Literary Fiction

All posts in the Literary Fiction category

UNREAL event at Antigone: Thanks for Support

Published October 21, 2019 by Philip Ivory

Thanks to our students and friends who came out to support our special event last Friday, Oct. 18!

Lela Scott MacNeil

Our teachers at The Writers Studio Tucson had a chance to read from their creative work at a public reading held at Antigone Books on Fourth Avenue here in Tucson.

Richard Leis

It was called UNREAL, and gave our teachers, Lela Scott MacNeil, Richard Leis, Donna Aversa, Reneé Bibby and myself a chance to read selections of poetry and prose that focus on the unusual, the dark, and the unreal.

 

Donna Aversa

This was the program:

Lela Scott MacNeil / reading novel excerpt, Long Night’s Journey Into Day
Phil Ivory / reading flash fiction, Probably Last Meeting of Bluebell Ridge II Homeowners Association
Richard Leis / reading poems, [Aliens are here], Phantom Taste of Apricot on My Tongue, Cities Through Telescopes, City as Fairy Tale, and Burning Baby
Donna Aversa / reading flash fiction, A Little Bit Of Sausage
Reneé Bibby / reading short story excerpt, That Boy

Reneé Bibby

We had a great turnout who came to hear our work and browse at Tucson’s most celebrated independent bookstore.

Phil Ivory

Many thanks to Antigone Books for being such a gracious and enthusiastic host, and making us and our guests feel at home. We’re looking forward to more events like it.

 

 

UNREAL: Writers Studio Teachers Read Their Work

Published October 4, 2019 by Philip Ivory

Join us on Oct. 18 for a public reading event, cohosted by Antigone Books and The Writers Studio. Teachers from the Tucson branch of The Writers Studio — Lela Scott MacNeil, Richard Leis, Donna Aversa, Reneé Bibby and myself — will read selections of poetry and prose that focus on the unusual, the dark, and the unreal.

WHERE: Antigone Books, 411 N 4th Ave, Tucson, Arizona 85705

WHEN: October 18, 2019 at 6:00 PM

No RSVP or admission fee is required.

At The Writers Studio Tucson, we pride ourselves on being active participants in Tucson’s thriving literary community. Please join us, and patronize Antigone Books, one of the finest independent bookstores in the country. Visit their web site and sign up for their newsletter.

The Writers Studio, founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Schultz in 1987, offers writing workshops designed to help students discover and nurture their own voices. The Writers Studio Tucson offers four levels of classes to help students achieve their writing goals.

For more information on The Writers Studio, click here

When Reality Doesn’t Cut It, UNREAL Is Our Best Friend!

See you on Oct. 18!

 

WHAT TERRIBLE BOOK? Answer Revealed

Published September 27, 2019 by Philip Ivory

So a few days ago, I posed the question: Which book is being reviewed here by the editor of The London Sunday Express?

” … the most infamously obscene book in ancient or modern literature … All the secret sewers of vice are canalized in its flood of unimaginable thoughts, images and pornographic words. And its unclean lunacies are larded with appalling and revolting blasphemies directed against the Christian religion and against the name of Christ — blasphemies hitherto associated with the most degraded orgies of Satanism and the Black Mass.”

That was a contemporary 1920s review of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

I came across that remarkable quote in the current (9/26/19) issue of The New York Review of Books. It reminds us that Ulysses, which among its other preoccupations details a variety of human sexual and excretory functions, repulsed many early readers, including Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, W. B. Yeats and even D.H. Lawrence. Lawrence, who celebrated lusty behavior in his own work, labeled Molly Bloom’s famous concluding soliloquy “the dirtiest,  most indecent, obscene thing ever written.” Other early readers such as T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway hailed the book as a masterpiece.

Take a look at “Ulysses on Trial,” The New York Review of Books‘ fascinating account of how publisher Bennet Cerf and ACLU lawyer Morris Ernst waged a brilliant and ultimately successful campaign to help Ulysses navigate its way around anti-obscenity laws so that Joyce’s master work could be published in the United States.

 

WHAT TERRIBLE BOOK IS THIS?

Published September 24, 2019 by Philip Ivory

Which book is being reviewed here by the editor of the London Sunday Express?

” … the most infamously obscene book in ancient or modern literature … All the secret sewers of vice are canalized in its flood of unimaginable thoughts, images and pornographic words. And its unclean lunacies are larded with appalling and revolting blasphemies directed against the Christian religion and against the name of Christ — blasphemies hitherto associated with the most degraded orgies of Satanism and the Black Mass.”

I’ll post the answer in a few days.

 

Writers Studio at 30 Anthology

Published December 16, 2018 by Philip Ivory

The WRITERS STUDIO AT 30 anthology, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the landmark school for creative writing and thinking founded and directed by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, is now available for purchase at Amazon.com.

The 400-page volume is a compilation of fiction and poetry by current and former faculty and students, as well as The Writers Studio’s Advisory Board members Jennifer Egan, Robert Pinsky, Edward Hirsch, Carl Dennis, Matthew Klam, Rosanna Warren, and others.

A fiction piece I wrote which originally appeared in The Airgonaut, titled “Probably Last Meeting of the Bluebell Ridge II Homeowners Association,” is featured in the volume, along with work by other teachers from the Tucson branch of The Writers Studio including Reneé Bibby, Lela Scott MacNeil and Eleanor Kedney.

CLICK HERE to order your copy of WRITERS STUDIO AT 30 today.

 

 

New Fiction: Miss Brompton Falls 1938

Published October 26, 2018 by Philip Ivory

For years I’ve been interested in Menacing Hedge, which identifies as “a quarterly journal of poetry, fiction and artwork, which is committed to fostering access to emerging and experimental poetry and prose.” This month, I”m excited that Menacing Hedge is featuring my 11th published piece of fiction, a short story called “Miss Brompton Falls 1938.” 

I’m not really sure if this story is a feminist fable, or an old-timey stew of sex and violence. Maybe you can let me know.  Either way, it’s my third published piece that originated from my participation in the NYC Midnight online challenge, which requires you to concoct a story within a limited time frame based on a number of parameters that are arbitrarily assigned.

 

In this case, I was given drama for my genre, a beauty pageant for a setting, and a cash register as an object that had to be included. Sometimes it’s really difficult to incorporate all these elements, but in this case they came together in a fairly organic way.

The cash register suggested a general store, and that made for an odd but interesting setting for a beauty pageant. I hit on a Depression-era setting, which brought with it associations with economic desperation and the era’s fascination with outlaws. As I continued to revise the piece, the original parameters became less important, and the story took on a life of its own.

I had fun writing a period piece, trying to make sure the slang and the cultural and consumer references were as true as possible to this era. Mostly, though, I was concerned with the idea of portraying a woman whose inner state is in deep conflict with the situation she finds herself in, although circumstances make it impossible for anyone but the reader to understand why.

Click on the picture above to read it. You can also choose to listen to the audio file of me reading the story. 

My thanks to Menacing Hedge, NYC Midnight and a number of loyal writing friends, including Alice Hatcher, Bryn McFarland and Renee Bibby’s Writers Studio Master Class, who provided invaluable feedback that helped me fully develop the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Role at Writers Studio

Published October 20, 2018 by Philip Ivory

I’m pleased to announce I’ve been asked to assume a new role at the Tucson branch of Writers Studio. In addition to continuing to be a teacher on the intermediate level, I’ll be serving as assistant director and working closely with branch director Reneé Bibby. 

Here’s some info about the program and its philosophy, from our web site at writerstudio.com:

“The Writers Studio, founded in 1987 by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, offers ongoing writing workshops — both on site and online — designed to help students discover and nurture their own voices. We welcome students at all stages, from those who have only dreamed of writing fiction or poetry to those with MFAs hungry for additional serious, ongoing instruction. Students provide the desire to write and the willingness to learn, and we provide the structure, the technical know-how, the professional feedback and the friendly community to enable them to reach their full potential.”

Janelle Drumwright, who has done an amazing job as Tucson branch assistant director for years, is relocating to another city. I hope I can carry on in her spirit and continue to bring the Writer Studio discipline and devotion to craft to students looking to expand and improve their skills. I’ll also be involved in outreach to potential students and planning of special events.

I started as a student in the program, and its emphasis on craft and the importance of creating a distinctive persona narrator for every piece of writing has been extremely helpful to me. It jump-started me after a long period of non-writing and put me on the road to getting work published. I can definitely attest to the program’s effectiveness.

New classes will be starting in January. Writers of all experience levels are welcome. Online classes are available as well as our in-person classes here in Tucson. Feel free to send me any questions about the program at philivory@writerstudio.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparition on the Threshold: New Flash Fiction at Ghost Parachute

Published May 1, 2018 by Philip Ivory

I have a new flash fiction piece online today at online journal Ghost Parachute. It grew from an exercise I did when I was as student in the Writers Studio Intermediate Class in 2014, taught by Janelle Drumwright. The exercise is based on a gorgeous poem “Ignis Fatuus,” by Yusef Komunyakaa.

Since I become a Writers Studio teacher myself, I have assigned the exercise a number of times, and it always yields interesting results.

My piece,  to which I eventually assigned the name “Apparition on the Threshold,” is probably the closest to poetry of all the pieces I’ve written.

Imagistic and enigmatic, it doesn’t pause to explain itself, instead letting images flow from one to another, allowing the piece to unfold according to its own mysterious logic.

This is a testament to the Writers Studio method, as I would never have written this piece without being exposed to the Komunyakaa exercise.

Here is “Apparition on the Threshold.”

(Before finding its home at Ghost Parachute, this piece underwent an arduous journey, which you can  read about here.)

 

Read the rest of this entry →