Literary Offerings into the World | September 2017 Report

Poetry: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 2 rejections (BOATT, The MacGuffin).

Creative Nonfiction: 4 submissions (Poor Yorick, The Smart Set, Ilanot, Tiferet), 1 acceptance (South 85), 2 rejections (Lunch Ticket, Capra Review). I’ve made three withdrawals because of the essay acceptance. Of the six essays I wrote earlier this year in the personal essay classes at Creative Nonfiction magazine, three have found good homes.

Fiction: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 0 rejections.

Other September 2017 activities: I completed the first draft of my YA biography in verse, and my agent has sent out my middle-grade historical novel in verse. I completed Escape from Hitler for a children’s book packager and am now working on Escape from East Berlin for the same packager. I also completed three articles for Cobblestone and five biographies for Paterson Lives. I took a day from my hectic schedule to learn how to deepen my poetry with Priscilla Orr at a workshop given by Tiferet Journal. I’ve reviewed proofs of my upcoming chapbook, Chicken Fat, which is now slated for November publication.

Cycle 7 of The Whole Megillah‘s online Fiction class began.

Coming up in October!

Most notably, my son’s wedding on October 8! I’ll be working with my poetry mentor on generating more poetry, wrapping up my chapbook about the Czech Republic, and finalizing my YA biography in verse. I’ll be also finishing up Escape from East Berlin and I will have another article assignment from Cobblestone and another compiling editor gig from Greenhaven Press. I am presenting “Jewish Remnants of Poland” at Congregation B’nai Israel in Kearny, New Jersey (my hometown) at the end of the month. I’m already looking forward to the long weekend at Thanksgiving.

 

 

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Poet’s Notebook | Joan Seliger Sidney

I first met Joan at the 2010 Jewish Children’s Writing workshop at the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania. I found her writing to be strong and lyrical. Turned out she’s been writing poetry for the adult market for some time. After seeing an article about her in the Hartford Courant, I thought it was high time you all met her.

The Whole Megillah (TWM): What inspired you to start writing poetry?
Joan Seliger Sidney (JSS): I wrote my first poem—long since lost—for an assignment in my high school English class senior year. It was about my mother’s younger brother, living in Israel so I didn’t know him, who had been killed by a jealous husband, my American uncle’s brother, a terrible tragedy. I remember that my teacher wrote, “Fascinating,” on my paper. But it wasn’t till twenty-two years later that I audited a poetry course at the University of Connecticut, started a writers’ group, and began writing poems.

TWM: What inspires your poetry? Do you find your topics or do they find you?
JSS: For many years my mother’s stories of growing up in Zurawno, then her three months of adventures escaping the Holocaust became my serious topics: she really was my muse as well as helping me bear witness. Living with MS, my chronic illness, has also been an important topic, my family—husband and four kids, too. These days my poems speak out against Trump and bigotry. I find these political poems online, they’re really “found poems.”

TWM: Who is your favorite poet? What is your favorite poem—and why?
JSS: This is a very difficult question because I like many poets for different reasons. If we’re talking contemporary poets, my favorites are Carolyn Forché, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, major political poets, and Robert Cording, who transforms the everyday into exquisite poetry.

Ever since I heard Carolyn read “The Colonel,” I’ve been in awe of how she bears witness. The poem has an inescapable immediacy. The details bring me to the dinner table with the murderous Nicaraguan colonel as, after the elaborate meal, he spills the sack of human ears on the table.

“They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck themselves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.”

TWM: Are you particularly proud of any one poem?
JSS: I like “Pantoum for My Grandparents,” the way it connects me to my maternal grandparents, also “On Turning Seventy,” which connects three generations.

Pantoum for My Grandparents

On Yom Kippur I wrote my first Holocaust poem
instead of returning to synagogue to pray.
The grandmother I never knew put her
hands on my shoulders and told me her story.

Instead of returning to synagogue to pray,
back to Zurawno I journeyed with Grandma.
Hands on my shoulders, she told me her story:
“Germans, so cultured, won’t hurt us old Jews.”

Back to Zurawno I journeyed with Grandma.
We watched the road darken with soldiers.
“Germans, so cultured, won’t hurt us old Jews.
From us, our Ukrainian neighbors rent.”

We watched the road darken with soldiers.
Grandpa wore his Silver Cross from World War I.
“From us, our Ukrainian neighbors rent.”
If, only instead of listening, I’d whisked them away.

Grandpa wore his Silver Cross from World War I.
Grandma braided challah and slid it in the oven.
If, only instead of listening, I’d whisked them away
before the betrayal by their Ukrainian neighbors.

Grandma braided challah and slid it in the oven.
She braised brisket and potatoes, my mouth watered
before the betrayal by her Ukrainian neighbors.
They beat and bloodied Grandma and Grandpa.

She braised brisket and potatoes, my mouth watered.
Granddaughter from the future, what could I do?
Neighbors beat and bloodied Grandma and Grandpa,
threw their still-breathing bodies into a pit for Jews.

On Approaching Seventy

Watching the hands of my son
kneading challah dough
on the maple cutting board
in my kitchen, a memory
rises of my mother
bending over our kitchen table
in Flatbush, pressing, stretching,
folding flour, water, eggs
into a living elastic.
Sometimes in my dreams, Mom
appears, whispers of her mother
in her kitchen in Zurawno
in the pre-dawn dark,
by the light of the kerosene
lamp, pulling and pushing
the yeasty challah dough
until my son covers it
with a clean white cloth
and leaves it in the warm
electric oven to rise.

TWM: How does writing poetry affect your writing in other genres?
JSS: It makes me more aware of word choice, image, rhythm, rhyme.

TWM: You received your MFA from what is now the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Would you recommend an MFA? Why/why not?
JSS: Absolutely! Working with outstanding writers and peers transformed my writing, reading, and teaching.

TWM: How important is it to write Jewish-themed poems? Holocaust-related poems?
JSS: I guess Jewish-themed poems are in my blood. As I’ve said, my mission to bear witness to injustice began with Holocaust-related poems.

TWM: Is there any craft book you’d recommend?
JSS: I’ve used and taught from several good ones. For anyone interested in writing in form, I recommend The Making of a Poem by Strand and Boland.

For more about Joan Seliger Sidney and her work, please visit her website.

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Author’s Notebook | Kathy Kacer and Jordana Lebowitz, To Look a Nazi in the Eye

To Look a Nazi in the Eye: A Teen’s Account of a War Criminal Trial, by Kathy Kacer with Jordana Lebowitz, Second Story Press, 2017, 231 pp.

Kathy Kacer

The Whole Megillah (TWM): What drew you to this topic?
Kathy Kacer (KK): I had been following the trial of Oskar Groening which was worldwide news. I was intrigued with the notion of bringing a Nazi war criminal to trial in my time. I thought a lot about what it meant for justice to be served after all these years. I wanted to write about the trial but was struggling to figure out a way to do that for the young audience that I usually write for. Then I read an article in a local paper about Jordana and her trip to Germany to be an observer at the trial. I thought Jordana’s journey would be the perfect vehicle within which to write this book.

TWM: How did collaborating with Jordana come about?
KK: I simply contacted Jordana – found her on Facebook! I asked if she wanted to meet with me so that I could interview her about the trial and her experience of having been there. She agreed to meet with me; it turned out that she had read several of my books when she was younger. We began to meet on a regular basis – me, asking a million questions, and Jordana digging deep to explore what it meant for her to be there at the trial.

TWM: Please describe your approach to the research.
KK: In this case, I was very fortunate. There was a tremendous amount that was being written about the Groening trial. Every major newspaper around the world had sent reporters to Germany. And I had access to all of those papers. In addition, Groening had done a series of interviews on BBC and for a book written by Laurence Rees. In it, he described in detail his role in Auschwitz during the war. Those were valuable sources for me to be able to re-create Groening’s testimony. I also interviewed the three survivors from Toronto who testified during the trial. All of that, along with Jordana’s blogs and stories about her experience of being there provided a wealth of information for me to draw on.

TWM: Why do you think it’s important to write about/share a teen’s perspective?
KK: All of my books except for one have been written for a middle grade and YA audience. I love writing for this age group – challenging young people to think about important moral issues. This trial raised all kinds of questions that I thought young people might grapple with; What did it mean to bring an aging, sick man to trial after all these years? Could a sentence of four years provide justice? What does it mean if Groening never serves any prison time? And so on, and so on. The best way to write for teens is to share a teen’s story – someone young people can relate to. Jordana was just that person.

TWM: What was the most challenging aspect? The most satisfying?
KK: I guess the biggest challenge was to make sure that everyone’s perspective was being fairly and accurately portrayed in this book – the survivors, Jordana, the attorney, Groening. There was a lot of information to piece through and bring together! I wanted the survivors to read early drafts of the book so that they too were “on board” with everything I had written.

I’d say that the most satisfying part of this project was having the chance to meet and get to know Jordana. She is a most impressive young woman – smart, intuitive, courageous. She continues to inspire me with her ideas, drive, and desire to make a difference in Holocaust education.

TWM: Jordana, let’s turn it over to you. What was your greatest challenge is writing your account? The most satisfying aspect?
Jordana Lebowitz (JL): My greatest challenge in writing my account was trying to put into words and adequately describe all of the complexities, moral issues and emotions that arose during this time. I felt that there was a lot at stake in writing this account because it is not just my story, it is the story of the survivors, the story of Groening, the story of two nations fighting for justice — one chained by the nightmares of helplessness and another doomed to guilt — and it is the story of humanity in pursuance of bettering the world. That’s a lot of pressure! I wanted it to be presented in a way that did this event justice and in a way that people could understand, relate to, and learn from and Kathy did an amazing job of achieving this outcome!

The most satisfying aspect is being able to share the important universal messages of human rights advocacy, holocaust remembrance and justice for human rights violators and victims with the world. I hope that I can inspire other young people to pursue their passions and be prepared to advocate for human rights in the future.

TWM: What was the greatest lesson you learned by attending the trial of Oskar Groening?
JL: I learned so many lessons corresponding to so many different questions which you can read about in the book! I think the most important lesson that I learned though, and which I was witness to first hand, is that time exists on a continuum. That is to say that every period is connected: past, present and future. We must remember the past in order to learn from it, be aware of what is going on in the present to stop injustices from occurring in our midst and build a better future with the tools that we have acquired from learning from the past and advocating in the present. Winston Churchill says: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This trial was not merely addressing history, it was very much applicable to the present and set a precedent for the future. From this trial, I gained the knowledge and sense of responsibility rooted in past tragedy to combat human rights violations in the present and help create a better future.

We, the generation of gadgets and gizmos, of smartphones and social media, can ensure that such atrocities never again transpire. Our ancestor’s voices were shattered during the Holocaust and those belonging to many bystanders, were never utilized. Now is the time to harness our freedom to speak, to teach, to tolerate; to stand for justice in every realm. We are one human nation with one beating heart. We are responsible for each other.

TWM: What has been your greatest lesson in blogging about it for the Simon Wiesenthal Center?
JL: The greatest lesson I learned from blogging about it for the Simon Wiesenthal Center is that information spreads fast! The power of a blog (or any online material for that matter) to spread information and mobilize people is tremendous. One night I sent in my blog post by the next morning it had been published on the Simon Wiesenthal website and set out to their donors, shared between people and forwarded to a man who was at the trial with me. This man then informed me the morning after I had written the post, that he had read it and provided me with his thoughts. This showed me that now more than ever before, one person has the power to make a difference by spreading truth and words of justice to the world with just one click. I want to motivate people to share their own voices and make that difference.

TWM: One last question, Jordana. What has been your greatest lesson in writing this book with Kathy?
JL: Well, I learned a lot about the hard work that goes into writing a book! I thought she would write it and within a few months it would be in stores! I was greatly mistaken! This process has taken over two years at this point from the first time we met until publishing day. But a book is solid. A book is powerful. It has the ability to touch people, to inspire people, to motivate change. Kathy’s books have already inspired countless youth to make a difference in different ways and I hope this book will do the same. Our words are our freedom and we must utilize them to speak for those who cannot. We are the voice that will echo through the hallways of history and shape the patterns of reality itself.

 

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Author’s Notebook | Tammar Stein, The Six-Day Hero

Tammar Stein

I had the pleasure of meeting author Tammar Stein at the August Tent: Jewish Children’s Literature program at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. She was able to take time out from her busy schedule to talk about her middle grade novel, The Six-Day Hero (Kar-Ben, 2017), which is both a PJ Our Way and Junior Library Guild Selection.

On to the interview…

The Whole Megillah (TWM): What motivated you to write this story?
Tammar Stein (TS): It started with a phone call from my mom. Her rabbi had approached her to ask about a book I’d written. He couldn’t find any books about Israel for his 5th graders and he wondered if my book Light Years might suit. But up until then, all my novels were for an older audience, so Light Years wouldn’t have been a good fit for that age group. Of course my mom told him that, but on our call, she followed it up with some career advice: “You should write something.”

I don’t usually write to order. It takes me a long time to write a book, at least a couple of years. Any book I write has to be something that I feel really passionate about, because two years is a long time to live with lukewarm feelings towards a manuscript. But something about my mom’s suggestion really resonated with me. How could there be nothing about Israel for this age group? I lived in Israel for part of my childhood, and those childhood years were really happy ones. I started feeling inspired to create a book that American kids who had never been to Israel, who perhaps had never met an Israeli, could read and by the time they finished, they would feel like they had a friend there.

TWM: How did you conduct your research for the book?
TS: I started by interviewing my parents. My dad was an 18-year-old IDF soldier during the Six Day War. My mom was a teenager in Haifa. After hearing their experiences, I found other Israelis to interview. This past summer was the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, which meant there are still many first-hand narratives. It was a deeply moving experience for me to listen to them remember what happened to them. The fear. The uncertainty. The determination. And then the euphoria of the war’s aftermath. Some of the people I interviewed had not spoken, or even thought, about those memories in decades, but the emotions were still powerful and raw.  I worked hard to capture those feelings in the book.

I also read newspaper articles from the time period so I could follow along in “real time” as events unfolded, what people thought about what the future could hold. And I read books that analyzed the lead up, course and aftermath of the war.

TWM: At the heart of the novel is the relationship between brothers. What did you draw on to develop this?
TS: I believe that sibling relationships are among the most powerful in a child’s life. A sibling can be a source of tension, rivalry, envy, friendship, and understanding. Sometimes all in the same day. Israeli families tend to be tightly knit. From the minute Motti popped into my head, I knew we would know him as part of a unit, his brothers really define who he is to himself and to the world around him.

TWM: What was your greatest challenge in writing this story?
TS: It needed to be a pager turner for modern day kids, but also be compelling for anyone who had lived during that time period who would read it. I wanted to bring to life the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of West Jerusalem in 1967. It felt very important that I get the details right. Luckily, my parents were a huge resource there. I would call them literally as I was writing the scene. What color was the Egged bus? When would the stores open after the afternoon siesta? How many flavors of ice cream would a store have?

The other challenge, of course, is that it’s a book about war for kids. I wanted to make sure that the intensity, the high stakes, the danger all came through. But at the same time, keep it firmly appropriate for the Elementary and Middle School crowd.  I think The Six-Day Hero strikes that balance.  I have had many readers, including kids, tell me that they just could not put the book down.  It is thrill to hear that people are tired because they stayed up all night enjoying Motti’s story.

TWM: What was your greatest satisfaction?
TS: I’ve always believed that stories are what connect us. It’s the reason I wrote this as a historical novel instead of non-fiction. You can present someone dates and facts but if it doesn’t touch their heart they won’t remember it. Yet if you share a story with someone, especially an interesting, gripping story, they’ll remember it forever.

It’s been so gratifying to see the response from readers. I’ve gotten so many emails from young readers and their parents. My favorite so far was from a woman whose mom lived in Israel during the Six Day War. Apparently, her mom had always talked about the buses, but her daughter had never really understood what she meant. Once she read The Six-Day Hero, the buses were put in context with a story. With everyone dependent on public transportation for everything from a grocery run to school or work, and with most of the bus drivers getting called to active duty, there were suddenly very few buses running. Instead of a bus every 10-15 minutes, it would take an hour or more for a bus to arrive. There’s a scene in the book that shows this happening to Motti and Beni and how disconcerting it was. Now that the issue of the buses was put in context for her, the daughter suddenly understood her mother’s experience.

TWM: Now that you’re working on the sequel, are there any particular challenges? Did you have multiple books sharing a cast of characters in mind when you wrote The Six-Day Hero
TS: I’ve always thought it would be fun and compelling to show the history of Israel through the experiences of one Israeli family. With Israel celebrating its 69th year, its history is compact enough that you can cover it all in three generations. So I did have that thought in the back of my mind as I wrote The Six-Day Hero.

TWM: Do you get any inspiration from other authors? If so, who?
TS: I’m a huge reader. Before I was a writer, I adored reading books. I have a distinct memory of my mom scolding at me to stop reading and go play outside. (I refused.) To this day, a good book is a refuge, a comfort and a source of inspiration. I’m pretty indiscriminate about who or what I read. If it has heart, I love it.

TWM: Do you have a critique group? If so, please say a few words about the help you get from them.
TS: I do have a critique group. In fact, right now I have two, which is a real embarrassment of riches. But they serve different functions. One of them is mostly for picture books and early chapter books. My middle grade critique group is made up of three amazing authors: Kristin Levine, Pamela Ehrenberg, and Caroline Hickey. These ladies are phenomenal readers. They’re part editor, part cheerleader, part therapist. They diagnose weak scenes, uninspiring characters and unconvincing motivation. They help me know when I’m on the right path and when I need to take stock and regroup. Our monthly meetings are always incredibly helpful and have definitely made my books stronger and better.

For more about Tammar Stein, visit her website>>>

 

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Two-in-One Notebook | Author L.B. Schulman and Senior Editor Mary Colgan, Stolen Secrets

L.B. Schulman

Schulman, L. B. Stolen Secrets. Boyds Mills Press, 2017, 304 pp.

The Whole Megillah (TWM): How did you come up with the idea for this book?
L.B. Schulman (LS): After listening to an interview on the radio, I realized that before we knew it, there wouldn’t be any firsthand witnesses to the Holocaust alive anymore. A year or so later, I saw an age-progressed photo of Anne Frank that showed how she would look today, if she had lived. I brought these two pieces together in a contemporary and historical mystery that I’m so proud to have pulled off with the help of my amazing editor, Mary Colgan.

TWM: How did your interest in genealogy impact the writing of the book?
LS: Having my DNA done at ancestry.com helped connect me to my Jewish relatives. I was also surprised to discover how many Jewish people are related to each other. In fact, my dad and my husband’s mother turned out to be fourth cousins. For this reason, I believe that most Jewish people have lost relatives in the Holocaust, whether they know them by name or not. Livvy, my main character finds out that she may be Jewish, and it changes how she feels about herself, her feelings about the Holocaust, and her community, much as my own DNA research changed my perspective.

TWM: Why was it important for you to posit that Livvy’s grandmother could be Anne Frank?
LS: I was intrigued with the idea that Anne Frank might have never died, having hid her existence for the sake of keeping memories of the Holocaust alive for the rest of the world. It would be both a lie and a selfless decision. As an author, I love exploring conundrums like that.

TWM: What were your challenges in writing this book?
LS: One challenge was keeping Oma’s identity a secret when she was in so many scenes. Alzheimer’s was the vehicle I chose for this, as the tragic symptoms worked to conceal the answers to the mystery. Her memory issues and erratic behavior allowed my main character to explore and find the answers on her own.

TWM: What were your satisfactions in writing this book?
LS: I researched this thoroughly and had experts (yourself included, thanks!) to look over my work, so I feel it is as historically accurate as I could get in a fiction book. This made me proud, as I want the book to be a teaching vehicle for teens, as well as entertainment. I also enjoyed my characters, especially Franklin D. who serves to lighten moments and keep readers laughing.

TWM: Let’s turn to Boyds Mills Press senior editor Mary Colgan. Mary, what attracted you to the manuscript?
Mary Colgan (MC): When I received Stolen Secrets on submission, it kept me glued to the page from beginning to end. I was immediately taken with Livvy—her strength and independence, as well as the vulnerability she worked so hard to keep hidden. Her complicated relationship with her mother felt authentic and relatable and I was on Team Franklin D. from the moment he opened his mouth. And all this is on top of an absolutely brilliant concept, something I knew would be met with gasps when I brought it to an acquisitions meeting. I loved how Stolen Secrets would spur many young readers to think about Anne Frank and the Holocaust in a new, deeper way, connecting the past directly to their present lives, just as it happens for Livvy. I appreciated that it was an important and meaningful book, as well as a compelling, can’t-put-it-down read. And I also loved how Stolen Secrets didn’t simply rest on its concept. Lisa wove together two beautifully layered stories—Adele’s in the past, filled with thorny questions about morality, shame, and forgiveness, and Livvy’s in the present as she wrestled with moving across the country, dealing with her mother’s addiction, all the trials of being the new girl at school, and then stumbling upon an infinitely complex family mystery. I was gobsmacked by how Lisa managed to weave these threads into an extraordinary tapestry when they could easily have ended up a tangled knot. I knew we had found a true talent of a writer and I’m so very proud to have had a hand in this phenomenal novel.

TWM: What books and authors inspire you?
LS: I have such a hard time with this question because all authors and all books inspire me—for different reasons. I admire the separate pieces of a novel—beginnings, endings, characters, pacing—as much as the whole work. There is something to be admired in every book.

TWM: Do you have a critique group? Could you talk about that?
LS: I have been together with my critique group for 12 years. We have had many ups and down together but have continued to help each other every step of the way. They serve as both my critiquers and my cheerleaders. Much like a marriage, I love them at times and want to run screaming away at others. In all seriousness, they helped so much with this book. They read every chapter several times and always showed up to give me their best opinions. They should each be on the byline, to be honest.

For more on L.B. Schulman, visit her website.

Order this book from your local independent retailer.

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2017 Year of the Book | Second Quarter Progress Report

I pledged 2017 as the Year of the Book. my year to sell a book manuscript. I’m a bit late with this second quarter report, so I’ll extend my coverage to the end of August.

Poetry: My chapbook manuscript, Chicken Fat, will be published in October by Finishing Line Press.  Heartfelt thanks to those of you who purchased pre-sales copies.

Creative Nonfiction: I postponed an online class from Creative Nonfiction magazine  that I had initially signed up for this fall. I want to be able to place all six essays I wrote during last spring’s courses. Two have found homes so far.

Novels in Verse: The first 30 pages of my Holocaust work in progress was workshopped at the Tent: Jewish Children’s Literature program at the National Yiddish Book Center in August. It’s now with my agent. At the brilliant suggestion of Carolyn Yoder at her August retreat at Highlights, I rewrote my YA biography as a novel in verse. Am I now the poet of tragedy? We also settled on a topic for another novel in verse, related to both America and the Holocaust. I’m applying to a residency to work on that next summer.

Picture Books: I still have a few in progress, but I’m focusing on the novels in verse right now.

Other projects: While reading a Holocaust survival story, I got some ideas for revising a YA historical novella I wrote a couple of years ago during Camp Nanowrimo. I discussed a few projects with the PJ Library staff; those are still in ideation phase. And, I am thinking about a couple of academic articles for peer-reviewed journals.

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

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Literary Offerings into the World | August 2017 Report

Poetry: 8 submissions (Salt Hill Journal, Zone 3, Washington Square Review, The MacGuffin, Coldnoon, Potomac Review, South 85, Contrary), 1 acceptance (Coldnoon), 1 rejection (South 85).

 


Creative Nonfiction:
 10 submissions (Lunch Ticket, The Smart Set, Rose Red Review, The Capra Review, Lindenwood Review, Lascaux Review, Saranac Review, West Branch, Diagram, The Forge), 1 acceptance (Drexel University’s The Smart Set, a paying market!), 6 rejections (Puritan, Pleiades, American Scholar, West Branch, The Forge, Lascaux Review).

Read my The Smart Set essay, “A Day with Murray,” here.

Fiction: 0 submissions, 0 acceptances, 0 rejections. My two short stories in progress continue to take a backseat for the moment.

Other August 2017 activities: I workshopped a Holocaust-related middle-grade novel in verse at the Jewish Children’s Literature Tent Program at the National Yiddish Book Center in Massachusetts. My  YA biography for Carolyn P. Yoder’s Alumni Retreat at the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania has morphed into a YA novel in verse, which my prospective editor, my agent, and I are very excited about. Magical things always happen at Highlights!

Coming up in September!

Cycle 7 begins for The Whole Megillah online fiction students. I’m working on a Holocaust book for hire followed by another one with German content. I’m teaching six courses at one college and one university, ranging from composition to fiction writing to American Ethnic History. I’ll be finishing my draft of the YA biography/novel in verse, writing three articles about 19th-century women for Cobblestone, and writing five biographical entries (two about Jewish personalities) for a volume about Paterson Lives for William Paterson University, where I teach in the both the English and History departments. After the High Holy Days, I will be continuing my work with my poetry mentor on a new chapbook dealing with my experiences in 2011 in the Czech Republic.

The reading period for many lit mags opens this month, so I’d like to carve out some time between teaching and physical therapy to send out some more work. My goal is to have any piece out to at least five places at a time.

 

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