It's back....

♥ ♥ MFA Graduate Student Reading Series ♥ ♥

featured readers: Mary Stone Dockery, Benjamin Pfeiffer, and Amy Ash.

Sunday, April 18th, beginning at 6pm. The venue has been changed to the basement of The Eighth Street Taproom, which is located at 801 New Hampshire.

Dang! Laredo, TX's last bookstore (a crummy B. Dalton) is closing down! With almost a quarter million population, Laredo will soon become the largest book-less US city.

Check it:

Now I feel like an asshole for posting what I posted yesterday. I'm like some...Henry VIII, gorging on literary turkey legs, while the less fortunate Texans till the barren soil of the books I own but haven't read.

Was Henry VIII the one that ate turkey legs? Does this metaphor make any fucking sense at all?

Let's see in the comments...

Reading in the intersession

Another year! Jeez...

Hey, what to read this academic intersession? There's so much good stuff!

Wait a minute...isn't break like, 10 days or something? I seem to remember last year's break being long enough to beard up. I want a longer break. For reading! With a beard!

There are many things to read. What are you reading this break? Is there anything I should read? How do you read? I can't figure out what to read. I want to read. I can read.


Location: Wescoe Beach, University of Kansas.

Main contenders: Ben Cartwright, Mark Petterson, Amy Ash, DaMaris Hill, Jason Robberson, and Kari Jackson.

Last writer typing: Jason Robberson, who, after four hours, moved his manual typewriter to a concrete ledge in front of Wescoe and continued to type in the dark, alone, under the stars and in the forty degree weather, as Ben and Kari drove off. The sound of typing, the unmistakeable click of the keys, could be heard echoing in the night. It was quite romantic, actually.

We began at 3:00. It began with a royal announcement on the megaphone. Thanks, Ben C. It was very official. We cheered. We "charged." And people stared as they walked by.
Skateboarders were doing tricks behind us, to the side of us. “These guys are practicing the ultimate form of civil disobedience,” said the guy who had been dressed up as a white bear to promote Greenpeace. “So are we."

And so we wrote, well, typed. And so commenced the trashtalking between Ben and Mark: "I don't hear any sound coming from your typewriter, Ben," said Mark. "I'm a poet, Mark. We reflect," replied Ben.

 Other fun things that could be overheard behind the keyboards during the event:

"I don't want to be like Amy. I want to type." --DaMaris

"I just realized I don't know how to be exclamatory on here." Jason, realizing his typewriters lack of exclamation point.

"How long has it been since you've written a word, Ben?" Mark spoke into the megaphone, directed at Ben.
"I'm politicking," said Ben.

When you google "Kansas Bathtub," we come up first. "We beat out Home Depot," added Ben.

"Would you like to come out and add something to our Corpse?" Ben suggested a phrase to get the English professors to come out and participate.

"What are you doing?" People said, looking at us warrily as they approached the steps of Wescoe.

We had some fantastic students and faculty add to our community poem. Poetry is okay. In fact, poetry is cool. Why don't you help us write a poem? Okay, cool. Now maybe you'll go home and write your own poem because, we hope we're shown you, writing is cool.

Thanks to Nate for bringing us food. Thanks to Erin for bringing us hot drinks. Thanks to everyone who stopped to say, "What are you doing?" Thanks to everyone who wrote. Thanks to Wescoe for the electricity.

Thank you to everyone who pledged either an individual writer or the collective as a whole. We have plans in the works for WITS, and you'll be hearing soon about how your donation will help bring creative writing (and Bathtub) into Lawrence schools and out into the community. Soon, you will also be receiving an email notifying you of how long your writer wrote for and information on where and how to send your pledge money. If you didn't pledge but would still like to donate, you absolutely can. Email

Calls For Papers with Words on Them

Hey Gang,

I mentioned this website to some of you once:

People put in their calls for papers, and UPenn lists them, conveniently. I poked around on there and there are mentions of creative writing calls and whatnot. It will definitely be of interest to those of you looking to flesh out your Jane Austen/Buffy the Vampire Slayer theses.

I like critical writing. I'm not especially good at it, but it's fun; it seems like my creative writing "borrows" from it, or wears it like some sort of pagan skull-mask. Do you guys dread the academic essay task? Or does it do for you what it does for me-- titillate?!

I really wanted something grand to announce my ascension to blog captain for these next couple of weeks, but grandness doesn't come easy in this day and age.

Nate "Honk If You're Horny for Golf" Barberick and I once briefly discussed how terrible a certain movie about a writer was, though I think both of us only saw the trailer.

I know I only saw the trailer.

A certain passage from this movie that was utilized in the trailer grated on me, burned into my memory and always seemed at the tip of my thoughts. This was in the early days of the Internet, when I was a full five inches taller (don't ask) and the sky was full of kicking horses. I thought about sampling the passage and trying out the baby Internet as delivery system for the ridiculousness that had been branded onto my brain--no explanation, just the passage, looped, on/in/within the Internet, a megaphone of hate.

I was under no illusion that the project would exorcise the passage from my being, but it seemed like it could be the next best thing to rebroadcasting my sleeping dreams, image-by-image-feeling-by-feeling (which I had dreamt about as a child and would still if I wasn't so jaded by the ugly realities of existence.).

So, I thought about doing it for a while. I lived in an apartment building that smelled like dogs because it was full of pit bulls. Most of the other occupants of the building seemed unhinged and/or special. Me? I was a fucking genius. I video taped a falling burning mattress thrown by a firefighter from a 6story window in the building next door to mine, then a man picking his nose near the scene. I ate Morningstar fake chicken every night, ladies!

At some point at my desk at work, I believe it was in the A.M. (as if it matters), I received what was then called an email that contained this link. I then realized a bunch of shit about the world and myself.

D. Rolf (Your Captain, Your Stomach, Your Lotion, for two weeks)

Having been engaged for the most part of the last eight years in a steady 9-5 job, the thirst for a large chunk of time to devote to my own creative work has been searing my edges.

Even though my professional life has been contained in academia where vacation time is relatively generous and my outside creative pursuits are actually valued and encouraged, having precious small amounts of time to devote to personal creative work compacts these times into sun-heavy nuggets in which productivity--actually producing tangible work--seems the only way to extract currency from these moments of personal freedom.

It seems harder and harder to find time for pure exploration, experimentation and play when time is packaged in this way. And even when I do allow myself to use this time for musing (however brief) the whine of escaped time is never far from earshot. The value of musing and playfulness, even when it yields valuable thoughts, feelings, etc., gets lost when projects are stalling and stories are sucking ass-butt on the floor. You feel me? Anyway....

Designer Stefan Sagmeister talks about his practice of closing his studio every seven years for a one year sabbatical and what it has done for his state of mind, his creative work and his design firm.

This talk is thought provoking about process--how we create what we create; inspiring when seeing the work that was created during his sabbatical; and a bit frustrating, because it seems pretty impossible to get the point where you can take a full year off.

Thoughts on process, time, the value of it, the measure of it, etc.?

D.Rolf (Your Mother, Your Axe, Your Ex, for two weeks)


Fundraising Ideas

Ben Cartwright and Iris Moulton walk into a bar.
Ben Cartwright and Iris Moulton sit down in the bar.
Ben Cartwright and Iris Moulton drink drinks in the bar.
Ben Cartwright and Iris Moulton begin discussing financial issues with Bathtub, and propose that perhaps a thread/post should be started on the blog re: fundraising.
Ben Cartwright and Iris Moulton keep drinking, and brainstorm some ideas themselves.

1. Walk/Ride-a-thon: Bathtub members get sponsors, and walk/bike across Kansas. Imagine the inspiration we could glean from that there o'er yonder. (note: seasonal)

2. Write-a-thon: $5+ buy in from members, MFA-MA-PhDers (from all over Kansas, or the world!), and members of the community. Could be done in a variety of ways, but the game is "write for 24 hours." In SLC this was done by giving a writing prompt, then giving 24 hours for those who had bought in to write something, at the end of the 24-hours collecting submissions, hosting a reading/judging, declaring a winner, and potentially publishing a small chap book.


Get sponsors to pay a certain amount for however long you can continually write for; stick all of the writers in a room somewhere, writing away, with judges making sure we're all writing and sticking to our word.


Other variations.

3. Pub crawl, esp for St. Patrick's Day (reading Irish Lit) or other holidays (Horror/vamp stuff on Halloween, Xmas stuff on Xmas, etc). Work with pubs in some way, work our way down Mass.

4. Bake Sale-- Ben suggested baking these items, and selling them office by office in Wescoe during office hours. Each item could, potentially, come with a "stanza" or "paragraph" or "something."

5. Community read-a-thon. Hosting something somewhere, bring books, everyone brings snacks/booze/drinks/pillows/blankets, and we eat and read-a-thon. Charge a cover? Something?

6. Also in the works, as I understand it, is some sort of writing workshop. Something large scale with poets, fiction writers, guest readers, and us? Over the summer + breaks + charging admission to those who want to come to the Kansas Bathtub Writing Workshop. I like this, it's a big idea. How big could it get? Will this eventually morph into our version of the Mid American Review workshop? Only time will tell...

So, those are some things we came up with. I am sure, actually, we came up with others, but I can't remember. Perhaps post your own ideas here?


Ran across this on the internets.

Thought it might provoke your thoughts.

I can't say I get poetry, really, overall, I think.

If you search Christian Bök on the internet, you will find a lot of information on Christian books.

Computers don't know if Christians can spell or not.




I must say that yesterday's intersection of Wichita State University writers and Bathtub was like a spot of warm sunshine on the living room floor.

Thank you to Jodie Liedke, Andrew Bales, and Ruth Moritz for reading their work at DotDotDot.

Thank you to Anna at WSU for helping me organize the exchange.

Thank you to Rebecca for coming along for the ride.

(And now this is sounding much like an acceptance speech...)

Thank you to everyone who came out with food or chairs or just themselves to support Bathtub and our Wichita writer friends. It was a great night, with lots of talk of books, writing, and life as a writer-student.

The exchange continues on Saturday, September 26th, as our very own Nate Barbarick, Ben Cartwright, and Mickey Cesar will give a reading at Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita.

I just thought I'd re-post the information about the first Aimee's Open Mic Night of the semester here. Much thanks to Sam Bell and Dan McCarthy for hosting it!

Aimee's Open Mic Night

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Time: 8:00pm - 9:45pm
Location: Aimee's Cafe and Coffeehouse
Street: 1025 Massachusetts Street

Description: Everyone is welcome. Come with something (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, short-shorts, etc.) to read and/or to listen.

I just wanted to congratulate Andy on winning the One Story Twitter contest!

Edit: Fixing post to include a better link

Yay Andy!

Mid-American Review is hosting it's Winter Wheat Festival on the campus of Bowling Green in November. They are now looking for panel/session proposals from anyone interested in presenting on any writing-related topic. To share your interest or expertise and propose a session topic, write festival coordinator Karen Craigo at as soon as you can, or visit the Winter Wheat page of the website:

Just thought someone, somewhere, might have been waiting for this exact moment to come.


An Actual Kansas Reading:
Stacy Szymaszek & Megan Kaminski.
Reading Poetry.
At the Wonder Fair (which is under Casbah Market at the corner of 8th and Mass. in Lawrence)


Writers' Exchange:
Wichita State University writers in the MFA program
Ruth Moritz (2009-2010 Poetry Fellow), Andrew Bales (2009-2010 Barr Fellow & first-year fiction writer), and Jodie Liedke (third-year fiction writer).
At DotDotDot ArtSpace (1910 Haskell in Haskell Square in Lawrence).


Creative Writers Reading Series
Mark Petterson, Iris Moulton, and Abayo Animashaun
At Jackpot (943 Massachusetts St in Lawrence).

I know I will never forget 10/10/08.

I was driving to work at my first cool-sounding job ("oh me? I work at the Arts and Science Center, helping launch the Body Worlds exhibit... yeah, I know, it is...") and listening to the Diane Rehm Show. On this particular day was an interview with two former poets laureate Billy Collins and Donald Hall.

It was one of the most stirring interviews on writing, and poetry, I may have ever heard. Here are some highlights:

1. I learned that the plural for "poet laureate" is "poets laureate."

2. Billy Collins said the argument that no one reads anymore may feel true but it is actually rather thin, considering there are now more MFA and MA and PhD programs in the fields of writing and literature than ever before, more literary magazines than ever before, and more poetry readings than there have ever been. He said we only feel this way because of our audience: the audience for writers tends to be other writers. He likened this to attending a symphony, and everyone in the theatre seats is holding a violin case (or something... listen to it to double check the metaphor).

3. One of them, I think Mr. Collins, said something lovely about death in writing. When we sit down to dinner at a restaurant and there are flowers at the table there's a moment where we reach out to touch them. Why do we do this? he asked, To see if they are real. If they are real, they will die, and are therefore somehow more beautiful. And if they are fake, we aren't as impressed at how that beauty came to us, and that it will be here forever.

And... that's about all I can remember. I hope that link works, and if it doesn't, that you can find one that does. It is very much worth listening to, no matter what you write.

Billy Collins talks about how the central theme of poetry is death in this interview which took place in November of 2005

Another wonderful interview: with fiction writer Antonya Nelson (KU alum!). I delayed my Valentine's Day activities to finish listening to this one.

Poet Joe Bolton, having just completed his MFA thesis at the University of Kentucky, killed himself. (1990)

Joe Bolton was from Cadiz, Kentucky. It may sound like a strange place to be from, and I imagine it is, but some of the happiest time ever spent on earth I imagine was spent by me, and in Cadiz Kentucky, a few months before I would ever hear of Joe Bolton.

Joe received a Masters from the University of Florida, and a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Kentucky. His work is the subject of a graduate thesis by Joe Schmidt.... already.... lesson being that the sooner we can pull off dying, the sooner our work can be studied.

His work, I should mention, is quite lovely.

He remains, in his native Kentucky, a bit of a cult classic.

He published three books of poetry: Breckenridge County Suite (1987), Days of Summer Gone (1990), and Last Nostalgia Poems (1987-1990). Last Nostalgia Poems combines the two books, and other unpublished poems.

I would recommend picking up a copy.
I would also recommend not killing yourself.

be about town.

well, lawrence, kansas, collectively, we have some readings coming up:

wednesday september 9 @ 7pm @ the lawrence public library:

bryce benedict will be reading and signing his book, JAYHAWKERS, THE CIVIL WAR BRIGADE OF JAMES HENRY LANE . know your history, or... else.

and friday, september 17th @ 7pm @ Wonder Fair, we have:

[[[[ ........ and......]]]]]

a poetry reading from Stacy Szymaszek and Megan Kaminski


The Oxford American (southern magazine of good writing) has come out with a list of books that have "knocked [their] socks off" for the month of August. We have a long weekend coming up, and I envision curling up and watching the rain with a blanket, coffee, and a great book. Some of us (ahem) have taken vows to do nothing that resembles lesson planning or teaching. That means more time for fun, and fun can mean reading, and reading can be fun!

The books they examine range from flash fiction to a profile of an indie label, to novels and short stories. Head on over and see if there's something you might want to spend your time on...

p.s. remember read-a-thons? we should have one.

Older Posts