Two Poems in Cimarron Review

I received my contributors’ copies of Cimarron Review in this afternoon’s mail. It’s an honor to have two poems from the full-length poetry manuscript I’m working on appear alongside work by Karen Skolfield, Sidney Wade, and Edmund White.  Highlights for me, in addition to work by the above-mentioned poets, included Katherine Kaufman’s prose poem, “The Foxes,” and Miriam Cohen’s wonderfully sardonic short story, “Wife.” You can order copies here.

    

 

Wolf Skin at Baltimore Composers Forum

My prose poem, “Wolf Skin,” had its musical debut this week at the Baltimore Composers Forum concert with the original score by composer Elizabeth Skola Davis.  Watch the video below to see the performance by Joseph Regan, tenor, and Tim McReynolds, piano!

The lyrics originally appeared as a prose poem in the Los Angeles Review and as the title poem in my chapbook.

Frostburg, Jackalope-Girl, and Rose Red Review

I’ve been remiss in not writing about my wonderful experience at Frostburg Indie Lit Festival in October, where I was invited to be part of a panel on Fairy Tales Reimagined by Sarah Ann Winn. I stayed with a fabulous group of writers at a beautiful cabin in the mountains outside town, where the view on my morning runs actually looked like this:

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At the festival, I went to wonderful panels and readings, met people in person whom I’d only known online before, and sold some copies of Wolf Skin at the book fair! The panel itself was so much fun, because identifying the traits that make fairy tale retellings successful–both in poetry and in fiction–has been an obsession of mine for years! It was wonderful to be able to talk about that with other writers and readers of the genre, and to get to hear fellow panelists Stacey Balkun, Sally Rosen Kindred, and Sarah Ann Winn read from their books. Bonus: I got to read snippets from Anne Sexton’s Transformations and gush about Donald Barthelme’s Snow White!

One of the chapbooks I bought at the book fair was Stacey Balkun’s Jackalope Girl Learns to Speak (Dancing Girl Press, 2016), from which she read at the panel. This was the first chapbook I chose to read from the mighty haul of books I bought (there was so much goodness!); I literally read it cover to cover at the I-Hop outside Frostburg on the drive home. Jackalope-Girl is a startling, fabulist collection full of wonderfully surreal imagery; I hadn’t read anything like it before. In the first poem Balkun imagines the title character born into a suburban family during an ice storm: “It was unusual/the cold front, the leporid wind scream./Nurses worried in the maternity ward…” She continues:

If the patients looked up, they would have seen
the last photographs of the new-dead flicker

across the screen with captions like tragic…
while frightened deer stilled in yards, antlers branching

toward the grayed sky. Gas stations and their 24/7 signs
stood, for the first time, un-glowing and nobody knew

to blame the jackalope-girl, newborn and hungry,
ears still unfurling, nesting in a stranger’s arms. (“Myth”)

The rest of the collection explores what follows from this premise in all its strangeness. Balkun spins a wonder-tale about Jackalope-Girl with poems that tell of her lost birth-sisters, how she learns to speak, her first time, her first tattoo. But the real wonder of the collection is the extended metaphor Balkun builds, simultaneously, about alienation, adoption, and those who feel like transplants in their own families. I highly recommend picking it up (here’s a link).

Immediately after I got back from Maryland, two of the poems from the full-length collection I’m working on were featured in the autumn issue of Rose Red Review. In the Dining Hall of the Glass Mountain” is a retelling of the Seven Ravens tale; “Bones Knock in the House” is a villanelle exploring the latent content in Hansel and Gretel. Also recommended in this issue is Sarah Ann Winn’s poem, “Witness” and John W. Sexton’s poem, “All the Way Down.” Thanks to editor Larissa Nash for all the hard work she did putting this wonderful issue together!

“Camille” Wins Second Place in Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction

My short story, “Camille,” has been selected by judge Julianna Baggott as the second-place winner of this year’s Marguerite McGlinn National Prize for Fiction! This is one I’ve been working on for a while — it’s the story that opens my novel retelling the Odysseus myth from the perspective of a Vietnam soldier’s wife — so I’m excited it has found a home. “Camille” will appear in the fall 2014 online issue of Philadephia Stories. I’ll post a link here when it’s up. Thanks to Julianna Baggott and everyone at Philadelphia Stories for their work on the competition and the McGlinn, Hansma, and Dry families for funding the prize!

Back from Germany

I had an amazing time in Germany, researching medieval Konstanz and Freiburg, exploring city museums, hiking the Black Forest, and visiting Hildegard of Bingen’s abbey. ‘The Book of Gothel’, my novel-in-progress, is annotated to bits. Below is a gallery of some of what I saw while I was there!

I have to thank the wonderful Sustainable Arts Foundation for the grant that enabled this trip! If you’re a parent artist or writer who needs time to create or money to research a project, they are an incredible organization! I can’t say enough good things about them.

 

 

Wolf Skin Release

Cover design by Alisha Camus
Cover design by Alisha Camus

My poetry chapbook, Wolf Skin, has just been released by dancing girl press!

Wolf Skin follows a modern woman whose mother told her dark fairy tales when she was a girl. Many of the poems in the collection retell the tales of the Brothers Grimm from the perspectives of minor characters, such as the huntsman from Little Red Riding Hood, the witch from Rapunzel, and the woodcutter’s wife from Hansel and Gretel. Others look at the stories of popular characters in a fresh light.

Learn more about the chapbook and order copies here.

June 1 Reading in Chicago

WOLFSKIN_coverart_fullsizeI’ll be reading from Wolf Skin in Chicago on June 1 from 1:30-3:30 pm at the Woman Made Gallery Literary Series on the theme of “The Other,” as part of the group art show that is ongoing through June 26. Fellow Dancing Girl Press poet, Janeen Rastall, whose work is wonderful, will also be reading, and I’m a huge fan of many of the poets–like Kristy Bowen and Kelly Davio–who have read at WMG before, so I’m looking forward to this reading very much!

Update (May 5): The list of participating readers has been updated on the WMG Gallery site. The full list of poets reading also includes Renny Golden, Vandana Khanna, Janeen Rastall, Yunuen Rodriguez, and Erika Sanchez!

Planning Trip to Germany

It’s spring break, so I finally have some time to start planning my trip to Germany to research The Book of Gothel. The trip is set for this summer. A few weeks ago, I bought the air tickets, and I’ve just sent off my passport renewal application…

Deutschland

The plan, as it stands now, is to start in Konstanz, the city of my narrator’s birth, where I’ll wander the old town and visit museums, the island of Reichenau, and the ruins of an old fortress that still exists at Hohentwiel. Next I’m excited about visiting Naturpark Schwarzwald, where I’ll take notes on local flora and fauna and hike through the Black Forest. Then I plan to stay in Bingen, where I’ll make arrangements to see the Drusus Bridge and its ancient chapel, various museums and archives, the Disibodenburg abbey ruins, the St. Hildegard Abbey, and St. Hildegard of Bingen’s assembly of relics. Finally, I’ll visit Freiburg, where I plan to stay in the oldest hotel in Germany and research the House of Zähringen.

I am incredibly grateful to the Sustainable Arts Foundation for awarding me the grant that enabled this trip.