The 2019 Gathering of Poets | Faculty & Save the Date

We are beyond thrilled to share the incredible award-winning faculty for the 2019 Gathering of Poets, to be held on March 30 in Winston-Salem, NC at The Historic Brookstown Inn.

If you would like to attend, send me a note, or visit Jacar Press’ Gathering pageon Facebook, or e-mail Richard for upcoming announcements and how to reserve your space.


Three-time National Book Award finalist, Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of seventeen poetry books and the memoir How I Discovered Poetry. She is also the author of The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems, which won the 1998 Poets’ Prize, Carver: A Life In Poems, which won the 2001 Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, and Fortune’s Bones, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. Nelson’s honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Frost Medal, and two Pushcart Prizes. She was the Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut from 2001-2006.

 

Li-Young Lee is the author of five critically acclaimed books of poetry, most recently The Undressing (W.W Norton), Behind My Eyes (W.W. Norton), and a chapbook The Word From His Song (BOA Editions). His earlier collections are Book of My Nights (BOA Editions); Rose (BOA), winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; The City in Which I Love You (BOA), the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Simon and Schuster), which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and will be reissued by BOA Editions. Lee’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 1988 he received the Writer’s Award from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. He is also featured in Katja Esson’s documentary, Poetry of Resistance.

 

Lynn Melnick‘s work appears in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, etc. She has edited an anthology for Viking on 100 Poets for the Next Generation, and published two books with YesYes Books, Landscape with Sex and Violence and If I Should Say I Have Hope – to give you an idea of what that means to us, Jacar Press made donations to YesYes Books, and Alice James Book, because we so value the work they’re publishing.

Her essays have appeared in LA Review of Books, ESPN, and the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. A former fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and previously on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, she currently teaches poetry at Columbia University and the 92Y, and works with saferLIT. Born in Indianapolis, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn.


Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet from Northwest Donegal, Ireland. Her debut collection Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) was shortlisted for the Shine Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland and for the 2018 Julie Suk Award in the U.S.A. She is the author of a suite of poems about Dublin titled Town (The Salvage Press, 2018). In 2016 Ní Churreáin was the recipient of a Next Generation Artist Award from President Michael D. Higgins on behalf of the Arts Council of Ireland. She was the 2017-18 Kerry Writer In Residence and is the 2018-19 John Broderick Writer In Residence for Westmeath. Ní Churreáin has been awarded literary fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude, Jack Kerouac House Orlando, and Hawthornden Castle Scotland, and she is a member of the Arts Council Writers in Prisons Scheme. In 2018-19 she is composing a libretto for an upcoming opera production.

 

Kaveh Akbar was born in Tehran, Iran. His poems appear recently in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Times, The Nation, Tin House, Best American Poetry, The New Republic, The Guardian, Ploughshares, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. His debut full-length collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, won the 2017 Julie Suk Award(Jacar Press). His chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press. His work has been praised by Patricia Smith, Nick Flynn and received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. He is a professor at Purdue University and on the faculty of the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson College.

 

Renee Emerson earned her MFA in poetry from Boston University where she studied with Louise Gluck and Robert Pinsky, and where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2009.  She is the author of two full-length collections Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing) and Threshing Floor (Jacar Press), and 3 chapbooks. In 2016, she was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the Arkansas Arts Council.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize on three occasions.

Big Poetry Giveaway 2018

Welcome to the Big Poetry Giveaway! To participate in the giveaway and to find other blogs that are doing giveaways, check out this post.

There are two ways to participate in the 2018 giveaway! 1. Just post a comment with your name and email address included. Please also let me know your first choice, if you win.  2. Host a giveaway on your own blog! See this link for how to host your own giveaway and have your site included, and also an excellent FAQ on the project.

Book One 

Fanny Says, poems by Nickole Brown. I am fortunate enough to have picked up two copies of this fantastic collection, and I want to share one! Of Fanny Says, poet Patricia Smith says “Nickole Brown’s unleashed love song to her grandmother is raucous and heart-rending, reflective and slap-yo-damn-knee hilarious, a heady meld of lyrical line and life lesson.”

 

Book Two

Red Sky, Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women, an anthology of work featuring poems by Naomi Shihab Nye, Tony Hoagland, Thylias Moss, Fady Joudah, Jaki Shelton Green, Hélène Cardona, Zeina Hashem Beck, and the work of 100+ poets in response to globally oppressive physical, psychological, emotional, and systemic violence against women. Red Sky  is a collection of work by established and widely published poets as well as new and emergent voices around the world and is a collection of what is dark, yes, within, but also what is light.

 

 

The giveaway ends on April 30th at midnight, at which point I will use a random number generator to select the winners. Find others who are giving away poetry listed here.

Good luck, and Happy National Poetry Month!

 

A Virtual Interview with the Editors of Red Sky, by Cindy Huyser

Much gratitude to Cindy Huyser for the following interview prior to the Red Sky: Poetry on the Global Epidemic of Violence Against Women reading that was featured on Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 7:15 – 9:00 p.m. at BookWoman at 5501 N. Lamar #A-105, Austin, TX.  Bookwoman is Austin’s premiere feminist bookstore, soon to be celebrating 40 years of serving the Austin feminist and queer communities.

Thank you, Cindy, for your generous interview questions for Gabrielle, Stacy and me. Read the interview here.

Special thanks and big love to Bookwoman and to everyone that was a part of the evening. I truly wish I could have been there. And I hope there are pictures! 

~M.

#TBT Reading “At the End” at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities

I just happened across this video and hadn’t realized it was up. Back in April of 2014, I was invited to read “At the End,” which won an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition and was first published by ONE, by Jacar Press out at the beautiful Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities.

I was honored to be included with the other winners in 2014:

First Place: Alan Michael Parker, Davidson, NC
First Runner-Up: Maureen A. Sherbondy, Raleigh, NC
Honorable Mention: Melissa Hassard, Triad, NC
Honorable Mention: Kathryn Kirkpatrick, Vilas, NC

It was fun to think back on 2014. I have dear memories of time spent at Weymouth, and cherish those days.

 

“What Catches the Light” | up at Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal

I am thrilled and honored to have “What Catches the Light” up on Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal this month. Love and gratitude to founder and managing editor Stephanie Bryant Anderson, along with editors and staff E. Kristin Anderson, Deidre Sloss, and KB Ballantine, for including this poem alongside fine work by poets Avra Elliot, Erin Elizabeth Smith, Jill Khoury, and Nicole Rollender. Read it here.

Publishing just five poems a month, check out this beautifully artful microjournal. Red Paint Hill also publishes chapbooks as well as full-length collections. Check them out.

“Valentine”

The mail has come, as I was thinking of you

I was wondering about the man that delivered your letter

 

when the dogs barked, I didn’t think anything of it

was his day suddenly made inexplicably better

 

but I meant to say earlier that I didn’t miss it

when your letter fell into his bag 

 

when you said I should watch for the mail,

perhaps his shoulders suddenly happy and relaxed 

 

only I didn’t know quite what you meant

and the dog down the street didn’t jump the fence 

 

I just held onto it, slipped it into my pocket carefully.  Now

I bet his wife suddenly called and said something kind

 

I have a sweet mouth that is a little on fire –

the rain held off and he could even turn off the heat 

 

it must be all the way up into my eyes as I write this.

because it warmed up more than predicted.

 

Chocolate, chilies, cherries.  I can hardly write.

Now his feet don’t hurt and he’s even humming a tune

 

But if I could get to you right now, if I could get to you,

he hasn’t thought of in years- probably jazz– 

 

I would surely kiss you all the way to next week,

and he hums and smiles and maybe whistles, too

 

until your lips were raw, ‘til you begged me to stop

even when he turns the corner

 

to let you breathe, to let you eat, or speak

he keeps smiling, his heart light

 

and you will taste like chocolate and chilies and cherries, too

all the way, all the way, all the way home.  

 

***

First published in Pine Song. Winner of first place for the 2016 Thomas H. McDill Award, judged by James McKean, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

***

 

 

 

The 2018 Gathering of Poets | Save the Date

It has been a deep honor and pleasure to work on The Gathering of Poets the past two years with Richard Krawiec and Jacar Press. The Gathering of Poets will be held March 24, 2018 in Winston-Salem, NC at The Historic Brookstown Inn.

Following is the lineup of terrific workshops that weekend. If you would like to attend, visit Jacar Press’ Gathering pageon Facebook, or e-mail Richard  for upcoming announcements and how to reserve your space.

Lynn Emanuel –
Obsessional Poetics: No One Writes Just One Poem

“All obsessions are extreme metaphors waiting to be born.”
– J. G. Ballard

In this workshop, we will examine the ways a few modern and contemporary poets turn and return to a place, person, image, form, or event as a way of exploring and unearthing a subject. What can these forms of return teach us about our own poems? How can we mine our own repetitions or obsessions for new work? How might we delve more deeply into our own habits of writing and feeling? If you can, please bring a couple of poems to workshop that you might use as a resource for exploring your own poetic obsessions.

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Patricia Spears Jones –
Basic and Bold: The Uses of Contemporary Poetry

This Workshop is designed to engage participants with contemporary poets and the different strategies to generate new work. While the focus is on African American poets, a range of poets will be under review. The Workshop will be in two parts:
1. Participants will look at poems in the packet and discuss the work of those poets with whom they unfamiliar.
2. We will use vocabulary from two or three of the poems to generate new work.
We will use two or three poems as catalysts for new works. Poems by Gregory Pardlo, Ada Limón, Marilyn Chin, Maureen Owen, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Adam Fitzgerald and Charif Shanahan will be part of the packet. Participants must be prepared to read and write, write and write. At the end of this workshop, it is my hope that participants will have created poems that they feel good about and have learned about.

Zeina Hashem Beck –
The Ghazal and the Poetic Leap

In this workshop, we will focus on the ghazal as a poetic form: beyond talk about the shape of the poem, the radif (refrain), the qafia (rhyme), and the poet’s signature, we will look at how the ghazal’s couplets can both exist as independent units and relate to one another and the poem’s whole. We will discuss how this quality allows the poet to create juxtaposition and make poetic leaps within a ghazal. Participants will also write.

 

Maggie Anderson –
The Poet in the World: Writing Political Poetry

In this workshop we will examine the ways in which our poems can be made from the intersection of local and global political events and our own lives as poets. Why is the term “political poetry” often seen as a pejorative? Can the necessary evidence, documentation and witness in political subject matter be expressed through poems that are also highly attuned to metaphor and music? What makes a “good” political poem? If you can, please bring with you one poem by yourself or another poet that you consider both “political” and “poetic” that you might use as a source or model for writing from your own political feelings, fears, and understandings in these times.

Gary Fincke –
Everything Matters: Deepening Experience in Narrative

We will explore ways of opening narrative poems, not only to move beyond simply “close observation of what happened,” but also to broaden the personal by associative connections to what’s learned in any number of ways—history, science, the arts, culture, politics, and the oddities of trivia. Bring along a few of your own narrative poems to re-examine for the possibility of entering again from another angle.

 

 

Sandra Beasley –
What We Talk About When We Talk About Voice

Voice is the most elusive element of strong writing. How do we craft language that feels compelling and unique? We will unpack constituent elements of voice—the recurring decisions made in terms of point of view, tense, image, sound, structure, and diction—and read examples of effective voice from noted contemporary authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. This seminar includes an extensive handout of texts and a generative prompt.

 

 

Congratulations to Iman Dancy, 2017 North Carolina Poetry Out Loud Champion

I’ve just gotten back from the 2017 National Finals for Poetry Out Loud, held on April 25-26, 2017 in Washington, D.C. at the Renaissance Dupont Circle and Lisner Auditorium on the GWU campus. What an incredible event.

With Sharon Hill, Arts in Eduction Director at the NC Arts Council, Iman Dancy, Juliet Shepard.

Our North Carolina state champion, Iman Dancy, did an excellent job performing her poems. (“Learning to Love America” and “On Virtue.”) In the regional semi-finals, she made the first cut and had the chance to recite her third poem, “I am Offering This Poem.”

I was inspired to select “Learning to Love America” because it really allowed me to step into the shoes of someone vastly different than me. As an African-American sixteen year old living in twenty-first century North Carolina, it can be difficult to imagine or relate to the experiences of an immigrant mother living in California during the latter twentieth century. But getting to recite Lim’s poem gives me a look into her life that I would not be granted otherwise. I selected “On Virtue” and “I Am Offering this Poem” because the light, positive writing styles (and beautiful simplicity of the second poem, especially) really drew me in. — Iman Dancy

She did not advance to the finals but did an outstanding job in the regional semifinals. For a first appearance at nationals, she held her own with her tremendous talent and poise.  We look forward to many great things from this amazing young person, and also congratulate Samara Huggins, the national winner from Georgia.

Watch Iman recite “I am Offering This Poem, by Jimmy Santiago Baca.

Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. There are many, many partners who work together to support this transformative program, and the kids who get involved often say that the experience touches so many places in their lives, helps build their confidence and gives them opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

We are already thinking toward next year’s state championship. If you are a North Carolina high school English or theater teacher, consider this worthy program for your students. Read praise for this incredible program, and here’s a handy FAQ to see how Poetry Out Loud can fit in your classroom and lesson plan.  Feel free to contact me with your questions.

 

 

Reading GNOMON, by Cynthia Huntington

In the car rider line with a book of poetry, I find the world shifts into a slightly better frame for me. The beautiful Gnomon today, by Cynthia Huntington (Jacar Press, 2017).
A gnomon is “the projecting piece on a sundial that shows the time by the position of its shadow.”
From the title poem: “The apples are sour and hard./ The trees are dreaming/ the shape the teeth tore from the flesh./ Gnomon. The part taken away,/ shape of absence — mirror/ to the missing piece. You would know your beloved/ even turned away.”

 

The themes of love and longing appear over and again within the book; and this kind of love is next to the holy, and “there is no joy beyond this.”

 

“– we go on under stars, under the darkest/ clouds, we climb and descend, our feet heavy;/ we are tired — but everything is so astonishing,/ each moment so new. We go on; stepping forward,/ we ask: Are you here? The grass says yes./ We step into God every moment, stunned, dumb-/ founded, we meet him however we go, so how/ can we bear to rest, to cease discovering him/ over and over, in the next moment, opening …”

 

This whole chapbook works like this. “… climb and descend, climb and descend” … seeking and finding God at each unexpected turn, from a green star to a horse alone in a pasture. Love and sorrow, the sweetest loves, the sweetest joys — and every poem in this chapbook is a door.

Honestly, this is poetry I wish I’d written.

And just like the hike through the woods that you wish would last longer, this is a short read — only 20 pages — but what a lovely journey. And the poems, like trees, clear our heads, somehow remind us who we are.

The blurb on the back by David Rivard: “After experience is done teaching us just about everything it thinks it needs to teach us, we come back to desire, the one thing worth knowing. This time around desire shows up as a wild calm, dead center of whatever picture in which we find ourselves. These marvelous, subtle poems go deep, deep, deep into that wild calm. So subtle, so moving! I don’t believe anyone but Cynthia Huntington could have written them.” 

If you pick up this chapbook, let me know what you think.

Purchase information here.