AWP 2016 Dance Card: LA

We’ve packed up the boxes of books and buttons, and look forward to bringing a whole lot of Akron to AWP LA. California is my birth state, and I always find it both strange and welcoming. Below please find this year’s dance card.

I’ll be spending most of the days representing the University of Akron Press at table #313 in the bookfair. Stop on by to check out our beautiful new books. Also, I’ll be reading from Small Enterprise and signing copies, thanks to Black Lawrence Press. And finally, please consider checking out our awesome UA Press offsite event with Cleveland State University Poetry Center and Rescue Press.

I’ll be reading from Small Enterprise at the BLP offsite & party
Thursday, March 31st
7:00 pm, CB1 Gallery
Black Lawrence Press offsite reading

Please join us for a reading by authors from the University of Akron Press, Cleveland State University Poetry Center, and Rescue Press
Friday, April 1st
7:00 pm, Seahorse Sound Studios
The Midwest Goes West: A Mixtape for LA

I’ll be signing copies of Small Enterprise at the BLP booth (#1526) from 1:00-2:00 on Saturday, April 2nd

Safe travels to California, convention-goers! To the many folks who showed their support for the UA Press during our rather dramatic summer, please stop by table 313 to get your POETRY LIVES button, along with our sincere thanks.

Hot off the UAkron Press

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.

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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.

Winter Wheat 2015 beckons

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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.

Back to Work.

IMG_0886Even though it ended on a high note, with the restoration of the University of Akron Press, I’m glad to kick August to the curb and get back to work. Akron Poetry Prize stuff! Two excellent classes (one world poetry, one an MFA class on first books)! Plenty of student questions to answer! Once again I am taking far too much time writing, revising, and over-honing my syllabi. But what would a new semester be without all that?

In terms of my own poems, I’m still waiting. I can be patient. Last week we got to announce the good news about The Czar, and any day now Small Enterprise will roll off the press. Nothing against the desolation of the marshes and woods, but I rather like being able to talk to people again.

World’s Biggest Thank You Note

IMG_0725I don’t even want to tell you how many dreams I’ve had about the University of Akron Press over the past month. Some of them were ordinary dreams, like eating yogurt and scrolling through Submittable, and others were argumentative and involving closed-door meetings where people were angry. Every morning I’d wake up and have to once again remind myself that the press was gone.

IMG_0788Thanks to the amazing activism of our fans, authors, colleagues, and students, the University of Akron Press has now been restored. I feel like I need to find the world’s biggest thank you note (the kind that would put a huge novelty check to shame) and share it with you. This has been a dramatic and soul-wrenching summer, but I am so emboldened by the fact that our efforts were successful in bringing back the press, including the Akron Series in Poetry.

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I’m gradually returning my owl pictures and post-its and books to my office. I may have to treat myself to some new office supplies, just to ring in this next phase. As of yesterday, I can now also say, See you at AWP 2016 in LA. Barn Owl Review and the University of Akron Press will be at table 313. All was lost for us, and we are incredibly thankful to have it back.

Maybe I’m a sentimental and overly dramatic poet, but in the past weeks I kept thinking of my little press office, and empty desk, frozen in time in its home in Quaker Square. Needless to say, after I’d dusted things off and settled in yesterday, it was like old times, but also not like old times. We’re shaken, but we are stronger. I can’t wait to tell my students this semester that poetry really does have power. The revival of the University of Akron Press is proof of it.

Love Song for the Akron Series in Poetry at the University of Akron Press

uapress awpI’m not sure where to start, so I will send you to the Kenyon Review blog, where I say a few things about my editorial home since 2008, the University of Akron Press.

My favorite poetry collections are ones that aren’t afraid to show their teeth. I lecture my graduate students about how taking risks can be a way to understand a poem’s underlying obsessions and passions. Many of the books that I accepted for publication as my editor’s choice selections were first books by innovative new poets such as Sarah Perrier, Emilia Phillips, Brittany Cavallaro, and Jennifer Moore. During my time as editor of the Akron Series in Poetry, and the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics, which I founded in 2009 with John Gallaher, I worked closely with designer Amy Freels. I can say that what we did was not just literary publishing, but the creation ouapress aamf art. We engaged deeply with the books, pondering the intersection of text and design, and corresponded extensively with the authors regarding all aspects of publication. In many ways it felt like we were a pair of midwives, offering support and encouragement and wisdom to ease something miraculous into the world.