49 Writers Weekly Round-Up

First, let me hearken back to the sixties to say that yesterday’s 49 Writers poetry discussion was a mind-blowing experience.  So many poets, so many great thoughts.  I expect to return often to the archived discussion.  Many thanks to all who participated.

One of the topics batted about in the poetry discussion was voice, the topic of our upcoming 49 Writers Workshop.  I promise, really promise, to get to a full blog post on the workshop next week.  In the meantime, to address questions that have come our way recently – yes, we still have a few slots open in the workshop, which begins January 30.  Follow the link to the registration form, or email me at debv@gci.net for a form-fill copy. 

Speaking of workshops, thanks to all who took time to vote in our online poll of workshop topics.  Top vote-getters include Revision Bootcamp, Great Beginnings:  The First Five Pages, and Jumpstart Your Writing.  With fiscal sponsorship from Alaska Center for the Book, we’re pursuing funding to offer one of these workshops this spring.  We’ll keep you posted.

With a fond – but not permanent – farewell to our online poetry discussion, we’re also looking ahead to our next 49 Writers online book club selection.  Next week I’ll open a post for nominations of the next book to be read, so be thinking of books you’d like to put up for consideration.

Peter Porco’s first full-length play, Wind Blown and Dripping, opens tonight and runs through January 24 at Cyrano’s Off-Center Playhouse in downtown Anchorage. The play is set in a newsroom in the Aleutians (Adak Island) where famous detective-story novelist Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon) lived for a time while he ran a military newspaper during World War II. Porco, who received his MFA from UAA in literary nonfiction in 1992, worked as a writer and editor at the Anchorage Daily News before taking up drama. He also teaches slam poetry at UAA and is founder of the Alaska Poetry League.

New from the University of Alaska Press is Apun: The Arctic Snow, by Matthew Sturm, introducing children to the science of snow as well as the acquired knowledge of the Iñpuiaq Eskimos who call the Arctic home. Also available is a teacher’s guide explaining the drawings in detail, amplifying key points and adding background material. Dr. Sturm has researched snow in Alaska and northern Canada for 25 years and has travelled long distances across the Arctic by snowmachine.

Anchorage nature writer and author Bill Sherwonit will teach a 12-week nature writing class beginning Jan. 21, in the Sierra Club office downtown. Participants in this workshop-style class will explore and refine their own writing styles, with an emphasis on the personal essay form. The class will also read and discuss works by some of America’s finest nature writers, past and present. The cost is $200. To sign up for this Thursday night class (7 to 9:30 p.m.), or for more information, contact Sherwonit at 245-0283 or akgriz@hotmail.com.

Upcoming meetings of interest to Anchorage-area writers include the Alaska Writers Guild on Tuesday, January 19, 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, featuring author Larry Kaniut, and Alaska Sisters in Crime on Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 p.m. at the Elim Cafe.  Note also the February 4 deadline for the Alaska Press Communicators State Communications Contest.

Finally, on a personal note, I’ll get the rare writer’s privilege of meeting the illustrator of one of my kids’ books next week.  Erik Brooks, who captured the vibrance of my Totem Tale animals so well that I suspect he can mind-tap, will be presenting at several Anchorage schools next week.  Lucky students at O’Malley, Lake Hood, Spring Hill, Taku, Chugiak, and Alpenglow – enjoy!

3 thoughts on “49 Writers Weekly Round-Up”

  1. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    Regarding the Apun: Arctic Snow book you told us about — I've always heard about the # of words Eskimos supposedly use for snow. (This book seems to cover 25, but don't some people claim there are many, many more?). I'd heard there was a mythic element to that claim, or at least some kind of cultural/scientific misunderstanding, and I've always been curious. Would like to think this book sets the record straight, but too bad amazon doesn't even have a cover image available! Anyway, thanks for keeping us informed.

  2. Good questions on Apun. I've noticed the lag time for Amazon photos for other U of A Press books – another one of those details for authors to check (note to myself, with a U of A Press book coming out next year).

  3. Hi Deb and Andromeda,

    It all depends on your definition of "word." Inupiaq Eskimo is an accumulative language, which means that a noun or verb stem can be further modified (to gain more specific meanings) by various suffixes, prefixes, prepositions, etc. The "thousand" Eskimo words for snow are thus better understood as phrases, like the English "rotten snow on river ice."

    We get so hung up on these things, but as a matter of fact, each culture pays particular linguistic attention to the things / ideas it considers important. In our culture it's car and other brands, in another it might be caribou — or snow.

    The lag time for Amazon photos of U of A Press titles has to do with the fact that the U of Chicago Press does their promotion and distribution in the Lower Forty-Eight, which introduces an additional delay in the publisher-to-reader chain.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top