Jason Braun’s blog of making text, apps, music, and other things. | jason.lee.braun@gmail.com | 314-614-3717

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CIA and The Iowa Workshop

 

Did you know the CIA helped fund the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in the 1960s to combat the Soviets? This is all according to an article by Eric Bennett in the Chronicle of Higher Education:“How Iowa Flattened Literature.”

This sounds like something from the Coen Brothers or Matt Kindt, but it happened.

Here’s a podcast that Kevin Eagan and I did about it for Critical Margins.

Some good press. That’s all I wanted for my birthday.

It’s my birthday and Flyover Country decided to say some nice things about the hip hop and the poetry. Good press! That’s all I ever wanted for my birthday.

Mark Oprea asks some great questions about poems, lyrics, music, themes, public perceptions and more in this. We discussed Jay Z’s Decoded, compare Dante’s Inferno to every thing DMX ever wrote, and put 50 Cent in a room with Joseph Campbell to see who dies and who is resurrected first. Shakespeare, Roethke, and Eminem are also put on notice.

http://www.flyovercountryreview.com/nonfiction/

Lit Elitists and Critical Margins first ever podcast

In the first-ever Critical Margins podcast episode, Kevin Eagan and Jason Braun discuss the debate over whether literary fiction is for snobs, and why some think it’s elitist to read literary fiction.

You can find out more information about the Critical Margins podcast at CriticalMargins.com.

https://soundcloud.com/criticalmarginspodcast/critical-margins-podcast

I guess it is all political

One night about a year ago after having a beer or two at the Stagger Inn Again in Edwardsville, Megan Hudgins and I walked out to our cars where heard the strangest bird song. It was not of this world. It sounded digitized. I approached the shrubbery with caution. This bush of sorts was located about equal distance between the Napa store and the library. It was not a hoax. Half a dozen of real birds were making those sounds. I know because they tried to attack me. I wrote a poem about the sound of these birds. I thought it was just another sci-fi poem. But apparently it is political, or so says Mobius: The Journal of Social Change.

http://mobiusmagazine.com/poetry/animatro.html

Oh and if you’re in Edwardsville sometime, stop by Stagger. Tell Tim the literati sent you. That and five bucks will get you a picture of Stag.

3 New Apps That Writers and Teachers Need Now

I just wrote a post for Critical Margins about three apps that can make you a better, faster, and stronger writer.  If you’re interest, you know what to do.

http://criticalmargins.com/2014/02/17/three-new-apps-writers-teachers/

3 New Poems Published at Squalorly

Here’s some poems I wrote about not knowing how to explain what Russian ballerinas do, working at an Oklahoma oil refinery, and the songs of sea turtles. Maybe you’ll like them.

http://www.squalorly.com/poetry/three-poems-jason-braun

Four-Minute Response to the Question “How Do You Get Published?”

I’m not E. L. James, J.K. Rowling, or even Stephen King. Sorry. I haven’t yet signed a contract for my debut book of poetry “Songs to Sing in a Getaway Car.” But I have published 50 poems, numerous essays and blog posts, albums, a comic book with Matt Kindt, and a few apps with Dan McKenzie in the past couple of years, not to mention the dozens of press releases that turned into stories about. So I have been up to something. After this interview at Squalorly (http://www.squalorly.com/interview/discussion-jason-braun) people have started asking me about how to get published. Here is the short answer: Read deeply in the subject you want to write, write a lot, then submit a lot.

If you are convinced, then go do it now! If you are angry or bored I hope you have a great day anyway. If you’d like an explanation, then we’ll keep going.

As some of you know I have dyslexia and ADD. Spelling doesn’t come naturally to me. Yet editors, publishers, and readers like to read words spelled correctly. This is one of the reasons I created homophonecheck.com with Dan McKenzie’s help. When I’m writing poems I tune into the sounds of words so much so that spelling goes out the window.

Homophones can make a poem more interesting, yet when it is written down as opposed to being recited, the poet has to choose which word he or she wants to use primarily. The point is: check your spelling. Most of what I’ve published has been looked over by someone else. Sometimes the editors at the magazines catch an error and like the poem enough to correct it. I’ve got a few publishing credits though. They probably wouldn’t read something all the way through if I was just starting out and had jacked up spelling. This is the small stuff. If you need an editor check out one of these two guys, I vouch for them:

Kevin Eagan at http://kevinthomaseagan.com/

Andrew Doty at http://www.editwright.com/

The real key is to submit a massive of work! I’m talking about the power of large numbers. In the past two year’s I’ve submitted over a hundred packets of poems to various places. Submitting a massive amount of work is easier when you have a lot of poems. I’ve been writing a poem a day for over two years now.

You might say, well it is easy to submit a lot of poems if you have a lot of them. What’s stopping you from doing this? Who among us can’t fit time in their day to write a haiku?

Some days all I write is a haiku. I’m not looking down on the haiku. A lot of times it ends up a better poem than one I labor over for hours. Every day I’m checking in. Everyday I’m reminding myself that yes, I am a writer. Today I have over 822 poems totaling (72,727 words) that aren’t in my manuscript or published individually. I haven’t sent many of these ones out yet. But this starts with writing just one.

I thought I’d need to do more smoozing and handshaking. But I’ve published very little through that method. Not that it couldn’t work. To be honest, the fact that I am (or was) an Editor at Sou’wester (http://souwester.org/) helped tremendously. For one, it gave me a little credibility. Also I read a hell of a lot of unpublished poems about barns, penises, Thor, and even hate-filled Nazi collage pieces. I have an idea what an editor might look for. But I get a lot of rejections.

If you still want to know more about publishing check out my friend Jane Friedman’s blog.  http://janefriedman.com/blog/

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