Jet Fuel Review Special Section: Bouts-Rimés

The Jet Fuel Review is hosting a bouts-rimés dossier for our Spring 2016 issue in addition to its regular content. A bouts-rimés is essentially a collaborative sonnet in which everyone uses the same proposed rhymes in the same order. Please feel free to send us 1-3 bouts-rimés using the rhymes below in their specific order. You can submit your work here. The proposed rhymes are as follows:

a: envelope
b: orange
a: telescope
b: singe

c: eyelash
d: wire
c: mustache
d: fire

e: underhand
f: render
e: ampersand
f: tender

g: photogenic
g: pomegranate

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:
bouts-rimés, (French: “rhymed ends”), rhymed words or syllables to which verses are written, best known from a literary game of making verses from a list of rhyming words supplied by another person. The game, which requires that the rhymes follow a given order and that the result make a modicum of sense, is said to have been invented by the minor French poet Dulot in the early 17th century. Its wide popularity inspired at least one notable tour de force, an extended satirical poem by the French poet Jean-François Sarasin.). The fad was revived in the 19th century when Alexandre Dumas invited French poets and versifiers to try their skill with given sets of rhymes and published the results in 1865.

​​In Memoriam: JFR Editor Lucas Boelter (Sept 23, 1990-Sept 24, 2015)

Dear readers, Jet Fuel Review has established a memorial page for our editor Lucas Boelter with some of his poetry, which deserves to be read. There are also tribute comments about Lucas from students, faculty, and others. If you have anything you’d like to say about Lucas, please send it to our blog editor, Michael Lane, and we will post it on this page as we are able. You can also read an interview with Lucas here

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Prayer

Imagine I have a hook
and your body splayed above me,
hooked, and it is as if each cut
breathes, like a mouth, into my
mouth.

We are kissing, darling,
how I have prayed for this.

 

 

Lucas Boelter’s intellect, imagination, and conscientiousness allowed him to be a striking writer and excellent editor. The qualities of his poetry, which you will see below, embrace the marvelous, contain an affinity for oddities, and involve dreaming and liminal states as they drift between levels of perception, invoking magical and dazzling tableaux with their lyrical complexities. They revel in the imagination, creating strange landscapes, refreshing tonal changes, and complicated sonic terrains as evidenced in his poem “Waterfall,” in which he creates sonic pulses, echoing the rhythms of falling water by building on the “w” and “l” sounds:IMG_2165

. . . It will be my
waterfall and we will have children who
will rest on my shoulders. I will be a
waterfall god of sorts. The children will
be called Cougar and Matthew and in the
parks we will stroll.

Although Lucas’s poems are quirky and whimsical, and often conversational, they are counterbalanced with gravitas as they investigate and pose questions about the nature of “being,” as in the closing lines of his sonnet with the loaded title “Rest Room”:

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National Library Week!

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Exciting news, blog readers! This week is National Library Week, which means we should all get out of the house and appreciate our local libraries. As a part of this special week, libraries all across the nation will be holding special events to celebrate the public institution that is dedicated to the joy of reading. In these tough economic times, libraries need any help they can get. So be sure to head out and support your local library.

With the advent of more and more bargain bookstores, I know that I have been neglecting my library these days. But I have fond memories of walking to my library when I was younger and taking out stacks and stacks of books each week. The summer was the best, of course, because of the summer reading programs that charted your reading progress and offered prizes when you hit milestones throughout the summer. For me, the summer was always the best time for reading because school was out and there was nothing but time to sit and read and while away the hours in a fictional world. In fact, I’d probably say that the library was my favorite summer hangout as a kid.

Even if you’re not going to borrow a book, the library can be a fantastic place to hang out. It’s quiet, it’s comfortable, and it’s filled with people who love the same thing you love: books! Sometimes it’s nice just to sit and read in an environment that’s all about reading. It’s like being surrounded by the bookshelves in your room, but on a much bigger scale!

What are your library memories? Are you planning on checking out your local library for National Library Week? Share your library thoughts in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

A Literary Look into 2011

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Lots of websites that I follow have begun to post speculations or predictions about the year to come now that their 2010 retrospectives are finished. At The Daily Beast, they’ve posted a list of highly anticipated books that are coming out in 2011. I found the list interesting and there are a few books on here that I’ll at least be checking out or reading the back covers of.

There are many biographies included on the Daily Beast’s list, but the one that intrigues me the most and is most connected to the literary world is the biography of J.D. Salinger, J.D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski. It’s fairly well known that Salinger was a reclusive author, so I’d be interested to see what Slawenski has to say about him.

For fans of non-fiction writing, there is Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. I’ve enjoyed all of Sarah Vowell’s work so far and this book, which focuses on the state of Hawaii and the year 1898, promises to be just as interesting. Personally, I like that Vowell focuses on niche areas of American history and I’d love to hear what she has to say about Hawaii, still our newest state.

Personally, the book that I am most interested on this list is The Pale King by David Foster Wallace. Wallace, of course, committed suicide in 2008, so this book is being published posthumously. I assume that it’s complete enough or developed enough to be published, but the novel is still being billed as “unfinished.” I honestly can’t imagine what the novel will hold for readers.

If you’re interested, the full list of anticipated books with a 2011 release can be found here at The Daily Beast.

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan

Holiday Writing Comics from Inkygirl

Image created by Debbie Ridpath Ohi (http://inkygirl.com)

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Over the past week, illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi, or Inkygirl, has been posting delightful comics on her website that encompass writing and the quickly approaching holiday season. A lot of these comics portray just what I’ve been talking about in my posts all this week. So, I thought it would be fun to post them here  for you to see. Inkygirl has a great illustration style and a keen eye for the plight of writers, having inked many a comic for National Novel Writing Month. Click past the cut to see her holiday comics and be sure to check out her site at Inkygirl.

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Christmas Shopping for Nerds

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Personally, I consider nerds the easiest brand of people to buy for when it comes to the holidays. After all, nerdiness means openly declaring a love or affinity for something and adhering to that thing. As long as you’re not overly fickle, people will know what to get you. Me? I’m a nerd of the reading and writing variety, so it’s pretty simple to win my heart with a Borders gift card, a new book, or some kind of writing utensil. Because I’m crazy about reading and writing gifts, that’s what I’ll focus on in this post.

I think I’ve mentioned typewriter jewelry before in a ‘Fun for Nerds‘ post, but I have to mention it again in the nerdy shopping guide. In my internet research, I found a website that’s actually called typewriterjewelry.com, so that’s probably a good place to start. They even make cufflinks! Cufflinks made from typewriter keys! There are also bracelets, earrings, necklaces, money clips, all sorts of items made from typewriters.

Of course, the most stereotypical gift for anyone, let alone nerds, is a book. The Daily Beast has a handy guide of gift books for the last minute shoppers amongst you. These books range from biographies to potboilers, but the list is by no means exhaustive. Writers at The Daily Beast also chose their favorite books of 2010, which might be a good place to look, and Slate did a similar post.

Finally, there are a plethora of writing related presents you could give to the nerds in your life. When I want to ogle journals that I am unable to afford, I like to check out Kate’s Paperie, which has a truly staggering amount and variety of journals to wish for. In terms of actual writing utensils, Kate’s Paperie can also help you there. I like Staedtler markers and pens, as well as Uni-Ball, but sometimes it’s a good idea not to over-think a gift for the pen afficianado in your life. Personally, a pack of Bics would make me very happy.

So, I was able to cover your bases if you know anyone obsessed with typewriter paraphernalia, paper goods, or books. What ideas do you guys have? Which nerd demographics have I left out? Let me know in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan

Jonathan Safran Foer’s familial punctuation

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Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (both of which I recommend with every admirable phrase ever spoken about the written word) and, most recently, Eating Animals (which I have not read but I’m sure is perfectly wonderful. This morning, I found an interesting post from Jonathan Safran Foer on the nature of familial punctuation. I read the small portion that was quoted in my news feed and had to click to read the rest. Here’s the excerpt that was posted:

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Exclusive Interview with Daniel Handler

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This past week, Dr. Simone Muench’s Fun with Fiction students had the unique opportunity of virtually interviewing author Daniel Handler. Daniel Handler is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, AdverbsThe Basic Eight, and Watch Your Mouth. You may also know Daniel Handler by another name. His pseudonym, and the name under which he penned the Series of Unfortunate Events books, is Lemony Snicket.

Here, we reprint the interview in its entirety for readers of the Jet Fuel Review blog to read and enjoy. Questions in this interview were provided from students Angela Lewandowski, Michael Malan, Andrea Grundon, Tonya Peterson, Mary Egan, Summer Hallaj, Joe Kurpiel, Leander Haynes, Whitney Brough, Andrew Rock, Alicia McKendry, Jazmine Williams, Summer Ferrara. Please enjoy.

Interview Questions for Daniel Handler from Topics in Writing: Fiction Class, Fall 2010

1) With all the hats that you wear (author, musician, magazine contributor), why do you consider it important to help promote the careers of your fellow writers by writing book reviews, conducting interviews, etc.?

I enjoy participating in literature, not just by reading it and creating it but by talking about it and writing about it and meeting other people who make it and arguing about it in bars. I write book reviews because I like doing it, and because when I read misguided criticism it strikes me as a problem that I could help fix. I hope it promotes good books and good writers but only in the sense that I hope recycling cans helps the oceans.

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Writing in the Age of Technology

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In this post at Write for Your Life, blogger Iain Broome talks about applications that he uses on his iPad that help him get his writing done. According to his podcast, which you can watch at the link above, the iPad provides an opportunity to write in a whole new way, a way that’s even farther removed from our original medium of pen and paper.

This got me thinking about all the technology that I use to write these days. When I was younger, I was all about scribbling in notebooks. I have an entire dresser drawer full of my notebooks and journals from those early days. But as soon as my family acquired a word processor, I was doing more and more writing through that medium. There is something truly enticing about the snap of those word processor keys and the way it could print directly to the paper like a typewriter or print when you were finished, like a computer.

Lucas Sifuentes, our guest blogger, told me a while ago that he once traversed an entire semester of college with a typewriter for all his assignments. I confessed that I really didn’t think I could do that. I’m a fast typer, but I’m not really an accurate typer. That means that I type very quickly, but the ‘backspace’ key is pretty much my best friend on a computer keyboard. On a typewriter, there is no backspace, there is no room for second chances. I’m sure I could adapt to that eventually, but it would take a long time. I could hope that the charm of an old Underwood typewriter would ease the frustration of no backspace key, but I don’t think the charm goes that far.

Now, of course, there is the iPad. Personally, I have never held an iPad in my hands or seen one up close, but I hear a lot of good things. I hear a  lot of bad things too, but they don’t usually pertain to writing on the device. Even without having ever used it, though, I think I can safely say that I wouldn’t be able to write on it. I don’t even want to venture into the Land of the Kindle for my reading, so I think the iPad is one step too many into technology for me.

What do you guys think? How much technology is involved in your writing? Do you stop at a laptop or netbook, or have you tried writing on the iPad?

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan

Podcast: Writing Excuses

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So, recently I’ve been turned on to this writing podcast that I had no idea existed. I really didn’t even know they made podcasts for writing and writing advice. But I’m so glad that I found this one, so I’m passing it onto you guys as well. The podcast is called Writing Excuses and can be downloaded for free on iTunes.  If you don’t have iTunes, there are other options for obtaining the podcast feed.

Writing Excuses is a weekly podcast run by several authors who offer their advice and discuss issues involved in the craft of writing. They’ve been in operation since January of 2008, but I just stumbled upon them last week. The episode that I listened to this afternoon, (5.7: Avoiding Melodrama), was hosted by Brandon Anderson, Dan Wells, and Howard Taylory. I don’t know much about these three guys and their website doesn’t really explain who they are, but the site does link to each of their blogs and you can learn about them there.

Right off the bat, I really liked the format of Writing Excuses. They have a central theme, they keep the podcast to 15 minutes (“because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart,” says their website), and they provide inspiration. Sometimes all we need to get writing is to hear someone else talk about the craft of writing or about their personal process.

It helps, also, that all three of the hosts are engaging and entertaining to listen to. It’s simply fun to sit back and hear these three guys chat about writing. They’re all clearly experienced and have a lot to share when it comes to techniques, and pitfalls to avoid. The podcast also has a homemade feel to it, as if they’re simply recording this in one of the hosts’ basement. I like that independent, simple feel of  a podcast rather than something overblown and over-processed.

The podcast ended with a writing prompt for all the listeners to try right then and there. Of course, you don’t have to try the prompt right away or even try it at all. The prompt is a friendly suggestion to help inspire you. The hosts close by saying “you have no more excuses,” so — it is implied — go forth and write!

I’ve subscribed and I look forward to what Writing Excuses covers each week. Check them out and see if they get you in the writing mood.

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan