Penina’s Letters, a Novel by Joe Linker

Ocean Surfing Love Letters War Epistolary Bildungsroman Santa Monica Bay Beach Cities School Work Family Friendship Self-deception Literary Fiction Folk Song Narrative… “Penina’s Letters” takes place in the beach cities along Santa Monica Bay, with a fictionalized beach town named Refugio squeezed in between El Porto and Grand Avenue. The town of Refugio takes the…

Kirill Medvedev: “It’s No Good”

Kirill Medvedev’s poems are easy to get into. He explains situations, tells stories about people. You don’t mind listening and want to hear more. He’s contemplative and calm and reasonable, even when he’s making a wakeup call, dissing and dressing down, asking why things can’t be rearranged. The vocabulary isn’t hard. The figurative language is…

Verlyn Klinkenborg: “Several short sentences about writing”

In the beginning was the word, and the word was a sentence. And the sentence was an assignment. And the assignment broiled in the brain, that alchemical brewpub of doubt. A devil came near, cooing, “Plagiarize, my dear; allow me to serve the sentence for you.” A good angel appeared: “Depart, ye fiends of papers…

A Pith Zany

And what he did last just before his personal power rose and surged then tweeted out was check his e-mail. “Heaven will be full of spam,” he decried, “because everyone wants to be there, while hell will be whiteout, an empty inbox.” “Or the other way around,” I replied. “Oh, that’s pithy,” he said. “And…

Watermarks from a Night Spring

Embers of a partially burned ocean In a box in a dank basement molting notes A weathered surfer slowly descends the creaking Worn stairs, dark swells yawning Fish eyed and barnacle knuckled he climbs Finds and opens the box, peers in, smells the pages Runs salted fingers over the raised words Rusting paper clips, chiseled…

A Cat’s Email

– Did you get my email? – What email? – I sent you an email. – I delete all email before reading it. – That doesn’t make any sense! – Welcome to the world of Postmodern Poetry. – But I sent you an email! – Must we go through this again? – Joe’s post titled…

A Cat’s Memoir

– I’m going to write a memoir! – You’re speaking of flash fiction, I presume? – No. I want to tell your story. – My story? – Yes, Joe says it’s the writer’s job to tell the stories of cats without voices, and you don’t seem to have a voice. – Joe? Who is Joe?…

Notes on Experience, Story, and Voice

“The idea that everyone has a story to tell (which underlies the notion that anyone can write since all a writer needs is a story) is strictly correct,” Jenny Diski said, writing in the London Review of Books (7 Mar, 21) about Marco Roth’s memoir, “The Scientists: A Family Romance.” Well, Henry James thought so,…

As You Like It: Rules for Writing

Back in February 2010, the Guardian posted an article titled “Ten rules for writing fiction.” Celebrated authors had been invited to submit ten of their writing rules. But rules often break down under pressure, we might find writers breaking their own, or the examples held up for adulation contain so many exceptions that the rule is…

Plumbing & Writing: A Review of the Literature (at the Toads)

One of these days, I’ll craft a post equal to one of my Dad’s plumbing jobs. Meantime, here are a few past posts that mention the improbable connection between writing and plumbing: Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life E. B. White and the Plumber The Elite and the Effete: From Access to Egress A Portrait of…

Find a New Year’s Resolution at Berfrois!

New Year’s resolutions sounding redundant? Bored with the idea of giving up potato chips and dip for another year? Discouraged just looking at the stationary bike you got for Christmas? Read the Toads post “Why Read Poetry?” at Berfrois, and make poetry a New Year’s resolution!

Four Dubliners and a Scholar’s Mirror

When Richard Ellmann wrote his Library of Congress lectures in the early 1980s on four Irish writers (Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, and Beckett), later issued in book form under the title Four Dubliners, Beckett was still living (barely; he died 18 months after the book’s publication). Most of Beckett’s work comes after WWII, work that often…