrise brought a clear sky and a bald eagle to the battered Douglas fir outside our window.

I don't know how the rest of the world writes, but I have a confession: At the top of the page, I have no idea where I am going. In fact, I seldom begin with an idea at all. Writing, for me, begins with words—a phrase from a novel or poem I've been reading, a newspaper headline, or a fragment of speech I've overheard somewhere. Waiting for the ferry the other night, I eavesdropped on a cell phone conversation, and stole this line: "If you eat red mango three times…" The line is waiting for me somewhere, just outside the margin.

I am a vivid dreamer. Occasionally, I dream in words. Printed or spoken, a word may be the only image I recall upon waking. I like the idea of word as image, and perhaps this is why, when I open my notebook in the morning, the first word I write is outside the margin, prompting me from the top of the page.

This morning my dream contained the word Star. It was the name of somebody's dying grandmother. Perhaps a poem will come from that image. Written in snow that was stuck to a car window, a previous dream contained the words Mr. Soft. Nothing has come of that, other than a raised eyebrow from my partner when I shared the dream with him.

A word from a dream prompted a series of poems using various definitions of the word, coupled with personal or world events. In that dream, (I'll spare you the embarrassing details) a list of songs on the back of a CD included the title Involution. When I woke, I looked up the word's definition to see if it held any significance for me. I was surprised to find nearly a dozen entries in the dictionary. The poem Involution (7) began as a response to one of the definitions combined with details from a brochure about a behavioral therapy treatment method. If I were writing the piece today, however, I'd have to rethink item 4a: because look who's running the country.

I have never been the type to wear a t-shirt emblazoned with the image of the nation's latest heartthrob. Maybe that's because, even at seventeen, I knew that Mick Jagger's face did not belong on any woman's chest. Although if Hugh Jackman could sing Satisfaction as well as he plays Wolverine … lately, though, I have been sleeping with the image of another man. I've been wearing one of my partner's t-shirts as a nightgown. Printed on the shirt is a pixilated image of Barack Obama and the date 01-20-09. But it's not the shirt influencing my dreams these days. Even as spring resists entry into the northwest—yes, we did have snow in the Seattle area in April—I believe we are heading toward a warmer world, a more compassionate world, that is. After all, if Queen Elizabeth and Michelle Obama are hugging in public, can world peace be far behind?

I love how writing begins with a sense of not knowing (That's not an original thought—who was the writer that first talked about "not knowing"?). By the time a poem or story makes a path into the world, however, the words should be measured and deliberate. Sometimes meaning takes a long time to discover. My writing progresses in small steps—a word at a time, some days. After a longhand draft, I type up what's there and print it out. I fiddle with the poem a little while, then slip the draft into a manila folder, where the words sit, sometimes for months. What I find in the folder often surprises me. For me, coming across that unexpectedly perfect line is one of the great pleasures of writing. It doesn't always happen like that, of course. There's a lot of revision, editing and thumb-biting involved in the process. And sometimes there is no path. Sometimes I slip the page into the recycle bin and pick up my notebook. Maybe I catch the Seattle ferry, hike to Pike Place Market, where I wander among the stalls, on the lookout for red mangoes.

From Involution

Involution (7) the process of raising a quantity to some assigned power [syn: exponentiation]

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is often a result of childhood experience in the family of origin. A family skilled at secrets fosters the ability to cope by learning to covertly control most situations. When the control is threatened, anxiety emerges. Psychologist Albert Ellis in 1955 developed a type of therapy designed to help an individual reshape his or her thinking to a more positive, rational pattern, thereby relieving emotional distress.

He named his work Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). It is not pronounced "rebbet" and is not a frog. That is, if you kiss this therapy goodbye, no prince will magically appear to rescue you.

Ten Irrational Ideas:

  1. It is critical for a person to be loved and approved of by everyone for everything.
    1. Because you were always/never daddy's favorite.
    2. Because you were always always/never.
  2. A person must be competent, adequate, and successful in every aspect.
    1. See irrational idea 1a.
    2. See irrational idea 5b.
  3. Certain people are bad, evil or villainous and should be punished for their sins.
    1. Because Cain slew Abel.
    2. Because Santa Claus keeps a list.
    3. Those heathens next door.
  4. Human unhappiness is externally caused. People have little control over their sorrows and are unable to rid themselves of negative feelings.
    1. Because look who's running the country.
    2. Because in sorrow shall you bring forth.
  5. It is justifiable to be completely preoccupied with and upset about something scary and/or possibly dangerous.
    1. Because why are we supposed to be boyscout-ready?

  6. I said that's enough, young lady.