An Important Event during a Specific Season

Posted on Thu, Dec 8 2016 9:00 am by Maryka Gillis

A strategy that has worked for me historically is using specific details and changing them. Basically, I will generalize details then substitute my own specifics. For instance, if the poem I am using as a model discusses a brother’s substance abuse that came to a culmination for the speaker in spring, my prompt would be the following: Write about a particularly important event or stage in the life of someone close to you that was grounded in a specific season, and use details from that season to evoke your response to that event or stage of life. Perhaps I would then write about a friend’s grief that began in late summer, or a mentor having a child in the fall.

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Loosely Literal: Barron Trump's Diary

Posted on Wed, Dec 7 2016 9:00 am by Sally Franson

Dear Diary:

Boy a lot has happened since the last time I wrote in here. One thing that happened is that Tiffany St. Clair told Josh to tell me she liked me. I asked Josh, like or like-like, and he said what do you think and wiggled his eyebrows. I said I don’t know and he said think about it and I said I was and he said the same thing happened to him after his dad came and talked to us about working for the C.I.A. He said, you know what b-words be like, and I nodded like I knew. Yeah, I said, B-words. Except I said the real thing.

Another thing that happened is that my Dad’s almost President. I got excited cause I thought it meant we were moving, but then Mom said we weren’t. Her and my Dad got into a big fight about it. Mom wanted to move but Dad didn’t want her to, I think cause he wants a new wife in Washington. Mom got sad cause she had already picked out new china for the White House. Dad said what’s the big deal, you can pick out new china here, but Mom said it wasn’t the same cause foreign dig-it Harrys wouldn’t eat on it. Then she stomped off to her Pilates room.

Then my Dad pulled a Filet-o-Fish out of his briefcase and yelled at me to stop looking at him. My Dad only eats McDonald’s in private. He gets sweaty when he eats it, like he’s exercising.

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Lit Chat: Meet Kathryn Haddad

Posted on Wed, Nov 30 2016 9:00 am by Sun Yung Shin

I’ve always admired Kathryn Haddad for her founding the Arab American literary journal Mizna but only recently had to chance to pick her brain about her own literary work. I asked her about her journey coming into her own as a playwright, “I always loved theater. My earliest and best memories were of making up plays in the basement of my parents’ house and inviting neighbors to watch. I started performing in plays in elementary school and all through high school, but did not begin to write plays until I was in my late 20s when I discovered that I had a story to tell, too.” I am so grateful that she has been part of telling Arab American stories in Minnesota and beyond.

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Reading Like a Writer: "The Bath" and Default Settings

Posted on Wed, Nov 23 2016 9:00 am by Allison Wyss

I'd love to tell you what Yoko Tawada's "The Bath" (translated by Susan Bernofsky and Yumi Seldon) is about, but I'm not sure I can. I guess it's the story of an incompetent interpreter, but that's pretty reductive. Just know it's delightfully strange at the beginning, and it keeps getting stranger.

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Persevere: Upcoming Poetry & Memoir for Resilience

Posted on Tue, Nov 22 2016 9:00 am by Maryka Gillis

What I have needed above all else during the course of my young adult life is perseverance. In light of election results, the state of our country, and pervasive injustice, perseverance will continue to be needed, and needed, and needed. Literature, and particularly poetry, is a critical tool for my own resilience, empathy, and hope. In the coming years, we can continue to turn to our long-loved books and authors, but there will always be new voices and new works that, rather than needing to be heard, we need to hear. The following books are collections of poetry (and a couple memoirs) from local authors (and one who is not local) who have shown great depths of perseverance and who have much to teach us about our culture and how we, collectively, arrived here. Await them with your old and beloved books close by.

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Posted on Fri, Nov 18 2016 9:00 am by Dawn Frederick

At the beginning of November, Colson Whitehead was the final guest of Talking Volumes for 2016. If you've ever read his books, you'll know that he was quite the colorful personality and kept Kerri Miller on her toes (in the best of ways).

Having limited time in any day, I’m not able to read all the books by any author nowadays.  I've read some of Colson's works, but sadly not all of them. However, it became abundantly clear one of the reasons he has thrived as a writer is that he keeps it real. Real, as in he writes what he wants to write, bringing a natural curiosity to the writing table.

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Poetics of Craigslist

Posted on Fri, Nov 11 2016 9:00 am by Maryka Gillis

Though there are still flea markets to be visited by the active haggler, today Craigslist dominates the market of direct buyer to seller shopping. It has nearly everything for salepets, cars, clothes, toys, jars, gravel, and sometimes even food. But Craigslist has more than just things for sale, which I tend to forget now that I have an apartment and a jobboth of which were Craigslist finds. Craigslist has odd jobs, discussion boards, skilled services, wanted pages, apartments, and, perhaps most interestingly, the “Personals” section.

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Success Story from the Pitch

Posted on Wed, Nov 9 2016 3:00 pm by Kathleen Peterson

The Loft: What were some highlights and/or biggest takeaways for you from the last Pitch conference? 

Kathleen Peterson: It was really valuable to just chat with the agents and editors in casual settings.  It was a great way to gain knowledge of industry terminology and see who had an interest or expertise in your genre.  Also the panel discussions were great – fun but very informative.  Also helped a lot to talk to other writers about their work – you learn that some are way beyond where you are with your project, and that others are not yet to the point you’ve reached.  I find it extremely interesting to hear about other people’s projects and their writing and research styles.

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Pitch Agent Highlight: Andrea Somberg

Posted on Wed, Nov 9 2016 9:00 am by Andrea Somberg

This is the fourth in a series of blog post interviews with visiting agents for The Loft's Pitch Conference 2017. Today's agent highlight is Andrea Somberg, of Harvey Klinger Inc. Registration for the Pitch opens on November 15 for Loft members and November 17 for general public. 

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Pitch Agent Highlight: Soumeya Roberts

Posted on Thu, Nov 3 2016 9:00 am by Soumeya Roberts

This is the third in a series of blog post interviews with visiting agents for The Loft's Pitch Conference 2017. Today's agent highlight is Soumeya Roberts, of Writers House literary agency. Registration for the Pitch opens on November 15 for Loft members and November 17 for general public.

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