Monday, March 26, 2007

your march annogram

March Madness
Wow, did you see Georgetown win yesterday in overtime? That was magical. The Georgetown mascot is a bulldog named Jack, so we say, “Go Jack!” If anyone has seen Jack on TV or elsewhere in recent years, please let me know. This month’s short newsletter is—like March—a little mad too.

Winning Writers
The web site is a useful tool for poets and writers interested in pursuing contests. The monthly newsletter provides latest grant and contest opportunities, and acknowledges those writers who win. In the February newsletter, editor Adam Cohen published “At the Library,” from my chapbook Sugaring (Dancing Girl Press). Scroll down to “Featured Poems from Our Subscribers.”

Bronxville reading launches
On March 5, Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville hosted poet Linda Simone, who read from her best-selling chapbook, Cow Tippers (Shadowbox Press, 2006); Lisa Pierce, Greenwillow Press editor who shared her poems; and Cynthia Beglin, who read from novel-in-progress. Delicious appetizers and a guitar interval by Madora Kibbe made for a wonderful evening. Immaculee Ilibagiza, Rwanda survivor and author of Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust (Hay House, 2005) closed the night with a harrowing passage about hiding in her pastor’s house to escape the killing squads.

Meetings of the Mind Reading Series in Chappaqua
William Zinsser, author of the classic On Writing Well (Collins, 2006), will talk about “Where I Write” and read work-in-progress at the Chappaqua Friends Meeting, 420 Quaker Road, on March 29 at 7:30 p.m. Zinsser will explore where writers write and the importance—and impact—of “place.” The series continues April 26, when Nahid Rachlin will speak about her memoir, Persian Girls, and on May 10, when New York Times columnist Lisa Belkin will discuss Mother’s Day.

Manhattanville Writers Events
The Manhattanville Graduate Writing Program is sponsoring poet Marie Ponsot who will give a free poetry reading and talk at 3 p.m. in Reid Castle on April 15; on April 21st poet Alicia Ostriker will conduct an all-day master’s class in poetry, and on April 28th nonfiction writer Suzannah Lessard will offer a craft seminar on Memoir in the Dowd/O'Gorman Writing Center, 2-5 p.m., for $50. Call 914-353-5300 to register.;3;26;12;0&lastcmd=0&dd=2007;4;26
DVD reviews
“Little Miss Sunshine” (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2006), the poignant story of a dysfunctional family, copped Alan Arkin a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year and Michael Arndt Best Original Screenplay. When Ardnt accepted his award, he said one of his best childhood memories was his family’s cross-country ride in a beat-up Volkswagen van—ever proving that when we write from our own experience, we too might generate an award-winning screenplay. Also noteworthy: the performance by Oscar-nominated Abigail Breslin—and critical look at the “Little Miss” contest circuit.

“Real Women Have Curves” (HBO Films, 2002), winner of the Dramatic Audience Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of 18-year-old Ana, a first-generation Mexican-American from East Los Angeles, who struggles to balance her mainstream ambitions and more traditional cultural heritage. Ana may look familiar as she is America Ferrera on the popular ABC sitcom “Ugly Betty.” This film is a fascinating commentary on contemporary expectations of women’s appearance—in any culture.

“What the Bleep Do We Know?!” (20th Century Fox, 2005) is Amazon’s No. 1 Surprise DVD Hit of 2005. Originally released in 2004, it explores quantum physics which, in essence, propose thoughts can create reality and matter is not as we perceive it. An engaging storyline features Marlee Maitlin, an uptight photographer recently betrayed by her fiancĂ©e, who is confronted with the possibility of expanded consciousness. I enjoyed this film and its commentary by accomplished researchers and professors.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that our peculiar life experience could be of interest to others—and sometimes we write about it and wonderful things happen. Take a leap of faith. Write from your experience.

Til next time,