Community News & Updates September 2022

ANNOUNCEMENTS

STONECOAST

Stonecoast wants to help writers find their way to our supportive literary community. That’s why we’re reaching out to the best ambassadors the program has: You. If you know someone who is interested in applying, now is the time to give them a nudge. September 1st is the priority deadline for new applicants. We’re on the lookout for unique voices. You can help us in our search by retweeting/sharing any of the announcements we’ve made (@StonecoastMFA on Twitter or StonecoastMFA on Facebook). Or you can make your own post.

Keep this in mind:

  • There is no cost to apply to graduate programs in the UMaine system.
  • We offer scholarships to qualified students.
  • Our application is here.
  • As always, the Stonecoast administration is happy to reach out to prospective students (even if they’re not ready to apply this semester).

THE STONECOAST REVIEW

Via Editor-in-Chief Caite McNeil (Creative Nonfiction): The Stonecoast Review is accepting submissions until October 1. Alumni are encouraged to submit new work, but we will also consider previously published pieces for reprint. This offer is for alumni only, and is a great way to broaden your audience. We are particularly in need of NONFICTION, DRAMATIC WORKS, and POP FICTION pieces. We look forward to reading your work. Follow us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook.

THE TELLING ROOM

Via Meghan Vigeant (Creative Nonfiction, S’20): The Telling Room, a youth writing center in Portland, Maine, is currently hiring a Lead Teacher and a Publications Manager. The Lead Teacher will work with the Young Emerging Authors program and the Publishing Workshop. Applications for the Lead Teacher are due September 9, and September 16 for the Publications Manager. More info.  

ALUMS 

Jillian Abbott‘s (Popular Fiction, S’04) screenplay The Fullness of Time was selected for several film festivals and awarded at Black Swan International Film Festival in August.

Over the summer, Sarah Baldwin (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) had a flash piece published in Autofocus, an essay in Pangyrus, and a lyrical essay in Oxford Magazine. Her review of The Field House, by classmate Robin Wood (Creative Nonfiction, S’15), recently appeared in Atticus Review

Peter Adrian Behravesh (Popular Fiction, W’18) will be appearing as a panelist at Worldcon 80 in Chicago (September 1 through 5). For those attending, here’s where you can find him:

  • SF Scholarship for Fans — September 1, 11:30 AM CDT (In Person/Virtual)
  • Tell Me a Story — September 2, 11:30 AM CDT (In Person)
  • Podcast Genres: Audio Fiction — September 2, 5:30 PM CDT (In Person)
  • Beyond Campbell and Campbell: New Story Forms and Structures — September 2, 8:30 PM CDT (Virtual)
  • Understanding Podcast Production: Audio Recording — September 3, 11:30 AM CDT (In Person)
  • Speculative Academia: Publish and Present Papers on SpecFic — September 4, 10:00 AM CDT (In Person)
  • In addition, Peter will be appearing at the Hugo Awards ceremony on September 4, as a finalist.

Carina Bissett (Popular Fiction, S’18) is pleased to announce the publication of her poem “The End of Days” in A Woman Unbecoming, edited by Rachel A. Brune and Carol Gyzander (Crone Girls Press, August 2022). Proceeds of this charity anthology will be donated to support reproductive healthcare rights. 

J Brooke (Poetry, S’19) had a flash essay published in HerStry. The piece (“Rules to Age 11”) had been kicking around in one incarnation or another since before the term “flash” referred to anything other than the actions of a pervert in a trench coat. J also had an essay published in Incluvie Film Review on Amy Schumer’s Life and Beth series, among other things.

teri elam (Poetry S’19) was selected to attend the 2022 Stowe Story Labs Sidewalk Narrative Lab for her romantic comedy feature #WifeLessons. BattleGround, adramedy feature, is a 2022 quarterfinalist in the ScreenCraft Feature and Los Angeles International Screenplay competitions. Her poem “A Dolly Parton Kinda Love” has been selected for a Dolly Parton poetry anthology, forthcoming from Madville Publishing in January 2023.

Elizabeth W. Garber (Creative Nonfiction, W’10) is releasing Sailing at the Edge of Disaster: A Memoir of a Young Woman’s Daring Year, published by Toad Hall Editions, with a flurry of readings and events in Maine: on September 13, 7:00 p.m. at the Belfast Free Library; on September 14, 5:30 p.m., in conversation with Christina Baker Kline at the Northeast Harbor Library; on September 18, 4:00 p.m. with release of book trailer by Camden film maker David Berez at Belfast’s Colonial Theater; on September 19, 6:30 p.m., in conversation with Stonecoast’s beloved Susan Conley at Print: A Bookstore in Portland; and on September 29, 7:00. p.m., with another Stonecoast grad, Linda Buckmaster, at the Blue Hill Library. For more information: https://elizabethgarber.com/

In 1971, Elizabeth Garber’s domineering father announced he was sending his “problem children”—seventeen-year-old bookish Elizabeth and her fourteen-year-old brother Woodie—to a school on a sailing ship to “shape up and learn to work.” chronicles Garber’s adventures, along with fifty teen misfits and their teachers aboard the sailing school housed on a once-magnificent yacht. They motor the limping ship out of Miami to begin the grand itinerary their charismatic 25-year-old school director envisioned. Along the way, the ship survives a gale at sea, a hole in the hull at deep water, an act of piracy, a near miss with a nuclear sub, and are held hostage by armed gun boats in Panama. The book chronicles a transformative year in the throes of late adolescence that leads to courage, grace, and a reclamation of selfhood.

Barbara Greenbaum (Fiction, S’05) is thrilled to announce that Main Street Rag Publishing Company will publish her book The Last Thing. It’s due to be released early next year and will sell for $13 + shipping, but you can get it for $7.50 + by placing an advance discount order at the MSR Online Bookstore before it goes to press. Here’s a link directly to her author’s page and to the MSR Online Bookstore. For those of you who don’t like buying online, Main Street Rag will take checks, but the price is a flat rate of $12/book regardless of quantity, which includes shipping and sales tax. Please remember, though, this is for advance orders. It doesn’t mean the book will be shipped early, only that you are receiving a discount for ordering before it goes to press, but the price will only last for a limited time, so order now!

Veda Boyd Jones (Fiction, S’17) has several nonfiction pieces in the 2023 Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac, on newsstands now. 

Nina B. Lichtenstein (Creative Nonfiction, S’20) attended the Hippocamp Conference in Lancaster, PA, for the first time and was pleased to run a session on “Writing the Body.” Now she is scheduling a series of body writing workshops (there are so many body parts!) on a platform for women midlife and beyond called Revel

Jeanette Lynes’ (Poetry/Fiction, S’05) third novel, The Apothecary’s Garden, was published by HarperCollins Canada. Her poetry recently appeared in Ninth Letter.

Jenny O’Connell (Creative Nonfiction, S’17) has two pieces out in the August issue of Maine Magazine—a brief personal essay on skydiving, and a guide to stargazing in Maine that includes tips for finding the darkest skies, ideas for budding astrophotographers, a calendar of future celestial events, and a canoe expedition to AMC’s Maine Woods International Dark Sky Park. Over the past year, Jenny has been innovating a teaching career for herself at the rich intersection of creative writing and wilderness adventure. She guided a backpacking and writing course in the 100 Mile Wilderness last fall, facilitated writing sessions on a canoe expedition for teens in a collaboration between The Telling Room and Hurricane Island Outward Bound this summer, and she recently joined the faculty of Seguinland Institute—a gap semester program in Georgetown, Maine, designed, built, and dreamed up by alum Loren Francis (W’19) and his family—where this January she’ll be teaching a three-week “Wintering” writing intensive for gap year and early college students based around exploring the good life in deep winter. (She’s particularly stoked for the dogsledding trip!) In collaboration with Adventures in Good Company, Jenny just launched a paddling, hiking, and writing adventure for women and nonbinary writers, which is set for August 2023. There are still spaces available, and she’d love to adventure with Stonecoasters!

Jonathan Pessant (Poetry, W’21) has poems forthcoming. “Crush and Feel” will appear in the military journal Collateral. “Sor Juana Eats Apples in Front of Men, and Laughs” will be published in the inaugural issue of Exist Otherwise Journal. And a series of four poems entitled “The Witch House No More” will be in Issue 3 of Suburban Witchcraft Magazine.

Marisca Pichette (Popular Fiction, S’21)has new work out in Baffling Magazine, The Fairy Tale Magazine, and Love Letters to Poe, Volume II: Houses of Usher. She recently finished developmental edits on a novel she wrote at Stonecoast, which will be going on submission soon.

Catherine Schmitt (Creative Nonfiction, W’12) published an essay on northern white cedar in The Outside Story, syndicated in newspapers across Vermont and New Hampshire, and is now compiling the “Discoveries” column on the latest forest research news from around the Northeastern U.S. for Northern Woodlands, published quarterly. Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Magazine recently featured her articles on barnacles and the lakes of Acadia National Park, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine has her Creature Feature on the Quebec emerald dragonfly.

Linda K. Sienkiewicz (Fiction, S’09) is pleased to announce her poem “Two Television Home” placed third in the George Dila Memorial Prose Poem Category in the Poetry Society of Michigan’s annual poetry contest. The poem will be published in the fall edition.

Lisa C. Taylor (Poetry, S’04) was honored to be included in the 42nd annual Telluride Mushroom Festival, reading in the Mycolicious, Mycolucious Poetry Reading at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride on August 19. Her new book of poetry, Interrogation of Morning (Arlen House/Syracuse University Press, 2022), had its first US reading in Mancos, Colorado, on August 18th to a great and enthusiastic crowd. Twenty percent of those book sales are going to the local foodshare and the local youth alliance. Lisa also has a story included in the forthcoming anthology Dreams for a Broken World. All profits from the sale of this book go to the Rosenberg Fund for Children. The anthology is co-edited by Julie Day and Ellen Meeropol and is available for pre-order now and will be out in November. 

Becky Thompson (Poetry, W’21) is delighted to pass on the news that To Speak in Salt, winner of the Ex Ophidia Poetry Prize, has been published. Yahoo! This poetry collection was her thesis for the MFA at Stonecoast and was made possible by generous mentoring from Katherine Larson, Deb Marquart, and Chen Chen. About this volume Palestinian poet Jehan Bseiso wrote, “To Speak in Salt is crafted like a hand-made rosary, each poem, each bead holds its own shape and all of the pieces come together across Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine and other sites of displacement and exodus to tell stories of refuge and survival, longing and loss, the endless waiting and hoping for a life with dignity.”  Here is a link to order the book if you might be interested. I would love to hear from people about how you feel/think about it (becky.thompson@simmons.edu). Thank you for this precious community. 

Meghan Vigeant‘s (Creative Nonfiction, S’20) flash non-fiction piece “How to Hide From Your Family” recently appeared in the summer 2022 issue of kerning, and her poem “Take Your Shoes Off” is forthcoming this Fall in Adanna Literary Journal. Meghan continues to guide youth writers through the creative process with the Telling Room. Some of her fledgling poets had a chance to read their poems on WBFY this August during a camp held at Waterfall Arts in Belfast. 

Anne Witty (Poetry, W’12) recently published a piece on the Maine Writers’ and Publishers Alliance “Read and Loved” feature exploring “hidden gems” by Maine writers. She muses on Philip Booth’s poem “Eaton’s Boatyard,” investigating how “culch”—that useless but potentially handy accumulation around any workshop or boatyard—resembles the stuff that writers and poets collect: ideas and experience that come from making a living, and making a life.

Robin Clifford Wood (Creative Nonfiction, S’15) discussed her award-winning biography-memoir hybrid, The Field House: A Writer’s Life Lost and Found on an Island in Maine, at the Seal Harbor Library in August. 

The environmental literary magazine from Green Writers Press, The Hopper, will publish two sid sibo flash fictions in the Fall 2022 issue. A western Ireland exploration following a winter Stonecoast-at-Howth residency inspired the story “Incongruous” and sharp-reading faculty Suzanne Strempek Shea pushed forward an earlier form of “green crow gleaming.” Winter 2019 Fiction alum sidney woods writes creatively as sid sibo, with occasional blog posts to be found at www.siboMountain.org; for more about this magazine click into www.hoppermag.org/the-hopper.

FACULTY  

Aaron Hamburger (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction) will be teaching a hybrid online and in-person class at Politics & Prose: “George Orwell and Joan Didion, Truthtellers in an Age of Alternative Facts.” Beam in via Zoom from anywhere in the country! 

Elizabeth Hand’s (Popular Fiction, Fiction) eco-thriller Hokuloa Road has received rave reviews from The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Locus Magazine, among others. She is currently writing a novel inspired by Shirley Jackson’s classic The Haunting of Hill House, the first time the Jackson estate has authorized a narrative inspired by her work. “In conversations with Liz we have become convinced that she will continue our mother’s work in a style and form compatible with Shirley’s,” Jackson’s son Laurence Jackson Hyman said in a statement. The novel will be published autumn 2023 by Mulholland Books. Next month, Elizabeth will lead a creative writing workshop at the Centre for Effective Altruism’s Wytham Abbey in Oxford. Forthcoming reviews include Slaying the Dragon; A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons, for The Washington Post.  Her short story “For Sale by Owner” is a finalist for the World Fantasy Award.

Raina J. León (Poetry) has a new book, black god mother this body, just published in August with Black Freighter Press.  Her book tour has just begun with stops at Notre Dame, Rider University, West Chester University, Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco), the Miami Book Fair, and more.  black god mother this body is a cross-genre sustained experimentation with prose, poetry, visual poems, archives, and augmented reality as she explores the question: what does it mean to mother, to be in alignment with the spark of creation as a Black woman, while the world burns?  If you want to talk about it, she’s on IG and Twitter @rainaleon and TikTok @rainajleon talking about craft, sharing writing prompts, and otherwise inviting others into creative practice!  

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