Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Get to Know the CALYX Board: Cynthia Spencer

Hi all,
I've been on the Board about 6 years, having been recruited by retired Oregon State Business Professor Mary Alice Seville—one of those quiet, behind the scenes women who does a TON for our local community. When Mary Alice asks you to do something it's hard to say no to someone who gives so much of her time. My time on the Board will be term limiting out shortly...

I've been a potter for the past 25 years and the past seven I've been the Director of our local arts festival. I feel strongly that the arts enrich our lives and that being creative is good for everyone—not just artists. This is why I got involved with CALYX—an area of the arts I was a lot less knowledgeable about than the visual arts world. CALYX has done some valuable work publishing women's artwork and writing over the past 34 years. I am now eager to see how CALYX grows and expands as our younger staff women begin to transition into the helm at CALYX and lead it into the future.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CALYX and the AWP Conference

Kelsey & Cass Dalglish, Ingrid Wendt,
& Fran Adler

Becky at the CALYX table

Flying back to Portland from mile-high Denver and the AWP conference, I began reading a copy of Fire and Ink and found my depleted conference energy rekindled by the voices in the book. Here is writing that speaks to my soul. The kind of voices I have spent the past 34 years making sure are heard. And I had to rethink CALYX’s attendance at AWP. It is incredibly expensive to attend the book exhibit (table costs have doubled in the past 4 years) and we NEVER cover the costs of attendance through sales (shipping books, drayage fees, AWP fees, plane fares, per diems, and hotels, despite going as cheaply as possible). But reading Fire and Ink while sitting next to Becky (CALYX’s new Assistant Editor), and hearing her enthusiasm for her conference experiences I remembered all the younger writers who had been by the table and spoken with us and found a way to let go of the worry over the money lost on the conference. Here is a new generation coming up who will be the new voices to discover, and the importance of connecting with our current authors as well as the new younger and enthusiastic voices became obvious. Bringing the newer staff members to AWP to attend CLMP training workshops and many of the AWP workshops was important. Becky let me know all she had learned about increasing subscriptions and reaching new readers and the many new groups she had connected with who are starting new feminist publishing ventures (WILLA, Earth’s Daughters, Southern Women’s Review, and others). While I had looked around AWP and seen many publishing peers and friends missing, the younger staff were establishing connections with members of this new generation of feminist writers. They were involved with literature and publishing and excited about putting together workshops for the next AWP. The transition we want to make at CALYX, which will involve the passing of the feminist publishing torch to younger staff members, was beginning during this AWP. And I can finally see the vistas opening for CALYX and feel the excitement and the possibilities that this future can hold. Attending AWP in mile-high Denver wore me out—but hanging out with CALYX authors Fran Adler, Marianne Villanueva, M. Evelina Galang, Ellen Bass, Cass Dalglish, Catherine Brady, and Sybil James was delightful. Yet the prize in this experience was seeing this new generation at work and the possibilities they will bring to CALYX as we begin to hand over the reins and move into transition.

Margarita Donnelly, Director, 4/13/10

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Joining the CALYX Family!

Hey there. My name is Kelsey Connell, and I just joined the wonderful group of women here at CALYX, Inc as the new Assistant Director. I am excited to begin my journey with CALYX and am already learning so much. It is inspiring to become a part of a literary journal with 34 years of rich history publishing fresh female voices. As a recent graduate of the University of Oregon’s English program, I have spent a lot of time studying and thinking about literature and working with literary magazines. I am thrilled to become a part of an organization that publishes the astounding authorial voices of our time and brings them to you, our fabulous readers.

As usual, it seems there is a lot going on at CALYX to be excited about. We just began accepting submissions for the Lois Cranston Memorial prize and it is so great to see that pile grow. Not to mention, there are just so many reasons to submit! For my part, I will be taking over where Kathy left off, assisting on the business side at CALYX. My training has just begun and I can't wait to keep learning from everyone who is a part of the press!

Happy reading and writing,


me with Jan and Mollie
(interns extraordinnaire)
on my first day

The Director's Blog

Penelope Scambly Schott

The announcement of the winner of the first Sarah Lantz Memorial Poetry Book Award that went to Penelope Scambly Schott for her collection Crow Mercies has been exciting. It has also kept CALYX and Penelope very busy. We were delighted to receive the news from the Final Judge, Colleen McElroy, earlier in January than expected. Our distributor, Consortium’s (CBSD) deadlines for the announcement of Fall titles were due in January and February. We rushed to get information from the author and write the “tipsheets” for the new title. Then rushed to write the catalogue copy for CBSD and rushed to get a cover design in as well. And at the same time we wrote to authors Penelope has suggested asking them if they would read Penelope’s manuscript and give a cover comment. I just wrote to Lucille Clifton earlier this week without knowing she had been ill, and just received the news she has died. How very sad.

The hard part of the award is all the good manuscripts that CALYX received for consideration that didn’t win. I was left contacting all the authors and letting them know. There’s never an easy way to handle that correspondence.
Sarah Lantz

This award came about because a generous donor set up funds to establish an award in Sarah Lantz’s memory after we published her book, Far Beyond Triage. Sarah was a great poet, a brilliant thinker, and an enthusiast for life. She was a long-time supporter of CALYX and had been an editorial member of CALYX Journal for a number of years. We had published her poetry in CALYX Journal early in her publishing life. When her book ms. was selected for publication, I had no idea that the experience would be life-changing for me. Sarah had become a close friend. She was suffering from brain cancer and had aphasia resulting from surgeries removing the tumors as we started editing her ms. Yet, her sense of humor and her exciting character were still intact through the cancer ordeal. But communication with Sarah over the ms. was a struggle with language. It was the most difficult editorial work we ever have done—discovering, as we worked together on the book, that Sarah, despite signs of hopeful remissions, would not be recuperating. And that Sarah’s struggle with words—this brilliant poet whose life had been the beauty of words—continued throughout the process. Despite all this Sarah’s eyes continued to shine with her remarkable humor and she continued to laugh through her episodes finding words as we finalized her first, and very unfortunately last, book.

Far Beyond Triage was released in October 2007. Sarah died September 10th, 2007 at the age of 48. It was the month before we had her book back from the printer. She did receive the galley copy of her book (the early copy that goes to reviewers months before the final release of the book) and was delighted with the design and cover art which she had helped select. I’ll never forget the day I brought her the galleys. How she hugged her new book and loved it! I miss Sarah but am glad that we are able to commemorate her love of poetry with the Sarah Lantz Memorial Poetry Book Prize.

Margarita Donnelly, Director

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CALYX is 34 on March 11th

I'm not sure where the year is disappearing to, but March has arrived, and with it CALYX anniversary/birthday. March 11, 1976 is the founding date, and we will be celebrating with a party on Saturday, March 13th, 7-9pm at the Corvallis Arts Center (700 SW Madison). The reception including music, refreshments, and poetry readings is free and open to the public, so if you're in the area - come say hello!

The readings include the Oregon and Washington Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize award winners: Linda Strever (Olympia, WA), Kathryn Graves-Messer (Salem, OR), Jennifer Richter (Corvallis, OR), and Toni Van Deusen (Eugene, OR). Linda's poem “How to Become the Oracle” received the 2009 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize judged by poet Marilyn Chin, and was published in our most recent issue. Kathryn's poem "Findings" is a 2009 finalist and is on our website http://www.calyxpress.org/Cranstonprize.html. Toni and Jennifer are finalists from previous years -- and we're looking forward to seeing all of them at our party!

As with other events, there is a bit of work that goes into creating this party - getting the word out, coordinating with poets and the location... and the last minute details seem to be falling into place. In a little less than two weeks, we'll have some photos to post up here, and wrapup of the event. How time flies!

-- Cathy