GIRL-KING

And while we’re updating…I’m really thrilled to have the cover for my first collection of poems, Girl-King, out with University of Akron Press in early 2015.

It’s based on a painting by Emma Bennett, whose work I love. So happy with it. Thanks so much to Lauren McAndrews, the designer, and Amy Freels, the art director.

MY AWP 2014 DANCE CARD

Stealing this post’s title from the lovely Mary Biddinger, whose new book I will definitely be picking up at AWP.

On Wednesday, to kick off the conference, I’m reading for Poetry Northwest/Seattle Arts & Lectures with a really amazing lineup of writers: Matthew Nienow, Matthew Olzmann, Hannah Sanghee Park, Zach Savich, Don Share, Cody Walker, Kary Wayson, Catherine Wing, and Heather McHugh. 8pm at The Pine Box, which I’ve been told is an ex-funeral home bar (oh my God) at 1600 Melrose Avenue.

On Thursday, I’ll be reading with Kendra DeColo, Corey Van Landingham, Sara Eliza Johnson, and Tyler Mills, all poets I admire. 6pm at Liberty Bar. There will be craft cocktails. 517 15th Avenue E.

On and off, I’ll be at Bull City Press‘s table (A31), with Ross White and Rebecca Hazelton, selling books, chapbooks, and copies of INCH, the bookfair’s smallest litmag. ($1!)

See you there!

DECK YOUR BOOKSHELVES WITH…BOOKS

I’ve been looking forward to this upcoming Christmas break with something like religious fervor. Not because of cookies, or fireplaces, or presents, or twinkle lights (okay, maybe twinkle lights), but because I’ve developed something of a problem.

So, this fall, something happened between me and Boswell Books, this insanely great indie bookstore here in Milwaukee. Like, I knew it existed before, and I'd bought things there, been to readings, wandered around with a coffee in hand touching things mournfully in the overdramatic way I do when I don't have any money. Except that last part kind of faded away. I think it started when I realized they stocked the beautiful new editions of Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane mysteries, and so I bought one, then all the ones they had in stock, and then ordered in the rest. Like you do. It was like eating dessert all the time, except in bed, under a ton of blankets, and it was Golden Age mystery dessert, which comes with monocles.

And then I was just in there every day, with a coffee (there's a Starbucks next door), and at least once a week I'd cave and bring something new home. A sparkling-new 'used' copy of Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers, and Heidi Julavits’s The Vanishers, as recommended to me by either Chloe or Angela, I can’t remember–because, that’s right, when my friends come visit I bring them to Boswell and spread my hands and feel very self-satisfied, like I’ve somehow curated this fabulous experience for them–and Rebecca Dunham‘s new book, and Lucie Brock-Broido’s, and Lyndsay Faye’s Dust and Shadow–it’s a mile high. I want to read them but there is absolutely no time and so I’ve piled them in my study and sometimes I look at them with wet eyes like maybe, if I’m petulant enough, my schedule will clear itself and I’ll get to curl up with one. (Not to mention poetry manuscripts by Jeremy Bass and Richie Hofmann, which are not available in stores but in my Gmail inbox, because I’m a lucky girl, and Jay Parini’s fabulous-looking biography of Jesus, which is, and which you should get.)

Okay, but it gets complicated. I want to read these things and then I very badly want to write my own year in reading post. So this post is about wanting (to do) that, too. I’ve ploughed through quite a bit of fantasy and detective fiction this year, in tandem with the poetry collections I’m always reading, and I have thoughts. But I need to finish these all first. I am so excited about this that I’m staying up late to imagine it. Chenille throw, fireplace, hot chocolate. Winter is coming.

A NOVEMBER UPDATE

Dear blog: we have to stop meeting like this.

No, but seriously, I’m cheating on everything with everything else right now. I’ve signed with the incredible Lana Popovic of Zachary Schuster Harmsworth to represent my young adult work, and so I’m currently in the throes of substantive revisions to RUIN, that novel I’ve been blogging about for the last year and a half. I’m excited, and nervous, and also not really leaving my house except to teach and eat fast food burritos. I’m having a lot of desultory conversations with my cat. Then tweeting about them. It’s been that kind of month.

In the last few days, though, I’ve been working furiously on my other work-in-progress, my Holmes young adult novel. And then I’m cheating on that by writing poems, some of which are going into my (rough, rough) second manuscript, (roughly) titled UNHISTORICAL. We’re going to be discussing it tomorrow in Rebecca Dunham‘s manuscript workshop, which is really exciting, and also a bit scary. (You can read her thoughts on building a manuscript here; they’re terrifically useful.)

I’ve been attempting to decompress by watching Fringe on Netflix, which is a bit like trying to cheer yourself up by crying. Seriously, so tense, and wonderful. I avoided it for awhile because I just couldn’t get into Lost and was concerned this would just be like, the X-Files meets even more tangled mythology. I didn’t realize it would be gorgeous, or have such a classic narrative, or that John Noble would consistently break my heart night after night. And now I’m reading about the glyph codes, and thinking about cryptology, and now I just want to go work on the Holmes thing again…

SO MY NEWS IS…

My first full-length collection of poems, Girl-King, was this year’s Editor’s Choice for the Akron Poetry Prize (thanks so much, Mary Biddinger!!) and will be published by the University of Akron Press next year.

I’m incredibly excited, obviously — I love Akron and its books and still kind of can’t believe that mine will be out there with them.

BACK FROM THE MOUNTAIN

Back from another wonderful summer slinging drinks and planning parties at Bread Loaf. Masquerades! Icona Pop! Bottles of bourbon clad only in nametags! And one amazing night where we went midnight swimming in the East Middlebury Gorge.

It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends (especially all the other ex-Madisonians who have fled for other climes) and to meet new ones, including a few whose work I’ve loved secretly from a distance. Picked up a bunch of great new books, including Brian Russell’s The Year of What Now and Jennifer Grotz’s The Needle, which I (a) forgot to have signed, (b) have already greedily devoured and (c) lent to my mentor because I loved it too much to let it stay on my shelf.

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My dear friend Corey Van Landingham’s first collection of poems, Antidote, is now available for preorder! With a haunting cover and even more haunting poems inside.

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I’m sitting on some exciting news that I can’t talk about just yet. So I’ll have more to say, I promise, when I can say more.

LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK

In Milwaukee for the next few weeks, somewhat unexpectedly. With his new job, C. is away working all day (which is terrific, and he loves it), but leaves me with more knocking-around time than I’m used to. During the year, between grad school, my writing, and all his political work, we’re nose to grindstone quite often–but our two grindstones are in parallel rooms in our apartment. I’m used to the tea kettle going off, phonecalls made and answered, scuffle of boy-playing-with-cat rather than silent apartment in the sun. So I’m at the coffee shop, in search of ambient noise and a poem to pick apart.

After starting it last year at the end of May, on my birthday, I finished the first draft of my novel. A little more than a year passed from conception to completion. I’ve spent this month cleaning it up, gathering thoughts from my amazing readers, and making the first tentative queries to literary agents. More than anything I want to jump into writing the second in this proposed trilogy, but I’m a bit wary of doing so too soon and with my prelims this fall. I might not be able to hold myself back, though.

Lots and lots of reading this past week…I discovered a set of Juliet Marillier novels so incredibly engaging that I was taken over in a way I haven’t experienced since I was a teenager. I’m sure I’m the last one to this party, but if you’re looking for a gripping, obsessive read, and if you’re fond of fairytales and Ireland and swans, I recommend Daughter of the Forest.