Bring Literature to Life

Thanks for all the good wishes for Book Bogglers’ 2nd Birthday!

For those who would like to attend, a group of us are meeting in the upstairs lobby (by the elevators) at ASA College, Manhattan campus at 5:30 to travel together to Symposia Bookshop in Hoboken. (Only a 20 minute ride via PATH train).

We’ll begin with an open mike, inviting writers to read a short work of fiction/non-fiction/poetry. Then Dr. Cynthia Stuart, co-founder of Book Bogglers, will be reading from 3 of our books– all of which we are very proud  won awards in 2016. There will be refreshemnts, and a raffle if you’d like to win a copy of one of our Book Boggler titles.

For my English Comp 1 students– this counts for a Bring Literature to Life project– as does any participation in poetry slam, spoken word event, book signing, writers workshop– whatever you do out of the classroom to bring literature to life!

 

Piccolo Podcast & Indie Book Award!

Thanks to Jon Menaster of Read Live Learn for hosting his site to create a forum for writers and their readers. In episode 12 we spoke about Piccolo: an Artist’s Tale–as well as modern day slavery and the line between devotion and servitude.

http://www.readlearnlivepodcast.com/piccolo-an-artists-tale-ep-12-with-eileen-merwin/

Also, happy to announce that The Northman’s Daughter has won 1st Place in the 2017 Indie Book Award for Regional Fiction!

ASA College, English Comp 1 students: as we approach Final Exams keep our “Bring Literature to Life” series and be sure to report your literary activities: poetry slams, book signings, library lectures, or even a visit to the Poe Cottage in the Bronx have qualified in the past. But feel free to propose your own activity– including book reviews or on-line critiques of one of Jon’s author interviews–it’s up to you!

http://www.readlearnlivepodcast.com/

 

 

 

 

Bring Literature to Life

Special thanks to my English Comp students and their deep and insightful discussions based on our reading of the drama, Donovan’s Charge.

For those of you who signed the request sheet, we will gladly gift you a copy. (If you missed the opportunity, feel free to add your request as a comment to this post.) Thanks again, from both Glenn and myself, and continue to be courageous in these outrageous times. As in the play, let your spirit sound the charge! Also, be sure to sign up for our next Book Bogglers poetry reading at ASA College on April 7. Our theme–Illumination 2. (Let me know your availability so we can set up a date and time that works for all.)

Also– a bit last minute, but we are seeking students to read poems of your choice to honor Black History Month here at ASA College on 2/23, 3-5 pm. Please let me know if you plan to join us!

To celebrate Writers’ Digest reviews: gift books!

18203-wdan-awVery happy to have received these reviews from Writers’ Digest on Book Bogglers’ titles… equally happy to share Review Copies, just email bookbogglers@gmail.com with your request or comment below for free e-copies with our sincere thanks!

Also, please remember to RSVP if you’d like to join us for our next Book Bogglers event at ASA College: 1/12/2017 at 4-5:30 pm.

You can add a comment below to let us know if you will be reading your own poetry or that of an admired author (all languages welcome!).

Judge’s Commentary*: Piccolo: an Intern’s Talepiccolo_an_interns_cover_for_kindle

I don’t think I’ve read a stranger (in a good sense!) book in this year’s contest than PICCOLO: AN INTERN’S TALE, by “Piccolo Fortunato” and Elias T. Ressler. Piccolo is an Italian greyhound, and he narrates his own story, and the book (the cover of which is terrific) is illustrated throughout with what appear to be woodcuts. It’s a charming and entertaining book, and it manages, at once, to be both earnest and serious and also quite tongue-in-cheek. I’m an academic who works on Virginia Woolf, and I am reminded immediately of Woolf’s book FLUSH, which is told from the point of view of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel. I’m curious if the author has read it. The writing itself is smart, sly, and very effective, and I found myself often laughing out loud at the sheer verve and nerve of the narrative and the voice. Ressler is clearly an odd duck in the best sense of the term. In a sea of standard mysteries and genre books this year, this one clearly stands out. I have almost no complaints, and would very much like to see the other book in this series. The book’s physical production (from a publishing house in England) is also very well done, and the woodcuts are reproduced beautifully. Quite entertaining and fun.

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Judge’s Commentary*: Northman’s Daughter
What a beautiful story! The research you did was superb! It was great seeing how the facts of history related to your characters and the mythical world that you created. The character of Svana is well developed and likeable. She pulls the reader into the story with her personality. You can really hear the accents when reading. It’s wonderful to see how Svana grows through the story. The length of the book and type size is perfect for a middle grade or a young adult book. There are a few places in the story where the action lags a bit. Tightening up the text or perhaps even cutting out that section would help the pacing, particularly in the second book. There are quite a few words that are difficult, especially for younger readers. It’s great to see the glossary in the back, which gives the definitions as well as the phonetic spelling. There are a few typos, but nothing that detracts from the readability of the story. My only criticism would be that the cover design doesn’t really capture the wonderful story inside. It looks like a travel book. This would not be something that a young girl who enjoys historical fantasy would immediately recognize as a book she’d like to read.

Judge’s Commentary*: Wolfdogs
I’m digging the wolf photo. And I certainly cannot disagree with the synopsis. I like the paw print at the chapter headings.
Ha! Funny opening. Your writing style is infectious and conversational – a harder trick than many people might think. A little bit of overuse on the one-line paragraph. It’s interesting to watch his growing attraction to music. It’s sort of like a relationship (p. 24).
“The many layered lands…” that’s a great paragraph. (p. 38) “The air was almost delicious.” great line (p. 70).
I like the surreal sensation of finding himself in New York. That’s exactly what it’s like (p. 90). “like a plant tilting toward sunlight” (p. 105).
I really enjoy your writing – just note all the little gems I’m pulling out. You have a gift – which is why I’m finding this book frustrating, because I’d really like this thing to have an actual story. Even well-written reflections and self-discoveries do not carry the same weight as a strong story (p. 124). Yikes! Dead rabbit. Rude way to wake up. I love the discovery of the record treasure chest (p. 146). “like an archaeologist peeling back the bandages on a mummy” (p. 162)…. I love your writing style, your quirky way of looking at things, and this still might be the best book I’ve read for a while, because talent is talent, and you’ve got it. Whatever happens in this contest, keep at it. And best of luck.

Judge’s commentary*: Northman’s Daughter
The Northman’s Daughter filled some gaps in Irish history and folklore for me. You have obviously done a great deal of research to make the scenes live and breathe for the reader. The travels in time were very creatively maneuvered, and the characters sparkle with passion, pathos, wit, and humor.
The grammar errors are minimal. However, you will want to know that the Oxford comma (comma before the “and” when writing three or more items) is back in vogue….
The cover needs a picture that grabs the attention and the imagination of your readers. While the picture does depict the coast of Ireland, those who are geographically challenged won’t even get that. Find a picture that depicts Svana in one of the most important scenes in the story….
Thank you for the privilege of reading your novel; I truly enjoyed the way you put the stories together around Svana, and I loved the fact that her father was restored when she forgave him.

Blessed are the speechmakers…

12… and the writers who share their truth. And at ASA College in both my Communications and Comp 1 classes, these fine New Yorkers from around the world, shared their perspectives on love, life, literature, social issues and the fine artworks they discovered at the MET.

I am so proud to have met and worked with you all, and encourage you to keep writing and keep speaking out on behalf of Life, Community and Boundless Goodwill.

Congratulations J. Carter Merwin on “The Tales of Earden”

La_Hire_-_Art_Collection_of_Prince_Władysław_Vasa_-_Detail_-_Sketchbook_of_Hans_von_AachenInterview with J. Carter Merwin

author of ‘The Tales of Earden’ novels, a romance/fantasy/adventure series available in book form and on Kindle from Amazon

How would you describe yourself as an author?

Absolutely selfish! Although I hide it well, I would rather be writing than doing anything else, especially not doing anything for anyone, chores, commitments, meetings, visits…I’d rather be by myself immersed in the world I’ve created, amongst my friends. In fact, now that I think of it, when I was a small child I had 5 imaginary friends. I was an only child and spent a good deal of my time alone. My friends were ghosts and they lived in the closets of our home in Rochester, N.Y. I only remember the names of two of them, “Skinny and Fatty”. Actually, there are ghosts in my world of Earden, albeit much more sophisticated ghosts.

What compels you to write?

Something drives me to create, some spark, I don’t know. If I weren’t writing, I’d be painting. That’s what I went to school for, but really, when I think about it, I’ve been shifting on and off for years between the brush and the pen.

How do characters occur to you?

They just come around the corner at me as I’m writing about a situation or an event. The name comes first and then the quirks of his or her personality. I like character flaws, obsessions, these are the things that make us human and get us into trouble. Perfect people don’t interest me.

Do you have a favorite character?

At the moment my favorite character is a drunken slut of a princess you get to meet in the third novel, The Guardian and the King which I hope will be available this Christmas season. Jermaine is a piece of work, stubborn, spoiled and addicted to cherry wine. She causes no end of trouble for her parents and the man trapped into marrying her.

Why this genre/ time period?

I have always been a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, Sir Walter Scott, Dumas and was fascinated by anything medieval when I was young. In college I was in a group of painters called the “Post Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood”.

How do you do your research?

It depends, mostly on the internet if it’s something I know nothing about, which is an amazing place. For my first book, ‘The Swan and Arrow’ I learned more than I ever wanted to know about knife-fighting and for the second ‘The fledgling’ I spent a lot of time on falconry websites. For the human condition, I rely on my own experiences.

What do you find most challenging?

Getting the action, the fight scenes or the sex scenes described correctly so that the reader can see, and sense everything that is going on. What the characters are experiencing, that’s what’s important to me.

What do you find most rewarding?

Just having someone say they ‘liked’ my book. I’m really immensely grateful to my family and friends, they’ve all been so supportive and encouraging.

 

 

 

Make Time for Poetry!

 

03Looking forward to Love and Other Strangers with the students and faculty of ASA College in Manhattan. Readings will include Shakespearean sonnets in Russian, a selection from “Viente Poemas de Amor” by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, a group recitation of “Giving Tree” and many original poetic passages by both our English Composition and ESL writers.

Today’s event will be between 3-5 in Room 935 at the Herald Square campus. Feel free to listen, read, stay for refreshments or just pop in to share a few literary minutes with us.

 

Congrats Book Bogglers!

Love & Other Strangers at ASA College

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Samboudiang Faye of Senegal

Much thanks to all the readers, writers and listeners who gathered to share an evening of poetry in NYC at Herald Square, I SPEAK MY TRUTH. The evening included Poet of My People, poems read by students in their own mother tongue, as well as original poetic monologues by English Comp students at ASA College.

On Thursday 9/8 from 3 to 5, we will again come together to read both poems and poetic passages based on the theme Love and Other Strangers. (Feel free to stop in just to read as many of you are between classes.)

If you’d like to join us, please be sure to reserve your place by commenting below. Let us know if you will be stopping by to listen or read.  See you there!

 

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I Speak My Truth

La_Hire_-_Art_Collection_of_Prince_Władysław_Vasa_-_Detail_-_Sketchbook_of_Hans_von_AachenJoin us again for Poets’ Night Out 3!

Well, evening out– 4 to 6 pm Thursday May 19 at ASA College in Herald Square.

International students will be presenting Poet of My People, reading the work of a poet in their own language; ASA students will be reading original works–poetic monologues on the theme: I Speak My Truth.

If you’d like to read a poem or poetic passage on the theme, please RSVP below and let us know the title of the work–oh, and your full name to add to the program.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

ASA College 105 33rd St Herald Square/ 2nd fl mezzanine

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