Steve Scafidi and Michael Martone

Martone, One Poet’s Notes

What do Steve Scafidi and Michael Martone have in common, aside from both being published in Indiana Review and having alliterative names? Don’t worry; we won’t keep you guessing… Next week, these writers will both give readings in Bloomington! Steve Scafidi will read Tuesday, October 4 at 7 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union’s Faculty Club Room. Michael Martone will read Wednesday, October 5th at 7 p.m. at Boxcar Books.

Scafidi, How a Poem Happens

Steve Scafidi is the author of Sparks from a Nine Pound Hammer, which was nominated for the 2001 National Book Award and the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and won the Fifth Annual Larry Levis Reading Prize. For Love of Common Words, his second book, was published in 2006.  He occasionally teaches poetry at Johns Hopkins University, and he works as a cabinet maker in West Virginia, where he lives with his wife and two children. In case you can’t make it to the reading, or if you want a little sneak peek, listen to him read select poems here.

Michael Martone is the author of five books of short fiction, including Seeing Eye published in September of 1995 by Zoland Books, as well as Pensées: The Thoughts of Dan Quayle (Broad Ripple Press, 1994), Fort Wayne Is Seventh on Hitler’s List (Indiana University Press, 1990), Safety Patrol (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), and Alive and Dead in Indiana (Alfred A. Knopf, 1984). He has edited two collections of essays about the Midwest: A Place of Sense: Essays in Search of the Midwest and Townships: Pieces of the Midwest (University of Iowa Press, 1988 and 1992). He edits Story County Books, and his newest book, The Flatness and Other Landscapes (University of Georgia Press, 2000), a collection of his own essays about the Midwest, won the AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction in 1998. Martone is currently a Professor at the University of Alabama, where he has been teaching since 1996. He lives with poet Theresa Pappas and their two sons, Sam and Nick.

Fiction Contests Here, There, and Everywhere

Here at IR, the deadline for submissions to our 2011 Fiction Prize is fast approaching! Enter your short story before October 15 for a chance to win a whopping $1,000.

Indiana Review isn’t the only prize around, of course. Autumn, ’tis the season for contests. If you’re a fiction writer who’s hungry for more competition, here’s a taste of some of the other options out there, sorted by date.

Here’s to a little healthy competition! May the best stories always win.

Fall for Banned Books!

Image: Six Chix

Oh hey; it’s that time of year again! In honor of Banned Books Week, which kicks off this Saturday, September 24, and runs through Saturday, October 1, the American Library Association and fellow cosponsors will be hosting the first virtual Read-Out. Videos under two minutes that include a reading from a banned or challenged book can be submitted by anyone and will be featured on the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out Youtube Channel (see instructions for how to upload your video here).

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is a forbidden fave of Editor Deborah Kim, Fiction Editor Rachel Lyon expresses an ardor for D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, and I can’t imagine how I would’ve made it through adolescence without Judy Bloom’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.

What is your favorite banned book? Let us know!

Ryan More than O-Kay

Yesterday I received a message from a friend of mine telling me that Kay Ryan, former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, received the 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. After taking an undergraduate seminar with Ms. Ryan, (knowledgeable, dry and witty, generous with her time, ostensibly soft-spoken, convicted) there is no doubt in my mind that her poetic talent warrants the $500,000 prize for continued creativity. She has, and will continue to be, a voice speaking out against established paths of success and notoriety, and one that uses language as both a tool and a gift. What surprises me more than Ms. Ryan’s talent (which I already had some idea of) is that a poet recieved this recognition, in an age that has marginalized its writers and artists. In her work, Ryan demonstrates that poetry is essential, and that we must continue to read it, love it, and believe in its power, with or without the half million to compensate. Enjoy Ryan’s “Tenderness and Rot,” or watch an interview with her here.  Congratulations, Kay!