Literary Offerings into the World | November 2017 Report

In November, I continued my trend of very little activity.

Poetry: My chapbook, Chicken Fat, was published and is now available. Still researching places to send my new chapbook, Pounding Cobblestone. I continue to write new poems, one a week.

Creative Nonfiction: 1 submission to the Donald Murray Prize.

Fiction: 0 activity.

Other November 2017 activities: I have completed revisions on my Holocaust novel in verse. I continue to work on civilian casualties in war for an educational publisher. I’m writing some food essays about Jewish Thanksgiving, matzoh balls, and Chinese food.

Coming up in December!

My Holocaust novel in verse goes to my agent today. I finish the food memoir class at Iota Conference with Sarah Einstein. I hope during December to also revise a Holocaust novella and work on two Holocaust-related academic journal articles. Plus, Cycle 8 of The Whole Megillah‘s online fiction class has just begun. While I’m on semester break, I also want to catch up on sending my work out into the world. Around December 31, I’ll be assessing the year’s activity and working on my 2018 goals.

And big news! I’ve just been accepted into the new PhD in Holocaust & Genocide Studies program at Gratz College outside Philadelphia. I start in the summer.



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One Seat Has Just Opened in Cycle 8, Fiction Class

To All The Whole Megillah Readers,

One seat has just opened in Cycle 8 of The Whole Megillah online fiction class. This is a six-week class, but you can proceed at your own pace. I provide weekly prompts, usually with some Jewish bent. You upload your writing to a private Facebook page, and we all comment on each other’s work.

The fact that this is Cycle 8 shows the longevity and commitment to both the craft and the process.

Tuition: $300 (an additional $50 if you want a 15-page critique by me)

Class starts Sunday, December 3.

Please join us. Simply respond below or email me at barbarakrasner(at)att(dot)net if interested.

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Thanksgiving Blessings

As I sit here looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday only as a block of time to catch up on grading student compositions and short stories, I take a break to jot down some of the things I’m thankful for.

Teaching is learning. The more I teach, the more I learn. I was thinking earlier today as I drove around on my errands about how I’ve blossomed intellectually and creatively since walking out the Corporate America door in June 2013. I’ve delved into literature, composition pedagogy, completed an MA in History (with tuition waiver as adjunct faculty), and explored Holocaust scholarly debates.

Going back to my roots. The Ancestry DNA kit sits on my dining room table and it’s on my docket this weekend to take the test. I want to believe that besides my Ashkenazic roots that I have Sephardic heritage in my background somewhere. But I’m also thankful for going back to my intellectual roots grounded in German and Russian languages and literature. I’m reading Kafka again. I’ve signed up for a poetry class that uses Rainer Marie Rilke’s poems as prompts. I’m grateful for programs like “Finding Your Roots” on PBS and “Who Do You Think You Are.”

Feedback from my readers. Now that my first poetry chapbook is out, readers are telling me how much they enjoy it. And, three of my college students have bought it. I appreciate the relationships I develop with readers, writers, and students.

Finding my own solutions. Whether it’s installing a new light bulb in the garage without standing on the hood of the car, re-installing my email on my Kindle, finding resources to back up my arguments for a scholarly journal article I’m working on, or happening on a low-point snack using my Weight Watchers app in the supermarket–I’m happy. Of course, I still need to practice parallel parking.

Having a roof over my head. To get Maslovian for a moment, I am grateful to have my house even though my accountant has been insisting for a few years now that I sell it and get an apartment. I am thankful for the ability to play contemporary jazz on the television while I write and grade.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?


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Announcement from PJ Library – Deadlines Approaching!

It’s said that travel broadens the mind, and PJ Library has two exciting opportunities coming up for authors and illustrators in spring 2018 that fill the bill.

Travel to Israel with us March 18-25 for the Author Israel Adventure and get inspired to bring Jewish and Israeli content to your writing for children.

Closer to home (for most), spend April 29-May 4 with us in Amherst, MA, at the Yiddish Book Center where you’ll read, write, discuss, and learn at Tent: Children’s Literature. New this year is a track for author-illustrators and graphic novelists.

Both opportunities are FREE! Check out the links for full details – and please keep the application deadlines in mind.

We can’t wait to receive your applications!

Chris Barash
Chris Barash, Chair
PJ Library Book Selection Committee
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Literary Offerings into the World | October 2017 Report

Not much to report for October.

Poetry: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 1 rejection (Salt Hill Journal). But I have completed another chapbook, Pounding Cobblestone, and am in the process of figuring out where to submit. I am writing one new poem a week.

Creative Nonfiction: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 0 rejections.

Fiction: 1 submission (Press 53 Everywhere Stories anthology), 0 acceptances, 0 rejections.

Other October 2017 activities: My Holocaust novel in verse went to an editorial committee and I have some work to do to revise. My YA biography in verse underwent scrutiny by my poetry mentor and is now in vetting with one of the biography’s subject’s sons. I completed Escaping East Germany and did some preliminary work for another educational publisher on civilian casualties in war. I presented on remnants of Jewish Poland at my hometown shul. Cycle 7 of The Whole Megillah‘s online Fiction class ended and Cycle 8 begins in December.

Oh, yeah, and my son got married!

Coming up in November!

Revising my Holocaust novel in verse and possibly also revising my biography in verse. I will continue to work on weekly poems with my poetry mentor and I’m itching to write an essay about one of my paternal grandmother’s relatives—either her first cousin in Brooklyn who remembered when my grandmother came off the ship in 1913 when I interviewed her in 1993 (she was 90 then) or a distant cousin brought to America by Albert Einstein in the late 1930s as a boy from Vienna. I’m also starting a food memoir class at Iota Conference with Sarah Einstein. There’s another development possibly brewing, but I’ll have to wait until I have news to share, most likely in the new year.



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2017 Year of the Book | Third Quarter Progress Report

I pledged 2017 as the Year of the Book. my year to sell a book manuscript. Now that the third quarter of the year has closed, here is my progress report:

Poetry: My chapbook, Chicken Fat, is due out next month from Finishing Line Press. I’ve also completed a second chapbook, Pounding Cobblestone, about my time in the Czech Republic in 2011 with the Prague Summer Program (now an independently run program after an 11-year affiliation with Western Michigan University). My next step is to figure out where to send the chapbook manuscript.

Creative Nonfiction: In the winter or spring I may resume taking online courses with Creative Nonfiction magazine. These courses force butt in chair and I’m happy with the results. In November I’m taking a food memoir class online from Iota Conference.

Picture Books: Totally on the backburner for now.

Novels in Verse: My Holocaust novel in verse went to editorial committee last week. Sigh, still more work to do, but the committee believes the story is strong and wants to see a revision. Meanwhile my biography in verse is with my poetry mentor and I expect to get his notes this week. Lots of revision ahead!

Fiction: Also on the backburner for now. I had hoped to participate in Nanowrimo and draft two chapter books—one historical and one contemporary—but I want to keep my focus on the books in verse.

Other projects: I’m still writing education books for kids as work for hire. I just finished two books for a book packager and am starting a YA debate book for hire as compiling editor for another publisher. During winter break, I’ll be sending out more pitch packages to educational publishers.

Question 4U: How is your Year of the Book coming along? Please share!

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New Online Workshops from The Whole Megillah

The Whole Megillah is proud to announce a series of online workshops to sharpen your craft wherever you are in the writing process:

  • Fiction Workshop
  • Advanced Fiction Workshop
  • Memoir Workshop
  • Poetry Workshop

Each workshop includes a set of weekly prompts. Participants post their writing to a private Facebook page for feedback.


Experiment with elements of craft to write either short or long in this six-week workshop. We’ll explore and practice:

  • Imagery
  • Characterization
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Point of view
  • Revision

For inspiration, I’ll supply you with a short story each week.

Cost: $300; add $50 for a 10-page manuscript critique

Start date: December 3, 2017


Advanced Fiction Workshop

This six-week online workshop allows to you work on a manuscript of your choice and bring it further along. Through a series of exercises you’ll practice more advanced techniques to:

  • Drive your protagonist’s emotional journey and transformation
  • Heighten conflict
  • Deepen characterization and sharpen dialogue

Cost: $300; add $50 for a 10-page manuscript critique

Start date: December 3, 2017

Your StoryMemoir Workshop

If you’re like me, perhaps there’s an event or a relationship in your life that’s haunting you. But how to explore that in writing? In this five-week class we’ll explore:

  • Imagery
  • Theme
  • Plot
  • Selectivity
  • Voice

We will also gain inspiration from published memoirs.

Cost: $250; add $50 for a 10-page manuscript critique

Start Date: December 10, 2017


Poetry Workshop

In this five-week online workshop, I’ll supply you with exclusively Jewish prompts and poetry to find your own poetic voice.

Cost: $250; add $50 for a four-poem critique

Start Date: December 10, 2017

About the instructor

Barbara Krasner is the award-winning author of several hundred articles, books, short fiction, and poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jewish Literary Journal, Lilith, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual,, Michigan Quarterly Review, Nimrod, Paterson Literary Review, and other journals. Her poetry chapbook, Chicken Fat, will be published by Finishing Line Press in November 2017. Her children’s book, Goldie Takes a Stand! Golda Meir’s First Crusade, was named a 2015 Sydney Taylor Honor Book. Barbara teaches creative writing at William Paterson University and works one-on-one with writers to shape their fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. She is a trained facilitator in the Amherst Writers & Artists method.

For more information, contact Barbara at barbarakrasner(at)att(dot)net or reply to this post with a comment.

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