We are now in the full porch-swing of summer, which means Summer Poetry Salons at my beloved Lit House. In celebration of the second salon of the summer on June 24 (tomorrow!), I was given the unbelievably fun task of designing and printing a letterpress broadside for Jamaal May's poem "There Are Birds Here," a love song for Detroit.
As much I loved this poem on my first reading (and second and third), it was a particularly difficult design challenge. Don't get me wrong—there are so many ways to illustrate this poem because it is so packed with images. But to illustrate it in a way that actually adds to the text, that builds on the complex foundation set down by the poet—that is the challenge to be met. That is the challenge we always aim to meet at the Literary House Press.
So that means no birds and no buildings. For me, those are the two most obvious, but least important images in this poem. Those details are just the shell around the actual poem. But after playin…
While watching the eagerly-awaited season 2 finale of Hannibal
(one of my absolute favorite TV shows of the moment), I was happily
surprised when a vocabulary lesson emerged mid-conversation between
Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham.
Somehow it's already mid-August. I've spent most of the summer laboring (read: obsessing) over the writing of a single new poem. "Presswife" frames the story of six colonial American printers' wives who took over the business when their husbands died as a kind of retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales, "The Crane Wife." It weaves (fairytale pun intended) together letterpress printing, strong women of history, and fairy tale, with a diction and narrative that leans toward the witchy. And I'm almost finished writing it.
It was another busy summer at the Rose O'Neill Literary House, the highlight of which was our third annual Cherry Tree Young Writers' Conference—a 4-day, 3-night marathon with 16 (amazing!) high-school creative writers. We also spent a little time in the print shop, printing one brand-new broadside and the second edition of a bestseller broadside. Now, we're two weeks into the open reading period for Cherry Tree's …