AWP recap, and heading into spring.

AWP Tampa was warm and sunny and went way too fast. We were worried about weather heading out, but ended up with smooth travels. We sold a slew of University of Akron Press books and had a magnificent offsite, even if we got stuck in hockey traffic on the way there. Thank you to everyone who stopped by the table, or the event, to say hello!

In unrelated news, I have a new blog post up at The Word Cage regarding that “what’s next” feeling in the writing life.

I am on day one of spring break, and hoping that it’s a productive week.

Behold: a glimpse at AWP 2018, Tampa.

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Here’s the University of Akron Press table looking fancy. I had to give serious thought to the best way to display five new books at once. Challenge accepted!

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It was a delight hanging out at the UA Press table with assistant poetry editor Noor Hindi. We can’t wait to read your poetry manuscript for this year’s Akron Poetry Prize competition.

 

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One of the coolest parts of this conference was reconnecting with friends from my time at UIC. Thanks to Jet Fuel Review for this photo!

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Leaving Tampa was less sad because I got to fly to Charlotte with dear friend Erika Meitner. She has a new book coming out very soon. Can’t wait to read it! 

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Because I was a tourist on this trip, I need to include a touristy photo. Whenever possible, I looked out at the water, especially those nights in my hotel room grading papers and reading thesis manuscripts. I made sure to spend a bit of time in the sun, too. I think it helped. 

Three new prose poems in Tinderbox Poetry Journal

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I love a fresh, new month. I know it’s silly, but I don’t care. January is over! We’re a step closer to spring, even if the weather is bouncing between temperate and frigid. Next week I’ll be reading new work at the Lakewood Public Library with Caryl Pagel and Michelle R. Smith as part of the Coast Line Reading Series. I am also thrilled to have three prose poems in the new issue of Tinderbox Poetry Journal:

The Haunted Minute
Hard Living
Breakout Session

Many thanks to the editors for giving these poems such a fine home. I wanted to record audio for these, but could never find a place quiet enough, which should tell you something about my life (loud animals, loud colleagues).

I know it’s over a month away, but I’m getting rather excited for AWP Tampa. We just made the order for this year’s University of Akron Press Poetry Lives button, and I can’t wait to hand them out and catch up with so many friends. Also, this reading is sure to be a blast.

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We will have five new poetry books at the University of Akron Press table at AWP, and we are co-hosting an offsite reading with Gold Wake Press. We would love to see you!

I’ve been blogging again over at The Word Cage, my old haunt. So far, 2018 is behaving itself.

National Book Awards Recap

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What an absolute honor to accompany Leslie Harrison to the National Book Awards in NYC, in recognition of finalist poetry collection The Book of Endings. Here are a couple of photos from the trip, which was such a memorable experience.

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I’ll be checking in again soon with some exciting news that I have to keep quiet for now. Thanks so much to everyone who cheered on the University of Akron Press last week!

All the gratitude.

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In the Midwest we love a good underdog story. Whether it’s an unlikely sports victory or the turnaround of a forgotten downtown, we find inspiration in the unexpected triumph over adversity.

Because of this, we University of Akron Press folks are especially excited about Leslie Harrison’s The Book of Endings being named a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry.

In the summer of 2015, I packed up my office at the University of Akron Press, thinking I would never return. Now, in 2017, I’m making plans to go to New York and cheer on University of Akron Press author Leslie Harrison at the National Book Awards, something I would never have imagined as I boxed up my owls and post cards and books and archived correspondence and favorite AWP swag and entered a world where I was no longer an editor.

Today I’m sending gratitude to everyone who helped us bring the University of Akron Press back. To those who advocated on our behalf, to Jon Miller who took the wheel, to Amy Freels (always!) for continuing to make the most gorgeous books on earth, to Noor Hindi, my assistant editor, to Sarah Dravec, Emily Levin, Jay Robinson, Courtney Turner, and Brew Wilson-Battles, who all read manuscripts with me and offered their insights. I also thank all of our poetry and poetics authors, along with Leslie Harrison, for having faith in the University of Akron Press. And finally, thank you to our readers. Poetry lives, and you have kept it alive.

Akron postcard on the cusp of July

FullSizeRender (8)There’s something exhilarating about being on the cusp, and right now I’m excited for the arrival of July. The baton-pass from June to July mirrors the passing of Akron Poetry Prize manuscripts to the judge after months of reading and deliberation.

For a moment today I thought about how I’ve read close to 600 poetry manuscripts in the past two months, and by the end of the weekend it will be a full 606. I love this part of the year, but at times I feel like there are almost toxic levels of poetry in my bloodstream.

I hope to convert this energy into poems of my own. Onward into the rest of the summer. Or at least onward into July.

I’ve got the baton firmly in hand.

A record year for Akron Poetry Prize submissions

What will I be doing for the next two weeks? Reading a grand total of 606 poetry manuscripts for the Akron Poetry Prize competition. This is a record-breaking year for our contest, and we are so excited by the robust response to our call for submissions.

Once the finalists and semifinalists are sent to final judge Oliver de la Paz, I’ll hopefully be back to writing my own poems again. I’m planning to write a poem on each of the even days of July.

Huge thanks to Noor Hindi of Nervous Poodle Poetry for being my second set of eyes on the poetry submissions, and to Oliver de la Paz for judging this year’s contest.

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In Print Festival at Ball State University

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What a pleasure to participate in a publishing panel at Ball State University with Sequoia Nagamatsu, Dan Raeburn, and Iliana Rocha. Thanks to Ball State Creative Writing for  capturing us in action with this photo. It was great to bring a bit of Akron (including some #poetrylives buttons) to Indiana, and to talk about my experiences as a poet and editor.

AWP 2017 Dance Card

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#poetrylives

Dear friends, I hope to see you at AWP this week! Here’s where you’ll be able to find me.

Book signing at the Black Lawrence Press booth (393) on Friday, February 10, 2017, 10:00-11:00 a.m. Come say hello and get a signed copy of The Czar, or Small Enterprise, or both.

Exhibiting at the University of Akron Press table (T-620) where we’ll have our newest Poetry Lives button + a slew of gorgeous books.

Don’t Stop the Presses: On the Enduring Value of the University Press: featuring Rebecca Hazelton, Claire Kirch, Ned Stuckey-French, Mary Biddinger, and Peter Berkery. Thursday, February 9, 2017 12:00-1:15 p.m.

Stars to Steer By: Rethinking Creative Writing Curriculum for the 21st Century: featuring Cathy Day, Porter Shreve, Mary Biddinger, and Terry L. Kennedy. Friday, February 10, 2017 4:30-5:45 p.m.

Safe and happy travels to all!