Thursday, April 27, 2017
last weekend i had the distinct pleasure of attending the second annual new orleans poetry festival. being a louisiana writer, publishing colleague, and friend of the organizers, megan burns and bill lavender, i had attended and loved the first one as well. clearly i'm biased--even more so because of the setting--so i'll just get into some of the inspiring experiences i had over the weekend.
the poets with bands concert is always a blast, and i got to watch brett evan's band the skin verbs (finally!) and kelcy mae both kill it, before going out to grab oysters and beers with my new friend and talented denver poet teow lim goh, who was introduced to me online by a mutual friend and former lsu colleague.
friday am started with "o galactic black wild,"a memorial panel for new orleans painter and poet daniel reinhold and unlikely books editor and poet, michelle greenblatt. i was not familiar with daniel's body of work but i admired hearing his story of recovery, his sensitive and funny (not an easy feat to pull off; for instance, one poem dealt with getting a heart transplant with a piñata) poems read by his friends and family, and the anecdotes of him kicking around the city with everette maddox. the second half of the panel was a tribute to michelle greenblatt from her friend and clockwise cat publisher, alison ross, and her unlikely books friends and family. alison, jonathan penton and roz spencer read from her collections ashes and seeds and her new posthumous book, brain : storm. christopher shipman read some poems inspired by michelle's voice and emails while helping us edit _a ship on the line. i commemorated michelle by reading a eulogy i wrote for her and an excerpt from my introduction to another posthumous publication, a book of ghazals she wrote in collaboration with sheila murphy.
the sacred grove reading series hosted one of the best readings of the festival--what a climax for their final reading before a "permanent hiatus!" every reader was stellar, and it was the most lively and diverse reading i attended. jenn marie nunes 4-person collaborative translation reading of the same poem's correlating lines through multiple drafts of revision really evidenced her claim to make the translation process more transparent, and it certainly modeled a more performative way to convey translation. tim jones-yelvington bec[a]me on [our] face with a wonderful poem and performance about being the supermodel of poetry, lauren hunter (freshly published with my friendys, birds, llc.) made me question all our human achievements, kwoya fagin maples read seat-writhing and haunting poems about the experimental slave subjects in alabama, and rushelle frazier closed with one of the most honest and endearing love poems that i won't soon forget.
later my former teacher, laura mullen introduced me to lisa samuels, a very kind poet living in new zealand doing cool things with sound, and laura very generously gifted me lisa's newest book, symphony for human transport . lisa delivered a sonic reading complete with an echo device that i wish i talked more to her about. chuck perkins sang and bellowed poems that owned the audience, having no need for a mic, and another former teacher, rodger kamenetz inspired us all with heartfelt poems and alligator atheist allegories.
the next day, i showed up late (surprise, surprise)--missing rodger's dream workshop i had intended to write a great poem in; then i skipped the lunch read in favor of hanging out with zander at the open mic stage--his volunteer duty was hosting for several hours. bill informed me we missed a grand dada reading (martin mattos and luis bravo), which i regret a little, but we had a blast goofing around, drinking beer, reading our most unpolished poetry, and delving into our own dada mobile google performances. afterwards i caught the trembling pillow press read and got to hear an exciting preview of lsu peer, kristen sander's cuntry (read by jenn), which included a poem that starts with garth brooks in a ball gag (what could be better?) as well as longer reads from lisa donovan's new work, red of split water, and lauren ireland, who absolutely relieved my ears from all the intentionally bad poetry i'd been reading at the open mic with her amazing moon poem. next i got to hear my new friend teow read from her stellar and informative work, islanders, which gives voices to the detained chinese women and immigrants the us detained at angel island before the second world war.
late from dinner break, i only saw rodrigo toscano at the evening read, but did he ever steal the moment with his inspiring and hilarious performance that weaved millennial voices, politics, bar napkin scribbles, and sound poetry. i captured an excerpt from his last poem for you (see below).
finally, the bookfair, like at awp, is always one of my favorite places to hang, network, and shitshoot with like creative minds, not to mention stock up on some loot of the lute too (see pic below). paul cunningham gave me some great tips on cool translations presses. i had a great conversation with ralph adamo at xavier review, not to mention getting him to autograph my copy of ever (lavender ink). i also finally got my copy of nancy's no lit anthology, and i had a big fun chatting it up and getting to know the gigantic sequins and big lucks books crew. then the call girls (bill and shippy's punk band) rocked the house, and the poets danced. the occasion also served as a reunion with many gulf coast writer friends. safe to say, see you next year nola poetry fest!
Monday, April 24, 2017
Featuring a student motivated anthology titled “Voices from the Bayou” has been produced and edited by Professor Clarence Nero and published through the Baton Rouge Community College Foundation for the purpose of allowing students a voice regarding their views relating to the shootings and historic flood in Baton Rouge over the past year.
Proceeds from the publication will benefit English Department students and faculty: https://
Contributor readers from the publication: Delisa, Janee, Zachary, Latoya, Payge, and Johnathan
River also featuring:
BENJAMIN ALESHIRE is an artist based in New Orleans, LA. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Iowa Review, Barrow Street, and many others. He makes his living as a poet for hire in the French Quarter, writing poems for strangers on a manual typewriter. Ben also runs a small publishing cooperative called Honeybee Press, which uses letterpress printing, hand papermaking, and traditional bookbinding. He was awarded a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council, as well as the Chighizola Poetry Prize from the University of New Orleans. Ben serves as assistant poetry editor for the Green Mountains Review. In 2016 he was a finalist for the Iowa Review Award in Poetry, and attended the Breadloaf Writers Conference on scholarship. Look for a new edition of his artist-book, Currency, in 2017.
MACY STOGNER will be graduating in the fall with a Bachelor's degree in English Creative Writing from LSU. She plans to create her own zine soon to publish local artists that she has met and collaborated with in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. Macy hates bios, but sees this as a good opportunity to plug her need for contributors. Ask her about it after the reading!
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
please join us for a feb. river celebrating the voices and poetry of:
& dylan krieger's book release for "Giving Godhead" (Delete Press)
Toiryan Milligan is a spoken word artist born and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana. He was a member of the 2016 National Poetry Slam Team for Baton Rouge Louisiana. Toiryan started his writing journey in high school in 2011 when he made The Baton Rouge National Team to compete in Brave New Voices, a national poetry slam competition with the top poets in the country. Toiryan is continuing to grow and learn new ways to captivate an audience. He hopes to keep growing and learning on his path to becoming one of the best to grace a stage.
Dylan Krieger is a pile of false eyelashes growing algae in south Louisiana. She lives in a little cottage with a catfish and her demons and sunlights as a trade mag editor. She earned her BA in English and philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 2012 and her MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University in 2015. Her first book, Giving Godhead (Delete Press, 2017), challenges the boundary between the sacred and the obscene by conflating biblical archetypes of holy acquiescence with sexually deviant forms of submission. Find more of her work at www.dylankrieger.com.
Vanessa Sauders enjoys green tea, Paul Celan, and long walks on the beach.
2016 was a brutal and capricious year for Baton Rouge and the United States. The change of presidential power markedly threatens democracy and human rights. Major cities around the country are organizing solidarity readings like The International Day of Poetry Benefit for Immigrants and Human Rights and Writers Resist. As human rights advocates and literary artists that share a home, we want to produce an original, Baton Rouge version of rebellion-through-art-and-
Readers include Chuy Avila, Toi the Poetic Beauty, Shannon Groll, Chelsea Murry, John Warner Smith, Phillip Spotswood, Robert Alan Wendeborn.
With musical performances from Quiana Lynell and Peggy Trenta.
Visual art and video intermission with Baton Rouge artist and creator of the Alton Sterling mural, Jo Hines.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Unlikely Books (New Orleans, LA) and Červená Barva Press (Somerville, MA) join forces with River Writers (Baton Rouge, LA), Delete Press (Fort Collins, CO) and TENDE RLOIN (Columbus, OH) to present a fun, relaxed evening of poetry and translation. Translators Marc Vincenz and Katherine Young will read, as will poets Kenyatta JP Garcia, Annie Pluto, Joani Reese, Michael Ruby, and Bill Yarrow.
After that, Vincent Cellucci will introduce the Krewe of No Other Reading, a decompression reading of verse and friendship, featuring a sub-krewe of Chatham alums and Dylan Krieger’s book release for Giving Godhead (Delete Press). Readers include: Ben Aleshire, Mel Coyle, Zachery Elbourne, Elizabeth Gross, Brittney Hailer, Jessica Kinnison, Gloria Mindock, Jenn Marie Nunes, Jonathan Penton, Brad Richard, Will Rivera, Sarah Shotland, Christine Stroud, and Chris Tonelli.