Book Markers 02.09.12

Look Ahead, Writers
    February on eastern Long Island. It can seem like the calendar’s equivalent of 3 a.m., when nothing good happens, not even snow. But using the down time to plan for better days — how about July? — is Julie Sheehan, the director of the M.F.A. program in creative writing and literature at Stony Brook Southampton, who sends word of a boatload of writing workshops bound to set heads nodding in appreciation.
    Among them: the short story with Jay McInerney and Melissa Bank, the novel with Ursula Hegi, fiction with Meg Wolitzer, memoir with Roger Rosenblatt, the personal essay with David Rakoff, creative nonfiction with Matthew Klam, and poetry with Billy Collins, Mary Karr, and Robert Wrigley. A complete list, faculty bios, and applications are online at southamptonarts.org.
    Maybe you should take advantage before the place becomes a casino or a subdivision.

Springs Valentine
    In “How to Make a Martini,” a prose poem by Julie Sheehan, she of the above mention, our heroine, a hard-bitten divorcée of a barkeep (“I reach for the cheap stuff, service with a shrug”), finds her mind wandering as she practices her liquid arts, thinking of how she used to rub her ex’s head. “Then I would let three small-to-medium sized olives drift down into the glass, down to the bottom, like a marriage falling down the stairs slowly.”
    Who says love poems have to be bad?
    That’s from “Bar Book: Poems and Otherwise,” a bracing melding of high brow and low life, downbeat story and overactive intellect, with recipes, tables and figures, drawings of snifters and shakers, extensive footnotes, and among its sources “Counterinsurgency” by David Petraeus. It was published by W.W. Norton in 2010, the latest of Ms. Sheehan’s three collections.
    Now, about Valentine’s Day: Ms. Sheehan, an East Quoguer by residence, will read from her work at Ashawagh Hall in Springs on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. for Rock My Heart, an event organized by Teri Kennedy. (Open mike sign-up is at 11.) It also involves the world music of Alfredo Merat, a “meditation on love” by Eve Eliot, and a reception with coffee afterward. Karyn Mannix’s “Love and Passion” art show is on view there, too.