&NOW announcements

&NOW 5 at UCSD as a wild, raucous ride, courtesy of our many participants and the world’s best organizers: Amina Cain and Anna Joy Springer. HERE are some responses. Now, more news:

1)   &NOW 6: Paris, June 7-10, 2012:
2)   &NOW releases the second Plonsker Prize book, from our 2010 winner: 
3)   Madeleine P. Plonsker Writer’s Residency Prize 2012 (Year 5)–open for submissions! 
4) The &NOW AWARDS: The Best Innovative Writing / 2, October 2012, needs your nominations/submissions

1)   &NOW 6: Paris, June 7-10, 2012:
Check andnowfestival.com, and submit HERE by Dec 1, 2012.
Question we’ve received: Hey, this is just months after UCSD. Is &NOW messing with it’s biennial schedule?
Answer we offer: No, consider this a smaller special conference. We expect &NOW 7 to occur during the Fall of 2013 in the US. Exact location, TBA.

#AuthorFail 3: Gretchen E. Henderson

Are you a failure?

Do your loved ones turn their heads away in shame when you walk in the room or go off to “work” on your “writing”? Is the blank page better for you when it’s blank?

Ok, ok, I kid. I exaggerate.

So welcome, anyway, to this week’s installment of #AuthorFail.  Check here for guidelines to submit your own story of complete and utter failure.

Our brave cosmonaut of this week’s rocket ride is the inimitable Gretchen E. Henderson, winner of the 2nd annual Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize at Lake Forest College. I’ve been working non-stop on her forthcoming, Galerie de Difformité, a startling success-of-a-hybrid-novel, but here, in the depths of abandoned-projects-past, you are treated to her secret work of vowels.

See you next week.

For over a year, I dedicated time (including a month-long artists’ residency) to research, write, and almost complete a first draft of Ultra Sounds, an extended illustrated essay.  Using a linguistic spectrogram as its central metaphor, the abandoned book in nine chapters meditated on language, music, (dis)ability, personal and cultural identity. It began as follows:

I said HAND out loud.

I said HAZE out loud.

I said HOUSE out loud.

I said out loud, out loud, out loud.  Through 67 repetitions, I spoke sentences that varied by a single word: HAND, HAZE, HOUSE.  Almost caesuric in their mid-sentence placement, the words fed into a tiny microphone clipped to my lapel.  Over the course of 15 minutes sitting in the book-filled office of Matthew Gordon, a linguist at the University of Missouri (where I am a doctoral student in English), I articulated each sentence, followed by a short story whose phonetic similarities rolled around in my mouth each time I pronounced Dawn, Uncle Don, Dawson Street.

From the Department’s graduate student auction, I had won a Personalized Portrait of your Vowel Space, described on the inventory list: Continue reading

&NOW Books: 2011 Plonsker Prize Winner–José Perez Beduya

Lake Forest College and &NOW Books are pleased to recognize José Perez Beduya as the winner of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize, now in its third year. He will be in residence on the campus of Lake Forest College from February 1 to March 31, 2011, where he will work to complete his winning manuscript, Throng.

Beduya will receive $10,000 and, upon editorial approval, the finished book will be published by the &NOW Books imprint of Lake Forest College Press, with distribution by Northwestern University Press. He will also take part in the Lake Forest Literary Festival and offer a series of public presentations while in residence at the College.

The Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize is awarded to an author under forty years old with no major book publication. This year the winner was selected by guest judge and poet Jennifer Moxley from a field of six finalists chosen by the editors of Lake Forest College Press / &NOW Books. Ms. Moxley’s latest book is Clampdown (Flood Editions, 2009), which has received enthusiastic reviews in such publications as Ploughshares and The Nation.

Of the winning manuscript, Jennifer Moxley writes, “Jose Perez Beduya’s manuscript-in-progress Throng intelligently layers literary, political, and spiritual registers into a subtly moving work. Throughout Beduya’s manuscript, a shimmering subjectivity—sometimes singular, more often plural—emits an intermittent signal, coming in and out of view like some mysterious lost “other” flashing a pocket mirror against the sun in hope of rescue. Historically and geographically displaced, the desiderata of this gentle “we” yet remains the interconnection between human beings. It is common now in poetry to condemn what’s wrong with the world. This makes sense, since so much is so. Less common are songs of spirit and of the existential urgency that does not fade even when everything else is broken.…. His control of form guides the reader into hearing his music while he carefully unfolds the lyric event of each poem.”

The Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize is made possible by a donation from a local philanthropist who was impressed by the College’s recently established publishing enterprise, Lake Forest College Press / &NOW Books. The previous winners are Jessica Savitz, whose poetry book Hunting Is Painting will be published in October 2010, and Gretchen E. Henderson, whose work of fiction Galerie de Difformité will be published in October 2011.

Emerging prose writers interested in applying for the 2012 residency—in prose or mixed/cross-genre—should send a curriculum vita, no more than 30 pages of a manuscript in progress with a separate cover page, and a one-page statement of plans for completion to: Plonsker Residency, Department of English, Lake Forest College, Box A16, 555 N. Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045. The author’s name should appear only on the cover page of the manuscript sample. Submissions must be postmarked by April 1, 2011 for consideration by editors Robert Archambeau, Davis Schneiderman, and Joshua Corey. The guest judge will be announced in the coming months. Please send direct inquiries to andnow@lakeforest.edu with the subject line: Plonsker Prize.

The 2011 Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize Finalists and Semifinalists:

Winner: José Perez Beduya, Ithaca, NY – Throng

First runner-up: Jasmine Dreame Wagner, Southbury, CT – Registers Vanishing

Second runner-up: Mary Hickman, Iowa City, IA – Totem


Geoffrey Babbitt, Findlay, OH – Wind on a Hook

Amaranth Borsuk, Pasadena, CA – Handiwork

Claire Elisabeth Donato, Brooklyn, NY – Off to the Nervous Museum


Julie Phillips Brown , Ithaca, NY – The Adjacent Possible

C.M. Burroughs, Pittsburgh, PA – The Vital System

Ryan Downey, South Bend, IN – MAW MAW

Steffi Drewes , Emeryville, CA – untitled

Katherine E. Factor, Idyllwild, CA – Many Had Parasols

Nina Budabin McQuown , Brooklyn, NY – Cruise Ship

Sara Nicholson, Philadelphia, PA – untitled

Robert Ostrom, Brooklyn, NY – Stands Outside

Catherine Theis , Chicago, IL – The Fraud of Good Sleep

Deform this book!

Lake Forest College hosts The Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize.  The deadline for the 2011 residency–which comes with $10,000, 2-month room and board at Lake Forest, and first book publication by &NOW Books–is April 1, 2010.

The genre is poetry or cross-genre, and there is NO ENTRY FEE!  That’s right.


We also have a guest judge–to be announced soon–and she is earth-shattering in her awesome-ness.

In the meantime, the 2010 resident, Gretchen E. Henderson, is engaged in a fascinating project for her Galerie de Difformité manuscript.  In short, you can request a text version of an “exhibit” from her ms-in-progress, and then have at it: reforming, deforming, cutting, shaping, embedding in ice, etc.

‘Tis great fun–as my senior writing seminar can attest–and Gretchen is considering ways to integrate these designs into the final deployment of the text by &NOW Books.You can find some great contributions, also, from two of my favorite creative writhers: Tom La Farge and Wendy Walker.

It’s a dj world, baby, and time for you to spin a record.  Essential info below:

My dear Subscriber ~

Thank you for your interest in the Galerie de Difformité: a collaborative offshoot of the hybrid work of the same title, forthcoming from &NOW Books in 2011. Before the book is published, this virtual gallery invites “Subscribers” (a one-time commitment) to materially deform & reform its so-called “Exhibits.”

**Submissions made on or before June 1, 2010 may be considered for inclusion in the published book; all submissions will be included in the online gallery. Further instructions & examples can be found at: http://difformite.wordpress.com/about/. If you know of other artists, writers, colleagues, students, teachers, friends, enemies, bedfellows, strangers, alter-egos, &c. who might be interested, please send them my way!

All good wishes,
the Undertaker

Make shift to de-realize, and the world will beat a path to your door.