Tag Archives: Daniel Nester

New School Poetry Forum Presents Incredible Sestina Anthology Editor February 4

 

NewSchoolAdScreenshot

Editor of The Incredible Sestina Anthology, Daniel Nester, will read from the book and speak about sestinas at The New School’s Poetry forum on Tuesday, February  4,

Moderated by David Lehman, poetry coordinator at the School of Writing, a contributor to the anthology, and poet, critic, and series editor of The Best American Poetry series.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:30 pm
Klein Conference Room (Room A510), Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall
66 West 12th Street
Sponsored by the School of Writing.
$5; free to all students and New School faculty, staff, and alumni with ID.

Behind the Sestina: Alex J. Tunney on The Incredible Sestina Anthology and on “The Long Hot Summer Sestina”

alex tunneyAs most people who read these “Behind The Sestina” interviews know, we usually interview poets who are featured in The Incredible Sestina Anthology. While Alex J. Tunney isn’t featured in the book, he played a large role in its construction. As an undergraduate intern at The College of Saint Rose, Alex was there with Daniel Nester at the inception of this idea and the two have spiraled into madness together for several years.

We went Behind The Incredible Sestina Anthology with Tunney to talk about working on The Incredible Sestina Anthology, and to talk about his own sestina, “The Long Hot Summer Sestina,” that was inspired by the anthology.

What was your role in The Incredible Sestina Anthology?
I was one of the first editorial assistants working on the project way back in the summer of 2007 when it was still a project. I proofread, contacted poets, journals and presses for permissions and did some general office stuff like mailing and logging the projects process. Recently, I did some interviews and posts for the blog.

So this was during the “Long Hot Summer” from your sestina’s title?
That’s right.

What did you expect when you heard about an entire book just of sestinas?
Honestly, I don’t remember. I believe I did know about Nester’s work maintaining the sestina section at McSweeney’s, so doing something with all those sestinas must have made sense to me. I think I was just excited to be working on something that got me connected to the literary world at large outside of school.

Have you seen the finished product? Did it meet your expectations?I actually bought a copy at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene on a whim. I wanted to see if they would have it and, of course, they did. I just had to have it in my hands [you’re also getting a free copy in the mail soon, Alex! ed].

The cover looks great! My only real expectation was that the anthology get published. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

Do you have a favorite sestina from the book? A favorite sestina poet?
For my favorite poem, I’ll go with Laura Cronk’s “Sestina for a Sister.” The nature of the structure of the sestina allows for a focus on things and ideas and this poem illustrates that very well. She’s able to render a great story because of the repitions force readers to certain words and objects.

For favorite sestina poet, I’ll go with David Trinidad. “Playing with Dolls” reminds me of my childhood, and “Detective Notes” references Clue and is also a brilliantly constructed sestina.

When did you first discover the sestina?
I probably discovered it while I started working on this project that summer. If not then, it was probably during a class taught by Nester the semester prior to the “long hot” summer.

During this sestina project you were inspired to write your own sestina, “The Long Hot Summer.” What can you tell me about this sestina?
I wouldn’t say it was “inspired” so much as it was assigned to me by Barbara Ungar, in the poetry class I had with her that fall semester after the eponymous summer. A sestina about a sestina anthology? I couldn’t pass that up. Of course, my life had managed to seep into the piece eventually, something I don’t think I could have avoided.

I remember hating this sestina immediately after writing it, especially the last line. It’s not Elizabeth Bishop’s “(write it!)” as it is a Marx Brothers’ punch line. I still have my issues with it. Having written about this summer twice—during the summer itself and recently for grad school—I know that I avoided from going further into what happened during the summer and I think the poem suffers because of that.

Having said that, I also tend to take myself too seriously and am perpetually embarrassed by my past self, so take that last reason with a grain of salt.

I do like things about this sestina. I love the flexibility the word “really” has throughout. I also like that the repetition of the form relates to the focus that comes with reading and, well, love.

Had you written any sestinas before (and have you written any since)?
No, I haven’t and I haven’t written any since. I tend not to write poetry because prose (mostly nonfiction) is the format in which I feel I can best express my thoughts and feelings. When I attempt to write poetry it tends to turn into prose with line breaks. That said, I am very tempted to revise/update/salvage this sestina.

You know as well as I do, first sestinas are always dedicated to someone. Who would you like to dedicate this sestina to?
It would be obvious to say Nester, wouldn’t it? But, I will dedicate it to him. I owe a lot to him.

I also want to dedicate to an additional three professors I had at The College of Saint Rose who were essential to my development as a writer. First is Dr. Ungar, who made me realize it was just as important to have a sense of humor about myself as it was to take myself seriously. Next would Kim Middleton who fostered my love of examining pop culture and gave me the tools to do it well. Last but not least is Cailin Brown of the Communications department, who advised me while I worked on The Chronicle newspaper and taught me not only how to look for the truth, but the importance of how it is presented to readers once it is found.

Continue reading

ICYMI: largehearted boy Publishes The Incredible Sestina Anthology Book Notes, Playlist

In a lot of ways, The Incredible Sestina Anthology is just one giant mix tape of sestina-awesomeness. What better way to showcase this than our very own Book Notes?

Daniel Nester’s TISA playlist includes everything from opera to the Lone Ranger theme song. For the full list, published this past Friday, click here.

lhb

Sestinapalooza: The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Blog Post about The Incredible Sestina Anthology

It was a big week for The Incredible Sestina Anthology publicity last week!

In case you missed this academic marvel, we were reviewed by Ben Yagoda in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Yagoda writes that this is the anthology he had been “waiting 40 years for… without realizing it.” His review includes the first stanza of Elizabeth Bishop’s “Sestina” (maybe you’ve heard of it?).

chronicle of higher edYagoda also name-drops some of our great contributors, including Matt Madden and Casey Camp.

If you want to read the review in full, you can find it here.

The Joy of Six: Albany Times Union’s Sweet Article on Incredible Sestina Anthology

EPSON MFP image

 

In case you missed this awesomeness, Albany Times Union‘s Elizabeth Floyd Mair interviewed TISA editor Daniel Nester for a piece that ran in this past Sunday’s paper. Check the sweet title, The Joy of Six! Plus the first two stanzas of Laura Cronk’s “Sestina for a Sister in the sidebar.

The article is available online for your reading pleasure. The jump includes the sestina end-word scheme, pictured below.

TU 11 10 2013 c

 

Incredible Sestina Anthology goes on the road!


pointing finger

If you’ve been checking out the events page here, you might know this already, but we’ve added some tour dates for early next year! Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Seattle: you are in luck. Sestina luck!

Details below. Stay tuned here for launch readings and other incredible events!

Sunday, November 17, 2013
O.P.P.: Other People’s Poetry
featuring Daniel Nester reading from The Incredible Sestina Anthology
6pm
Social Justice Center
33 Central Ave
Albany, NY 12202
Sponsored by The Social Justice Center
Facebook event page

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Drexel/Painted Bride Quarterly
Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Upstairs at Fergie’s Pub
7pm
Ernest Hilbert and others read from The Incredible Sestina Anthology!
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, February 1, 2014
New York Launch Reading of The Incredible Sestina Anthology
With David Lehman, Sharon Mesmer, Sparrow, Victor D. Infante, Patricia Carlin, Jason Schneiderman
3pm
Poets House
Ten River Terrace (at Murray Street)
New York, NY 10282
Subway: 1, 2, 3, A or C lines to Chambers Street Station
Detailed directions here

Tuesday, Feburary 4, 2014
Poetry Forum at The New School
with David Lehman

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
NYU Bookstore
Scott Edward Anderson, Patricia Carlin, Victor D. Infante, Jason Schneiderman
6pm
726 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
212-998-4678

Friday, February 21, 2014
Chicago launch of The Incredible Sestina Anthology
Quraysh Ali Lansana, Marty McConnell, Leonard Kress, Kent Johnson, Jenny Boully, Elizabeth Hildreth
The Book Cellar
7pm
4736 N Lincoln Ave #1
Chicago, IL 60625
773-293-2665

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Seattle/AWP launch party for The Incredible Sestina Anthology
With Patricia Smith, Paul Hoover, Geoff Bouvier, Ravi Shankar, John Hoppenthaler, Sarah Green, Beth Gylys, Sharon Dolin, Nate Marshall, Tomás Q. Morín, Richard Peabody, Sonya Huber, Aaron Belz, Jade Sylvan, Kiki Petrosino, James Harms, Jeffrey Morgan, John Hoppenthaler, Jason Schneiderman, Sandra Beasley
Lucid
6pm
5241 University Way NE [map]
Seattle, WA 98105

Behind the Sestina: Jenny Boully on “Sestina of Missed Connections”

Jenny Boully is the author of five books, most recently of the mismatched teacups, of the single-serving spoon: a book of failures (Coconut Books). Her other books include not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them (Tarpaulin Sky Press),The Books of Beginnings and Endings (Sarabande Books), [one love affair]* (Tarpaulin Sky Press), and The Body: An Essay (Essay Press). Her chapbook of prose, Moveable Types, was released by Noemi Press. Boully’s work has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry, The Next American Essay, Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, and other places. She teaches at Columbia College Chicago.

We wouldn’t “miss” an opportunity to go Behind the Sestina with Boully to discuss her “Sestina of Missed Connections” featured in The Incredible Sestina Anthology.

When did you first discover the sestina?
When I was in my sophomore year of college, I took home the weekly packet for my creative writing workshop and was looking it over with another classmate. We were both stuck on one poem that seemed to break many rules of poetry that we had learned. Why does it keep using the same words over and over and repeating itself? We made notes to such affect. My classmate read the poem out loud to me in a mocking manner. It was about meeting someone and getting their phone number and looking at the number in a bathroom stall. The subject was incongruous with the good, engaged, devout Southern girl who wrote it. When the poem was workshopped, I then learned it was a sestina, and I forgave it its repetition and inability to move past a moment in a timely fashion.

Have you written any other sestinas beside this one? I can’t seem to find any evidence, and I have all of your books!
Part of me wants to say “yes” and send you on another hunting spree, because I like the idea of Daniel Nester the Sestina Hunter. I have written another sestina, but it was never published [I want to see it-Ed.]. It’s in my BA thesis. Someone gave me the end words, I wrote the sestina, then she got mad and said I stole her sestina. I also like the idea of Jenny Boully the Sestina Thief.

Where did you get idea of poem, of using the language of “Missed Connections” ads? Presumably from Craigslist?
I wrote “Sestina of Missed Connections” when I was working at a book publisher in New York. All the other Editorial Assistants and myself would entertain ourselves by reading Craigslist for some reason. “The Missed Connections”
section was always highly amusing and also sad. People who posted there seemed crazy, desperate, sad, hopeful. I also thought that sestinas were crazy, desperate, sad, and hopeful. The end words of sestinas seemed to be “missed connections” to me, especially when the writer got inventive with variations on those end words.

Have you ever placed a missed connections ad?
I have not placed a missed connections ad, but they continue to draw me in.

I have this idea that the language of missed connections speaks to other parts of your work–the idea of intimacy and language and the missed connections of meaning. Or am I completely off track?
You’re not off-track at all–and I love that you’ve come up with this rubric, which makes a lot of sense to me. I love the idea of the metaphor of “missed connections” and how it can play out in a multitude of ways, especially in reading, which is a major inspiration in my work–the idea of misreading books, the everyday, experience, relationships, trying to discern the mundane and the miraculous.

The first sestinas were always dedicated to someone—to whom would you dedicate your sestina?
I would dedicate this sestina to the woman who wrote that one sestina I encountered in my creative writing packet during sophomore year. I am only realizing now that both of our sestinas mention a phone number; her sestina was about a made connection, mine about a missed, however metaphorical.

Behind the Sestina: Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s “A Sestina for Shappy, Who Doesn’t Get Enough Love Poems”

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is the author of six books of poetry, most recently The
Year of No Mistakes (Write Bloody Publishing), as well as Dear Future Boyfriend, Hot Teen Slut, Working Class Represent, Oh, Terrible Youth and Everything is Everything. She is also the author of two books of nonfiction: Words In Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam and Curiosity: Thomas Dent Mütter and the Dawn of Modern Medicine, forthcoming from Gotham Books/Penguin.

Aptowicz’s most recent awards include the ArtsEdge Writer-In-Residency at the University of  Pennsylvania, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and an Amy Clampitt Residency.

We unearthed Aptowicz’s “time capsule” and asked her about “A Sestina for Shappy, Who Doesn’t Get Enough Love Poems,” included in The Incredible Sestina Anthology.

When did you first discover the sestina?
I am sure I was first introduced to the sestina form in high school, but the first time I saw contemporary poets use it in a way that was exciting and inspiring was in the online lit journal, McSweeney’s Internet Tendancies, which only published poetry in that format.

Have you written sestinas before this one or since?
I have only written one other sestina, and it was written before this one. When I first graduated from NYU, the only job I was offered was a writer and editor for a porn website. And, as a hazard of the job, I was bombarded daily with pop-up ads advertising other porn sites. I noticed that many of the ads used the same words (you can imagine what they are!), so I spent MONTHS collecting phrases from pornographic pop-up ads to create a “found poetry” sestina. When I finally plugged in the last “found” line I was filled with such joy at a job well down–and then, almost after, a woeful sorrow at what my poetic life had devolved into! The resulting sestina can be found in my book, Hot Teen Slut, which is a memoir-in-verse about my year working that job.

Can you describe writing ‘A Sestina for Shappy?’
I was invited to try the sestina format again by McSweeney’s Internet Tendancies, editor Daniel Nester, and when I tried to think of a subject to place in the center of the poem, my relationship with my partner Shappy came to mind. At that time, I had not written much about us, and the timing felt right. The poem came out pretty easily and I was thrilled when it was well-received both on the web (it was later accepted by McSweeneys) and page (it became a crowd favorite at my local poetry venue, the Bowery Poetry Club).

This sestina describes the tentative beginnings of a relationship. Now, six years later, what is like re-reading this poem?
I think it captures wonderfully that time in my life. Shappy and I dated for eleven and a half years, and our years in the tiny kitsch-crammed apartment are among the happiest I’ve ever lived.

Would you consider writing a sequel? If so, what do think the sequel sestina– a sequestina, if you will—would discuss?
I don’t think I would write a sequel. The poem is time capsule, and I think it is best if it remains that way.

The first sestinas were always dedicated to someone—who would you dedicate your sestina to (outside of the obvious candidate)?
The obvious candidate—my partner Shappy – is the only candidate. He absolutely earned every drop of love I crammed into that piece, and I still love him to this very day.

–Interview conducted by Alex J. Tunney

SestinaWatch Vol. 1: Algebra, Tumblr, Heresies, and Judith Barrington

Sestina HQ (also known as Daniel Nester's Office)

Sestina HQ (also known as Daniel Nester’s Office)Hi Sestina-istas! Alex the Intern here, bringing you the latest happenings in the world of sestinas.

Greetings, Sestina-istas! Alex the Intern here, bringing you the latest happenings in the world of sestinas.

Here at Sestina HQ, we  are obsessed with all things sestina. In addition to bringing you behind-the-scenes access to The Incredible Sestina Anthology, we feel it is our job to make your sestina-senses tingle. We promise to scour the web and bring you all things sestina. I’m talking sestinas about everything and anything. Sestina lovers will be united and we will all be one step closer to sestina world domination.

Whether you’re a newbie to the world of sestina or a seasoned sestina veteran, we’re happy to have you in our Incredible Sestinas universe. We’re always looking for new material and suggestions. If you’re a published poet, an aspiring blogger, or simply just a sestina-phile, we’d love your suggestions. Comment below with a blog, a poem, or a video that you think should be featured on the Incredible Sestinas website, or email us at incrediblesestinas[at]gmail.com. And please give us a follow so you can stay up-to-date on our sestina-licious world!

In this first SestinaWatch after the jump: we have a book for lovers of algebra and of sestinas, original poetry, a revolutionary idea going down in Georgia, and much more!

Continue reading

The back cover copy!

A whole book of sestinas? Are you freaking kidding me? I know. Hear us out.

The sestina is one of the world’s oldest literary forms. It’s also one of the most tricked-out and wacky: six words appear at the end of 39 lines over the course of six, six-line stanzas and a three-line finale. Since it was invented 700 years ago, people keep writing them.

Why? Because of the challenge it presents poets to experiment with a six-pack of words and a spiral-based secret code hidden inside.

For this incredible anthology, poet and editor Daniel Nester has brought together more than 100 sestinas. Here, in all their glory, are poets from all schools and stripes who have taken the sestina challenge, from Sherman Alexie to Louis Zukofsky and everywhere in between:

  • sestina classics from John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Ezra Pound, Anthony Hecht, Donald Justice, and Marilyn Hacker
  • modern masterpieces from David Lehman, Patricia Smith, James Cummins, Sandra Beasley, Quincy Troupe and Anne Waldman
  • double sestinas from Denise Duhamel, Ernest Hilbert and Star Black
  • Matt Madden and Casey Camp’s comics sestina
  • Florence Cassen Mayers’s minimalist takes
  • Jonah Winter’s world-famous “Bob” sestina
  • selections from Nester’s picks as sestinas editor at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, from Rick Moody, David Trinidad, Rachel Shukert, Alfred Corn and Steve Almond
  • and much, much more!

With comments from contributors that take us “Behind the Sestina,” The Incredible Sestina Anthology is a greatest hits collection of this incredible form.