From our Editors: tiny tomorrow manifesto from Justin Hong

Hello! I'm Justin Hong, West 10th's poetry editor! I'm a junior studying Asian/Pacific/American Studies and Creative Writing. I am also all about dat anticolonialism, antiimperialism, antiracism, etc. tiny tomorrow manifesto/ Justin Hongafter Arundhati Roy  [tomorrow’s instruction manual is nestled inside this very if.]justplaintired, bonefizzy, and looking past yourself, you’re  learning how to make happy, freight happywith things that haven’t  happened yet. in  this sort of invention, the see-do poetics has amagazine you stuff with a dustcoated heirloom dream.  you tug on the trigger and the expired ammu-nition shatters, linguafranca barrel shatters. does  the handheld poetics shatter? it must. joy! but thatis all prepwork. for real step1 is: how to make rubble [hope] count?  

Getting to Know the Bounties of the CWP Website

Hello! Long time no blog. I blush. And I digress. So right to business:The NYU Creative Writing Program website is chock full of fun things to listen to when putting off homework/studying. I want to bring two such gems to attention.Did you know that NYU CWP and Slate magazine collaborated to create the Open Book series of videocasts with famous writers? People you admire and envy? Intelligent, intelligent folks? You can now listen to them and SEE them moving and breathing and being alive and successful right in front of your eyes, being interviewed by our own Fearless Leader and Director Deborah Landau, along with Slate's (and now NYU's as well) Meghan O'Rourke. The likes of John Ashbery, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Junot Díaz reside in the link below.Check them out here.And this I did already know about: the CWP has been putting up lovely podcasts of the past couple of semester's reading series. If you missed out on catching your favorite writer visiting NYU--or if you desperately want to remember that astonishing turn of phrase that writer said and you without your writing implement repeated over and over on the walk back home but forgot right at the door--your problems are solved.Check the podcasts out here.Perhaps you have already discovered such corners and gems. Alack (changin' it up). You super sleuth.

Poem-a-day and Prompt

Hello all!Am I the only one who gets ecstatically happy at the prospect of receiving a new poem every day in my inbox? Ah, thank you, my ears are tingling with the echo of that resounding "NO! Tell me more!"If you haven't already, take a moment to subscribe (for free!) to The Academy of American Poets poem-a-day email list. In 2009, the blissful poem-a-day routine only lasted for the month of April (National Poetry Month! I know, as if anyone needs a reason to love April more) but since April 2010, the Academy decided--with the help of internet voters--that the poem-a-day extravaganza should last year round. Hear, hear.So sign up, sit back, and start every morning by reading a new poem by an author you may or may not have heard of before. LOVE IT!And, to sign off, a prompt:Write a poem made solely of observations. As in, not putting you or your mind in there--just what you see/hear/smell/taste/touch. For example: I saw a blue wool coat lying across a cream-colored quilt. Not: I saw my roommate's coat lying across my bed. 10-20 lines. See what kind of scene you can create using these sparse images.

Defining Your World

Hello all!Welcome back to the real world (insert hard stare). The gloves come off!But do keep all gloves and mittens on because it was 6 degrees today and no one wants any fingers to fall off. You need them to write! And what good writing weather it is. Because you can’t go outside.During the last few days of freedom before the spring term began, I spent my time immersed in book called ROOM by Emma Donoghue, daughter of NYU’s esteemed Henry James Professor of English and American Letters, Professor Denis Donoghue.The book has been nominated for many prizes and has been on many best-seller lists since September 2010, when it was published. It is an utterly absorbing story told from the point of view of 5-year-old Jack. Jack is kind of amazing. And so is his story: he is the child of a woman who was kidnapped seven years before the novel begins. The novel takes place in the 11-by-11-foot room he and his mother have been trapped and living in.ROOM is by turns a thrilling escape story, a hilarious and frightening explorer’s tale, part literary horror film (horror…novel?), and the heartbreaking and heart-strengthening chronicles of a boy and his mother. The mother-son relationship is the life-blood of the book and if you were a child or have a parent (YES I MEAN EVERYONE YES THANK YOU) you should read ROOM. You won't put it down until you've finished it. Guaranteed.But besides giving a quasi-review of the book (OK a full-blown, passionate argument on its behalf)—I meant to post a writing exercise. In ROOM, Jack speaks of the objects surrounding him as if they were Close Friends. A rug is not just a thing on the floor. For Jack, it is Rug, a good friend and confidant who is there to be played with. So too with Table, and with Plant. He does this because his world is 11-by-11 feet wide. Your world is not this size, but try to scale everything down. This is an exercise in description.So: Try writing about an object like Jack might. You don’t have to write what it is, but try to write from a perspective that incorporates more than an object’s physical appearance—write in a way that informs what that object DOES to your world, how you interact with it. What does Lamp (that weird little lamp in your bedroom that your mom got you from an antique store when you were really young and didn’t care about presents that weren’t stuffed animals, that one with the peeling lace around the shade) mean to you? What light might this throw on the way you look at your surroundings? 

Favorite Titles

Hello everyone! Now that we've had the first official flurry-sighting of the season, it's time to break out those down coats, drink warm things like soup (soup! Does anyone else miss soup like I miss soup in warm weather?) and hug your friends. Just go hug them.But onwards to the point of this post: I wanted to open up the stage for anyone to share their favorite TITLES of books. This way, if anything strikes your eye you can check it out and possibly request it or give it as a gift this holiday season. Writing a novel or collection of poetry--PAH! (That was the sound of air quickly exiting my mouth in a smug sort of way). Easy.We all know that the hard part of writing really comes down to creating The Title. The Epic Thing that Will Catch Your Audience's Eye and Not Let Them Leave The Book's Presence.Here are a few of my all-time favorites....Of Poetry:Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form - Matthea Harvey. Also the title of one of her poems.Lunch Poems - Frank O'Hara. Just read the inscription on the back of book: "Often this poet, strolling through the noisy splintered glare of a Manhattan noon, has paused at a sample Olivetti to type up thirty or forty lines of ruminations, or pondering more deeply has withdrawn to a dark ware- or firehouse to limn his computed misunderstandings of the eternal questions of life, co-existence and depth, while never forgetting to eat Lunch his favorite meal..." GLORIOUS.Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada - Pablo Neruda. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.Of, erm, Everything Else:A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers.Another Bullshit Night in Suck City - Nick Flynn. (Also a poet!)The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Anne Fadiman....What about you?

Thanks for the Ideas, Amazon

All of us have been afflicted with writers block at one time or another. It sucks. Weeks of over-caffeination mixed with imaginational stagnation leads to a downward spiral of keyboard smashing and moleskine burning. However, you don't have too look far for inspiration. Actually, your friendly corporation down the block has some wonderful ideas for characters, just in case you need some help. People say literature is dead, but I think we can bring it back to life with the following character sketches of the modern consumer.I ran across these archetype personalities while perusing Amazon on Black Friday. They're meant for shoppers who are having a hard time trying to find gifts for beloved ones. Said shopper is supposed to label their potential recipient as one of Amazon's helpfully re-invented American demographic categories. Then, Amazon will tell our intrepid yet uninventive shopper what that "character" wants. This prefabrication of character and desire provides great fodder for short stories. Wink wink.Take a gander at the cast of the next great American novel (descriptions are taken directly from The College Student - When newly fledged adults leave the nest and head to the dorms, there's a lot they need to get their lives off the ground: home basics, college survival guides, and, of course, a few toys to make the flight enjoyable. (One of their suggestions is to buy your college bound kid a Guinness Book of World Records. Yes, I haven't touched one of those since fourth grade [Pamela Anderson: most downloaded female <you know what I'm talking about.>])2. The Dude - You know the one: the beer-drinker who would rather change his oil than escort a chick to the ballet. Here's a heap of gift ideas for the guy's guy: action movies, gourmet meats, gadgets, and more. (mmm MEAT)3. The Glamour Girl - Now this is a girl who knows what she wants. Lucky for you, we know what she wants too. Impress her with your up-to-the-minute taste by selecting one of these triple-t hottt gift ideas. Cool by-product: you're awarded instant fashion cred! (Be sure to buy at least two sizes too small to reinforce heroine chic! Ha! Ha!)4. The Geek - To be a geek is now très chic. Gone are the days of pocket protectors (who needs a pen when they have a PDA?) and horn-rimmed glasses. High-tech brainiacs now rule the world--and we've got some gifts to keep them entertained in their downtime. (I like how this implies Geeks must be entertained when they're not working on something... perhaps they turn violent if their geekery is not properly channeled.)5. The Grandpa - Whether your granddad's a wise old soul or a wiseacre, we've got plenty of gift suggestions to bring a smile to his face. (He can whittle away his last days playing with a new bathrobe or staring uncomprehendingly at a brand new genealogy software pack.)Whatever, you get the point. Write a story about a computer wise grandpa with a geeky wife and a community college bound, 45 year old son. The son goes to college and meets the Dude, who seduces him with gourmet meats. Meanwhile, the Geeky Grandma gets so bored with herself that she makes a uranium enrichment centrifuge in their basement with the help of a glamourous slave-girl. There, writers block broken!