Friends, please mark your calendars for the inaugural program in a Poetry & Conversation Series spotlighting Virginia poets, which I am hosting in my capacity as Poet Laureate of Virginia (2020-22).
At my swearing-in ceremony in late July, I'd mentioned my interest in programs/projects/collaborations that might contribute to a greater public awareness of the wealth and diversity of poetry/poets in Virginia. Surely, I said to myself, there are more poets here than there are listed, for instance, on this Wikipedia page. Surely, there are poets who are right in our communities, who we may (also? or only?) know as nurses or firefighters, elementary school teachers, runners, plumbers, or undertakers...
I'm excited to begin with this program at 6:00 PM EST on Saturday, 24 October - featuring 4 amazing poets: Latorial Faison, Kindra McDonald, Dr. Irène Mathieu, and Kiki Petrosino, (Joining links will be posted closer to the program date.)
(If you would like to recommend poets for potential inclusion in this series, please fill out the contact form here on my website.)
We're looking forward to the 43rd Annual ODU Literary Festival, this year offered as virtual programs from 4-8 October.
This year's theme is "Grit & Grace" - to honor writers, artists, and makers who give us the grace, even hope, living as we do in a world fraught with a myriad difficulties and challenges..
We have a lineup of AMAZING writers— so please mark your calendars and we will see you there!
4 October, Sunday
Thesis/Graduation Readings, Writers in the ODU MFA Creative Writing Program
5 October, Monday
Hanif Abdurraqib * Marie Mutsuki Mockett * Nishat Ahmed and Joanna Eleftheriou * Maggie Smith
6 October, Tuesday
Grace Talusan * Daniel Mueller * Marcel0 Hernandez Castillo
7 October, Wednesday
Jake Skeets * Rebecca Bengal and Luisa A. Igloria * Kishi Bashi in "Omoiyari:" A Musical Conversation
8 October, Thursday
Suzanne Strempek Shea * Aimee Nezhukumatahil
If you are in Hampton Roads, you can purchase these writers' books at the ODU Bookstore on Monarch Way.
June 1990 ~ My first published book, Cordillera Tales, Retold and Illusrated (in the picture above); I was all of 28, a very young instructor at the University of the Philippines in Baguio. Seven years prior, even younger (and a new mother to boot) I'd entered poems for the first time to the Palanca Literary Awards in the Philippines. To my great shock my entry won first prize. When Cordillera Tales came out, I wasn't even sure what "page proofs" or "royalty" meant.
September 18, 2020 ~ My newest book, Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, is scheduled for release from Southern Illinois University Press. Each book, and every book in between these 2, has been a leaving and a returning: to find and lose and find the self again.
In this strange pandemic time that we inhabit, as forests burn and deltas flood and winter comes to places that never knew it before, we count our daily dead, grieve everyone and everything that has passed too soon, and keep close what's most important (family, friends, community). It's heartbreaking work, this living we must do. And yet we do it, for all we love and hold sacred in the world.
I haven't given a thought to any book launches or readings yet, other than the one in a program shared with the brilliant Rebecca Bengal for the 43rd ODU (Virtual) Literary Festival (Wednesday 7 October at 4:00 PM EST).
But I hope you'll show this book some love—whether it's through personal purchase or through course adoption. Please try to purchase directly from SIU Press so as to keep low the number of books that might get remaindered. (And did you know? For poetry books, writers start earning 5% royalty only after a thousand copies have been sold).
And I look forward to the time, hopefully sooner rather than later, when we can all convene again in person and in the same space to laugh, hug, read and share poems,