Since this blog is brand new, this is the very first time I am issuing a notice for writers out there to “get their hustles on.” I hope to have a running series of Hustle Alerts, but if I miss something, you can visit Tayari Jones’s blog. Tayari is completely fabulous and has won many awards for her writing—and she’s a great dresser, too! She’s been blogging a long time and her blog is off the chain (or whatever the kids are saying these days). If you don’t know about her, shame on you.
Sidebar: before I go any further, just because it says “gender” and “race“at the top of my blog doesn’t mean this blog is only for black women, and it doesn’t mean that I’m only urging African American women to get their hustles on, either. Women—and men—of all complexions must get their hustles on. Last I heard, white people had to pay bills, too, but now, if that’s not the case, I’m planning a march on Washington immediately.
Now back to business: The Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship deadline is approaching rapidly, on October 15th. This is a fabulous award that provides $50,000 for a full year to do nothing but write for a full calendar year. Can you believe that? There’s a catch: you have to leave the North American continent for the whole year and can’t come back unless there’s an emergency. And, the dollar isn’t what it once was, but look, $50,000 equals over 30k of Euros in Europe. Further, if you are black, and you want to go to the African continent, on $50,000 you can live like the Queen or King of all your Afrocentric fantasies. And if you’re not black, well, you can still shack up with the Queen or King of all your Afrocentric fantasies.
There have been some great folks who’ve won the Amy Lowell Scholarship, like Elizabeth Bishop and Galway Kinnell, but did you know there’s only been one African American poet to win since 1953? That was Reginald Shepherd. I have high hopes this year. Maybe with a black/bi-racial/tanned-in-Italy president, the people on the Amy Lowell board of trustees will make that extremely courageous, ostentatiously radical move of having two black winners of the scholarship in its fifty-six year history. (I have a dream.)
Here is the link to the Amy Lowell website, and in addition, there are several other important writer deadlines coming up, so here’s the link to the Poets and Writers database, which is free to search, so there is no excuse for your laziness.
Besides the October contests, the job market fall season is coming up for all creative writers. If you have any questions—again, no matter what complexion you are—that you want me to try to answer on the blog, please send me an email. The address is on the right. If I can’t answer your questions, I will say so, but if I can, I will be happy to. Some of you out there don’t have mentors, and I like to keep people from making stupid mistakes, if at all possible, like people did with me, back in the day. (Thank goodness.) We black people in the “over thirty-five” category call that “pulling somebody’s coat.”
Which reminds me, when you are submitting your poems to those contests, please keep those abstract anagram poems about dog poop on the sidewalk to yourself. I know your workshop said they really liked those poems, but guess what? They were lying to you, Baby.