Category Archives: Hump Day Hangouts

HUMP day: leaves

HUMP Day: leaves… a quote from Rilke-

“Deep patience which makes him almost anonymous, a quiet, wise forbearance, something of the great patience and kindness of Nature herself, who traverses silently and seriously the long pathway to abundance. Patience that puts us in touch with all that surpasses us. Practiced in the present, patience is the art of courting the future. It belongs to becoming rather than being, to the unfinished rather than the completed.”

1) Tobias Carroll at Everday Genius with “Some Things I Botched”:

2) Bud Smith’s “Falling Horse, Stacked Demons” at theNewerYork:

3) The Guardian expands its roster of US Opinion Writers:

4) Amber Sparks and Mike Meginnis will be talking books live today, at 6:30 EST here:

5) Tanya Olsen’s “Ain’t I Pretty” at PANK:

6) Will Chancellor chats with Sheldon Compton at Revolution John:

7) Sara Lippmann at David Abrams’ The Quivering Pen talks about “My First Time”:

8) Matthew Simmons and Litsa Dremousis with “The Challenge” at Hobart:

9) Mallory Ortberg “Talks Shit About Hemingway and Thoreau” at Flavorwire:

10) Wendy Ortiz’s new memoir, Excavation, in the Los Angeles Times: – section/-1/article/p2p-80884386/

Also, I want to congratulate Kim Suhr, and the Red Oak community for a fantastic, inspiring reading last night at Saz’s. What a superb turnout! Stellar words from Pam Parker, Jonnie Guernsey, Beth Huwiler, Jack Douthitt, Jessi Vertz, Jennifer Vanderheyden, Jo DeMars, Christine Baerbock, Bruce Campbell and Jennifer Rupp. More information about Red Oak Writing.

Please join us this Thursday, October 30th, for our next installment, Middle Coast Poets reading at Riverwest Public House, 815 E. Locust Street, 7 p.m. Frank Berg, Marilyn Windau, Paul Scot August and Robert Vaughan (me). We hope to see you there!

HUMP Day Hangouts

Time for another HUMP Day! I love cows. Enjoy these great reads, selected from around the web:

HUMP Day Hangouts:

1) Jim Ruland discusses his new novel, Forest of Fortune on San Diego’s KPBS: – ?

2) At Fictionaut, Writers On Craft column by Heather Fowler, an interview with Sara Lippmann, author of The Doll Palace:

3) Emily Temple reveals 50 of the Scariest Short Stories of All Time at Flavorwire:

4) Monica Drake on Modern Love in the New York Times:

5) Donald Hall reflects on his marriage to Jane Kenyon in Poetry Magazine: – article

6) “Accidents Happen” by Roxane Gay at Tumblr:

7) Check out the great posts at People You Know By Heart, Len Kuntz’s Blog:

8) Michelle Elvy’s “Impossible Weather” at Revolution John:

9) Gina Frangello’s essay “This is Happiness” at The Nervous Breakdown:

10) The Rumpus Interview with Alex Dimitrov and Kate Durbin:

Also, my latest poem, “When He Left it all to Me,” is at Fictionaut:

And that, my friends, is a wrap. What are you reading?

Hump Day Re-Launch

Welcome to Hump Day! Ten literary sites that might interest you this week, and on every Wednesday:


1) Meg Tuite tells us why she writes flash fiction at Every Day Chronicles (this site also has one of the best resources of flash fiction markets for submissions):

2) Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist) delivers with this essay at The New Statesman:

3) Scott Waldyn, of Literary Orphans, reviews ART AND CRAFT at The Tavern Lantern:

4) Rachel Heimowitz has a stunning new poetry collection, What the Light Reveals:

5) Michael Seidlinger of Civil Coping Mechanisms selects a tie for the press’s Mainline writing contest:

6) While in New York City, I had the wonderful fortune to hear poets Ellen Bass and Kevin Simmonds read from their stellar new collections:

Kevin Simmonds :: musician, writer & artist ::

7) Poet Claudia Rankine waxes and wanes in the Los Angeles Times: – section/-1/article/p2p-81625795/

8) Recently at Boston Review, poet Amy King gives Ocean Vuong a Poet’s Sampler:

9) Michelle Bailat-Jones talks with Christopher Allen at I Must Be Off!:

10) I love when my path crosses a new (to me) poet, like Neil McCarthy (at Fictionaut):




HUMP day thoughtful

Hi friends!

Today is a day of memory as well as hope. An early text from my favorite New Yorker reminded me to light a candle and feel the pulse of life in all things. That early downpour of rain, the scent of lingering summer, the flickering flame. Our loved ones.

Here is a mix of some interesting reads in cyberland:

Sam Rasnake’s new book, Cinema Verite, is now available from A-Minor Press. This one is a must have:

Penny Goring is in the unique author spotlight at HTML Giant:

Len Kuntz’s How We Got Here is up at In Between Altered States:

MaryAnne Kolton interviews Emma Brockes in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

At Fictionaut, Tina Barry rocks on with Three Bedrooms in New Jersey:

Two reviews of Pleasure Trout, the new amazing poetry chapbook by Gloria Mindock:

If you missed this brilliance, check out Seeing by Karen Stefano at Metazen:

James Claffey brings it at Fictionaut with Lid & Surface:

A treasure-trove of great reading at Gessy Alvarez’s Digging Through The Fat ‘s monthly column, Community:

Roxane Gay brings us the grim reality of Broader, Better Literary Conversations at The Nation:

Do something nice for someone today, maybe a stranger, a random act of kindness. Let it surprise you, the way an unexpected gift might. Be gentle with yourself. Don different colored shades. Giggle often- laughter truly is the best medicine.







HUMP Day writing desks

Hi friends!

When my pal Meg Tuite posted a recent photo of her new writing desk (and what a beauty it is!), it made me think about a book I came across a while back. We were staying at a guest house in New England, in the attic room. Over coffee, I noticed a book under so many other large coffee table-sized books. I can only vaguely recall the contents: famous writers and where they write.

Last night, while watching the PBS Newshour, I was writing notes, and revising the Addicts & Basements book, when a segment came on, hosted by Ray Suarez, to discuss the current state of gay marriage. Ray introduced two gentlemen, and I immediately thought: I know one of these guys! Sure enough, turns out, John Eastman is someone I went to high school with, and I vaguely recall his family moved either during our senior year, or perhaps right after. Ironic it is that Eastman now serves as the Chairman-of-the-Board of the anti-same-sex-marriage group, The National Organization for Marriage. Life is stranger than fiction.

And while speaking of high school, not long ago, my writing desk that I had in my youth returned home to me, and is currently in my office:

childhood desk

It’s an antique beauty, and she has been through everything with me, like a long lost friend.

Now, I do most of my work at the more modern, larger desk I acquired after moving to Wisconsin. I adore being surrounded by my books. Same office, same space. My new and older writing desks are buds:

My writine desk

Where do you write? Where do you get most of your work done?

Here are some of the posts floating around cyberland this week:

At Blaze, a story about Tag (thanks Paul Scot August for the link):

“Brute Dictation” by Jules Gibbs at Verse Daily:

Matt Rasmussen is profiled at Poetry by Kathleen Rooney, in “See What You Miss by Being Dead?”:

At Up Poetry, Bob Schofield with “World’s Spookiest Dad”:

Juliet Escoria writes about how to write your first book in 33 easy steps at Electric Literature blog (hers is Black Cloud, forthcoming in June 2014):

Bud Smith debuts his new book, Tollbooth. You just have to check it out to believe me when I say READ THIS: And here is Bud’s blog, where you can sample some of Tollbooth:

A funny (ironic?) Onion article, “Teacher Just Hopes They Never Google Him” (Mary Stone Dockery, thanks for link!):,29271/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:NA:InFocus&recirc=back-to-school

Wayne Kostenbaum does the TNB Self-Interview: – more-113156

At the Good Men Project, Matthew Salesses writes 25 Ways Moving is as Stressful as Death:

DJ Berndt at Shabby Doll House (Spring) with “Three Decisions”:

Take some time before summer ends, to get out and enjoy the smog. Take a drive on the NJ Turnpike, or swim in the brackish waters, the headstreams of the Amazon. I digress- when’s the last time you set an alarm so you could watch sunrise? Or met your best pal at the highest plateau to watch sunset?

P.S. Here’s one fun thing about a writer’s blog…my pal Zach found that writer’s book (about their writing desks) that I referred to at the beginning of this post. Here’s the link: The Writer’s Desk (9780679450146): Jill Krementz, John Updike: Books



HUMP Day reflect

Hi friends! Among the many great things about attending a writing workshop retreat is you are turned on to some new work. And so, yesterday I received Rough Music by Deborah Digges, a poet we discussed on Tuesday morning at Esalen. I can still hear Dorianne Laux’s mesmerizing reading of Deborah’s poem, “Broom,” which opens this astounding collection. And the haunting story of the poet’s life, and tragic death. And so, at the top spot in this week’s HUMP day posts, comes from a fellow poet and workshop participant, Jeanie, who sent me the link to another great article about Deborah Digges. Enjoy!

HUMP DAY reflect

Written about one of the poets, Digges, whose poem “Broom,” we studied at Esalen last week (thanks for the link, Jeanie!):

Sara Lippmann’s “TK” is up at Wigleaf:

Alex Dimitrov, NYC poet and host of Wilde’s Queer Poetry Series, has “American Nothing” at The Baffler:

At Ampersand Review, Timothy Gager’s “What the Boy Prays For”:

At Fictionaut, Michelle Elvy with “The Wall: A Love Story, Of Sorts”:

New work by Tantra Bensko and Matthew Dexter up at Counterexample Poetics, with artwork by Erie Chang:

Up at Poem-A-Day from Academy of American Poets, Jennifer Militello with her “Conspiracy to Commit Larceny: A Recipe”:–Conspiracy-to-Commit-Larceny–A-Recipe-by-Jennifer-Militello.html?soid=1110705357409&aid=rVclQaXo9XI

Stephen Dunn’s poetry at Connotation Press:

In this issue of Sunday Salon, take in some great work from master writers:

At Gawker, a Man with OCD Blows Internet Away with this spoken word poem:

When you think you have all the answers, ask more questions. They all begin with self-inquiry. Talk a walk in nature. Listen to the breeze. Or the bees. Or just be.


HUMP Day Esalen

Hello friends!

What a great night we had on Monday at Burnhearts Bar in Bay View, Wisconsin. It was the second installment of the Middle Coast Poets series, hosted by Paul Scot August. The readers were Laurel Landis, Michael Seidel, Sean Bishop, Kara Candito, Matthew Guenette and me. Three poets from Milwaukee, three from Madison! The bar was relatively crowded, which took care of what is often the most anxiety producing factor for Paul and I, as we plan these events, and envision their hopeful importance, and relevance to our friends, extended families and general public. So, thanks for coming and joining our festive word exchange. Our next Middle Coast Poet event will be toward the end of October, and hosted in Riverwest. Specific details forthcoming soon. We hope to see you there!

Here are the ten links to happenings around the web:

Interview with Peter Tieryas Liu up at Read my blog, please:

Brilliant article On Making the Poetry Manuscript by Jeffrey Levine:

At Her Kind, writer Melissa Buckheit’s “To the Water: Speaking of the Interior (self):

Nate Tower gets gritty at New Graffiti, Timothy Gager’s fun blog:

Nigel Beale of Literary Tourist interviews Stephen Motika of Poet’s House in NYC: (I have a little confession here- I was so jazzed to see Microtones, my poetry chapbook from Cervena Barva Press, listed in the Poet’s House library on their website. I’m official!)

Matheiu Cailler’s story “Over The Bridge” won the 2012 Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction: – features/

At Poem-A-Day, Meghan O’Rourke’s “Demeter in Paris” is stellar:–Demeter-in-Paris-by-Meghan-O-Rourke.html?soid=1110705357409&aid=Pyv3U_fWKz0

This week on A Cups, Ann and Angela interview Gabby Bess (Gabby Gabby) about her recently published Alone With Other People (Civil Coping Mechnisms) and so much more:

Always thrilled for a new Len Kuntz story, “Devil’s Elbow” up at Orion headless:

NPR’s Krista Tippet and poet extra-ordinaire Marie Howe get down on In The Room: – at=1945

Last summer, I had the great fortune of spending the week with Marie Howe, Ellen Bass and Dorianne Laux at Carter Hall in Virginia for the Truth and Beauty Workshop. A week in bliss, with three incredible masters and teachers of poetry. Aaahhh.

This Friday I embark on my 2013 journey to San Francisco and points south, to study for another week, in paradise. My teachers this year are Ellen Bass and Dorianne Laux, and Joe Millar. I am nervous, but more excited than anything else. I will see some dear friends, and spend time in a city I revere, and with a little grace, and help from friends, and the bowl of nirvana enveloping us, some writing will emerge. Happy week to you all, and HUMP it up!


HUMP day explore

The above photo was taken in Washington State in Point Roberts. We were visiting my friends, Jane and Bill McPhail, whose cottage overlooks the Strait of Georgia and the San Juan de Fuco Islands.

And it is a bald eagle, one of hundreds who live and nest there.

To honor the poet Kurt Brown, who passed away recently, please consider a donation to Tigerbark Press, who will fashion a volume of Kurt’s selected poems. (Please be sure to indicate For Selected Works of Kurt Brown along with your donation):

At Write it Sideways, Christi Craig has a fantastic take on “Telling the Truth in Memoir: More than Just Facts”:

Also, on another amazing blog, this time about writing contests at Write, Juggle, Run by Nate Tower: (And this article is also mentioned at another great blog I follow, The Review Review:

The 2013 Santa Fe Literary Review is out, with stunning talent once again, edited by Meg Tuite and including work by Michael Gillan Maxwell, Agnes Marton, Alex Pruteanu, Joani Reese, Mathieu Callier, Teisha Dawn Twomey, Timothy Gager and so many more. My short fiction “She Wears Me Like A Coat” is included. And here is the link for those of you who might want to read the pdf version (online): The Santa Fe Literary Review

Santa Fe Literary Review

A new anthology from Redbridge Press called Writing That Risks: New Work from Beyond the Mainstream, includes writers xTx, Libby Hart, Steve Castro, Erin Fitzgerald and many more:

Peril Magazine has a new poem by Ivy Alvarez, “What Olivia de Havilland Wished For,” included in her Hollywood Starlet Series. Also a great interview included:

Amber Sparks is the featured writer this month at Atticus Review:

John Mortara’s video interview is up at Cutty Spot, thanks Matty Sherling:

Meg Wolitzer did an interview in April 2013, with musical references for her latest book, The Interestings at Largehearted Boy:

What’s in a cover? New York Times’ article with Favorite Book Cover Designs of 2012:

Summer is a great time to catch up with friends. One of the topics that often emerges amongst writers is submissions. Are you submitting? If so, where? How? I tend to use Duotrope and subscribe to their weekly e-mail newsletter: Another great source my friend Carol Wobig recommends is

And the Review Review, which I posted earlier:

What are your other favorites?




HUMP day Bastille and Tour de France

Middle of this hot July month includes Bastille Day (a great excuse to drink!) and the Tour de France (another great excuse to drink!). Hell, just drink!

Here are your ten HUMP day posts. I hope you enjoy:

Roxane Gay as only she can at The Salon:

Shane Jones at VICE:

Nate Tower gives terrific and sound advice about submitting writing to literary magazines on his blog Write, Juggle, Run:

JMWW is having a poetry chapbook contest, guest judged by Oliver de la Paz. Details in the JMWW summer issue:

Connotation Press is up with their Mid-July issue, with a note from Fiction Editor Meg Tuite:

The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review’s staff spotlight is Rae Bryant, Editor-In-Chief:

A gorgeous poem, “Goodnight Moon” by James Arthur at If you haven’t read the book that inspired this poem (same name) I highly recommend it:

Heather Fowler and Rusty Barnes get down at Fictionaut. Great to hear Night Train is back on track:

Bud Smith hosts Frank Reardon on the Unknown Show. You gotta check it out:

Interview with brilliant Dennis Cooper at the Esoterrorist where he chats about alt lit and current state of publishing:

Have a great HUMP day, my Bactrian and Dromedary friends! Oh, and for those of you who don’t consider yourselves camels, or French, well, then, you too!

Please remember to check the Events page on my blog: I’ve two readings forthcoming- this Saturday, July 20 at Riverwest Public House; and Middle Coast Poets Reading on July 29 at Burnhearts in Bay View. Come out and play! Support your local poets and writers!

HUMP Day Hot, Sizzlin Hot


It’s summer, rolling-in-from-nowhere thunderstorms, swollen rivers, lightening bugs. I had one of those uncanny experiences recently. My last name is often mis-spelled (Vaughn, not Vaughan). And so, those folks who are old enough to remember The Man from U*N*C*L*E often mention this uncanny fact (the actor who played him was Robert Vaughn: Robert Vaughn – IMDb). We have no affiliation, other than his residence in Connecticut where my sister has also lived most of her adult life. 

But there is yet another Robert Vaughan, and this time, one whose last name is spelled like mine. And he happens to also be a writer. And he has written over 200 books. Impressive? You bet! So, when he googled his own name recently, he was surprised to find little ‘ol me! Sort of like, what are YOU doing here? (I already knew about him, I mean, how could I not? He’s this Robert Vaughan: Robert Vaughan: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle).

So now, if that isn’t already strange enough, we’re Facebook friends! I hope that someday our paths cross in person. He seems an awfully nice guy.

Here are the HUMP Day posts, sites to check out in cyber-land: 

The Believer and Gigantic Books chit-chat:

All new Zygote in my Coffee. Check out the goods:

Writers on Craft: Heather Fowler and Amy King get on down at Fictionaut:

A List of Call for Submissions at The Artificial Selection Project:

Get your xTx dosage at The Sunday Rumpus (and happy birthday, Extie!):

Ten Guerilla Poetry Projects at Flavorwire:

Michael Gillan Maxwell’s award winning story at Metazen:

Deborah Henry at Kirkus Review. (I knew her when):

Meg Tuite with her stellar poem, “Mosaic,” at Thunderclap:

And that, my friends, is enough for now. Remember to hydrate. Stay cool. If you are able, please join me and other readers tomorrow night, July 11th, at People’s Books in Milwaukee. Midwestern Gothic is hosting, and it’s from 6-8 p.m.

What’s one thing you might do this summer that you haven’t done in years, or perhaps never done? Maybe it’s attending a poetry reading? An outdoor jazz event? A spiritual retreat?