There have been a couple of warm days recently, but in this upcoming week daytime temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80s every day, which is quite wonderful for the beginning of May, particularly when considering the exceptionally long and dreary April we just endured here in West Michigan.
The past week has been full of poetry-related events.
In the evening of this past Monday, May 2, I ventured to Douglas, Michigan to attend “Let’s Take Another Look at Poetry,” a workshop held by Jack Ridl, who I have not seen in person since early 2019, I think. He and his wife Julie have been friends of mine for many years, and I had the great good fortune of being invited to attend their regular Sunday morning open studio back in the Before Times. Jack and Julie’s advice was invaluable for me as we worked out the kinks of Caffeinated Press and The 3288 Review. And I loved hearing Jack read his own work, an opportunity I have not had since the launch of his most recent book Saint Peter and the Goldfinch, back in early 2019. So, three very long years.
Yesterday, May 7, I attended the “Schuler Mecca” interview for the Oral History of Poetry in Grand Rapids project organized by local poet Christine Stephens-Krieger. She interview included several former Schuler Books employees who were involved in the poetry scene (such as it was) in Grand Rapids in the 1980s and 1990s. We discussed the role of our local independent bookstore in promoting poetry to the West Michigan community, as well as the many national poets who held readings and signings at the store, and how being in that space in that time with that group of people had influenced our own poetry practice.
This was the second time I was interviewed for the project, the first being a month ago about my experience as a publisher of local poets and poetry as part of Caffeinated Press.
Three new books have arrived here at the Library of Winkelman Abbey.
First up is the May issue of Poetry Magazine. I am quickly catching up to present in my read-through of back issues, and will likely catch up to my subscription in the middle of summer. At that point I will need to consider if I want to keep my subscription. Right now I’m leaning toward “yes.”
Next is Dragon, the new graphic novel by Saladin Ahmed and Dave Acosta, from their successful Kickstarter. I have only skimmed it so far, but the writing and artwork is gorgeous, as would be expected from such talented people.
And on the right is the final, completed version of Illyrian Fugue, written over the past 16 years by my dear friend Scott Krieger. I had the honor of reading an earlier draft back in 2019, so I am eagerly looking forward to reading the final release.
In reading news, in addition to the issues of Poetry Magazine, I am reading Benedict Anderson‘s exemplary book Imagined Communities, an examination of the phenomenon of nationalism.