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Apr. 18th, 2014

Imogen Cunningham The Unmade Bed 1957.jpgImage: The Unmade Bed by Imogen Cunningham

Semiotext(e) created a pamphlet collection for the Whitney Biennial. They published chapbooks by some of my favorite writers: Simone Weil, Bifo, Eileen Myles, Abdellah Taia. It's a huge collection of work, so I've only started to go through them, but Jackie Wang's "Against Innocence" is a stunner, and Franco "Bifo" Berardi's "Neuro Totalitarianism" is apparently the philosophical critique of the tech culture I've been waiting for. (Rebecca Solnit's cultural critique of Silicon Valley is just as powerful.)

While we are fetishizing, when will Seagull start getting the loyalty and love that NYRB, Melville House, Dalkey Archive, and other publishers that seem to get their own wall in clever independent bookstores get? They do fucking amazing, beautiful books. Francois Morin's A World Without Wall Street? should be read alongside Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

And while you're supporting good independent publishers, don't forget about us. Our second chapbook may have sold out, but we still have copies of Daphne Gottlieb's "Bess" and John Biguenet's "The Other Half," all lovingly handmade and illustrated and gorgeous. And of course we are already working on numbers four and five.

I don't know why I am in sales pitch mode, but just a word about Spolia* itself: we decided that the best way to pay our contributors would just to split the proceeds evenly between everyone, so that is what we are doing now. When you buy an issue for $5, or subscribe for $50, that money goes directly to our writers. I'm not even taking a cut at this point, since we're new and fledgling and not yet the powerhouse I am certain we will be, once people realize what incredible writers Rebecca Brown, Daphne Gottlieb, Mia Gallagher, Gary Armdahl, Joanna Kavenna and our other regulars are, not to mention the people who swing by for just a visit instead of moving right in, like Sjon and Mikhail Shishkin and Curtis White and Viktor Horvath and jesus christ all of the others. Hopefully that will happen before we are all dead, so someone other than heirs gets the money.

I'm trying to be very Six of Coins! Conscientious about where my money goes and how that expresses what I value. To like an insane degree I am doing this. Today I am expressing my value of the company that makes German organic rhubarb soda, those fuckers are geniuses, and Robert Graves**. As well as Powells, our new affiliate partner.

* Speaking of Spolia, I am looking for someone to write an essay about Vivian Maier for our upcoming issue. I am interested in this process of turning a "forgotten" woman into a cash making machine for the men who discovered her negatives. If you're interested, please get in touch.

** Someone please please please put this movie back into production.

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Also: Exiled Romanian poet Nina Cassian has died; the real title of Hillary Clinton's forthcoming memoir; Gary Shteyngart retires from book blurbing.

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Joan Chase's 1983 debut During the Reign of the Queen of Persia is a careful, layered account of a troubled family in rural 1950s Ohio, narrated by a quasi-Greek chorus of daughters and cousins.

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18 APRIL 2014

ON FEBRUARY 9, 1964 My life changed forever. The event itself—the family gathered around the TV set for a Sunday night viewing of The Ed Sullivan Show—seemed rather routine. It's what we did almost every Sunday night. Ed Sullivan. My Favorite Martian. Bonanza. Something like that. Sometimes we would have pizza but that was more of a treat than routine. Ed Sullivan was routine.

But on that particular night in February of '64, something was very different. My mother informed me during the week that this "new musical act, this rock 'n roll band from England" was going to debut. They were causing quite a stir. In part, because of how they looked. Their haircuts.

I remember finding those haircuts to be a little strange. Maybe because nothing like that would ever be allowed to grow on my head! Not in my house. Not with my dad.

And girls screaming was very strange to comprehend.

But what they were doing was most intriguing. Playing electric guitars and drums and singing. And I thought, this was their job. WOW! All my ideas of being an astronaut or a cowboy went right out the window. Yeah, these guys dressed like my dad did for work—in white shirts, ties and suit coats—but I don't think they came home from work and fell asleep on the couch all tired and overworked. No, they looked like they were having FUN doing their job!

Anyhow, this little introduction is for a sketch I'd like to share. It's for my latest "graphic-poem," SAINT RINGO. The fictionalized-autobiographical story of a Fab Four fan who found it very difficult to chose a Confirmation name in the Year of the Devil. The story includes my account of February 9, 1964 and this illustration, proportionately, depicts my perceived importance of which Beatle I most wanted to be like.

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Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 87, died on Thursday. He made Colombia synonymous with literature, particularly the dreamlike, whimsical story-telling known as magical realism.

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Our Wonderful World.18

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.


No wheel for rolling,
or draft horse for pulling,
and hills too steep,
with trees thick and deep.

So how to move countless
stone blocks up a mountain?
A hundred-man force
up an inclined plane course.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

After a week that featured wonders of the modern world chosen by The American Society of Civil Engineers -- the Empire State Building (my favorite of my poems this week), the Golden Gate Bridge, the Itaipu Dam, the Delta Works, and the Panama Canal (I cheated and wrote a non-wonder poem that day) -- it's been nice to return to some ancient wonders: Petra yesterday and Machu Picchu today.

And what fun to learn about unknown or little-known places around the world, and to marvel, day after day, at the ingenuity of the human race!

Robyn has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Life on the Deckle Edge, and the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem comes home to Irene at Live Your Poem.

Kevin wrote a pensive ransom note poem for today. It's at his blog, Kevin's Meandering Mind.

Carol Varselona at BeyondLiteracyLink wrote a poem for the Panama Canal.

Carol Wilcox's poem for Petra is at Carol's Corner. I immediately thought of the cliff-dwellers of the American Southwest when I looked through the pictures of Petra!

In her memoir, A Fighting Chance, Warren reveals a childhood brush with bankruptcy and reflects on hard-won political lessons.

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SnowQueenMusical 300x300 Press Release Fun: The Snow Queen joins the New York Musical Theatre FestivalYou know when you make a friend who works in a different field than you and then, in time, your mutual interests come together?  Years ago my friend Katie married a talented composer by the name of Haddon Kime.  Haddon was kind enough to create the opening music of my short lived podcast and then that was that.  Now years have passed and the man behind the music and lyrics of the kick arse punk rock version of The Snow Queen (good timing with Frozen and all, eh?) is coming to the New York Musical Theatre Festival.  Woo-hoo!  Couldn’t be happier for everyone involved.

Additional Productions and Readings Announced for 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival

By Michael Gioia
14 Apr 2014
The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) has announced additional productions and readings for its 2014 Festival, which will run July 7-27.

“We were fortunate to have a bumper crop of very high quality shows this year,” said NYMF executive director and producer Dan Markley in a statement. “Whether it’s your first time at the Festival or you’ve been joining us for years, you’re in for a great musical theatre experience in July.”

The 2014 Festival’s productions will be housed at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre and the Ford Foundation Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street) as well as other venues to be announced.

“NYMF audiences will have a chance to experience a wide range of stories told in fresh and inventive ways for a contemporary audience, from a steam-punk inspired Hans Christian Andersen tale for a family audience, to an R&B infused depiction of the lives of Sally Hemings and Marie Antoinette,” added director of programming Mary Kate Burke.

Memberships for the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival are on sale, and members can book tickets beginning June 2. Single tickets will go on sale June 16. To purchase a membership, visit

Newly announced productions follow:

The Snow Queen Book by Kirsten Brandt and Rick Lombardo
Music by Haddon Kime, lyrics by Kirsten Brandt, Haddon Kime and Rick Lombardo
Additional music by Rick Lombardo

“Be spirited away by this new musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fantastical coming-of-age adventure. Join Gerda on a dangerous and whimsical quest to save her best friend Kai before he is trapped forever in the Snow Queen’s palace. Dare to enter a world where flowers sing, animals talk, and riddles yearn to be solved. With an original pop rock score, alluring ballads, urban steam punk flair, and the enigmatic Snow Queen, you’ll soon see this is not your average bedtime story.”

You can follow the production on Twitter at @SnowQueenShow. And here’s a video from the production, in case you’re curious:

share save 171 16 Press Release Fun: The Snow Queen joins the New York Musical Theatre Festival

Field Trip Friday: April 17, 2014


- YA Highway is one of Writer Digest's Top 101 Blogs for Writers! We're excited and humbled to receive this honor and hope to continue to be a good resource for you, our fabulous readers!

- Last week's many conversations and posts about diversity in kidlit carried over to this week with ReedPOP, the panel organizers for BookCon, issueing a non-apology for their all white, middle-aged male "Kids Authors That Dazzle" panel. Author Justina Ireland writes an open letter to conference planners telling them to quit using the equivalent of "I have black friends" and stop organizing diversity panels. "There's a lot of good talk but there's still no action," notes author Ellen Oh in her piece We Are Still Not Doing Enough for Diversity in Kidlit, while author Lamar Giles says forget being the change, don't BS the change. EW's Shelf Life talks to publishing professionals about why there are so few books featuring diverse main charactersMaya Prasad interviews author Sherri L. Smith about how we can achieve the change we need in the second post in her Diversity Solutions series, and Daniel Jose Older powerfully discusses the effects of race and power in publishing. Finally, the lovely Kaye M. kicks off a new blog series focusing on diversity and midlist authors.


- It's not all drowning in tears and bourbon being a writer. You might take a writing class with James Franco or even win a National Book Award...playing this How to be a Writer game.

- "These narratives portrayed alcoholism and drug use as spectacular and sensationalistic but also as having a definitive end: either the person died or the person got clean." The Ism and The Alcohol by Lauren Quinn dissects drugs, literature and the addition narrative. (via Corey Ann Haydu)

- E. Lockhart writes about taking herself seriously versus being taken seriously by the institutions mock the feminine, including YA.

- "Women...have wounds: broken hearts and broken bones and broken lungs. How do we talk about these wounds without glamorizing them? Without corroborating an old mythos that turns female trauma into celestial constellations worthy of worship?" Settle in for the Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain, a glorious, hour-long look at how authors write, sensationalize, get right and get wrong the wounded woman. (via sarah mccarry)

- Special Needs in Strange Worlds: Elizabeth Bear on Writing Disabilities.


- Mike Jung writes poignantly about "the issue of loving a book, really loving it, while also feeling genuinely troubled by it."

- The Not So Horrible Consequences of Reading Banned Books notes that "a new study of Texas teens found no connection between reading edgy books and mental health issues or delinquent behavior." Imagine that.

- Teacher Mrs. Anderson surveys the girls in her English class to discover which book characters they do and don't see themselves in, what they'd like to see more of in books, whether they've seen characters in required reading that stick out to them, and more.

- Debbie Reese brought Arigon Starr's Super Indian Comics to our attention and it makes for superb reading.

- Friend of YAH Kelly Jensen reviews Julie Halpern's The F-It List and wonders whether some readers can't handle "positive portrayal of girls embracing sex and doing so without apology and without holding back on being crude and, at times, obscene."

- "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." ~ One Hundred Years of Solitude. Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez passes away at the age of 87.

- There is a huge narrative surrounding the failing independent bookstore, but NY Mag gives us a look at six that are thriving and how they're managing the feat. Yes! Go forth and buy books!

- It's possible you didn't get tight-chested and glassy-eyes while watching the If I Stay movie trailer this week. It's also possible you don't have a heart. As for me and mine, GIVE ME THIS MOVIE ALREADY.


- Wake up and sell your book! Seven Brilliant Ways Authors Build Buzz--That Anyone Can Use. Yeah, I'm working on that whole "get on Oprah's good list" thing, too.

- In response to Elle Magazine's suggested wardrobe for The Novelist, Lynne Kelly describes The Author's Wardrobe, For Real. I'm on board with Jo Whittemore--my author superhero blanket cape is regularly draped over my shoulders as I write. Isn't yours?

- Chuck Wendig has Ten Things [He'd] Like to Say to Young Writers. So sit up and pay attention, youths! (We love you, youths.)

- Dan Wells and a whole slew of authors are putting together an anthology to raise awareness of mental disorders and to show support for Dan's brother, Robison Wells.


- Congrats to Adventures in YA Publishing for hitting 2 million page views! To celebrate, they're giving away 20 incredible prize packs. Go forth and enter.


- Hug a Dungeonmaster today. Annalee Newitz discusses how We Won the War on Dungeons & Dragons.

- "We are both birthed from resilience." Teenagers Amina Iro and Hannah Halpern own the stage at the Brave New Voices 2013 Quarterfinals. (via Sajidah)

- In more awesome teen girls slash where is the book about THIS superhero news, a 13-year old eagle huntress in Mongolia gives us a glimpse of her world.

- Muggles need not apply. But for the rest of us, Hogwarts courses are now online! Grab your wands, witches, you're late for class.

- The vegetation on Kepler-186f would grow in shades of yellow and orange but that probably won't stop people from wanting to inhabit Earth's newly discovered "cousin."

- We prefer promoting teens who do great things. In the case of the girl who tweeted a bomb threat at American Airlines, consider this an advisory, do-not-do tale.

-  Catherine Cleary Wolters, the real life inspiration for the character Alex on Orange is the New Black, speaks out about her relationship with Piper Kerman for the first time.

- I know teenagers who use maybe...three of these terms regularly? I don't know what that says about me or about this article on 23 Words Teenagers Love To Use and What They Really Mean.


    - They're all yours, horror lovers. The most gruesome sentences found on Wikipedia.

    - Going in for a new haircut anytime soon? This guide to finding your face shape will surely help you discover the most flattering style.

    - You could wonder how and why bunnies became a symbol for Easter (huh?) or you could just look at these terrifying vintage Easter bunny photos and call it good.

    - Hilary Clinton is going to be a grandma!

    - A $20,000AUD party and he won't take the sunglasses off because they're famous.

    Have a great weekend, but try not to break anything. <3 Kristin