Meet the Neighbors: Q&A with Julia Tagliere of the MoCo Underground Reading Series

Julia headshot 3 sizedJulia Tagliere is a Maryland author and the founder of the MoCo Underground Reading Series. MoCo Underground showcases writers ages 16 and up sharing their original fiction, nonfiction, or poetry at a quarterly series of free public readings held at the Sandy Spring Museum in Sandy Spring, Maryland. Each event features six to eight readers, reading for five to eight minutes each. MoCo Underground is open to both published and not-yet-published writers and especially encourages student writers to submit. For more information and details on how to submit, please visit https://justscribbling.com/mocounderground/. That’s also where you can find more about Julia and her writing. Continue reading

Concerning Craft: Ode to the World Before Climate Change

Marlena Chertock has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized (Unnamed Press, 2017) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press, 2016). She lives in Washington, D.C., and uses her skeletal dysplasia and chronic pain as a bridge to scientific poetry. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Paper Darts, Rogue Agent, Wordgathering, and more. Marlena is the communications coordinator for the LGBTQ Writers Caucus and is on the planning committee for OutWrite. Find her at marlenachertock.com or @mchertock.

Marlena’s poem “Ode to the Eastern Shore” appeared in LPR’s Winter 2019 issue. She read this and two more poems at our January issue launch (video below).

Marlena’s guest post is part of our regular “Concerning Craft” series.

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Issue Launch Starts Summer on a Literary Note

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On June 2, contributors, staff, and friends gathered at Oliver’s Carriage House in Columbia, Maryland, to celebrate the release of the Summer 2019 issue of the Little Patuxent Review.

LPR Editor Steven Leyva welcomed the audience on the beautiful Sunday afternoon, saying, “Thank you so much for coming out for literature and for art and for the celebration of those things and what it does in our lives.”

Steven also acknowledged the hard work that went into creating this issue, which is a collection of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art. This issue’s contributors range from experienced authors to a first-year college student, and several contributors were on hand to read their work.

Two of the readers were entrants in the Enoch Pratt Poetry Contest, which LPR staff judged again this year. Baltimore native Jalynn Harris read her winning poem “Phillis Wheatley Questions the Quarter,” a meditation from the perspective of the first published black African poet in the United States. Finalist Tom Large read his poem “October,” among others.

Other readers included Karolina Wilk, Ellery Beck, Lisa Poff, Jenny Binckes Lee, Benjamin Inks, and Mirande Bissell. Videos of all the contributors reading their work are available on LPR’s YouTube channel.

The launch was a wonderful reminder of the talent and hard work that goes into every piece in the issue, and of the power of literature to inspire awe in all of us. As Steven reminded everyone, “That’s what great literature does—it gives us this great framing, this great presentation, this great package to encounter the sacred, to put us in a state of awe.”

Experience it for yourself by ordering a copy of the Summer 2019 issue.

Meet the Staff: Q&A with New Online Editor Holly Bowers

Holly Bowers is the incoming online editor for the Little Patuxent Review. She is currently a student in the MA in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University, where she is focusing on creative nonfiction. Holly also works as the copy and content editor at DuckerFrontier, a global research and consulting firm located in Washington, DC. Her prior experience includes roles in marketing, research, and editing. Holly’s love of the literary life was honed at Dickinson College, where she graduated with a degree in English in 2012. She has lived in Northern Virginia since then. Holly loves to travel, and collects books from independent bookstores in every city she visits.

We’re very grateful to have Holly joining our team as online editor. She will be responsible for all the content that appears on our website. In this post, she answers a few questions as an introduction.

Q: How did you first learn about LPR and what made you interested in becoming online editor?

An instructor in the writing program at Johns Hopkins University first introduced me to LPR. The more I read, the more I fell in love with LPR’s mission and dedication to the local artistic community. Honestly, it was the website columns “Concerning Craft” and “Meet the Neighbors” that really pulled me in! Getting involved in the local writing community has been one of my favorite aspects of my graduate program, and joining the team at LPR seemed like a way to take that further.

Q: Who are some of your favorite writers?

I always struggle to answer this question, because it can change based on what I’ve read recently. Jane Austen is a constant. My other current favorites include David Grann, Rebecca Traister, Roxane Gay, Carmen Maria Machado, and Mary Oliver.

Q: When and how did you decide to pursue writing seriously?

I think I’m still very much in the process of giving myself permission to say that I am pursuing writing seriously—that I am a writer. But to the extent that I have gotten there, it is because I’ve carried a germ of biography with me for several years, and I’m committed to telling that story. That was my big motivator for taking the plunge and enrolling in the MA in Writing Program at Hopkins. I knew that that program could give me the tools and the time that I hadn’t been carving out on my own.

Q: You are now in the MA in Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University. How is that going?

It’s wonderful! I love being a student, and I feel like being in classes with other writers, studying craft and critiquing each other’s work, has really electrified my thinking about my own writing. The opportunity to study with great writers and to just spend time talking about literature and process is such a privilege, and I’m trying to make the most of it. The program has also helped me realize that I have more in me than just this biography.

Q: Any writing projects or plans for this summer?

Yes! I’m taking a summer intensive on narratives of the American West. It’s going to be a week of reading, discussions, workshopping, and author talks in Missoula, Montana, and I am very excited. When it comes to my own work, I’ll be using the summer to do secondary research and transcribe newspaper articles. I’m writing about a war correspondent in the First World War, and all of her articles are on pretty poor-quality scans from microfilm. One of my big projects is transcribing each article so that I have a clean digital copy—it’s much easier on the eyes than 1918 newsprint! I’m really enjoying that process so far. It’s giving me a chance to really sink into her writing voice, and I feel like an archaeologist pulling these lost words out of the dark corners of the archives. It’s giving her a voice back, in a way. Apart from that, I’m hoping to apply for a few grants so that I can do more archival research.

Q: What might be some other passions or activities that are important in your life?

Being part of LPR is allowing me to indulge my passion for literature, so I feel very lucky in that sense. But when I’m not working, doing homework, or writing for myself, I’m an advocate for reproductive rights and a (recovering) runner. And I love to travel. I’m taking a few days after my class this summer to go to Glacier National Park, which will move me one park closer to visiting all of the national parks!

LPR available at Books With A Past in Historic Savage Mill

Back issues of the LPR are now available at “Books with a Past” in Historic Savage Mill: 8600 Foundry Street, Savage, MD 20763. Store hours and other information are available at this link.

Back issues are also available for order at this link or by clicking the journal covers on the right-hand sidebar.

Thank you for reading and supporting LPR!

Summer 2019 Issue Launch on Sunday, June 2 in Columbia

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Little Patuxent Review is launching its Summer 2019 issue on Sunday, June 2nd from 2:00-4:00 p.m., at Oliver’s Carriage House, 5410 Leaf Treader Way, Columbia, MD.

This issue is stunning mix of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. The launch event reading will include many of the writers published in the issue and a chance to mingle and meet them, as well as the editors and staff of LPR, at the reception afterwards.

Issues are available for pre-order at this link.

Our readers will include:

  • Tom Large
  • Jalynn Hariss
  • Karolina Wilk
  • Ellery Beck
  • Jenny Binckes Lee
  • Benjamin Inks
  • Mirande Bissell
  • Lisa Poff

Meet Our Contributors: Q&A with Chelsea Lemon Fetzer

Chelsea Lemon Fetzer holds an MFA in fiction from Syracuse University. Her fiction and poetry have also appeared in journals such as Callaloo, Tin House, Mississippi Review, and Minnesota Review. Fetzer lives in Baltimore, where she is mothering, teaching, working on a novel, and serving on the board of CityLit project.

Chelsea’s poem, “Sponge,” appeared in LPR’s Winter Issue 2019 (available for purchase at this link).

We’re very grateful she’s willing to answer a few questions for us.

Q: Thank you so much for being part of our January launch. Do you have a favorite piece from the current issue?

I don’t think I could pick a favorite; this issue as a whole is stunning, but I’m going to shout out “Tamarind” by Sheila Black.

We broke our nails scratching off the brittle
brown skin and then we had to suck-

She captures the experience of eating this intense fruit so well, while we witness the narrator awakening to her own body and the mysteries possible within it. The poem ends with an idea for a necklace strung of the seeds. That image took me from a girl-child to a goddess. Beyond fertility, at least in my mind, the poem lands on the power women hold in all senses, her to decide when and how to wield it.

Q: We just did a post with Nicole Hylton. Her poem in the current issue, “the missing recipe,” begins with the narrator “standing before the stove.” Your opening line is, “Kitchen sink collects the morning light.” I don’t want to make too much of these similarities, or to ask you to speak about Nicole’s poem, but do you think there’s something about kitchens and food and mornings that suits poetry?

Yes, Nicole’s piece resonated with me–that solitude, a sensuous longing. I see the similarities. There is something about kitchens and food and mornings–the quiet routines that call to mind other imprints of ourselves, allow space to remember and imagine. It’s probably impossible for a writer not to reference kitchens at some point–but I think the influence here goes beyond what is referenced in any given piece. What happens if we reframe your question from what suits poetry to what spaces and times ignite us?

We know as writers we have to show up to the empty page, the writing room, or cafe. But the question of where to show up for the sparks, clicks, and oh damns!–that can be more elusive. Personal, changeable.

Real quick, here’s my working definition of “sparks, clicks, and oh damns!”: 1) a brand new idea catching you like the flu; 2) knowing the fix, all at once, the remedy for that line or chapter that had you stumped; 3) finally tuning into the big question your piece has been asking all along; and 4) other things/everything/ whatever that mysterious co-traveler, always knowing the way forward, turns the flashlight on for you to see.

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