Between Simmons B. Buntin and Megan Kimble
For the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment’s Proximities blog, Eric Magrane asked Terrain.org editor-in-chief Simmons B. Buntin and assistant editor Megan Kimble to engage in a conversation on art and environment. This will be the first of two upcoming Proximities conversations that will be cross-posted between Terrain.org and the Institute of the Environment. The next will be a conversation between Eric Magrane and Rafe Sagarin on the intersections between biomimicry, adaptation, and art.
Follow the link for a bit of the conversation, or read the full conversation at www.environment.arizona.edu/proximities.
An essay on Wendell Berry and cell phone culture.
By Megan Kimble
Late last year, when my 2008 Nokia “Twist” finally up and twisted itself into two parts, when a Verizon Wireless salesperson bantered with me in a textbook sort of way—as if his employee manual had suggested engaging in such a tactic to close a sale—I was forced to explain, once again, Why I’m Not Going To Buy a Smartphone.
By Simmons Buntin
For Terrain.org, it’s difficult to measure success at a conference like the Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference and bookfair, which this year drew well over 11,000 people. We’re not selling books or broadsides or subscriptions, so there’s no financial gauge. Instead, we’re promoting access to our online journal, which is free (and ad-free); talking with publishers about review, excerpt, and content-sharing possibilities; and mostly encouraging writers who have never heard of us to submit, though like most journals we can accept so little of what we receive.
This year felt to me a lot like New York, when we were on the third floor. It was a lovely space, but two flights up from the main bookfair area and didn’t get much traffic. In Boston, the second floor clearly didn’t get as much foot traffic as the first, and that’s a problem since we pay the same amount. But the projector and screen worked out well, and though I’m not sure it helped draw folks over from across the vast room, it did at least catch peoples’ attention as they walked the long rows of table after table.
I do feel like we made some great connections, helped get the word out on our unique journal, which has been publishing online for more than 15 years, and learned a good bit about how to approach the next conference (whether AWP in Seattle in 2014 or something/somewhere else).
By Simmons Buntin
Let’s start today’s conference review off with a true story of an angry submitter, shall we?
The publisher residing at the table next to me hales from a distant land, and he’s a nice enough fellow. He publishes authors from North America and beyond, and one such author confronted me yesterday. The conversation went something like this:
Pompous poet: “Hey, I submitted to you but you rejected my poem. Fuck you!” Arm and hand gestures followed.
Editor-in-chief: “We are quite competitive.”
Pompous poet: “Competitive my ass!” He then pulls his book off the publisher’s table, flips it to the acknowledgements at the back of the book, and shoves it in front of my face: “Look at that! All those contests I’ve won!”
Pompous poet: “Your call for submissions said you wanted longer poems, so I wrote a 200-line poem and sent it off.”
Editor-in-chief: “You sent it off right away? Did you let it sit a bit first and give it time to consider it?”
Pompous poet: “I don’t need to do that shit. That’s a good fucking poem. You suck.”
By Simmons Buntin
So apparently I’ve gained this reputation at AWP, at least among those close to me, for stealing pint glasses with logos. It’s true that I have a collection of about 130 pint classes with different brewery logos at home, most from my time working for the U.S. Department of Energy and traveling across the west, back before 2000. And the vast majority of those purchased fair and square. But on occasion, as the other evening at Orleans, if a glass is not for sale but is a worthy, let us say essential addition to the collection… Then, yes, I will liberate it. But hey, I didn’t take the Samuel Adams glass so readily available at the seafood restaurant last night following the very excellent “Wild Lives / Raucous Pens” reading. So perhaps I’m on the road to reform—or at least I’ve already got a Sam Adams pint glass.
On to yesterday’s conference review…
By Simmons Buntin
The last time I spent time at a Starbucks in a distant city, a man came in screaming that he had been stabbed (and in fact he had). If I’ve noticed one thing about Boston so far, at least around the convention center, is that there is a Starbucks approximately every 200 yards—and a Dunkin Donuts every 300. No stabbings so far.
Still, we’ve had our excitement, so let’s get to it by looking at the biggest AWP pain, biggest AWP pleasure, best character, what I learned about Boston today, what I look forward to later today, and a final word on beer.
By Simmons Buntin
If you’re one of the other 11,000 writers, editors, publishers, educators, and friends who will be in Boston this week for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference, I hope you’ll join us at one of Terrain.org’s happenings: our Bookfair table (R18), contributor signings, and our “Wild Lives / Raucous Pens” literary reading. It will be, as they say, the bomb!
Also, this starts the first of what I hope will be daily AWP blog updates. A sample:
So what does an editor such as myself bring to read on such a journey? A handful of unread creative nonfiction submissions, the latest issues of Poets & Writers and Outdoor Photography, and a handful of poetry books I’ve been meaning to read over the last 18 months or so, including In the Songbird Laboratory, by Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Heavenly Bodies, by Cynthia Huntington, Tropicalia, by Emma Trelles, Beyond Heart Mountain, by Lee Ann Roripaugh, and Blue Horses Rush In, by Luci Tapahonso. I just finished Derek Sheffield’s Through the Second Skin, which is just wonderful. I’m looking forward to these other collections, and find airplane flights, with their strange white noise, to be perfect venues for reading verse.
By Julian Hoffman
Julian Hoffman has contributed several pieces to Terrain.org over the years. His essay “Faith in a Forgotten Place” was selected by Elizabeth Dodd as the winner of Terrain.org’s 2011 Nonfiction Contest, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His book, The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World, won the 2012 AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction, judged by Terry Tempest Williams, and will be published by the University of Georgia Press this fall. Here, Hoffman offers some reading recommendations, suggesting a few works that have helped shape his writing.
Last fall a group of writers from the University of Arizona MFA program traveled to the Nevada National Security Site, located just northwest of Las Vegas, embarking on a nine-hour tour of its 1,300 square miles of range. Between 1951 and 1992, 928 announced nuclear tests were conducted at the site, involving more than 1,000 nuclear detonations, 100 of which were above ground—so-called atmospheric tests. Terry Tempest Williams, among others, has chronicled the effects of the fallout.
During the tour, the group decided a collaboration was in order. An exquisite corpse seemed appropriate, and riffing on the form, these seven writers created a singular essay.
By Sonya Huber
Sonya Huber’s essay “Love and Industry: A Midwestern Workbook” won Terrain.org’s 3rd Annual Nonfiction Contest, judged by Christopher Cokinos, and is featured in Issue 31: Ruin + Renewal. Here, Huber lists her reading recommendations, suggesting a few works that have helped shape her writing.
By Courtney Amber Kilian
Courtney Amber Kilian’s story “Color Has History” won Terrain.org‘s 3rd Annual Fiction Contest, judged by Skip Horack, and is featured in Issue 31: Ruin + Renewal. Here, Kilian lists her reading recommendations, suggesting a few works that have helped shape her writing.
By Simmons B. Buntin
Jake Adam York: August 10, 1972 – December 16, 2012
Simmons’s tribute to Jake is published today in Essay Daily…
Because there is blood streaming from his side, a man is screaming. This is not a metaphor. Because the wound has split the taught muscle beneath his arm, he is flailing like a snared fish, the panorama of his tattoos turned to bright scales among the dark spray. Because I am not the angler, I am a bystander. Because I am only a bystander, I do not dial 9-1-1 when the man stumbles into the coffee shop on Colfax and Lipan, though others do. Because I am killing time at a coffee shop on Wednesday morning waiting for the memorial service of Jake Adam York, I am a witness. Though I am one of many witnesses, I am in this alone.
I have been reading Jake’s essay “Recovery: Learning the Music of History” because recovery is the right word for how we attempt to go about our lives after someone we care about suddenly dies, as my friend Jake Adam York did on December 16, following a massive stroke. Because in that long essay I can return in some small sense to the man I’ve known and admired for twenty-two years, and because even if we can’t truly recover, his words become a living text. Because they offer renewal.
By Maya L. Kapoor
The patch of ground of interest is one meter squared, about half the size of a twin mattress, a quadrat measured by the placement of a white PVC frame I have been carrying around all afternoon. Sometimes squatting, sometimes standing, I stare into the frame. I am recording plant cover.
Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments is pleased to announce that poet and teacher Derek Sheffield, who serves on the Terrain.org editorial board, has been named Terrain.org’s poetry editor. Derek replaces Simmons Buntin, who remains editor-in-chief and is focusing on issue production, marketing, final editing, and Terrain Publishing nonprofit incorporation.
WASHINGTON, DC, January 2013 – 20 Latino leaders and organizations recently submitted a letter to the White House asking President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for strong standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Latino population in the United States is particularly vulnerable to the effects of carbon pollution since fully one-half live in counties currently in violation of clean air standards.
“The National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) has joined this call to ask President Obama to take action on climate change because our community’s exposure to polluted air and its health consequences makes us particularly sensitive to the impacts of global warming,” said NLCCC Executive Director Mark Magaña.