Authors Talk: John-Michael Bloomquist

Today we are pleased to feature poet John-Michael Bloomquist as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, John-Michael discusses how living in Poland for the past year and a half has “influenced my understanding of poetry in general, as well as given me some perspective on a question…what is the soul of American poetry?”

While John-Michael admits that he “doesn’t think he knows the answer to this question,” or that “the answer is necessarily important,” he affirms that “the question is always worth thinking about.” From his recent experience of reading several works of Polish poetry, he concludes that, “I don’t think I can say what the soul of Polish poetry is, but I can say that it has really affected my soul”, and that “by immersing myself in the poetry and trying to learn some of the language…I have been able to feel more comfortable with the question, ‘What is the soul of American poetry?’ and what it means for me.”

Based on his experiences in Poland, and the high value that Polish society in general places on poetry as the “salt of language,” as William Butler Yeats puts it, John-Michael emphasizes that “Right now, in the age of the Internet…and these politically tumultuous times that we are living in, it is really important to write poetry that speaks to the soul and to the private life that we share and that connects us to our history; poetry that makes us loyal to the truth, not only of ourselves but to the world around us.”He concludes by saying that “I have felt a heightened sense of awareness that [these themes of] morality, loyalty to truth and history… and valuing the private life over the life of the state have brought me a lot of peace and joy.”

You can read two poems by John-Michael: “The Prodigal’s Return,” and “Vajra of the Octopus,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

 

Authors Talk: Ephraim Scott Sommers

Today we are pleased to feature poet Ephraim Scott Sommers as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this brief interview, Ephraim discusses his life as a poet and as a singer/songwriter, and how each endeavor creatively informs the other.

While Ephraim grew up in a musical household, he said that he “didn’t really think about being in a band until I turned 18,” when he formed the group known as Siko with other musically inclined friends. He admits that he originally “was way far behind in his musicianship”, but that through years of dedication and hard work, he was able to “create something…from nothing” and craft many memorable experiences.

Speaking on the interrelationship of poetry and music, Ephraim states that “he came to lyricism and to poetry writing through music.” He elaborates that “what really drew me to poetry at first was the sound of words,” and that this inspired him to “try to tell stories in a musical way” through his pieces. In light of this, he expresses his interest in the lyric tradition of people like Dante and Virgil, who are “singing you a story” through their poetic work.

You can read another interview with Ephraim, “The Funeral Pyre of Poetry,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

Authors Talk: JR Tappenden

JR Tappenden- Photo

Today we are pleased to feature author JR Tappenden as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her Authors Talk, JR discusses the inspiration behind two of her poems, “Regarding Your Wish For Do-Overs,” and “Regarding the Adirondack Trip.” JR says that these pieces are part of a series of poems about grieving, written after the death of her father in April of 2015.

While JR states that she “never set out to do such a cliched thing as being a poet who writes about death,” she notes that her father’s passing left her with many conflicted emotions that she needed to process. She states that the poems began as notes to her sister, with the exception of “Regarding Your Wish For Do-Overs,” which she addresses to herself. By doing so, JR states her desire to “talk herself through” any old exasperation that she had with her father, as well as to reflect her gratitude for not being able to revisit the past, knowing what it would come to mean. Doing so, she says, “would overload me.”

JR Tappenden’s poem, “Regarding Your Wish for Do-Overs,” appears in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.

Authors Talk: Jessica Mehta

Authors TalkToday we are pleased to feature poet Jessica Mehta as our Authors Talk series contributor. Mehta talks about her poem “Bars and Planets” and how her writing is connected to her childhood and family history. Mehta mentions in her talk “everything I write stems from my perspective and my lens of growing up in an abusive household, in a household full of substance abuse, as a Native American woman, as someone who has seen these very specific traumas,” which provides a “marker” of her work.

 

Jessica Mehta’s poem appears in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.

#ArtLitPhx: Book Release/Reading: Nobody is Ever Missing with Cody Wilson

#ArtLitPhxDate: Monday, June 4, 2018- 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Location: Crescent Ballroom, 302 N 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003
Cost: Free

Local poet Cody Wilson reads from his newly released chapbook, Nobody Is Ever Missing Monday, June 4, 2018 in the lounge at Crescent Ballroom (302 N 2nd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003) with special guests Jesse Sensibar and Jennifer Battisti.

Readings begin at 6:45pm. Book signing and frivolity after. To pre-order, visit https://tolsunbooks.com/books/.

While encouraged, RSVPs are purely for the purpose of attendance monitoring and gauging interest. You do not need to bring your registration or RSVP to the event. You do not need to register or RSVP to attend. This event is open to the public and free.

Hosted by Tolsun Books in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

About the Book:

“Cody Wilson has a great feel for the details that speak of what hides below the surface. There’s a deeply human mix here – he celebrates, worries, remembers, and looks ahead – and a feeling that he’s trying to enact the multitude of woundings and survivals that have shaped who he is. This book is a beautiful reminder of the joy and risk surrounding us every day.”
—Bob Hicok

“Cody Wilson’s debut collection of poems, like grief, finds harmony in the evening’s melody. Nobody Is Ever Missing is an asthmatic lungful of secrets that settles in the negative space that embraced loved ones who were reduced to the dust that makes breathing difficult.”
—Shawnte Orion, author of The Existentialist Cookbook

Nobody Is Ever Missing reminds us of a difficult yet brilliant truth; oftentimes light can only be realized after it reaches into the darkness. Navigating itself far away from the sentimental, multifaceted lines reflect out from Cody Wilson’s debut chapbook as he explores love and loss and the other palpable experiences that make life into living.

About the Author(s):

Cody Wilson teaches English in Arizona, where he lives with his wife. They are expecting their first son this summer. He has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, where he served as poetry editor of QU. He enjoys making things with his hands, including wooden furniture, shadow puppets, and gestures of approval or disapproval. He has recent poems published in Juked, Juxtaprose, Southampton Review and forthcoming in Emrys. 

Jennifer Battisti, a Las Vegas native, studied creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. Her work has appeared in the anthology, Legs of Tumbleweed, Wings of Lace, and is forthcoming in Where We Live, an anthology of writing and art in response to the October 1st tragedy, as well as The Desert Companion, Minerva Rising, The Citron Review, FLARE, Helen: A Literary magazine,The Red Rock Review, 300 Days of Summer and elsewhere. In 2016 Nevada Public Radio interviewed her about her poetry. She holds a leadership position on the Las Vegas Poets Organization and is the administer and a participating teaching artist for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project in Nevada. Her first chapbook of poetry, “Echo Bay,” was published in 2018 by Tolsun Books.

Jesse Sensibar is unafraid to die but terrified of dying alone. He loves big bore handguns with short barrels; the clean, uncluttered lines of old outlaw choppers, old pawn jewelry, and small fuzzy critters with equal abandon. He has a soft spot in his heart for The Virgin of Guadalupe, tide pools, house cats, quiet bars, innocent strippers, and jaded children. He has worked as a mechanic, heavy equipment operator, strip club bouncer, repossession agent, tattoo shop owner, private investigator, tow truck driver, snow plow operator, wildland firefighter, and college English teacher. He received an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English from Northern Arizona University. He currently resides in Flagstaff, AZ and Tucson, AZ.

#ArtLitPhx: Hanif Abdurraqib at Changing Hands Bookstore

Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib visits Changing Hands Phoenix (300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, Arizona 85013) on Monday, March 26 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with his acclaimed essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us. The collection was named a 2017 book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, The Chicago Tribune, and others.

About the book

In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib’s is a voice that matters. Whether he’s attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.

In the wake of the nightclub attacks in Paris, he recalls how he sought refuge as a teenager in music, at shows, and wonders whether the next generation of young Muslims will not be afforded that opportunity now. While discussing the everyday threat to the lives of black Americans, Abdurraqib recounts the first time he was ordered to the ground by police officers—for attempting to enter his own car.

In essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others—along with original, previously unreleased essays—Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times.

About the author

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New York Times, and MTV News, where he was a columnist. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was published in 2016 by Button Poetry and is a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award for Poetry.

#ArtLitPhx: Rosemarie Dombrowski – The Philosophy of Unclean Things

Phoenix Poet and  Four Chambers editor Rosemarie Dombrowski’s full-length debut of The Philosophy of Unclean Things, a Finishing Line Press publication, debuts on Saturday, April 1st, 2017 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Rooftop Bar at the Clarendon Hotel (401 W Clarendon Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013).

Dombrowski is the co-founder and host of the Phoenix Poetry Series, the founder and editor-in-chief of Rinky Dink Press, an editor for Four Chambers Press, and a lecturer at Arizona State University.  She has also been the Editor-in-Chief of the undergraduate journal of writing on the DPC, Write On, Downtown,  since its start in 2007.  Her works strive to showcase the myriad cultures and artistic endeavors of the Downtown community.

Opening remarks will be made by Four Chambers and Tawny Kerr, cover artist, with readings of the book to follow.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

Food and beverage are available at Cafe Tranquilo on the first floor of the hotel and can be brought up to the rooftop. See the Facebook Event Page for more information.