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.

Louisville & Lexington Literary Events for February, 2013

note: ALL OF THESE EVENTS INCLUDE OPEN MIC OPPORTUNITIES.

Show up early, sign-up, share your work and become part of the literary community!

(TOMORROW) Feb 12th The Kentucky Great Writer’s Series @ Carnegie Center for Literacy. David King, National Bestselling Author of “Death in the City of Light”. George Ella Lyon, National Award Winning writer of “Holding On to Zoe”. Will Lavender, New York Times & International Bestselling Author of “Dominance”. 7pm

Feb 13th Subterranean Phrases feat. performance poetry troop: “Shakespeare’s Monkey” based in Evansville, IN: “This collection of Poets, Artists, and Musicians have been creating and performing together for over 20yrs. Lead by William Sovern, curator and host of the Poet House Emporium, this group has travelled far and wide; NYC, the beats live on.” @Decca (812 e. market, Lou, KY) in the downstairs lounge 9pm.

Feb. 20th Holler Poets #57 feat. Mischa Feigin and Matthew Haughton.Open-mic sign ups (1 poem please) at 7pm, event at 8pm. @ Al’s Bar of Lexington (601 N. Limestone)

Feb 22nd Speak Social with Matt Hart and Patrick Wensink 7:30PM  @ Java Bardstown (1707 Bardstown Rd. Lou, KY) p.s. Keep your eyes peeled for my interview with Matt Hart later this week!

Feb 24th Stone Soup with Angela Burton, Leigh Anne Hornfeldt, Matthew Haughton, And Robert L. Penick.         5:30pm @ The Bard’s Town (1801 Bardstown Rd. Lou, KY)

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.

Discussing the Experimental and Pastoral with John James

John James (co-curator of Speak Social) will read this coming Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 @Decca (812 E. Market St. Louisville, KY) for Subterranean Phrases, 9pm with accompaniment by fellow poet and improvisational guitarist Misha Feigin. Note: This event is late, but starts promptly whenever possible. There are also 5ish open-mic spots to open and 5 spots after the featured set.

Keep Louisville Literary: Your poems often embark on surrealistic journeys combining spiritualism and ritualism from several world religions. Please share where these inspirations stem from; what interests you about religions particularly?

John James: I wouldn’t say several world religions. In fact, I’m not a religious person at all. Anything “religious” in my poems, per se, has only to do with shedding the Catholicism of my youth, which really has more to do with the development of autonomous rational thought than with faith or doubt. As I’ve grown, the speakers of my poems tend to grow more critical of their environments, sloughing off religion in the process.

KLL: You implement a studied lexicon, by which I mean deliberate more than academic. Having many poems with naturalistic Kentucky themes, having grown up here in Louisville, and having completed your MFA at Columbia in NYC, how do you reconcile these seemingly disparate spheres of literary influence?

JJ: It’s always been a struggle for me. How do I reconcile the metropolitan with the provincial, the experimental with the conventional? The latter has been the most difficult struggle, actually. For a long time I felt, and sometimes still do feel, that I needed to write one uniform type of poem, that my work needed to fit into a mold, and that mold had to be either experimental or conventional, but not both. Once I started compiling poems into a manuscript, I realized that possessing some inclination toward experimentation, some toward convention, some toward playfulness and some more toward seriousness, actually enriched the book. The playful poems augmented the gravity of the serious ones, as hectic cityscapes contributed, by contrast, to the tranquility of the pastoral “Kentucky” setting. So actually, I reconcile disparate spheres by including and attempting to balance the very disparity that irks me.

KLL: I’ve noticed that, although your poetry is predominantly concerned with images and perception, you also muse on the ability of our language to capture memories and meaning. Could you expand upon your view of poetry’s role in framing our experiences or our living world?

JJ: My friend Kyle Thompson always says “the poem is a record of the poet experiencing the otherness of his/her consciousness,” and I think he’s right. There is the poem, and then there is the act of writing the poem. Writing is an active process, a brief time span during which the poet engages intensely with language and thought. For me, few other experiences are as pointed and intuitive as this one. All prior attempts to write are focused into that one experience of writing. In a sense, the poem is a sum of accumulated experience poured into a material product. Of course, that experience is transitory. The poem does “capture” memory and meaning, but it’s really just a memorial to the process of writing, a gravestone to an ephemeral state of knowing. At best, the poem is an object, a document; at worst, it’s a commodity.

KLL: Within the poems which take place on an unnamed Kentucky farm, we see extended observations which sprawl into hypotheses of events experienced by a lone person (i.e., “His Angels Especially Amaze the Birds”), or alternatively, swaths of memory recalled by a younger man or boy (i.e., “Years I’ve Slept Right Through”). To what extent are these poems autobiographical, or are they perhaps written based loosely on one or several persons you’ve known?

JJ: Actually, those poems aren’t autobiographical at all. In fact, almost none of my poems are, at least not in the sense that these events actually took place. They are autobiographical in the usual sense, in that I write what I know, and the landscape is definitely my own. The barn in “His Angels” and other poems was situated just behind a house I lived in for seven years, from seventh grade until I left for college. But the stories in those poems—the drug addict who doesn’t realize his lover is dead, for instance—didn’t necessarily happen. I did include some biographical elements here and there—the dog running circles in “Beneath the Trees at Ellingsworth,” or the goat with the splayed belly in “Kentucky, September”—but for the most part, I use narrative as a tool to explore some central idea in a piece, which is what I’m really after in those poems.

KLL: Your newer long poem, “from History of Sexuality”, is an experiment in which you’ve excerpted and collaged text from Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality. In my observation, this is far removed from your usual poetic. Beyond the endeavor of collage, this rolling treatise on power relationships and the comparison of navigating sexual experiences to the pitfalls of political arenas eschews both characters and visceral observation. What led you to venture into this particular experiment, so far removed from your particular “voice”?

JJ: I’ve been playing a lot with textual appropriation recently—actually, I‘ve been doing so for several years, but few of my early experiments made it past the workshop. There’s even one poem in the chapbook, “The Healers,” which forms a narrative around fragments of appropriated text from Che Guevara’s journals, but that project works on a different scale than “from History of Sexuality.” The movement to pure collage, the change in subject matter, it all emerged from reading Foucault’s text and locating fragments that piqued my interest. Lineating those fragments brought an element of sensuality to Foucault’s clinical tone, eroticizing the text in interesting ways. If you’re familiar with The History of Sexuality, you know that Foucault argues for the liberating possibilities of transgressive eroticism, so the mere act of lineating (and therefore, eroticizing) Foucault’s language lent a derisive element to the text, which in a way embodies Foucault’s argument, but at the same time, satirizes it.

John James holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University, where he received an Academy of American Poets Prize. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, DIAGRAM, Pleiades, and elsewhere.

Note: John James will also be appearing later this month in Lexington, KY @ Al’s Bar for Holler Poets #56 January 22nd, 2013 at 8pm. The regular Holler crowd very hospitable, and the event features ten open-mic spots (1 piece per reader) to open.

Stone Soup @The Bards Town, 5:30p tonight!

From the facebook invite:

“Drop by The Bard’s Town for this month’s line-up of poets,
April Fallon, Darlene Campbell and John James.
Be ready to hear the most unique voices of these talented poets, who will amaze and astound with stories that will linger in your thoughts for a very long time.
And don’t forget to sign up for open-mic. These spots fill up fast, so get there early to sign up.
Doors open at 5:00pm.”

Click on over to John James’ WordPress page to read poems, etc. He’s also one of the minds behind Speak Social.