I almost made it through the week without adding anything to the library, but at the last moment I attended the reading for the 2022 Dyer-Ives Poetry Contest. The winners and runners-up are collected in Voices, the annual magazine of the Dyer-Ives competition.
The event was wonderful! Over a dozen of the contestants read their pieces. They ranged in age from 7 or so to probably the late fifties, though the readers definitely skewed young, with all except maybe two being under thirty. The high school students had some of the most powerful poems, and the adult winner wrote a very pointedly anti-capitalist poem, which warmed the cockles of my aging heart.
I didn’t recognize anyone at the event, other than the coordinator Kelsey May, who I met in my capacity as editor at The 3288 Review, when we published a couple of her poems back in 2019. The readers made me feel, well, old. Then again, I consider this a good thing, because if after three years away I only saw the same people as in the Before Times, and they were all Millennials or Gen-X-ers, then something would be very wrong with the poetry community in Grand Rapids.
Yesterday evening Zyra and I wandered downtown to the Festival of the Arts and attended the Love and Peace Jam at the Calder stage. It was fantastic! Several local and regional poets, including Dyer-Ives Finalist Naiara Tamminga and Lansing poet Laureate Masaki Takahashi read and performed, and for the first time I had the privilege of hearing our own poet laureate Kyd Kane read her work at a live event. The event was coordinated by The Diatribe, with Foster (a.k.a. Autopilot) and Kyd Kane hosting.
In reading news, I am caught up to 2022 in my backlog of issues of Poetry Magazine. It still feels good to read such a variety of poetry in such a volume.
I am almost finished with Kameron Hurley‘s excellent collection Future Artifacts, which arrived recently from Apex Book Company. I really like Hurley’s work. Her writing is lush and gritty and I sometimes detect echoes of writers like Jack Vance and Robert Howard.
So now that I am reading poetry and short fiction, my next reading project is to work through all of my back issues of The Paris Review, which is a quarterly instead of a monthly, so I should be able to put a sizable dent in the backlog by the end of the year. The Paris Review publishes short fiction and nonfiction, poetry and interviews, so this should be an interesting, varied, and enjoyable project.
In writing news, I am still typing up my poems from April. I would make much faster progress if my handwriting was not so terrible. One more thing to work on, I guess.