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What a Night, What a Night

September 25, 2011

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Another fun evening, with such terrific music and stories and poems. If you were there you know. If you weren’t, well come next time, as one of the audience members said at the reception: What a remarkable coming together of talent, what a night, what a night.

We heard from Helen Benedict, Chella Courington, and Melissa Stein. As well, Matthew Clark Davison, José Luis Gutiérrez, and Teresa Walsh, who shared their work.

Samantha Boudrot played her guitar and sang and sang. New songs, old songs, please see the accompanying video (below) for some of what we heard.

And here’s something about Helen, Chella, and Melissa.

Helen Benedict is the author of five novels and five books of nonfiction. Her sixth novel, SAND QUEEN, set in the Iraq War, has just been published by Soho Press. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Women’s Review of Books, and in many other newspapers and magazines. She is a professor of journalism at Columbia University. Articles featuring Benedict and her work have appeared on BBC, NPR, Al-Jazeera and many other U.S. and international radio and television stations, and in Reuters, The New York Times, Huffington Post, In These Times, Ms. Magazine, the Italian Vanity Fair, UK Marie Claire, and numerous other print publications in the U.S. and abroad. More information about Helen Benedict can be found at her website,

Nominated for the 2009 Best of the Net Anthology and the 2009 Best New Poets (University of Virginia), Chella Courington teaches literature and writing at Santa Barbara City College. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, lo-ball, Gargoyle Magazine, Opium Magazine, Everyday Genius, and SmokeLong Quarterly. “Diana loved anything orange” was runner-up in The Collagist 2009 Flash Fiction contest. Her first chapbook was SOUTHERN GIRL GONE WRONG; her second chapbook, GIRLS & WOMEN, was released by Burning River in March; and her third chapbook, PAPER COVERS ROCK, will be released by Indigo Ink in September.

Melissa Stein’s poetry collection ROUGH HONEY won the 2010 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, selected by Mark Doty, and was published by American Poetry Review in association with Copper Canyon Press. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, New England Review, Best New Poets 2009, Harvard Review, North American Review, and many other journals and anthologies. She has received residency fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Djerassi Foundation, and her work has won awards from Spoon River Poetry Review, Literal Latte, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation, among others. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of California at Davis, and is a freelance editor and writer in San Francisco.


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