July 27, 2009

Pittsburgh Lit Events July 27 - August 2

Tuesday, July 28:


91.3 WYEP Radio

Hemingway's Summer Reading Series
Dmitry Berenson, Ed Carvalho, Kristofer Collins, Nancy Esther
James, Jill Khouri, Ed Lilley, Liane Ellison Norman, Deena November,
Kayla Sargeson, Lucille Siebert, and Michelle Stoner in the final event
of the series for this summer.

Hemingway’s Cafe
3911 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)

8:00pm – free – (412) 621-4100

Friday, July 31:

The Diner Divas: Writers with Bite
Sue Rumbaugh of Carlow University presents a spectacular afternoon of
creative nonfiction at Pittsburgh's most greasy, gratifying diner: Ritter's.

Ritter's Diner
5221 Baum Blvd Pittsburgh, PA (Bloomfield)

3:00pm - No Cover

Do you have a literary event you want to see listed on our calendar?
E-mail details to: joel.weavezine@gmail.com

July 23, 2009

Review: The Curse of Eve by Liliana Blum, trans. Toshiya Kamei

The Curse of Eve is a collection of stories about women—women as lovers, girls, mothers, and daughters, women of hope, violence, voice, Mexico and the violence of hope. The Curse of Eve represents a first on two counts—the first full-length story collection from author Liliana Blum, and the first full-length book translation by Toshiya Kamei.

In his opening note, Kamei uses these words to describe Blum’s fiction: ‘foreboding,’ ‘tragic,’ ‘lighthearted,’ ‘dark,’ and ‘damned feminist.’

Foreboding, yes, as in the story of a mistress who meets Stalin’s wife or when a modern-day Miss Marple attempts to solve the crime of infidelity. Tragic, when women describe their struggles to learn the touch of a man, and others who learn it too soon. Lighthearted in the case of dwarf as Avon Lady and in one woman’s chance meeting with Ron Jeremy. Dark as the inner psyche of an artist who uses real-life models for his work. The Curse of Eve as ‘damned feminist?’ Always.

Blum deftly renders each woman in her own state of personal trauma. There is the moment of discovery between a husband and wife, the beginnings of an understanding between brother and sister, and the recovery of a woman coming to terms with her past. There are men too—men defined by women, men driven by their repulsion and desire for women, men as narrators, observers, actors, and catalysts for action.

In the collection’s title story, The Curse of Eve (A Tragedy in Seven Acts), Kamei translates Blum’s story of a woman coming to terms with the pangs of pregnancy. While her husband remains blissfully absent, a modern-day Eve traces her thoughts through the course of two violent births, the loss of her youth, and her imprisonment in motherhood. From the insignificant act that marks the beginning of her curse to the birth of a daughter who will inherit “the sufferings of her kind,” the nameless narrator remarks that she is told that she must, at all times, remember to, “Take it like a woman.” A theme that is echoed throughout the collection, we are made to understand that Blum’s women can take it all. Even as we become acutely aware of the extent to which ‘Eve’ suffers, as well as the tragedy that lies in store for her, we hold on to the hope she feels when she admits to holding her child for the first time, admitting that, “at this moment nothing else matters.”

This sentiment is mirrored in the equally haunting, Periquita Shoes. With stark prose and striking imagery, Kamei renders Blum’s story about a local balloon seller’s desire for a young girl with Periquita shoes. His single-minded passion is likened to his craft, described as one that, “rises, blows up, [like] a balloon reaching its limits.” His desire is compounded by the vast difference in their ages. As the story culminates in an act of startling cruelty, we are left to lie in a field alongside the girl and her Periquita shoes, “full of pain, but alive.”

The landscape of Mexico provides the backdrop for these experiences—a country caught between the realm of superstition and spirituality, romance and reality. It defines Blum and The Curse of Eve as being both border and borderless, a nation of violence no more real than the violence of love, birth, and universal womanhood. From behind the curtains of race, class, gender, and sexuality, each woman carries her own curse of Eve, and the means to overcome it.

It is this universality that defines Blum’s work and her achievement as a writer. Although the stories in The Curse of Eve carry a thread of the foreign and the fantastical, the element of humanity that pervades each piece makes the event of one scene as recognizable as the next. The Curse of Eve is exact and exacting, written in a language that renders both the subject, and the reader, bare. The birth of both a new author and translator, The Curse of Eve marks the beginning of The Fall, a descent into a fiction where we are kept waiting for the next apple to drop.

Review by Jennifer Lue

Liliana V. Blum was born in Durango, Mexico, in 1974. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Kansas and a Master’s degree in Education from the Instituto Technológico de Monterrey. English translations of her stories have appeared in various literary journals, including Eclectica, Mslexia, storySouth, Blackbird, and The Dirty Goat. More of Liliana’s work can be found at http://lasalasdelalacran.blog.com/.

Toshiya Kamei has translated numerous Spanish and Latin American writers, including Liliana V. Blum, Estrella del Valle, Espido Freire, Ericka Ghersi, Leticia Luna, and Socorro Venegas. His translations have appeared in the journals The Dirty Goat, Literal: Latin American Voices and Metamorphoses, among others. His translation of Naoko Awa’s ‘White Mufflers’ can be found in Issue 02 of Weave Magazine.

July 20, 2009

Pittsburgh Lit Events July 20-26

Tuesday, July 21:


91.3 WYEP Radio

Hemingway's Summer Reading Series
feat. Jimmy Cvetik, Ellen McGrath Smith, Jeff Oaks, and Justin Vicari

Hemingway’s Cafe
3911 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)

8:00pm – free – (412) 621-4100

Steel City Poetry Slam
Hosted by DJ Brewer

Local poets perform slam poetry
Shadow Lounge
972 Baum Blvd Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
9:00pm(18+) - $5
- (412) 363-8277

Thursday, July 23:

Open Thread Tri-State Chapbook Party
Open Thread hosts a reading featuring Matt Anserello and Colin C. Post, two of the writers featured in the newly released, Encyclopedia Destructica-produced Tri-State Chapbook Series. Event to be followed by Variety, Variety Variety! show & dance party.
4104 Penn Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Lawrenceville)
8:00pm(21+) - $6

Sunday, July 26:

Weave Magazine Poetry & Flash Fiction Workshop
Join Weave Editors Laura Davis and Margaret Bashaar for a special workshop! Bring one poem or piece of flash fiction to workshop.

Quiet Storm Coffeehouse
5430 Penn Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Lawrenceville)
2:00pm - $5(suggested donation) - (412) 661-9355

Do you have a literary event you want to see listed on our calendar?
E-mail details to: joel.weavezine@gmail.com

July 14, 2009

Review: Hemingway's Summer Reading Series

Pittsburgh has enjoyed quite the regeneration over the past decade. Its economic and cultural success has been well documented, having been profiled in New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, and by its oft-touted “Most Livable City” tag applied by multiple publications, including The Economist. To think that Pittsburgh hit its cultural stride in recent years is a great disservice to the talents and dedication of many people who have done a lot to make Pittsburgh the artistic community it is today. Among these residents is Jimmy Cvetic, who founded the weekly Hemingway’s Summer Reading Series in 1974.

Despite is Literary-inspired moniker, Hemingway’s Café in Oakland, one of the most popular college bars in the city, is the last place one might expect to find a poetry reading. Honestly, when I’ve told people where I’m off to on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer, I’m usually met with a raised eyebrow or an awkward laugh – people think I’m making a joke about an evening of drinking, when in fact, I’m off to be a part of one of the most fun and longest-running reading series in the city. Yet every Tuesday evening at 8:00pm, the back room of the bar fills up, as Jimmy and fellow series-operator Fred Peterson flip on the P.A. System and the reading begins.

Thanks in part to its storied history, the Hemingway’s Summer Reading Series enjoys a very diverse crowd each week. The line-up always features three or four featured poets, usually local artists of varying ages and styles, which helps add to the atmosphere. A waitress hustles with plates and drinks between readers, and the mood is always inviting and good-humored – 34 years of a reading series makes for a lot of regulars, and a lot of friends! The Hemingway’s Series prides itself on being inclusive, which helps create its terrific feeling of community. To this end, each week has an open mic to conclude the reading – anyone in attendance is welcomed to read a poem or two.

The Hemingway’s Summer Reading Series continues each Tuesday evening at 8:00pm through July 28. This week’s reading features Jessica Jopp, Cvetka Lipuš, and Michael Simms. There is no cover for admission.

Review by Joel W. Coggins.

July 12, 2009

Pittsburgh Lit Events July 12 - July 19

Tuesday, July 14:


91.3 WYEP Radio

Hemingway's Summer Reading Series
feat. J
essica Jopp, Cvetka Lipuš, and Michael Simms

Hemingway’s Cafe
3911 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)

8:00pm – free – (412)621-4100

Thursday, July 16:

Pear Noir Issue 2 Release Party
Pear Noir presents Noah Cicero, Ryan Manning, and Jason
Jordan in celebration of Pear Noir #2.
4104 Penn Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Lawrenceville)
7:00pm - free

Friday, July 17:

Game On: Screening and Launch of INCITE! Journal of
Experimental Media & Radical Aesthetic

Aesthetics take on Athletics in this showdown/showcase of artists'
video! "Game On" also signals the local release of INCITE! Journal of
Experimental Media & Radical Aesthetics, a new publication
dedicated to the discourse, culture and community of experimental
film, video, and new media.

Waffle Shop
124 South Highland Ave Pittsburgh, PA (East Liberty)
9:00pm - free

Saturday, July 18:

Pittsburgh Small Press Festival Expo 2009 (Day 1)
Open Thread presents the SPF Expo 2009 featuring two floors of small
presses and vendors, panels, workshops, food, and multimedia events.

Come find Weave's Table at the SPF Expo and say hello!
Regina Gouger Miller Gallery
Carnegie Mellon University Purnell Center for the Arts
5000 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
12:00pm - free ($5 panel/workshop fee)

Sunday, July 19:

Pittsburgh Small Press Festival Expo 2009 (Day 2)
Open Thread presents the SPF Expo 2009.
Day 2 of SPF features Weave's
Laura Davis & Margaret Bashaar in a
4:00pm panel discussion of Women
in Publishing, as well as a 5:00pm Weave-hosted Writing Workshop. Don't
miss this exciting opportunity at SPF 2009!
Regina Gouger Miller Gallery
Carnegie Mellon University Purnell Center for the Arts
5000 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
12:00pm - free ($5 panel/workshop fee)

Carnegie Library Sunday Reading Series: Karen Lillis
Karen Lillis is the author of the novel The Second Elizabeth (Six Gallery Press)
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Main Branch)
Quiet Reading Room, Main Floor
4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
2:00pm - free – (412)622-3151

Do you have a literary event you want to see listed on our calendar?
E-mail details to: joel.weavezine@gmail.com

July 6, 2009

Review: Lowering the Body by Stephen Murabito

At their best, poems derived from childhood memories offer powerful insight about our world. In his most recent collection of poetry, Lowering the Body, Stephen Murabito offers this best. By sifting through the aspects of memory to paint a picture of a working-class family in upstate New York, Murabito succeeds in depicting a struggling world filled with resilience and a quiet pride.

In the book’s first poem, “First Prophecy, 1962" where we are introduced to a young boy who will be the voice of witness in the rest of the collection:

Once upon a time
On the corner of West Eighth and Oneida
A six-year old boy
Stood up on a coffee table,
Kicked aside issues of Look and Life
And shouted Giants, Giants, Giants.
The gathered Sunday clan
Of diehard Yankees fans.
Paused, stunned in salted Planters and cold Genessee.

These opening lines introduce us to a young boy who is different from his family. And indeed, it is this difference that comes into play for the poems that follow where a young boy is able to spin stories from both the concrete images of winter landscapes and hard, physical work and the more surreal images of family ideals and religious beliefs.

Family takes center stage in this book. Often, there are stories from a child’s point of view of family hardship. For example in “A White Baldness” the poet explains:

The only time I ever saw
My proud, strident, reserved mother
Run like a schoolgirl toward my father
Was the night he lumbered up the porch
And peeled open the screen door
With his left hand, the right bandaged
And dangling — a white baldness.

Certainly, a sense of urgency infiltrates this poem, with the persona is shocked by his mother’s fear. However, a quiet contemplation marks many more of the works. For example, in “Parents Sleeping” the young boy examines his parents in bed, asking, “Who were these exhausted people, these dead/Beauties the white covers muting their form?”

It’s in the landscape of the New York snowbelt where Murabito tries to answer this question. We see harsh winters where the world seems to be holding its breath and spring baseball games where fathers and sons enjoy the gentle breeze of competition and stadium hot dogs. But we see even more. In the poem “Delivering Sfogliatelle to Cousin May” we witness a world “Where soot and spit were tough enough/To still the Oswego River.” And in a closer, more domestic scene, the poet chronicles a fight where “Uncle Mickey beat a man up onto his front porch and out his side door, leaving him to bleed/Into the last green of that year’s tomatoes.”

But the main setting in this collection is the family grocery store, a world most completely described in “Four Quarts, Four Loaves” during a snowstorm:

During the Blizzard of ‘66
The only thing that wasn’t white
Was the inside of our house
At last, after the two-hour trek

To get bread for his customers,
My father emerged from the front door,
Itself gone white around him.

This world of a family store (and the struggles found within its isles) is the main backdrop of many of these poems. Its conclusion is found in the last poem of the collection titled “Saby Closes the Store, January, 1969" where the persona contemplates the final hours of a store by saying, “I’d like to think he wasn’t alone/When he locked up, rounded Eighth, and came home.”

Indeed, many of Murabito’s poems are sobering. Still, this collection is not without humor. For example, who could not at least smile at the small boy in “Eating Pepperoni on Good Friday” who takes “the magic stick from my father’s meat case” so he can sneak to the roof where “only God, above the oaks, can spot me.” Or laugh out loud at the images in “My Mother Joins the Hippies” where the mother “Dark Polish face hardened from beauty to political outrage” leaves her store to protest “our own Mrs. Thompson” who was banned from teaching because she was pregnant.

In essence, Murabito’s collection is a work of landscape. Through his words, we feel the ice cold of upstate New York, we smell the food from a family grocery store, and we see the tired lines in the people’s faces and smiles. But through this collection, we also have poet chronicling a world of family owned businesses, intimate gatherings, and an America that seems to be fast disappearing.

Review by Karen J. Weyant

Lowering the Body by Stephen Murabito was published by Star Cloud Press.

Karen J. Weyant lives and teaches in western New York. Her first chapbook of poem, Stealing Dust, has recently been published by Finishing Line Press. She blogs at www.thescrapperpoetwordpress.com

July 5, 2009

Pittsburgh Lit Events July 5 - July 12

Tuesday, July 7:


91.3 WYEP Radio

Hemingway's Summer Reading Series
feat. Madeleine Barnes, Joan E. Bauer, Ann Tomer, and Lori Wilson

Hemingway’s Cafe
3911 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA (Oakland)
8:00pm – free – (412)621-4100

Thursday, July 9:

Coatlique Reading Series
The final reading this season in Encyclopedia Destructica's Coatlicue Reading
Series, featuring Jerome Crooks, Holly Coleman, Weave Magazine Co-Editor
Margaret Bashaar, and others.

Encyclopedia Destructica Studios
156 41st St, Pittsburgh, PA (Lawrenceville)
8:00pm – free – (412)904-3098

Friday, July 10:

Most Wanted Fine Art Presents
feat. Carolyne Whelan, Meghan Tutolo, and Courtney Lora Lang
Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery
5015 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA (Garfield)
7:00pm - ? - (570)575-6557

Saturday, July 11:

Time Management for Writers
Aubrey Hirsch, author, editor and creative writing professor at Chatham

University leads this free workshop presented by the Pittsburgh Writers Project.
Greentree Public Library
10 W Manilla Ave, Pittsburgh, PA (Greentree)
10:00am - free - (412)921-9292

Do you have a literary event you want to see listed on our calendar?
E-mail details to: joel.weavezine@gmail.com

July 2, 2009

July is HOT in Pittsburgh - get your dose of SPF!

Have you heard about all the hot literary events happening this month in Pittsburgh? If not, you better get on board with Pittsburgh Small Press Festival (SPF for short) and be sure to get your dose of creative sunshine! Weave Magazine will be participating in a number of ways including hosting an upcoming poetry and flash fiction workshop (more info to be announced soon!) as well attending the Small Press Expo on July 18th & 19th at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery on CMU campus.

SPF is Pittsburgh's Small Press Festival featuring presses, organizations, and publications from the tri-state region. It is sponsored by Open Thread and is supported in part by a Seed Award from The Sprout Fund.

July 1, 2009

Weave Subscription Drive a HUGE Success!

Weave Magazine would like to thank everyone who supported us in June's Subscription Drive. Not only did we meet our goal - we exceeded it! We sold 31 subscriptions in 30 days! We are both humbled and excited by your support and we can't wait to bring you the third issue of Weave.

This is such great news as we transition into July and some really exciting literary events happening in Pittsburgh. Weave is participating in the Small Press Festival this month and will release information about our latest workshop within the next week. In the meantime, we'd like to thank our final batch of subscribers, along with all our subscribers this month.

Leslie Anne Mcilroy
Lindsay Lusby
Beatina T.
Susan Lange
Geoff S.
Donald Anderson
Dave B.
Michael O.
Eric McKinley
Andrew Mulvania
Renee Alberts

Thanks again everyone!