Lee Pennington, Jill Baker, and Appalachian Newground [5.24.16]

Lee Pennington’s latest book of Poetry and stories, Appalachian Newground, Illustrated by Jill Baker, is the first book in 23 years and marks his 20th published.  He is 2 time Pulitzer nominee and Former Poet Laureate of Kentucky. Lee and Jill will both be joining me on the radio hour this Tuesday, 9am, on 97.1 WXOX louisville, artxfm.com (global).

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“Those of us who know and love Lee Pennington’s work have waited 23 years for this book, and it was well worth the wait! Appalachian Newground , his twentieth book, holds the universe between its covers in the poems and short stories. You do not have to be from Appalachia to relate to the contents. He honors the land and people everywhere. There is something for each reader that will illuminate the mind, warm the heart, and touch the soul forever. It is beautifully illustrated by renowned artist, Jill Baker. Lee was Poet Laureate of Kentucky in 1984 and was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. This book will undoubtedly earn him another nomination! This is a book you must buy and keep close at hand when you need to read something beautiful and inspirational!” -Roberto Brown, Amazon Review 

LEE PENNINGTON is the author of 19 books including I knew a Woman (1977 Love Street Books) and Thigmotropism (1993 Green River Writers/Grex Press)–both nominated for Pulitzer Prize. He has had over 1300 poem published in more than 300 magazines in America and abroad. In 1984 he was designated Poet Laureate of Kentucky by the state legislature. He has had nine plays produced, wrote the script for The Moonshine War (MGM, 1970, starring Alan Alda, Richard Widmark, etc.), and has published thousands of articles in everything from Playgirl to Mountain Life and Work. Since 1990, through his video production company, JoLe Productions (joleproductions.com), Lee, along with his late wife, Joy, produced 23 documentaries including In Search of the Mudmen (1990), Wales: History in Bondage (1995), and Secret of the Stones (1998), Eyes that Look at the Sky: The Mystery of Easter Island (2001), The Mound Builders (2001), The Serpent Fort: Solving the Mystery of Fort Mountain, Georgia (2005), Let Me Not Drown on the Waters: Fred Rydholm, Michigan’s “Mr. Copper”(2008), Sometimes You Clean, Sometimes You Litter: The Amazing Warner Sizemore (2012), Room to Fly: Anne Caudill’s Album (2013). Lee is a graduate Berea College in KY and the University of Iowa. He holds two Honorary Doctor degrees: Doctor of Literature from World University, and Doctor of Philosophy in Arts from The Academy of Southern Arts and Letters. He taught for nearly 40 years, the last 32 as Professor of English and creative writing at University of Kentucky Jefferson Community College until he retired in 1999 He has traveled extensively (in all the United States, all the Canadian Provinces except one, and in 78 foreign countries). He lives with artist Jill Baker in Kratz House, a designated historic home, in Middletown, KY. For the past six years, he has served as president of the Ancient Kentucke Historical Association, a group dedicated to the study and research of pre-Columbian contact in the Americas. In June of 2013 the University of Louisville in Kentucky dedicated and opened THE LEE AND JOY PENNINGTON CULTURAL HERITAGE GALLERY which houses Pennington’s body of work.  Link to Lee’s Documentaries
Jill Baker’s driving force in life is to show the beautifully complex design of the world. The softness or power of color and light she observes is so much more than meets the eye, that it is only through realism, either impressionistic or hard edge, that a painting can approach it.
“I began creating art when I about 2 years old. According to my mother, I spent hours a day and used up reams of paper drawing quietly by myself throughout my childhood.
“I was driven to try to recreate what I saw. I was determined to capture the beautiful things I saw around me. Others saw what I did and encouraged me. My grandmother was a prolific artist and created big, impressionistic paintings of ladies on patios, and landscapes with dark woods and open plains with mountains. Teachers in schools made me take art; my mother saw that I had painting lessons all during my teens. My high school art teacher threatened that if I didn’t have a picture on the front of Post Magazine when I grew up that he would come back at night and rattle the paintbrushes in my studio.
“In high school I was called upon to create posters and program covers. Everyone in my class asked me to draw them. I helped make backdrops and paintings for school assemblies and hundreds of charity auctions. I realized that, along with the talent I had, came responsibilities.
“As I grew older, I felt guilty when I didn’t have the time to paint, raising children in Bowling Green, Kentucky. But I was driven to return to creating art, driven by the thousands of visual images in my head that needed to be put down on paper or painted.
“In the early 1970’s I was asked if I would like to illustrate a book for Jim Wayne Miller, and then for Frank Steele. Following the publication of those books, I was asked by Love Street Books to design a cover for a prize-winning book of poetry for Bruce Rogers, Minoan Starships. In Louisville, Lee Pennington saw my illustrations in Jim Wayne Miller’s book and asked his publisher if he could ask me to design the cover of his book of poetry called Songs of Bloody Harlan. I did that and it turned out beautifully – a large block print of a man standing on an Appalachian ridge, while the evil ghost of Bloody Harlan swirls around him and the pine trees he stands with. I then was asked to illustrate a few other books by Lee Pennington and he and Joy developed a friendship with my husband and me. We visited them and they us over the years, exchanging Christmas cards every year, with me always surprised to find my images printed on the front of Lee’s cards, to illustrate his yearly poem. Eventually, when I was single and Lee’s wife of 49 years died, we got together and now live in Louisville in Kratz House.
As a young mother and faculty wife, I showed my work in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and gradually to a wider audience in Kentucky. The State of Kentucky chose my work to hang in the capital and called me an official ‘Kentucky Artist.’ I was chosen to exhibit my work in Paris at a major exhibition of American Art. My work was at the Speed Museum in Louisville and, after attending the Academia di Belle Arti and having a solo show at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy I enjoyed a one-person show at the Parthenon in Nashville and a major show at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea.”
“I eventually moved to the SoHo district of New York City and earned my M.F.A. from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, in Painting, in 1981. I use a variety of techniques in painting, from Old Masters’ to Impressionistic. The oil paintings I have been doing lately are impressionistic landscapes on canvas.
“But I have continued to illustrate books of poetry and prose and illustrated three of my own books, My Turn, Poems of Accord and Satisfaction and Elba Journal. The last book I illustrated, of course, is Lee’s new book of poetry, Appalachian Newground.”

 If you would like to keep up with literary events in the city, Please visit and subscribe to 502litnews, curated by the Louisville Literary Arts Board, and tune into the radio hour every Tuesday on 97.1 WXOX, artxfm.com. If you have a reading or book release in the Louisville area and would like to appear on the show, please email keeplouisvilleliterary@yahoo.com.

 

Write on,
Rachel Short, Host

All about Imaginarium with guest Andrew Cooper on the radio hour + Subterranean Phrases [9.10.14] and InKY this week [9.12.14]

The Imaginarium Convention is a 3-day event that combines the information and education of a literary conference with the fun of a sci-fi/fantasy convention. Featuring eleven writing tracks, workshops, gaming, a film festival, art show, and more, The Imaginarium promises an action-packed and fun-filled weekend for anyone with literary, film, or gaming aspirations.

Featuring world class guests such as Tim Waggoner, James R. Tuck, and Imaginators Maurice Broaddus and Jeffrey Reddick, the event is open to all genres, exploring all kinds of creative writing, from books to comics/graphic novels, screenplays, blogging, and much more!

This year’s Toastmistress is the incomparable Lee Martindale.

September 19-21, 2014
http://www.entertheimaginarium.com/

I will be chatting with one of the panelist, scholar and author, Andrew Cooper on the radio hour this week. [9.11.14] 1pm on artxfm.com

L. Andrew Cooper scribbles horror fiction: the novels Burning the Middle Ground and Descending Lines as well as the upcoming anthology of experimental short stories Leaping at Thorns (Sept. 19, 2014). He is also Director of Film and Digital Media Studies and Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Louisville. His most recent study of film, Dario Argento, examines the maestro’s movies from the 70s to the present. Cooper’s other works on horror span from eighteenth-century Gothic through Universal’s monsters up to Cabin in the Woods and A Serbian Film. His B.A. is from Harvard, his Ph.D. from Princeton. Locals might recognize him as WDRB-TV’s “movie guy.” Find his work atwww.amazon.com/author/landrewcooper.

 

Subterranean Phrases, [9.10.14] Decca, 812 e. market, 730p featuring Adriena Dame, Lara Donnelly, and Nick HIll (Phourist) 

Adriena Dame is a military brat whose nomadic home life and extensive travels drive many of the themes she explores in her writing. She is a graduate of Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program, publishes 94 Creations, a literary journal, and teaches college writing and literature courses.

adrienaDame

 

Adriena is also the featured writer for Subterranean Phrases this month (September 10)  and will be backed by the musical stylings of Nick Hill (Phourist and the Photons) http://insiderlouisville.com/lifestyle_culture/welcome-wild-world-phourist-photons/.

Lara Donnelly will open the evening with a short reading.

 Lara Elena Donnelly is a fantasy writer who hails from southwestern Ohio. She is a graduate of the Alpha SF/F/H Young Writers Workshop and will attend the Clarion Writers Workshop in summer 2012.Her writing is largely historical fantasy, urban fantasy, and fantasy of manners with lots of other things cropping up here and there.

 

InKY [9.12.14]  THE Bardstown, 7pm

InKY is FRIDAY 
This Friday, September 12th, featured readers Seth Johnson & Tyrone Williams and “special guest,” Michael Estes read for InKY. Open mic sign-ups at 6:45, and open mic reading at exactly 7 PM. Featured readers begin at 7:30. 

Seth Johnson is a high school dropout who now has a BA in English from Western Kentucky University and an MFA in creative writing from Murray State University. He has worked as a transmission mechanic, a heating and air conditioning installer, and a technical writer for a large corporation. His stories have appeared in various publications including Inwood Indiana and REAL. 

Tyrone Williams was born in Detroit, Michigan and earned his BA, MA, and PhD at Wayne State University. He is the author of a number of chapbooks: Convalescence(1987); Futures, Elections (2004); Musique Noir (2006); and Pink Tie (2011), among others. His full-length collections of poetry include c.c. (2002), On Spec (2008), The Hero Project (2009),Adventures of Pi (2011), and Howell (2011). Williams is the editor of African American Literature: Revised Edition. (2008). He teaches at Xavier University in Cincinnati.

Michael Estes writes and teaches in Louisville, Kentucky. His poems have appeared in Boulevard, Court Green, Catch Up, Margie, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere.

 

Saturday, [9.13.14] McQuixote Books and Coffee Grand Opening !~

Grand OPenin 

Coffee, books, music, poetry, art, food, and more!

Join us to celebrate our grand opening. We’ll be serving up all sorts of delicious beverages. Don’t miss this exciting day!

We’ll have scones, muffins, and more from Flour de Lis Bakery, chocolates from Amore di Mona, and two varieties of Ugo bars.

Performers for the day include:
Christina Howard
Daniel Hardin
Eli Keel
John Sheckler 
Yalonda JD Green
Jake and Jake
and more!

At the same time as this event the Tim Faulkner Gallery will be participating in Open Studio Weekend 2014. You will have an opportunity to see how the gallery and shop work together. For more information on this simultaneous event, please follow this link: http://www.louisvillevisualart.org/2014-open-studio-weekend-2/

This week [5.21.14] Our Story.Frederick Smock.Matthew Presley

Tonight at the ALI center 

Ali Center Collaborates on Free Community Event

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (May 8, 2014) … On Wednesday, May 21, from 6:30-9:30pm, the Louisville Story Program will be celebrating the publication of “Our Shawnee” with a free event at the Muhammad Ali Center featuring author readings, book signings (books will be available for $15.00), and remarks from local community leaders.

The Louisville Story Program helps historically underrepresented Louisville residents write and publish books about their lives and neighborhoods, and pays them for their work. “Our Shawnee” is LSP’s first project. Over the course of almost a year, the eight authors of “Our Shawnee,” all students at The Academy @ Shawnee (formerly Shawnee High School), wrote this landmark book, which consists of autobiographical essays, oral histories, and photography that compellingly convey the richness of life in often-overlooked Louisville neighborhoods, predominantly Shawnee and Portland.

– See more at: http://alicenter.org/press-release/163#sthash.JVS6bhgD.LwTwpTyl.dpuf

 

Tomorrow [5.22.14] at Carmichael’s 7pm 

Frederick Smock and Richard Boada will read poems at the Carmichael’s Bookstore on FRANKFORT AVE. Richard Boada is an alumnus ofBellarmine University, and a former student of Prof. Smock. Mr. Boada’s first full-length collection of poetry, “The Error of Nostalgia” has just been published by Texas Tech University Press. Mr. Smock will read from his most recent writings.
 
Thursday on Keep Louisville Literary radio hour on artxFM.com 
 
Matthew Presley will be chatting with John Beechem on KLL on Thursday at 1pm EST about his recent book of poems Abundantly Clear. Matthew has been hard at work on new poems as well, and will share previews for his upcoming 2nd book.  Presley is an avid attendee of many open mics in Louisville, a great supporter to so many writers and artists with his photographic documentation, a kind, generous soul, and diligent poet. Tune in to hear live readings and Q&A about self publishing and importance of poetic community. 
 
GetLIT,
Rachel 

 

Field recording Non-Fiction and new episodes on Mixcloud.

I had a lovely time with Jacinda Townsend yesterday on Keep Louisville Literary, and if you missed it, I will upload it on mix cloud later this weekend. For now, there are two new episodes posted on the mix cloud: last weeks Gonzo issue, and the long awaited issue with Mary Popham.  

http://www.mixcloud.com/KeepLouisvilleLiterary/

 

In addition to the studio chats we’ve been having with writers, I also had the opportunity to record two author forum’s this past Tuesday and will post them after some light sound editing. 

 

The first was Pamela J. Olsen www.pamolsen.org at Crescent Hill Library in a conference room with metal folding chairs and an adjacent elevator shaft that used the room as a resonance chamber. Despite the very distracting ambience of the room, I was enthralled. Pamela Olsen spent around 18months in Palestine, working, living, and pretending to not be American.  She talked about the realities of the Israeli occupation and the hardships of the Palestinian people.  It’s difficult to know the truth about the middle east while sifting through the corporate owned media of the good ol’ USofA, so Pamela went to see for herself.  Her stories of weddings, funerals, holding cells, checkpoints, illegal hiking, and parties are all compiled in “Fast Times in Palestine” It’s definitely on my reading list. 

 

After my current affairs history lesson, I headed over to Decca where Fred Minnick was signing books. Fred Minnick has a newborn, wears and ascot, is captivated by women bootleggers, and brings his own bourbon. He’s appalled that the story of Women’s involvement in the history of whiskey had not already been written. But not too much, because he’s selling books and loves researching the topic. He’s a whiskey writer through and through and his credentials are mentioned in the recording. I enjoyed fine cheeses, pickled vegetables, beet tartar, and grilled octopus while listening to Fred discuss a timeline of whiskey that has never been told before. (I drank beer, but don’t tell Fred.) Mr. Minnick’s next appearance with “Whiskey Women” will be April 17th at the JTown Library from 230-630. Susan Reigler will be there too with her essential travel guide ” Kentucky Bourbon Country.” Image

KLL Radio 8/17 with Local Author Nadeem Zeman

tomorrow 8/17 at 1pm I’m happy to welcome local author Nadeem Zeman to read some of his short fiction and talk about working at Carmichael’s books and attending UofL for graduate work in writing. Nadeem has a story forthcoming in a national journal and lots of stories to tell about local and visiting literary luminaries, so tune in tomorrow on http://www.artxfm.com !

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!

Jessica Farquhar on Poetry, Purdue, and Her Personal Writing Process

Poet Jessica Farquhar will read Friday at 7pm with fellow poets Ada Limón and S. Whitney Holmes for Speak Social Presents Catch Up Release Party at Java Bardstown (1707 Bardstown Rd.).

[Comic artists from this issue will not be in attendance, sorry for the mix-up]

Keep Louisville Literary: While in the Creative Writing MFA program at Purdue you served as the Assistant Director of Creative Writing. Since some readers may not know Purdue for its English dept. (although the Sycamore Review and Online Writing Lab are well known among students and writers), could you relay both a bit about the program and specifically your experiences as both a student and as Assistant Director?

Jessica Farquhar: Actually, Purdue is known internationally for its English Department. Teaching essay writing to engineering students and hanging out in the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences library were bonuses to the MFA program (Marianne Boruch playing cassette tapes of bird songs in workshop is the obvious reason anyone would want to attend Purdue–or the opportunity to visit the cadaver lab where she composed these poems). My third year, I hung out with Mary Leader weekly, talking tarot cards and handless maidens. Like a midwife she guided that manuscript baby out of me. I also got to introduce (current U.S. Poet Laureate!) Natasha Trethewey when she read at Purdue. And interview Jean Valentine. The whole of the MFA experience was serendipitous and surreal. It was like a waking dream being there, among tens of thousands of sandhill cranes and amazing writers, my peers and the faculty. As assistant director, I was a representative of the program to the community, which means I got to experience it inside and out. It also means I could go on and on and on about what a great program Purdue’s MFA is. More of what I’ve said on the topic can be found here. Third-year fictioneer Natalie van Hoose describes the experience beautifully here.

KLL: What are you pursuing now that you are home, post MFA?

JF: Pursuing: my children, book publication, the next manuscript.

KLL: Your thesis collection completed at Purdue, Through a Tunnel You Are Leaving, was a finalist this year in Sarabande Books’s Linda Bruckheimer poetry contest. Since we may assume you will be reading from this collection Friday, could you tell us a little about your direction, intention, techniques or thematic for this collection?

JF: I used many different processes to write and revise the manuscript, and the third section (of four), which is the least likely to lend itself to an oral reading, includes the most process-oriented poem, “Institute Are To,” another example of a unique experience afforded me by Purdue. It’s a long mosaic poem made of pieces of language I borrowed from a book on Lithography and that also is inspired by the process of lithography, its duplicable and handmade qualities. Mary Leader challenged me to come up with a process that could produce ten different poems from the same source–an example of what she calls the proliferative mode. She also encouraged me to spend a lot of time and energy (and space!) ordering the poems in my manuscript. Through a Tunnel You Are Leaving starts in the darkest part of the tunnel, with the handless maiden in the middle of the woods in the dark, and the journey takes off from there.

KLL: Do you prefer to regiment your writing, sitting down and “clocking-in”, or do you prefer spontaneity? Could you briefly describe your process and the places where you write?

JF: I do like to have my dedicated space at home, but rarely a dedicated time. I have my iMac and a big work surface, also yoga mats and space to practice postures and meditation. A big benefit of the MFA for me was getting to really know my writing habits and tweaking my space. I write best in the morning, if I’m going to sit down and spend some time at the computer. But I really never know when inspiration is going to hit, and the discipline for me is putting pen to paper when it does.

KLL: In conclusion, a generic favorite: whose books are currently fueling your creative fire? If this question doesn’t apply, suggest to us some compelling work you are familiar with.

JF: Mary Ruefle’s essays collected in Madness, Rack, and Honey have been fueling my creative fire for a few months now. Anything by Rachel Zucker is a go-to for me, and I’m dying to get my hands on Mary Jo Bang’s translation of Dante’s Inferno. I’ve been haunted in the best way by Nick Flynn’s memoir The Ticking is the Bomb, which I listened to over many drives between Lafayette and Louisville. I have to go now. Mitch Daniels (current Purdue President!) is on Stephen Colbert.

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.

Jennifer Woods Welcomes Us Into the Unique World of Typecast Publishing

Jennifer Woods founded Louisville, KY based Typecast Publishing in 2009. She previously worked for the non-profit Louisville, KY publisher Sarabande Books as their Assistant Editor and also as Editor-in-Chief for Gannet’s Custom Publishing Division. The Lumberyard Magazine, which started the creative fire that is Typecast Publishing, has bolstered Louisville’s reputation as an artistic, hip, weird, and literary place to be through its aggressive yet playful graphic format and unique poetic content. Typecast has since become a corner stone in the foundation of our growing local literary industry and community. Keep Louisville Literary interrupted Jen Wood’s manic schedule to get some behind-the-scenes info:

Keep Louisville Literary: The Lumberyard magazine came first, if I’m not mistaken, but that project seemed to lunge head-first into Typecast Publishing. Could you relate to us your “origin story”?

Jennifer Woods: Yes, you are correct. The Lumberyard began conceptually in 2006, with our first issue appearing on the stands in 2007. Initially, the project was an excuse for me to join with my brother, a designer and letterpress artist (http://www.firecrackerpress.com), to combine our professional endeavors and see if we could make something new and fun. Back in 2006, you didn’t see the emphasis on aesthetics in literary publishing like you do today, and I just felt like poetry deserved that kind of venue. We made that issue mainly for ourselves, not really anticipating anything, but the project took off like a small wildfire, and after several years of continued growth and a positive review from Dwight Garner at The New York Times, I decided to make the leap and expand our efforts even further by forming Typecast Publishing. The magazine continues to evolve and, I’m happy to say, still delights us to make, but we also now produce books of various stripes both for our own publishing house as well as some works-for-hire for other presses who want to have the deluxe print experience but need a practiced hand to guide them through gorgeous and affordable book-making. We also house the Typecast Inspiration Institute, which hosts readings, workshops, and our online magazine, Sawmill, along with just about any idea we come up with that we think will actually inspire others as well as ourselves to continue investing in reading and writing.

Our grandfather owned a lumber supply store when we were growing up, and my father worked there with him, so every day after school the bus would drop us off at the store, and our afternoons were often spent exploring the lumber sheds, playing hide and seek in giant rolls of carpet, finding snakes in sawdust piles. All of these things influenced us in profound ways. And while neither of us picked up trades as practical and quantifiable, over the years we both found paths that morphed our fine arts careers into something less ethereal and into something more hands-on and grounded. The result has been a delicious ride reinventing the concept of what the arts can be, and so much of the creative side of what we produce now, ironically, requires the tools of our youth. We’re both very frugal, and upcycle most of what we make as a point of pride. At Typecast, unlike many indie presses, we don’t farm out any of our production to a large printing house unless we absolutely have to. We like to make things by hand that look as good, if not better, than anything you can mass produce and they still hold up in a contemporary market, not necessarily taking on that DIY feel that many crafted book projects do. I think our customers can feel the number of artisan hands that have shaped and molded The Lumberyard by the time it reaches the bookshelf. My favorite thing is when people pick one up and giant smiles spread across their faces as hands begin noticing the texture of the letterpress. They sniff them for the smell of the ink, they flip back and forth through its pages, and honestly, it’s divine to watch.

KLL: Speaking of the Lumberyard, which Typecast Publishing’s website describes as “the hottest place for swinging poetry and totally wasted design”, can you tell us about the evolution of the magazine (printed by The Firecracker Press letterpress shop in St. Louis, MO) and where it’s headed?

JW: Well, as I said, when we started out, I wasn’t sure that anyone would take to the project, so we just stuck close to what my brother and I felt like would make for a fun magazine that pushed the envelope of what poetry and design could do when forced into a relationship together. After the first five issues, we were winning design awards on the national and local levels, and so, in order to keep the magazine fresh and our readers intrigued, we felt it was important to continue challenging ourselves in terms of how the magazine is produced. We changed the format to a landscape format, which massively increased the amount of white space we had to contend with. The thinking was that this might give us new ideas of how to combine poetry and design, and allow us to chart new territory. Our final issue of 2012 will mark the end of that experiment, and in 2013 you can expect to find that The Lumberyard will change again.

We also introduced new editors and head designers this past year. Lindsey Alexander, the poetry editor at Typecast, now curates the issues, and Matty Kleinberg, who has been with Firecracker for many years now, heads up the design. At first it was terrifying to let go of control, but we knew fresh perspectives are key to growth, and these two young artists had already proven their talents in other projects, so it was a natural evolution. They have brought their own personalities into the magazine, and now I’m more excited than ever to see a new issue hit the stands. I couldn’t be more proud of what they do with the magazine.

KLL: We can tell you wear many hats for Typecast, but could you educate us about some of your major roles?

JW: Oh gosh, this is something I can’t stress enough: owning your own small business is not what you think it’s going to be. No matter what your initial projection is, the reality will be different. I’ve had to push myself and become four times the person I was before I started. In any given week, I’m an accountant, a mentor, an editor, a project manager, an events promoter, a shipping guru, a web programmer, the list goes on and on. When you have your own business, you learn to be self-reliant and creative. If you don’t know how to do something, often your only option is to learn. So I learn A LOT and all the time. It can be more exhausting than any job I’ve ever had, I won’t lie, but it’s also more rewarding than I could ever imagine. I joke that my biggest fantasy is to go back to work for someone else, but in reality, I can’t imagine how I would ever do that now that I’ve had three years of pushing through fears and hesitations, only to, for the most part, come out on top at the end of the work week.

My major role now is directing and being the honest-to-goodness president of a company. Finance is imperative, and we are a for-profit publisher, so someone has to be on top of how much capital we have and how we’re going to spend it as well as where more capital is going to come from. I’m a bona fide business lady, which is not a role I ever saw myself in when I was young. I’ve got a great poetry editor and a great fiction editor to work with, so while we collaborate on everything initially, as a collective, I’m no longer single-handedly working the business side and the editorial side. I love the editorial work, and participate as much as I can for my own fulfillment, but I also recognize that the best thing I can do now for the books is to literally take good care of the business. That old saying, “the buck stops here,” takes on new meaning when “here” is you. And ultimately, the health and success of Typecast depends on me to make good decisions not just about the book projects, but all the other mechanics that keep the lights on.

KLL: Typecast designs and assembles very unique books. Could you tell us how these unique designs happen? Does it take many sleepless nights to produce and ship your books? There’s an obvious quality vs. cost factor (Typecast does not create simple paper-back books) with your priority obviously being quality; how does an independent publisher compete in a massive, bare bones publishing industry?

JW: Well, this is our biggest trade secret, so I can’t give away all the goods. But I will tell you that, going back to the previous question, good business sense and the creativity to find new ways to make a beautiful thing is the key. Sometimes it takes us two years to finish a project, and if that’s what is required to make the best book, that’s what we do. My brother and I still collaborate on all the design and aesthetics for every project. In the beginning, these conversations were very, very hard. And intense. And not always pretty. But the books always come out better than I expected. We never throw in the towel. After several years, we’ve literally invented processes to make books, and with several trial runs under our belt, I think we’re much more efficient at the whole thing.

I can tell you that every book we produce gets intense consideration as to how it should be produced. We don’t just pick a standard size or method and execute everything one way. That doesn’t make much sense to me when every book is so unique and special. I spend a lot of time “marinating” on the manuscript, trying to figure out what kind of book it wants to be. And then my brother and I start trying to match that to actual production methods. Often it’s a twisty road lined with many failed experiments, but when the newest book arrives it always feels like, “yep, this is right.” It’s insanely gratifying, to feel that the writing and the printing are in healthy conversation with one another. It inspires me to find the energy for the next project, because who knows where we will go next!

KLL: Speaking of unique, the collection “Oil + Water” was a short anthology of poems related to petroleum consumption and the BP/Gulf Coast disaster of 2010. Packed with the book in a letter-pressed brown sleeve, post cards were included which were screen printed with facts related to oil consumption and related ecological damage. How do Typecast books become artistic endeavors? Does the importance of something like petroleum-impact awareness effect your motivation, format, or process?

JW: Oil+Water was an idea that came about during an early phase of Typecast when I was feeling very overwhelmed and, quite frankly, very scared to be on my own in business for the first time. When I’m working on something intensely, I often need white noise to stay focused, and so many of my days were filled with news of the oil spill playing in the background (I started out in newspaper, so I’m a news junkie through and through to this day). At the time, the Gulf situation felt pretty hopeless; it was clear that nobody knew how to stop the oil from spilling, and as a rabid outdoors enthusiast, it broke my heart what was happening to the Gulf. That made all my Typecast anxieties seem very petty and ridiculous. And I wanted to turn them into something positive, to use what I was building to create positive energy towards something much bigger than this new business or myself. So the idea to create a book whose profits would benefit the Gulf seemed like a logical step. I knew time was of the essence, thus I solicited several potential partners in the publishing world to help, and Holland Brown Books of Louisville, Tuesday: An Art Project (lit mag out of MA), and the Contemporary Arts Center of NOLA all stepped up to help me make it happen. I love that book and what it represents because I think the essence of it is what a great book should be. The work inside is not preachy or dogmatic in any way; its primary purpose is just to get you to think about water and oil and how they exist on planet Earth, both in nature and in modern-day life. What you do with those thoughts is up to you, and we’ve even given you postcards to express whatever that is, however you’d like, and to whomever you’d like to tell them to.

KLL: What Typecast project has you most excited at the moment?

JW: All of them! I mean that sincerely. We don’t take on projects that we don’t love from the outset. It’s that love that gets you through the tough parts that inevitably arise during production. But we have two books out next spring that I never stop thinking about. Scuffletown by Chris Mattingly, a poet from Louisville who now resides in Georgia, and Imperial Bender by Amanda Smeltz, a poet from NYC. It’s the first full-length book for both writers, but when you read the books, you’ll not believe it. I joke they are the yin and yang of 2013. One, a true southern poet, the other all NYC all the way. But both very exciting, so look for more on them in the coming months. We also got involved with the Slant Culture Theatre Festival that’s coming in November to Walden Theatre. We’re producing two shows I’m tickled to death about. One is a showcase of the young poets (13-19 years old) of Generation iSpeak, a local spoken word troupe based out of the west end of Louisville. They’ve been nationally recognized, and they are some of the most inventive and brave poets living in our hometown, but almost nobody I talk to locally has heard of them. That’s terrible if not embarrassing! So we’re giving them a stage, and you should definitely check them out. The other show is a one-hour performance from Chris Mattingly based on his upcoming book Scuffletown, which I mentioned above. If you like good southern stories, great poetry, and a big dash of charisma, you won’t want to miss his show. Finally, I’m also really excited about our Best New Stories of the South short story competition. There’s been so many great fiction voices coming from the south recently, and we’re dying to publish a great book of southern fiction. Wesley Fairman, our fantastic fiction editor for Sawmill Magazine (our free, online publication designed by Shawn Coots for great, mobile reading), is heading up the charge and submissions will open just after the new year. You can find out more about all of the above by joining us on Facebook or by visiting our website.

KLL: This summer Typecast hosted the Natural Habitat reading series at Quills Coffee on the UofL campus. Aside from former Guggenheim fellow and KY native Maurice Manning, the series also featured established and up-and-coming locals. Do you plan for this series to continue? Have any readers been selected for next year that we should be excited about?

JW: Last summer was actually our second year collaborating with Quills on a summer reading series. The first year we held them at the Bardstown Rd. location and invited writers from all over the US. This year, we really wanted to celebrate what’s great about Kentucky, as well as a new location for Quills. I adore the series, and we were lucky to have such amazing talent agree to visit our stage. Two years ago, there was maybe half the number of readings in Louisville, and almost none in the summer, which is why we decided to do something to keep the local community engaged during that time. But today, it’s clear that the number of readings are on the rise (a very wonderful development). If there’s a need for us to keep doing it, I’m sure we will, but if others are doing covering that terrain adequately, I can’t say that we will continue. We have so many events in any given year that even without a set reading series you’ll see us around town. We’re building up our partnerships with other local businesses to produce events unlike anything we’ve ever done before, and I think that’s primarily where our energies are focused for the next year. But yes, people have been asking what will happen to Natural Habitat, so if the community wants it back, we’ll be happy to give the people what they want!

KLL: Continuing with Typecast’s community involvement, you and your staff were also an integral part of the first Writer’s Block festival (along with Louisville Literary Arts, proprietors of the InKY reading series). Please tell us, if you can, a bit about that experience and other ways Typecast Publishing is involved in the literary community.

JW: Up until this year, I was on the board of LLA, and for some time we had been going round and round about this idea of producing some kind of larger, festival-like event. At the same time, there were many exciting publishing enterprises, both new and old, in and around the Louisville area and I knew if there was some kind of local print fair like you have in many other cities, it would be exciting for all of us who like to make books, magazines, zines, etc. I can be pushy as hell when I want something, so I proposed to LLA that we produce The Writer’s Block Festival as both a print fair and literary festival. LLA gave it the green light, and working with Lynnell Edwards and the rest of the board, we were able to pull off last year’s fest. It was gratifying to see it come to light, but I’ll be honest, the amount of work meant I had to sacrifice a lot of my own energy that needed to go into Typecast. I made a difficult decision to resign from the board this year, as well as the festival committee, but I’m happy to say that Typecast still donates design work and technical support for this year’s festival, and we will be among the vendors at the print fair. We’re also teaming up with Garage Bar for an after after party, to kick back with everyone at the end of a long day, as well as host the local launch of our current poetry title, This is What They Say, by M. Bartley Seigel. Seigel’s poems are songs of the rust belt through and through, and he’s coming all the way from Michigan, where he edits [PANK] magazine, in order to participate in the festival and the party at Garage. Anis Mojgani, the keynote for the year’s festival, appeared in our last issue of The Lumberyard, so I’m excited to be introducing this true powerhouse. He’ll also be on hand at the after party for folks to meet and talk with.

We’re deeply involved and committed to this region, and we never shy away from our southern roots. Despite lots of advice early on to behave to the contrary, I have found this to be one of the keys to our success. Even when I’m in NYC, folks seem excited about the level of creativity coming from this region (perhaps because their own misinformed bias about the south makes evidence of the strong arts community here a happy “discovery”). Many of the ways we’re involved I’ve already outlined, but we’ve got lots of tricks up our sleeves in the coming year, so I hope people will feel welcome to connect with us. My goal with Typecast was always to produce books not just for academia, but books that invited my people, the people I knew growing up in that lumber supply store, to engage with poetry and great books again. You can’t do that without maintaining an intimate relationship with the actual community you hope to reach. We hope any time you interact with Typecast, you leave feeling like you were served a proper dose of southern hospitality and inspiration.

Jen Woods is indeed hospitable, she even added her own hyperlinks, which saves me a ton of time. Small gestures like that and volunteering her time and expertise even when she’s already stretched thin on time and energy shows the southern stuff she’s made of. Head down to the Writer’s Block Festival Saturday Oct. 13 (@the Green Building, 732 E. Market) and check out Typecast Publishing’s table at the print fair. Jen Woods will be happy to extend you her best Kentucky welcome and sell you some completely unique, beautiful books.

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