30
Aug

Episode Ten: Wendy C. Ortiz Is Controlling Her Own Narrative

The BinderCast is the only podcast exclusively devoted to women and gender non-conforming writers and their careers. In each episode, co-hosts Lux Alptraum and Leigh Stein tackle the essential questions of making it as a writer. Produced by Jennifer Lai.

Getting your story out there, in the way you want it to be told, is always a struggle – especially when you’re relying on someone else to package and market that story appropriately. For Wendy C. Ortiz, whose first book told the story of her taboo relationship with her middle school English teacher, finding a publisher who understood her story, and didn’t make her feel exploited, was a serious challenge. This week, we chat with her about tackling the topic of teen sexuality, finding a publisher who truly understands your book, and the benefits of going with a small press.

Subscribe to The BinderCast on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Further reading:

Wendy’s website (buy Excavation straight from Wendy!)
Hollywood Notebook
Bruja
The Sunday Rumpus Book Review: The Amazing Heft of Wendy Ortiz’s Hollywood Notebook

23
Aug

BinderCast Bonus: Mira Ptacin Reads Poor Your Soul

The BinderCast is the only podcast exclusively devoted to women and gender non-conforming writers and their careers. In each episode, co-hosts Lux Alptraum and Leigh Stein tackle the essential questions of making it as a writer. Produced by Jennifer Lai.

A special bonus for BinderCast listeners: here’s author Mira Ptacin reading from her book Poor Your Soul.

Hear our full interview with Mira in Episode Nine of The BinderCast.

Subscribe to The BinderCast on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts.

16
Aug

Episode Nine: Mira Ptacin’s Love Story (That Also Has An Abortion In It)

The BinderCast is the only podcast exclusively devoted to women and gender non-conforming writers and their careers. In each episode, co-hosts Lux Alptraum and Leigh Stein tackle the essential questions of making it as a writer. Produced by Jennifer Lai.

Motherhood is often treated as the defining experience of a woman’s life – whether or not she wants kids, the decision is usually treated as a major, and potentially life changing, conversation. Mira Ptacin’s been on both sides of the equation: her memoir, Poor Your Soul, chronicles her decision to terminate her first pregnancy; shortly before its publication, she gave birth to her second child. Ptacin stopped by the BinderCast studio with her infant daughter to talk abortion, balancing work with motherhood, and persevering in the face of an unending stream of nos.

Subscribe to The BinderCast on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Further reading:

Poor Your Soul
Mira’s Twitter
Mira’s Instagram

12
Aug

Binder Q & A: Cynthia Manick on Blue Hallelujahs

…remember that no one sounds or writes like you. Hold onto your own spark.  

This Q & A was originally a feature of our Binders Book List bi-weekly email newsletter, in which editor Julia Phillips interviews members of the Binders community who are releasing new books. These treasured Q & A sessions are just too good to relegate to the archives, so we are now sharing them on our blog. For our first installment, we’re featuring poet and storyteller, and co-chair for the NYC BinderCon attendees committee, Cynthia Manick.

Your bio is filled with amazing credits, ranging from a Cave Canem fellowship to a Hedgebrook residency to a finalist spot for a New York Foundation of the Arts fellowship. Of all those experiences, is there one that most shaped you into the writer you are today?

I’ve been really lucky to write and study craft with great people. In terms of influence, workshop experience was the most important for the book [Blue Hallelujahs]. So workshops taught by Cave Canem and the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop helped the most because each meeting, whether it was with Tyehimba Jess, Nikky Finney, or Vievee Francis, taught me something I didn’t know. Those lessons ranged from letting the outside world into poems to recognizing my obsessions and writing within that framework. More importantly, the peers I met in those workshops are people I still send poems to in the middle of the night. Having a safe space and spaces that challenge you to write the hard poems are vital to the writing life.

Blue HallelujahsWhat role does physical detail – bodies, clothing, specific places – have in your poetry?

When I describe Blue Hallelujahs I say the book asks the question: if you’re breathing, what makes you alive? Is it family, sex, blues, gender, race, or is it the way the body interacts with the world? It could be any and all of those things but we enter every dark place with our hands, eyes, and then the body follows. There’s a section of the book called “A Body Full of Verbs” where the black female body is at the core of the poems. I’m obsessed with the concept of beauty and erasure. Place is a circular concept in the book because the poems have multiple geographies. Some poems are based in the South where my family originates, while others exist in present imagination. For example, I have a poem called “Dear Black Dress” where the speaker knows that dress will get her in trouble, but it’s a trouble she likes.

You placed your collection with Black Lawrence Press after sending it into BLP’s open reading period. Any advice for other poets submitting to the slush?

I never had much luck with contests but I was a finalist twice for two other open reading periods before BPL said yes. First off, don’t be in a rush. You see all the announcements of people’s success and it’s easy to think, “Oh, I better get my stuff out there,” but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Some people can write a book in a month while others take five years. Ask yourself if the book is ready. Do the poems talk to each other? Then I would have someone else read the entire thing, either through a manuscript class or some other venue. We get so close to our own poems that at some point self-editing isn’t useful. Lastly, remember that no one sounds or writes like you. Hold onto your own spark.  


Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press. A Pushcart Prize nominated poet with a MFA in Creative Writing from the New School; she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Fine Arts Work Center, the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences, Hedgebrook, Poets House, and the Vermont Studio Center. She was a 2014 finalist for the New York Foundation of Arts Fellowship in Poetry; serves as East Coast Editor of the independent press Jamii Publishing; and is Founder and Curator of the reading series Soul Sister Revue. Select poems have been performed by Emotive Fruition, a performance series in NYC where actors bring life page poetry for the stage; the 92nd Street Y Words We Live In project, and is currently being developed by Motionpoems, a organization dedicated to video poetry. Manick’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the 2016 Argos Books Poetry Calendar, African American Review, BLACKBERRY: a magazine, Bone Bouquet, Box of Jars, Callaloo, Clockhouse, DMQ Review, Gemini Magazine, Human Equity Through Art (HEArt), Fjords Review, Kinfolks Quarterly, Kweli Journal, Muzzle Magazine, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Passages North, Pedestal Magazine, Poetry City, USA, PLUCK! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture, St. Ann’s Review, Sou’wester, Spillway Magazine, The Cossack Review, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Wall Street Journal, The Weary Blues, The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s Poetry, Tidal Basin Review, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.


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Writer Interview: Julia Phillips, Post Editors: Andrea Guevara, Leigh Stein
9
Aug

BinderCast Bonus: Charlotte Shane Reads Prostitute Laundry

The BinderCast is the only podcast exclusively devoted to women and gender non-conforming writers and their careers. In each episode, co-hosts Lux Alptraum and Leigh Stein tackle the essential questions of making it as a writer. Produced by Jennifer Lai.

A special bonus for BinderCast listeners: here’s author Charlotte Shane reading from her book Prostitute Laundry.

Hear our full interview with Charlotte in Episode Eight of The BinderCast.

Subscribe to The BinderCast on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts.

2
Aug

Episode Eight: Charlotte Shane Knows How To Sell It

The BinderCast is the only podcast exclusively devoted to women and gender non-conforming writers and their careers. In each episode, co-hosts Lux Alptraum and Leigh Stein tackle the essential questions of making it as a writer. Produced by Jennifer Lai.

These days, it’s not enough to just be a good writer. You’ve also got to have a brand, and you need to be something of a savvy marketer to boot. Sex worker turned writer Charlotte Shane knows a thing or two about selling it. In this week’s episode, she talks about why she picked escorting over academia, how sex work gave her the freedom to hone her craft, and why marketing shouldn’t be a dirty word.

Subscribe to The BinderCast on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Further reading:

Buy Prostitute Laundry
Buy N.B.
Fairer Sex
Charlotte’s Twitter