Susan Rich invited me to be part of this blog tour, which is focusing on writers in all different genres. You can read the answers to her four questions right here on her blog, The Alchemist’s Kitchen. Susan was among the first poet friends that I made in Seattle, and her support and friendship has welcomed me into an incredible community of writers here in Washington. Susan is a true believer in international awareness, political justice, and living the writing life. Her leadership created wonderful events like the popular Poets on the Coast: A Writing Retreat for Women, with poet Kelli Russell Agodon, and Poet At Your Table. Her enthusiasms are generous, as are her poems. She first told me about a wonderful writers and artists retreat in Washington state and we have spent two December residencies there at the same time, checking in with each other as we dive deeply into our writing. I am grateful for her work as a curator for the Jack Straw Writers in 2011, as an editor for the anthology The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders published by McSweeney’s and the Poetry Foundation (2013), and as the poetry editor for The Human Journal based in Istanbul, Turkey.
Susan Rich is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Cloud Pharmacy and The Alchemist’s Kitchen, which was a Finalist for the Foreward Prize and the Washington State Book Award. Her other books include Cures Include Travel (2006) and The Cartographer’s Tongue/Poems of the World (2000) which won the PEN USA Award for Poetry and the Peace Corps Writers Book Award. She is the recipient of awards from Artist’s Trust, 4Culture, The Times Literary Supplement of London, Seattle Mayors Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the Fulbright Foundation. Susan’s poems have been published in many journals including: Antioch Review, Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and The Southern Review. Currently, she is Professor of creative writing and film studies at Highline Community College. Susan lives in Seattle, WA and writes in the House of Sky, a few blocks from Puget Sound
Okay, here are my four questions and answers:
1. What am I working on? My new book, The Art Courage Program (Jaded Ibis Press, 2014), in collaboration with artist Brian Goelttzenleuchter, will be out in May. We just saw the proof at AWP—so exciting. This project (a parody self-help plan) began as a weird prose piece I wrote as a Jack Straw Writing Fellow and which I made a book-on-tape recording of in the Jack Straw Studios.
The Art Courage Program will be published on multiple platforms: paperback, e-Book, retro book-on-tape with MP3 download card, interactive iBook, collector’s editions—and we will have companion ephemera: Wellness fragrances and aphorism booklets. My second full-length poetry manuscript, The Daughter’s Almanac, is searching for a home, having been a contest finalist and semi-finalist more than a few times in the past four years. I am also working on two other manuscripts—one multi-genre “novel” about traveling in Central Europe and one new poetry manuscript.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre? My answer to the first question is very telling—my new book is a self-help parody! But the love of my life is poetry writing, and I write a lyric/narrative hybrid that uses form in different ways. I love to experiment. My collaborations with artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter, which you can read about on my website, have led my poetry sometimes out of the book and into the art gallery, and definitely into the world of multi-media. I am the co-editor of A Sense of Place: The Washington State Geospatial Poetry Anthology, and co-editor of Cascadia Chronicle: A Geospatial Journal of Place, Environment, and Imagination. I have a passion for working with new geo-visualization media and collaborating with code-geniuses and social scientists.
3. Why do I write what I do? By writing, we know and discover ourselves. I know I will surprise myself if I let myself work. I have loved poetry, reading and writing, since I was very young. There has never been anything else I have wanted to do as well, as badly, or as fiercely. I guess one answer to this question would also be: I have no idea.
4. How does your writing process work? I love it when I can write a new poem draft every day and read read read to my heart’s content. That doesn’t happen very often. These days my job at CWU is very busy, but I never am not a writer. And I keep writing in the front of my brain, even if I don’t have time that day. Giving a reading, teaching a poetry class, and sending a manuscript off all keep me in that space. Writing in my journal for 10 minutes on weekday mornings, and spending some hours of my weekend at my desk are how I manage most of the time---but I am always scheming some longer chunks of time for writing.
Wow, it doesn’t seem possible that I have reached Day 21 in my Poetry Marathon for Tupelo Press! That’s 21 poems I have written, one each day, this month. Today’s is “Crossing to Friday Harbor,” which is on the Tupelo 30/30 Blog. If you DONATE to the press (please visit the 30/30 Blog for how) and mention MY NAME, I will send you a handmade gift and one of my marathon poems, signed to you. Please check it out and send a gift to Tupelo (gifts will come back to you)! I make gnomes like the guy above, and zombies, vikings, santas, angels, and animals.
A BIG THANK YOU to those who have donated already. I appreciate it so much, and so does Tupelo Press.
To read my marathon poems, go to the Tupelo Press 30/30 Blog: http://tupelopress.wordpress.com/3030-project/
Thank you very much!! Kathy
Please read Midge Raymond's great piece about this group (which includes yours truly!)
A Poet at Your Table – A Rare Opportunity for Book Groups
In cooperation with Seattle Arts and Lectures Poetry Series and Crab Creek Review
It’s one thing to hear a poet perform in a large auditorium … but what if you could listen to a poet talk about her book in the comfort of your own home?
The greater Seattle area boasts an impressive group of poets who want to connect with readers throughout Washington.
Join the second annual A Poet at Your Table season, and receive an evening with an award-winning poet. A poet will visit your book group or gathering to discuss the process of creating her book, read poems, and answer questions about the writing life. We design a presentation that best fits your needs. In addition, your group is eligible to receive discounted tickets for the 2013-2014 Seattle Arts and Lectures Poetry Series.
- Kelli Russell Agodon
- Susan Rich
- Elizabeth Austen
- Kathleen Flenniken
- Katharine Whitcomb
- Annette Spaulding-Convy
- Jeannine Hall Gailey
- Sheila Bender
- Kelly Davio
Frequently Asked Questions…
1) What do we have to do to prepare for A Poet at Your Table ?
~ Besides reading the chosen poetry book, no preparation is needed. Whatever your book group usually does is fine. Just let the poets know what works for you.
2) How far in advance do we need to book our poet?
~ A month in advance would be great, but you can contact A Poet at Your Table on shorter notice, and they’ll try!
3) Do you have a web site where we can review the books and learn about the poets?
~ Visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/APoetAtYourTable. Please also check out the websites of the featured poets to see which seems the best match for you. All of our poets have websites and many have blogs.
4) Our book group is in Kitsap County — is that too far for A Poet at Your Table?
~ Poets live and work throughout Washington.
5) Can we choose more than one poet to visit?
~ Absolutely! You could invite two poets to come on the same evening or one poet per month.
For more information please contact: PoetAtYourTable@gmail.com
Attention all writers and lovers of art and travel!! Here are two great writing trips for summer adventures!
Speaking in Pictures: A Poetry Workshop Concerning Art
The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
Poetry and painting are sister arts according to the Greeks. It’s a natural collaboration to focus on ekphrastic poetry. Ekphrastic poetry simply refers to our poems inspired by visual images. Together, we will discuss traditional and experimental models of the form by Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Lisel Mueller and Rainier Maria Rilke; study recent examples by contemporary poets, and sharpen our powers of observation and description.
Finally, through a series of provocative exercises, we will write our own poems on a variety of works of art. For the purposes of this workshop, art includes sculpture, collage, architecture and the natural world. All levels of writers are welcome — from beginners to very advanced practitioners.
Write With Us in Istanbul, Turkey
May 11-15, 2012 + optional trip to Izmir area, including Ephesus
Learn, Become Inspired, Build a Bridge to Another Culture
Conference Fee: $550
Optional Three-day add-on Trip: about $450
With Sheila Bender, Yesim Cimcoz and Susan Bono
Optional 3-Day Trip Extension to Ephesus Area May 16-18
Sheila Bender joins Susan Bono, editor of Tiny Lights, and Yesim Cimcoz of the Writing Istanbul Project in guiding poets and writers of personal experience in writing and touring the amazing city of Istanbul. We have an optional add-on trip following the workshop for those who want to see more of Turkey. Spouses, friends and partners are welcome to join us in activities surrounding our writing groups work.
Ready to try something new? Elizabeth Austen is teaching a couple of poetry writing workshops in February:
Poems from Poems: Call and Response
"Good poems are the best teachers. Perhaps they are the only teachers," writes Mary Oliver in A Poetry Handbook. This workshop explores ways to let others’ poems not only teach you, but lead to new poems of your own. We’ll experiment with po-jacking, sonic translations, echo translations and other ways to use one poem as a jumping off point for another. Come prepared to write and stretch your craft – participants will leave the workshop with fresh drafts of new poems.
February 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Richard Hugo House $96/$86.40 for Hugo House members. Registration is open online or via phone at (206) 322-7030. Here is a link to the class description and registration.
Elizabeth will also teach a shorter, free version of the class on February 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lopez Island Library.
Contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. More information is available on her website as well!
My colleague here at the University of Pecs, Joseph Horvath, produces a podcast called "Take Off," which features interviews with students and recordings of classic literature. I guess I fall somewhere in between. Joe interviewed me on one of the nicest days of autumn here; we sat outside at a cafe by the cathedral near my apartment. I read a brand new poem, "Dream Map-Vienna" at the end of the podcast. And we are laughing because earlier we had watched two girls walk past us wearing angel's wings.
Below is a video I made inside the Alte Bibliotek in Vienna (the Old Library), which is basically a museum. It's quite a place--if you have 5 minutes (warning) I show the ornate painted ceiling, old globes, statues, huge book stacks, and treasures.
...though believe me, I erased a few puns before I took the high road. It's been a while since my last post. A lot has happened in my writing life, my academic life and my life-life. Bob and I both got faculty exchanges to teach at the University of Pécs, in Pécs, Hungary. It's still summer weather here, on the 4th of October. We arrived almost a month ago and since then I've taken the train to Vienna for the weekend, hosted a party on our back patio for our colleagues, Bob has assisted in the grape harvest and we've settled in to watch the parade of feral cats cruise through the yard.
I'm teaching a Multi-Genre Writing Workshop to upper-division students at PTE and an online class for CWU. I'm also working on a new book and training to run the Ljubljana Half Marathon this month.
I ran this morning up to high lookout at the top of the next valley over from Labastide Esparbairenque. The temperature was hot even at 9 and I hadn't done a longer run in a while, but I loved every minute of it. The runs here are so refreshing that I don't want to turn around—I come back feeling better and full of hope. Beauty erupts everywhere out on the trail—vistas open around each turn. I plan to have some new shots of the trail and the views to post later.
Then a long (3 1/2 hours) French lunch was devoured by our group at Sire de Cabaret in Roqueferre—with glorious desserts and duck, lamb, entrecote, etc. I have no photos of lunch, but I think I was the only one not taking pictures. Today was a day to look ahead to our last big project of the Creative Castle class and to enjoy being in France.
The angels on the grand entry to the Cathedrale of Ste.-Cecile have never flown with their burdens. (French sentence).