Monday, January 28, 2008


Richard Peabody Offers a Local Novel Writing Course

Richard Peabody Offers a Novel Workshop

Critique Your Complete Novel, Not Just a Couple of Chapters:Peabody's Novel Class
Limited to 5 students.

Students will meet every two weeks on Thursday nights 7:30 until 10 PM at his home in Arlington, Virginia. Four to five blocks from Virginia Square Metro station.

February 28
March 13
March 27
April 10
April 24
May 8
May 15

Cost is $500 to be paid before the first night. Due to people dropping the class at the last minute and forcing me to cancel the entire session I now require that $125 of this fee be non-refundable and paid before the class begins.

Per Peabody:

"Every participant turns in their complete novel and synopsis the first night along with 5 copies for everybody else and me.That way you get handwritten notes on everything from everybody. And you should feel free to recommend cuts, improvements, make suggestions, mark the manuscripts up at will. That's what this class is all about. By meeting every two weeks each participant should have plenty of time to complete their critiques.

If you can't attend every meeting (which I demand save for unforeseeable illness or death in the family as it's a question of fairness and honor) please don't bother signing up.

Why do I teach this class? Because you can go to your favorite bookshop and lift any number of contemporary novels off the shelf and read a few chapters only to discover that they fall apart at chapter four. Why? I've found that most MFA programs only critique the first three chapters of your manuscript. Plus, I've learned from the hands-on experience of teaching this course that a complete reading and critique is absolutely the best way (dare I say only way) to go. What's the advantage of a small class like this one? There's nothing quite like having five people discuss your characters as though they were living people for 2 ½ hours. What sorts of novels are eligible? Generally I handle serious literary fiction (both realism and experimental works), but the class has included YA , Sci-Fi, Mystery, Horror, Thriller, and Romance novels.

If you are interested do please email me a chapter and a synopsis. I'm only considering completed novels in the 250-350 dbl. spaced page range. (That's one-sided, double spaced, 12pt. in Courier font.) Anything longer than that is pretty much wishful thinking right now due to grim market economics and politics. Most first novels are 300 dbl. spaced pages which equals 200pp. in book form. Simply a fact of the biz. Second novels are frequently a different story."

Alumni from Peabody's 22 years of university, Writer's Center, and private classes with filmed screenplays, books in print (or forthcoming)include: Mark Baechtel, Doreen Baingana, Toby Barlow, Maggie Bartley, Jodi Bloom, Sean Brijbasi, Peter Brown, Robert Cullen, Priscilla Cummings, Katherine Davis, Lucinda Ebersole, Sandy Florian, Cara Haycak, Dave Housley, Catherine Kimrey, Rachel King, Adam Kulakow, Nathan Leslie, Redge Mahaffey, Charlotte Manning, Meena Nayak, Matthew Olshan, William Orem, Mary Overton, Saideh Pakravan, Carolyn Parkhurst, Sally Pfoutz, Nani Power, Carey Roberts, Lisa Schamess, Brenda Seabrooke, Julia Slavin, David Taylor, Lisa M. Tillman, Sharlie West, and Yolanda Young.

His address is 3819 North 13th Street, Arlington, VA 22201. His house is 2 blocksfrom Quincy Park and the Central Library on Quincy Street, where he lives with his wife and children--3 doors from Washington-Lee High School where Quincy crosses 13th Street. His phone number is (703) 525-9296. His cell is (703) 380-4893

Richard Peabody wears many literary hats. He is editor of Gargoyle Magazine (founded in 1976), has published a novella, two books of short stories, six books of poems, plus an e-book, and edited or co-edited fourteen anthologies including: Mondo Barbie, Mondo Elvis, Mondo Marilyn, Mondo James Dean, Coming to Terms: A Literary Response to Abortion,Conversations with Gore Vidal, A Different Beat: Writings by Women of the Beat Generation, Grace and Gravity: Fiction by Washington Area Women,Alice Redux: New Stories of Alice, Lewis, and Wonderland, Sex & Chocolate: Tasty Morsels for Mind and Body, Enhanced Gravity: More Fiction by Washington Area Women, Kiss the Sky: Fiction and Poetry Starring Jimi Hendrix and Electric Grace: Still More Fiction by Washington Area Women. Stress City: A Big Book of Fiction by Fifty DC Guys is forthcoming in spring 2008. Peabody teaches fiction writing for the Johns Hopkins Advanced Studies Program and the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He lives in Arlington, Virginia. You can find out more at and/or

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Poet Reed Whitemore Reads from His Memoir on Feb. 3rd

Poet Reed Whitemore will read from his most recent work at Politics & Prose, on Sunday, FEB. 3, at 3 P.M.

Please join us at Politics & Prose to honor Reed Whittemore on the publication of his memoir Against the Grain: The Literary Life of a Poet. Reed will read a number of poems, older and newer. The younger Whittemores — Cate, Ned and Daisy — will read excerpts from the book. Refreshments afterwards!

For more on Reed’s memoir, visit, which includes poems, reviews, essays on Reed’s work, and an interview with Grace Cavalieri. Below is a recent piece from The Buffalo News by book review editor, Jeff Simon.

Yours sincerely,
Merrill Leffler

Books & Literature: Editor's Choice, The Buffalo News, January 6, 2008

Against the Grain: The Literary Life of a Poet, A Memoir by Reed Whittemore, foreword by Garrison Keillor (Dryad Press, 340 pages, $26.95).

CIA "mother" James Jesus Angleton co-edited a fabled literary magazine [Furioso] with him. In his 80s now, Reed Whittemore is a decidedly minority taste, if not exactly a secret one. And yet as Garrison Keillor's wonderfully rehabilitative introduction to this book implies, you can be a minority taste and a secretly major figure at the same time and Reed Whittemore, by virtue of his copious wit, may be all of that.

He calls himself a "now aged poet, essayist, critic, little magazine editor, biographer, teacher." And he writes his memoirs in the third person, as his model Henry Adams did. Poetry, politics, journalism and the cross-pollination of all with each other in all combinations comprise the subject of his memoirs. There is startling frankness here about his estrangements from "money professionals."  And when you get, at the close, to his parody of the jargon in the scholarly journal Daedalus, he is ”bless him” still antic and absurdly hilarious in his late-80s.

Maybe the world, at this stage, needs his rediscovery more than he does.
--Jeff Simon

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Protection by Gregg Shapiro Is Released

Gival Press is pleased to announce the publication of the debut poetry collection by pop-culture journalist Gregg Shapiro of Chicago.

Protection has gained the recognition and praise of various authors who have described the collection to a tea, for example:

“In bed with a lover in Boston, putting a cat to sleep in Chicago, hanging laundry by moonlight in Washington, D.C. I like the way Gregg Shapiro’s stanzas—packed with keen observations and physical details—place me solidly in his world. His in-your-face intimacy feels as necessary as it does generous and brave. Protection is a blessedly open and refreshingly out book of poems.”—David Trinidad, author of Plasticville

Limping Towards Chicago

This is what I'll do: put a bullet through
my foot. Change my hair color in gas station
restrooms along the way. Collect silverware,
coffee cups from diners, truck stops. Grow
a beard, shave it off. Leave long, long sideburns.
Knock out a tooth, darken the rest with black

licorice. Pick up a dialect, roll it around
in my mouth, spit it out like a seed. Lose sight
in one eye, gain it back in the other. Wish on
the first star, the fifth. Leave eleven different
forwarding addresses. This is where I'll go
to lick salt from my wounds. Produce scar

tissue. Confident in my disguise; recognized
by everyone. Accept the key to the city,
call me the Village Idiot. Try strangling myself
with the phone cord. My father unwinds it,
massages the creases from my throat. Crawl
through thumbtacks I planted in the carpet.

My mother plucks them from my knees and
palms, applies Mercurochrome and gauze.
At least my brother and sister aren't surprised.
They’re shaking their heads, selling tickets.
I shrug like a city with big shoulders. The sun
is so bright in the morning, I could sleep four years.

Poet Denise Duhamel states: “The stirring poems in Gregg Shapiro’s Protection offer anything but. These poems touch and say what is forbidden, possessing a fragile joy that is all the more treasured because of the speaker’s knowledge of loss. Shapiro’s voice is both freshly innovative and strikingly mature. Chicago, Boston, and D.C. serve as flawless backdrops for his perceptive insights the complexities of flawed urban love.”

The Mid-April Fool

I opened the window. I opened my mouth
but nothing came out. Not a sound but
the sound of the street lamps hissing, “go
back to sleep.” He was already gone, he
was halfway down the block, underground,
in the garage. He was starting the car,
putting on miles. I put on his bathrobe,

licked clean his ashtray. I walked the dog
up the back stairs to the rooftop. I howled
at the moon, I danced like Nijinsky. Closer
to the edge I chanted his name, a wakeful
lullaby. Give me a chance, give me a hint.
If I can borrow a dollar maybe I can buy
an umbrella or a clue, a reason for staying.

Given the intensity of the Shapiro's poetry is no surprise that New Orleans-based gay author Greg Herren has declared “Gregg Shapiro's stunning debut marks the arrival of a new master poet on the scene. His work blows me away.”


Gregg Shapiro's interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional GLBT publications and websites. His poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous outlets including Blithe House Quarterly, Beltway, modern words, Bloom, and the anthologies Sex & Chocolate: Tasty Morsels for Mind and Body and Poetic Voices Without Borders.

To purchase a copy at, click below:
Purchase a copy of Protection at


Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Split This Rock Issue of Beltway Poetry Now Online

Here's the latest from Beltway Poetry Quarterly:

We begin 2008 with a rousing new issue of the journal, celebrating political poetry "borne out of a hunger." The Split This Rock Issue features seventeen poets who are participating in the upcoming festival of the same name, either as organizers or readers.

As co-editor Regie Cabico writes in his introduction, these poets sing "about gentrification, pop culture, immigration, war, heritage, disability, history and American iconography" to create a home "in the gut of a government that should hear, swallow, and ingest verses of provocation and witness."

Split This Rock Poetry Festival will take place in Washington, DC March 20-23, 2008. In addition to Beltway Poetry Quarterly, other co-sponsoring organizations include the Institute for Policy Studies, Sol and Soul, The White Crane Institute, Washington Friends of Walt Whitman, and Beloit Poetry Journal.

The Split This Rock Issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly features poems by the following authors:

Winona Addison * Naomi Ayala * Sarah Browning * Grace Cavalieri * Teri Ellen Cross * Heather Davis * Joel Dias-Porter * Yael Flusberg * Brian Gilmore * E. Ethelbert Miller * Princess of Controversy * Tanya Snyder * Susan Tichey * Melissa Tuckey * Dan Vera * Rosemary Winslow * Kathi Wolfe

The Split This Rock Issue (Volume 9, Number 1), is co-edited by Regie Cabico and Kim Roberts. The issue is available online now at:

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