Resolution: Adventure

            Unlikely that these two will be at the local Friendly’s, but a girl can dream. In 2014, I’m hitting the road.

  • Getting my Puritan on: St. Paul’s School with novelist Kirstin Chen & literary agent Penn Whaling as a Schlessinger Visiting Writer. In the company of Rick Moody!
  • And then more sweetness down South, as Visiting Writer at Indian Springs School in Birmingham, AL to talk all things Double Agent. 
  • July, July. Weddings and the Honey Badgers. NYC –> LA with countless bookstores, friends, donuts, ice-free beverages, mixtapes, and dry shampoo. More to come.

And for those of you in search of your own shake-up,

  • From the comfort of your desk, read Drunken Boat #18, featuring exceptional poems for the Debt folio I curated. These are the poets that stop you: Cynthia Cruz, Kara Candito, my fellow Kore poet Sandra Lim, Eugenia Leigh, and many more.
  • Asian-American Poets: Apply to Kundiman.

Happenings of the Panel Variety

-If you like your hemp mueslix with a vodka chaser, be sure to stop by the panel “Goodbye, Lenin: Poets Write the Cold War and its Aftermath” at AWP 2014 to hear Jehanne Dubrow, Michael Dumanis, John Drury, Jacob Shores-Arguello and yours truly on the post-Soviet landscape.

This is no model for a wedding cake!

-I’ll be a panelist (along with Tarfia Faizullah, Suzanne Parker, and Michael Broek)  ”Witnessing New Political Poetries: Documentation, Intertertextuality, and Hybridity” at the 2014 Split This Rock: Poems of Provocation and Witness conference, March 27-30 in DC. The line-up is superb – Natalie Diaz, Claudia Rankine…

 

Dragnet Fantasies

In keeping with my fantasies of being a tough-talking dame on a “hardboiled” radio show, some new and new-ish interviews:

-on Double Agent and paranoia with the inimitable T. Hetzel on Ann Arbor’s The Living Writers Show

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/living-writers/id121092869?mt=2

-on feminism, propaganda, and playing tonal dress-up with Alyse Knorr through Gazing Grain press

http://gazinggrainpress.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/interview-with-michelle-chan-brown-author-of-double-agent/

-just-discovered review of Double Agent from the folks at The Journal. Mischievous!

http://thejournalmag.org/archives/4203

 

 

 

 

 

Trouble Will Find Me

What’s a few malapropisms among friends?

At last! Those hunky boys from The National have dropped their new album. Can someone write a book-length, lyrical, earnest Pitchfork parody already? It could be the new Autobiography of Red.

What better accompaniment to updating poetry news than the dusky (and no, I don’t mean husky) vocal stylings of Matt Berninger?

I’ll be kicking off the Summer Poetry Salon at Washington College’s Rose O’Neill Literary House, thanks to director (and fellow diplomat-brat-poet) Jehanne Dubrow. Music. Edibles. Ryan Teitman.

June brings: 4:30 wake-ups, poems skinny and skinnier, exploring possibilities for rhubarb and leeks, reading on Kazakhstan, Vienna, and Budapest, headstand, singing for Evening Man, shedding tired vices for quirky virtues. And Kundiman, where I’ll be a fellow!

Although poetry submissions are closed, I’m curating a folio on Debt for Drunken Boat. Submit.

 

 

Chloe Honum, she of the gorgeous lyric, was gracious enough to tag me for a self-interview in the Next Big Thing series. You can find her responses here.

1. What is your working title of your book?

My first book, Double Agent, came out last year. I’m working on a manuscript now that’s either called Purge or The Pretender Queen or My Grandfather’s Hummus & Other Tales.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Double Agent is not project-based; it was a massy, mutating thing. During my MFA at the University of Michigan. I wrote short narrative poems about coming of age in the Eastern Bloc during the 80’s and 90’s, and the weirdness and incongruity of living in or near American embassies throughout. After graduate school, I taught at a New England boarding school for five years, and wrote poems in response to the weirdness and incongruity of being an authority figure/adult to three hundred teenagers on a bucolic campus that abutting a depressed former mill town…the scenery changed, but the concerns remained the same. Community, privilege, privacy, facades. I also fell in love very quickly and eventually got hitched, so that informed the manuscript. Currently, I’m living in DC and in the grips of a bipolar session, vintage Libra: spare, sound-driven couplets and big, yodeling spatter-poems.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I wish I could cast someone androgynous, elegant, swathed in dove-gray cashmere, with devastating eyebrows and a wry mouth, to play the “I” of Double Agent – Charlotte Rampling, Charlotte Gainsbourg. Any Charlotte, really. But my speaker is more like Peter Sellers in Being There meets Janeane Garofalo in Reality Bites.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

From a lovely review by Heidi Erdich:

Like an agent, these poems are on the prowl, and often the subject of the search is the father—but not always an actual father—and not the icon we might expect, but a more complicated patrimony of language, image, country, and the self as projected across time and continents.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Double Agent won Kore Press’ First Book Award.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Too many things have been called a “first draft” to really say. Somewhere between a month and five years.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Comparisons make me queasy.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My parents and my husband and Nabokov. My students and teachers.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

 If you’re a fan of Mulholland Drive, there’s an 89% chance you will enjoy this book.

 

 

Continue reading

Fighting “Holiday Blues”? Read some poems…

Check out the new issue of Boxcar Poetry Review, which features my poem “How Fiction Works” (spasibo, James Wood!) and two poems at A Poetry Congeries.

Boxcar’s cover image, friends. Not a non sequitur.

Toast, too, 2012′s uber-deserving NEA recipients, including Lisa Fay Coutley, Traci Brimhall, and Sarah Blake Schoenholtz, who gifted Drunken Boat with selections from her Kanye West series.

Nation’s Cap, y’all

We live in DC now, which, according to some financial magazine (Forbes? Fortune?) is the second hippest city in the States.

Houston, I slap your face with my glove!

 

Apart from gaping at the Lincoln Memorial, leering at power-suited K Streeters, and loving – loving - the bookstores Politics & Prose and Kramerbooks, I’m co-coordinating the Cafe Muse readings series, sponsored by the WordWorks. Once-a-month readings (feat. cheese AND classical guitar AND an open mic) in Friendship Heights & a killer line-up. I’ve already been dazzled by November’s reading with James Arthur.

I’ll be reading there in April with poet/novelist/doctor/can-she-be-mortal Joanna Pearson.

Many thanks to poet and fellow dip-brat Jehanne Dubrow for inviting me to read as part of Washington College’s Summer Poetry Salon in May! Check out her newest book, Red Army Red: punchy, lyrical, elegant. Like a shot of horseradish vodka. Home-infused.

 

Pushcart News!

I’m thrilled to announce two Pushcart noms!

Thanks to the editors of Country Dog Review for their support of “Dollhouse” and Kore Press for “Embassy.”

After you’ve checked killer poems that have caught CDR’s most discerning of editors, Danielle Sellers, be sure to read this week’s interview with CR the NYTimes magazine.

The connection between Pushcarts and Ms. Rampling  is tenuous…or is it?

 

 

 

AWP Boston, or How To Look Devilishly Literary While Eating a Lobster Roll

AWP Boston is coming up! Flocks of knotty-locked hipsters descend onto the most genteel (staid?) of cities to binge-slurp clam chowder and Sam Adams.

I’ll be lurking at these events:

Thursday, March 7: Drunken Boat’s launch of Lisa Russ Spaar’s new book of essays, “Hide and Seek Muse” 3/7 at the Lily Pad.

Friday, March 8: 10AM book signing of Double Agent at the Kore Press table

Evening reading at Suffolk University’s Poetry Center with Carolyn Hembree and WordWorks authors.

Come say na zhdarovye at the tables for Kore & DB.

Yes.

More to come…off-site readings, Kore’s twentieth-anniversary bash…