Juniper Bends Literary Reading

This week the Juniper Bends reading series continues this Friday, February 10th, at 7:00 p.m. at Downtown Books and News. The event features readings by: Kate Zambreno, Katherine Soniat, Jesse Rice-Evans and Adam Jernigan. Visit the Facebook event page for more details. (link)

utnereader: Regardless of your creed or convictions (or lack thereof), it’s hard to deny that the King James translation of the Bible is an epic tome of efficient diction, unforgettable narratives, and beautifully wrought poetry. The translation—arguably the most widely … Continue reading

Warren Wilson College reading — review

Brief review of last night’s Warren Wilson College MFA faculty reading.

Marianne Boruch read first and from her new book that she didn’t know had been published and available at the book store. Always a delight to hear her read. Poems read include: “Still Life,” “New Paper,” “A Musical Idea,” and others.

Charles D’Ambrosio read a lengthy, intriguing piece that I assume is the opening to a novel. When he finished, I wanted to shout, “What happens next?”

Van Jordan read about a half dozen poems both old and new (from his recent book). His personae poems and eulogies were delightful and haunting.

Michael Martone read one of his “contributor notes” from his book Michael Martone: fiction. You would have had to been there to understand the unique humor of his story. As one amazon.com reviewer put it, “Mind-bending multiple views of Martone’s real and/or imagined lives, written in 2-3 page faux contributor’s notes.” His piece was hilarious and a great way to end a rich reading.

Intellectual swimsuit contest

A number of poetry submissions were sent out this weekend.

The one thing I abhor about the whole process is the “write a brief bio” portion of the submission letter. I mean, shouldn’t my publicist do that (not that I have one).

It’s like an intellectual swimsuit contest for a literary pageant. How do you look in a two-piece swimsuit with a tiara on your head? If you fit the definition of intellectual beauty and you’ve been published by notable literary magazines than you avoid the slush pile. If not, try finding another line of work.

So, here’s a new bio I wrote to accompany my latest submissions. It’s me in a red thong with a bright yellow Wisconsin cheese wedge on my head.

Bio: I am a cultural creative theory slut from Asheville, NC who is considered by some a true postmodernist. I collect hard cover books in foreign languages, eat critical theory articles for breakfast, bath in Icelandic and mythology and digest ancient manuscripts for light reading.

Do you think it’s too over the top?

Comics and Narrative Non-Fiction

pencil layout

A few years ago I illustrated a four-page comic version of a poem by Nate Pritts. To my knowledge there aren’t too many literary comics that tackle the idea of visually representing a poem in comic format. Not that my four pages was ground breaking. It was good exercise for me and provided the kernel of expanding comics into the literary realm.

You’re probably familiar with the publisher of Great Illustrated Classics. However, comics as a whole tends to be marginalized as tights-and-capes adventures at best or adolescent porn at worst.

comic page layout

A couple weeks ago, another comics aficionado presented me with the idea of illustrating concert reviews, interviews, non-fiction narratives and personal memoir. I jumped at the opportunity and began sketching out ideas immediately.

The biggest challenge for me was the limitation of the form. Illustrating a concert review requires a simple plot: I went, I saw, I reviewed. But will anyone read something that simple? I thought about adding a bit of narrative. In other words, tell a story about people who attend a concert; include brief backstory, dramatic tension, climax and conclusion.

inked comic page

Last weekend I began with two pages. The story was simple: my meeting with the other comic aficionado/publisher.

Backstory: artist has been trying to publish his comics for over ten years.

Tension: interviewer loves artist’s work and desires some new samples.

Climax: artist feels intimidated by the task but accepts.

Conclusion: artist begins a new direction in creative communication–comics.