Claps and Cheers: DIY Artista Gabriela López de Dennis

by Ramona Pilar

Claps and Cheers is a column dedicated to honoring pioneers and visionary storytellers who have forged their own path in their creative careers.

This month we focus on Gabriela López de Dennis, a writer, producer, artist, and Los Angeles native. A graduate of Otis College of Art and Design, López de Dennis has orchestrated a life that balances her creative career, artistic pursuits, family, and faith.


Photo by: Keila López

López de Dennis has recently adapted her 2008 stage play Hoop Girls into a web series through Lone Stars Entertainment, a production studio of which she is Co-Founder, CEO, and Co-Creative Director. Below is an interview I conducted with her regarding Hoop Girls and other projects in which she is currently involved. 

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Highlight on WWS-Long Beach, CA: An Interview with Chapter Leads Desiree Kannel and Rachael Rifkin

How would you describe your city and your local literary community?

We like to say that Long Beach is a “little ‘big’ city.” We have a big and diverse population and lots of very different communities. In fact, LB was named one of the most diverse cities in the US according to the last census. A fact we are very proud of.

LB has a lot going on in the literary world. It isn’t hard to find a poetry reading, someone doing a book launch, or even a critique group. Independent businesses like coffee shops and book stores like to support LB writers and welcome small groups to do events such as readings or workshops. Continue reading

Writing and Activism: Let’s Thrive

by Désirée Zamorano

So many of us since Election Day have hovered over our keyboards and felt frozen.

Indeed, why shouldn’t we feel petrified, the legacy of Obama under threat, the vision of who we are, as US citizens utterly upended, the walking nightmares announced each and every day? We find ourselves playing an emotional and draining game of lethal dodge ball, and scramble to regain our footing, our equilibrium, our creative muse.

Then we find ourselves with that perpetually dissatisfied editor shrieking at the back of our skull, telling us in articulate and inchoate ways how we’re never going to write again, the world will never right itself, nothing we’re writing now will make any difference; it’s time, the voice continues, to discard this fallacy of being a writer and instead do something that will make a difference!

Ha. Of course as writers we fall prey to making it all about our creativity. So what can we do?

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February was another banner month for Women Who Submit members finding homes for their great work.  Congratulations to all the women who had work published in February.

From “September 13, 2001: How Fear United Us” by Désirée Zamorano at Catapult:

For many of us over thirty years old, September 11, 2001 is the ultimate demarcation of our experience as citizens, a pre- and post-worldview of who we are as Americans. We remember where we were when we heard or watched the news about the Twin Towers. Do you remember where you were two days later, on September 13, 2001? I do. I was with a group of anxious and excited strangers.

From Melissa Chadburn‘s “Economic Violence: On Being Skipped Over or Paraded in Front of a Crowd” at Proximity:

My saddest story is not the story of growing up in foster care, or losing a brother to HIV, or losing another brother to drug addiction. My saddest story is a simple one. One where I was a young girl, maybe around eight, and I loved everyone and everything. I loved my street, I loved my mailbox, I loved my teacher, I loved my hair, I loved clothes, I loved buses, I loved trees, and I assumed everyone and everything loved me back. But then one day I discovered that wasn’t so. Maybe someone made a crude gesture, or yelled at me, or I got skipped over in line, and there it began—the breaking of my heart.

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Cover of My Mother's Child, by Pamela L. Taylor. Art by Jolmar Miller

Behind The Editor’s Desk: Margaret Bashaar

By Lauren Eggert-Crowe

I first learned about Hyacinth Girl Press in 2011 when I was looking for a place to submit my first chapbook, The Exhibit. I was floored and elated when HGP accepted my manuscript. That’s when I began corresponding with founder and editor Margaret Bashaar. She and I even collaborated on a poetry manuscript together that, three years later, became our chapbook Rungs, published by Grey Book Press.

From the website: “Hyacinth Girl Press is a micro-press that publishes up to 6 poetry chapbooks each year. We specialize in handmade books of smaller press runs. We consider ourselves a feminist press and are particularly interested in manuscripts dealing with topics such as radical spiritual experiences, creation/interpretation of myth through a feminist lens, and science. [. . .] The ultimate goal of Hyacinth Girl Press is to bring feminism, mysticism, and scientific inquiry together with awesome poetry.”

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Claps and Cheers: The Power of No

by Ramona Pilar, Editor Claps & Cheers

This past January, writer and cultural critic Roxane Gay made the decision to pull her upcoming book How to be Heard from publishing with TED Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.


Noted author and “bad feminist,” Roxane Gay

The reason: not wanting to be published by the same publisher that would give Milo Yiannopolous, noted far-right writer and cultural instigator, a platform.

From a statement she gave to BuzzFeed News:

“I was supposed to turn the book in this month and I kept thinking about how egregious it is to give someone like Milo a platform for his blunt, inelegant hate and provocation. I just couldn’t bring myself to turn the book in. My editor emailed me last week and I kept staring at that email in my inbox and finally over the weekend I asked my agent to pull the book… I can’t in good conscience let them publish it while they also publish Milo.”

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How to Do AWP

Please excuse this repost from March 23, 2016 as we are traveling to DC at this moment, but we felt this article can still be helpful to those nervous about how to do AWP “right.” Be sure to visit WWS at booth 975 for “I submitted!” buttons and a chance to win a free WWS tote filled with goodies. And you can find all three WWS cofounders–Ashaki M. Jackson, Alyss Dixson and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo–at the Submission as Action panel 9am Thursday, along with Kundiman’s Cathy Linh Che and moderator, Desiree Zamorano. 

For more panels and events with WWS members check out our WWS at AWP17 guide.

By Lauren Eggert-Crowe

I had no idea how to explain where I was going. “It’s this conference in Baltimore,” I told my professors when I explained why I’d be missing class. “It’s for writers, or something.” All I knew was that it was called AWP and that my creative writing professor would be presenting a panel on imaginative teaching methods. She suggested I check it out, and that’s how I ended up driving six hours from Western Pennsylvania to Baltimore one grey Wednesday evening in February, 2003. Continue reading