This Week in Readings

by heytherewildflower

Emma Straub.

I’ve chatted with/followed Emma Straub on twitter for about a year now.  I must’ve originally followed her because she writes for Rookie. She also does blog post reviews on the tv show, GIRLS, and occasional posts for The Paris Review and Vanity Fair. Basically, she rocks.

Turns out she writes like, EVERYTHING, everything! I read online (at least, everything I like). A month ago I had a vague notion of Emma Straub (I knew she was a writer who popped up everywhere) but hadn’t realized she wrote all these wonderful things until the magazine Poets&Writers featured an interview with her to promote her new novel, “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures”. It is a great article! Check it out! Emma calls herself “the most rejected writer she knows” because she wrote 3 failed novels prior to “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures” being picked up. The article is super encouraging if you are like me: resilient yet struggling, no breaking point on the horizon.

it says “ali, you are sparkly and lovely” (I was wearing my hummingbird headphones) (at first I thought it said, “you are sparkly and lonely” and then I was like… omg you’re psychic, how do you know? DO I LOOK LIKE A LOSER IN MY SPARKLES? Do I look like a girl who is pining? because I am. pining. currently.)

The first stop on her book tour was Elliot Bay Books, Seattle! Her voice and presence is as lovely live as it is in print. I am currently readin “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures”. About ELSA EMERSON: backhome girl from wisconsin who grew up in close proximity to theater/a theater/small town theater business owned by her father. At 17, Elsa runs away to Hollywood to pursue her acting career. She is discovered by prominent director Irving Green. Green re-envisions her as a serious and sensuous brunette called “LAURA LAMONT”. Did I mention it is set in old Hollywood of the 20’s? Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

So far I love it and highly recommend it. It is no sounding fury, but it is a story of texture and interest. I’ve really enjoyed it so far.

Second, Last night I attended the Stranger’s Genius Awards in Literature featuring Ed Skoog! Kary Wayson .. and Ellen Forney.

I gave out Ed Skoog poems at the Poetry Northwest carnival kissing booth last week, so it was a real treat to hear him read so soon after FALLING IN LOVE with his love poems. I also really appreciated his response to an audience member’s open question about developing a reading performance voice. Basically, Skoog said that his reading voice often betrays the poems as he reads aloud. His poems (as with many poems) come from an honest, quiet place:  the psyche intensified. But his reading voice is charming and seeks approval, laughter from the audience. I also struggle with this. I think many poets struggle with this.

To leave you is like waking, or refusing to wake,

in that way the body has of haunting itself.

Returned to your hand, I’m the astronomer
unable to lower his telescope, or look away.

You’re the telescope, too. Close, you show me
far reaches that are themselves not even the beginning.

~excerpt from “Little Song” by Ed Skoog

Ellen Forney’s presentation blew my little mind. Her genius and talent warrants its own blog post (sometime soon or maybe when her new collection, “Marbles”, comes out). Ellen is a cartoonist. She teaches at Cornish and does a lot of free lance work. Most notably (if you’re a Seattleite at least) for The Stranger. Here is an example of her work:

Paul Constant was an awesome host for the event. Hugo House as a venue was perfect. per usual. As far as The Stranger Genius Award in literature goes, for me, its a tie between Ellen and Ed Skoog. Im partial for Skoog, of course, but I think it might be time to give this LIterature Genius award to someone other than a poet. Seattle, you spoil the poets! NOW THERE’S A FIRST.

in other other news, this is my new candy apple red leather pant red maryjane pump situation. also, I stole another one of eric’s sweaters because it makes me miss him less (or more, depending on the moment) :

and then the sun set…

hi its my face looking super serious with a red polka dot hat on!!! ITS A RAIN HAT DUDES. its practical. but no…this photo is extraneous. forgive me.