My friends Jonathan Penton and Vincent Cellucci invited me to read with the Louisiana crew at AWP Portland. I read from my manuscript-in-submissions-hell China Mary as well as a selection from Islanders.
Last fall, Laura Pritchett and I talked about the making of the characters in our books at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival @ Boulder. Highlights include writing about sex, telling the same story from multiple points of view, and the ultimate example of an unsympathetic character.
Last month, I read at the Open Bard Poetry Series in Ridgway, a town in the valley below Telluride. Organizer Kierstin Bridger invited me to submit a piece for the Ridgway Alley Poems, a public art installation in which poems are hung in the alleys around town. Here is mine.
Last month, I read from Islanders at Domi Shoemaker’s Burnt Tongue in Portland, OR. Adam Strong made this beautiful video.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list. It is an idiosyncratic collection of contemporary volumes that continue to influence and inspire me.
Natasha Trethewey, Domestic Work.
Natasha Trethewey, Bellocq’s Ophelia.
Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard.
Natasha Trethewey, Beyond Katrina.
Natasha Trethewey, Thrall.
Jake Adam York, Murder Ballads.
Jake Adam York, A Murmuration of Starlings.
Jake Adam York, Persons Unknown.
Jake Adam York, Abide.
Martha Collins, Blue Front.
Martha Collins, White Papers.
Martha Collins, Admit One: An American Scrapbook.
Carolyn Forché, The Country Between Us.
Carolyn Forché, The Angel of History.
Carolyn Forché, Blue Hour.
Muriel Rukeyser, The Book of the Dead.
Muriel Rukeyser, Elegies.
David Mason, Ludlow.
David Mason, This Country I Remember.
Tess Taylor, The Forage House.
Solmaz Sharif, Look.
Brian Komei Dempster, Topaz.
Diane Gilliam Fisher, Kettle Bottom.
Mark Nowak, Coal Mountain Elementary.
Simon Ortiz, From Sand Creek.
Joseph Hutchison, Marked Men.
Chris Llewellyn, Fragments from the Fire.
Ellen Bryant Voigt, Kyrie.
Kierstin Bridger, Demimonde.