Wednesday, January 30, 2008

CRITICAL MASS: Introducing the NBCC's Best Recommended

"CRITICAL MASS: Introducing the NBCC's Best Recommended" lists five books of fiction, all--- all?! (excuse me while I have a minor irony-laced fit of semi-serious feminist apoplexy)--- by men. Really, guys, huh? Did ya think we were all baking cookies now? And the nonfiction list needs to include Nancy Marie Brown's The Far Traveler. But how much influence does the NBCC (National Book Critics Circle) have? I think I'm a member... I can't recall whether or not I sent my dues in... anyway, the NNYCSABG (Not New York Centered Self-Appointed Book Gurus) over at Shelfari and Good Reads may become far more influential, even among the literari. (Herewith a link to a thoughtoid-ish blog post on that topic.) Sorry to pop your balloon, guys. I do love Edwidge Danticat's writing, though. In fact, I included one of her short stories--- as translated by the sublime Pura Lopez Colome, in the first issue of Tameme. Speaking of which, I'm off to New York City for the AWP bookfair, where I'll be at the Tameme table. More anon.


It's a linky - linky world... and so we go, sculpting our very own info-scapes in time & space. Re: the upcoming panel I'll be chairing (Feb 9th) on blogs as new literary genre, and in particular, writers's blogs, for the Washington Independent Writers All-Day Fiction Seminar. My amigo, David Lida, author of Travel Advisory: Stories of Mexico, and a forthcoming and sure-to-be- fascinating book on Mexico City, sends me this link to a New York Review of Books article, "Blogs", by Sara Boxer, editor of the forthcoming anthology, Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web. But a caveat: there's language in there not for the prim. 'N dikshun drops galore-o-rama.
--->Gracias, also, David, for the link to Luc Sante's delightful Pinakothek.
--->And Alice (pictured above left, channeling Isabella Gardner): Yes, Pabu's is the best dog's blog on the 'Net.

More anon.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tameme: Kudos & Off to AWP

Pictured right: The new Tameme chapbook, of poems by Mexican Jorge Fernandez Granados, translated by John Oliver Simon, has been shipped from the printers in San Francisco... I have yet to see it myself... I hear it looks good... It should be on the Tameme table at the AWP bookfair in New York City's Hilton this Thursday-Saturday. Here are some kudos for both Tameme's catalog and the first chapbook, published last January 07, (pictured left), "An Avocado from Michoacan", by Mexico's master of the short story, Agustin Cadena:

“The appearance of Tameme Chapbooks / Cuadernos #1 is an overwhelming success. Its vibrant four-color cover and expert design beautifully and subtly underlies Tameme’s important mission to promote artistic collaborations between English and Spanish translators and writers from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico... a resounding celebration of a new beginning for this necessary venture in publishing.”
Harry Morales, literary translator

"This is a beautiful, evocative short story that's also handsomely produced."
Daniel Olivas, author of Devil Talk: Stories (Bilingual Press), La Bloga

"A poetically spare story of love and loss... Reading this beautiful chapbook gave me insight into the writing and translation process... a delicious glimpse behind the scenes."
Leslie Pietrzyk, author of A Year and a Day and Pears on a Willow Tree

"[A] really well put together chapbook. Tameme has been consistent in regards to one specific thing, everything they print is bilingual— the material is translated and as you turn the pages, the left side of the book is in the original Spanish, and the right side is the translated English. With the chapbook series, Mayo, who is also the publisher at Tameme, has also included her translator's notes, which are fascinating in their own right, and an interview, which is also bilingual in print. All combined, the chapbook is a very visually stunning book of 24 pages. The story itself is full of imagery...a great pace to it, and the images that the old woman and the narrator both bring out in their conversations are beautiful."
Dan Wickett, Emerging Writers Network

"An evocative story... I enjoyed reading it enormously."
Marco Portales, Professor of English, Texas A & M University, author of Latino Sun Rising

"Truly Tameme and C.M. Mayo are doing fine work and I hope others will visit the website and support the press:
Robert Giron, in Chez Robert Giron

Kudos also from Amanada Powell, Rigoberto Gonzalez in the El Paso Times, Jeff Biggers in Bloomsbury Review, and more... Gracias to all!!

About the cover paintings:
On Cadena's "An Avocado from Michoacan": "Avocados" by Edgardo Soberon.
--->On Fernandez Granados's "Ghosts of the Palace of Blue Tiles" "Tiled Window, Seashell and View of Mexico City" by Elena Climent.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Caroline Kennedy Backs Barack Obama


A President Like My Father

OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama. READ MORE

What Makes Great Blogging? Madam Mayo's Embryonic List o' Links

As I'm going to be chairing the panel on writers blogs at the February 9th Washington Independent Writers All-Day Fiction Seminar, I'm putting together a list of links to good tips on blog writing. So far:

---> Over at Copyblogger:
"...there’s no doubt in my mind that [Mark Twain] would make an excellent blogger. Actually, he’d likely be a blogging guru..." READ MORE

---> Over at Write to Done:
"Remember, blogwriting isn’t the same as writing fiction, or journalism, or magazine writing. There are similarities, of course, but blogwriting is a literary form in itself..." READ MORE.

--->Over at Inner Diablog:
"For me, the best bloggers − the ones that typify the medium and its unique form of exposition − are more than just 'air guitar journalists'. Two of my own literary heroes, Samuel Pepys (OP) and the more recently late Jean Baudrillard in their own ways both pointed towards to a new style of writing that consciously moves out towards the edge of discussion (or the long tail if you must) often adopting "controlled chaos" as the chosen idiom..." READ MORE

--->Hello out there, any suggestions?

32 Poems Blogger Deborah Ager's 7 Favorite Poets's Blogs

A thoughtful list here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Madam Mayo's Top 10 Writers's Blogs

Coming up Feb 9th: the Washington Independent Writers (WIW) All-Day Fiction Seminar at American University, Washington DC, for which I'm chairing the panel on writers blogs. So, what makes for a good writer's blog? I'm working on a list; meanwhile, here is a list of 10 that, though not necessarily my personal favorites, are outstanding examples of the genre.

#1. Design expert and author Edward Tufte's Ask E.T.
He calls it a moderated forum. Yeah, I'm calling the page a blog because I want to.

#2. Novelist and journalist James Howard Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation
Once a week, a zippy op-ed style essay.

#3. Novelist and creative writing teacher Leslie Pietrzyk's Work-in-Progress
Highly focused and meaty with helpful information. Frequently updated and features many guest-bloggers.

#4. Poet and literary magazine editor Deborah Ager's 32 Poems
Wide-ranging, quirky, frequently updated. Big on Web 2.0 tools.

#5. Childrens writer Erica Perl's Pajamazon
Childrens' book recommendations (and a bit more). Part of Offsprung news.

#6. Travel writer Rolf Potts' Vagabonding
Fun, daily updates, multiple bloggers working for him.

#7. Professor of History, Middle East expert and author Juan Cole's Informed Comment
One of the go-to places for news about Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Updated daily with multiple links and commentary. (Boy howdy does he sell ads!)

#8. Novelist Laila Lailami's Moorish Girl
She's been around almost from the time blogging began.

#9. Editor, graphic designer, translator and writer Tom Christensen's Right-reading
Eclectic quality links, and he encourages both mail and comments.

#10. A cabal of crime novelists's Naked Authors
Regular posting by Paul Levin, Patricia Smiley, James O. Born, Jacqueline Winspear, and Cornelia Read.

------>Is there a writer's blog you think I should know about?

More anon. And meanwhile, click here for the Gone to the Litblogs archive.

Friday, January 25, 2008

If You're Bilingual, You Count Twice

The Tameme T-shirt says so! Bilingually, por supuesto. Get yours, size XL, colors of the rainbow, supplies while they last--- along with the beautiful new chapbook ~ cuaderno by Jorge Fernandez Granados (translated by John Oliver Simon)--- at the Tameme table, which is #85, in the AWP bookfair in New York City's Hilton. Though the AWP conference is sold out, the bookfair will be open to the public on Saturday February 2nd, starting at 8:30 a.m.

P.S. Elena Climent is the cover artist--- view her painting, "Tiled Window and Seashell with View to Mexico City."

P.S.S. My own books, Sky Over El Nido, Miraculous Air, and Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, will also be available at the Tameme table. Sky Over El Nido will also be available over at the University of Georgia Press table, and Miraculous Air also at the Milkweed Editions table. And check La Bloga for updates on the many Con Tinta events.

Video Coming Up

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Literary Travel Writing Workshop this Feb. 10th at the Writers Center, Bethesda MD

I'm giving a one-day (afternoon, actually) workshop on Literary Travel Writing at the Writers Center in Bethesda MD this February 10th. For more information, and to register, click here.

Madam Mayo Hearts Elephant Art

If I had a (like, way) bigger garden, I would love to keep an elephant. And an elephant that makes art? Too delightful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Are You Curious?

Thanks to Lyn Buchanan, a link to a curious short film by Nic Askew--- an interview with Seth Godin on curiosity. Interestingly, Seth Godin is the founder of Squidoo. Crazily, I just volunteered to serve as a judge for the DC Short Film Fest. Maybe they won't take me up on it. More anon.

The New Tameme Chapbook is at the Printer

Not this printer---> but watch their video, it's a quadruple thumper. Tameme's new chapbook, Jorge Fernandez Granados' "Ghosts of the Palace of Blue Tiles," (beautifully translated by John Oliver Simon), will be available at the AWP bookfair in New York City at the end of this month. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


So, I'm thinking a lot about blogs as a literary genre. First because as a blogger and a writer, this interests me, and second because I'm gearing up for the panel on this very subject at the Washington Independent Writers All-Day Fiction Seminar on February 9th. One inevitable question: Is there money in it? Some blogs, such as Beatrice, Bookslut, and The Millions, sell ads--- in fact, check out the blogad for the new paperback edition of my book, Miraculous Air, on those very blogs. But some bloggers actually get paid to blog--- a salary or a fee, as for an other freelance writing. For example, Shawn Westfall, who will be participating on the WIW panel, blogs on the DC literary scene for DCist. Over at World Hum, an outstanding cornucopia of a travel writing blog, the founding writers sold the whole package to the Travel Channel and now they get paid to blog. Here's a fascinating article on the economics of writing for blogs, in the Columbia Journalism Review. More anon.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Re: the whole mega-ginormously exploderific social networking (Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, YouTube, ad lib, ad nauseum) Web 2.0 thing--- the other day, Madam Mayo discovered Squidoo. She made two so-called "lenses" (one on writing and the other on Mexican literature), two hours later came up for air, and has since decided that jeee-zus, diggit if you must, stumble it if you will, and it if you please.... But it's all too-too-too much muchness. I've taken to telling friends that, information-wise, I feel like a peasant who'd had only moldy potatoes to eat--- and then one day, they put me in a Rolls Royce, ferry me into Whole Foods and say, kiddo, whatever you want, have at it. Um. Eh. Er. Burp.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Washington Musica Viva

...has a blog... in addition to a fabulous website with links to composers. Grab your mouse & kowabunga.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Why Blog or, What's in the Inbox

So, apropos of the upcoming WIW conference, for which I'm chairing the panel on writers blogs as a new literary genre, I've been thinking a lot about writers blogs. Why does this writer blog? Let me count the ways... but for now, I'll mention one reason: I get a truckload of e-mail announcements, many of which I delete, but many of which would be, I would think, of genuine interest. Why not filter out the best ones, and share? I don't have the time to do this as often as I'd like, but herewith a selection of this week's batch:
---> On WETA's "Author, Author" Bethanne Patrick interviews Richard Peabody, editor of Gargoyle and the fabulous series of anthologies of work by Washington women writers. (Full disclosure: I'm a big fan of Richard Peabody's, and for more many reasons in addition to the fact that he included one of my stories in his first anthology, Grace and Gravity.) And by the way, his co-editor of Gargoyle, Lucinda Ebersole, is selling these very cool old-fashioned wood cake boxes--- pictured left.
--->Antonette May, who has written New York Times best-sellers, books about Mexico, and historical novels, has founded what looks like a very fun writers conference in California: The Gold Rush Conference.
--->Readers Circle, an elegantly friendly social networking site, is putting together writers and readers, and readers with other readers... bodacious archive surfing in there....
--->From Oaxaca, Mexican composer Arturo Salinas writes that his composition, "Awiroma," will be performed in Berkeley, California on January 29th (from the description, it sounds like this would get any writer's mojo flowing)
---> Beltway editor Kim Roberts announces the new issue, "Split This Rock: Poems of Provocation and Witness" featuring work by Naomi Ayala, Sarah Browning, E. Ethelbert Miller, and many more.
--->Ellen Prentiss Campbell will be reading at Riverby Books
--->John Curry sends a link to a Washington Post piece on "Blogging Japanese Style"
--->Emily Cook Walks the Talk--- she's the marketing director and publicist at Milkweed Editions, which published my travel memoir, Miraculous Air. She was too modest to tell me about this profile of her and her work in (wow!) Publisher's Weekly--- I happened upon it via a link from Bookslut.

But back to the question, why does this writer blog? I'm not blogging to cover book news per se--- that's nicely covered by The Happy Booker, Maud Newton, Beatrice, and Bookslut, among many others. I blog about whatever interests as a writer. It might be another writer, or a remarkable book, but it might be pug-vid, sparklines, the auras of the Mexican presidential candidates, a massive ugly schrub, flash fiction, Maximilian von Habsburg, or Icelandic film. Why? Because no one can stop me! And because blogging makes this world richer and stranger to me--- and, I like to think, to others. More anon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ellen Prentiss Campbell: A New Writer to Watch

... because she's doing great work. I've read her novel in progress--- I have such a feeling, it's going to be big. She's reading next Wednesday January 23rd at the delightful (one of my all-time favorite bookshops--- this one even serves afternoon tea) Riverby Books, 417 East Capitol St. SE (just down the street from the Folger Library) in Washington DC--- yes, right there in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, as part of Monica Jacobe's innovative A Space Inside reading series. The event is open the public. More anon.

Whither Books?

--->Publisher's Weekly looks at Jessica Crispin's Bookslut.

--->Jeff Gomez evaluates the latest up-and-coming e-book gizmo.

--->Tameme continues to publish beautiful four-color cover offset printed chapbooks. Ni modo. Announcement coming soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lubuto Library Project: Bringing Enlightenment and Hope to Africa's Street Children

Great news and a plea from my Washington DC librarian amiga, Jane Kinney Meyers--- one of the most original, professional, dynamic, and dedicated people I know:
"Please help the Lubuto Library Project meet a $20,000 matching pledge challenge!

Many of you gave very generously in response to our year-end appeal, but now there is an opportunity for Lubuto to receive a 100% match of your donor dollars! The $40,000 we will raise will allow us to begin construction of the next Lubuto Library. To help us meet the 6-week challenge goal, visit and click "donate now" or mail a check to:

Lubuto Library Project, Inc.
5505 Connecticut Ave., NW, #368 Washington, DC 20015-2601 U.S.A.

Lubuto will be featured in a story on Washington DC’s channel 5 news this Friday, January 18. For live streaming during the 8am and 11am newscasts, or to view the program afterward, go to

Raise money for Lubuto by shopping and searching the Internet with GoodShop and GoodSearch:"

Right-reading: Trajan Schmajan and Elmore Sez

Tom Christensen's Right-reading is a blog I really like, and here are two reasons why:
(1) He quotes Elmore Leonard
(2) He cares about fonts.
Ya gotta care about fonts. (Madam Mayo prefers Gil Sans--- and, FYI, so does E.T.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Way People Buy and Discuss Books

According to Jeff Gomez, author of that fascinating slap-on-the-head of a book, Print is Dead, the Internet... "will also-- and already has--- changed the way people buy, learn about and discuss books." Via blogs-- of course. And in particular, he mentions three social networking sites devoted to books:
Library Thing
Good Reads
Interesting, no? But with all these exploding social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace and more, not to mention Squidoo and, Madam Mayo is starting to feel what the Mexicans call "empacho." She just wants to turn it all off and go read a book. So, more anon. After some (nondigital) reading, that is. And what is Madam Mayo reading? The Far Traveler.

UPDATE November 2017: I have for the most part abandoned social media as I have found it to be an annoyingly addictive, mindless, and attention-fracturing time waste-- a formula for NOT reading books. Print is not dead! Print is both the present and the future for anyone who wants quality information and to enjoy quality literary art. That may be a dwindling minority of the population (seems most people have turned into smombies) but that's OK: There are still billions of people, and still thousands upon thousands of thoughtful and avid readers. Begosh, some of them actually use typewriters, too.

> Your comments are always welcome. Write to me here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lauren Cerand Tonight Washington DC

Lauren Cerand, a terrific book publicist I've worked with on my audio CD, is speaking tonight at the Womens National Book Association in Washington DC. If you're a writer, poet or publisher in the area--- and men, take note, you are very welcome to join the WNBA--- check this out. I very highly recommend it.

Guest-Blogger Jeff Sypeck on Other Writers' Blogs

Re: writers blogs. There are more of them everyday--- but which are the ones worth reading, and why? A very good one I've recently begun reading is Jeff Sypeck's, Quid Plura. He's the author of Becoming Charlemagne: Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800 and he blogs about medievalism, translation, Icelandic literature, Beowulf, Arthuriana, Washington DC--- where he lives--- and more. So, what writers' blogs does Jeff Sypeck read? Here's his answer:
With his "Whatever" blog, science-fiction novelist John Scalzi attracts fans and fellow authors alike to his thriving comments section.

Based in New Jersey, Steven Hart is a nonfiction author who blogs daily about American music, movies, and culture. These days, he's busy promoting The Last Three Miles, a really good book about the building of a really ugly highway.

Lee Goldberg works as a writer and television producer; he also writes media tie-in novels. Pointed and prolific, he offers a Hollywood's-eye view on such subjects as the writers' strike, vanity presses, and fan fiction.

Contemporary Nomad is a lively group blog that features regular postings by Canadian nonfiction author John Nadler; Budapest-based American novelist Olen Steinhauer; British spy-thriller author Kevin Wignall; and journalist Robin Hunt. They blog frequently about writing, publishing, and the expat experience.

--->Check out Madam Mayo's other guest-blog posts here.

My Amiga J. On the War-Path for Obama

Here's J.'s latest post, and it shows why, if Clinton takes the nomination, a lot of support for the Democratic party will defect to a write-in candidate or, I'm not kidding, the Republicans. I agree with J. 100%--- but aside from that, I mean, no matter what your politics are, have a look at J.'s page because it is only of thousands like it--- they're bursting out like blossoms in spring. One of the things I find most interesting about the '08 presidential campaign is the candidates's intensive and innovative use of the internet to magnetize supporters and donations. Barack Obama's webpage is splendidly easy to navigate and a five year old (well, I exaggerate, but only slightly) could slap up a "my barack obama blog." It seems to me that much of what is happening in bookselling is similar--- it's social networking. More anon.

Annie Dinerman's "Please Write" Collection

Singer and songwriter Annie Dinerman, a fellow Ragdale alum, will be singing in Brooklyn and Saratoga Springs and elsewhere--- check out her schedule at For you writers out there, check out her "please write" collection--- postcards from the 20th century. Antiques already. Yikes. More anon.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Off for a Sunny Sunday

Gotta get some sun. Back blogging, with another post on writers blogs as a new genre, after Monday. I'm going to be talking about frequency of posting--- more or less daily (e.g., The Millions and Conversational Reading), weekly (e.g., Jim Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation, which appears every Monday), and every once in a whenever (e.g., Agustin Cadena's El vino y la hiel). I'm preparing some notes for an upcoming Washington Independent Writers Conference, where I'll be chairing a panel on writers blogs. Any writers blogs you love? Hate? Where do you think writers blogging is going? I keep the comments turned "off" on this blog but it's not too tough to send me an e-mail. Just go to and click on contact. I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Literary Travel Writing One-Day Workshop in Mexico City

This January 19th, from 10 - 3 pm, in Coyoacan, Mexico City, I'm giving a literary travel writing workshop (in English, of course) via Dancing Chiva. For the full description, and to apply, click here. If you can't sign up for this one, I'm giving another at the Writers Center, near Washington DC, in February. And if you can't sign up for any of them, well, help yourself to the daily 5 minute writing exercises! As well as other resources for writers. More anon.

Friday, January 11, 2008

David Byrne in Wired

For anyone interested in what's happening with the book business: check out David Byrne's article on the music business in Wired. And here's his subsequent blog post on same. More anon.

Araceli Ardon

Mexican writer Araceli Ardon has just launched a new website in both English and Spanish versions. It includes information about her books, as well her articles on other writers, including Fuentes, Mastretta, and Pamuk. Check it out at And she's blogging! I was delighted to be able to translate her razor-sharp short story, "It is Nothing of Mine," set in Queretaro, Mexico--- which appears in my anthology, Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion. I talked about her story on my interview with National Public Radio--- and the NPR website has the entire story on-line. More anon.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

J. Has Burned Her Emily's List Card (Metaphorically Anyway, I Suppose)

So, why did La Clinton take New Hampshire by that slimmest of slices? Check out my amiga J.'s latest on her Obama blog.

Yet Not Ready for Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, et al...

To all my amigos who've been inviting me to "friend" them on Facebook--- thank you! You know I love you! But would that, with this blog, two websites, and a novel to finish, I had time to tackle Facebook... Anyway, as for blogging, my fellow panel participant on the upcoming Washington Independent Writers All Day Fiction Conference, Deborah Ager, has what looks like an excellent post on how to use Facebook. Check it out. And maybe, with her advice in hand, I'll get to signing up for Facebook later this year. Or, maybe not. Meantime, I hereby "friend" y'all on this here blog post.

UPDATE 3-5-2008: Yes, I do have pages on FaceBook and Linked In, but they're inactive for now. Re: Time to Blog & Read Blogs & Everything Else Everywhereallthetime

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman

by Nancy Marie Brown is beyond extraordinary. It is beautifully written, exquisitely imagined, deeply, broadly, courageously, and meticulously researched and--- yes, and--- it goes into the deepest vein of what story means to us all. I'm only half way through, and I know already that The Far Traveler will top my list of top 10 books read in 2008.

(Click for top 10 books 2006 and 2007).

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tameme @ AWP Bookfair in New York City

If you're coming to the Associated Writing Programs conference in New York City this January 30- February 2--- which, yowza, is SOLD OUT--- come on by the Tameme table in the bookfair. We'll have the new chapbook, a collection by award-winning Mexican poet Jorge Fernandez Granados, beautifully translated by John Oliver Simon--- as well as our first chapbook, the superb short story by Agustin Cadena, with a translation by Yours Truly. We'll also have the back issues of the Tameme literary journal, as well as some of my own books, notably, Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion.
P.S. Read an interview with John Oliver Simon--- and very shortly, we'll have the interview with Jorge Fernandez Granados up on the website as well. More anon.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Forthcoming in Potomac Review

Just got some very nice news from editor Julie Wakeman-Linn, that an excerpt from the first chapter of my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, a couple of scenes set in "the social whirl" of circa 1850s Washington DC, will run in the next issue of Potomac Review. So what's the news with the novel? I thought I'd finished it, but no... it needs another chapter. So, back to work. Who's the guy in the picture? That is Sam Houston (voici le wiki), and, up from Texas, he makes a cameo appearance... More anon.

Pack This in Your Suitcase

...and dislocate your shoulder. Well, maybe they are not quite so heavy, but The Icelanders's sagas's 848 pages are the equivalent, culturally speaking, of the pyramids of Egypt. Yep, indeed. More anon.

Monday, January 07, 2008

What is a Lit-Blog? Further Notes Towards a Taxonomy or, Herewith a Whole Bunch of Fuzzily Overlapping Categories

Re: blogs as a new literary genre: I'm going to be chairing a panel at the Washington Independent Writers conference (held at American University), Washington DC, this February 9th. So, what is a "litblog"? According to Madam Mayo, who is still, after nearly two years of blogging, trying to get her mind around the concept, literary blogs, or "lit-blogs" include:

#1. Writers's & poets's blogs
These focus on the writer or poet's own work, and whatever happens to interest them. Some focus tightly on their own work (ego city); others are more expansive (others do exist...). In my view, the best are not only well written but rich with information and links. Some examples of writer's and poet's blogs:
Madam Mayo (Yours Truly)
E-Notes (E. Ethelbert Miller)
Tod Goldberg
Chicks Dig Poetry (Sandra Beasley)
Moorish Girl (Laila Lailami)
Quid Plura? (Jeff Sypeck)
Composite (Liz Henry)

Already it begins to get fuzzy because we might ask, well, what's "literary"? Does that include just strictly literary writers or all kinds of writers? Nina Planck, for example, is a food writer, with a (very good, I might add) book about "real food." So is hers a "lit-blog" sub-category "writer's blog"? You decide.

#2. Blogs that are more generally about literature and the literary community / literary book business (note, many of these can also be considered "writers's and poets's blogs")

(a) Writing workshops / creativity
Work in Progress (Leslie Pietrzyk)
The Daily 5 Minute Writing Exercise (by Yours Truly--- no longer updated, but archives available on-line)

(b) book news, reviews, and literary community blogs
Arts & Letters Daily
La Bloga
The Happy Booker (Wendi Kaufman)
Maud Newton
Conversational Reading (Scott Esposito)
Critical Mass (National Book Critics Circle blog)
The Millions
The Old Hag
Paper Cuts (New York Times book blog)

(Herein are an infinity of possible subcategories--- Chicano, Latino, African-American, childrens, sci- fi, historical novel, magical realism, etc.)

(c) by literary agents
Miss Snark (Discontinued--- alas! Oh, it was snarky...)

(d) by literary translators
ALTALK (American Literary Translation Association blog)
Poet in New York (Mark Statman)

(e) by librarians
Tiny Little Librarian
Judge a Book by Its Cover
Library Bitch
Naked in the Public Library

(f) by book PR / marketing specialists
Buzz, Balls & Hype (M.J. Rose)
Rejection is My Middle Name (Peter Handel)

(g) by publishers
Right Reading (Thomas Christensen)
Unbridled Books News Blog (Fred Ramey)
Bullets of Love (Vrzhu)
Home Schooled by a Cackling Jackal (Reb Livington)
32 Poems (Deborah Ager)

More anon...

--->For an archive of my previous posts on litblogs, click here.

Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age by Jeff Gomez

Oh, irony, the book about the end of books--- quite a good book, actually. Check out the author's blog, More anon.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

White-Faced Soakers in the Snow

Soaking in Iceland's Blue Lagoon--- milky, blueish-green mineral water, so warm that a bare head in snowy weather was no discomfort. The lagoon was filled with Americans, Englishmen, Russians, Japanese... and, I suppoose, a few Icelanders sprinkled in there. Many had slathered their faces with the pudding-like white mud. One walks, crouched down just enough that the hot water covers one's shoulders, slowly along the squishy floor. If you dropped anything in this water, you would never ever find it again. And, lo, it really does leave your skin soft as a baby's you-know-what. More anon.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Madam Mayo Stood on the Duck

That's an Icelandic expression for taken aback--- and I was indeed last night when I saw the New Year's fireworks over Iceland's tiny capital, Reykjavik. Whistling, booming blooms of red, white, emerald, orange and blue all over, filling the horizon, nonstop for hours. I've been in Mexico City--- population 20 million plus--- on the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and boy howdy, those chilangos do like their firecrackers. But this--- I stood on the duck!--- was something else. And the air was sharp with gunpowder.

Gone to the Litblogs: Archive

Gone to the Litblogs is a regular "column" in Madam Mayo. Here--to be frequently updated--- is a list of these columns.

---> On Writers's Blogs: Guest-blogger Leslie Pietrzyk's 3 Dos and 3 Don'ts or, Learning to Promote Yourself Shamelessly in a Discreet Way

--->On Writers's Blogs: Guest-blogger "Right-reading" Blogger Tom Christensen on Writers's Blogs: 3 Dos and 3 Don'ts or, the Karma of Blogging

--->On the 2nd Anniversary of Madam Mayo: Five Lessons Learned About Blogging (So Far)

--->On Blogging and Writers's Blogs: Yummy Links

--->Time to Blog & Read Blogs & Everything Everywhere All the Time

--->To Blog or Not to Blog? That is Not the Question in the Web 2.0 World

--->Sarah Boxer's "Blogs" in the New York Review of Books

--->Tamara Kaye Sellman on Why Writers Should Blog

--->Tip o' the Turban to a Few More Writers's Blogs

--->Writers's Blogs: Madam Mayo's Top 6 Peeves


--->Madam Mayo's Top 10 Writers's Blogs


--->Why Blog or, What's in the Inbox

--->What is a Lit-Blog? Further Notes...

--->Guest-Blogger Jeff Sypeck on Other Writers' Blogs

--->Madam Mayo's Blogroll-o-rama

--->Back from ALA, Notes on Writers's Blogs

--->Madam Mayo's Top 10 Blog Title Picks

--->Alberto Ruy Sanchez's Cuaderno Abierto

--->Narrowcasting & More Notes Towards a Taxonomy

--->Chekhov's Mistress on BEA Blog Panel

--->Jim Benning on World Hum's Representative 5

--->Kim Roberts's Top 5 Litblogs

--->If I Only Had an iPod & Thoughts on Litbogs & Guest-blogging

--->Squeeze Out the Time You Need

--->Beltway's List of Blogs in DC and Environs

--->Dan Wickett Recommends

--->Scott Esposito's Conversational Reading

--->Madam Mayo, Who (Alas) Did Not Get Carded...

--->Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel's Hit List

--->What's Tops on Novelist Leslie Pietrzyk's Hit List

--->Madam Mayo Questions Daniel Olivas

--->Deborah Ager Champions the Epistle of Our Age