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Category: Readings Attended

Tracey Knapp Reading at IU South Bend Tomorrow!


12122559_461467290703448_6840164226149637173_nHi everyone! Just in case you haven’t heard, poet Tracey Knapp will be reading at IU South Bend tomorrow night at 7:30pm on the Bridge on the third floor of Weikamp Hall. She will be reading from her first full-length collection, Mouth, published by 42 Miles Press, and there will be books for sale and cookies after the reading! This is FREE and open to the public!

Tracey Knapp reading!
October 22, 2015
Weikamp Hall
3rd floor Bridge
Free and open to the public!

And if you haven’t yet read Tracey’s book, there’s still time! You can purchase it here, or read some poems here, or read my review here.

Also, if you are available this evening, Tracey will be visiting David Dodd Lee’s poetry workshop for a discussion and Q & A. This is also free and open to the public, so please come and join in on the conversation! This will be in Weikamp Hall on the second floor, room 2170.

Tracey Knapp Q & A!
October 21, 2015
Weikamp Hall
2nd floor, room 2170
Free and open to the public!

Again, tonight at 7pm for the discussion, tomorrow at 7:30 for the reading. And I also will be bringing something really awesome and poetry-related to sell after the reading, so be on the lookout for that, too! (Details to come…)




Betsy Andrews to Read at IUSB This Wednesday!!


Mark your calendars! Betsy Andrews will be reading this Wednesday—October 1, 2014—at Indiana University South Bend, hosted by 42 Miles Press and the English Department.

Betsy Andrews_IUSB ReadingBetsy Andrews_The Bottom











Betsy’s poems are powerful and passionately-driven. They are urgent and accelerate the reader forward through their pages, their images, their truths, to a consensus of central issue and potential solution. They are largely ecological and political in their focus. New Jersey is a book-length poem that focuses on the New Jersey Turnpike, while The Bottom focuses on the anticipated environmental impact of Bush’s re-election. Her next book-length poem will focus on the air element and the many creatures involved (birds, planes, etc.), and she plans for subsequent poems to focus on the remaining elements, earth and fire. Her poems—and her reading!—should not be missed.

Her reading will take place at 7:30pm on the third floor of Wiekamp Hall (on the Bridge)—again, on Wednesday, October 1—and the reading is free and open to the public! Please also stick around after for a brief Q&A, small reception, and book signing.

Also, if you are interested in reading more about Betsy’s work, click here for a link to my review of The Bottom, and click here for my interview with Betsy about her writing life, research habits, influences and what she’s working on now.


BETSY ANDREWS is the author of The Bottom (42 Miles Press), winner of the 2013 42 Miles Press Poetry Prize, and New Jersey (University of Wisconsin Press), winner of the Brittingham Prize. Her chapbooks include She-Devil (Sardines Press), In Trouble (Boog Press), and Supercollider, a collaboration with the artist Peter Fox. She is also executive editor of Saveur magazine.




KBAC Poets in Print Series: Tyler Mills & Brynn Saito


Tonight, like every other night, I come to the same conclusion: The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, and their Poets in Print series, never disappoint. This evening, beginning at 7pm, the KBAC introduced Tyler Mills and Brynn Saito, both with their first collections of poetry. Admittedly, I had never read work by either of these young poets, but tonight, I was in for a treat. . .

MillsCompHi.inddTyler Mills read eight striking poems from her collection, Tongue Lyre, published by Southern Illinois University Press and winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry’s First Book Award. She began with the opening poem in the collection, “Tongue” (which I’ve included below), and my mind was instantly stolen. From what I have gathered so far, the narrative line in her work is stark and striking, lightly populated with lyric moments that somehow seem to take the line somewhere beyond truth (i.e. “my thighs sometimes still feel like the whites of a poached egg.”—isn’t that brilliant?). Her reading, too, is impressive; while she is quiet, there is sheer confidence and striking enunciation in, both, her voice and her eye contact. She looked at me multiple times during her reading, at seemingly perfect points; and each time, it was as though I were temporarily struck dumb.

The Palace of Contemplating DepartureFantastic, too, was Brynn Saito’s reading from her collection, The Palace of Contemplating Departure, published by Red Hen Press and winner of the 2011 Benjamin Saltman Award. She only read five well-selected poems—four from the collection, one outside—but the poems were commented on and joked about in-between readings, which gave the poems a special quality and freshness that might have been missed if only reading the book alone in a room somewhere. In looking through her poems, there is this wonderful blend of growing experiences (such as first loves, travel, familial memories) and cultural references (for instance, Japanese internment camps in WWII). She, too, has this somewhat-conversational line to her poetry that is frequented by what can only be called surrealism, snapshots, that force the reader to view these poems as living, breathing entities (one of my favorites is “Tree of Life,” included below).






The problem is not night—people gathering in booths—or a game
where you select who to save from an apartment that’s on fire.

But at night, the silver bathroom stalls in the Multiplex crack open
as if I am the last horse to wander out during the credits.

What I mean is, my thighs sometimes still feel like the white of a poached egg.
There is logic to thinking about digger wasps, solitary insects that excavate

nests from the soil and then straddle their prey, usually an August cricket,
ashy as the blade of a waterlogged feather. And at night, the hermit thrush

calls, flutters to a new tree, calls, and soon the grove hosts a quorum
of these nightingale songs when there is only one traveling from tree to tree,

to an oak like the one shading my porch—I go there at night to breathe.
In the myth of Philomela, the King puts his knife down Philomela’s throat

after he finishes, then cuts her tongue out. Before she becomes a thrush,
she weaves what happened: images in a bolt of cloth, a kind of flag.

The newspaper pays for them, the flickering paper flags
leaning on the bottom panel of the doors in the neighborhoods.

Again this year, before dawn, the truck door slammed—I heard
someone cross the street. When I woke, flames were mouthing the air.






Maybe you’re in a place I’ve never been
say Michigan. It’s summer. Poplars throbbing green
all around you. Maybe she’s a Leo

and she’s standing in your driveway
with her breasts like the gospel
and her hot gold hoops. Or maybe she’s a Cancer

and you’re the kid in chemistry
staring out the window, dreaming
of a queen. Writing her a letter

in your blue jay mind: her of the homecoming.
Her of the deep thoughts. Her pale new body
keeping safe an old soul at seventeen. And didn’t

you love her. Didn’t you try. Didn’t you find her
standing in your driving on a Tuesday night
beneath a cracked blue dusk when she was perfect

for the last time. Her of the wild. Her
of the father. Her before the tree of life. Before
she was prey. Didn’t you love her

in your silent way—listening to everything
she could think of to say to you
until her voice made a home for you
and the world went dark.




Tyler Mills was born in Chicago. She is the author of Tongue Lyre, which won the 2011 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award (Southern Illinois University Press). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Antioch Review, Georgia Review, Nashville Review, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly Online, and elsewhere; her poems have also been the recipient of awards from the Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, and Third Coast. She has received a work-study scholarship from Bread Loaf and a John Woods Scholarship from the Prague Summer Program. A graduate of Bucknell (BA) and the University of Maryland (MFA, Poetry), Tyler is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

If you would like to purchase Tongue Lyre, please visit Southern Illinois University Press!




Brynn Saito is the author of the poetry collection The Palace of Contemplating Departure, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award and hot off the press from Red Hen Press (March, 2013). Her poetry has been anthologized by Helen Vendler and Ishmael Reed; it has also appeared in Ninth Letter, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Pleiades and Drunken Boat. Brynn was born in the Central Valley of California to a Korean American mother and a Japanese American father. She lives in the Bay Area and teaches in San Francisco.

If you would like to purchase The Palace of Contemplating Departure, please visit Red Hen Press!




Mills, Tyler. Tongue Lyre. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press, 2013. Page 3. Print.

Saito, Brynn. The Palace of Contemplating Departure. Pasadena: Red Hen Press, 2013. Page 66. Print.




When Dancers Turn to Writing


bone dream body of a dancer


Tuesday evening, I planned on attending what looked to be an interesting reading. . . but what it turned out to be was an inspirational, uplifting and hilarious multigenre experience.

The event was titled “After Dancing: Dancers Turn to Writing,” and for good reason. These two wonderful, strong women were dancers for the majority of their lives, and when they eventually “left” that part of their lives “behind” (though, we did discuss that you never leave such a big part of you behind, not really), they turned to writing, and eventually writing about dancing with new vigor that many dancers never find the words to express.

As the original event flyer explains, Moira MacDougall’s first poetry collection, Bone Dream, from Tightrope Books, summoned much of her training in classical ballet and modern dance, as well as her experiences as an Iyengar yoga instructor. From my experience of listening to her read (in the crisp, precise enunciating way she is so blessed with!), her poems are filled with pain, raw truth (about the physical body and emotions of the mind), as well as a Dream World from which she draws references of Greek Mythology, Christianity/Catholicism (from which she was raised) and some various forms of old and new pop culture. Despite the strange way these various topics may move or taste in one’s mouth, what was then produced was a new way of expressing her experiences and feelings about dance that maintained a dancer’s vitality and spirit in the most admirable of ways.

Similarly, Renée E. D’Aoust’s memoir, Body of a Dancer, from Etruscan Press, is expressed through a series of “Acts,” or narrative essays, which discuss her time in New York at the Martha Graham School. I purchased, both, MacDougall’s and D’Aoust’s books before the reading began, and I spent a few minutes exploring each. What I found in D’Aoust’s work was a stark quality often lacking in fiction, the harsh truths of performing at a professional level, elevated to a whole other state of hilarity, strength and heart. D’Aoust additionally has “what it takes” to make that clean, wide divide between what it means to read a work and what it means to see a work, a performance of a work. Throughout her reading, she had memorized passages, acted, gestured—in a very real way, danced, to what her work demanded. Her work, and her performance, and her attitude, were inspirational and uplifting, and the experience of watching her, of experiencing her work through her performance, left me feeling lighter and more inspired than I have in a long time.

What made both of these women’s equally, individually, inspirational and beautiful performances all the more honest and real was the fact that they were performing together, in a multigenre performance, within a dance studio—a multimedia room with a large dance area, mirrors along one wall, and a ceiling that made me want to return to singing. The first third of their performance was their movement, back and forth, from poetry to memoir, account after account, one truth after another. Experiencing this first brought an unusual excitement for life, dance and writing into the room that I very rarely have seen or felt in a reading. This then led seamlessly into the second section, during which Moira read some of her published, and new, poetry, followed by Renée in the third section, who read and performed purely from the first section of her book, regarding the Martha Graham School. The way each of these forms of art—dance, poetry and memoir—all worked together, moving, in this room, was so telling and real and beautiful. Beautiful in a way that is often removed from a writer’s reading, when placed in a room, pinned behind a podium. It was different, and it was breathing.




After I have fully read their books, I will post reviews on each… This will absolutely be a wonderful project to complete; I’m truly looking forward to it.




Moira MacDougall has been published widely in Canadian and American literary journals and is currently the Poetry Editor for the Literary Review of Canada. She lives on The Beach in Toronto, Ontario.

If you are interested in purchasing her book, Bone Dream, please visit Tightrope Books.




Renée E. D’Aoust has numerous publications and awards to her credit, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism at American Dance Festival (a mouthful, huh?). She lives half of the year in Switzerland, the other in Idaho, where she manages her family’s forestland.

If you are interested in purchasing her memoir, Body of a Dancer, please visit Etruscan Press.




Jim Daniels at IU South Bend

Tonight, Jim Daniels appeared at the IU South Bend English Department Student Writing Awards and performed a reading.

Unfortunately for me, I was unable to attend the reading. Call it an example of how a writer must lead a double-life, split between the artistic edge of experiencing poetry and functioning within the “real world” and/or workforce.

However, I still wanted to share in the excitement. While I may have not gotten to see and hear Jim Daniels recite his own work, buy his books, meet him or get the books signed by him (siiiigh), I can at least still appreciate his writing!

Here is a link to one of my favorite examples of How a Poem Happens.

Here are two videos, the first of Jim Daniels reading from From Milltown to Malltown, and the second of Daniels reading from Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry.

And finally, here is one of my favorite Daniels poems.


Taking the Leap

My faith had gone to the dogs.
Dogs will eat their own vomit
if you let them. That’s faith.
They swallowed my faith,
and I’m not sure they kept it down.

Fifteen, drunk, I fell back through the plaster
to avoid my mother’s kiss. She’d jumped
off a chair in front of me.


She’s eighty now, and blind.
My son, fifteen, forgot to take out
the garbage last night. I’d offered
to help him earlier, but he declined.
Declining is the slant here.

I’d tap dance through hell
to get a smile out of him.
Is he drinking yet?
I can still jump off chairs.

I’d jump off a chair to surprise my mother
if she could see me, if I could be sure
she would not fall.


Fragile and faith get rewound, refined,
redefined. My dog Prince once chewed
Jesus off the cross. Oh, we all had a laugh
over that. Helluva way to get resurrected.

We never gave my son faith in God
so he has not lost it. Just his faith
in us. He smiles a little when he’s lying
but he’ll cure that tick soon.


I edited that part out—about me being drunk—
for the family oral history. Just a cute little tale
of a man-boy not wanting to kiss his mother.

Last time we embraced was after he ran away
then came home. I’ve told him to run away
many times since. Even though that night
the porch light glowed and I sat there waiting
for him to leap back into our lives
and may have even prayed.


She pulled me out of the wall.
My ass covered in plaster dust.
Everyone admired the empty tomb
except my father who stuck his fingers in
to assess the damage.

My mother got another shot
in her hip last week so she can keep
that wheelchair in the garage.


It was hard throwing Jesus away,
even a chewed-up Jesus. No way
was he going back up on that cross.

My son, fifteen, forgot to take out the garbage.
Last week, a girl sprayed him with perfume
as a joke. He wouldn’t come near me. Sat alone
in the back seat as I drove him home.

We’re in freefall here. We’re tearing the walls
back to the studs. We’re excavating for relics.
We have no evidence. We’ve stopped taking pictures.

What did my mother see then? Why wouldn’t
I let her kiss me goodbye?

I’ve got enough sight left. The dogs
bark outside in the cold. Their breathe rises
in the street light and disappears.

He tells me he’s heard all my stories,
though I know that’s not true. He broke a chair
last week just sitting down.

My father sealed up the hole, though you could still see
the faint outline of where I fell.

He barges into my room without knocking, but won’t open
his door to talk, tries to shut it on me.

We fight about the basics—sleep, food, time—
we stick with what we know. My father hit me
for the last time when I was fifteen

and I’m sure I deserved it. Just an open hand
to the cheek. My son jolted away from my hand
on his shoulder on Christmas day

but opened all the gifts. We’ve got baby Jesus here
in the house of unbelievers. All I can say is
sometimes a good story can keep you going

a long time. I tap danced through hell
and even Satan applauded. I lifted
my guardian angel’s robe

and saw nothing underneath. Jesus escaped
out of a hole in the wall. My mother
got her sight back. She threw away her walker,

she sang, dancing with me like back
when I was little and laughed, thrilled
to be in her arms.

We lost our wings a long time ago, my son,
so take me in your arms, catch me
as I fall.


from Pleiades 31.2 (2011), Eds. Wayne Miller and Phong Nguyen


Carrie Oeding: Reading at 7pm at IU South Bend

Those Women Are Laughing

Sorry Susanna,
we’ve already worn the red dress
tight, yes, without a slip,
once with the zipper broken,
to a wedding and to our birthday,
where, yes, we ate the cake with our hands.
We ate the dress.
We wore it as if we had a secret,
over and over and Friday and Sunday,
until, silly Susanna, there never was a dress.

Sorry, we’ve already demanded
the cake and the gun and the empty room.
But go ahead and say it
if you think you can pretend.
We’ve always been loud.

Sorry Susanna,
we’ve already slept with him, each one of us,
and told him, “There won’t be anyone
‘like me,’ ‘like me,’ ‘like me,’”
and walked away refusing to make him better,
you’re not the first one. Yes,
aren’t we just something.

Do you whisper, I can do this better,
Susanna? Funny how we knew that.
We’ve already done better.
We’ve already seen you, Susanna.
Yes, and? We see you.

But I’m different.
Yep, we’ve said that. Made that true. It is true.

Oh, we’ve done that too, yes,
been true, been right, been dead once or twice,
yes we’ve even died and come back
in the red dress they buried us in.

Yes, go if you want.
We’ll understand, we already do.
We are loud, we can be.
That is nothing new.
We realize how funny we are, how loud, how we talk
sleep, wash, aim.
Or, yes you can stay and wait and laugh. What comes
is always better than before, sure.
Someone will come who can make us laugh.
It’s a shame she will be just like you, like you, like you.

Apology to Meditation

The meditation teacher said he wants to leave you alone with me. There should be no third party between me and “existence.”

The meditation teacher said I would soon understand the nature of the mind rather than fight with it. He winked at me then, a bit creepy. I’ll be honest, he really didn’t, but it’s my nature to say quick things to try and make it interesting. Winking is totally predictable.

My friend Jen would like to get to know you because she wants to stay in the moment.

I don’t want to get into it with her, but there could be a moment of a bright autumn tree, or a bright autumn tree that leads me to notice crows, cats, dents in my car, cars on my cat, leaves shaped like cats, the world is cruel. And then it’s not– bright autumn trees that come alive and wink. Or trees which then, suddenly, suddenly suddenly I notice then what happens next? Looking looking where’s the moment I’m in? Bright autumn trees that don’t notice me.

I’m not going back to class to find out how to look at a leaf or who really winked.

I got to know someone once and it led to third parties.

Dear bright autumn trees, surprise me.

Dear meditation, I’m sorry, I know I am getting you all wrong– but now you know how a person can feel and why they wouldn’t want to let that go.

Neighbor Curse

Thanks for never using the garden tools
I loaned you, which you never returned.
I’ve been watching.
You won’t have any tomatoes this summer.

Thanks for being so nice to my dog.
I saw you slip her treats
so one of us would like you.

Thanks for having no tomatoes this summer.
I would’ve trained my dog to eat them.

Even though you don’t have a wife
for my wife to know, thanks
for getting to know my wife.
I know you’ll try to have her
slip off her useless garden clogs
and walk a little softer on your floors.

A lot, a lot of thanks–
I won’t have any tomatoes this summer.

Thank you– for I trust myself. I had a hunch about you,
and loaned you the garden tools
so you’d prove me right.

When the Neighborhood’s Asleep

He doesn’t look up
because he can’t without thinking
those stars,
they’re going to fall.
But when he walks through the neighborhood
he likes to know they’re up there,
and it’s possibly they could plummet,
but more possible if
he were to look.

A Refrain, Sung Once, To Herself

One day, I worry, you will tell me
everything I’ve told you.

What do you have to say for yourself?


Did you think I wouldn’t be listening?

I don’t know.

There is a moon born every time I say alone
and tonight its light has left me sore.
I can see my breath, and I wonder about everything–
how I’m going to get home,
how to answer What’s your story?
how to ask you to walk with me.

“Listen, listen,” the moon, my polished child, says, “On your knees.”
I put my ear to the road.
I cut my hand on street glass.
I hear a sigh, I hear a step, I see you
ignoring the shadows, walking towards me.
I couldn’t say just anything.


all from Carrie Oeding’s Our List of Solutions, 42 Miles Press, 2011.