ArtFM Radio hour: March 5.2015 : Nettie Farris : Matthew Haughton : Jonathan Wood

Tune in HERE this Thursday 1pm EST

Readings and Q&A with Nettie Farris and Matthew Haughton

stand_in_stillness-2CoverforCommunion-2

Musical interludes by Jonathan Wood

When you dig it:  You can then see them collaborate LIVE at Subterranean Phrases

on March 11 @ Decca [812 e. market st ] EVENT PAGE HERE

Subterranean Phrases is a reading series that matches writers and musicians to perform unrehearsed collaborations creating interesting juxtapositions of verbal and musical phrases. It’s subterranean in the cellar lounge at Decca Restaurant.

Can’t wait until March 11th to hear some incredible local readings?  I don’t blame you. Fear not. the Portland Poetry Series happens on MONDAY, March 2ND @ McQuixote Books and Coffee with 4 FOUR outstanding writers. 

Amber Burns : Adam Day : Jeremy Clark : Yolantha Harrison-Pace

Epiphany 

EVENT PAGE HERE 

All bios below


Nettie Farris is the author of Communion (Accents Publishing, 2013). She teaches writing as an adjunct instructor and has earned a Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences University of Louisville. She has won first place prizes in both Graduate Poetry and Graduate Research from the Metroversity Writing Contest. In 2011 she received the Kudzu Poetry Prize. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. Her chapbook, Fat Crayons, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Matthew Haughton’s latest book of poetry is “Stand in the Stillness of Woods” (WordTech Editions). His chapbook, “Bee-coursing Box” (Accents Publications) was nominated for the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Poetry Book of the Year. His poems have appeared in many journals including Appalachian Heritage, The Four Way Review, Still, Border Crossing, and The Louisville Review. He is currently a student at the Bread Loaf School of English, where he is on a generous fellowship from the C.E. and S. Foundation. Haughton works as a school teacher in his native Kentucky.

http://jonathanglenwood.bandcamp.com/

From songwriter to improviser, Jonathan Glen Wood answers creativity’s call with openness and honesty, seeking clarity on an important inner journey. Whether performing with Old Baby, Jaye Jayle, Lowe Sutherland or Catherine Irwin, Wood strives to find new modes of creative expression, which lead to new musical possibilities. After a wide range of solo releases in 2014 ultimately uniting folk songwriting and synthesizer tones, he’s started 2015 by releasing, “On Remembering,” a wholly instrumental ambient synthesizer affair.


Amber Burns was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She earned her BA in English and Pan-African Studies from the University of Louisville. Amber first began performing her poetry in 2008 as a member of the feminist choreo-poetry troupe, S.H.E.! (Solidifying Her Evolution). She is now a seasoned poet and uses the stage as a platform to discuss the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality. Amber is the Assistant Director of New Roots, Inc., a Louisville based non-profit working to make fresh local food affordable for those who need it most.

Jeremy Clark was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He recently graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in Pan-African Studies. In 2014, he was chosen to attend the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and his work is forthcoming in PLUCK! and Callaloo.

Adam Day’s forthcoming collection is Model of City in Civil War (Sarabande Books, April 2015). He is the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha, and of a PEN Emerging Writers Award. His work has appeared in the Boston Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry London, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. He coordinates The Baltic Writing Residency in Latvia, Scotland, and Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest.

Yolantha Harrison-Pace was born in Tacoma, Washington, but lived her early childhood in Amarillo, Texas during segregation until her family moved to Champaign, Illinois in 1966. There integration became a part of her everyday life, often just because her family of 7 attended an event or she and one of her 4 brothers were the only African American student in the classroom. This unique legacy of having lived on both sides of the track, segregation and integration, has been influential in her love for and artistic portrayals of her precious home, America. Pace uses her art forms as tools and strategies for supporting her platform of unity through the pursuit of cultural excellence. Her focus group emphasis is underserved populations in America and beyond. Yolantha is an advocate for abused family members, especially concerning hate crimes against women and children. She has been a Children’s Ambassador for Haiti since the year 2000. She is a teaching artist, playwright, poet and author and has had her play THE WHOLE SKY premier at Berea College. Her multitude of writings have gleaned her such honors as Poet of the Year, Book of Poetry of the Year, and won her the personal accolade of Humanitarian Author of the year. Her works have gone international through her postings as an adjunct writer for University of Southern California’s Art Institute for Genetic Medicine. In addition, as an Urban Folk Artist, Pace’s primitive Angel dolls are owned by collectors around the world. Her newest release: UNCLE THAXTER is a children’s book celebrating friends and family of wounded warriors.

Double Vision at PYRO gallery & The Kentucky Writing Workshop

This past Friday was the opening reception for Double Vision at PYRO Gallery. A group show featuring 17 Artist/Writer pairs and their collaborative work.  Almost every medium is represented from sculpture and ceramic to oil and digital collage.  Some of the writings are placed on the wall close to the visual representation, some are incorporated within the piece, in a block of text, while others are incorporated line by line or poem by poem by being draped across, tied, or affixed with a decoupage.  Over the next few weeks, PYRO will be hosting readings of the pieces as follows:

Thursday 1/22, PYRO Gallery, 7pm 

Kristen Miller, Fred Smock. William Smith, Ellyn Lichvar, David Harrity

Thursday 1/29, PYRO Gallery, 7pm 

Sarah Gorham, Lynnell Edwards, Makalani Bandele, Annette Allen, Michael Estes

Thursday 2/5, PYRO Gallery, 7pm 

Sean Patrick Hill, Martha Greenwald, Adam Day, John James, Kathryn Welsh

Keep Louisville Literary will be hosting some of these Writer/Artist pairs on the radio hour on ArtFM for an in-depth discussion about their collaborative process.

This Thursday January 15, 1pm on artxfm.com
Kay Grubola/Lynell Edwards
CJ Pressma
Jeff Skinner/Jessica Farquhr/Adam Day

Kay Polson Grubola is an artist and independent curator in Louisville, Kentucky. Creating assemblages using natural found objects, Grubola’s work is a celebration of nature. The work is also an allegory for the natural process of human life, both its ascendance and its decline. She has shown her work nationally and internationally.

Grubola was the Executive Director of Nazareth Arts, a regional arts center on the campus of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky, as well as the Artistic Director of the Louisville Visual Art Association.  For 10 years she taught drawing and printmaking at Bellarmine University and Indiana University Southeast.

An active curator Grubola has organized many exhibitions in a wide range of topics.  Her exhibits have ranged in subject matter from original concept drawings from the design studios of GM, Chrysler and Ford muscle car era to a nationally recognized extravaganza of handmade dinnerware and exquisite table design, which wowed audiences for more than 20 years.


Lynnell Major Edwards is the author of three collections of poetry, most recentlyCovet (October, 2011), and also The Farmer’s Daughter (2003) and The Highwayman’s Wife (2007), all from Red Hen Press.  Her short fiction and book reviews have appeared most recently in Connecticut Review, American Book Review, Pleiades, New Madrid, and others. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky where, since 2010 she has been president of  Louisville Literary Arts, a non-profit literary arts organization that sponsors the monthly InKY reading series and The Writer’s Block Festival. She is also Associate Professor of English at Spalding University.  She also teaches creative writing at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and is available for readings and workshops in a variety of settings.


C.J. Pressma is a graduate of Antioch College and holds an  M.F.A. in Photography from Indiana University.  He studied as a special graduate student with Minor White at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and with Henry Holmes Smith at Indiana University.

In 1970 he founded the Center for Photographic Studies – an alternative school of creative photography.  The Center provided a learning experience for those seeking to explore photography as creative expression.  During its eight-year existence the center attracted students from over 35 states and foreign countries to its full-time resident program and provided part-time instruction and darkroom access for hundreds of students in the Louisville metropolitan area.  Its two galleries provided monthly photographic exhibits featuring the works of local, regional, and internationally acclaimed photographic artists including Ansel Adams and Minor White.

In 1978 he was awarded a National Endowment Fellowship in Photography.

In 1979 Pressma embarked on a career as a multimedia producer and marketing communications specialist. In 1984, his seven part series Witness to the Holocaust, was released in the U.S. and Canada where it remains in distribution today.  One of the first productions to use survivor interviews as the exclusive content to tell the story of the Holocaust, Witness to the Holocaust has received numerous national awards.

In 1997 he was awarded the American Advertising Federation’s prestigious Silver Medal Award for “outstanding contributions to advertising and furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence, and responsibility in areas of social concern.”

In December,2001 Pressma was awarded a Fellowship by  the Kentucky  Arts council.

Pressma is represented by Pyro Gallery in Louisville.


Poet, playwright, and essayist Jeffrey Skinner’s most recent book (memoir, advice, humor), The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets, was published to wide attention and acclaim, including a full page positive review in the July 19, 2012 Sunday New York Times Book Review.  His most recent collection of poems,Glaciology, was chosen in 2012 as winner in the Crab Orchard Open Poetry Competition, and will be published by Southern Illinois University press in Fall, 2013.   Skinner has published five previous collections: Late Stars (Wesleyan University Press), A Guide to Forgetting (a winner in the 1987 National Poetry series, chosen by Tess Gallagher, published by Graywolf Press), The Company of Heaven (Pitt Poetry Series), Gender Studies, (Miami University Press), and Salt Water Amnesia (Ausable Press).  He has edited two anthologies, Last Call: Poems of Alcoholism, Addiction, and Deliverance; and Passing the Word: Poets and Their Mentors.  His numerous chapbooks include Salt Mother, Animal Dad, which was chosen by C.K. Williams for the New York City Center for Book Arts Poetry Competition in 2005.  Over the years Skinner’s poems have appeared in most of the country’s  premier literary magazines, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, FENCE, Bomb, DoubleTake, and The Georgia, Iowa, and Paris Reviews.

Also a playwright, Skinner’s play Down Range had a successful limited run at Theatre 3 in New York City in the Spring of 2009, and will again be produced in Chicago in 2012-13.  His play Dream On had its premier production in February of 2007, by the Cardboard Box Collaborative Theatre in Philadelphia.  Other of Skinner’s plays have been finalists in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Conference competition, and winners in various play contests.

Skinner’s writing has gathered grants, fellowships, and awards from such sources as the National Endowment for the Arts (1986, & 2006), the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Howard Foundation, and the state arts agencies of Connecticut, Delaware, and Kentucky.  He has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, McDowell, Vermont Studios, and the Fine Arts Center in Provincetown.  His work has been featured numerous times on National Public Radio.  In 2002 Skinner served as Poet-in-Residence at the James Merrill House in Stonington, Connecticut.

He is President of the Board of Directors, and Editorial Consultant, for Sarabande Books, a literary publishing house he cofounded with his wife, poet Sarah Gorham.  He teaches creative writing and English at The University of Louisville.


Jessica Farquhar holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Purdue where she was the assistant director of Creative Writing. She is a Louisville native, and current resident. Her poems have appeared in Catch Up, Word Hotel, ABZ, Transom, New Madrid, Poetry East, and Lumberyard; reviews and interviews in Sycamore Review.

Adam Day was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky.  He received his MFA in creative writing at New York University, where he was poetry editor for the program’s national literary journal, Washington Square. His work has been published or is forthcoming in The American Poetry ReviewColumbia: A Journal of Literature and the ArtsCrab Orchard Review,Seattle Review, and others.
Thursday January 22nd, 1pm on artxfm.com
Sean Patrick Hill/John McCarthy
Makalani Bandele /Wendy Smith
Martha Greenwald/Susie Harrison
Bio’s posted in next week’s blog 

Another opportunity to workshop in Louisville is on the Horizon with The Kentucky Writing Workshop. “..A special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, at the Holiday Inn Louisville East.”

In addition to the instructional courses, 5 different literary agents will be in attendance taking pitches for books & novels.

All information about agents, workshops, and registration available HERE

Chuck Sambuchino will be on Keep Louisville Literary on January 29th to discuss the event.

Chuck Sambuchino (chucksambuchino.com,@chucksambuchino) of Writer’s Digest Books is the editor of Guide to Literary Agents as well as the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. His authored books include Formatting & Submitting Your ManuscriptCreate Your Writer Platform, which was praised by Forbes.com; andHow to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, which was optioned for film by Sony. He oversees one of the biggest blogs in publishing (the Guide to Literary Agents Blog) as well as one of the biggest Twitter accounts in publishing (@WritersDigest). He is a freelance editor who has seen dozens of his clients get agents and/or book deals, and he has presented at almost 90 writing conferences and events over the past eight years.

Keep Louisville Literary Radio show UPDATES!

Dear Readers,This Thursday my guest will be poet / professor Matt Hart, who’ll be discussing with us education models for creative writing, his latest book Debacle, Debacle (H_ngm_n, 2013) and his new work-in-progress Radiant Action forthcoming from Typecast Publishing here in Louisville, KY!

You can check out Matt reading “Amplifier to Defender” from Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless (Typecast, 2011) HERE

And over HERE are five poems from Radiant Action over at Hobart.

NEXT Thursday, 7-25, my guest (who was originally slated for this week) will be Adam Day, University of Kentucky educator, poet, and Louisville Literary Arts (LLA) board-member. Adam holds an MFA in creative writing from NYU, where he studied with former U.S. poet laureate Philip Levine, and coordinates the Baltic Writing Residency which now includes residencies in Scotland, and at Bernheim Forest in KY. Adam Day is the recipient of a 2010 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha, and is also the recipient of a 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award. He has a ton of experience and insight about the poetry world, is working on several projects, and will be chatting about all that and hopefully reading poems for us!

Literary Event and KLL radio!

Next weeks guest on Keep Louisville Literary (7-18 at 1p on ARTxFM) will be award winning poet and UK instructor Adam Day who’ll talk with us about his time in NYU’s MFA program in Creative Writing, and working toward a better literary community with Louisville Literary Arts!

July 19th from 6-8p Homegrown Art, Music and Spoken word will feature poet W. “Bill” Loren Smith. Event hosted by Bobbi Buchanan of the New Southerner journal. Cedar Grove Coffee House 142 Buffalo Run Rd. Shepardsville, KY

July 28th at 5:30p Stone Soup returns to The Bards Town (1801 Bardstown Rd. 40205) with poets Mark Webb, Devin Payne, and Robin Bensinger.

BOTH EVENTS BEGIN WITH AN OPEN MIC, sign ups 30min before show time.

A New Year, New Authors, Lists and a look back at KLL: the first 5 months

Well, I don’t know if I’m spearheading a literary revolution, but I’ve had damn good time doing this blog. I started in late August 2012 and set out to change the dynamics of our local Lit. scene by co-mingling crowds and attempting to generate public/community interest in new and resurfacing authors via interview. Since no “year-in/year-end” blog posting is complete without them, I’m going to all the awesome people I’ve interviewed this year (which you can still check out!), some of the inspiring books I’ve read, and the people I have slated and in-mind for interviews this spring.

Past interviews: John James, Hannah Gamble, Joe Brashear, Makalani Bandele, Ada Limón, Jessica Farquhar, Erin Keane (and her questions answered by me, Brandon Stettenbenz), Sean Patrick Hill, Jennifer Woods (Typecast Publishing), Nettie Farris, Jimmy Besseck, Kiki Petrosino, Sheri Wright, and Rachel Short. I’m sure this wasn’t the highlight of the year for any reader or interviewee, but I hope everyone had fun!

Recommended reads for the year: Ada Limón’s Sharks in the Rivers, Sean Patrick Hill’s Interstitual, Hannah Gamble’s Your Invitation to a Moderate Breakfast, Kiki Petrosino’s Fort Red Border, Jimmy Besseck’s Bus Boy Moments, Sheri Wright’s The Feast of Erasure, Erin Keane’s Death Defying Acts, Dean Young’s Fall Higher, Charles Simic’s That Little Something, Richard Taylor’s Fading Into BoliviaW. Loran Smith’s Night Train, M. Bartley Seigel’s This is What They Say, and many more than I can list or remember.

Reading list 2012 (So far): Dorthea Lasky’s Thunderbird, Dean Young’s Bender: New and Selected poems, Sean Patrick Hill’s Hibernaculum, William Carlos William’s Paterson, Mary Ruefle’s Selected Poems, and so forth and SF books no one cares about.

Slated & possible authors/publishers to interview: Adam Day, Jeriod Avant, Meg Bowden (Sarabande Books), The White Squirrel (UofL) staff, Thomas Olges (later this mo.), Eric Sutherland (Holler Poets, Lexington, KY), Chris Mattingly, Matt Hart, Lynnell Edwards (LLA, InKY, Poet), Brian Leung (LLA, Inky, Novelist) and hopefully many more interesting persons.

I’ve had a decent year personally, and an excellent five months with this blog. I’m hoping that 2013 will bring the Louisville Lit. scene closer together than ever before (we are the only support we have folks!), and I look forward to seeing great readings and interviewing/meeting interesting writers.

Keep Louisville Literary in 2013!

Best wishes to all,

Brandon Stettenbenz

p.s. If you curate, edit or are otherwise part of literary events, magazines/journals, workshops or festivals anywhere in the region, I’d love to collaborate with you for this blog! My goal is not an insular one; enriching any literary community also means connecting with other literary communities and traveling writers! Its a two way, mutually beneficial endeavor.

Local Literary Picks for “Cyber Monday”! (no short-term deals, only great, local books available all year!)

While these may not exactly be rock-bottom prices on consumer goods, I wanted to show everyone who may be in the midst of the early holiday-shopping frenzy where they might find some local books & journals for themselves and other bibliophiles in their lives!

Sheri Wright, poet and fine-art photographer, self-released her sixth collection The Feast of Erasure this year. You can purchase poetry books and photo prints directly.

Local poet and journalist, not to mention the progenitor of InKY (say thanks next time you see her!), Erin Keane has  two books Death-Defying Acts, a collection of gritty prose poems about complex carnival folk, and The Gravity Soundtrack, filled with poems inspired by (mostly American Rock) music.

Affrilachian poet Makalani Bandele‘s book Hell-Fightin’ is rife with jazz and history.

Sean Patrick Hill is the author of two poetry collections and a few hiking books. He has a new collection forthcoming in 2013, and you can find links to buy his book on his blog.

Lynelle Major Edwards is the president of Louisville Literary Arts (the local, non-profit organization behind InKY and The Writer’s Block festival) as well as the author of three full-length collections of poetry which you can read about and purchase here. Her blog also has a section outlining the wonderful organizations responsible for Keeping Louisville Literary!

Brian Leung is the author of the novels Take Me Home and World Famous Love Acts. Look for his work at Carmichael’s Books and other local bookstores.

Adam Day is the author of the poetry chapbook Badger Apocrypha,  which can be found at Carmichael’s as well. He is searching for a publisher for a newer, full-length collection of poems and writing a novel.

Kirby Gann is the author of three novels: The Barbarian Parade, Our Napoleon in Rags, and mostly recently Ghosting (click to read reviews including kudos from Publisher’s Weekly).

Typecast publishing is an up-and-coming small press that likes to make unique books by hand. Originating out of The Lumberyard magazine project with Fire Cracker Press (#10 available soon!), this Louisville, KY based publisher has had a huge impact on the local lit. scene and continues to volunteer time, etc. to The Writer’s Block festival, and other projects. They’ve so far published fiction and poetry which you can find for purchase on their website (I recommend M. Bartley Seigel’s collection of poems about the rust-belt, This is What They Say; he also heads a rag called PANK which isn’t local but I do HIGHLY recommend reading it).

Larkspur Press is a publisher of hand-made books whose letterpress shop is in Monterey, KY. They have published Fred Smock who currently teaches at Bellarmine, Richard Taylor formerely at Kentucky University, and UofL graduate and current KY poet-laureate Maureen Morehead among others. These hand-cut and bound books feature wood-block and linoleum block prints by artists such as Steve Armstrong and many others.

Sarabande Books is a non-profit literary press founded in 1994 in Louisville, KY. They focus on poetry, short fiction, and essay. You can search their catalog here.

Catch-up is headed up locally by Adam Day and Jeff Hipsher. They have recently released their third issue guest edited by Catherine Wagner, Sean Bishop, Hannah Gamble, and DA Powell.

You can read interviews with most of these authors and publishers here. Take a look; inform your holiday and other purchases. Remember, these folks work for a living. They don’t mark up their goods, and thus you won’t find any high-pressure sales, only fine literary art! This means two things: you’re putting money in the hands of the makers, and you can shop local books all year long! Also, whether you dig any of the books listed above or not, please BUY LOCAL and KEEP LOUISVILLE LITERARY!

(Full Disclosure: I am privileged to know some of these fine artists personally)

Speak Social progenitors speak up about their reading series!

“Speak Social” is the newest reading series in Louisville, KY. Co-curated by John James and Sarah Maddix, the series features local writers, two per event, as well as an up-and-coming local musician. These events take place at Java Brewing Co. or “Java Bardstown” (1707 Bardstown Rd.), are open to the public, and best of all free! Keep Louisville Literary corresponded with John and Sarah to discover the origins of Speak Social, where the series is headed, and  a little bit about its progenitors.

KLL: What are your personal backgrounds concerning spoken word events and/or literature, and how does this shape Speak Social?

John James: Before we started Speak Social, I had just moved back to Louisville from Brooklyn, New York, where I completed my [MFA]and hosted a reading series called Metro Rhythm. [It] was quite similar to [Speak Social], but instead of an open-mic we featured M.F.A. candidates. Being in NYC, where there are several topnotch programs, there was never a dearth of talented young readers. Plus, being at the center of America’s literary culture, we were able to attract some really amazing “headlining” readers—Mark Strand, Mary Jo Bang, and Timothy Donnelly, to name a few. It was sad to give up the series when I left, but it’s in good hands and is going on its fourth season this year. So I’d say it was primarily that experience that’s shaped Speak Social for me. It taught me how to host a reading, how to promote it, what problems to anticipate, and how to contact [potential] readers. I’d wanted to start something similar to that here, where I perceived a lack of such literary events, but didn’t find the motivation until Sarah contacted me about it.

Sarah Maddix: Though I’m not an aspiring writer, I adore poetry, and enjoy attending all sorts of literary events… I’ve found that there’s a bit of disconnect between academia, aspiring writers and those who just enjoy literature. It’s a shame, for example, that the same few people will frequent either Sarabande (book’s reading series at hotel 21c) or [the InKY series]—two established series that I love attending—and there’s not much overlap between them. So my interest in starting Speak Social grew from a desire to see Louisville’s literary scene become a bit more inclusive. John and I strive to make Speak Social an inviting space that will nurture community and make literature accessible to all kinds of folks.

KLL: How do you think Speak Social fits with other, older Louisville reading series such as InKY or Sarabande’s series at 21c?

SM: First of all, I really enjoy them both. InKY was the first reading series in Louisville that I ever attended (and still do) and we even used their event structure—an open mic, featured readers, and music—as a guide in developing Speak Social. And I have Sarabande’s series at 21c to thank for my recent discovery of Ada Limón, an amazing poet. Because we have such respect for these series, John and I have no interest in trying to compete with them for an audience. Rather, we want to create some intermingling between these two established series, [and others] such as Subterranean Phrases and Stone Soup. Our goal is to see Louisville develop a vibrant arts scene that encourages creativity, diversity, and community.

KLL: Are there any differences that make Speak Social unique?

JJ: Yes and no. In terms of atmosphere, we’ve tried to model Speak Social after the Holler Poets Series in Lexington. If you’ve ever been, you know that Holler always draws a huge crowd. But more importantly, these people laugh, they cry, they yell out loud. It’s a lot of fun! Most readings aren’t like that at all, which is where I think we differ from your average poetry event. I’ve been to so many readings, especially in NYC, where I just wanted to fall asleep. I’d find myself working my way to the bottom of my glass rather than listening to the readers. Sarah and I want to avoid that at all costs. What we’ve aimed to do with this series is to play up the social aspect of poetry readings—hence the title, “Speak Social.” We encourage our audience to shout, clap, and hoot. However the work strikes them, we want to see that emotion. We also host a party following every reading, at which we hope to foster conversation about the work, but also about class, race, philosophy, and aesthetics—all the social and intellectual concerns that encompass the writing we’ve heard that night.

KLL: Tell me a bit about your upcoming readers for September and why you chose them.

JJ: In September we’re featuring Kyle Thompson and Kiki Petrosino, with music by Mike James of the Louisville band “Been to the Gallows”. I’ve known Kyle for some time, first as a poet, and only later as a person, but he’s never failed to intrigue me. His poems are so strange, often experimental, and yet they usually offer a narrative. He has one, an older one now, called “Fable of the Snails,” which was published in AGNI. That one does tell a story, but it’s more of a slanted glimpse into human history than an actual story about snails… He read at the Writer’s Block festival last fall, but I was out of town, so asking him to read was my way of getting to hear a poet I’ve always wanted to hear.

SM: I’ve been interested in having Kiki read for Speak Social since coming across her first book, Fort Red Border. I love this collection because it fuses together everything I love about poetry; it is both cerebral and imaginative (the first section, for example, explores a fanciful relationship with Robert Redford), but her style is often conversational, making the poems tangible to the reader. I’m particularly fond of the last section, a set of ten poems all titled “Valentine.” She has a new collection due out from Sarabande next year, so I’m really excited to hear what she’s been working on recently.

JJ: I’m probably a little bit biased about Mike—he’s my brother. But he’s also a super-talented musician… I remember watching him sound out early tunes by Green Day when he was about eight years old. It was amazing to me then. He’s played in different bands over the years, but recently started playing with this group Been to the Gallows. They just put out an album called A Knock at the Door, and have been playing shows all over town. This show will be different, though, as it features Mike playing solo and acoustic (they’re usually a very loud, electric duo). If nothing else, having the focus solely on Mike, coupled with the acoustic set, will provide a unique experience for followers of his work.

KLL: Do you envision Speak Social as a continuing series? If so, who might we expect to see next season (and when does this season end)?

SM: We’d love for Speak Social to run as long as possible. We were toying with the idea of taking the holidays off after our October 19th event—featuring readers Lynnell Edwards and Sean Patrick Hill, with music by Alex Udis—but recently the literary magazine Catch-Up approached us about collaborating on a release party for their fall issue, and we just couldn’t turn down promoting such a unique new journal. The Catch-Up Release Party is set for November 2nd, which will wind down our 2012 season. However, we do have a party in the works for December to celebrate our season and thank everyone for their support, so keep your eyes peeled for that! We’ll resume in full swing in January with featured readers David Harrity and Martha Greenwald, though the exact dates haven’t been determined quite yet.

KLL: Do you have any long-term goals considering the direction, location, scale or format of Speak Social?

JJ: Personally, I’d like to bring in a few writers I know from New York, but that requires a lot of money. For one thing, I’d want to offer those people at least a small honorarium, but we’d also have to pay to fly them out here and put them up for a night or two. Sarabande is probably the only series around funded well enough to do something like that. Although, I’ve considered initiating a special fund called “Bring Timothy Donnelly to Speak Social” in order to raise that kind of money. Maybe it’s a little unrealistic, but not totally impossible.

SM: I’m a big fan of slam poetry and such spoken word poets as Sarah Kay and Saul Williams, so reaching outside the realm of academia and attracting some performance poets from the area is an interest of mine. And although it’s important to keep Speak Social relevant to Louisville folks, I too wouldn’t mind attracting some bigger names from outside the state… Overall, though, I’d love to see Speak Social become a driving force in a thriving arts scene in Louisville, while most importantly keeping the “social” atmosphere that we’re trying to achieve.

KLL: Are you actively seeking sponsors?

JJ: We are. Originally Java Brewing Company had funded honorariums for our readers, but it’s just unrealistic to think they can continue doing that. To raise money more immediately, Sarah and I [plan to start] a Kickstarter account. It’ll be online soon. [The] money would go to fund honorariums, create flyers, and if we have enough, to purchase a mic and P.A. system. Up until now, anything we’ve purchased for the series has come out of pocket, and we pretty much rely on our musicians for sound equipment. It’s been kind of a D.I.Y. operation. We’re also planning to apply for grants from the Kentucky Arts Council, South Arts, and the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, but that money—if we get it—wouldn’t come in until late next year.

KLL: Is there any other information readers and writers in the area should know about Speak Social?

SM: We’d love submissions! If you’re interested in reading, playing music, or finding out more information about Speak Social, you can contact John and me at speaksocialky@gmail.com. You can also visit our website at speaksocialky.wordpress.com. Lastly, help spread the word and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SpeakSocialKy/!

Featured readers at Speak Social have included poets Jeffrey Skinner, Adam Day, and Biancca Spriggs, as well as novelist Kirby Gann. On Sept. 21st poets Kiki Petrosino and Kyle Thompson will read at 7pm.

@InKYSeries         @JavaBardstown          @sarabandebooks