Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Wishes from everyone at CALYX!

We hope you all have a happy season, filled with creativity and with peace!

Also, we would like to invite all the friends of CALYX to tell us what you think of our blog -- you can use the Comment function, or you can send email to info(at)calyxpress(dot)org. What would you like to see here? Are there questions about a literary press that you would like answered? Are you curious about our herstory? We'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 5, 2009 Poetry workshops by Frances Payne Adler and Willa Schneberg, Corvallis, Oregon

The CALYX Workshops and readings on Saturday, December 5th were well attended and enjoyed by the participants. Eleven attendees for “Fire & Ink” heard Fran Adler describe several inspiring activist projects that either sprung from or resulted in poetry and image. She then challenged us to create a poem from a deep-seated concern. The shared poems ranged from hunger to abuse issues, to healthcare issues. Too quickly, the workshop itself was over, and attendees had the chance to buy Fran’s newest anthology “Fire & Ink” – it quickly sold out.

Frances Payne Adler giving "Fire & Ink" workshop

That afternoon, 13 attendees for Willa Schneberg’s “Dreaming the Poem” learned about how the unconscious can bring up images in dreams, how poets have used dream in various ways in their poetry, and how a poet can even use someone else’s dream to create an interesting poem. The attendees tried their hand at poems from selected anonymous dreams brought by Willa – the results were surprising. Several poets had the same dream, but created very different poems. Willa’s books were also available and popular with the attendees.

The evening reading showcased Willa and Fran’s poetry, in “Poems of Resistance and Resilience” – despite frigid weather, the audience proved that poetry is a draw in Corvallis. CALYX is very grateful to Willa and Fran for coming down from Portland to give these workshops and reading, and to Friends of the Corvallis Benton County Library, The Corvallis Arts Center, and the Benton County Cultural Coalition for sponsoring this event.

Sarah Lantz Finalists Chosen and Sent to Final Judge.

All the contributors to the Sarah Lantz Oregon Women's Memorial Poetry Book Prize have been read blind by the CALYX editors (they were accepted from 9/1/09 to 11/20/09). The finalists were sent on to the Final Judge, Colleen McElroy, on 12/14/09. We plan to announce the winner in late January, 2010.

Rainy Tuesday Morning with Two New Interns

Mollie, Jan, and Shayna in the office

I'm Mollie and today's my first day as an intern at CALYX! After graduating from the University of Oregon in June with a Bachelor of Arts in English, I contacted CALYX asking for an internship so that I might be able to learn more about jobs relating to literature. I'm really excited to be a part of such a great place and I look forward to all kinds of new knowledge and experiences. Maybe I'll even figure out for sure how to pronounce our name! --Mollie

My name is Jan, and today is my second day as an intern with CALYX. As Mollie, I am an English major from the U of O. My love is literature--reading and writing. I look forward to seeing just how a small press works, and being surrounded by women who have dedicated their time to literature, and hope to learn as much as possible from them. --Jan

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My last day at CALYX

I was asked to write a blog regarding my time at CALYX, which as a writer I had thought would come to me easily. However, I find myself stuck as to where to begin. I remember my first day in late-September, curious and nervous about my new surroundings. Little did I know the beautiful experience I was to come across, along with the warm friendships and kindness throughout the office.

Fall of 2009 has been a busy one, filled with the 33rd annual Glitterati, Sarah Lantz Poetry Prize submissions, filing the many manuscripts received each day, and of course watching 25:3 come to life. A few of my favorite memories are rocking the donor letters with Shayna (though she may think differently, she got a paper cut or two), going out to lunch with the staff to Evergreen, and reading the various works of women across the world.

A few interns start next week, and I wanted to think of a couple of things that would help them for their new journey in CALYX. Create a system with the other intern(s) that ensures speedy mailing, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if in doubt: use the “RECEIVED” stamp. Margarita tells the best stories, Beverly has the greatest laugh, Cathy has the best smelling food, and Becky is a fantastic listener. CALYX is filled with wonderful, unique women, so enjoy the experience you are set to begin.

Thank you,

Bonanza Jellybean proofs the journal

The other day as the editorial team finished up proofing,
my cat Bonanza Jellybean decided to help.
Obviously, it was very productive.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CALYX Intern Day Is Here!

12/8/09 Today is fall intern celebration day. Kelly and Shayna are joining the staff at Evergreen Restaurant for their thank you for all the hard work at CALYX this term. And all of us who worked with Kelly and Shayna will miss their great energy after they finish their term at CALYX next week. It has been a pleasure to have their help with the October CALYX Glitterati, the receipt of the Sarah Lantz Poetry Book Prize manuscripts, the production of the Winter CALYX Journal (which went to press yesterday), and their handling of the hundreds of manuscripts when CALYX Journal opened October 1st. They also were great about the bulk mailings, never complaining and even learning the rudimentaries of bulk sorting mail for our non-profit bulk mail permit. Shayna and Kelly deserve a great thank you from all of us at CALYX as well as our readers and contributors. We could not maintain this small press and publish so many women’s voices without the generous support of the student interns who provide their devotion and generous time to the work of CALYX. THANK YOU KELLY AND SHAYNA! -- Margarita

From the Director

Margarita Donnelly

12/3/09 I just returned from a vacation to the Philadelphia area for Thanksgiving. Flying into Portland airport after a 12-hour travel day was delightful. As the plane banked over the silvery Columbia River Mt. Hood, the Three Sisters, Mt. St. Helens, and even Mt. Rainier were visible under an ascending full moon. A beautiful welcome home. Back at CALYX I returned to the new issue, Volume 25:3 (Winter 2010), which is going to press on Monday the 7th. We did all the last minute checks and corrections of another incredible issue of women’s poetry, prose, reviews, and art. Look for it in your mailboxes early in January if you are a subscriber. If you’re not a subscriber, become one by the end of the year to ensure your receipt by mail of another incredible Journal of women’s words and art.

I continue reading (with another CALYX editor) the first reads of poetry manuscripts for the Oregon Women Poets Sarah Lantz Memorial Poetry Book Prize. It is not an easy task selecting from the many fine manuscripts we have received. The meeting to select finalists to send on to the final judge Colleen McElroy is Friday, December 11th. We plan to announce the first prize winner of the Book Prize in early February. At the same time CALYX Journal also opened for the annual open submission period (October 1 to December 31) and our editors are immersed in reading those first reads. The manuscripts are coming in heavily at this point.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Calyx reading at Rebound Bookstore, San Rafael, CA

On November 14, 2009, Calyx authors Nancy Cherry, Connie Post, Dian Duchin Reed and Theresa Whitehill, all poets published in Calyx Journal 25:2, met at a reading hosted by Rebound Bookstore.
Theresa Whitehill commented:
I thought Rebound did a great job producing the reading. Joel introduced the event with a little summary of Calyx and its importance in publishing. I thought it set a nice tone for the evening. It was an honor to be there reading our work and we decided that the four of us are now officially "Calyx Sisters" Connie, of course, was an immense help in getting the word out and making sure we gathered beforehand at Confucius Restaurant for a little sustenance and to chat, which I think helped the unity of the reading we gave. Thank you for your help in organizing.

Theresa Whitehill reading at Rebound

Dian Duchin Reed also commented on the evening:
The reading at Rebound Bookstore was simply wonderful. The venue was cozy and welcoming (and what a selection of books!), the audience appreciative, and my fellow readers a delight to meet. Thank you to each and every one of you for making this event possible, successful, and memorable! I enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you, Shayna and Calyx, for getting the ball rolling.

Dian Duchin Reed presents her poetry

Nancy Cherry reads at Rebound

Connie Post at Rebound

Calyx reading at Bluestockings, New York

On October 30, 2009, two Calyx authors met at Bluestockings, New York for a reading: Cass Dalglish author of Humming the Blues and Tess Taylor, whose poem "Ohio Engagement" appeared in issue 25:2 of Calyx Journal. This is Tess's account of the evening.

On a dark, stormy Friday before Halloween, Cass Dalglish and I met and read at Bluestockings bookstore in New York City-- a wonderful enclave of feminist and radical books tucked on Manhattan's Lower East Side. October in New York is busy season, and the Friday before Halloween is even busier. We started with a small but devoted crowd, which included dear friends from across our lives and the world-- one literally in from Singapore that morning! All Souls spirit was in the air. The subways were already full of goblins, Cleopatras, pirates. The city had begun to morph, allowing in the carnival of Halloween.

While witches roved outside the windows, I read poems about daylight savings, ghosts, and ghosting. I read poems about shards that hold the past, objects that exert their claim on us, that tell cunning mysterious half stories. They are hauntingly partial windows, little glimpses, the odd stuff of which myths are made. My work was tracing family and American history, trying to understand the ambivalence of inheritance both within my own life and within this broken, sometimes painful America. On the surface it seemed to have little to do with Cass's work, which translates and interprets an ancient Sumerian text. Then again, what could be a more hauntingly partial fragment than a bit of poetry by a woman in ancient Sumer? My current work has, in its very daily way, epic aspirations. It wants to speak through fragments of selves to cast the bigger project of a nation. But Cass was actually reintroducing our audience to history's first poet, the first person ever to sign a name to an epic poem. That poet, it turns out, was a woman.

Lo and behold, Cass had studied and resurrected old clay tablets from Sumer, where the first writer signed a name, to claim authorship of a poem. It turns out that first writer was a she, Edhuanna, a poet, prince, and Sumerian leader. In Sumerian the word poet and prince were one in the same, and the word itself had no gender. Hooray, epic, I thought! I always knew you weren't limited to men. Hooray, woman long ago who signed her name and claimed her writing! Thank you for existing and living on now. Thank you for being there to see. I repeat this wonderful fact: The word poet is the same as the word prince and the word itself has no gender.

The joy went on: Cass's wonderful book, Humming the Blues, reintroduces Enheduanna's Song to Inanna, an ancient Sumerian text of a poet following a god into the underworld. The first epic poem, the early epic structure, the familiar prototype for 5000 years of poetry which follow. But in this case the poet and the god had female identity, and female form. I trembled with something called delight. Joseph Campbell had the notion that there was only one heroic story... this work shows that the hero was a female. Cass read beautifully. We sat on the edges of our chairs, meditating about the old reed-shapes in the clay, those patterned forms that came to us from a past-life, that spoke out from 5,000 years ago, as if they were exiting the underworld once more. The rhythms seemed to rise and shimmer in the bookstore light.

We walked out, newly cloaked, into the dark.