Poet Sharon Olds made it back to Houston this fall

December 15, 2016, by

up right IMG_7651As 2016 comes to close, Inprint marvels at all the wonderful literary events that took place over the fall months. In November, Brazos Bookstore hosted a reading by poet Sharon Olds.

Olds was scheduled to appear in the 2015/2016 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series with poet and University of Houston Creative Writing Program faculty member Tony Hoagland. Due to the Tax Day Flood in April, the reading had to be cancelled. A video was made that day during a break in the rain, featuring a reading and conversation between Olds and Hoagland, and Houston poet Martha Serpas in a private home. You can watch that reading here as part of the Inprint Archive of Readings. We were thrilled that Sharon Olds made it back to Houston this fall via Brazos Bookstore so her fans could  see her in real time. Here Inprint blogger Erika Jo Brown tells us about this memorable evening.

Appropriately, Sharon Olds’ reading at Christ Church Cathedral was preceded by the choir practice of tweens. Olds is revered—and occasionally controversial—for her delicate and unconventional poems about female sexual awakening and motherhood, among other topics.

On this night, she was introduced by Houston novelist Chris Cander, who extoled Olds’ “incomparable gifts of description” and lauded her latest collection, Odes, as a meditation on “what it feels like to occupy a mature woman’s body, mind and spirit.”

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Indie book presses are continuing to find great new talent

January 11, 2016, by

Indie book night imageAnother exciting evening of literary fun awaits Houstonians tonight as Brazos Bookstore presents Indie Book Night. Inprint blogger Erika Jo Brown interviewed Brazos’ Ben Rybeck to get a sneak peak on tonight’s event.

ERIKA: What can an attendee expect from Indie Press Night? What’s on the program?

BEN: For this event, editors from five different independent publishers (Archipelago, New Directions, Open Letter, Restless Books, Tyrant Books) will gather to drink beer, eat snacks, and talk with attendees about upcoming releases. Will there be hobnobbing? You bet. Networking? Duh. Jump rope? No. As ever, we’ll have books for sale—but wait (as they say), there’s more! The publishers will have some giveaways and prizes too. So basically, attendees can expect, to paraphrase Mark Twain, a hella wicked time.

ERIKA: How might attending this event satisfy a New Year’s resolution?

BEN: Come meet some editors—and then, years later, when you run into them at AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference) as you hunt around for a home for your novel in which somebody walks and thinks for 200 pages…well, maybe the editor will remember your name! So if your New Year’s Resolution is to get a book published (or at least get a personalized “no”)—but I guess I shouldn’t make any promises. Just come! Continue reading

The personal essay is alive and well

August 4, 2015, by

2_Speaker and audience GOODIt’s a decent crowd at Brazos Bookstore, on a Thursday evening in late July. Wine, beer, and water are on offer, and cheese and crackers. It’s festive, convivial, the usual gracious Brazos atmosphere for a reading—with the exception that we aren’t gathered to listen to a single visiting writer. Instead, unusually, we’re here to listen to each other.

Brazos has graciously agreed to host a group reading by the members of Erika Jo Brown’s Inprint personal essay workshop. They’ve been meeting under Erika’s guidance for two months this summer to think about and experiment with the craft of this varied, extensive form, which (as Erika points out in her course description) can be both “intellectually rigorous and exploratory.” These folks are used to reading to each other, sharing and responding to each other’s work, and considering examples by selected essayists to help them think about such matters as “narrative arc, emotional ‘stakes,’ concretizing details, dialogue, point of view, characterization,” and  more. They’ve been working, three hours a week for eight weeks at Inprint House. Now they’re going to take a big step outside the intimate confines of the workshop and strut their stuff publicly.

You can spot the essayists—they’re the restless ones with papers in their hands. The rest of us—friends, family, and curious others who found the reading on the Brazos schedule—are here to support them and listen to a sample of their work. Continue reading

From the desk of Giuseppe Taurino: Notable books published by the UH Creative Writing Program community in 2014

December 16, 2014, by

Houston’s literary community is brimming with activity. One of the key players making Houston such a vibrant literary city is the UH Creative Writing Program, nationally ranked as one of the best creative writing programs in the nation. Inprint is proud to continue providing fellowship, prizes, and other support for emerging writers in the Program, surpassing a total of $2.8 million to date. Giuseppe Taurino, Assistant Director of the Program, will now blog on An Open Book to share exciting news from UH. His inaugural post  extols the virtues of 15 notable books written by faculty, alums, and students from the Program, many of whom have received Inprint fellowships and prizes.

I grew up in a working class immigrant family. My parents, along with most of my mother’s family, came to New York City from Italy in the early 1970s. None of them finished grade school. The moment I made it to October of my first semester at NYU, I’d gone further in school than anyone on either side of my family had ever gone. And when I actually earned my bachelor’s degree, I became proof that everything my parents endured over the course of their journey had been worth it. Even my father’s father, who was rarely impressed by anything, believed I’d taken the family to new heights. He was convinced my BA in Psychology made me a doctor—the first in the family—and went so far as to ask me to review and assess the medical reports detailing his heart and blood pressure conditions.

Rightfully or not, I’d earned a reputation for being an academic within my family, and book-smart amongst my friends. My being nervous about the ability to perform in a school setting was probably the last thing any of them would ever expect, but that’s precisely how I felt when I decided to leave Queens to pursue an MFA degree at UH. Coming from a background that didn’t value literature, having only taken a handful of lit courses as an undergrad and continuing ed student, and having exactly one completed short story to my name, I was convinced I’d be exposed at UH. From the day I was notified of my acceptance, to the day my then-girlfriend and I packed up my crappy car and started driving west, I kept thinking whoever decided to let me in had probably made a mistake. Continue reading