25 May 2012

Vacant Storefront - Greg Kuzma

For more than 45 years the poetry of Greg Kuzma has been attracting the attention of poets and critics from around the world who have followed his writing career from its early work, centered in youthful exuberance and angst, through the dark times of his younger brother’s death, to the depth and profound wisdom that this poet’s engagement with the world has brought to his work.

Professor Emeritus at University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Greg Kuzma has published thousands of poems in literary magazines throughout the country, including several appearances of his work in The New Yorker, Hudson Review, Poetry Northwest, etc. He has published more than 30 books and chapbooks of poetry, including an early book, Good News, published by Viking Press, which was re-published by Carnegie-Mellon University Press in their “Contemporary Classics” series.

He lives in Crete, Nebraska, with his wife Barb. They are the parent of two, and the grandparents of one.

Vacant Storefront - Patty Seyburn

Patty Seyburn has been added to the readers line-up. Patty is known as a poet, but she'll be reading non-fiction for us at Vacant Storefront. 

Patty Seyburn's third book of poems, Hilarity, won the Green Rose Prize given by New Issues Poetry & Prose. She has published two books of poems: Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State University Press, 2002) and Diasporadic (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998) which won the 1997 Marianne Moore Poetry Prize and the American Library Association's Notable Book Award for 2000. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Paris Review, New England Review, Field, Slate, Crazyhorse, Cutbank, Quarterly West, Bellingham Review, Connecticut Review, Cimarron Review, Third Coast and Western Humanities Review. Seyburn grew up in Detroit, earned a BS and an MS in Journalism from Northwestern University, an MFA in Poetry from University of California, Irvine, and a Ph.D. in Poetry and Literature from the University of Houston. She is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Long Beach and co-editor of POOL: A Journal of Poetry, based in Los Angeles. She lives with her husband, Eric Little, and their two children, Sydney and Will.

15 May 2012


Vacant Storefront 2012
Visual Art

Sunday, 27 May 
5 PM

We're adding more readers, so check back for updates and highlights from last year's Vacant Storefront.

11 May 2012

Suzanne Lummis Interview

Los Angeles poet Suzanne Lummis sat down with HipPoetics founder Nicole Street to talk Snooki, Facebook, teaching poetry, Noir, and everything Lummisian.

NS            You recently put together an extensive series on noir called “Night in the City,” that took place at over a dozen locations spread throughout Los Angeles within a week. It must have been a tremendous amount of work to organize.  

SL            As far as I can tell, everything is a lot of work. If I were trying to make a small farm become self-sustaining, it would be a lot of work. If I wanted to enter politics as a congresswoman, that would be a lot of work. If I had invented something and I were trying to get a patent for it . . . so, everything is a lot of work. I’m not feeling sorry for myself in that respect. The thing about poetry is that unlike many other endeavors, the stakes are very low…The remuneration isn’t very good, unless you get to the superstar level, and start receiving those ten, twenty, hundred thousand dollar grants that go to a small elect group of people. Also, the recognition compared to celebrity fame is very small. Its just a little group of people across the country, a little echelon of people who might know your work and know who you are. But on the other hand if you’re aspiring to write something so good that it endures for a very very very long time -- maybe one “very” is good enough. Maybe it doesn’t need any “very”. Let’s just say you want to write something that endures for a long time, something that will outlast the fame of Kim Kardashian or Snooki. Is that her name, Snooki? Then poetry has its possibilities.

NS            I’d like to talk about what you’ve been doing the last several years, but I’m wondering if we could move in chronological order. Charles Webb suggested exploring your early life, particularly the influence of your parents.

SL            Yes, my parents were very interesting.

NS            How they’ve affected your life choices, your direction

SL            My father was a very adventurous man, a great lover of beauty and all of its forms in nature and art and women. My mother also a great appreciator of the arts, always fascinated that I wanted to write, and it was something I feel that in a way that she always wanted to do, and that it seemed to be working itself out in this generation.

My father and mother, Keith Lummis and, back then, Hazel McCausland met in the US Secret Service. My father was a Secret Service agent, under the Treasury Department, so his job concerned crimes against the federal government, and smuggling and counterfeiting.  My mother was the third woman to be hired in the Secret Service office after WWII when all the men went overseas and they started giving women these jobs that opened up. The job description back in those days was “secretary,” but she once remarked to me – “the truth is Lois and Diane and I ran that office”.

When Keith – all his children called him “Keith” because he always he felt the word “daddy” sounded silly, “Dad” too glib, and “Father” too grave and formal – when Keith first set eyes on my mother he was still heart broken after the death of his first wife several years before . He was devastated -- it almost killed him. He was not interested in women for a while. But, as he tells it, when he first walked into the Secret Service office and saw my mother sitting at the front desk, the thought went through his mind -- I wonder if that will be the girl that I’ll marry. Later, he couldn’t explain to himself why he had that thought because he didn’t think she was a beauty, that she was some lush babe.

They dated for a long time.  My mother did not particularly want to get married, ever—that was highly unusual in those days, almost unheard of.  She wanted to be independent. And my father really courted her, pursued her, worked to convince her.  After both had died we found letters going back and forth between them – my father persuading her, allaying her doubts, telling her how much he loved her. My mother was afraid she wouldn’t be a good wife and mother. In fact she proved to be wonderful in both areas. Once she committed she gave it a hundred and ten percent – she put others happiness before her own, sometimes too much.  But thank goodness my father was a persuasive and eloquent letter writer or I would not be sitting here today with you. You’d be in some other coffee house interviewing a different writer.

Click below for the rest of the interview.....

09 May 2012

RipRap Journal #34 Release Party

On behalf of California State University, Long Beach and its English Department, the 2012 staff of RipRap cordially invites you to its annual release party. We will be unveiling the thirty-fourth issue of our literary journal and hearing this year's contributors present their work. Everyone who attends will receive their free copy of RipRap #34

The release party will be held during the evening of Friday, 11 May 2012 at the Beach Auditorium (1st floor of the University Student Union in the center of campus) from 7:00-9:00pm, 1212 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840.

RipRap #34 features poetry, short stories, non fiction essays, interviews and visual art. We look forward to your attendance and hope you'll continue to support RipRap.

06 May 2012

MFA Grad Reading

Final MFA reading of the school year! 

Hosted by Patty Seyburn.
We'll have beverages, snacks, and a musical intermission.
You should go. 

Tuesday, 8 May 
7.00 PM
Soroptomist House (SOR on map below)

You can park in nearby Lot 1