Seth Brown & WordPlay in the Beacon

November 23, 2008

Congratulations to Seth Brown, whose WordPlay reading got rave reviews in the MCLA Beacon! The reviewer, Mark Burridge, praised Seth’s reading from his latest project, From God to Verse (a rendering of the entire Torah into rhyming couplets) as well as his fabulous freestyle abilities.

You can read the article here: Seth Brown Plays With Words at Inkberry/Papyri Reading


April inkmail

April 21, 2008

The April edition of inkmail features a farewell from Inkberry’s two interns:

Holly and Sondra: We both heard about the internship through last year’s Workshop Facilitator intern, Sarah Russell, and it appealed to our interest in the literary world. We started out not knowing what to expect, but over the past year, we have each found our places in our own literary niche…

Read the whole April issue of inkmail here.

Jill in Ploughshares

February 25, 2008

This morning I ran into Derek Mong — who will be reading with Jeffrey McRae at WordPlay (presented by Inkberry at Papyri Books on April 12th) — at the coffee shop in Williamstown. He mentioned to me that Jill Gilbreth, Inkberry’s executive director from 8/06 through 12/07, had a story in a recent edition of Ploughshares magazine.

The story in question is called When the Stars Begin to Fall; Jill read an excerpt from it at the Eclipse Mill last year, at an Inkberry event that featured Jill alongside Andrea Barrett.

Anyway, Jill’s story is excellent. The language is rich, the characters feel real, and the arc of the story kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Belated congratulations to Jill for the Ploughshares publication — and to all who enjoy really good fiction, take a moment out of your day and check this out, because it’s grand.

How to critique a poem

January 23, 2008

Sharon Brogan over at Watermark has a terrific post up entitled How to critique a poem. It’s full of nuggets of wisdom like:

  • Critique the poem, not the poet.
  • Don’t assume that the speaker of the poem is the poet; poets often write in fictional voices.
  • Say what you like about the poem; be specific.

— and many of the suggestions are links to comments or articles that shed more insight on her suggestions. The post is designed for those who are active in online poetry communities, but this advice would work equally well for in-person writing workshops…and I think these are generally applicable, with some obvious minor modifications, to commenting on prose (fiction or nonfiction), too.

There’s also a certain alignment between Sharon’s suggestions and the workshop instructions we developed at Inkberry’s inception…though, of course, her version doesn’t begin “Don’t eat babies.” 🙂

Gloria Gets Motion Sickness (guest post from Seth Brown)

May 2, 2007

Doing something literary when you’re inspired is great. But doing something literary consistently, even on days you’re not inspired? That’s hard work.

When I first heard about Inkberry, I was very excited. Granted, this was because I thought it was something I could eat. But even after someone explained to me that it was a literary cabal generally consisting of people who didn’t want to be eaten, it still seemed like a pretty neat idea — even moreso than digital watches. I’m glad there’s a literary force in the Shire (as I like to refer to the Berkshires), and doubly glad that it happens to be headquartered in my city.

It’s not easy to keep literary things going for any significant period of time. I had a political poetry column in the Providence Journal for a few years, but it ended in the middle of my college career. I co-founded a humor magazine at Williams, but then I foolishly graduated. I have a blog on that I mean to update regularly but end up updating in fits and starts. Mostly fits. I used to do improvised verse at the 413 poetry slams until they ended. Sic transit gloria. (Or for those who don’t speak Latin, “Gloria gets motion sickness”)

The point is, doing something literary when you’re inspired is great. But doing something literary consistently, even on days you’re not inspired? That’s hard work. Sometimes, it’s even too great a task for one writer to face alone.

So, what do you do when faced with an overwhelming task? Well, you have two options. The first is the option I take: Cheat. I’m not inspired for a post on my blog right now, so I’m going to steal this Inkberry blog entry of mine to paste on my website as well. But that’s not a long-term solution. The other option is to seek help. How fortuitous that you have a local literary cabal that puts on events and even offers a wide range of courses.

Me? I pretty much just offer humor. As a course when there’s demand, on my website even when there isn’t, and in my column in the Transcript until the editor wakes up one day and announces he’s leaving for Bennington. (Seriously, if it happens a third time, I’m going to suspect a conspiracy.)

In conclusion, buy low and sell high. And feel free to replace “low” with “my books”.

Meet Lois! (guest post from Lois Daunis)

March 2, 2007

Inkberry invites you to meet Lois Daunis, the owner of Papyri Books. The new location of Papyri Books on Eagle Street is a spacious, welcoming and relaxing space. Stop by and meet Lois in person!

As an English major at Clark University in Worcester, MA I worked very part-time for an antiquarian bookseller back in the late 70’s. Upon graduation, I managed two different bookstores in Central Massachusetts. I took a 25 year hiatus to pursue teaching and education administration. At the same time I enjoyed raising a son and later becoming stepmother to three very talented daughters – all of whom love to read.

A hope of mine was to someday slow the pace of life and become proprietor of my own bookstore. Over thirty years of workng for others has given me a taste for relative quiet and solitude on a daily basis. Purchasing Papyri Books from Karen Kane has been a means to that end. However, the first 18 months of ownership has been anything but quiet. My oldest stepdaughter, Emily, and her fiancee, Dan, ran the business during year one while my husband and I juggled several jobs, a move to North Adams, two graduations, and the purchase of a new business space on Eagle Street. It became clear, very early into ownership of the business that remaining on Main Street, and paying exorbitant rent did not lend itself to longevity. So … Papyri Books and our family now reside at 45 Eagle Street. We moved thousands of books during January and February of 2007 and are just now reopening! Now it’s time to read and relax!

The newest of the newbies (guest post from Alexandra Woolner)

February 1, 2007

So I’m the newest of the newbies to Inkberry. For a brief bio I’ll say that I’m from MCLA studying English and graduating this Fall. For a longer bio feel free to go here: here. Nice picture, huh? I’m reading Langston Hughes.

Actually, I’ve been reading more and more graphic novels recently, and I’ve branched out from my typical style of writing poetry into some short fiction. Other recent events concerning the artistic side of my life include drinking almost exclusively red and tazo black chai as far as tea is concerned, writing my valentines this year on construction paper, and fully completing a doggy sweater in about 24 hours for the Toy Fox Terrier of my fellow intern, Sarah. Through a friend I also just acquired a new camera, a Lubitel (which translates into Black-Cross-eyed- Toy-Box in Russian), and I’m entirely too enthralled. Hopefully all of this translates into some great writing.

I like hanging out at local cafés in the North Adams area because I feel like that sets me with the right amount of background noise, hot beverage, and general atmosphere to write. My suggestion to any writer who wants to improve their work environment is to switch up those small elements occasionally, you never know what might work. For instance, I’ve found that I love writing with either lots of sunlight in the room, or just one small lamp.

One of my goals for the rest of this academic year is to keep up my writing as much as possible, even if I say I’m having a busy week. So far so good.

Wish me luck.