In 2017, two writers (poets, prose writers, playwrights, translators all eligible) will be invited to Dickinson House as fellows for two weeks each. Our past fellows have had some amazing things to say about staying here (here are Aria Aber’s words, and here are Natashia Deón’s), as have residents like Erin Kate Ryan, who was here in October 2015. We are enjoying reading the work that has come in—especially the letters, which give us a sense of who applicants are and how well they’d fit here—and are looking forward to sharing the anonymized applications with our jury. Want to come write in Belgium for free for two weeks in 2017? Application details are here. Apply through Submittable here. Have independent means and want to make residencies/fellowships possible for other writers and artists? Information on fee-paying residencies is here.
As in years past, it’s my pleasure to show you some of the beautiful things I’ve found online. If you’re looking for a present at this or any time of year, here are my recommendations.
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Itsuko Naka (Kyoto) makes absolutely beautiful paper and textile objects. I love her pouches and tenugui (thin cotton towels) especially. She’s also on Instagram. The ‘Clover’ pouch here is about $15.
Twamies is a longtime favorite of mine (I nurture the hope of printing a book of Alan Brown’s illustrations one day). Alan and Katie make beautiful, whimsical things, all with a tinge of the weird. This is “Cosy“. I also love “Hoppit” (grasshopper!) and “Berries“.
If you happen to be looking for a new planner, let me recommend “The Weekly Times” from the Korean stationery company Seeso Graphics. I got mine at Fox & Star in the UK. The pages are undated, so if you skip weeks or neglect it for a while, it doesn’t ‘go bad’. There’s also a monthly version (and a large-format desk calendar), but the week works ideally for me—I can see everything at a glance, without being overwhelmed.
Shadra Strickland‘s best work is evocative and direct all at once: her illustrations of black life in the US don’t gloss over the ways in which
white supremacy has been its constant companion, but her paintings refuse to concede their subjects’ dignity, power, and beauty. I especially like “Lineage” (right) and “After the Flood“.
The acorn necklace from Bullseye Beads (below) combines the artificial with the actual in a very pleasing way. And if you have $150 for a coffee mug (!), these are beautiful (from BDDW). If you don’t, just go look; looking’s free. Here’s a t-shirt with a pigeon and the shipping forecast. Lots of justice-oriented prints, posters, books, and zines in the Just Seeds shop. If you know a knitter or crocheter you’d like to spoil, I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong here (although how far you’ll get is dependent on the depth of your pockets).
Of course, should you be so inclined, there’s always the MIEL shop: try a 2016 subscription (which arrives in four batches at your recipient’s door), a calendar (two to choose from; free shipping), or a chapbook (25% off with the code WINTER2015 at checkout).
Please feel very invited to this three-part writing workshop for “not writers” (but writers are also very welcome) this spring. The workshop will take place on Saturday afternoons in March (14), April (25) and May (9) for two hours each time, and each session will be built around strategies for approaching writing, suggestions for engaging in critique, writing exercises, and discussion of reading, all with the aim of helping participants find ways to approach writing as part of daily life (and thereby make writing something both possible and ordinary). We will also do some gentle workshopping (writing critique). You are welcome to come for one, two, or all of the sessions. Please book ahead of time; pay in cash on the day.
The workshops are for anyone who is interested in writing, regardless of where they are in their practice now. Whether you write in English or another language; whether you write poetry or prose, the workshops are open to you. They are intended to offer a supportive and encouraging environment to begin writing as daily work, or to jumpstart a dormant practice. There will also be baked goods and hot drinks, fresh air, light, and lots of enthusiasm and excitement about writing.