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.
We’re thrilled to share the news that University of Akron Press poetry collection The Book of Endings by Leslie Harrison is on the longlist for the National Book Award. We’ve never been longlisted for this before, and couldn’t be happier. Best of luck to Leslie!
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.
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.
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.
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!
AWP 2017 in DC is a little over a month away. How is that possible? I’m excited to be presenting on two panels this year: “Don’t Stop the Presses: On the Enduring Value of the University Press” early Thursday afternoon, and “Stars to Steer By: Rethinking Creative Writing Curriculum for the 21st Century” late Friday afternoon. I hope to see you there. Happy 2017 to all!
July already? Soon we’ll be proofing pages of The Czar, and I’ll be getting the Akron Poetry Prize finalists off to the judge, and then: czar watch. The birth of The Czar is especially exciting because it’s Jay‘s first book. The unboxing will be even more meaningful.
My summer World Lit class was a true delight (what a brilliant bunch of readers and thinkers). It seems like I enjoy teaching more and more with every class. As of this fall semester, it’ll be my 20th year of teaching college English. So happy that I am nowhere near disenchanted after all this time.
Goals: once I’ve read these manuscripts (468 total) I need to write some poems and send them out. I need to revise some poems I’ve already written, and to send them out. Here and there I have been making notes for poems, but soon I need to write those poems.
Over at Twitter I’ve been posting a poetry prompt every Wednesday. Friends and students and former students often ask me for prompts over the summer, so I decided to make it a #summerofprompts feature for everyone to check out. Here’s a sample.
Happy July to all! Maybe next week I’ll have a sneak peek at the first pages for The Czar. There’s nothing like the excitement of bringing a new book into the world.
Pictures at an Exhibition: A Petersburg Album by Philip Metres is here! It’s the winner of the 2014 Akron Poetry Prize, as selected by Maxine Chernoff, and it is downright amazing. Get your own copy, and enjoy.
Wrestling with the questions of travel, memory, and perception, Pictures at an Exhibition: A Petersburg Album is, at its core, an unrequited love song to St. Petersburg. The fever dream of Peter the Great, Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, and Akhmatova, St. Petersburg is the occasion for a broader meditation on all we come to love and lose. Pictures began as a journal notebook in 2002, as the poet tried to capture this spectacle-rich and memory-laden city that he had visited ten years before. Scored to the movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s legendary suite—a work of art elegizing a lost friend, the artist Hartmann—Pictures marks, and sometimes sings, the incommensurability of word and world.
It’s a cloudy November day in Akron, OH. What better time to pack up books for next weekend’s Winter Wheat Literary Festival at Bowling Green State University. I’ll be there with tempting titles from the University of Akron Press and Barn Owl Review, and I’ll also have copies of Small Enterprise on hand if you’d like one signed. Hooray for Winter Wheat! Also hooray for countdowns to Winter Wheat, and to Thanksgiving, and to the end of Fall 2015 semester.