Houston Writers Take Over DC During AWP

March 10, 2017, by

2013-AWP-logoThis year, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs held its annual conference (AWP) in Washington, D.C.  More than 12,000 writers and publishers flooded the city for four days of craft talks, panel presentations, readings, and more.  Houston writers represented the best of our city’s expansive literary community.  In fact, Houston was so well-represented at AWP it would be impossible to list every event.  Instead, I’ll highlight just a few.

Poetry fans packed the house at DC-bar Bayou for a late-night reading hosted by University of Houston-based Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts.  (Other hosts for the event, called The Magnificent Seven, included AGNI, American Literary Review, Boulevard, cream city review, Pleiades, and PoemoftheWeek.org.)  The spirited crowd cheered readings by Chen Chen, Alice Elliott Dark, Matt Donovan, David Keplinger, Shara McCallum, Gregory Pardlo, Caitlin Pryor, Maggie Smith, and Ryo Yamaguchi.  Gulf Coast also held down a table at the book fair throughout AWP, and presented Gulf Coast: 30 Years in the Life of a Student-Run Journal, a dialogue with several past journal editors. Continue reading

A whirlwind of poetry and translation comes to Houston

January 21, 2016, by

Kim Kyung-JuThe wonderful thing about literature is that you can travel the world without stepping outside your door. Houston’s diverse literary community celebrates that fact by presenting many authors from different parts of the world.

On Friday, January 22, to celebrate the English-language version of his bestselling collection, Korean poet Kim Kyung-Ju commences his debut tour through the United States at Asia Society Texas Center, in collaboration with Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. Kim will read in concert with his Tucson-born, Seoul-based translator Jake Levine. The multi-lingual program also features Luisa Muradyan and Henk Rossouw, students from the Creative Writing Program at University of Houston (both are Inprint fellowship recipients), presenting translation and transnational work in Ukrainian and languages of South Africa, respectively.

A power house, Kim Kyung-Ju is one of the most distinguished young writers in Korea. His first volume of poetry, I Am a Season that Does Not Exist in the World, has sold over 20,000 copies. He is the author of over a dozen books of poetry, essays, and translation. Additionally, his poetic-dramas have been performed in Seoul and New York. Apart from writing, Kim has curated several art exhibitions, is the organizer of the Penguin Rhyme Club, and produces inter-disciplinary, collaborative projects with musicians and artists. Most recently he took part in the poetic hip-hop project Poetic Justice with the acclaimed Korean rapper MC Meta. Continue reading

The UH Creative Writing Program continues to brim with literary talent after 35 years

November 17, 2015, by

UH Creative Writing Program logoThis year the University of Houston Creative Writing Program (UH CWP) surpasses its 35th year, which is quite an accomplishment. This highly competitive and nationally renowned program admits and graduates the world’s top emerging writers. The pool of literary talent from the UH CWP is impressive and has helped sustain Houston as a thriving literary city. Inprint’s support—more than $3 million in prizes and fellowships awarded to UH CWP students, including $150,000 in recruiting fellowships this fall—plays a key role in attracting and retaining these young writers.

Giuseppe Taurino, assistant director of the UH CWP, says, “We’re excited to meet and work with new students who share the desire and ability to do great things, and are proud of the graduating students who leave better equipped to go out and pursue them. Hello, Goodbye. In the end, it’s all relative, really. Our UH CWP community grows, and the people who comprise it will always be part of the fold.”

Take a moment to learn more about the writers that have just graduated from the UH CWP and see what they are doing now, and get to know the writers that have just entered the program.

GRADUATING STUDENTS

Conor Bracken (MFA, Poetry) is, for the immediate future, sticking around Houston while his fiancée finishes her Ph.D. (in American Lit) at Rice. Conor taught a poetry workshop with Inprint this summer, was pouring wine at a wine bar, and is transforming his thesis into a contest/submission-ready manuscript.

Maybe this isn’t very revelatory, but the thing I loved and will miss and fondly remember from the UH CWP was the community – so many writers with so much enthusiasm in such different spots of their careers all so ready to hang out and talk about everything over a Topo Chico or a Lonestar. Everyone I met and talked with was supportive, curious, and genuinely interested in my life and work.  Continue reading

A literary recap of MenilFest 2015

April 25, 2015, by

IMG_4458Although the weather was cloudy and grey, spirits were bright at MenilFest 2015 last Saturday. MenilFest is a multi-pronged cultural celebration, combining an indie book fair, literary lectures, musical performances, film screenings, and more.

The indie book fair flanked the northern, eastern, and southern sides of The Menil Collection museum building, providing an opportunity for local ‘zines, publishers, authors, and nonprofit organizations (I spied Friends of the Houston Public Library, the Hare Krishna Cultural Center, and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, among others) to display their wares and welcome conversation.

There was printed matter for everyone—romances, poetry, mysteries, cookbooks, Spanish-language, spiritual, YA, and even some book-related crafts.

Brazos Bookstore touted literature by Houston-based authors, like Nick Flynn, Tony Hoagland, Lacy Johnson, Thomas McNeely, (and, in full disclosure, moiself). I spoke to Benjamin Rybeck, events coordinator, about the store’s involvement with MenilFest over the years. “We are first and foremost a community bookstore,” he explained. “We come every year to meet our neighbors.” Continue reading

What is the future of the book?

April 22, 2015, by

What could be more delightful than sipping on complimentary wine and munching on cheese and crackers in an elegant gallery? Well, how about pairing that pairing with a succinct and stimulating panel conversation about the future of books?

On Thursday, April 16, about 45 Houstonians gathered at  The Printing Museum to attend the most recent installment of Ligatures, presented by Gulf Coast. The series is aptly named—a ligature is a typographical element that combines two letters. Generally, it is redolent of threads that bind.

This event brought together four notable artists, critics, and creative writers to discuss the craft, historical artifact, and future of artist books. Raphael Rubinstein, professor of critical studies at the University of Houston School of Art, moderated the panel, which consisted of artists Suzanne Bloom and Chitra Ganesh, and poet Roberto Tejada. Each, in fact, have multi-hyphenated practices—muralist, graphic novelist, anthologist, educator, etc.

A roundtable of favorite books and seminal text-based works kicked off the discussion. Rubinstein cited An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, a catalog of descriptions of everyday item on the desk of Fluxus artist Daniel Spoerri from the 1960s, which he described as “a portrait of a moment in time.”    Continue reading

#AWP15

April 17, 2015, by

20150411_130123If you have any writerly friends or circulate in literary circles, you probably couldn’t help but notice all the #AWP15 hashtags and selfies last week on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Every year at this time the Inprint staff notices a mass exodus of writers leaving Houston for a few days to go to this thing called AWP. Last week it was Minneapolis, next year it will be Los Angeles. One wonders what AWP really is. What happens when so many writers congregate in a square mile? Is it an academically inspired conference where writers exchange thoughtful and innovative ideas, or is it just one big party?

We asked Sam Dinger, Inprint C. Glenn Cambor/Michael and Nina Zilkha Fellow, Inprint Poetry Busker, and MFA fiction student at the UH Creative Writing Program, to be our eyes and ears at AWP. This was Sam’s first time at AWP and here is how he breaks it down for us.

Inprint: What exactly is AWP? Who attends?

Sam: It’s pretty true to its title–Association of Writers and Writing Programs–so this year Minneapolis was crawling with thousands of people who were either writers or parading as writers, publishers, teachers, agents. Ask any Uber driver. And some of them even liked us. A kind fella who picked me up after I had spent a couple loud hours at the Hilton bar (where everyone seemed to end up) didn’t miss a beat before telling me that he loved giving rides to writers. He said he liked it when there were two of them. That way he could listen to them talk. As I type it, this sounds a little like observing an animal in its natural habitat. And I guess it is. At once, AWP seems to fulfill and complicate all stereotypes of writers. But it’s funniest when it confirms them. I was staying with my aunt and uncle in Minneapolis. And when he picked me up from the airport, my uncle asked, “Did you bring a beret?” When I made it to the convention center the next morning, there were about fifteen people outside for a smoke break, and several wore berets. Continue reading

A Road Trip with Failure: A Conversation with Sasha West

February 6, 2014, by

sasha_westOn Friday, February 7, Sasha West and Jason Schneiderman will read their poetry at the Menil Collection as part of the Public Poetry series. West will be reading from her collection Failure and I Bury the Body and Schneiderman from his collection Striking Surface.

Sasha has a close relationship with Inprint. She was a winner of the Inprint Paul Verlaine Prize and was a long time Inprint Writers Workshop instructor. She is an alumnus of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, where she also served as the editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and later went on to become Gulf Coast’s Board President. In 2012, West’s poetry collection, Failure and I Bury the Body, was selected by D. Nurske as a winner of the National Poetry Series and published by Harper Perennial.

Her poems have appeared in Southern Review, Ninth Letter, Third Coast, and others. Sasha was kind enough to answer some questions about her poetry and creative process—a big thanks to Sasha for taking the time to talk to us.

BETH: In an interview, you likened linked short stories to “recognizing someone dear to you in the airport of a faraway city.” Could you explain a little about how you linked the narrator, Failure, and the Corpse together in Failure and I Bury the Body? Continue reading