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Poetry, Literature, Writing

Writers in Western North Carolina? Yes! Asheville has been a haven for writers for well over a century. The mountains have proved an inspiration to those who write whether for personal enjoyment solely or for publication.
Great Smokies Writing River Review: Arts & Culture MagazineProgram     The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville     NC Writers’ Network     Writing Center at AB Tech     The Asheville Poetry Review      Rapid River Review: Arts & Culture Magazine    Jane’s Circles


Katherine Soniat Interview, with Kaite Hillenbrand

Katherine Soniat’s sixth collection of poetry—A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge—is recently out from Dream Horse Press. The Swing Girl, published by Louisiana State University Press, was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Council of North Carolina. A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize. These poems are from a new ms., in progress, The Secret Where. Her work has appeared recently in Women’s Review of Books, Citron, Hotel Amerika and Crazyhorse, among others. She teaches in the Great Smokies Writers Program at UNC-Asheville.


                                          Katherine Soniat Interview, with Kaite Hillenbrand
In a way, these poems feel to me like sitting on the beach while the tide comes in: Each time I sit down to look at them, I end up reading and rereading until I realize I’m immersed in their waves. One thing that gets me about these poems is that I get more out of them each time I read them, including another layer of emotion. I understand this to be a testament to the restraint you’ve used in your work – you’ve subtly packed enormous substance into these poems. Because I am this affected as a reader, I wonder about the genesis of these poems. What prompted these poems and the manuscript they’re a part of?  Continue reading

The University of North Carolina Press Soon-to-Be Released

Click here for information and soon to be released

For ninety years, the University of North Carolina Press has earned national and international recognition for quality books and the thoughtful way they are published. A fundamental commitment to publishing excellence defines UNC Press, made possible by the generous support of individual and institutional donors who created its endowment.

Books that Changed Everything: Reading, Writing the creative life (2)

Falling in love with books is much like falling in love with humans

not only do they teach you new and exciting things about yourself, they open you up to as-yet unknown possibilities in life.

Hopeless romantic that I am, I fall in love with books continuously, and I have a diverse book collection and an overflowing bookshelf to prove it. Click to read the entire article

New Release – Tapestry: Strands of Yellow and Blue


In the early 1100s, a young girl named Grace is found in the forest. She is injured from running and running from something or someone who have terrified her. She is rescued by Nobleman Tristam and soldiers. Grace can’t speak, doesn’t remember how she came to be staked by her arms and legs in the forest, doesn’t remember her name…Tristam, takes her to the castle to be cared for and healed by the kindly maidservants who are adept at healing with herbal remedies and potions, wisdom, and love….

This is an intriguing and thoughtful novel placed in an intriguing backdrop of daily castle life, frightening forests, trust and deception, about love and loss, forgiveness and redemption, and the triumph of soul and spirit, of good over evil…

Click here to purchase paperback or Kindle edition of this book.

To direct questions to the author or to the reviewer write them at


Reviewer is Alix Jamieson

She is a retired University professor with 30 years experience teaching writing. Her editing experience includes books, scripts and poetry. She believes that the creative act of writing involving your imagination can be transformational, and change who we are and how we experience life. Many of her former students work professionally in television and film, writing, producing and directing. She is an avid reader.



Friends of the Smokies Presents “Books to Take Backpacking”

History, poetry, and children’s literature inspired by the Great Smoky Mountains will be featured in “Books to Take Backpacking,” presented by the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Historian Margaret Brown, poet Thomas Rain Crowe, and children’s author Ann Clayton will read from their works at 3 p.m.Sunday, April 15, at Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café, 55 Haywood St in downtown Asheville. This “Writers at Home” event will encourage and inspire stewardship of the Great Smoky Mountains, and is free and open to the public.


VIDA – Women in the Literary Arts

VIDA was founded in August 2009 to address the need for female writers of literature to engage in conversations regarding the critical reception of women’s creative writing in our current culture.

VIDA seeks to explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women through meaningful conversation and the exchange of ideas among existing and emerging literary communities.   Click for more information

Angles of Approach by Holly Iglesias

Publisher comments regarding Angles of Approach: It’s unusual to call a book of poetry a ‘page turner, ‘ but this collection, with the knocking and jostling of words that mark the peculiar rhythm and appeal of the prose poem, is just that. Iglesias has an uncanny ability to capture whole sweeps of history in a few lines, while her eye and ear for the quotidian result in the characters pulling us from one remarkable incident to another as if they had physically taken us by the elbow, whispering urgently.–Marie Harris
Holly Iglesias is the author of Souvenirs of a Shrunken World and a critical work, Boxing Inside the Box: Women’s Prose Poetry.

Western North Carolina Writers

Holly Iglesias – Prose Poetry

Holly Iglesias was the only North Carolina writer to be awarded a prestigious Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts during the NEA’s last round of poetry awards. She is the author of three poetry collections: “Fruta Bomba” (Q Ave Press, 2012), “Angles of Approach” (White Pine Press, 2010), and “Souvenirs of a Shrunken World” (Kore Press, 2008). Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals, and she has received fellowship grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Edward Albee Foundation. Iglesias is a lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts program at UNC Asheville.  Continue reading


Catherine Reid – Fiction

Catherine Reid is the author of Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst  (Houghton Mifflin), a work of creative nonfiction.  Her essays, stories and poems have appeared in such journals as Massachusetts Review, Green Mountains Review and the Bellevue Literary Review.  She studied fiction writing at Florida State University, where she was a Kingsbury Writing Fellow, and then settled on nonfiction as the genre that demanded the most honesty.  She has edited two anthologies, served on the editorial board for a literary journal, and ghostwritten a book on a well-known costume jeweler.  Her current interests are in environmental writing and in prose in which style matters as much as content.  Continue reading


Katherine Soniat – Poetry

Katherine Soniat’s sixth collection of poetry—A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge—is recently out from Dream Horse Press. The Swing Girl, published by Louisiana State University Press, was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Council of North Carolina. A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize. These poems are from a new ms., in progress, The Secret Where. Her work has appeared recently in Women’s Review of Books, Citron, Hotel Amerika and Crazyhorse, among others. She teaches in the Great Smokies Writers Program at UNC-Asheville.  Continue reading


Writing Changes You…

Writing Changes You…


Your voice is unique.  No one has your imagination or your creativity.  Writing is a way of sharing with others … your visions and dreams … and opening doorways for them to explore new possibilities…to know themselves in new ways.  And this happens through the grace of you giving of yourself.   You can learn to reach into your creativity … triggering your imagination to paint with words, to touch people, to move people, to inspire people.


Through writing, you are discovering who you are, as you allow the words and images, the feelings and thoughts, to flow from unfamiliar places… on to the page.  You can surprise yourself. What you have to say matters more than you expect.  You have value, more than you know.


Your imagination can bring those little black symbols on the page … alive … by moving you to tears of joy, or terrifying you, or uplifting you and inspiring you… making you gasp, or laugh out loud.


Writing can be a transcendent experience, when you write for yourself … when you let your familiar expectations go.   You can be moved and even changed, by your own feelings and imagination … arriving at new and often surprising, perspectives, regardless of whether you publish or sell your work.


Your imagination is one of your greatest gifts.  It can help you create meaning, with the power of words. Open to your imagination and to the mystery of who you are.  Let your innocence open you to new possibilities within a new moment.  From here, let yourself wonder, without having to know where you are going.  Then create something, as if out of the blue.  Imagination. It’s fun. It can make your heart sing.


If you want what you write to reflect your most creative and imaginative self … if you want to participate in a world of giving and receiving … if you want to lift beyond who you know yourself to be … contact me at 828-683-9331 or  I am available for editing, as well as private sessions for individuals and small groups.


I have thirty years experience in teaching creative writing for television and film scriptwriting, at the University level in California … as well as in editing books, poetry, short stories, fiction for children, and autobiographies.


A Life in Bookselling

When I opened the doors of Malaprop’s thirty years ago on June 1, 1982, the first people who walked in the door were a threesome–Marnie, Sandi, and Gretchen. My first customer was a gentleman. We talked for a while and he purchased the Selected Works of Herman Melville, the Random House edition. We became friends through the years and later I learned from him that he was the grandson of Houdini. His name was Henry Cohen, and the magic continues! Jimmie Margaret Gilliam and Geraldine Grossman read their work at our first poetry reading, Daniel Ladinsky was the first to read Hafiz at Malaprop’s, and Susun Weed presented our longest author event.

Time flies when you’re having fun, an apropos statement for my time selling books. I have been a bookseller since September 8, 1970. I know this because it was my Papa’s birthday that day. At times I lose a breath when I realize many on my staff were not even born yet while I was already pushing good books into hands.  It is not a total addiction but very close. My library at home is taking over everywhere but I cannot part from these books that gave me the life I could only dream of. 

Linda and I were talking in the store about things and I heard myself say “Do what you live and money will follow” though maybe I should have said “do what you LOVE and maybe money will follow.”  We agreed that loving what we spend our days on is a primary joy that complements the lives we lead.

There are days that put me to the test but I am always encouraged when I hear customers say things like “What a bookstore!” or “This is a real bookstore!”’ or  “I love the booksellers’ favorites and usually that is where I choose my reads” or “That young man was giving me the best suggestion.” I love ordering books and hearing customers talk about the quality of Malaprop’s’ book selection and how they love to come back again and again. I am thankful to those customers who support the community we love by supporting the cultural venues that we call Malaprop’s and Downtown Books & News.

I tell you walking into either bookstore gives me a great thrill and at times I really enjoy lighting the fire under the booksellers by suggesting a rearrangement of this or that. There is a method to my madness but I can only feel what move needs to happen and cannot explain until I verbalize the movement at that moment. I would like to declare that perfection is not available to me and I am glad for it. Making mistakes at times gives me the best opportunities to learn more and more about my flexibility and the borders of what I call mySelf. So many times books came into my life just at the right time. In keeping with our 30th Anniversary, I will list the THIRTY authors who remain a constant in my reading life.

Gretel Ehrlich

Paul Auster

Margaret Atwood


ee cummings

Carolyn Forchè

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

bell hooks

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Carole Maso

Italo Calvino

Pascal Mercier

Charles Frazier

Suzanne Haden Elgin

Haruki Murakami

Yasunari Kawabata


William Faulkner

Ellen Douglas

Ellen Gilchrist

Fred Chappell

Hillary Jordan

Ursule Molinaro

Jeanette Winterson

Ann Patchett

Adrienne Rich

John Ehle

Nikos Kazantzakis

Louise Shivers

All authors I do read are like colors for my canvas. Even today after thirty years of “doing the bookselling” I can say never a dull moment and always a challenge in the best of ways. I do feel bookselling keeps me younger  and I feel great pleasure when I have connected good writers with our readers. I love doing that.  I have realized and I quoted in our new anthology of poetry Remember Me as a Time of Day that “everything that can be saved will be saved by love.” Reading is a way to love imagination which affords opportunities to make the world a much better place for the youngins. That is the quest, is it not? Happy reading to one and all!

Thirty years after the birth of Malaprop’s, our goals are the same as the ones we committed to in 1982:

1. To be the best little bookstore/cafe in the land.

2. To enjoy what we do while we’re doing it.

3. To be aware and supportive of financial needs and ensure that bookselling is a fine and noble profession.


“every little thing is everything”     Malaprops Bookstore & Cafe

A Movement Without Marches

African American Women and the Politics of Poverty in Postwar Philadelphia

A Movement Without Marches by Lisa Levenstein

2010 Honorable Mention, Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians

Lisa Levenstein reframes highly charged debates over the origins of chronic African American poverty and the social policies and political struggles that led to the postwar urban crisis. A Movement Without Marches follows poor black women as they traveled from some of Philadelphias most impoverished neighborhoods into its welfare offices, courtrooms, public housing, schools, and hospitals, laying claim to an unprecedented array of government benefits and services. With these resources came new constraints, as public officials frequently responded to womens efforts by limiting benefits and attempting to control their personal lives. Scathing public narratives about women’s “dependency” and their children’s “illegitimacy” placed African American women and public institutions at the center of the growing opposition to black migration and civil rights in northern U.S. cities. Countering stereotypes that have long plagued public debate, Levenstein offers a new paradigm for understanding postwar U.S. history.  Click here for more information

About the Author

Lisa Levenstein is associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

EXCLUSIVE: Kate Swift, Feminist Wordsmith, 1923 to 2011

Nonsexist-language pioneer Kate Swift, 87, died early Saturday morning after a brief encounter with abdominal cancer. Her generous legacy to the world includes her revolutionary influence on our language as well as her productive activism (she helped effect Connecticut’s marriage equality act, protect prochoice legislation, promote progressive candidates, protest the war on Iraq, and conserve the environment).

ALTAMONT THEATRE COMPANY for professional musical theatre

Altamont Theatre Company is downtown Asheville’s professional black-box musical theatre featuring world-class performers, up-close and personal, in our intimate 120 seat space. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization and rely on your generous contributions for our continued growth.

Each season, our theatre produces four professional Off-Broadway style musicals by popular writers in an intimate setting choosing quality shows with small casts. The theatre has the ability to adapt and be refitted for each production.

Casting takes place in New York City and local auditions are held at Altamont Theatre Company twice a year with an invitation to union actors. Nationally renowned directors direct our productions between their projects in larger metropolitan cities. Altamont Theatre Company is the only professional musical theatre company in downtown Asheville.  Our Website

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