What compels you to write? What brings about good literature? For Andy Mozina it seems the act of writing, literature as a whole, is where meaning making is most present and realized, and for Jaimy Gordon the challenge of wondering if she still "has it," referring to an experience, memories of a certain time and place, are impulses to write, to keep writing -- to capture a moment, a series of moments, and to recapture and explore emotional and intellectual truths about how we live in the world. It was insightful and motivating to hear Jaimy talk about how important just hearing people speak can be and is, particularly the voice of Medicine Ed in her award-winning novel Lord of Misrule, and her telling us during the Writers Squared conversation just how meaningful it was for her to call up and go visit the old southern groomers of her past so as to sit with and hear their voices, writing down everything they said, and how doing so helped shaped the aforementioned novel. Andy Mozina's recent (and sweeping) novel Contrary Motion was approached differently, but with as much passion. Andy informed us the beginning moment, the conception of the impulse to write the story, was when he received an old time photograph from his mother-in-law of a woman playing the harp bedside to a hospice patient. From then on, the image engrained in his mind, he wrote sections of the novel and put it together, "braided it," into a book of great range and yet quiet, very modest and nervous at times. A tremendous thanks to both authors for visiting the Writers' Hub and to those of you ongoing supporters of GLCL, it's so crucial having an audience. Keep listening, read on, and come back for our next event. So long.
Thanks to all who attended the Writers Under Thirty Literary Salon August 18th. The event took place at the Collective Artspace and was moderated by Danielle Clark, an intern here at Great Lakes Commonwealth. The Artspace was a perfect venue for a salon as the beginnings of Nichole Riley’s beautiful text and light installation were in the back of the room. The simple mixer was a great opportunity for writers from all corners of the Grand Rapids literary community to come together and share with others their favorite words, their craft, and their love for art and writing.
We are excited to continue the Writers Under Thirty series next month with a Feedback Reading, September 29th at 6:30pm. At this event, young writers will bring fresh work to be listened to and critiqued by local writers. Local writers will give helpful and encouraging feedback to readers on their performance and craft. Click HERE for more information. We hope to see you all there!
Danielle Marie Clark
The first Writers Under Thirty Reading, one in a new ongoing series developed by Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters and Bombadil Books, opened with great reception on July 14, 2016. With ten readers and forty five in attendance, the Writers' Hub seemed alight with fresh talent from the local literary arts community. The event gave space for writers who had never read, such as GLCL intern Gracey Mussina, as well as opened the floor for more seasoned readers such as Corey Tyler and Kelly Booms. Readers read from a variety of genres, each sharing a beautiful narrative that really embodied what it means to be a writer at twenty (or twenty-nine and a few months).
Each reader approached the stage with a confidence and excitement that fed the positivity of the crowded room. Friends of Bombadil Books, GLCL and Danielle Marie Clark, as well as supporters of the literary arts, were treated to beautiful pieces that encapsulated feelings of loss, reconciliation, and wonderment. Reader Jackie Vega’s poems gave vision to the questioning of party culture in college towns, while Rori Meyer gave uplifting words of encouragement for her younger self. All readers brought well crafted poems, stories, and personal recollections. Photos of the event can be found on Bombadil Book’s Facebook page here.
Readers were incentivized to read by being entered into a drawing for a membership to the Writers' Hub; Annabelle Miller, a poet who recently graduated Grand Valley State University, was randomly selected for membership! GLCL is excited to have such a talented young writer join its rich writing community.
The next Writers Under Thirty event will be held at the Collective Artspace on August 18th, 2016 at 6:30pm. Event info can be found on the GLCL website or on Facebook here. We hope to see you there!
The parallels in yesterday's Writers Squared program were uncanny: interrogating feminine and masculine roles, family grievances--the stories told and the silences between/among those stories and the myths that form to fill the space, the songs we sing that are born from a wound. Iliana Rocha's book Karankawa explores those silences with a sassy excavation of pain and interest in pop-culture, reconstructing the stories of our origin, finding where one thread ends and another ties on, what we desire and the reality of what we desire conflicting with what is. W. Todd Kaneko's book The Dead Wrestler Elegies focuses, on many levels, on the legend of various dead professional wrestlers, the arcs of their stories, fused with the life of the speaker. And that brings up another point, both W. Todd and Iliana spoke about their relationships to their speaker's and how divorcing from autobiography, even if it's what sets a piece of writing in motion, is necessary for the truth that the language calls forward. Neither author found redemption in their process, perhaps no closure either, but discovered, in all its shapeshifting, angles of a greater truth. Magnificent thanks to both authors and everyone who came out and joined in the conversation. Our next Writers Squared is September 7 with Andy Mozina and Jaimy Gordon. Hope you'll consider stopping by.
Fresh Ink BLOG
Musings, news, and information about the writing life in the Great Lakes region.
Retreats, Workshops, Etc.
Alcona Writers' Retreat
Bear River Writers' Conference
Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
Poetry Society of Michigan
Three Ponds Farm
Small Presses and Lit Mags
Broadside Lotus Press
Michigan Quarterly Review
World Weaver Press