#RHINO events at the #AWP14 Conference & Bookfair in Seattle, Washington

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Seattle, WA – February 27-March 1, 2014
Associated Writers and Writing Programs Conference (AWP)

RHINO’s Bookfair table number is: BB14

PANEL Friday, Feb. 28, 1:45 to 2:45 pm – RHINO – 37 Years of Charging Forward

Room 2B, Washington State Convention Center, Level 2.

Eclectic, edgy, and fiercely independent, RHINO boasts a vibrant community of readers, writers, and donors, plus a table of volunteer editors who’ve developed a unique collaborative process that works. From its roots as a writers’ group forum, RHINO has grown into a nationally-known print journal with a strong online presence. Our lively panel of editors will share what we’ve learned and how we do it, with frank discussion of the sometimes risky steps we’ve taken to showcase the work we love.


Virginia Bell is a senior editor with RHINO Poetry and an adjunct professor of English at Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of From the Belly, and her poems have appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Poet LoreCalyxPebble Lake ReviewWicked Alice, and in anthologies.

Janice Bottiglieri is a managing editor of RHINO. She recently published a chapbook, Where Gravity Pools the Sugar.

Ralph Hamilton (Moderator) is editor of RHINO. His poems have appeared in Court Green,CutBank, and Blackbird. His first book, Subtle Knot, will be published in 2015. He serves on the Ragdale Foundation’s board and is Fifth Wednesday’s 2013 poetry prize judge.

Jacob Saenz’s poetry has been published in Poetry, Great River Review, and OCHO. He has been recipient of a Letras Latinas Residency and a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. He currently serves as an associate editor for RHINO and works at a library in Chicago.

Angela Narciso Torres’s book, Blood Orange, won the Willow Books Lit Award in poetry. Recent work appears in Cimarron, Colorado, and Cream City Reviews. A senior editor for RHINO, she has received fellowships from Ragdale and the Illinois Arts Council.

In addition, you’ll find editors signing their books at our table BB14 and reading at these off-site events:

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Thursday, February 27

1:30-2:30  pm. Angela Narciso Torres - book signing (Blood

        Orange) – AWP Bookfair, RHINO table BB14.
5:00-9:00 pm.  Angela Narciso Torres – reading with  Willow Books Authors, Seattle Public Library.
blue_cover_rhino_2009Friday, February 28, 2014
10-12 Andrea Witzke Slot - book signing (To Find a New Beauty) – Gold Wake Press table K28
4:30 to 5:45 pm Calyx: Tribute to Margarita Donnelly
 Angela Narciso Torres, Panelist
Room 302, Level 3, Western New England MFA Annex, at the Seattle Convention Center

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6:30 pm to 8:30 pm Everyone and Their Mother: SRP at the Nitelite Lounge
Nitelite Lounge, 1920 2nd Ave. Seattle, WA 98101Cost: No cover. Food/Drinks are Cash Only.
Bryan Borland & Seth Pennington host multiple Sibling Rivalry Press authors and launch SRP’s Spring 2014 lineup in this cash only dive bar. Featuring RHINO editors and poets Virginia Bell, Ralph Hamilton, and other writers from Sibling Rivalry Press

7-9 pm   Andrea Witzke Slot at Gold Wake Press reading at Cafe Fonte

Saturday, March 1
1:30-2:30 Jan Bottiglieri - book signing (Where Gravity Pools the Sugar) – table BB14
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January 23, 2014 | |

“Letting Words Bear Down and Burn” – Interview with Dilruba Ahmed

Associate Editor Jan Bottiglieri interviewed poet Dilruba Ahmed, whose poem “In the Echo Chamber” appeared in RHINO 2011.

Photo credit: Mike Drzal


…Relinquish

your name, your story,

your life. Then sink


to the root of it…

From the poem “Evening in Mendocino”

At the root of things – that is where we expect to find dust, common and elemental. In her book Dhaka Dust (Graywolf, July 2011), poet Dilruba Ahmed helps readers reexamine, and re-imagine, that idea of commonality with each new image of dust – a dusty village road, memory’s dust on a photo album, the sweet taste of cinnamon on a market vendor’s lips – sifting it though her fingers to let the light catch and transform it. Dust is what clings or clouds; it is foreign and familiar, particle and apart, home and afar.

JB: Your bio mentions that you have “roots in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Bangladesh.” Please tell us a bit more about your background.

DA: My parents came to the U.S. from a region of Bengal known then as East Pakistan and later, as Bangladesh. I was born in Philadelphia, and I lived most of my childhood in Ohio and my adolescence in western PA. Much of my family’s early history in America is situated in Philadelphia, so although my family moved to Ohio when I was quite young, Philly is a home of sorts. I’ve never lived in Bangladesh, but the ties to my family’s homeland feel significant nonetheless.

JB: What led you to writing?

DA: I can only guess that the urge to write came in part from being an outsider in small midwestern towns. My parents and my older sisters were interested in creative writing, and my mother in particular was a strong influence on me. She had been active in poetry recitation competitions while she was in Bangladesh, and she continued to read, write, and recite Bangla poetry upon her arrival in the America.

JB: The New York Times book review of your book Dhaka Dust includes this quote from your poem “Dustcover”: “I let the words bear down and burn.” Please tell us more about what you feel gives language this type of transformative power. Do you feel language has shaped your cultural identity?

DA: Absolutely. Bengalis hold the Bangla language very dear to them. It’s a very soft, beautiful, expressive, and poetic language—and a matter of regional and cultural pride and political import. Bangla (Bengali) was my first language, English my second. I grew up in a bilingual household in which, over time, my parents spoke Bangla to my sisters and me, and we responded in English. (To this day, this is typically how we communicate.) While my siblings and I have retained our comprehension of Bangla, our spoken Bangla lags behind.

I think that growing up that bi-cultural and bi-lingual environment deeply shaped my cultural identity—my lived experiences spanned more than the small towns where I grew up, and I was keenly aware of my parents’ “ghost homeland” that seemed to exist just out of reach. My bilingual upbringing also heightened my awareness of language, I think—I discovered early that a very funny story relayed by my mother in Bangla sometimes failed to have the same richness and deliciousness in English, for example; or that certain English words had no counterpart in Bangla. I learned, too, that languages could provide access and power as much as they could create barriers to communication and belonging.

Most enduring were the experiences of hearing my mother recite Bangla poetry with great drama and expression. Much of the language was beyond my reach, but my mother would sometimes translate the formal Bangla into household Bangla, or into English. But without those translations—and even with them—those poetry recitations became incantations. I had a similar experience whenever I heard prayers called out in Arabic. Both of those languages functioned as pure music in my experience—deeply mysterious and powerful music that I could not fully comprehend.

JB: Reviews of Dhaka Dust all mention the sense of place that figures so prominently in your work. Your poem in RHINO 2011, “In the Echo Chamber,” is also very place-specific – but its landscape is the body. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this particular piece?

 

DA: Long before I had a child, a colleague who was describing her labor and delivery said to me, “I miss being pregnant.” It was an alien thought to me at the time, but it struck me later that the experience of being pregnant was indeed so fleeting and, like so many experiences of parenthood, never to be duplicated in quite the same way.

While I was carrying my son, I felt so…plural. I was continually aware that, for a brief time, I possessed a bodily state that would only be temporary. The cutting of the umbilical cord released that physical bond, but the emotional and psychological bond is indescribable. In parenthood, there’s a kind of nostalgia for the present that’s hard to escape, imbuing many moments with both great sweetness and melancholy. I think of it now as an Instagram effect, in which snapshots taken 2 minutes prior can be transformed into objects of nostalgia, something from the long-ago, unrecoverable past. It’s that “Oh my God, remember when he was just [fill in blank]?” feeling of shock that many parents experience on an ongoing basis.

So I guess you could say that in this poem, the body becomes a landscape in which the speaker rues the loss of a particular kind of intimacy that results from the actual birth. Parenthood, in my experience, has often been a complex battle against time’s passing, with life moving at warp speed.

JB: I love the way “In the Echo Chamber” explores shifting ideas of connection and “otherness,” an idea that seems prevalent in much of your work. Can you share with us why those concepts are important to you, and how you address those ideas through your work?

 

DA: “Otherness” of one kind or another characterized many of my life experiences… I tended to feel both connected and apart in multiple contexts—both here in America, where I was born and raised, and in my family’s homeland as well. For example, in certain parts of America, others have expected (and in some parts, still do expect) me to be more “Indian” than I seem to be on the surface, or have been surprised that I’m fluent in English. In some settings, people distinguish whether one is Indian or Bangladeshi; in other settings, we are South Asians. While I was living in the cultural flux of the San Francisco Bay Area, a different set of questions arose about solidarity with all people of color. In Bangladesh, I experienced at times a profound divide, and in other moments a deep sense of belonging.

In my work, I hope I have conveyed how fluid those feelings of connection and alienation can be, whether through a speaker returning to Bangladesh and experiencing the comforts of reuniting with a family split by place and time, or via a narrator moving through an American homeland that is divided by racial tensions.

 

JB: What have you been reading lately?

DA: I have been reading Anne Carson’s Glass, Irony, and God with an interest in unpacking her emotionally brutal distancing effects; Lighthead with great appreciation for Terrance Hayes’ sonic playfulness; and In the Surgical Theater, particularly for Dana Levin’s handling of a father figure in a medical crisis.

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Dilruba Ahmed is the author of Dhaka Dust (Graywolf, 2011), winner of the Bakeless Literary Prize for poetry awarded by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.  Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, Cream City Review, New England Review, New Orleans Review, and Indivisible: Contemporary South Asian American Poetry.  Her writing has also appeared in the Michigan Quarterly Review blog, the National Book Foundation blog, the Asian American Literary Review, and The Kenyon Review Online.Ahmed holds BPhil and MAT degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from Warren Wilson College.  She teaches in Chatham University’s Low-Residency MFA Program.

To learn more about Dilruba Ahmed visit her website, or purchase Dhaka Dust here.

April 19, 2013 | |

RHINO Reads! Open Mic & Featured Readers Ladan Osman & Jan Bottiglieri

Open Mike        6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Featured Poets        6:45 pm – 7:30 pm

Brothers K

500 Main St.

Evanston, IL

Directions

Ladan Osman is originally from Somalia. A 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, she received her MFA as a Michener Fellow from the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in “American Life in Poetry,” Black Renaissance Noire, The Feminist Wire, Kweli, MELUS, Narrative,
Poet Lore,
and Prairie Schooner.

Jan Bottiglieri is a freelance writer with an MFA in poetry from Pacific University. Jan has been published in numerous journals including Court Green, After Hours, Margie and Rattle, and she has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor of RHINO.

This project has been partially supported by grants from Poets & Writers, Inc.
and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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RHINO Reads! Open Mic and Featured Poets Roger Reeves and Jan Bottiglieri 8-26-11

Open Mike        6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Featured Poets       6:45 pm – 7:30 pm

Brothers K

500 Main St.

Evanston, IL

Directions

Roger Reeves‘ poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, American Literary Review, Tin House, and the Indiana Review, among others. Kim Addonizio selected “Kletic of Walt Whitman” for the Best New Poets 2009 anthology. He was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008, two Bread Loaf Scholarships, an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and two Cave Canem Fellowships. He earned his MFA from the University of Texas and is currently a Ph.D. student in the English Department at UT. Roger has just joined the faculty at the UIC as an assistant professor of poetry.

Jan Bottiglieri is a freelance writer, and has been an associate editor for RHINO since 2004. She received her MFA in Poetry from Pacific University.  Jan’s poems have been published in journals including Margie, Court Green, After Hours, Diagram, Bellevue Literary Review, Pearl, Apercus Quarterly and the anthologies Illinois Writers: Where We Live, Brute Neighbors, and Solace in So Many Words, among others. She was a finalist in the Chicago Poetry Center’s 7th Juried Reading and has received two Pushcart Prize nominations. Jan has given readings and led poetry workshops throughout the Chicago area.  She lives in Schaumburg, Illinois with her husband and son.

This project has been partially supported by grants from Poets & Writers and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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August 12, 2011 | |

I love that “oooh” moment

Here it is!! Check out our gorgeous RHINO 2011 cover featuring a collage by Doug Stapleton.

Here are a few words from some of the folks who worked with 2011′s nuts and bolts:

Doug Stapleton’s cover art is a departure for us – odd, quirky, powerful, polarizing.  It has motion and strength, like the best poetry (or like a charging rhino!) and is, in all of these ways, a perfect fit for RHINO and for our amazing 2011 issue in particular.  RHINO has always been about the gathering of disparate voices, and this image embodies that. In its center, I’m reminded of Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo” and that poem’s final words, which resonate as a call to artists everywhere: “You must change your life.”

~Jan Bottiglieri (Managing Editor)

I am a book person, through and through, so it gives me great pleasure to watch the poetry of RHINO gradually coalesce through each year’s reading period toward the “body” of literature that will eventually take form as one of our beautiful, annual journals.  Once the poems are all determined for each year’s volume, the hard but sweet labor of actually building the book begins.  Ordering, indexing, massaging the texts toward the final shape they will take on the pages — and compiling a sense of the lives of our poets through their Contributors’ Notes — and fixing, fixing, fixing all the little things that try to go astray in the digital fields of design and production, this is the lot and the light of my work as a Managing Editor.  Makes me sound like some kind of shepherd, and maybe I am — finding great joy this year in finally bringing home the sheep.

~David Jones (Managing Editor)

This my third time pitching in on the graphics end of RHINO. I see the start of a RHINO poetry book as a calendar landmark that we’re finally tilting over from the gray-slush winter tail to spring sprouts. I love that “oooh” moment feeling the weight of the final book and seeing the wonderful words and art pacing through real paper pages.

~ Godfrey Carmona (graphic design)

Find your questions asked and answered in RHINO 2011 – a world turned halfway upside down or perhaps, turned right side up.

~Deborah Nodler Rosen (Senior Editor), from the “Editors’ Notes”

March 13, 2011 | |