12 Winters Blog

Notes on the Louisville Conference 2011, and visiting poets

Posted in February 2011 by Ted Morrissey on February 27, 2011

For a while I wasn’t posting much to this blog because frankly, in the depth of winter, there wasn’t much happening of note in terms of my reading and writing life — but the last few weeks have been so busy that I haven’t had time to keep up with documenting them. I will try to catch but will no doubt be giving people and things shorter shrift than they deserve.

I have just returned from the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900, held annually at the University of Louisville, and I want to report on some of the people I met and presentations I attended. First, however, in the interest of chronology I’m going to write about a trio of poets who, individually, visited Springfield over a two-week period. This no doubt is where the short shrifting will commence.

The first was Carrie Oeding, a writing fellow at the University of Houston. I was among a group who dined with her at Augie’s Front Burner in downtown Springfield. I enjoyed her discussing some of her writing and teaching techniques, and also the new sequence of poems she’s just beginning to work on. Carrie’s first book of poems, Our List of Solutions, is forthcoming from 42 Miles Press, a new addition to Indiana University Press. The publication is the result of her winning the 2010 Lester M. Wolfson Poetry Award. Some of her work appears in The Poetry Center of Chicago’s Book 15, available as a free download from Plastique.

Another poet visitor to our fair city was Jayson Iwen of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. In addition to the dinner scene (at Lake Pointe Grill), I was able to attend Jayson’s presentation on cross-genre writing, which was especially interesting in that I consider myself something of a cross-genre writer. I enjoyed his easy-going, yet knowledgeable, manner. Among his published works is Six Trips in Two Directions, a poetry collection from Emergency Press. A brief excerpt from Six Trips can be read on the Woodland Pattern Book Center’s site. Another, longer, excerpt is available from webdelsol.com.

Last but far from least, I was able to attend a reading by Emma Bartholomew at historic Brinkerhoff Home on the campus of Benedictine University at Springfield, as part of the Quiddity visiting writers and artists series. Emma’s reading was delightful as she focused in particular on her interest in cartography and the poems that her interest has inspired. Some of the London-born poet’s work is available from 3:AM Magazine. Emma’s reading at Seersucker Live is also availabe on YouTube. It is very similar to her reading at Benedictine, which is fortunate because it was quite wonderful.

 

Continuing my short shrifting, I have just returned from the three-day Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900. I attended and/or chaired several fascinating panels on a variety of topics, including experimental poetry, contemporary narrative theory, and trauma theory (which is one of my chief scholarly interests — it appears to be gaining momentum as there were several trauma-theory-related presentations). I also was able to hear some terrific prose and poetry readings, including Mike Barrett’s highly experimental — and imaginative! — work from his collection “Recto Verso”; Brent Jason Royster’s prose — and perfectly square, geometrically — poetry from his manuscript “A Rock and Two Boxes”; Mario Chard’s poems in progress from his “Caballero” series (at the risk of being redundant, quite wonderful); and Victoria Brockmeier’s readings from her manuscript “Magpie” (definitely risking redundancy, also quite wonderful). Just to say a touch more: Mario’s work focuses on immigrant experiences in the United States; and Victoria’s poetry is inspired in large part by classical mythology.

I also attended a reading by poet Rae Armantrout, winner of the 2010 Pulitizer Prize in poetry for her collection Versed (Wesleyan, 2009). She was relaxed and funny, making for a nice rapport with her audience. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend their readings due to scheduling conflicts, but I was happy to see my friend Jeremy (J. D.) Schraffenberger, poet and assistant poetry editor of North American Review; and also to meet poet Ewa Chrusciel, whose collection Strata will be out in just a few weeks from Emergency Press.

I read  the first chapter of Men of Winter at the conference. Some readings/book signings for the novel seem to be taking shape, but I’ll wait until I have some firm dates before discussing them here. Meanwhile, there appears to be some interest in my novella and story collection Weeping with an Ancient God, which Punkin House plans to bring out in spring 2012.

tedmorrissey.com

Men of Winter (purchase at Punkin Books or Amazon)

Pathfinding (my Punkin House author’s blog)

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