Monday, January 01, 2007


I'm grateful for these quiet days at home: reading, thinking, quilting. Here's the simple Square-in-Square mini quilt top I pieced over the weekend of the 24th: nothing too elaborate, my first attempt at foundation piecing, and though one of the rows is off-center, I still think it's not bad. On Saturday I started piecing a new mini in the "Hourglass" pattern--very tiny pieces, and it's slow work to keep them precisely square, but I did finish two blocks (with eighteen to go) and I'm hoping to complete the whole thing by this weekend. Meanwhile, I spend at least an hour each evening on a long-term project that's a surprise: I'm still hoping to complete it within two years (which translates to this August, so we'll see).

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On Friday, I met P for coffee and we reviewed the final order for West Branch #60, which will feature a novel excerpt by
Pablo Medina, an essay on Charles Wright by David Swerdlow, stories by Ted Delaney and Rebecca Barry, poems by John Kinsella, Nancy Eimers, John Gallaher, Danielle Deulen, Peter Waldor, William Olsen and Nikola Madzirov (translated from the Macedonian), and reviews by Matthew Ladd and Sarah Kennedy.

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It's perhaps interesting to note that I have been to Pickwick Dam, the birthplace of Charles Wright, because Randy grew up not far from there--in Adamsville, Tennessee. We visited R's parents--once--and stayed in a rental cabin.

How odd (I thought then) that a poet should arise from this place, or that Martins Ferry, Ohio should produce a James Wright. I stopped in Martins Ferry once, years ago, and asked at the visitors center if they could direct me to Wright's home. The girl at the counter asked "Who?" Sad, really, because the street on which her building was located was named after him. I pointed this out. "Yeah, I dunno what that's about," she replied vaguely, and off I went in search of the local library, where an enthusiastic middle-aged librarian chatted on and on about Wright and his poetry.

Of course (I know now) the librarian was gay. I wish (now) that I'd recognized this and stayed to chat longer.

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Thanks, Sebastian, for the surprise phone call!

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Happy New Year, everyone.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

And the winners are (in no particular order)...

Bruce Bauman's And the Word Was (Other Press, 2005). Nominated by Susan Henderson.
Carolyn Davidson's Redemption (HON Books--Harlequin). Nominated by Suzie Housley.
Robert Eggleton's e-book, Rarity from the Hollow (Fatcat Press). Nominated by Evelyn Somers
Dr. Bob Rich's biography, Anikó
Helen Losse's chapbook, Gathering the Broken Pieces #5 in the Poets on Peace series (Foothill Publishing).
Nikki Arana's The Winds of Sonoma, (Revell).
Magdalena Ball's book of poetry, Quark Soup (Picaro Press, Warners Bay, Australia).
Marcus Harris's small book of poetry, Songs in Search of a Voice (Urban Echoes Entertainment, LLG).
Two Rivers Review's Poetry Chapbook Series. Published three volumes at a time, Ron Mohring's #5 volume along with Michael McFee's and Lynne Knight's poetry
Anh Vu Sawyer and Pam Proctor's Son of Saigon (Warner Books).
Eve La Salle Caram's Rena, A Late Journey (Plain View Press, Austin, TX).
Nadia Brown's book of poetry Unscrambled Eggs (Publish America).
Hugh Rosen's Silent Battlefields (iUniverse)
Karen Degroot Carter's One Sister's Song (Pearl Street Publishing).

You can see the full "Back to Literature" column at, see the book covers and my comments at:

Please right click the appropriate banner for use on your website, stationery, blog, and more. Please send out a media release to the media--especially your local media. I will have a template for you that you can edit to fit your needs. All you need do is ask. It will include paragraphs on MyShelf and me, the founder.

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Also a special thank you to nominators and to each author who wrote a book that made it a pleasure to judge this contest.

Please pass this honor forward. If you know an author who meets the criteria, please let me know.This is a guideline from this month's column:

"It is modeled on the Nobel in that I consider books that exhibit exceptional writing skills and explore the human condition. I want to honor work that entertains, certainly, but also offers something more to the publishing/reading community as a whole. The work may be flawed but it must make an effort to change readers or the publishing world in some way. "

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(S) Sebastian said...

You are welcome :)
Hope I can surprise you again someday.

Hope 2007 brings new exiting opputunities to your door.