Summer of my postpastoral

It has been the busiest summer that I can remember—I've finally met my book! There were a couple of printing delays along the way, but then that turned into a last-minute color printing allowance for the visual poems in the book. So all worked out even better than I could have imagined.

My bookCatechesis: a postpastoral—has taken me to a few new and familiar places this summer. I got to meet my book for the first time in Hillsborough, NC at the Bull City Press House Party Reading on July 27. They were sent ahead directly from the printer and my Bull City Press hosts even wrapped the box in Christmas paper for me! I got to open it among some wonderful new friends and then read from it to a very gracious audience, alongside Jonathan Farmer, Jennifer Funk, and C.T. Salazar

Back home in Chestertown, MD, I hosted family and friends for my hometown book launch on August 15 at the Rose O'Neill Literary House. Poets & friends Erin Dorney and Sally Rosen Kindred shared the mic with me! There was a gorgeous pistachio cake with my book cover on it, carnivorous plants, delicious cheeses, fruit, & veggies. Even my nephew Phoenix (my youngest, cutest fan) was there to celebrate!

I also debuted my letterpress broadside there, featuring one of the poems in the book and original art by fabulous artist & friend Emily Kalwaitis! Printed by me in the Lit House print shop back in May. (There are still copies available! Email me if you want to buy one!)

Last weekend on August 24, my book and I drove up to Philadelphia for the first (M)other(ship) reading with Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach and Nancy Reddy at A Novel Idea on Passyunk. We read a wide range of poems about mothers and motherhood, mine being about MU/TH/UR (the ship computer in Alien), a fairytale girl who gives birth to an apple, and a few new poems that examine the mother-daughter dynamic in Poltergeist. A Novel Idea is a fabulous little indie bookstore owned and run by two fabulous people. I had such a wonderful time!

Julia, Nancy, and I will be giving the second of our (M)other(ship) readings next week: Wednesday, September 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA. I hope you'll join us! If it's anything like the first one we gave, I promise you won't be disappointed. I've got a few more readings lined up for this fall, as well:

  • (M)other(ship): A Mother of a Poetry Reading with Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach & Nancy Reddy—Wednesday, September 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA.
  • The Many Names for Mother Philly Book Launch with Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Isabel Díaz, Laura Eve Engel, Olga Livshin, Maya Pindyck, & Michelle Whittaker—Friday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m. at L'Etage in Philadelphia.
  • (M)other(ship): A Mother of a Poetry Reading with Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach & Nancy Reddy—Saturday, October 12 at 5:00 p.m. at The Bookplate in Chestertown.
  • Zed's Poetry Series & Open Mic—Friday, December 6 at 6:00 p.m. at Zed's Cafe in Silver Spring, MD.

I've got a few events lined up so far for early 2020 as well, but I'm always up for booking more! If you'd like me to read in your town or at your institution, please email me and we can work out some details.

Even with all of this extroversion and book release mayhem going on, I've managed a little bit of new writing and good news for new writing this summer. My poem "Presswife"that combines women of early American history and printing and witchcraft and the Japanese "Crane Wife" folktalehas been accepted for publication in the next issue of dream journal Gulf Coast! I'm so happy that this particular letterpress-lady poem (which took several months to write and is a whopping three pages long!) has found such an amazing print home. 

I also wrote my first-ever lyric essay this summer! It's called "You Never Think It Could Happen to You: A Reckoning with True Crime" and it explores the sudden POV shift to second-person in the witness interview segments of true crime shows, while delving into what draws me so strongly to true crime TV and movies, my relationship with my mother and my Catholic upbringing, and how the idea of violence shapes us as women. It ended up at 1,867 wordswhich is a lot for a writer of (almost) entirely short poems. I've started sending it out to literary magazines over the last month. I had such fun playing with poetic ideas in this more expansive formI'm excited to work on a second lyric essay some time soon!

Well, that's all for now. Fall is coming and I have a beautiful book to walk into the next season with. Thank you so much to The University of Utah Press and Hannah New and Kimiko Hahn for this incredible gift. There are so many obligations left that I must rise to meet in these next few months, but I will take every moment that I can to marvel at this gorgeous object and to feel how lucky I am to be here now.

P.S. If you've read and enjoyed Catechesis and maybe have a few words to say about it, I'd be so grateful if you'd leave a review for it on Goodreads and/or Amazon. All of these little things really help my little book to flourish in this big world.


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