You have heard of the Art Crawl, but now there is a new crawl in town catering to a slightly different crowd, and we at the Loft are very excited for it: the Lit Crawl MN. The first-ever Lit Crawl MN will be held on June 4 between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. in various Minneapolis locations. It will be free, open to the public, and is sure to be a fun “celebration of the vibrant literary scene in the Twin Cities,” according to their website.
When I was in junior high, my school sold carnations the day before Valentine's Day. They were two dollars, had red, pink, or white petals, and, though they had no thorns, they could still draw blood.
I just finished my first year of the MFA! I’m quite speechless, so this post is short and sweet. I’m in disbelief of all the things I’ve read and written this year. This year has been one of the most difficult in terms of finding balance, but I definitely feel enriched by the experience. I recently watched the third years in my program do their thesis defenses (the first hour is public) and was floored by each individual’s grace while discussing their work. I’ll admit, I felt a sinking anxiety when I thought about my own future thesis that will take shape in the next two years (I need to write so many poems, what will they look like?! How formally “experimental” will they be?! Who do I still need to read?!). This feeling was quickly relieved when I thought about how much I love working with the other two poets in my year, and writers outside my genre. These wonderful people are the reason I came here, and I am so glad we all have two more years to share work and books, drinks, and laughs.
Angela Flournoy's novel, The Turner House, follows a large family in Detroit as the thirteen middle-aged siblings try to save the house in which they grew up. The Turners also face ghosts—both real and metaphorical.
There's a large cast of characters and the third-person narration shifts alignment between them, but Flournoy is careful not to let us mix them up. A technique she sometimes uses, one that helps me as a reader, is physical description. Once I can see the characters, I'm less apt to confuse them.
There were several reasons I left my friends and family to move across the country, but the main one I had to remember whenever I felt sad, lonely, or aimless was to work on my poetry. I was leaving everything I knew behind to attend an MFA program. And the class in the program that would help me with my poetry was workshop.
As someone who has long had a love of reading poetry and is just beginning to dabble in writing it, I am well aware that I am far from a great poet (yet). But I aim to improve, and I know that I could use some help along the way. If you would like to become a better poet like myself or try your hand at it for the first time, the Loft has plenty of great classes to choose from. As I scrolled through the class offerings, these are the ones that caught my eye.
I had an eye on this year’s Best Translated Book Award announcement for three reasons: One, a book I love, and worked very hard on, was among the finalists; two, Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, Holy Cow! Press, and Milkweed Editions all had titles on the longlist (yes, Minnesota dominated this year’s BTBA); and three, I’d recently listened to an episode of Radiolab on translations, which began with a discussion of how to translate poems beyond just words—things like rhythm, rhyme, meter—which has been on my mind since. This series of events lead me to Aoife Roberts for three reasons: one, she did a magical fact-check on the aforementioned loved book, which we were so tickled with we decided to include it with the publicity materials; two, she currently works as the publishing assistant at Milkweed Editions; and three, she has an MA in literary translation.
Control: we’ve all been in charge of something. Some more than others, of which our personal viewpoints on it will always influence the paths chosen during the publishing process.
There is a natural desire (or need) for control when authors choose a path in publishing – for one or perhaps all their books. That no matter what route is chosen, they need a sharp eye for details, as well as the time and commitment to see any book to publication.
When listening to Andrea Davis Pinkney speak in this video interview or flipping through one of her books, it is hard to imagine that the children’s author struggled with reading and writing as a child. Davis Pinkney recalls a deep sense of dread whenever she was called on to read aloud in class. “Fortunately I had a teacher who understood that if I could find a book that was very accessible, I could be successful.” The book that changed things for her was Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop, which is her favorite book to this day. One line in particular stuck with Davis Pinkney: “We all are tall.” For her this quote reflects the idea that we all have gifts that make us special.
At what point is a manuscript ready for critique? What are the benefits and drawbacks from receiving a manuscript critique at different stages?