Writing at The New School will be exhibiting at the Harlem Book Fair! On Saturday, July 12, from 10am to 5pm you can find Writing Program and New School staff, as well as current students and alumni of the Riggio and MFA programs, at Booth C22 at the book fair. We hope to see you there!
By Creative Writing at The New School / in 12th Street, Current Students, Faculty, Fiction, Graduates, New & Forthcoming, Nonfiction, Past Events, People, Poetry, Publications of the School of Writing, Riggio Honors, TNS Lit Scene, Undergraduate / June 7, 2014
Congratulations to the Riggio Honors Program's 12th Street Journal staff and contributors, who packed the house at the Union Square Barnes & Noble this spring for the launch of print issue #7. Featured readers Elizabeth Gaffney and David Grand were joined by student contributors Stephanie Leone, Isaac Lobel, Charlotte Slivka, and Anna Witiuk. Special thank you to Len and Louise Riggio without whom the Writing and Democracy program would not have been possible; our extraordinary advisory board Renè Steinke (Chair), Luis Jaramillo, Laura Cronk, and Robert Polito; our designer Brian McMullen (McSweeney's); and to the 2013-2014 12th Street Staff: Ricky Tucker (Editor-in-Chief), Ashawnta Jackson (Managing Editor), Tolly Wright (Online Editor-in-Chief), Christopher Pugh (Online Managing Editor), Naima Asjad (Assistant Online Editor), Charlotte Slivka (Nonfiction and Music Editor), Daniel Gee Husson (Fiction Editor), Bean Haskell (Poetry and Art Editor), Anna J. Witiuk (Poetry Editor and Reader), and Morgan Pile (Teaching Assistant).
Photos by John Reed and Ashawnta Jackson.
You can pick up a copy of the past and current issues of 12th Street—featuring interviews, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art—at Barnes & Noble! Check out www.12thstreetonline.com for ongoing online content!
Congratulations to MFA and Riggio students, class of 2014! Between Nonfiction student Anya Regelin's terrific and moving speech at the MFA Recognition Ceremony, and Zadie Smith's brilliant remarks at University Commencement, it was a great year to graduate for writers at The New School!
Anna Fridlis, MFA '14 and Riggio T.A., at The New School's Writing Program Book Party, Publishing Year 2013. Photo by John Reed. Part of Pictograph: Portraits of The School of Writing at The New School.
We begin on the frigid shores of Sakhalin Island on the stoop of a tiny wood plank house surrounded by white below and domed by grey water merging with grey sky, a snow globe with a bundled child in the center. The child's parents are inside—the door to the house is ajar and warm air billows out onto the stoop as though the house is breathing. The child shimmers in its breath. This is the world, the thought escapes as vapor through the scarf double-wound across her mouth (there lives the mildew smell of seawater seeping through wool), Water without end.
From her nonfiction thesis The Half Light (tentative title), 2014.
Craig Morgan Teicher, faculty member, at The New School's Writing Program Book Party, Publishing Year 2013. Photo by John Reed. Part of Pictograph: Portraits of The School of Writing at The New School.
I love that, without any words, these people are talking
like they can say exactly what they mean
because they never have to say it.
Rather than labor to construct a sentence, they play it.
How fun! O, to play the piano, to let my thoughts careen
instead of getting stalled in speech.
From "Jazz," originally published in To Keep Love Blurry (BOA Editions Ltd., 2012)
In 2013, The New School Writing Program's faculty and alumni published a staggering 50+ books. Last Thursday night at Wollman Hall, to honor the occasion, Writing at The New School held its First Annual Alumni & Faculty Book Party.
Luis Jaramillo, Interim Director of the School of Writing, opened the ceremony with his congratulations to the authors, and discussed the importance of marking accomplishments of alumni and fostering a community of writers. “It’s important to share our writing lives.”
Among the honorees was Mary G. Thompson, '12 MFA, author of Escape from the Pipe Men (Clarion Books). Thompson was excited to come back to The New School and celebrate with her contemporaries. “There are lots of people here that I don’t know from previous years,” Thompson said. “People are happy to have wine and cheese, and be able to hang out with each other. It’s good the department is doing more events to bring alumni together. I like getting together with other alumni.”
The inaugural event was attended by over 150 guests, which included current MFA students. “There are so many great books published by MFA graduates in 2013,” said Emily O’Neill, an MFA student concentrating in fiction. “I’m so happy to be here. What a fabulous event.”
2007 graduate Julie Sarkissian, whose novel Dear Lucy was published by Simon & Schuster last April, spoke with current students about returning to The New School. “It feels so good,” Sarkissian said. “I credit The New School for teaching me so many different things, giving me so much confidence, and giving me a thick skin. It feels like coming back home, and speaking to the current students is the coolest part. Publishing is a mixed bag, but school was the fun part.”
“This is the first of the annual book parties,” said Lori Lynn Turner, Associate Director of Administration. “It’s so amazing to see all these published books. It’s a very exciting evening for The New School.”
- Alysia Abbott, Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, W. W. Norton
- Robert Antoni, As Flies to Whatless Boys, Akashic Books
- Caela Carter, Me, Him, Them & It, Bloomsbury
- Selena Castrovilla, Revolutionary Friends, Calkins Creek
- Jackie Clark, Aphoria, Brooklyn Arts Press
- Jennifer Close, The Smart Ones, Vintage
- Shanna Compton, Brink, Bloof Books
- Jonathan Dee, A Thousand Pardons: A Novel, Random House
- Carter Edwards, The Aversive Clause, Black Lawrence Press
- Siobhan Fallon, Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War, DeCapo
- Jenny Feldon, Karma Gone Bad: How I learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water, Sourcebooks
- Adam Fitzgerald, The Late Parade: Poems, Liveright (Norton)
- Jennifer Fortin, We Lack in Equipment & Control, H_NGM_N Books
- Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, Fire With Fire, Simon & Schuster
- Corey Ann Haydu, OCD Love Story, Simon Pulse
- Tom Healy, Animal Spirits, Monk Books
- Jennifer Michael Hecht, Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It, Yale University Press; Who Said, Copper Canyon Press
- Anne Heltzel, The Ruining, Penguin/Razorbill
- Ann Hood, The Obituary Writer: A Novel, W. W. Norton
- Steven Karl, Dork Swagger, Coconut Books
- Erica Kaufman, Instant Classic, Roof Books
- Adam Klein, The Gifts of the State and Other Stories: New Writing from Afghanistan, Dzanc Books
- Suzanne LaFleur, Listening for Lucca, Wendy Lamb Books
- James Lasdun, Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Amy Lawless, My Dead, Octopus Books
- David Lehman, New and Selected Poems; Best American Poetry 2013; Best American Poetry 25th Anniversary Edition, Scribner
- David Samuel Levinson, Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence, Algonquin Books
- David Levithan, Every Day; Two Boys Kissing, Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Dan Magers, Partyknife, Birds, LLC
- Mike McDonough, Radiocartography, Straw Gate Books
- Patrick McGrath, Constance: A Novel, Bloomsbury
- Gina Myers, Hold It Down, Coconut Books
- Danielle Pafunda, Natural History Rape Museum, Bloof Books
- Christopher Pastore, Temple to the Wind: Nathanael Herreshoff and the Yacht That Transformed the America’s Cup, Lyons Press
- Darryl Pinckney, awarded the The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature
- Christie Ann Reynolds, Revenge for Revenge, Coconut Books
- Julie Sarkissian, Dear Lucy: A Novel, Simon & Schuster
- Robert Siek, Purpose and Devil Piss, Sibling Rivalry Press
- Amanda Smeltz, Imperial Bender, Typecast
- Nicole Steinberg, Getting Lucky, Spooky Girlfriend Press
- Kiely Sweatt, origin of, Patasola Press
- Benjamin Taylor, Naples Declared: A Walk Around the Bay, Putnam; awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship
- Craig Morgan Teicher, To Keep Love Blurry, BOA Editions
- Mary G. Thompson, Escape from the Pipemen!, Clarion
- Matthew Thorburn, This Time Tomorrow, Waywiser
- Jessica Verdi, My Life After Now, Sourcebooks
- Helen Wan, The Partner Track, St. Martin's Press
- Brenda Wineapple, Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877, Harper
- Mario Alberto Zambrano, Loteria: A Novel, Harper
Paul Florez is currently receiving his MFA in fiction at The New School. He is a contributor for the Huffington Post and his work has also appeared in Slice Magazine, Queerty, and The Advocate. You can follow his misadventures over on twitter @mrpaulflorez.
Sarah Gerard's novel Binary Star is forthcoming from Two Dollar Radio in January 2015. Her chapbook Things I Told My Mother was published in 2013. Short works have appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review Daily, the LA Review of Books, Bookforum, Slice Magazine and other journals. She holds an MFA from The New School and works at BOMB Magazine.
John Emrys Eller's writings have appeared in The Global Observatory, Brooklyn Magazine, Brooklyn Rail, and The Inquisitive Eater, among others publications. He studied creative writing at The New School and will attend Columbia Journalism School in fall 2014.
In the summer of 1991 Jennifer Sky, then only fifteen years old, flew to Tokyo on the promise of a glamorous and successful career in modeling. What met her instead was what she describes as the "ruthless" and "deeply patrician [modeling] industry that routinely eats up and spits out thousands of young women."
In her new e-book, "Queen of the Tokyo Ballroom," Sky tells the unsettling story of her first summer spent in a foreign land as an under-aged model. With determination and tender humility, Sky brings a personal story to an all too representative experience of the fashion industry, and a culture of trauma that is routinely made rote. Our experiences of trauma are indelible, palpable; especially the ones endured in childhood.
Via email, Sky discussed her memoir and her process of writing.
AW: The discovery of independence is a ubiquitous phenomenon in adolescence. In your book you express the desire as a child “of the woods,” to find freedom in the strange and glamorous life of modeling. But leaving school at fifteen years old and entering the modeling world—an industry which commodifies and oftentimes exploits young bodies—seems far from the mode of “self-discovery” that your parents tried as young world travelers. As descriptively grounded and conscientious, “self-taught, self-sufficient hippies,” were your parents ever worried about what becoming a model could do to your growing and impressionable mind? What was the freedom that you were so desperate to find? What did your parents believe you would find?
JS: My parents were worried like any good parents would be, and they were given assurances by my agency that I would be taken care of. They had faith that my agency would know that a teenager requires special treatment, and that a child of 14 or 15 wouldn't know how to act like an adult, and wouldn't be expected to. To allay my parents' fears, the agency said that I'd have chaperones, that I'd be looked out for, and that I'd be compensated fairly for the work I was doing. I guess my parents believed that since many young girls had gone this route before, that it was ok, that the law wouldn't be broken and I would be safe. There is also an aspect of them not knowing what the industry was like, and how could they? No one was writing exposes or sharing their thoughts on the Internet, because Internet use was still in its infancy. And fashion was really in its early days still too. It was the 90s. It was a more trusting time and "tiger moms" weren't even a concept. I wanted to go, I persisted that I was old enough, and I insisted that this was the right thing for me. I doubt my parents could have lived with denying me my dream unless the evidence was overwhelmingly bad.The freedom I was desperate to find was, I guess, what any teenager wants. They want out of their backwater town. They want to be treated like a grown up. I think my parents thought I would be taught responsibility and that I would have a tremendous opportunity to learn, travel and make money.
AW: The images from artist/photographer Takehiko Nakafuji’s “Night Crawler” series interspersed among the text, accentuated the already darkening tale of your descent into the city of Tokyo and the modeling world.In explaining his series, Nakafuji said of Tokyo: “In [this] fictitious city you … carry imagination with you as currency.” This literally seemed the case for you, often not even being able to afford food for yourself. Was it also your imagining of what was and what could be, i.e. what Tokyo offered you in the present, and what you were promised for your future career, which “bought” your way through your experience? Does Tokyo have a specific fictitiousness to it?
JS: I had no idea what to expect from Tokyo. I'd barely been out of Florida. The land that met me was something from a dreamscape, the future, a place so wholly other than that it was as if I had suddenly found myself transported to a different planet. Going into it, I was nothing but practical. I was going to make money. I was going to be a model. Then I found myself there and scared. I don't recall imagining much past getting there. What Tokyo offered when I got there was a lot of frustration and disappointment career wise. (I must have imagined myself turning into a star, but that's what a lot of little girls who are judged by their beauty hope is going to happen.) But I was also partying a lot and just living day to day. I did a lot of foolish things. In the end, it's hard for me to say if Tokyo had a fictitiousness to it. I recall my experiences as very real, but at this point in time, very hazy, because it was 20 years ago. I carry a lot of it with me still. It never had the mythology of New York or LA though. Those are cities that loom large in the American vernacular. Tokyo was just inscrutably foreign, and since I haven't been back, I probably still feel that way.
AW: An exclaiming thought that was constant in my mind as I read your book was: “Where are the adults?” You are surrounded by people who are older than you, but who never care for your well-being or safety. Either they are neglecting you or exploiting you. In this way, you do find an independence in Tokyo: the guideless—or misguided—freedom to completely self-destruct. Was this an important theme for you to convey? Was there a person who helped you to feel safe in Tokyo?
JS: This is a point that everyone brings up, "where's the adults?" It seems baffling now, especially to younger generations, that no one was there to be an adult. The Post Gen X generation is constantly accused of being coddled or improperly weaned off their parents, and I feel that it is inconceivable to many younger people, and their parents, that kids my age could be left to romp around Tokyo all on their own. It was a different time. Clinton signed DOMA into law. Women were more of a commodity than they are now. And the idea of models' rights being a child labor issue was unheard of. The fact of the matter is that there was no outlet for models to complain to. No 800 numbers,* no widespread Internet culture to give our voice a context. So no one knew all of the bad things that were happening. I was told by other models and by my agents, "well, that's just how it is." There was a freedom to a being without any backup, so to speak, but like a lot of kids, I ran wild and it ran wild over me. It was a terrible feeling, because ultimately no one within the business cared. I could have gone to my parents, but I would have had to live with a feeling of defeat. And anyway, my parents might have encouraged me to be strong and stick it out, as was the way then.
AW: Besides the short scene in chapter six in which you are twirled on the dance floor and you imagine yourself: “Jenny, Queen of the Tokyo Ballroom!” could you elaborate on the inspiration and meaning of the title?
JS: It's a title rife with irony. The child in me cherished these little victories, because day-to-day, I was like a serf, only I didn't have any work. A serf, waiting to be told what to do. I never made any money. I didn't go on many castings. I worked only a handful of times. So the small bits of camaraderie were the only thing that allayed the feelings of rootlessness and abandonment.
AW: I enjoyed many of your quick-witted descriptions of characters throughout the book—“She wore pointy black shoes and spoke with an accent that I was not yet worldly enough to recognize; it seemed to me like a mixture of French and all-purpose poshness.” By describing a few tangible features of the character you strike right into their essence. How important was the development of the characters around you, in developing and exposing your own character’s voice? How important was Tokyo as a character?
JS: Character and characterization is important in any work of writing, whether it be nonfiction or fiction. I am currently in the Fiction MFA program at Brooklyn College and our program head, Josh Henkin, is often speaking to us about the importance of characterizing with fresh details. A phone does not need to be a black phone unless that is intrinsically important to the plot of the story. In other words, don’t waste the reader’s time on building the wrong details: build details that characterize. The example you used “She wore pointy black shoes.” I chose to include these details “pointy black” because they were both true—because this story is nonfiction— but also because they would give the reader the feeling of the Wicked Witch of the West without my having to outright write it.
The characters and the character of Tokyo served to show how out of place I was during that experience. I was not ready for any of it. The way I was thrust into quasi-adulthood I hope is shown by the characterization of the more experienced girls and their implied intentions toward me as well as by the customs of daily life in Tokyo.
AW: What do you wish to achieve, personally and publically, in sharing this story?
JS: I hope that this is one more story to add to other voices that are testifying to the bad behavior of the fashion industry. Over the past fours years, a handful of other models, myself and a few others, have come forward to out the industry for its crimes against children. Human trafficking is a topic people are finally speaking up about.
AW: Any new books in the works?
JS: This story is what they call a Single and is more in the long-form realm than a traditionally sized book. I am currently working on a proposal to tell the rest of the story— the full span of my time as a child model, 14-17, and boy, there is plenty to tell. Tokyo is only the first place I was sent to. I lived in Miami when I was 16, then Milan followed, and France, Mexico, finally I settled in New York and quit fashion at age 17 ½— a week after I appeared on my first national magazine Sassy. So that book is forthcoming. It will be the true-life of a teenage model and show the full breadth of what happens behind-the-scenes in the modeling industry. Tokyo was only the beginning.
When Jennifer Sky was fifteen, she was offered the chance to spend a summer working as a model in Japan. For a girl from rural Florida who spent hours poring over fashion magazines it seemed like a dream come true. But soon she found herself all but abandoned in an unfamiliar city, attempting to navigate a ruthless industry on her own and waving goodbye to childhood on the boozy margins of Tokyo’s expatriate scene. In "Queen of the Tokyo Ballroom," Sky recounts the summer that changed the course of her life—and left her still sorting out the consequences two decades later.
Anna J. Witiuk is a student at the New School for Public Engagement, where she is studying creative writing and the incredible stories of folk. She is also a rhapsodic participant of the school's Riggio Honors Writing program. Anna grew up in the East Village and parts of Brooklyn where she honed her skills as a serial "anthropologist." She is a poet, storyteller and songstress, and is eternally grateful to the ether for its endless provision of nuanced whackos for her to write about.
- On Thursday, LIT Magazine launched issue #25 at Office Nomads. Magazine contributors read alongside the Nomads to a great crowd.
- On Friday, The Writing Program hosted SHOWSTOPPER, a party showcasing the Vogue Workshop devised by Public Engagement Fellow, Riggio Student, and 12th Street Editor-in-Chief Ricky Tucker. Riggio student Ari Spool was the MC for the evening, and the party was a great success.
- Throughout the conference, The New School students, faculty, and staff visited with prospective students, current students, alumni, friends, and neighbors from across the country and around the world. Meanwhile, The New School faculty and alumni participated in 18+ conference panels (by our count), and The New School alumni were represented by numerous presses, magazines, and reading series around the conference and the city.
Here are just a few of our favorite images of the conference and festivities:
Ricky Tucker at the October 2013 Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy student reading. Part of Pictograph: Portraits of The School of Writing at The New School. Photo by John Reed.
The terrain these courses covered was staggering, but what struck me most were the intersections in theory between these two classes—how Folk and Vogue both came out of disenfranchised and marginalized groups, how the famine and high infant mortality of the Dust Bowl of the ’30s matched the AIDS crisis that hit New York in the ’80s, how art forms spring up out of ashes.
From "He Saw Me," originally published on Writing & Democracy: A Digital Documentary.
Ricky Tucker and Colin Bedell will be co-teaching the workshop Showstopper: Elements of Runway and Vogue at The New School this Wednesday, November 20th. Click here for more information.
Zambrano explained that Lotería is a Mexican card game. He played the game as a child with his family in New Mexico, his hometown and the setting of the book. Lotería involves a deck of cards, each with a beautiful picture. The participants compete to call out what the image is first, once it’s been flipped over. Zambrano explained that when he first decided to learn how to write, he used the cards of lotería for inspiration. "I would flip each card over, and I'd then have to work the image of the card into the story. This helped me with my ability to invent." But as Zambrano to write Lotería, the invention turned real– to his life story – which, to him, is always more uncomfortable to write.
Zambrano described painful mysterious and secret painful events in his family’s past, events that no one would discuss. Because there was so much silence surrounding this abusive history, Zambrano was always uncertain of what exactly had happened, and to whom it had happened. With the use of lotería and his newfound ability to invent, Zambrano imagined and wrote the “empty spaces in his family’s past.”
Zambrano was not always comfortable writing about his family, was at times even terrified. “I didn’t feel like it was my place to talk about some things,” he said. “For me, I didn’t want to be too personal. There were some things I had no right to talk about. Each writer must choose their own ethical line that they cannot cross.”
Mario Alberto Zambrano was a contemporary ballet dancer before dedicating his time to writing fiction. He has lived in Israel, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, and Japan, and has danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballett Frankfurt, and Batsheva Dance Company. He graduated from The New School as a Riggio Honors Fellow and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow, where he also received a John C. Schupes Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction. Lotería is his first novel.
Who is Ari Spool and why is she running for Mayor of New York City? She's certainly been quite busy this year in between the challenges of a rigorous adult undergraduate academic career, her invaluable work with The New School's Archives, and the added venture of running a write-in Independent campaign unlike any other.
It began with an expression of frustration with the corruption of the current political system via social media, and a follower's subsequent off-the-cuff suggestion that perhaps it was Ari who belonged in the office if we wanted to truly see change. Thus, eureka; the funniest and most rights-of-the-people-driven mayoral campaign with the most glorious campaign website in the history of New York City was born. And the interest came nigh, in New York and around the states, ranging from radio interviews on WFMU (click to listen), a bewildered Wall Street Journal, a political character study by The Stranger's Slog, an invitation to speak to the budding young minds of a local high school's history class, and definitively winning the spot of the darling on Stocking Blue's mayoral race coverage.
Ari's platforms and promises, ranging from those in the video above to proposals to place farmer's markets in housing projects where residents will eat for free, to instating Public Enemy in curricula, have been called anything from a joke to a brilliant nod to the #Occupy ideologies to self-aggrandizing to Performance Art. (You may complain about the sensory overload of Mayor Spool's website, but perhaps this too is a performative work of performance art that may eventually lead to the overhaul of Times Square's epileptic nightmare toward a gentle pastel palette.) As one respondent to The Stranger write-up articulated, "This doesn't sound like a joke to me. Will she win? No. Does that mean she's being deceitful? No. She's using the election as a platform to bring attention to issues that continually threaten our culture and livelihood (wait, isn't that what elections are supposed to do?) and if that brings attention to her sense of humor as well, then good for her. I trust a person who allows their personality to show more than I trust script reading vote beggars. It's probably the most sensible campaign platform I've read thus far. Who are you voting for?"
The Wall Street Journal paints Ari as a silly hipster, for of course what other way to paint a creative response to an inherently flawed system? Not least of which includes the pervasive and perverse monopoly of Wall Street. "Aren't you tired of having the richest man in New York tell you what to do?" writes Ari in an op-ed for The Media, citing the power-hungry, stagnant, capitalistic greed of traditional primary candidates. "Perhaps you think anybody would be better than this Wall Street Napoleon." Indeed, one of the key components of the Write-in-Spool campaign is that she is not accepting any financial backing. "I'm not a narcissist though," says Ari, "despite what CUNY professors and Zoe Ligon say about me in the Wall Street Journal. I'm already really bad at small talk, and this giant, glaring personal announcement has made it more difficult. But it's not the worst thing to ever happen–one of my goals in running for mayor was to talk to a lot more people about politics and the way they work in my home, New York City, and also about ways we can change the way things work by using only the power of our brains working together, and that's been happening a lot." In her Labor Day campaign speech at The Silent Barn, after giving a sampling of just some of her ingenious campaign promises, Ari decreed that "until November 5th, I will be asking for more and more promises that I can make, just like how regular candidates ask for more and more money."
On October 21st, Ari and Executive Dean David Scobey co-moderated a conversation with writer and activist Paul Rogat Loeb, as part of The New School for Public Engagement (NSPE)'s Engaged Lives series, which you can watch here on the New School YouTube Channel, and I highly recommend that you do. This series features New School alums discussing their work in civic engagement and writing for social change—a concentration which Ari is studying in the Riggio Honors Program for Writing and Democracy. Bringing her ever interactive senses of humour, society, and history, Ari's writing and orating in and out of class cover crucial topics ranging from gentrification; race, gender, and class relations; sociopolitical infrastructure; agriculture and food issues; international and local policy; and more. Ari is also a Public Engagement fellow, a collaborative initiative in community leadership and public service, which is only one way in which she puts her priorities into practice. And the fact is, she's not the type to toot her horn about these things (unless it's done funny, of course), but as she posits in the video interview above and the aforementioned op-ed for The Media, perhaps it's high time that a civilian—"that anybody" who would be better than the "representative democracy" that defines the office—stepped in to offer a direct democracy, from the people to the people (hence the nod to the #Occupy movement). "I think that politicians are, at best, Ouroboros, right? They’re just creatures of their own creation. They eat their own tails, they swallow them, their tails crawl down their digestive system and they come back out their butts. I feel like that is what happens in the world of politics." But with Spool in office, ye shall ask, and ye shall get. Ye shall at the very least be listened to.
After the engaging (yes, yes, we love this word here at the School of Undergraduate Studies) panel with Loeb and Scobey on the challenges of political hope, social movement participation, and the nature of grassroots work in the Vietnam War era versus now, Ari headed over to deliver an Expressive Ribbon Cutting at Scissors Please: a night of readings and video screenings at Bushwick's Silent Barn. First polling the audience on whom amongst them still believed in the future, (to which a Tweeter followed up with "Vote for Ari Spool, subsidize the future!”), Ari delivered a speech titled "How Do You Tell Your Dad You Are Running For Mayor?” In this rare treat of a personal essay by Ari, who tends to write more of local issues illustrated beautifully through narrative rather than her personal life, she recounts being raised on "deep and silly political satire" which was influential in her campaign and the challenges of having to tell people she's running for mayor when, unlike traditional candidates, she isn't seeking attention. "I think it would be easier to run for mayor if we all ran for mayor, all the time. I'm not very smart or crazy for doing this, honestly. It's not a huge leap...If we all ran for Mayor, or city council, or whatever, I would get what I really want: smart, constant engagement about our generation's values and goals."
And after all this, Ari went home to work on her research in preparation to address the issue of usability of Svalbard's "Doomsday Seed Bank" in the Arctic! Okay, so I lied a little. Although homework was indeed next on the menu, that particular (awesome) assignment preceded that event. But who else in this race, or any other, is so committed not only to the pressing social issues of today, but also in protecting you in the event of an apocalypse? No one, that's who.
So don't be a fool, write in Spool. And on November 5th, I'll see you at the Victory Party of the century.
Bean Haskell is a writer, an interdisciplinary scholar of the arts and social movements in the Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy at The New School for Public Engagement, and the Poetry and Art editor of 12th Street, and an avid supporter of Mayor Spool.
Editor-in-Chief: Ricky Tucker
Ricky Tucker is an art critic, editor, and short-storyteller. He can quote Designing Women but not Shakespeare.
Managing Editor: Ashawnta Jackson
NYC via Portland via Connecticut. Ashawnta Jackson prefers fiction to facts and vinyl to mp3.
Online Editor: Tolly Wright
Tolly Wright is a writer, student, and sometimes actress. She is passionate about early 20th century literature, pop culture, and her motherland, the city of Baltimore. She is also secretly passionate about Renaissance Festivals and Korean Dramas. She lives in Harlem.
Managing Online Editor: Christopher Pugh
Christopher Pugh is a fiction writer, poet, musician and social activist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the recipient of the Riggio's Writing and Democracy fellowship at The New School who lives for adventure through travel, and new experiences. Following his time at the New School, he hopes to publish his first novel and begin work on a social rights documentary that will have him traversing Southeast Asia.
Fiction Editor: Daniel Husson
Daniel Gee Husson is a former newspaper copy editor, documentary writer/producer, and actor. He now focuses his writing on loneliness and isolation and how humans try to connect. You can catch him behind the bar made famous for scenes in The Godfather, Part II and Serpico. He lives in Alphabet City for now, but will soon make the move across the river.
Nonfiction Editor and Music Editor: Charlotte Slivka
Starting in Fall 2011 as a reader, 2013/14 will be Charlotte Slivka’s 3rd year with 12th Street. Now a junior at The New School, she is looking forward to bringing her musical past into the present through a hybrid of non-fiction and poetic forms. Born and raised in NYC, she has come to value the strange truth of being and the great collective fiction of living. She is working towards adding to the narrative.
Assistant Online Editor: Naima Asjad
Naima Asjad, an undergraduate at Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts, is studying non-secular politics and governance in her self-designed major.
On Monday, May 20th at 7:00 p.m. the Riggio Honors Program will be holding the first ever Thought Launch: an interactive think-tank designed to discuss writing and democracy. Join fellow Riggio students as we collaborate, engage, and ignite the future of the Writing and Democracy program. Guest group leaders include Sadie Stein, Jamie Hook, James Marcus (you can read more about them below). (Oh, and you can check out our effort to integrate the principles of writing and democracy into a practical vision at the Riggio Honors Program's new online presence at riggio.americanvanguardpress.
We'll be in room 1102 at 6 East 16th Street. The event will be free and open to the New School community, so join us and our illustrious guest group leaders in celebrating The Riggio Honors Program and bettering it for students to come!
Sadie Stein is the deputy editor of The Paris Review and co-editor of Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story.
Jamie Hook is the founding director of Northwest Film Forum & past director of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. A director and producer, Hook has worked on many movies including "Vacationland", "Brand Upon the Brain! A Remembrance in 12 Chapters", and "The Naked Proof".
James Marcus is the deputy editor for Harper's Magazine. Marcus has been editor-at-large at Columbia Journalism Review since 2007. He is responsible for assigning and editing the Ideas + Reviews section of the bimonthly publication. He has also been a senior editor at Amazon.com and Propeller.com/AOL News. Marcus has written for The New York Times, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and Salon, among other publications. He received his. B.A. in Art and English from Wesleyan University in 1981 and his M.F.A. in Writing from Columbia University in 1984.
Please join us this Friday as we celebrate Issue # 6 of 12th Street Journal. The event will be held at the Union Square Barnes and Noble this Friday, April 26th at 7:00 pm. The evening features readings by Colson Whitehead, Catherine Barnett, and Luis Jaramillo who were interviewed in this issue; as well as student contributors Timothy Jones, Elin Hawkinson, Tolly Wright, and Kaitlyn Wylde.
Colson Whitehead is the author of the novels The Intuitionist, Sag Harbor, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and Zone One. He's also the author of the book of essays, The Colossus of New York. He has won numerous awards and prizes including a MacArthur Fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Granta, and Harper's, among other places. He teaches creative writing at Princeton University.
Catherine Barnett is an American poet and educator. Her most recent collection of poetry, The Game of Boxes, recently won the Academy of American Poets' James Laughlin Award for outstanding second book of poetry. Her first collection, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced, won the 2003 Beatrice Hawley Award. Her other honors include a Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Pushchart Prize. Barnett teaches in the Riggio Honors Program and the MFA Program at The New School.
Luis Jaramillo is the author of The Doctor's Wife, winner of the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Contest, an Oprah.com Book of the Week, and one of NPR's Best Books of 2012. His work has also appeared in Open City, Gamers, Tin House, H.O.W. Journal, and Red Line Blues. He is the Associate Chair of the Writing Program at The New School, the Riggio Honors Program: Writing & Democracy, teaches courses in fiction and nonfiction, and is co-editor of the journal The Inquisitive Eater: New School Food.
Timothy Jones is a Long Island native who seeks to give voice to unspoken experiences and invisible communities. He is a poet, writer, activist, performer, marketer, publishing consultant, and champion of independent artists. His poetry has been published in the graphic novel Gunplay, and in 12th Street. He is currently working on several book projects, and possesses an uncanny ability to incorporate hip-hop into any discussion.
Elin Hawkinson is a freelance writer and actor living in New York City. Her work has appeared in Our Town/Downtown. She is an assistant editor and copywriter for Zeel Networks, Inc. She will graduate from The New School for Public Engagement in May 2013.
Tolly Wright is a writer, student, and sometimes actress. She is passionate about 19th century British Literature, pop culture, and her motherland, the city of Baltimore. She is also secretly passionate about Renaissance Festivals and Korean Dramas. She lives in Harlem.
Kaitlyn Wylde is a student in the Riggio Honors Program for Writing and Democracy and freelance writer living in Brooklyn. She enjoys philosophical debates with her dog and cheating in chess.
So...we're back! AWP 2013 was an incredible and exhausting experience. It was personally my first time attending and I've never seen so many eager and enthusiastic authors in my life. The New School had a strong representation at this year's AWP from speaking at forums, to hosting readings, to participating in presses and literary organizations at the book fair.
Gabriel Don was thankfully able to take quite a lot of pictures of everyone and now it's our pleasure to share them with you.
Today we'll be sharing pictures from all the amazing LIT and 12th Street Journal events. Feel free to browse below and if you have any pictures you'd like us to add just let me know at email@example.com
Mario Zambrano, who graduated from the Riggio Honors Program in 2011, has had his upcoming debut novel, Lotería, previewed on Library Journal's Fiction Previews list. Library Journal refers to the novel as "the big-news debut of [the] group."
It's not hard to see why there's excitement. The book is a carefully complected narrative that features an 11 year old protagonist, Luz Castillo, illustrate her life by using "lotería": the Mexican version of bingo.
On Lotería, acclaimed author Justin Torres remarks :
“LOTERIA is a taut, fraught, look at tragedy, its aftermath, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive. With suspense, dread, and always the possibility for redemption, we watch as Zambrano flips the cards of chance and fate.”
Josh Weil, author of The New Valley writes:
“In a bold, deeply-felt debut Mario Alberto Zambrano brings us tragedy made powerful through a small girl’s touching voice. Her great gift is the joy she brings to this sorrow-filled story, matched only by the joy we feel in getting to know her. Luz embraces us as fearlessly as she does life, as whole-heartedly as Zambrano does the story of her richly complex, fully felt family. These are people who hold on to each other so hard it hurts. And this moving novel will hug you too, every bit as tight.”
Lotería is now available to preorder online.
You can hear Zambrano reading from a selection of the novel below:
Mario Alberto Zambrano was a contemporary ballet dancer before dedicating his time to writing fiction. He has lived in Israel, Holland, Germany, Spain, and Japan, and has danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballett Frankfurt, and Batsheva Dance Company. He graduated from The New School as a Riggio Honors Fellow and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow. Lotería is his first novel.
Our favorite literary journals 12th St and Lit Magazine will be entwining their literary ecosystems in a joint reading during AWP 2013.
Please join us on Friday, March 8 from 4:30-5:30 pm for a chance to listen to some great readers and hang out with people who almost love readings as much as you.
Representing LIT: Cara Benson, Claire Donato
Representing 12th Street: Ricky Tucker, Charlotte Slivka, Sacha Idell, John Emrys Eller
The reading will take place in the Hynes Convention Center, Patricia Olson Bookfair Stage, Exhibit Hall A, Plaza Level.
Also be sure to check out the press booths of both journals for a chance to pick up the new issues!