Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pushing the Cart - Editor Lisa Vihos Nominated for Prize

At Stoneboat, I'm proud to have the opportunity to work with three brilliant writers. Their skills and creativity have been inspirational in moving our journal forward. The most prolific of our editorial staff, without a doubt, is Lisa Vihos. It seems every time I talk to her she has submitted a poem to yet another journal, has published a chapbook, or is leading a weekend workshop to share the art of poetry with others. Not only does she create a large volume of work, she creates a large volume of great work. This is evidenced by the inconsequential stack of rejection letters she has received.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shrinkage and Freebagging: A Lesson in Writering

We all have those things that we have to do--mow the lawn, go to work, feed our children, be nice to people. I'm okay with an extent. Lately, however, I've found myself marginalized through my desire to make myself look like something that I'm not. I've been wearing my fancy little khakis and $6.00 Wal-Mart polos so I look like the good little graduate student, happy to service all of your computer needs. By the way, I've just completed my 200th college credit, and none of them had anything to do with computers. It's not often that one can be hired and pursue a job which he is completely unqualified for...unless that person is a republican.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

At the Stoneboat Reading

We had a really nice event at Paradigm this afternoon, an open mic reading highlighting the third issue of Stoneboat, issue 2.1. I can't believe that one short year ago, we introduced our little boat. Look how far we have come.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Corner of the World Are We Talking About?

When you get right down to it, the world has become a very small place. We Stoneboat-niks feel ourselves connected to our fans and contributors whether they live in Wisconsin, Alaska, California, New York, Arizona, Mississippi or elsewhere. The corner we occupy here in rural Wisconsin—not too far from the blue depths of Lake Michigan—is just one corner of a much larger and more global community of writers and visual artists. It has certainly become a cliché, but I will say it anyway: technology is helping the world to shrink. But in that shrinking, that banding closer together, we find that ideas and friendships—instead of becoming more narrow—are actually growing wider and expanding farther.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stoneboat Needs Your Support

Personally, I think Stoneboat is one of Wisconsin's finest multi-genre literary journals...but then, I'm biased. You would probably prefer to decide that for yourself. It's easy enough to do-- just hop on over to the featured work section of our website to peruse poetry, prose, and art from the fall issue. (We've also got several online exclusives for your reading pleasure, including a poem from Spring 2011 contributor KP Liles).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Stoneboat!

Can you believe that Stoneboat will be one year old next week? To be honest, neither can we -- but that doesn't mean we don't intend to celebrate.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Words from a Master

"A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight... it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, ‘Simba!’"
~Annie Dillard

Friday, September 16, 2011

Of Friends, Stones, and Gratitude

You know, you just know who your friends are, because they are always there when you need them. They call you on your shit. They knock sense into you when you need it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Changing the World, One Poem at a Time

Since last spring, I have been getting to know a group of poets from all over the world on Facebook, thanks to the efforts of San Francisco Bay-area poet, Michael Rothenberg, and his amazing project, 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Send Shit Out Night

I have been submitting my work to literary journals since 2003 (although only recently have they begun to publish me; the photo at right depicts my stack of rejection letters next to the seventh Harry Potter book, for scale, and these are only the hard copy rejections -- there are plenty more that have come via email*). As someone who has been playing the submission game for quite a while, I've created a system. I read the ads in Poets & Writers and The Writer's Chronicle to find journals that my work seems to fit. I check their guidelines online, then address the cover letter. I print my essay. I use my best handwriting on a large manila envelope and the SASE tucked inside, record the submission on a spreadsheet (a hard copy, even!), mail those over-sized envelopes after standing in a long line at the post office, and then wait anywhere from several weeks to 18 months for a response.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stoneboat Journeys to Venice with Lisa at the Tiller

Is tiller the right word? I am very sleepy, but it felt important to mark this occasion with a short entry here on the blog. Tonight, I read from my first chapbook, A Brief History of Mail. My poems were well-received. I sold several copies as well as a couple past issues of Stoneboat, and I was approached by Beyond Baroque bookstore to supply a few consignment copies and a signed and inscribed archival copy of each piece.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Brief History of Mail by Lisa Vihos

Pebblebrook Press, an imprint of Stoneboat, announces the publication of its first chapbook: A Brief History of Mail by our very own Lisa Vihos. The chapbook features 19 poems that Lisa identifies as "reader favorites," and poets Philip Dacey, Marilyn Taylor, and Ned Balbo have all given it the thumbs up. (For what it's worth, Rob, Jim, and Signe have also given it the thumbs up.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Greek Chicken Rolls and Carrot Cake Make the World Right

Well, it wouldn't be an editorial meeting anymore if we did not have a delicious meal, thanks to our resident chef, graphic designer, and staff photographer, Jim Giese. To watch Jim flip a frying pan full of onions and zucchini rounds is to watch a master at work. Along with the sauteed zucchini, Jim prepared these amazing buttery, savory, puff pastry "logs" filled with a thoroughly yummy chicken/spinach mixture. I brought the salad. (That is my department. I like to make and eat salad more than just about anything. Well, there might be a couple things I like more. They shall remain nameless.) Rob brought wine. Signe brought...herself. That is always more than enough.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Calm Before the Storm

[in which she invokes one of the most tired clichés ever]

For now, things are relatively calm in Stoneboat land. We've tamed the unruly email inbox. We've charted the submissions. Hell, we've even read the submissions! For the past few weeks, we have been sitting on our respective couches sipping wine (or beer if you're Rob and Jim, and maybe if you're Lisa; to be honest, I have no idea what my co-editors drink at home), exchanging emails, and counting down the days until August 6th.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Importance of Lunch

What with all the activity of summer, we editors have not had a chance to hang out together very much. Signe and I decided to do something really radical today and take a break for lunch. I look forward to talking about the upcoming issue with her. We are coming up on our deadline for submisssions, and we have A LOT of them to read yet. This is the bane and beauty of editing a small journal: looking at all the material that arrives from points unknown and making some kind of decision. Does this touch me? Does this grab me? Does this move me? Now I have a clearer sense about what editors go through when they look at my work. It does give one pause. We are all trying to express ourselves, our visions. Let's do it as clearly, succinctly, and universally as we can. But first, let's eat lunch.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Importance of First Lines


Gregor Samsa was a cockroach when he woke up one morning.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.
Same idea, but a world of difference. Read them out loud. (Go ahead -- nobody's listening.) Can you feel it? Can you hear it? The first sentence is awkward on the tongue. It lacks rhythm. It sounds funny. It's not very detailed. There's less intrigue. The first sentence has the ring of an amateur.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Orestes" by Sandra Kleven

This is a [somewhat shaky] video of Sandra Kleven reading a poem out of Stoneboat, live from Alaska via Skype, during the April 21st reading. If you like what you hear, please consider purchasing the issue -- it's packed full of amazing poetry, prose, and artwork.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

That special feeling....

Okay, so there is this feeling you get when you stress and obsess about something, and then you do it--this thing you have been preparing for and worrying about--and then, before you can blink an eye or say "Ishkabibble," suddenly, the thing you have been working on is all done, completed, basta, enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Here!

In the midst of a freak mid-April thundersnowstorm, the spring issue has finally arrived! It includes, among other things, poems about Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson, an essay that quotes Annie Dillard, and a short story that mentions Wayne Gretzky (written by a Canadian, no less!). The issue also contains our new favorite word: "surplusage." (See if you can find it!) And, Stoneboat 1.2 marks our first foray into the world of black and white art. That's pretty cool, too. What more can you ask for in your friendly neighborhood literary journal? Not much, I say.

True Dedication

Let it be known that Signe and I drove ALL THE WAY ACROSS CAMPUS in a blazing April ice storm to pick up Stoneboat fresh off the printer's press. We managed to keep it from getting wet. And, let me just say, it looks fantastic.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

We Have Achieved Skype (We Believe)

Plans are in place and equipment has been secured. We even have a technical advisor, our Lakeland College colleague, Head of IT, the ever-stellar Larry Marcus, who will be on hand Thursday evening to help us pull this off.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


And, I forgot something very important. We do have one contributor, Erin Wilcox, coming all the way from Arizona and one contributor, Ross DeRosier, who lives right here in sunny Sheboygan. They will not need ghosts to represent them. We also have three visual artists who are in Sheboygan. But so far none have indicated a desire to speak about their work. But that doesn't mean they might not step up to the mic on the night of the event.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ghost Reading

First of all, let me say, I believe that this might be the first time I have ever posted something to the blog of my own volition, without our "Blog Mistress," Signe, encouraging me to offer some words on a given topic.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Reading Rumor is True!

Yes, on Thursday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Paradigm Coffee and Music in Sheboygan, 1202 N. 8th Street, we will offer a reading of selections from the soon-to-be released Stoneboat 1.2. This event will highlight the fantastic contributions to be found in our second issue, due to hit the streets and the county roads on April 15, 2011.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Your Stoneboat editors hard at work

Rob, Signe, & Lisa. (Jim couldn't make it.)

We're pissed off about the Wisconsin Poet Laureate situation, naturally -- but we're also pissed off about so, so much more. Also? It's Rob's birthday. Happy birthday, Rob!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making Lemonade

Okay, so along with all his other dangerous schemes, namely his plan to put an end to collective bargaining for union workers in Wisconsin, Scott Walker, our so-called Governor, has cut all funding to the appointment of the State Poet Laureate. This was a small pot of money (a whooping $2000 a year) earmarked in the state budget to support the travel expenses of the Poet Laureate, whose job it is to promote poetry throughout the entire state for a period of two years. Our first three Poet Laureates in Wisconsin were: Ellen Kort, Denise Sweet, and Marilyn Taylor. In November 2010, Marilyn Taylor’s tenure came to an end and Bruce Dethlefsen was named to the post by Governor Doyle. Although Scott Walker has jettisoned the Poet Laureate from the state budget, the actual poet is not going to go away!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What do I do now?

As of last week I finished student teaching sixth graders at Farnsworth Middle School. I must admit that I miss the children terribly, but I am now back into reading and writing mode. Being essentially finished with school, however, is incredibly disconcerting. There are no jobs in the area for teaching, so my options are limited.