Holidays

Happy July 4th everyone!

It’s been quite a week…Hard to decide whether to watch Wimbledon or the World Cup. Oddly, the lack of Americans in the entire second week of Wimbledon, and the elimination of the USA team to the hardy Belgium team in the knockout round of the World Cup brought up an interesting point: does it make a sport that I enjoy more or less intriguing to watch if an American player is not on the court or field?

Then this brought me to the actual holiday today: the fourth of July. Independence Day. And any American knows what this, and the American flag both symbolize. But, it lead me back to holidays. The sentiments (or lack of), and like sports, the expectations, let downs; the outcomes or results.

In early 2012, I went to Boston to read in Timothy Gager’s Dire Literary Series, and Gloria Mindock, editor of Cervena Barva Press offered me publication of my first chapbook (eventually to become Microtones) it all took place over Easter holiday weekend. That Easter Sunday, I sat at the closest Starbucks to my hotel, and wrote the first draft of one of the 24 poems that comprise Microtones:

Microtones book cover

Turbidity

Holidays are hard:

I’m going to take

a walk, escape the

silence of this house

 

I was never home,

home on the range

hospital corners are still

“beats me?”

 

Invisible, unlike driftwood

tossed ashore, under pewter

skies, elephantine clouds

where seldom is hear

an encouraging word

 

no slow cookpot solutions

while you’re no longer talking

and I’m no longer hearing

there’s nothing cooking here

 

There’s something I forgot

 

I hope you all have a lovely 4th of July. Fireworks, barbecues, or silence. Whatever your choice(s) might be, revel in them!

Microtones is at Cervena Barva Press: The Lost Bookshelf-Poetry chapbooks

Two for Tuesday

As the saying goes, “when it rains, it pours,” and the summer storms have been no let-down this summer thus far. I’m stocked with candles (our power has already gone out twice) and plenty of pantry items! Who knows… perhaps the basement might be a refuge after all?

Some great news regarding my new book, Addicts & Basements:

Many of you already know about AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs), the annual conference attended by more than 10,000 writers. In February 2014, it was held in Seattle. Mike Joyce, writer and editor-in-chief at Literary Orphans| Analog dream in a digital world, and I sat down in the Seattle Westin lobby and chatted about writing, my new book (it launched in Seattle), my publisher, Civil Coping Mechanisms, and Michael Seidlinger, the man behind the logo. You can listen here: Impromptu Interview with Robert Vaughan, at A.W.P 2014 | The Tavern LanternThe Tavern Lantern. Thanks Mike, for the great times, and also co-editor at LO, Scott Waldyn, who masterfully edited the final product.

Also, Addicts & Basements is the Book Club pick at Dr. T.J. Eckleberg Review and this from the editors:

Miscommunication and misunderstanding can be an addiction, an albatross dictating the invisible creeds we often cling to. Age, time, desire, lust, and a cacophony of suppressed urges are intimated at in, “The Lost and Erasable Parts of Us: “My identity tied up in a bottle. I craved my smell back, my decency, my shameless will. I grew gills, slithered up the stairs, fettered away, toward some desert city, in undulating waves.” When identity is so intertwined with a bottle, an addiction, or a basement, it’s easy to get lost. In Vaughan’s symphony, those weaknesses are a path back to self-discovery, a melody, however distorted, to guide listeners up into revelation. This isn’t a AAA meeting though as addictions lead to other addictions and there’s no permanent egress, only leaps into oblivion. I’m a Robert Vaughan junkie now. You can find me drowning in his basement.

Here is the remainder of the information: The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review | DC, Baltimore, NY » ECKLEBURG BOOK CLUB | Addicts & Basements By Robert Vaughan

And, yesterday I heard from bookstore manager at OMEGA INSTITUTE, Jean LaPlante, that Addicts & Basements is now available in the bookstore! Another dream come true!

bookstore-interior

Are you living your dreams? Do you know what they are?

HOME

No place like it, really. But who am I kidding? It can be more than a place, of course.

I just spent five days in New York, another sort of home. My childhood sense of place, as well as college and twice I lived in The Big Apple, for a blink of the mid- 1980s and again, for larger chunk of the 1990s. I left just before we looped Prince’s “1999″ until we thought we might lose our minds.

So here is what my most recent trip to NYC was all about (recap): A reading at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn. Amy King and Bud Smith both slayed it, I met friend Andrea for dinner prior and Bud’s wife Rae and there was a nice turn-out, and the evening was windy but chill:

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After the reading, a smaller group of about ten of us headed to a local watering hole in Brooklyn, and sat at outdoor picnic tables. I had a blast (reminiscing, mostly) with Cindy List, Valentin Ortolaza, Michael Thompson, Andrea Falkenstein, Gessy Alvarez (and her sister), Jamez Chang, Bud Smith, Rae (Spout) Buleri, Julie, Robb Todd and Emily, and Russell Dillon. What a cool mix of writers and artists:

Andrea Cindy List and me, June 13, 2014

 

On Thursday, my pal David and I went to Jones Beach for the 1,000,000th time. It never gets old. Nor do we:

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On Friday, we left for Omega Institute, where we made a detour for lunch and Bee Cake! Intoxicated by sugar:

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Friday evening until Sunday I took a course called Spirit and Craft of Poetry with Richard Blanco. He is the fifth inaugural poet, Obama selected him for his 2012 inauguration where he read his poem, “For All of Us, One Today.”

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Richard is smart, insightful, sensitive, funny. He lead us mostly through workshop, each of the 25 poets chose one poem, and received feedback. The bulk of the weekend was taken up by this exercise. My pal, Michael Gillan Maxwell was there, and another writer Gloria who we’d both met at Omega in 2010 (another workshop, another time). We discussed some craft tools like Imagery and Figurative Language, Show Don’t Tell, Rhythm and Iambic Pentameter, and were guided to two writing exercises at night: Why I Write (prompted by Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones) and also My Obsessions. Both were very effective. And we read some excellent poems like “A Blessing,” by James Wright, “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, and “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop. My favorite moments of the workshop came at the very end. We witnessed Richard reading three of his monumental pieces: “Betting on America,” “Looking for the Gulf Motel,” and “For All of Us, One Today.”

The return to the city was swift and fun. I was off to LaGuardia, David off to a life-altering surgery (he’s healing magnificently!) Then, home again, home again, jiggety jig:

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What does HOME mean to you?

Addicts & Basements at 2paragraphs

Hi friends!

I’m so excited for my upcoming trip to New York City! The reading at Unnameable Books on June 11 with Amy King and Bud Smith, and the Richard Blanco workshop at Omega: The Spirit and Craft of Poetry, June 13-15. And of course, reunions with Andrea, David, MGM and numerous other friends. If you are on facebook, the invitation to our reading is here:

Amy King, Bud Smith, and Robert Vaughan Reading at Unnameable Books

I’ve been inviting everyone I know (and their illegitimate cousins and poolboys), and imagine how honored I was when one Facebook invite responded with a possibility for Addicts & Basements to gain more exposure! Joseph Mackin runs a site called 2 paragraphs, and defines it as “Short. Smart. Shareable.” Basically, articles are compressed, wetting one’s thirst for the current sound-bite of news, culture, etc. If curious, please check out my Addicts & Basements publication at the site here: Addicts & Basements — by Robert Vaughan

I hope to see you in NYC! Until then go get some vitamin D!

 

A Reading, a new magazine, and an acceptance or two!

Hi friends!

Tonight at 7 p.m. I will be reading at Downtown Books for their Hidden Tap monthly featured series. I plan to read from Addicts & Basements, as well as some newer poems. Look under my Coming Events tab (at top) to get all of the information and please come! The more the merrier…

Our new issue of Lost in Thought # 6 has arrived. My co-editor and publisher Kyle Schruder has done another exceptional job with the art, and layout, and it looks so fantastic (I’m the fiction and poetry editor so I line up writers for each issue). This issue includes work from Justin Bond, Matthew Sherling, Megan Lent, Sharon Foley, Erin Parker, Aaron Dietz, Lucas Crawford, Emily Bertholf, Karen Stefano, and Sam Rasnake:

Lost in Thought | Lost in Thought: Issue 6 | MagCloud

Kyle and I have decided to scale back to three annual Lost in Thought issues in 2014, so we will re-open submissions in September.

Also, I had the great fortune of an “acceptance” (versus a “rejection”) for the next issue of Literary Orphans (thanks, Mike Joyce), and will have another of my stranger pieces featured in the anthology EXCESS (poems and stories about overdoing it), edited by Bud Smith. More forthcoming!

See you soon!

Reading at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn, NY on June 11

 

 

 

On June 11, Amy King, Bud Smith and I will be reading at Unnameable Books: 600 Vanderbuilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238. Please join us at 7:00 p.m. for a great night of innovative prose and poetry!

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There is a Facebook Event Page here: Amy King, Bud Smith, and Robert Vaughan Reading at Unnameable Books

Let’s have a party!

Thanks, John Madera of Rhizomatic Publishing for setting up this event!

Kirkus Reviews reviews Addicts & Basements

In the new May 1st print issue of Kirkus Review, there is a great write-up about Addicts & Basements! I was told that less than 10% of all of the Indie Reviews (my category) are selected for the print issues. So, you can imagine I am THRILLED!

Thanks to John Madera at Rhizomatic Publishing, for bringing this to my attention:

KIRKUS REVIEWS Reviews Robert Vaughan’s ADDICTS & BASEMENTS | Rhizomatic

Life is good! Just keeps getting better and better!

Ride those waves, learn how to bend your knees without the world caving in!!!

 

Diptychs + Triptychs is reviewed at Lit Pub

My second book, Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipsticks is reviewed today at the Lit Pub. I want to thank Ilana Masad, who bravely fought for the right to review this book, and wrote a lovely, insightful review. She also pushed to have this see the light of day, so I am really grateful for her brave, honest, and wonderful words.

Also to Molly Gaudry, who runs the Lit Pub, and is a sweet friend, and a great writer also!

Here is the beginning of Ilana’s words about D + T:

“In his famous essay “The Sentence is a Lonely Place,”Gary Lutz writes that the books he fell in love with were the ones “in which virtually every sentence had the force and feel of a climax, in which almost every sentence was a vivid extremity of language, an abruption, a definitive inquietude.”

Robert Vaughn’s newest book, Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits, which manages to pack thirty pieces in fifty-five pages, is a beautiful example of the kind of attention to detail that Gary Lutz admires.”

Read the rest here:  The Lit Pub • Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits

Again, thanks Ilana and Molly, and everyone else at the Lit Pub!

National Poetry Month: April 11-15

Hi Friends!

It’s been a busy month! First, a book I highly recommend to pre-order from Sara Lippmann, The Doll Palace. It’s a collection of short stories, and I am thrilled for Sara:

Dock Street Press

http://dockstreetpress.com/portfolio-item/doll-palace/Doll Palace

And now, for National Poetry Month!

On April 11, I read “Clouds” by  Barbara Ras. I was introduced to this poem at Esalen Institute last summer, and it prompted me to write a poem called “Hummingbirds,” which is in Addicts & Basements:

Barbara Ras▶ Robert Vaughan reads “Clouds” by Barbara Ras – YouTube

On April 13, I read The Dead Woman” by Pablo Neruda. This poem, in various forms of translations from its original Spanish, is included in the masterful movie “Truly, Madly, Deeply” which I saw with my best pal, Andrea, on a rainy Amsterdam afternoon. We had no idea what we were in for! ▶ Robert Vaughan reads “The Dead Woman” by Pablo Neruda – YouTube

On April 14, I chose Amy King’s “The Woman of Zero.” Amy is multi-talented, and such a whimsical, deep, unusual writer. Such scope!

Amy King\

Robert Vaughan reads “The Woman of Zero” by Amy King – YouTube

On April 15, I read Indigo Moor’s Tap-Root from his quintessential book of the same name. I had the great fortune of meeting Indigo and hearing him read his stunning work at AWP Seattle:

Taproot

Have you gone to a reading lately? Read a poem on the train or subway? Flown someplace exotic with a surprising book that changed your outlook? If not, what are you waiting for?

 

National Poetry Month: April 9 and 10

Hi Friends,

For every writer, there is the infrequent, yet pure joy of creativity, when expression literally comes through you and onto a page. Rare, it is, indeed, and when it happens, so exquisite. Well, there is a new joy, and it’s profound. That of one’s work being translated into another poet’s own work, alchemical, organic, and transformative. Like a trance in motion. Please read this exquisite review of Addicts & Basements by Mark Kerstetter at his blog, The Mockingbird Sings. Thanks a million, Mark:

Robert Vaughan and Breathless | The Mockingbird Sings

For National Poetry Month, on April 9th, I read “untitled” by Marilyn Hacker from this poetry collection, all sonnets:

Marilyn Hacker

 

And here is the poem: ▶ Robert Vaughan reads “Untitled” by Marilyn Hacker – YouTube

Also, on April 10th (today) I read “Lullaby” by W.H. Auden:

▶ Robert Vaughan reads “Lullaby” from W.H. Auden – YouTube

Tonight I will be on Bud Smith’s Unknown Show on Blog Talk Radio, and other guests include Michael Dickes, Janice Lee and Cort Bledsoe. Call in:

The Unknown Show with Bud Smith 04/10 by theliteraryunderground | Writing Podcasts

Also, check out the Wednesday Roundup recap at Entropy: Wednesday Entropy Roundup | ENTROPY

And if that’s not enough links, then I don’t know what to say. Have fun, be safe.