Author Molly Beth Griffin talks about the long and winding road to publication in this blog.
"When I was pregnant with my son, I took a road trip with my mom to see the Sandhill Crane migration.
After that trip to see the cranes, I spent months writing and rewriting this long, complicated picture book called MIGRATION with a dual narrative. On the left side of the page: a girl on a road trip. On the right: a flock of cranes migrating. At the climax of the story, they meet. The girl is transformed. It was over 2,000 words."
Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream (translated by Megan McDowell) is a beautifully frightening novel. I don't want to give away the precise circumstances because the suspense is so well rendered, but I will say the dangers are psychological, chemical, and mystical—all wrapped together and teased to a taut and chilling terror. The first page sets the tone.
Recently a friend of mine (not in publishing) asked over lunch if self-publishing is still frowned upon. It took me by surprise, as this is someone who generally avoids discussing the writing realities of publishing, and generally geeks out over books with me. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised by the conversation. It’s one I know can and will happen when I least expect it.
Minneapolis-based author and enrolled member of the White Earth Nation Marcie Rendon is a delightful person and a gifted, hard working, and prolific writer in many genres. She was generous enough to chat with me about her work and her new debut novel Murder on the Red River from Cinco Puntos Press, which she describes as, “the story about a young Native woman, raised in foster care, who is incredibly resilient and is making her way in the world, her way. In doing so, she helps the county sheriff solve a murder in the Red River Valley of the North.” The Red River Valley has been home to Ojibwe in the region for hundreds of years; European settler-occupiers arrived in 1812. Currently, the valley spans the political border between the nations of Canada and the United States.
When the mind is made to contemplate the paradox of opposite actions happening in the same time and space, one image lies on top of the other and expands the space needed for a single moment of thought. In this way, a carefully contradictory description creates a sense of depth. The fast and the slow happen together and the reader's mind expands to encompass it.
"I've always felt that poetry was the easiest thing for me to write, because I didn't have to write complete sentences. I could write a list poem and it didn't have to rhyme for me. And that was one of the first ways I got into writing—because of poetry."
Bao Phi is the author of Thousand Star Hotel, a collection of poems published by Coffeehouse Press earlier this month. The collection is bold in its language for experiences that oscillate between existence and erasure, and it is moving in its mission to challenge the boundaries of solidarity and to refuse neat conceptions of past, present and future. I was grateful to have the chance to speak with Bao about his newest collection, which uses verse to parse through his childhood in the Philips neighborhood of Minneapolis, the complexities of fatherhood in contemporary America, and the politics of Asian America.
The green-eyed monster will try to tell you that other writers will steal your readers. How wrong this monster is! People who read books will read more than one book, and as we all know, writers are readers too. Never forget that.
Water. Poetry. Space. Place. The sublime. If you aren’t familiar with the writer and cultural worker Moheb Soliman’s poetry and way of looking at the Midwest, you’re missing out! Moheb lives in Minneapolis and works at the Saint Paul-based organization Mizna, which produces an Arab American lit journal and film festival.