Saturday, February 15, 2014


Lynn Stegner Wins the Gival Press Short Story Award

The short story titled For All the Obvious Reasons, chosen by the previous winner of the Gival Press Short Story Award Karenmary Penn, has won the 10th annual Gival Press Short Story Award.

Look for the upcoming collection of the 10 award-winning stories in a volume to be published by Gival Press.

Please visit ArLiJo to read the story.

Lynn Stegner’s books include the novels Undertow and Fata Morgana, both nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and Because a Fire Was in My Head, which received the Faulkner Award for Best Novel, a 2007 Literary Ventures Selection, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her novella triptych Pipers at the Gates of Dawn was awarded a Faulkner Society’s Gold Medal. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Western States Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a Fulbright Scholarship. The anthology West of 98: Living and Writing the New American West, which she co-edited and introduced, was published in 2011; she has recently completed a volume of stories entitled For All the Obvious Reasons. Currently at work on a new novel, she divides her time between San Francisco, California and Greensboro, Vermont.


Anders by Kurt Duecker of San Francisco, California.
The Mountains by Denton Loving of Speedwell, Tennessee.
I Am Not Yours by Patricia Brieschke of Waccabuc, New York.
Your Life by Jenni Olson of San Francisco, California.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Michael LeBlanc and Susan Kerr Featured on ArLiJo

Falling Magic fiction by Michael LeBlanc and new photos by Susan Kerr are featured in the latest issue of ArLiJo.

Archway Copyright © 2014 by Susan Kerr.

Boats beside colorful houses Copyright © 2014 by Susan Kerr.

Lightposts Copyright © 2014 by Susan Kerr.

Sun on Venice Water Copyright © 2014 by Susan Kerr.

Please visit ArLiJo

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Split This Rock Festival Is Coming Up in Washington, DC

The Split This Rock Festival in Washington, DC is coming up (March 27-30, 2014). Please note that the featured readings are free and open to the public (no registration required). If you are interested in the workshop "Poetic Strategies for Change" --connecting poetry to social justice action--do register for the festival.

The line up of poets is really amazing. Sadly, I'll be in Portland, Oregon for a different conference otherwise I would do my best to attend.

If you have admired the work of: Joy Harjo, a favorite of mine; Eduardo C. Corral; Yusef Komunyakaa; Myra Sklarew and many others, then get yourself to the events.

The Festival schedule link: Split This Rock schedule of events

The Festival registration: Split This Rock registration

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


DC/VA in the Snow

Sometimes nature has a way of telling us to slow down and just chill, way cool.

Happy New Year!

(photo by Casimir © 2014)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Happy Holidays!

And to all Happy Holidays!

Be well, be happy, be safe!

(photo by Casimir © 2013)

Sunday, December 01, 2013


Tea in Heliopolis by Hedy Habra

Hedy Habra’s debut collection of poetry titled Tea in Heliopolis is a charming book that begs one’s attention to detail. For this reason I suggest that you fix a cup of tea (preferably mint tea) before you begin reading this collection that was on numerous finalists lists before it was published by Press 53 this year. In this manner you will be set to allow yourself time to savor the nuances and motifs in this fine collection. You will travel to lands that are foreign to most of us yet while reading one discovers that “they”--the ones in Egypt and Beirut--are really no different. We all have desires and needs.

We have lots in common with the painter referenced in Vision who contrasts with the writer:

Now a mural,
the page stretches,
calling for paint,
brushes, a ladder.

Two androgynous silhouettes
in an elegant tango,
twist and turn,
limbs bent in unison.

you yearn
for a sliver of diamond,
reach for paper, pen to keep
the vision alive,
but it melts into water, vanishes
as you hold on tight to your
feather pillow.

And so we the readers, the visitors try to take in the wonders of the lands that Renoir, Boucher, Monet, Manet, Turner, Degas, and others captured—wanting to hold the essence of want with paint:

As in To Henriette aren’t we all reduced to water when it is all over?

   He looks sideways, pointing
an index finger, half-smiling, seduced
by his own words, lascivious eyes oblivious
to the flock fleeing the canvas.
“She’s looking for trouble,” I often thought.
“Did it take long,” I later asked, “to make
her skin so real?” “I don’t remember,” you
said, “but aren’t her nipples une petite

“There’s no such thing as true love,” you’d
say, “the greatest passion melts like ice.”

Here in this collection of memory and tension between family members for the choices they made, we can envision the lands of want and needs and come to conclusions that are simple but true as in the title poem Tea in Heliopolis:

For years, bent over your canvas,
your youth was all painted,
not lived.

These truths are not harmful but crawl under our skin and like those painted we so much want the figures to leave the canvas and do their magic because we have so few hours to measure the honey in our mint tea.

Habra gives us a gift with this collection. So join me—one who has picked up the book several times and each time I do I see yet another subtlety among the rhododendrons. Now we can eat a pomegranate which comes from the Middle East and savor its flesh, knowing that the ruby seeds / beneath [our] fingers paint us like a live canvas.

Visit: Hedy Habra

Sunday, October 27, 2013


"Julia & Rodrigo" by Mark Brazaitis Is Now Available

Mark Brazaitis's award-winning novel Julia & Rodrigo which won the Gival Press Novel Award for 2012 has been released.

Author Tony D'Souza states that "In Julia & Rodrigo Mark Brazaitis takes Romeo and Juliet and wonders what becomes of impossible love when the lovers cannot simply die. Rendered in swift, elegant prose, his tale of a poor football star and the wealthy girl who loves him turns most painful after the forced parting. Anyone who has loved and lost will recognize the wounds of these doomed, gentle characters. What's most tragic, Brazaitis knows, is that in Julia's and Rodrigo's great love—like the bloody Guatemala Civil War that surrounds it—none can win, and all of it is so unnecessary."

Mark Brazaitis is the author of five books of fiction, including The Incurables: Stories, winner of the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize, from the University of Notre Dame Press. He is also the author of a book of poems, The Other Language, winner of the 2008 ABZ Poetry Prize. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and technical trainer, he currently teaches English and is the former director of the Creative Writing Program at West Virginia University.

Photo of Mark Brazaitis by Sheila Loftus.

Ask for the novel at your bookstore for visit or Gival Press: Julia & Rodrigo for sale at or
Gival Press


"The Day Rider and Other Stories" by J. E. Robinson Is Now Available

J. E. Robinson's debut collection of stories titled The Day Rider and Other Stories has been released.

The Day Rider & Other Stories presents characters nominally situated in one world who seek to join another, while being themselves. Many main characters 'pass'--not merely in the conventional sense, of appearing as one race and acculturating as another, nor as one sexual orientation and moving conveniently into another as affections and conventions dictate, but also in its 'unconventional' senses, of moving from mortality to immortality, or from the oppressed and disadvantaged to being the oppressor and the privileged. This collection discusses the wide sweep of 'passing' and wonders whether doing so is an anathema to humanity or inherent to humanity.

Award-winning director and playwright Melissa Maxwell states that "Eric Robinson's writing is deceptively powerful; it moves along in a quiet plodding manner, then stealthily delivers a punch. This collection of short stories is eclectic and quirky."

Photograph of J. E. Robinson by Mark Gilliland (2013).

J. E. Robinson received the 2005 Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for his essays. His novel Skip Macalester was designated a Paperback Pick by the American Booksellers Association. An ancient historian, he teaches at the Saint Louis College of Pharmacy.

Ask for the book at your bookstore or visit or Gival Press: The Day Rider and Other Stories at or Gival Press


"Box of Blue Horses" by Lisa Graley Is Now Available

Lisa Graley's debut collection of poetry which won the 14th Annual Gival Press Poetry Award-2012 has been released.

This collection which John Wood describes as being "unlike any other poem I have read and unlike the work of any other poet I know. The richness of her language somewhat suggests Hart Crane’s voyages among the adagios of his islands. But her words are more than merely beautiful. They, to use a passage from her poem, ‘pummel / the kicking boards of our hearts,’ and they do that because they so often can be read in more than one way. She asks ‘who can hold / a blue herd of horses /unless she box / the shadow of the universe?’ Does Graley mean fight or enclose—or both? With each of my readings of this book, Lisa Graley’s Blue Horses grew richer and more powerful, which is exactly what we demand and expect of the finest poetry.”

Photo of Lisa Graley by Chelsea Ellison (2013).

Graley is a native of West Virginia and currently is an assistant professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she teaches English and Humanities and coordinates the Interdisciplinary Humanities program. She has published stories and poems in Glimmer Train Stories, The McNeese Review, and Water~Stone Review.

Ask for the book at your local bookstore, visit, or contact Gival Press: Box of Blue Horses on sale at
Visit: Gival Press

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