Reading at APSU / Zone 3 with Nancy Eimers

I traveled to Clarksville, TN, this month for the launch of my book. Clarksville is home to Austin Peay State University & Zone 3 Press, and every other year they hold a first book contest in poetry and fly in the winner AND the judge for a reading and meeting with a creative writing class. Nancy Eimers, author of Oz (Carnegie Mellon 2011), Grammar to Waking (Carnegie Mellon 2006), No Moon (Purdue 1997), and Destroying Angel (Wesleyan 1991), was the judge, and let me say, a fabulous reader and all-around amazing person. I have never felt so welcome – by Ms. Eimers, but also by the incredible staff and faculty and students of APSU and Zone 3. A special shout-out to Susan Wallace, Andrea Spofford, and Barry Kitterman – I know I saw the tiniest sliver of their responsibilities at APSU and Zone 3, and yet I was impressed by their dedication to students and literature and their own writing.

The book contest and many of the creative writing activities are thanks to Tennessee’s funding and dedication to its Centers of Excellence; the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts is housed at APSU. It’s funding and foresight like this that keeps literature and creative endeavors moving forward.

Here are a couple of photos from the event – one of me and Ms. Eimers; one of me signing books & greeting. Both are grainy (low light, my brother’s phone). But that’s a very happy me in both photos.

Frost in the Low Areas

After more than a year of anticipation (on my part), my book Frost in the Low Areas is now available for pre-order, with shipping happening around the middle of October. You can get it from Zone 3 Press, the publisher, and shipping is FREE.

Please, when you can, support small presses by ordering from the press or through Small Press Distribution. When you order from Amazon, the press gets a measly and evil 20-some percent of the cost back – not enough to sustain a small press. 

Here’s the link to Zone 3 Press, out of Austin Peay State University in Tennessee: https://epay.apsu.edu/C20023_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=163

Frost won the First Book Award from Zone 3 Press. 

Poem in Swarm

My poem “Homunculus” is in the inaugural issue of Swarm! Here’s the link:

“Homunculus”

I mentioned in the previous post how fabulous it was working with Brandon Amico, one of the four editors at Swarm. I just got a thank-you note from him in the mail. Got that? – a thank-you note. Handwritten. On a cute card. How sweet is that? 

So: writers, I encourage you to read Swarm and submit your best. Now I’m off to read the fiction in this issue. 

Interview in Swarm

The new literary journal Swarm has begun posting interviews with the four writers from their inaugural issue, and I’m one of them. Here’s the link:

Karen Skolfield’s interview in Swarm

Brandon Amico was the editor that asked me to be part of Swarm, and really, there was no way I could say no. He sent the nicest, most amazing request I’ll probably ever get. And oh, was it flattering. Do writers like flattery? – yes, we can’t help it, since mostly we spend our days hauling ourselves out of the mudpit of rejections. His note was so laudatory that I had to read it with my hands over my eyes, the way someone else might watch a horror movie. Like so many New Englanders, I don’t know what to do with praise. I’m sure I blushed. Writing this, I’m blushing again.

The inaugural issue will come out mid-February. In the meantime, read the interviews, submit some work to them! I’ll post some more Swarm links:

Submissions: http://swarmlit.com/submit/

Interview with Gregory Sherl: http://swarmlit.com/interview-with-gregory-sherl/
(I will admit I teared up when I read Sherl’s interview. It’s very unpretentious and open). 

Interview with Barbara Westwood Diehl: http://swarmlit.com/interview-with-barbara-westwood-diehl/ (I love her no-nonsense attitude and how she’s trained herself to take charge of writing).

Two poems in The Bakery

I have two poems now archived on the oh-so-cool website of The Bakery. The poems were front page November 1 & 2. You can read them at the links below and/or listen to the audio files. I loved reading these – they’re playful and almost flirty, and even when you’re sitting in your car at 11 p.m. at night, making a recording, it’s pretty fun.

“Lazarus Species”

“While Peeling a Banana”

While you’re there, check out the incredible poems by Ralph Black, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, and more.

Tutorial: making an MP3 for an online journal, part II

Part I of this tutorial goes over Audacity, open-source, free software that’s available for download. Part II of this tutorial covers your sound studio.

Because you don’t have a sound studio built into your house, do you? And you’ve never missed that feature until now. When you record yourself, even if you’ve gotten the coolest microphone ever, your voice will bounce off the walls and sound hollow or have an echo.

To reduce that hollow sound, choose the smallest, most heavily padded room in your house – maybe a playroom or the nursery if you have kids, or your tiny office that is really a closet. In fact, try the closet. Toss a few extra pillows in with you. Bathrooms won’t work – tile gives a wicked echo.

Or you can choose the space I like best: the interior of my car. I sit in the passenger seat, pop open the laptop, and record away. Post-2000 cars have ridiculously plush interiors, so the usual echo is absorbed.

I stumbled upon car-as-studio in the usual way: the kids were asleep. I had to make an MP3 without waking them, which put the whole upstairs off limits. Mothering and the necessity of invention.