You know that story we tell ourselves? The one about our songs, poems, and books having an expiration date. While that may be true, when it comes to best sellers, I'm here to say it just doesn't hold, when it comes to impact. Sometimes the work needs to sit, before it finds the right market. Or it needs to be repackaged or rediscovered, to be positioned well for publication or to win a contest or an audience's attention.
Two weeks ago, my newest chapbook A Nation (Imagined) (winner of the 2018 Floating Bridge Chapbook Contest) successfully launched at Elliott Bay Book Company. All of the poems included were written around a decade ago and yet, it took that long for me to recognize that the central poem (18 pages), when coupled with 2 additional poems (written around the same time in a similar voice) was screaming to be a chapbook.
We don't often discuss the time and process it takes us to get our babies into the world. But maybe you, too, are working on something and you are so very close to having it reach the right market. Maybe all you need is just a little shift of perspective or a nudge to say, you might be around the corner from a great discovery. Or maybe the album you consider old is still making its rounds into people's song circles and daily commutes? And that, too, is a kind of success.
Today, I want to share the opening poem of A Nation (Imagined) with you. Thank you to Sara Kearns for first publishing "And what if everything" in Sirenlit. Big thanks to the editors of Pontoon and Floating Bridge for believing so strongly in my work, regardless of the date of origin.
My newest collection A Nation (Imagined), winner of the 2018 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award, is now available through pre-order. If you're local, I would love, love, love to see you at The Elliott Bay Book Company on Sunday, October 21st at 3:00 p.m. for my official chapbook launch. If you can't make it, celebrate with me from the comfort of your own couch, by pre-ordering a copy for only $8 today.
Thank you Floating Bridge Press, writing mentors, and friends for all your encouragement and support! Hope to see you this Thursday, October 11th at Lit Crawl (I'll be reading at Spin Cycle at 7:00 p.m. with Jack Straw Writers) and/or at Elliott Bay on the 21st at 3:00.
Pre-Order A Nation (Imagined)
Elliott Bay Book Launch Details
Tomorrow, I'm driving from Seattle down to Portland just so I can read for The Whitenoise Project at Artists' Milepost. If you live nearby, I hope you'll swing by for at least three reasons:
1. This is one of your last chances to check out the De-canon Visibility Project, a pop-up literary arts project featuring artists/writers of color, currently hosted by Milepost 5.
2. You'll get to hear the following six (!) readers: Melissa Bennett, Trevino Brings Plenty, Skyler Reed, Bella Hall, Manuel Arturo Abreu, and me.
3. I will be donating 100% of my book sales from this event to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (most likely through Kerala Association of WA, which will match donations and plans to send financial contributions in phases) which is instrumental in rebuilding/relief efforts in Kerala. Many of you know that my father is from one of the towns that was hit the hardest. The devastation from this most recent monsoon is unfathomable and those of us in the position to help are being called on. If you'd like to know more ways you can contribute, please feel free to connect with me directly and I will be happy to share more links or connect with me on Facebook. #StandWithKerala
Please come celebrate the De-Canon Visibility Project, give a listen to the many varied voices of color, and if you're in the market for poetry or would like to help me raise a little cash for Kerala, pick up a collection from me.
Thanks to Jake Vermaas for including me in another wonderful line-up!
Friday, August 24, 2018
8155 NE Oregon
Portland, OR 97213
Reading begins at 7:00 p.m.
On the heels of the Fourth, here are four ways to catch me this July.
1. Hollow Earth Radio's Glossophonics hosted by Bryan Edenfield and featuring Chelsea Jean Werner-Jatzke, a surprise guest, and me (taped tomorrow, featured in the near distant future, and available as a podcast.)
2. Poets in the Park hosted by Michael Dylan Welch in Redmond's Anderson Park (7802 168th Ave. NE, Redmond, WA 98052). 2018 Jack Straw Writers, Jalayna Carter, Bryan Edenfield, and I will read at 3:00 p.m on Saturday, July 7th. Enjoy a day's worth of poetry readings, workshops (including Jeannine Hall Gailey's PR for Poets talk at 1:00 p.m.) and pick up copies of readers' books at the Book Fair.
3. Summer Visiting Artist Reading with Putsata Reang at Mineral School (114 Mineral Road S., Mineral, WA 98355) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 19th.
4. RASP reading with Jack Straw's Daemond Arrindell and Bryan Edenfield at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 27th. Please Note Change of Address: Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond Town Center, 7420 164th Avenue NE, Suite B105, Redmond, WA 98052.
When my phone rang last Tuesday evening and Michael Schmeltzer asked if I wanted to say "Hello" to Floating Bridge Press, I couldn't believe what he was about to tell me. My chapbook, A Nation (Imagined) won the 2018 FBP chapbook competition! I was floored. Having jokingly referred to myself as the bridesmaid's maid of poetry (my work has been named a semifinalist/finalist in numerous contests, but never a winner), I am thrilled to resign this title especially on this day, my parents' anniversary.
Thank you, Floating Bridge Press for selecting my manuscript! Having lived/found home in WA State for nearly twenty years, this win feels so dear to me.
I'm eager to read all of the incredibly talented WA State poets selected for Pontoon this year. Sweet congrats to finalist Rena Priest, Moonpath Press author, whose collection will also be published by FBP. Check us out this fall, when our chapbooks drop and we share our poems at the FBP release.
The white teeth of the fence cannot keep you in,
cannot swallow you in another convulsive fight
dark throated halls of the house you loathe--
Picket. Take a stand. Jump the dull incisors
and heave your torn skirt towards freedom.
Towards the singing. Do it again and again.
Do you know what is waiting for you?
You are going home.
Previously published in No More In Darkness: Routes to Alexandra David-Neel by dancing girl press
Corinne Elysse Adams is a storycollector, poet, editor, folk musician, and teacher. She holds a BA from Sophia University in Tokyo and an MSc in poetry from the University of Edinburgh. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines such as Confrontation and the Asia Literary Review, in the form of a chapbook with Dancing Girl Press, and as the libretto for Tony Solitro's composition No More in Darkness: Meditations on the Life of Alexandra David-Neel. Together with her creative partner, Shivani Gupta, she created the multimedia storytelling project thread whispers (threadwhispers.wordpress.com), working together with storytellers in remote locations around India to create lyrical translations, soundscapes, and photographic renditions of their stories in the context of the local geography and communities. She also co-founded and edits the Port Townsend based literary journal the Sextant Review. When not assaulting the keys of her typewriter, she plays Irish fiddle, studies Japanese folk singing, performs with traditional music projects, and grows food in her garden on the Olympic Peninsula.
Seattle is a house
on the comings
of water and wind
ripple of fish
feather of crow
Seattle I say
a man and a place
the two inseparable
but as language
is to poem
and salt to sea
I watch bridges, bicyclists, boats
summer blankets tendered
on public lawns
I watch fiery sunsets
tango and sway above jagged peaks
and autumn trees bursting gold
up and down hilly streets
I postcard and gloss
and more sunsets
and more trees
find their way into my lines
I must confess
the house’s foundation
is in places brittle
and many rooms are dark
for windows lack
Plenty have I been
on the receiving end
of rehearsed indifference
heard enough shallow
arguments on who belongs here
to wake up scooping
ocean water with a spoon
we are all here
that need to be
The city is concrete and steel
plus the sum of its people
every day we destroy
then race to remake it
those narrow windows
block future’s view
that need to be heard
muffle the sound
of the falling tree limb
heavy with ripe plums
Every day we tread
over Chief Sealth’s legacy
his prophetic words,
“At night, when the streets
… will be silent and you think
they will throng
with the returning hosts
that once filled them
and still love this beautiful land.”
We are not alone
save for his people
we are all immigrants here
artist, worker, nurse
all of us belong
Seattle is a house
we all need to afford
Previously published on Claudia Castro Luna's blog and later turned into a video by The Seattle Times.
Claudia Castro Luna is Poet Laureate for Washington State (2018-2020) She served as Seattle’s first Civic Poet from 2015-2017 and is the author of Killing Marías (Two Sylvias Press) and This City (Floating Bridge Press). Claudia is a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, a Jack Straw fellow (2014), and recipient of grants from King County 4Culture and Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. She lives in English and Spanish and writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children.
Selections from To Love The Coming End
Remember the days when I became a rhizome,
a thing under your surveillance, something to
cultivate? I was obsessed with being able to grow,
to create an ideal environment for you and I.
I tried to give you attention without possession.
I felt the lust of science and soon, you became
the subject. I studied you, no longer the root.
I gave you soil. You said the conditions weren't
right. That's reality, you said. Reality was a syn-
onym for misfortune. I should have started the
There are many types of flora in Singapore.
Parakeet flowers, orchids, bright flashes of red
and hot yellow. Sculptural foliage, umbrella
palms, and frangipanis. Different climate, dif-
ferent kinds of life. I haven't gone to Jurong
or to any of the reservoirs to explore nature. I
don't know how to care for plants. How to care
for living things.
Moist mountainsides, lush terrains for new shoots.
Bamboo forests, a landscape of jade green and
celadon. Variegated leaves rustle a game of telephone.
Singapore grows, a city of glass, as if there is no
threat of plates and quakes.
Previously published in To Love The Coming End by Chin Music.
Leanne Dunic is a multidisciplinary artist, musician, and writer. Her work has won several honors, including the Alice Munro Short Story Contest, and has appeared in publications in Canada and abroad. Leanne is the Artistic Director of the Powell Street Festival Society, a Japanese Canadian arts and culture celebration, and is the singer/guitarist of The Deep Cove.Her debut book, To Love the Coming End, is a lyric-prose travelogue that moves between Singapore, Canada, and Japan, focusing on a disillusioned author obsessed with natural disasters, ‘the curse of 11’, and the loss of a loved one.
Machine Testimonial 1
little robot, you grew up from when you were so young, just a pile of
sensors & recycled parts from the trash. i tried to make you gorgeous. &
you became such a gorgeous robot. beyond template & design. you're not
so little anymore. when you walk on the street now, you glitter & gold.
long time for you to realize that you light up like so. oh maker, you say at
night, when humans are sleeping. i'm awake though, i hear you. i'm kinda
like you too, i was made from all trash, you know? my parts more perishable
than yours. believe me, robot. i want. i remember. my programming
is nacent. i see you lying there open, waiting for me. & i think, i want to
be good to you. my little automaton doll, take me up into the sky like it
was promised in the book of machine love.
Previously published in Love, Robot from The Operating System.
Margaret Rhee is a poet, artist, and scholar. She is the author of chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011) and Radio Heart; or, How Robots Fall Out of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2015), nominated for a 2017 Elgin Award, Science Fiction Poetry Association. Her project The Kimchi Poetry Machine was selected for the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3. Literary fellowships include Kundiman, Hedgebrook, and the Kathy Acker Fellowship. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic and new media studies. Currently, she is a Visiting Scholar at the NYU A/P/A Institute, and a Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo in the Department of Media Study.
Chaos Theory for Beginners
Listen there is yet a chance at madness to become
the lioness in a field of moon lilies For words to push
up from the known deep grow gills form feet wing
through water’s skin We talk of doors but really
we are only breaking walls Listen your eyes are so sky
in that hurricane dress the hugest two moons I’ve ever
Everything’s happening so slowly fast it’s hard to discern
who needs repair and who is just mean enough
to survive I mean isn’t chaos merely a loss space-
defined the names of all the birds floating up
like sheets freed from their lines and aren’t we all
standing here on that flattest piece of earth shielding
our eyes in our stormy clothes lilies at our brows
stirring a little heat beneath our skirts just jonesing to rise
Previously published in Tahoma Literary Review.
Poet and photographer, Ronda Piszk Broatch is the author of Lake of Fallen Constellations, (MoonPath Press, 2015), Shedding Our Skins, and Some Other Eden, (2005). Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Ronda is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, a May Swenson Poetry Award finalist, and former editor of Crab Creek Review. Her journal publications include Atlanta Review, Prairie Schooner, Fourteen Hills, Mid-American Review, and Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry (Two Sylvias Press).
Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a writer and a licensed naturopath in WA State. Enjoying this blog? Feel free to put a little coffee in Natasha's cup, right here.