It’s middle of May, the trees are leafing, the grass is greener than a dollar bill, the birds are nesting, and gobbling up seeds, insects, suet and whatever else moves. We had a turkey strutting through our yard yesterday, and the occasional deer saunters through the edges of our back yard. Life goes on, and on.
At Bending Genres we have our next online weekend workshop with Tyler Barton, May 22- 24. He’ll be teaching “Artifact Lit,” and the workshop is full, so it ought to be terrific.
The end of April is always a sad occurrence for me, because National Poetry Month closes. This doesn’t mean poetry can’t be read throughout the year, of course. But the focus on poetry, and poems, especially given the current state of our world, has been such a boon. Here is how I wrapped up the last three days of my National Poetry Month readings:
On April 28th, I read Nick Flynn’s “Emptying Town” from Some Ether (Graywolf Press):
On April 29th, I read Mary Ruefle’s “Little Golf Pencil” from My Private Property (Wave Books):
On April 30th, I read Joy Harjo’s “Remember” from Academy of American Poets:
I love April! The gentle unassuming rain, buds forming on surrounding trees, birds arriving from their Southern climes. And poetry, yes… poems! It’s National Poetry Month, so daily I have selected a new poem, and read it aloud on my YouTube channel. Here is a recap of the last few days:
I’ll post the links to my last three National Poetry Month selections in a day or two. Thanks everyone, who has let me know what these poems/ readings have meant to you. I hope you are all taking good care of yourselves and loved ones.
The world recently lost a remarkable man, and honorable friend, my pal Robby Browne. We met in the early 1990s and became good friends. And although I eventually left New York, any time I visited Robby eagerly invited me to social engagements. He was one of the most social and well loved friends that I was fortunate to know. R.I.P. sweet, brilliant Robby.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about Robby, his friend Jeff Dupre made a monumental video dedicated to Robby’s life and legacy: https://www.robbybrowne.com.
One of the many reasons I adore April is because it’s National Poetry Month. And for the third time, I am reading a poem a day. This time, my caveat is I have to own the book in which the poem I choose daily is published, and also, that I have read, or re-read the poem within the past twelve months.
Here are the poems I’ve read since last Monday, April 6th:
Happy National Poetry Month! This year, to coincide with hunkering down at home, I decided to revamp my poem a day project on YouTube. I did this previously in 2013 and 2014. Every day, I select a poem with one self-imposed guideline… this year, I have read, or re-read each poem within the past twelve months. And so, each week, I will re-cap the poet, poem, book and link to my reading on Youtube.
On April 1st, I kicked off National Poetry Month with poet Molly Brodak, and her poem “Going Back to Sleep,” from her chapbook a little middle of the night (University of Iowa Press): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq2uHJRXz44.
On April 2nd, I read Charles Jensen’s “H. Himbo” from Nanopedia (Tinderbox Editions): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55lgxUqLhwg.
Cross-Genre Deep Dive, hosted by WordTango, the online writing community. I had the terrific pleasure of meeting Liz Pettie and Jen Kircher- Carr at the AWP Conference in Washington D.C. recently.
We didn’t go swimming, or even diving. But life can take you into deep waters, or leaping, plummeting from various heights, for innumerable other reasons: debt, accidents, secretive meetings. The list is endless!
If you are unfamiliar with my writing, I’ve just published my 5th book, FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press). It’s a good example of cross-genre work in one book: flash fiction, prose poetry, and longer short stories. (See the tab “My Books” for more information.)
I hope you will consider taking the WORDTANGO course. More information is here: http://us11.campaign-archive1.com/?u=fc8698610dd752def107a548c&id=72030255b0
Please let us know if you have any questions. And thanks, Kathy Fish, for the solid recommendation.
(L): Sharon Foley reads poetry; (R) Christine Baerbock reads a haunting short story
In New York City, at the venerable KGB Bar, I read in two events: F-BOMB on Friday, Oct. 21 hosted by Bud Smith, and Best Small Fictions on Saturday, Oct. 22, hosted by Paul Beckman:
(L) me reading “Mother/ Father/ Clown”; (R) Karen Stefano reading Secret Games of Words (F-BOMB Reading)
Top: (L) Meg Tuite reading from lined up like scars; (C) Len Kuntz reading I’m Not Supposed To Be Here and Neither Are You; me reading “A Box”(Best Small Fictions). Bottom: (L to R): me, Dawn Raffel, Dianca London Potts, Eliel Lucero, Tina Barry, Paul Beckman, Nancy Ludmerer, Britt Haraway, Anne Elizabeth Weisgarber, and Courtney Sender.
November 10th, Jonnie Guernsey and Laurel Landis launched A Picture And A Thousand Words. I read “Behind the 8-Ball” and we all used their excellent photography as prompts, hosted at Sugar Maple in Bay View, WI:
On November 14th, I was featured in the Traveling Mollys, hosted by Nina Corwin at Buzz Cafe in Oak Park, Chicago. The other featured reader was Bill Yarrow:
(L) Buzz Cafe, Oak Park; (R) Bill Yarrow reading from The Vig of Love
Bottom: Daniel Weinberg reads his letters to MAD Magazine
On November 19th, I attended Robin Chapman’s course for Red Oak Writing: “What Poetry Can Teach Writers of Any Genre.” It was terrific, and thanks, Kim Suhr, for setting up so many great Saturday workshops throughout 2016. More information here: http://redoakwriting.com.
Update on FUN HOUSE: my fifth book! Publisher and I hope to get FUN HOUSE to you by December, 2016! We have an astounding cover (thanks artist Ron Kibble), and almost all blurbs are accounted for. FUN HOUSE has four sections: micro/ flash fiction; 26 kids in a classroom with kickass art by Bob Schofield; prose poems assembled by master crafter Eryk Wenziak, and longer short stories. Stay tuned!
On Saturday night, Paul Beckman hosted the Best Small Fictions 2016 reading! Same spot, KGB. This reading included mostly authors selected for the recently published anthology, expertly edited by Stuart Dybek and Tara Masih. Including, but not limited to: Britt Haraway, Anne Weisgerber, Dawn Raffel, Nancy Ludmerer, Courtney Sender, Ilana Masad, Dianca London Potts, Tina Barry, Eliel Lucero, Michael G. Maxwell, Karen Stefano, Paul Beckman, Len Kuntz, Meg Tuite, Bud Smith and me. I read my piece, “A Box,” which was chosen for the Best Small Fictions, 2016 (originally in RIFT, my co-authored book with Kathy Fish).
And then, there was the general pizazz of being in in a city I love more than any other, with writer pals/ friends I adore, admire, revere, love:
Overall, I would do this again, and again. Soulful, inspiring. Deeply satisfying. Please, sir, may I have some more?
Thanks for the cover image, Casey McSpadden! : www.caseymcspadden.com.
Also the creative blurbs from Ron Carlson, Daniel Handler, Lidia Yuknavitch, Michael Martone, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Robert Lopez, Michael Seidlinger, Ryan Ridge, Jensen Beach, xTx, and Luke Goebel.
Odd to think, I was just in Denver (again!!) for the F-BOMB Flash Fiction reading event. Here are some images from that magical evening
Our fearless host, Meg “Marge” Tuite, and featured readers: Len Kuntz, Kathy Fish, Leah Rogin-Roper and me. Kathy and I read new pieces from RIFT!!! Thanks to Nancy Stohlman, and the Denver Flash community for a great night!
Then rushed back to Milwaukee, to a busy Thursday, shipping over 150 copies of RIFT to the Nervous Breakdown Book Club:
Thanks Bud Smith, publisher at Unknown Press, and Brad Listi founder of Nervous Breakdown, and Jonathan Evison, book club selection guy!
And finally, both Kathy Fish, and my first stories in RIFT were published, in perfect “teaser” timing, for the arrival of RIFT. Here is Kathy’s “A Room With Many Small Beds at Threadcount Magazine: http://threadcountmag.com/issue-5-fall-15/kathy-fish/.
And here is my “Galloping Into The Future” at The Airgonaut: https://theairgonautblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/galloping-into-the-future/
I hope you enjoy them! More information forthcoming about RIFT, how to order, and also about the fiction writing course that Kathy and I are teaching at Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, August 20-26, 2016.