Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monster Mags of the Midwest Reading--Live Blog

Hello, dear readers, we are moments away from the second Monster Mags of the Midwest Reading. We're all getting settled here at Murphy's Bleachers, grabbing a drink and such before the festivities begin.

7:01pm MAR
Editor-in-Chief is hosting and let us know there will be a contest where we have to name parts of a pig. Yay, prizes!

7:10pm Keith Lee Morris claims he will win the contest. We shall see, sir.

7:14pm Great turnout, people still coming in, so we're waiting a little bit before getting started. Nice to see so many current and former 9L staffers here.

7:20pm Not to brag, but there are literary celebrities galore here.

7:24pm Getting started. Featured readers are going to play Cornhole against each other. Winner gets a t-shirt.

7:25pm People are getting creativity points in the naming the parts of the pig contest.

7:26pm Matthew Gavin Frank is first up in Cornhole. Current score 5 to 1.

7:27pm First reader up-- poet Michael Robins. He has dedicated his reading to Whitney Houston.

7:28pm We're at standing room only now.

7:31pm Well timed pause as a train went by. This guy knows what he's doing.

7:35pm Michael is reading his poem from the current issue of MAR. You should check it out at the bookfair tomorrow.

7:37pm So many people here that I can barely see the stage.

7:40pm Confirmed that 9L contributor Brock Clarke is up next.

7:41pm Keith got 1 out of 5 in the contest.

7:42pm Everyone give a hand for Brock Clarke. He'll be reading a short short called "Cartoons."

7:44pm Brock's story is poignant and funny as always. Great response from the crowd. That was a sexy story. He killed it.

7:47pm Break for food and such. I highly recommend the tater tots at Murphy's Bleachers.

7:55pm No one in the room knows Cubs trivia. For shame.

7:57pm Cornhole round 2.

8:00pm 9L contributor Mary Biddinger is up next to dazzle us with some poetry. She gave a shout out to 9L. Woo hoo! She has revealed that having the microphone makes her feel like she should sing to us. Sadly, no singing.

8:02pm Becoming an expert finding spaces between audience members to take pictures of the readers through.

8:04pm Mary tells us people always ask her if she writes poems about the funny things her kids say. Her response, "no, no, no." Sadly this does not turn into a rendition of Destiny's Child, "No, No, No." But the poem she does read is awesome.

8:09pm Contest winners being announced. 4 finalists. 2 of them are 9L staffers Max Somers and Angie Hines. 1 one of them is not Keith Lee Morris. Time for rock, paper, scissors to determine the winner. "You may know your hog, but not your rock, paper, scissors." -- Mike Czyzniejewski.

8:11pm 9Lers lose. Sad face. Rachael McKinney is the winner.

8:12pm Keith Lee Morris is reading. Hooray!

8:16pm Brock Clarke makes a better door than a window. Just saying.

8:18pm Food paging system totally drowns Keith Lee Morris out. Oops. I'm sure whatever he was reading at the time was amazing.

8:25pm Four out of six readers down. Too much awesomeness, so we need a quick break.

Taking lots of pictures, so I'll be uploading them later tonight. Everyone seems to be having a great time.

8:34pm And the next reader is.....Matthew Gavin Frank!!! Go 9L contributors!

8:37pm Matthew Frank thanks Jodee. Big round of applause.

8:38pm Matthew is reading a poem at the Morrow Plots at the U of I. In the 20s and 30s it was a body dump and now it's a world renowned known research plot.

8:40pm His 2nd poem is from 9L! Mike C is holding Matthew's book to allow for more arm gestures. There is not gesturing during poetry readings.

8:51pm Corn hole champ to be declared soon! Matthew Gavin Frank is the champion!

8:55pm Tonight's word: decimating.

8:56pm Last reader--Laura Van den Berg. Yikes we almost wore the same shirt. Good thing I changed at the last minute. She's reading a new story about bank robbers.

9:06pm Another blockbuster performance!

9:08pm And with Mike C's closing remarks the reading is over and we can declare the 2012 AWP conference open!

Thanks to all the readers and for everyone who came out on this rainy Chicago evening.

Chicago Stories

To kick off our AWP 2012 coverage, we are proud to present a few excerpts from Michael Czyzniejewski's (vol. 7, no. 2) Chicago Stories: 40 Dramatic Fictions in our Featured Writer section on the main site. The book is just out from Curbside Splendor and will be on sale at AWP this week. If you can't make it to Chicago this week, you can purchase the book directly from Curbside Splendor. Enjoy!

And if you're going to be in Chicago tonight, don't forget to come to the Monster Mags of the Midwest, Part II reading. Details are in the post below. Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 27, 2012

9L @ AWP 2012

AWP 2012 week is finally here! There's so much good stuff going on this year that I don't know if I have time to tell you all about it/attend all the cool events. But here are some highlights that you should pencil in on your schedule.

Ninth Letter will of course be at the bookfair, so be sure to stop by table O24 to say hi, check out the new issue, and pick up some rockin' swag. This year's t-shirt may feature a certain cast member from Welcome Back, Kotter that also figures into one the essays in the new issue.

We'll have the following on-site deals:

1. A 3-for-1 subscription with Mid-American Review and The Cincinnati Review, where you will get a 1-year subscription to all three magazines for $33.

2. A 1-year subscription to Ninth Letter for $17 (reg. price $21.95), which also comes with a free t-shirt.

3. Copies of the current issue will be $9 (reg. price $14.95).

We'll also be teaming up with our partners in crime, Mid-American Review and The Cincinnati Review for the Monster Mags of the Midwest, Part II reading. Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, February 29 at 7pm
Where: Murphy's Bleachers (across from Wrigley Field)
Readers: Mary Biddinger (vol. 5, no. 1), Brock Clarke (vol 4, no. 1), Matthew Gavin Frank (most recently vol. 8, no. 1), Michael Robins, Laura Van den Berg, and Keith Lee Morris (most recently vol. 5, no. 2)

The reading is free and open to the public. I'll also be live blogging from the event. Follow us on Twitter (@ninthletter) to get updates about AWP throughout the week.


My original plan was to post info about the readings, signings, and panels that our contributors will be on, but there are just too many to list here. I'm going to try to make it to a bunch of them and will post pictures and information from them on the blog.

I will be roaming the bookfair and will be at the Ninth Letter table (O24) from time to time, so I may be asking you a quick question or two with the answers posted here on the blog.

AWP is going to be a lot of fun! See you there!

Friday, February 24, 2012

In a Distant Country, Part VI

We all knew this day would come and it is finally here, the sixth letter of Kyle Minor's "In a Distant Country" has been posted, which means we have reached the end of the serialization. We hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as we have.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In a Distant Country, Part V

The fifth letter in our serialization of Kyle Minor's "In a Distant Country" is now available. This means we're at that exciting part of the reading experience where we can't wait to see the conclusion and sad that such a great experience will end soon (next week is the last letter). Anyways, let's stay in the present and enjoy this new installment.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A 9L Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, beloved readers! To celebrate, we offer you a Valentine in the form of the brand new, music video for "Old Skin" by The Size Queens along with an extra special treat, "Affirmations for a Blow Up Doll." We hope you love it. And most importantly, be sure to leave your own affirmations here in the comments section!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

In a Distant Country, Part IV

The next letter in Kyle Minor's "In a Distant Country" is now up on the main site. Read it. Enjoy it. Start counting down to the next installment.

Here are the previous parts if you need a refresher or just want the pleasure of reading them again:

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Countdown to AWP 2012

AWP 2012 is just a few weeks away now, so we'll start bringing you info on our deals, swag, and Ninth Letter related events.

One thing you'll want to be sure to put on your schedule is the Monster Mags of the Midwest, Part II reading, which we are co-sponsoring with The Cincinnati Review and Mid-American Review. Here is the awesome list of readers: Mary Biddinger (vol. 5, no. 1), Brock Clarke (vol 4, no. 1), Matthew Gavin Frank (most recently vol. 8, no. 1), Michael Robins, Laura Van den Berg, and Keith Lee Morris (most recently vol. 5, no. 2). The reading, which is free and open to the public, will be on Wednesday, February 29, at Murphy's Bleachers (across from Wrigley Field!). The event will start at 7pm. It will be a great way to kick off AWP. I'll also be live blogging the event, so be sure to check back here for pictures and inside scoop.

In other news, here are a few recently published books from our contributors:

The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant (vol. 4, no. 2). Check out his blog for information on his research for the novel.

Stay Awake by Dan Chaon, which includes "Patrick Lane, Flabbergasted," which first appeared in vol. 4, no. 2 of Ninth Letter. Dates, times, and locations of where he'll be reading can be found on his website.

Contributors: if you have some news on a new book or have readings scheduled, be sure to contact us at, so we can pass on the news to our readers.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

In a Distant Country, Part III

It's time for the next installment of Kyle Minor's "In a Distant Country." This is the third part, which means we're half way through the six letters. These are not to be missed. Go read the new letter now!

In case you need to catch up, here are the links to the first two:

Part I
Part II