Ready or Not, Here comes the LOVE WXOX

Join ART FM to Flip the Switch &
Begin Broadcasting on the FM Dial!wXoXReMixGray8

A new kind of radio station is hitting Louisville’s FM dial. ART FM has been feeling the love since receiving the WXOX call letters in 2015 and now the time has come to flip the switch on our FM transmitter!

On February 14th 2016 at 3:33pm ART FM will begin 24/7 broadcasting on the terrestrial dial at 97.1 FM. We invite you to our new studio in the SoBro neighborhood at 515 West Breckinridge Street to share this momentous occasion with us. The launch event will kick off at 2:00 p.m. with music and feature performances from some of ART FM’s talented pool of DJ’s.

WXOX 97.1 FM Signal Launch
Sunday, February 14th 2016
2:00 p.m.
We Flip the Switch @ 3:33 p.m.
515 W. Breckinridge St.

Keep Louisville Literary Radio hour is now Tuesdays at 9am

February 16th : Merle Bachman

February 23: ROOTS & WINGS

 

THE WANDERLUST WINTER GUIDE:
INKY AT THE The Bard’s Town
With NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK author Samrat Upadhyay, Kathleen Driskell, Carrie Jerrell, and Special Guest, Jeremy Paden

Also, be sure to sign up for the Writing Workshop, “Is My Poem Finished?”, led by Lynnell Edwards. It will be held on Saturday, February 13th, from 9:30 to 12:00 at Spalding University.

Samrat Upadhyay is the author of Arresting God in Kathmandu, a Whiting Award winner; The Royal Ghosts, which won the Asian American Literary Award; The Guru of Love, a New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year; and Buddha’s Orphans, a novel. His work has been translated into several languages. He has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and has appeared on BBC Radio and National Public Radio. A recipient of an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship in 2015, Upadhyay is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities at Indiana University. His most recent novel, The City Son, was shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award.

Kathleen Driskell is an award-winning poet and teacher. Her newest poetry collection is Next Door to the Dead, a Kentucky Voices Selection, published by The University Press of Kentucky (June 2015). Her full-length poetry collectionSeed Across Snow (Red Hen, 2009) was listed as a national bestseller by the Poetry Foundation. Red Hen Press will publish her collection Blue Etiquette in Fall 2016.

Her poems have appeared in many nationally known literary journals including the Southern Review, North American Review, Shenandoah, and Rattle and are featured online on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and in American Life in Poetry. Her work has been anthologized in What Comes Down to Us: 20 Contemporary Kentucky Poets and The Kentucky Anthology.

Kathleen is professor of Creative Writing at Spalding University, where she also helps to direct the low-residency MFA in Writing Program. An Al Smith Fellow of the Kentucky Arts Council, Kathleen lives with her family in an old country church built before the Civil War.

Carrie Jerrell is the author of After the Revival, winner of the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and published by Waywiser Press. Carrie received her M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and her Ph.D. in English from Texas Tech University. She is an Associate Professor at Murray State University in Murray, KY, where she also coordinates the undergraduate creative writing program and teaches in the low-residency MFA program. She has been an artist-in-residence with the National Park Service and a recipient of grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Kentucky Arts Council.

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New Year : New Readings all week + Ellen Birkett Morris on the radio hour [1.8.14]

Ellen Birkett Morris writes poetry, fiction and short plays from her home in Louisville, Kentucky. Morris is the author of Surrender (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry has appeared in Thin Air Magazine, The Clackamas Literary Review, Juked, Alimentum, Gastronomica, and Inscape. Morris won top prize in the 2008 Binnacle Ultra-Short Edition and was a semi-finalist for the 2009 Rita Dove Poetry Prize. Her poem, Origins, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her fiction has been published in Antioch Review, Notre Dame Review, South Carolina Review, wigleaf, Santa Fe Literary Review, and Paradigm. Her story “The Cycle of Life and Other Incidentals” was selected as a finalist in the Glimmer Train Press Family Matters short story competition. Her story “Religion” is nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Morris’s play, Fool Me Once, appeared in Plays, The Drama Magazine for Young People. Her ten-minute play, Lost Girls, was a finalist for the 2008 Heideman Award given by Actors Theatre. Lost Girls received a staged reading at Cincinnati’s Arnoff Center. She has contributed articles to national publications including Cooking Light, http://www.DrKoop.com, and http://www.womensenews.org. Her essays can be found in trade paperback books including Hidden Kitchens, Nesting: It’s a Chick Thing, and The Writing Group Book and on public radio. Morris has attended the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, the Key West Literary Seminar and has an MFA from the Queens University-Charlotte low residency program. She has received grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, Kentucky Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She is the recipient of a 2013 Al Smith Fellowship for her fiction given by the Kentucky Arts Council. She works as a public relations consultant and writes regularly for www.authorlink.com.

Ellen will be sharing her work and chatting with host, Rachel Short, on Thrusday, 1pm, for the Keep Louisville Literary radio hour on artxfm.com

She will also be the Featured writer for this month’s Subterranean Phrases on January 14th at Decca, 730p, 812 E. Market St. Louisville, KY.  Jeremy Clark will be opening with music improv by Tim Barnes and Rachel Short.

Jeremy Clark was born and raised in the West End of Louisville, Kentucky. He was a participant in the 2014 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and his work is forthcoming in PLUCK!: A Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture.

Subterranean Phrases offers a few open mic slots. Doors at 7pm

Other Events this week:

Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 7th, Spalding BFA writers Salon at Hillbilly Tea.

Featuring: Mitchell Douglas

“Mitchell L. H. Douglas, Associate Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a Cave Canem fellow, and Poetry Editor for PLUCK!: the Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. His second poetry collection \blak\ \al-fə bet\, winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award, is available from Persea Books. His debut collection, Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem, was a runner-up for the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize, a semifinalist for the 2007 Blue Lynx Prize, and a semifinalist for the 2006 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. In 2010, Cooling Board was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry category and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. His poetry has appeared in CallalooThe Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (University of Georgia Press), Crab OrchardReview, and Zoland Poetry Volume II (Zoland Books) among others.”

Friday, January 9, InKY, The Bardstown, 7p

“– FEATURED InKY readers: novelists Hannah Pittard, and Kelly Creagh and poetry by special guests, Joy Priest and Danni Quintos.
— We will not have an open mic portion for this month’s InKY reading.

Hannah Pittard is the author of three novels, including the forthcoming LISTEN TO ME (2016) and the newly released REUNION, which has been named a Millions’ Most Anticipated Book, a Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice, a BuzzFeed Top-5 Great Book, a Best New Book by People Magazine, a Top-10 Read by Bustle Magazine and LibraryReads, a Must-Read byTimeOut Chicago, and a Hot New Novel by Good Housekeeping. Her first novel, THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY, was an Oprah Magazine selection, an Indie Next pick, a Powell’s Indiespendible Book Club Pick, and a “best of” selection by The Guardian, The Chicago Tribune, Details Magazine, The Kansas City Star, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Reader, and Hudson Booksellers. She is the winner of the 2006 Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a consulting editor for Narrative Magazine. She divides her time between Chicago and Lexington, Kentucky, where she lives with her husband, W. Andrew Ewell.

Kelly Creagh is the author of the Nevermore books, a trilogy of young adult novels with cheerleading heroine Isobel and a mysterious goth figure by the name of Varen at the center of the plot. In addition, Edgar Allan Poe finds his way into the story, as do a number of sinister figures from a shadowy dream world.

Joy Priest is a poet, memoirist, and screenwriter living in the In-Between, where she was born and raised. Her primary obsession is psychological horror. At 25, she is the newest and youngest member of the Affrilachian Poets, and the recipient of a Kentucky Arts Council Emerging Artist Award. Her work has been published or is upcoming in pluck! Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, and Toe Good Poetry Journal, and Best New Poets 2014.

Danni Quintos is a Lexington, Kentucky native and an Affrilachian Poet. Her poems have appeared in Pluck!, Still, Toe Good and Blood Lotus. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at Indiana University.”

Saturday, January 10, Portland Poetry Series, McQuixote Books and Coffee

“Join us for the second installment in the Portland Poetry Series. Our featured poets this month will be Adriena Dame, Eli Keel, Christina Howard, and Brandon B Shatter Harrison.

Additionally, Chaz Briscoe will be taking the lead on Readings from the Canon, a reminder that we are always standing on the shoulders of giants in everything we do.

Lastly, there will be three open-mic slots. Get here early to sign up for one of them.

Adriena Dame, author of The Moo: Stories and a Novella, is a military brat, adventurer, mixed-media jewelry artist, sock designer, and creative writing professor at Spalding University. She also teaches English as a second language, publishes two literary journals, 94 Creations and Iris Brown Lit Mag, and is co-owner of the SOSAJI! Brand and SOSAJI! & Co., a boutique located in Louisville, Kentucky.

Eli Keel is a Louisville based playwright, poet, story teller, and freelance journalist. He has been published in Word Hotel, his plays have been produced by Theatre [502] and Finnigan Productions, and appeared at the 2014 Writer’s Block. He is a frequent contributor to Insider Louisville, where he has been given the (informal) title of “Chief of the Bureau of Quirk.”

Christina Nicole Howard is a writer, poet and spoken word artist living in Louisville, KY with her two beautiful children. In 2009, she was a facilitator for “Minimizing Violence through Poetry and Spoken Word,” an initiative to support local youth, sponsored by the non-profit River City Drum Corp Cultural Arts Institute. She has been a guest on Crescent Hill Radio’s “Made in 502” radio show and the local tv show “Poetic Expressions.” Her work has appeared in various magazines and literary reviews, including Pure Uncut Candy, Calliope Nerve, BlazeVOX, Three Line Poetry, and Heavy Hands Ink’s NitTwits: A Collection of Twitter Length Poems. In 2012, she published her first book of poetry, The Poem Remains the Same. Her second book, Love : Death, is due for release Spring, 2015. You can see her perform in two SteraFilms productions of her work, “What’s Going On” and “The Stranger.” If it is actually her you’re looking for, check an open mic.

Who is this man? Who is the person beyond the stage? Born Brandon Derriel Harrison, the world has come to know him as B Shatter, the goofy slick talking, face making, picture taking poet that’s taking the country by storm. With 8yrs of slam style training and experience under his belt, he’s poised to take his talent and his gifts to bigger and better heights! He’s passion incarnate, this 26yo chocolate brother will be sure to show you why everyone is clammering to get him on stage and into their hearts! Be on the lookout for this up and coming star! #iluvbshatter #shatterseason”

Sunday, January 11, Authors Spotlight with Atty Eve, McQuixote Books and Music

“Release Party! Controlling Cosette, book 2 of the My Beautiful Suicideseries will be released 1/1/15. Come out to celebrate with Atty Eve.

We are working with Kentuckiana Authors each month to highlight the talented writers from around our region. Join us every first Sunday all year long.”

write on,

Rachel Short

Ekphrasis with A Narrow Fellow on the radio hour + this weeks events

This Thursday on artXfm at 1pm I’ll be chatting with Mark Lee Webb and Deborah Hazlett about their collaborative efforts on the newest issue of A Narrow Fellow.  Mark, the editor of Narrow Fellow, selected N D Hazlett to create works of art based on the poems selected for the issue.

“Deborah Hazlett enjoyed fifteen years of costume work in New York, where her experiences ran the gamut from shopper to dyer and painter to designer’s assistant to costume designer. As a member of USA Local 829, she had the pleasure of designing and styling clothes for over thirty television, film, theatre and commercial productions. Today,she applies her design talents to dressing up the pages of the theatre journal TD&T and books published by Broadway Press. Her award- winning paintings have been exhibited in regional and national shows in and around Louisville, KY.”

The release party for the event is this Friday, 7pm, Open Gallery. Event PAGE 

‘A NARROW FELLOW Fall 2014 Launch Party and Show: “Revealing The Art of Poetry” featuring the art of N D Hazlett and poems from the Fall 2014 issue of A NARROW FELLOW Friday December 5 7p-11p at The Open Gallery, 2801 S. Floyd Louisville KY. Live music, bar, poetry, art, and friends. Come and party with us!!!!”

Other events this week:

Tomorrow: Wednesday, December 3rd, 7pm : Spalding BFA salon at Hillbilly Tea featuring:  Merle Bachman, Adriena Dame, Lynnell Edwards, and Makalani Bandele.

Spalding BFA salon at Hillbilly Tea featuring:  Merle Bachman, Adriena Dame, Lynnell Edwards, and Makalani Bandele.

Spalding BFA

 

 

On Friday, December 5th, you’ll have to make a choice between ‘Reveling the Art of Poetry’, The A Narrow Fellow release and a reading at McQuixote Books and Coffee, a evening with the Bone Man. Event PAGE

Friend and poet, Ron Whitehead, will proffer up his unmistakable blend of poetry and inspiration to us this night. His words are built from the workings of clocks and limestone rocks.

Select a coffee or tea suitable to your mood and turn an ear to the Bone Man. Be ready for a ride through the hills of Kentucky to the fjords of Scandinavia.

Friday, December 5th, 6pm at McQuixote Books and Coffee.

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Keep Louisville Literary is always looking for guests for the radio hour on artFM of local and regional writers, editors, publishers, agents, etc. to chat about their work in preparation for readings or release dates. Please contact Rachel Short at keeplouisvilleliterary@yahoo.com for booking.

 

Write on,

Rachel Short

This week: Sarah McCartt-Jackson on the radio hour. Spalding at the Speed. Imaginarium

This Thursday [9.18.14] on the radio hour on artxfm.com, I’ll be chatting with Sarah McCartt-Jackson.

“Kentucky poet, naturalist, and folklorist Sarah McCartt-Jackson has spent decades developing her craft, dedicating her art to exploring the natural and cultural world that encompasses all who share in planet life. Her poetry inspires others to connect, reflect, meditate, and act for the future of our ecosystems of all sizes: valley, prairie, forest, fern. Her poetry interprets scapes (landscape, homescape, culturescape) in both traditional and contemporary ways, exploring biological and cultural diversity, cultural history as embodied in tangible and intangible resources, and profound experience rooted in pleasure, sanctuary, and wilderness.

She was selected to serve as an artist-in-residence for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for its 2014-2015 season. Her poetry collections Children Born on the Wrong Side of the River (Finishing Line Press) and Vein of Stone (Porkbelly Press) are forthcoming (2014). She is owner and founder of Stonelight Studio, home of Apple Cider Vinegar Press.”

Featured Image from Sarah’s web-page

credit:

-Lauren Hunter-Smith- & -Sarah McCartt-Jackson-
“Self Portrait at Mammoth Cave.” SQecial Media Picture Poem Contest, First Prize. April (2014).
Exhibited at sQecial Media, Lexington, KY.

EVENTS 

The Spalding at the Speed reading series’ first season concludes this Friday.

Local Speed 6p-7:15

“Join Spalding’s MFA in Writing program as we conclude the inaugural season of Spalding at the Speed: A Gathering of MFA and Community Writers in true gala style. MFA alum Michael Jackman showcases his musical talent to kick off the evening. In celebration of the season’s success, previously featured writers read favorite short excerpts from their readings. Featured September readers are poets Rae Cobbs, Karen George, and SueFeatured September readers are poets Rae Cobbs, Karen George, and Sue Driskell; novelist and nonfiction author David Dominé; and novelists Angela Jackson-Brown, K. Shaver, and Sena Jeter Naslund. The evening includes “Jump Start,” an open-mic session for 1- to 2-minute readings of works in progress. Attendees are invited to bring unfinished works to read.”

Also this weekend is the Imaginarium Conference 19-21st

Crowne Plaza Louisville

830 Phillips Ln, Louisville, Kentucky 40209

Spalding Residency/Chamber Opera-Emily-and the intersection of science and faith

EmilyOperaOpera generally greets a very specific clientele. Operatic performances tend to only grace the stages of large cities on a frequent basis and mid sized cities a couple times a year.  They’re expensive due to the their grand design with heavy production, stage craft, costumes, large casts, and full orchestras. Thanks to fragmentation   some composers are composing shorter, smaller, more fiscally manageable chamber opera’s. There are still big budget opera’s, like Michel van der aa’s 2006 Afterlife,  but for a poet like Emily Dickinson, all the grandeur of traditional opera might have seemed contrived. A chamber opera, however, matches. Eva Kendrick , a Boston area composer, took a concise slice of Dickinson’s life, a cast of ten, a piano, and only an hour of your time to explore the essence of Emily’s poetry.  Musically speaking, Emily was more tonal than I would have expected from a modern operatic production, but there are some nice harmonies and one fantastic moment with a 6-part stacked polyphonic monologue. The main  theatrical ‘action’ deals with a singular poem, If you were coming in the fall, and the many misinterpretations by suitors, friends, and family. The poets frustration in dealing with social constructs in conveyed as Emily only smiles when she’s writing, or showing her poetry to someone she respects.

Tomorrow on the Keep Louisville Literary radio hour, I’ll be chatting with another poet by the name of Emily.

Emily Ruppel is a writer and artist whose work explores the intersection between faith and science, the spiritual and empirical, as ways to understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos. After studying poetry at Bellarmine university, Emily received a master’s degree in science writing at MIT and is now back home in the Louisville highlands.

Social constructs have changed since the days of Emily Dickinson, but how we deal with sharing our poetry with the world-not as much. Tune in at 1pm EST on artxfm.com to hear about the balance between writing in science and the writing of the heart, the faith in beauty, poetry.

Events: All week Spalding Residency

Tonight: http://spalding.edu/frank-x-walker-speak-diana-m-raab-distinguished-writer-residence/

Frank X Walker, Kentucky poet laureate, has been named the 2014 Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence for Spalding University’s brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program. Walker gives a public presentation at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at the Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway. The event is free, ticketless, and open to the public. A book signing follows.

 

Lexington- Holler 72 happens to be our 6 year anniversary of bringing literature to the main stage in Lexington. Guest hosted by award winning poet and feature at the very first Holler, Maurice Manning, the party will feature the return of former Poet Laureate Richard Lawrence Taylor and Holler creator and host Eric Scott Sutherland, both celebrating the release of new books. Music will be provided by the talented Don Rogers (Bluegrass Collective, KY Wildhorse, Giant Rooster Sideshow, etc.). Richard and Eric will have their new books available and will be ready to sign your copy. Open mic starts the show at 8pm with signups beginning at 645pm

 

 

Exciting week of literary events starts tonight! 5/18

Tonight 5/17: First installment of the Homegrown Art, Music, and Spoken Word series hosted by Bobbi Buchanan
At Cedar Grove Coffee House 142 buffalo run road shepardsville, KY 40165. https://m.facebook.com/#!/events/306641226132694

Spalding university’s Festival of Contemporary Writing feat. Faculty and guests including Greg Pape, Kirby Gann, Maureen Morehead and many more starts tomorrow! 5/18
http://spalding.edu/festival-of-contemporary-writing-is-may-18-25/

The KY Women’s Bookfest runs tomorrow 5/18 from 9:30am until 3pm at UofL’s Ekstrom Library. Affrilachian poet Bianca Spriggs, WFPL’s Erin Keane, Sheri Wright, Judith C. Owens-LaLude, and Sarah Garland will speak

Monday 5/20 Sarabande hosts Mary Jo Bang and Kazim Ali at hotel 21c 7:30pm

Friday 5/24 Maurice Manning and Makalani Bandele read at Java Bardstown (1707 Bardstown rd) for Speak Social at 7:30pm
Look midweek for my interview with former Guggenheim fellow Maurice Manning (with audio!)

Poet/Professor/Organizer Lynnell Edwards Discusses Coveting, Community, and Literary Louisville

Lynnell Edwards will read with fellow poets Jennifer Militello, Rebecca Morgan Frank April 29th for Sarabande Books. We get three poets, probably because it’s NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, and I’m not complaining. Lynnell will read from her latest collection, Covet (Red Hen Press, 2011) and new work. You can find all three of her collections for sale at Red Hen Press here. Apart from her role as Associate Professor at Spalding University, Lynnell also fosters writing and literature in our community as president of Louisville Literary Arts (LLA) progenitors of the annual Writer’s Block festival and the InKY reading series which happens on the second Friday of each month at The Bard’s Town.

Brandon Stettenbenz: The poems in Covet embody the speaker in nature and in family, and in return those things are also embodied in them. Alternatively, the speaker is often likened closely to objects of sentimental value, and thus the speaker becomes knotted, woven, gilded, loved, worn, and ultimately coveted: “I am wrested in these vessels, / weaving, woven—/ small, nested baskets…” Did you set out to write poems that worked this way with the title as theme or did a body of poems from a certain period of writing later fit together under the mantle of “Covet”?

Lynnell Edwards:  For a long time with this manuscript, I really thought I just had a bunch of poems in a pile with no real reason for them to be together in a book.  And the original “pile” was much bigger.   The two sequences which you specifically reference here – “From the Catalog, Locust Grove Antique Show” (fall and spring) at one point constituted a chapbook, along with some persona poems related to Locust Grove.  There are also a handful of poems in dialogue with literary history, and the remnants of an “alphabet” series. At some point I realized that I really liked the one word title Covet and that, in fact, it was a kind of through-line for many of the poem. That made it easy to begin pulling poems from the pile and organizing them into the loose calendar order in which they now appear.

BS: These poems are written in a measured, relaxed way akin to calm wind or waves lapping the shore. The rhythm of these poems borders on meditation, or at least to me it seems as if the speaker is meditating upon the significance of objects, places, and people in her life. I get the impression from this book that close observation and reflection are important to you. As a poet what would you say about the importance of meditating (dedicating time to contemplation) to our understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us?

LE:  Meditation. Wow. I wish I had both time and temperament for it.  I’ve been practicing yoga for, like, almost three years and while I’ve pretty much nailed handstand and crow pose I’m nowhere close to stilling my mind!  Those particular poems and the impetus for them — the small, descriptive tags that appear on items at an antique show and which convey some specific, historical information – struck me as little narrative bombs.  The jangling music and the energy of some of the line breaks (I hope) create enormous tension in them.  The poems that seemed to me the most qualitatively different to me in both their argument and in my own process of writing them are the three poems grouped as “Triptych for Early Spring.”  I was most conscious on those pieces of presenting images, maybe not entirely unlike the work of the historically defined “Imagist” movement in the early part of the 20th century, though they align themselves along the axis of desire that, I think, makes Covet cohere.

BS: Some of the pieces in Covet contain analogies or implied transformations of animal/weather to human and vice versa, and even furniture takes on human qualities as the speaker describes someone’s care and love in making, maintaining and cherishing the object. There is perhaps much said and more implied in these pieces about our interconnectedness with the greater world and our personal spheres. Could you talk a bit about what differences you see in the way we covet objects and heirlooms versus the ways in which we covet those close to us?

LE:  That’s interesting.  I think that yes, there’s coveting of both objects and relationships in this collection.  Broadly speaking, I think the admonitions historically against coveting (“Thou shalt not covet”) come from that dangerous tendency to covet a person with the same intentions as we might covet a thing, particularly when they are gone from us or prohibited.  The title comes from the last line in the opening poem and reads, “the now dead thing that I did covet.”  Which suggests that to covet something is to perhaps destroy it.

BS: Through the techniques mentioned previously, these poems carry in them not just one or another poignant emotion, but rather the complex and conflicting emotions common to the human experience. Thus the emotion of “want” is conveyed through hunting dogs, love becomes worry, calm solitude is also loneliness, and the (to quote an adage) “ravages of time” reflect internal struggle. Some poets have cited the marriage of the universal to the specific as a determiner for what makes poetry, and I see in your work (like that of William Carlos Williams, for example) closely observed environments, objects and individuals rendered to minute detail and specificity which convey universal themes. Assuming you agree with the specific + universal formula, do you also consider the admission of and struggle with internal conflict, and the complex nature of human emotion to be a major component of poetry?

LE:  Yes. I’d say that last sentence pretty much gets at a central project for poetry, along with perhaps a documentary project (particularly for poems of witness or history) or other, classical modes that memorialize in various ways.  I think that I’ve always been drawn to the narrative potential in poetry; my undergraduate and graduate school creative writing was always fiction (which I’ve returned to lately) and drama.  And so, for me, the specific tends to be the specific story, whether it’s found in an object or a person.

BS: You are currently the president of Louisville Literary Arts, the non-profit organization behind InKY and the annual Writer’s Block festival. Could you fill in our readers on your role as president, and what LLA does for literature in our city?

LE:  What LLA hopes to do for the city is to bring readers and writers together, to enrich and celebrate the literary landscape here. My role as president of an all-volunteer non-profit organization has been various.  I hosted InKY for its first two years at the Bard’s Town and I’ve been involved significantly in organizing the Writer’s Block Festival.  Like all our Board members I do a lot of big picture planning and development, as well as little stuff – like picking up postcards from Kinko’s or putting up posters for the Writer’s Block or stepping in as a guest host at InKY.  I’m a little hesitant to speculate about the specific impact LLA has had on the city in terms of the literary landscape, though I have noticed in the last three years particularly that perhaps we’ve reached some kind of critical mass that suddenly makes it seems like we’re a literary center. For instance, there are at least three two more independent reading series; there is your blog – which I don’t think would have been possible or as necessary three years ago; there is an additional significant publishing interest (Typecast); there are at least two more independent literary journals (that come to mind). Louisville, as a literary community “feels” a little different to me than Lexington, where I’ve spent a fair amount of time giving readings, workshops, and participating on the board of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. But I think the fact that we even have a “vibe” as a literary community is saying something we couldn’t say three years ago!

BS: Louisville Literary Arts is a non-profit providing literary culture and entertainment free of charge to the public, and in the future they hope to branch out with programs for younger writers, etc. They need our help to continue their amazing efforts. Lynnell, how can we help LLA continue its mission enrich our literary community?

LE: The organization is in an exciting, but critical period. We need significant resources (yup, I mean money) that would allow us to actually hire someone to take on a staff leadership role.  And we need some specialized volunteer expertise, too, that I won’t go into here. But more broadly supporting the literary arts in Louisville means not just attending a literary event, but inviting a friend who’s never been to a literary event such as a reading or to the Writer’s Block to come along. When I’ve brought friends to readings who enjoy other arts events but have never been to a literary event, they’re always so surprised at how much they enjoy it!  I think supporting the literary arts generally in Louisville does help individual organizations specifically.  Someone once mistakenly, though with good intentions, I’m sure, asked me whether or not I thought InKY was somehow in competition with another reading series! Ha! Of course not.   I think all boats rise with the tide, and for now, the more literary activity there is of all types, the more it adds to and nurtures the community.

Author’s bio from her website:   Lynnell Major Edwards is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Covet (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 she is on the Board of Directors for 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.

Poet Chris Mattingly Talks Rural Roots and Kentucky Blues in His New Collection “Scuffletown” (Typecast Publishing, 2013)

Poet Chris Mattingly, whose new collection Scuffletown (pre-order here) is forthcoming this month from Louisville’s own Typecast Publishing, will read April 20th 7:30pm at Seidenfaden’s (1134 E Breckinridge St  Louisville, KY 40204) with fellow Typecast authors Amanda Smeltz (who’s coming down from Brooklyn, NYC just for us!) and Matt Hart— a line-up not for the faint-of-heart.

 

Brandon Stettenbenz: TYPECAST PUBLISHING (Louisville, KY) has a unique approach to publishing. They create one-of-a-kind books and assemble them by hand, ensuring that each collection has its due as an artifact worthy of ownership. Can we get any spoilers about the design, presentation, or packaging of Scuffletown?

Chris Mattingly: It’s the size of a Moleskine cahiers journal—which is what all of the poems from the book were drafted in—and the cover was letterpressed at The Firecracker Press in St. Louis.  In terms of the printing, the cover has a deep impression, some gritty noise, and nice shades of color that conjure river clay, in my mind.  The book feels good to touch.  It feels substantial.

BS: Matt Hart recently told me that Jen Woods is a “really careful editor”, and I read once that she told M. Bartley Seigel “this is going to hurt” before taking the red pen to his This is What They Say manuscript. Assuming that the recollections and ruminations in Scuffletown are hard-lived truth or nearly so, do you think developing this personal collection with an invested, supportive editor like Jen was easier or more difficult, than it would have been with a less intimate press?

CM: Easier.  The personal connection to the editor—well, to be clear, editors because Lindsey Alexander actually did the bulk of the hands-on editing with Scuffletown—was important to me as a poet and person.  To be honest, I wanted for this book to come out of this region in every way possible. This is almost [from a] political urge to grow and cultivate things—not just food—locally.  That said, I do want the book to achieve an audience larger than the local region!  This is where aesthetics comes in: For a long time, I’ve respected what Jen has done with the magazine (Lumberyard) and the work she’s done on Typecast Publishing’s previous collections of poetry.  So even though the book was created almost wholly on a local level, I believe Jen has created an audience that transcends place based on her aesthetics.

BS: Do you feel that the book ended up better because you were able to work locally with someone who, as a fellow Kentuckian, understands Scuffletown and the stories that emanate from that place (fictional perhaps in a similar way to Wendell Berry’s fictional “Port William” is an analog for his native Port Royal, KY)?

CM: Yes. Like I said, Lindsey Alexander was the editor of Scuffletown.  Lindsey, being from a Louisville family that has roots in Barren County, I fully trusted her ear.  Going back to the last question, it is important to note that we were able to cultivate trust through a personal connection based in part on both of us having deep family roots in rural Kentucky.  Also, because we were both in Louisville, we were able to sit face-to-face and talk about the book.  During these meetings, I was able to see the jubilance with which Lindsey approached the manuscript.  Seeing that joy eased any apprehension I may have had about someone putting hands on my art. For me, this trust would have been harder to achieve if I was working with a distant editor strictly through, say, email.

BS: Scuffletown contains confessions of realities beyond regret, and yet the speaker/narrator recalls his grim histories with an elegiac nostalgia. Talk a bit if you would, about the contradicting emotions that are captured so well, in my opinion, by the speaker’s raw, simply stated recollections.

CM: You’re right there is nostalgia, and that’s because it’s my childhood.  I am nostalgic about all sorts of elements of my childhood, not just the good.  I’m often equally nostalgic, or sentimental, about summer bike rides out to stripper pits as I am about sitting around the fire pit drinking whiskey with my mom after a domestic dispute.  The reason, however, is more complicated.  What I know is that in those moments, like in the poem “Bon Fire,” the mother and son connect in ways that many children never connect with their parents.  In that poem, the son becomes the parent to the mother, and in that, there is an opportunity to nurture, comfort, and even counsel the one who would traditionally be in that role.  I think there’s also something about healing and forgiveness that informs the tone you’re talking about.

BS: Getting through the collection can be difficult, not because of any tough abstractions or thick lexicon, but because of the emotional gravity involved. I have to admit, I’ve not shed tears in public for years, but as soon as I cracked the book (pg. 3) a poem titled Bonfire (mp3 here) took my knees out from under me. How would you foreword or foreworn Scuffletown to average poetry reader? To Kentuckians or others familiar with places with Scuffletown?

CM: Think of the poems in terms of the blues form.  We play the blues, we sing about hard times, sadness, and violence as a way of keeping it from having power over us.  This book is like that; it’s me singing, testifying.  I want it to be like the experience of hearing Skip James sing “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”: no matter how down-low and rough [it] seems, in the end, you feel strangely empowered, maybe even connected to the speaker’s, or your own, experience a little more.  If so, maybe the work will be validated, the experience redeemed.

BS: Level of education and manner of speech are addressed repetitively in Scuffletown, and near the end the speaker even indicates that he’s lost some part of his identity by leaving words unique to his region of origin behind. Laying judgments like “genuine” and “truth” aside, why did you decide, after college, that you would continue or return to writing in form and dialogue befitting your Kentucky heritage (as opposed to adopting non-regional standard English and traditional narrative forms or classical forms)?

CM: That’s what this project called for.  I wanted the language to insinuate place.  The themes in this book aren’t just regional, they’re American, but I think each region has a different way of understanding and dealing with those themes.  One way this shows through is the language we use.  For example, one poem ends with: “Let me beat on your for a while.”  The idea, because of who the speaker is, is that she is basically saying, “I love you” in her own language.  The line comes from an actual experience:  One day, while fiddling around in the root garden, I overheard my neighbor say, “Git over here baby girl an’ let me beat on you fur a-while.”  Because I am a sucker for a good expression, I stood up smiling while I felt the chaos of language resonate through my body.  The little girl, 4 years old, was tickled, squirmed a little and simply said: “Naw, Mamaw.”  The expression, make no mistake about it, was one of affection and tenderness.  The old woman was basically saying let me love on you with pinches, squeezes, nibblin’s and rough ticklin’.  An idea conveyed in a language that insinuated place with all its intricate familial, regional, historical, and class workings churning through my head like so many gears.  Truth-be-told, I was moved by the way her expression entangled love and violence.  And I was startled by what murked the surface of the quirky words: the brutal truth and wisdom of love’s deeply textured experience.  The way pleasure is complicated by a hurting place peppered her tongue with subjective experience that burned like bourbon in my chest as I said the words over and over later that night.  And I was startled again by the way her words evoked a place beyond the backyard in Louisville, out past the hills of her East Kentucky upbringing, and into a psychic region in a league with, say, the bullfighters, gypsy flamenco guitarists, and death infused dancers of Garcia Lorca’s duende.  Or better, Blanch was like Feste, the jester in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, who imparts real depth of understanding beneath a sheen of comical ease.  But of course, she was just talking, being her own danged self in her own danged backyard.  She was not weighing each word or measuring each syllable, calibrating lines, and synching up sounds with meaning.  She was not trying to raise a place from out of the seasoned lumber of the written word.  The way we poets do.

BS: You hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University here in Louisville. Would you like to tell readers who may be unfamiliar with that program about the Spalding writing/academic community?

CM: It’s a close-knit community that also is very much linked to the larger Louisville community.   I think it feels linked to the wider community because during the residency—it is a brief-residency program—many of the readings and seminars are open to the public.  As far as the instruction, it was ideal for me because it is more of an apprenticeship experience.  While workshops are the backbone of the residency, the bulk of the semester is spent one-on-one under the guidance of a master.  I worked with three different poets, one poet twice, and I always like to liken my experience to that of the young poet who’s exchanging letters with Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet.

BS: Seidenfaden’s here in Louisville is a neighborhood bar, and you’re also performing for Holler Poets at Al’s Bar in Lexington on April 17th. Do you prefer to read your poetry, rife as it is with hard luck and hard drink, in a bar as opposed to a lecture hall, classroom, gallery or other formal setting?

CM: Not really.  In a way, it seems more important to read these poems in a formal setting, but I do feel at very much home in taverns.  When I was a teenager, my mom worked in a neighborhood tavern.  I used to go in there to watch her work and listen to the stories of the people at the bar.  Also, my uncles and dad went to neighborhood taverns, so I grew up going there with them, too.  As far as Seidenfaden’s goes, on quiet nights, it’s like home: I’ve done homework there; I’ve hung out with my dad there; I was hired for a job while hanging out there; my friends and I used to spar and shadow box inside on slow nights; I’ve watched the World Series there; I’ve walked down there from the house just to unwind; And the poems do seem to ideally fit into that context.

BS: I’m betting both readings will be rowdy and raucous. You won’t wanna miss the party, dear readers! Clean out your ears and wear your stompin’ shoes. Bourbon is optional but recommended; tip your bartender(s).

Chris Mattingly is the author of Ad Hoc and a translation of Anglo-Saxon riddles A Light for Your Beacon both from Q Avenue Press. Mattingly holds an MFA from Spalding University, cultivates a great big garden, plays banjo, sometimes travels ridiculous distances for burgoo and chess pie, and is the eighth-generation Mattingly to live in Kentucky. He currently resides in south-east Georgia where he teaches at East Georgia State College

Literary events in Louisville this week! (Beginning TODAY 1/23/13)

Hello readers!

We have several great events coming up soon:

TONIGHT 1/23, 6-9p (readings 7pm) LEO literary awards with readings from winners, a Jazz trio, cash bar, and the winning photographs will also be on display. Spalding University Egan Center 901 S. 4th st.

Tomorrow: 1/24 at 7:30pm Daniel Khalastchi and Craig Morgan Teicher will read for Sarabande’s 21c Reading Series

Friday: Speak Social @ Java Bardstown (1707 Bardstown Rd) Martha Greenwald and Dave Harrity will read from recent collections 7:30pm. Note: Java serves coffee, tea, crepes, pastries, beer and wine.

Sunday: Stone Soup lives with Jimmy Besseck now at the helm! 5:30pm at The Bards Town (1801 Bardstown Rd) Readings from Thomas Olges (short SF/horror, and poetry; I’ve been pressuring this guy to send his work out for years now!), Mary Alice Endicott and William Freeman. Note: The Bards Town serves up a delicious, diverse dinner menu, beer, wine and full-bar.