The February, Almost March Dispatch

February is almost gone. In PANK land, at least in my neck of its woods, that means three things: Blizzards, NEA grant writing, and prepping for AWP. Sigh.

Blizzards shouldn’t be news in the winter. It’s one of the things that happen, seasonally appropriate, and our cultural insistence on turning the realities of weather into news annoys me to no end. I’m not saying hurricanes, tornadoes, dust storms, and blizzards aren’t a hassle, but so is pooping, pain, and dying- inevitable, often grim realities, all, to be faced down as best we might and preferably without the constant histrionics. In other words, get over it, for crying out loud. That said, we got a doozy of a snowstorm in Houghton, Michigan, this week. The upshot is this: They’re turning one of the downtown streets into a sled run; and I was locked indoors long enough to finish writing a grant proposal for NEA.

A NEA grant proposal, you say? What for, you ask?

Let me lay it out for you like this: In 2014 PANK will begin paying all of its magazine contributors, both online and in print. The question at this point is not if or when, but how much? There are a number of obstacles to overcome yet, but the foundation is laid, and you’ll be hearing more from us on the subject in the coming months. In the meantime, if you want to help, subscribe to the magazine, use the tip jar when submitting, or consider giving a donation. It’s apparently a hard pill to swallow in the literary community, particularly in the small press and literary magazine corner of the cosmos, but you don’t get something for nothing. Remember that obnoxious trucker hat slogan: Grass, gas, or ass: nobody rides for free? There’s a nugget of truth there.

AWP 2013! OMG! Every year prepping for this monster becomes a bigger nightmare for me. In 2012 there were over 10,000 attendees, more than 600 vendors, and over 100 different offsite events. In 2012 I got my ass handed to me in an arm wrestling competition pimped by our friends at Artifice. As with all AWPs, this year’s will likely include a lot of talking heads and hustling, a lot of partying, booty shaking, and generalized bad behavior. If you’re attending in Boston this year, March 6-9, and find yourself interested in PANKish things, here’s where to find us:


You can find [PANK] all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at table #S27 (see a map of the floor plan here) of the legendary AWP book fair. What will we have for you when you get there? Why, we’ll have copies of PANK Magazine print editions; copies of Myfanwy Collins’ new PANK Books short stories collection, I Am Holding Your Hand (she’ll be on hand Saturday at 1 to sign copies!); t-shirts, stickers, pins galore; and heaping pots of love. The book fair is free and open to the public on Saturday, March 9th. We hope you’ll stop by at some point and say hello.


F161. Experimental Fiction Today. (John Parras, Daniel Green, Alissa Nutting, Ted Pelton, M. Bartley Seigel) Editors, writers, critics, and teachers discuss recent trends in experimental fiction and how such work enriches the publishing landscape, the creative writing workshop, and the direction and function of literature itself. What are some of the more exciting trends in innovative fiction? What are the special challenges and rewards for writers testing fiction’s limits? How does fabulist work work? If all literature is innovative, what distinguishes the experimental from other types of fiction?Room 101, Plaza Level.

S204. How to Lose Friends and Alienate Loved Ones: Exploitation vs. Documentation in Creative Nonfiction. (B.J. Hollars, Roxane Gay, Marcia Aldrich, Ryan Van Meter, Bonnie J. Rough) Not every story is flattering, nor is every character. Nevertheless, nonfiction writers continue to document their lives and the lives of others, often at the risk of violating personal relationships. How should writers navigate between revealing the true nature of their subjects without alienating the people themselves? Join four writers as they explore the fine line between documentation and exploitation, among other ethical dilemmas inherent in writing of friends, family, and loved ones. Room 306, Level 3.


I’ve had my say elsewhere regarding the state of the AWP off-site event and I’m taken my lumps for the opinion. Nevertheless, we’ve decided to forego a reading this year in lieu of a plain old party and I hope you’ll come have a drink or three with us.

Barrelhouse, PANK, Hobart and Friends: Not Reading!
Thursday, March 7, 9PM
LIR / 903 Boylston St / Boston, Massachusetts 02115

It’s a quirky Cinderella story about a cadre of fashion-savvy, thrift-loving litnerds who fell for rich, sumptuous AWP readings only to discover it’s the dirty partying they’ve loved all along. The group comes across many social obstacles, but things come together in the end thanks in large part to a ragtag group of unlikely friends, a Boston bar, and absolutely no pretense of readings or literary gimmickry whatsoever. Also not reading at this event: Tiny Hardcore Press, Draft, Lumberyard/Typecast, Mud Lucious! Free and open to the public. Cash bar. Won’t you come not read with us?