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Stepping out in Seattle

February 26, 2014

dirtcakes was invited to share space with Chapman University at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Seattle, February 27 – March 1, 2014.  Who are we to turn down an invitation like that?

 photo-73The first time I went to an AWP conference, I was a fledgling editor, curious how to publish a literary journal. And now look at this, four issues in print. Yes, print.

If you’ll be in Seattle come visit Chapman University at the Bookfair, Table BB32.

We’ll have a fabulous AWP Bookfair special package deal.


Off Air: Please Stand By

November 29, 2013


It is best to turn on the set only after all the stations have gone off the air and just watch the snow fall. This is the other life you have been promising yourself. Somewhere in the back in the woods, ten miles from the nearest town and that just a wide place in the road with a tavern and gas station. When you drive home, after midnight, half drunk, the roads are treacherous. And your wife is home alone, worried, looking anxiously out at the snow. This snow has been falling steadily for days, so steadily the snow plows can’t keep up. So you drive slow, peering down the road. And there! Did you see it? Just at the edge of your headlight beams, something, a large animal, or a man, crossed the road. Stop. There he is among the birches, a tall man wearing a white suit. Not it isn’t a man. Whatever it is—it motions to you, an almost human gesture, then retreats farther into the woods. He stops and motions again. The snow is piling up all around the car. Are you coming?

–“Violence on Television” Louis Jenkins

dirtcakes editors have suspended reading submissions at this time.
We’re in the process of evolving from a print to online publication.
Thank you for your patience.  

5 Fun Fixes to the Government Shutdown

October 8, 2013


Between Barrack Obama and John Boehner. Winner opens the government his way. This is great way to get regular ol ‘Mericans to come out and support nerds. Sadly, just like most regular ‘Mericans, both Obama and Boenher will lose this academic contest. Speaker Boehner will surely spell the President’s name “H-U-S-S-I-E-N” and President Obama will spell “B-A-N-E-R” because that’s beeshow you pronounce Boehner—not “Boner.”


This went over really well for Republicans in 2000. Maybe they’d go for it again. But The Dread Pirate Roberts and his Black pirate robertsRobed Bandits did uphold The Affordable Health Care Act last session. That’s got to go for the Democrats. But the Velvet Nine also said Corporation = Person. One more for the Republicans.

But the Shady in Satins also said Person =/= Unicorn. As in, unicornif gays and lesbians are allowed to marry it doesn’t logically follow that a person can then marry any animal of her or his choice—like a unicorn, eagle, or goldfish. So it’s a stalemate–Just like the government right now!


This is not really a solution. I just like George Clinton. I think he’s an American Hero. In fact, maybe he could come up with an answer given his amazing insight, full throttle all-the-time creativity, and right on style belief in the power of music to bring everyone of all persuasion and (hair) color together.


Remember him? He’s the Missouri Congressman who in a televised interview said we all know women can’t get pregnant if they’re raped because their natural defenses kick in.  Aiken thinks women have an internal defense system like laser beams that zaps the incoming sperm of an attacker: Pew, pew. Got ‘em. [Smoke rising from laser gun.]laser army

He is a prime example of the kind of shallow-pond thinking that, when promoted to the national stage, retards meaningful progress. When Akin is allowed to multiply, the result is the cluster of Tea Party Republicans demanding the dismantling of a program designed to help poor people and those taken advantage of by bloodless behemoths who would literally rather let you die than provide the coverage you already bought.


sherlockAir it on PBS and let Big Bird, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Benedict Cumberbatch host. John Ashcroft can perform with his quartet The Singing Senators, W. can do a little shuck and jive, and Bill Clinton will fetch a fine price in the live auction for a day/night of services.

Shirley MacLaine will appear in character from Downton Abbey and give Americans a kick-in-the-bullocks pep talkneil badass by comparing us to the intransigent Brits [a word only British people actually know], and Mark Wahlberg (the other Mark Wahlberg—from PBS’s American Roadshow, not the eternally hot, but also graciously philanthropic actor) will auction off bits of the National Parks and FEMA memorabilia. It’s a funny thing, what most people don’t know is whichever Wahlberg you’re talking about, he looks amazing without a shirt.

A Contributor Perk

September 24, 2013

Hey Past Poetry Contributors.

Are you interested in attending a fabulous poetry revision conference in the Berkshires sponsored by Tupelo Press?


From the description:

Offered during the foliage season in the Berkshire mountains of Northwestern Massachusetts, the Conference in the Round is easily accessible from Hartford Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport. It includes:

Intensive workshops and real-time individual responses and from three of the most insightful publishers/editors around: Jeffrey Levine, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press, Veronica Golos, award-winning Poet & Editor, and Jessamyn Smyth, Editor-in-Chief of the Tupelo Quarterly.

Can you carve out a little more time? You’ll have an opportunity to “stay with it” by extending your stay from Monday morning through Wednesday morning additional more guided writing and workshop commentary.

Either way, you’ll leave prepared for the submission season with feedback and guidance geared toward what editors will want and expect from your poems.

As one of Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project poets and a past poetry workshop participant myself, I can pass one 20% discount along to another poet.

Who better to extend the discount offer to than the beautiful poets of dirtcakes?

For full conference details, read the link here.

If you’re interested in attending and would like to be able to use the discount, please comment for me here and I’ll pass along details.  I’ll work off a first-come, first-gets-the-discount model.


Tabula Poetica Fall Speakers Series Set: Pulitzer Winner C.K. Williams Featured

September 21, 2013

Tabula Poetica, run and organized by Anna Leahy—“Girls Will Be Women” contributor, Chapman University Professor, and author of Constituents of Matter—will host Pulitzer Prize winner C. K. Williams as part of its 2013 speaker series.

Williams, who will appear Oct. 15, has also received the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent poetry collections are Wait, and Writers Writing Dying, along with the non-fiction studies On Whitman, and In Time: Poets, Poems, and the Rest.

Other speakers in the series include:SholehWolpe2013


Sept. 24 Sholeh Wolpé, whose three poetry collections include Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths. Wolpé  received the 2010 Lois Roth Translation for Sin–
Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad, has also translated Leaves of Grass into Persian.



Nov. 5Nina Corwin, whose volumes include The Uncertainty of Maps. Corwin is an advisory editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal.


Nov. 19Michelson2013Seth Michelson, whose Eyes Like Broken Glass received the 2013 International Book Award.


Maureen Alsop appeared earlier in the season. Video of her poetry discussion and reading can be access at the Tabula Alsop2013Poetica website, as can that of all speakers. Alsop’s books include Mantic and Apparition Wren.

All events take place at Chapman University in Orange, CA. Poetry talks occur at 2:30 p.m., readings at 7 p.m.

Happy 2nd Birthday 99%

September 19, 2013




Slate Reveals Startling Language-Creep in AP’s India Rape Report

September 11, 2013

Given the recent Guilty verdict for the four men who raped and murdered a 23-year-old woman on a bus in India, this AP study is timely. Sadly the vehemence of the protests–outside the courtrooms crowds of men and women alike shouted “Hang the rapists!”–is belied by the findings that at least a quarter of men in India have raped a woman.
Many have pointed to patterns of sexist abuse in the region before. The tradition of child brides so powerfully brought to light by National Geographiclast year is another embedded symptom. And while this case has thankfully gained international attention, others go unnoticed, such as the April 30 rape and subsequent death of a four-year-old who was lured by the offer to buy bananas, according to The NY Times:

The number of reported sexual assaults of girls under the age of 18 has climbed steadily in India since the 1990s, and reported rapes of girls under the age of 10 have more than doubled from 1990 to 2011.

For readers in the Western world though, Even more startling is Slate’s meta-analysis by L. V. Anderson. She accurately calls out AP staff for its misuse of the data and language. The antiquated vocabulary, the vital omission, is a dangerous slide.

The Associated Press headline is horrifying: “Study: 1 in 10 Men in Parts of Asia Have Raped.” …The problem—apart from the fact that many men answered that question in the affirmative—is that the AP headline is wrong. The study didn’t find that 1 in 10 men had raped a woman. The study found that 1 in 4 men had raped a woman

…when spouse or partner was included as “woman.”  20130911-062648.jpg