Friday, May 17, 2019

3rd Annual Young Writers Workshop--Endicott College-- June 27-29

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For more information and to register, go to

Endicott College (Beverly, MA) will host its Third Annual Young Writers Workshop at its seaside campus, June 27-28, 2019, for area high school students interested in creative writing. In addition to sessions focusing on poetry, fiction, and playwriting/screenwriting, this year’s 2-day Workshop will feature new sessions on humor writing, young adult writing, and “Improv for writers,” a session taught by one of the College’s theatre arts professors. Participants, who must be entering grades 9-12 in fall 2019, will create and refine new work, learn how to give feedback to their peers, and receive tips on how to promote and publish their work. They will develop their skills in a fun, supportive environment. The Workshop welcomes both novice and advanced creative writers.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Little Creatures: (Poems by Julia Carlson) Review by Renuka Raghavan,

Little Creatures (Poems by Julia Carlson) 

By Renuka Raghavan, Author of Out of the Blue (Big Table Publishing, 2018)

Meditative, vulnerable, and elusive, the poetry of Julia Carlson’s Little Creatures thwarts the conventional doggerel, composed instead to develop significance from contemporary-themed narratives. Replete with thoughts concerning the world around us, be them natural or political, Carlson’s poems illuminate a world charged with the delicate vulnerability of quiet rage, past relationships, and ongoing remembrance.

The book opens with an untitled, short quip where the narrator finds satisfaction in sweet candy to compensate for life’s other unsatisfactory uncertainties. An interesting, if not, an offbeat choice to launch Carlson’s second poetic collection. After all, it’s always the little things in life, right? It does, however, segue into a poem that appears to be the real heart of the book.

Black Hole” juxtaposes the worries that seem to burden us only during the darkest hours of the night, amidst the cacophony of neighborhoods, homes, and lives searching for rest and peace. In reality, the poem attempts to explore something much deeper, and something that the overall collection drives straight into—existential meditation, au courant.

As a scholar and clinical social worker, Carlson has dug deep into her rich life and presented us with poems that transition from page to page as the timeline of a seasoned narrator’s life story. Poems like “Children Of War,” “Tithe,” “Emergency In The Tombs,” and “Thin,” carry with them the burden of darkness and while the pain they seek to assimilate is evolving and universal, the historical background is wholly personal.

Get drunk…obsess…think about Jesus,” oddball solutions presented in “Methods To Put The World Away,” one of a handful of poems that evoke comical whimsy, perhaps to break the heaviness of somber obligations in poems like “Room 512,” “Letters From,” and the aptly titled, “Girl Gives Birth In Her Room While Her Parents Watch TV.” In “Sex,” two lovers appreciate the act of physical emotion, surrendering completely and unabashed.

Then there’s the title poem, “Little Creatures,” a villanelle that meditates on the book’s larger, over-arching theme of metaphysical existence. The lines and stanzas of the villanelle fold into each other, mimicking the way life’s knowledge folds into itself, one way or another, regardless of the type of creature. The lyrical language tenderly implies violence is a part of that knowing:
“…sharpened talons can only maim…things that never change…the hawk’s within hunting range.”

Carlson’s Little Creatures exhibits a contemporary, tactile, and corporeal poetic voice that opens a way to understand the duality of a world capable of producing appalling travesties of life as well as awesome feats of beauty.

 Renuka Raghavan’s previous work has appeared in  Boston Literary Magazine, Jersey Devil Press, Blink-Ink, Star 82 Review, Down in the Dirt Literary Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Gravel, among others. She is the author of Out of the Blue (Big Table Publishing, 2017), a collection of poetry and prose. She is a co-founder of the Poetry Sisters Collective and serves as the fiction book reviewer at Cervena Barva Press. She writes and lives in Massachusetts, with her family and beloved beagle.