Feats of Poetic Strength, Volume III

Last night was the most recent Feats of Poetic Strength, and it went fabulously. It was such a joy to hear these women’s words I’d read and fallen in love with on the page. Below are some pictures of them reading, with two exceptions. For Elizabeth Langemak and Sheila McMullin I was sitting right in front of them, and as a result took terrible photos. And part of hosting a literary series is to do your readers the favor of not releasing horrible photos of them to the wolves of the internet. Elizabeth Langemak (I will add a headshot later if I can get one–got it!) opened the reading with her gorgeous and moving poetry. I was delighted that she read this poem, “A Photograph of Her Showering,” because I had read it online and just effing loved it, so it was great to hear it read aloud. She was the perfect opener to the series, and I highly recommend following this rising star!

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Our next reader was Sheila McMullin (again, will post a headshot if received-got it!), who took us on an emotional journey with her poems. Her invested performance left me on the edge of my seat. I am grateful she trusted us with her story. Poems revolving around sexual assault are a large part of the reason why I began the series, as I said last night. I want Feats to be a place for women to tell stories they might not otherwise feel comfortable sharing. Sheila’s three poems really transcended entertainment to create a deep bond between audience and poet.

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Elizabeth Hoover was next, and she read some utterly amazing poems, with subjects ranging from Coco (of Ice-T & Coco) to hysteria (a theme picked up later by poet MaryAnn L. Miller). The smart, feminist themes running through her work were so strong, and I loved what she had to say about trigger warnings. She is also just a straight up hoot. Pictured below.

IMG_20150418_192547_848 We then passed the hat for local feminist collective Permanent Wave Philly, and Candice (pictured below) spoke on their behalf. We raised $134 for this great group!! IMG_20150418_194118_469 (1) (That’s Sheila in the B&W dress behind Candice, offered as evidence that I did not make her up). After intermission, VCFA graduate K.T. Landon read. She had selected poems from her submission, so I was elated to hear those, plus others I hadn’t read before. Her poem, “An Andalusian Dog” astounds me, as does her great manipulation of time. I am sure she will be a name we will hear more often!

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Next was MaryAnn L. Miller, who I think has a secret second career as a stand up comedian. She read poems chronicling her own diagnosis of hysteria, which was in actuality a degenerative disorder (I believe that’s the right phrase). Her poems tackled this difficult subject wryly, and with wonderful imagery that enabled the audience to picture the intangible. The poems she read were from her new manuscript she is working on with Feats alumna Hila Ratzabi.

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Closing out the show was poet and all around wonderful woman Anne-Adele Wight. She gave us a wonderful mix of environmental poetry and poems with female themes. I am grateful she was able to step in to read, and her closing poem, “Cat Pills,” ended the evening on just the right note.

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Thank you so much to them for reading, and to the audience for listening. I am grateful to you all for helping this vision to become a reality. I would gush on and on, but I am off to bake cookies at a friend’s house, because it’s Sunday, and life is quite wonderful.

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News!

I spent four days on an emotional roller coaster after learning I was shortlisted for the 2015 Booth Prize, out of over 1,200 submissions ten were selected for this honor, but I sadly did not win. They are still publishing my poem though, so I am feeling pretty a-okay about the whole thing. I also got to tell a lot of people I would have taken them out to dinner with the $1,000 prize money without actually having to do it, so that was a nice perk!

Congrats to the winner, Paula Brancato, and runner-up Rachel Flynn. May they take their friends out for a nice meal (not Mendy’s).

Also, a long time ago I was accepted for publication by the new online journal based out of Brooklyn (how often does that phrase appear in the blogosphere?), Prelude. which features lovely work and has a super fast response time on submissions. So I recommend checking them out and sending some work their way.

Upcoming Readings

Posting twice in one day, hoo hoo, oh my, hmm hmm!

I have a reading this Sunday at 5 PM at Headhouse Books in Philly as part of the Jubilant Thicket reading series. You should come! I’ll read poems about my childhood, my parents’ childhoods, my love life (wait am I selling this? I have a poem about gorillas too), will make awkward banter between poems (when I started seeing poets read from tablets I knew we’d finally reached the year of Back to the Future), and will fail terribly at networking. In addition, to the other poets, I’m excited to read with Ysabel Y. Gonzales, who is a Feats of Poetic Strength alumna.

SPEAKING OF–

There is a new Feats of Poetic Strength coming up! Again, you should come! Facebook tells me 54 cool people are (and I know people never RSVP cavalierly to things on Facebook), so it should be a fun night. (Note to self, buy more wine). Readers include: Anne-Adele Wight, stepping in for Violet LeVoit, who suffered a car accident but is largely doing okay, K.T. Landon, Elizabeth Hoover, MaryAnn L. Miller, Elizabeth Langemak, and Sheila McMullin. These ladies were chosen from a pool of nearly 100 applicants, and are travelling from far distances to read for you. The reading is also a fundraiser for Permanent Wave Philly, a feminist collective of which I am a part.

Hearts and stars and Mallomars,

Shevaun

Publication Updates

Two new journals have picked up my work, and I am grateful and super excited! Plus, my kind friend Alice, who blogs fabulously here, nominated me for Apiary Magazine’s feature on locals’ favorite Philly poets with my poem “Local Church Falls in Love with Area Library” (Apiary post with Alice’s comments is here, full poem at Four Chambers Press is here). So that is a wonderful act of friendship for which I am grateful.

On to the two new journals!

Washington Square Review, which is a nut I’ve been trying to track for several years, picked up my Dorothea Lasky influenced poem “What if I don’t even like you?” which is, despite its title, a love poem. I will post a link to purchase the issue, or the poem itself if it goes online, when the time comes.

Painted Bride Quarterly, which is a super wonderful Philly based journal out of Drexel University, who hosts readings and slams and all the things the cool kids do, picked up my poem “When the World Ends,” written in a apocalyptic state of mind, as the title might imply.

I hope you will enjoy these poems when they come out!