Concerning Craft: Alan King and His Sources of Inspiration

The “Concerning Craft” series introduces Little Patuxent Review contributors, showcases their work and shares some insights on writing well. Our latest comes from Alan King, who writes that his “creative process” is a “meditative one.” “Poetry still asks me to prove myself, to take it to the next level,” King reflects, and he makes that push in part by “pull[ing] inspiration from two contemporary poets,” Patricia Smith and Tim Seibles, a.k.a. (to King) as Rogue and Iceman.

King’s poem “The Journey” appeared in LPR’s Winter 2018 issue. (In the video above, King reads his poem at LPR’s issue launch.) He is the author of Point Blank (Silver Birch Press, 2016) and Drift (Willow Books, 2012). A Caribbean American whose parents emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago to the U.S. in the 1970s, he is a husband, father, and communications professional. He is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and holds an MFA in creative writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. King is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

Two weeks ago, I read at the Oliver’s Carriage House in Columbia, Maryland. I was among the contributors helping to launch Little Patuxent Review‘s Winter Issue.

It’s exciting when the list of contributors for a publication I’m in is a reunion of sorts. The reading was no different.

I enjoyed rocking the mic podium with the Black Ladies Brunch Collective. I also got my first face-to-face meeting with folks, who until that moment, I only knew on Twitter and Facebook.

After the reading, thumbing through the pages, I smiled at the Editor’s Note:

“I’d even go so far as to say that poems, stories, and essays” – LPR’s Editor Steven Leyva writes – “when paired with the striking iconography of various visual arts, form an aegis against ‘a boogeyman’s appetite for innocent things.’”

The “boogeyman” quote is a nod to my poem, “The Journey,” which appears in LPR’s latest issue.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Winter Issue 2018: Celebrating Katy Richey

In his “editor’s note” to our Winter 2018 issue (available for purchase at this link), Steven Leyva writes that “in editing this issue I found myself among an eclectic symposium of voices.” In the past few weeks we’ve highlighted some of those voices – Alan King, Paul Rucker, Hannah Bonner, and Jessica Van Devanter.

This week we celebrate Katy Richey and her poem “If I Told You I Think of You in the Supermarket.” A video of Richey reading her poem at our launch is available above.

Richey’s work has appeared in RattleCincinnati ReviewRhino PoetryThe Offing, and other journals. She received an honorable mention for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Poetry Award. She is a Cave Canem fellow and hosts the Sunday Kind of Love reading series open mic at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. Richey is also member of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective, a group of Black women poets dedicated to creating spaces of joy and celebration as an act of resistance. The BLBC participated in an interview with Susan Thornton Hobby for the Winter Issue; that interview is available online at Hobby’s website.

Free Poetry Contest with Enoch Pratt Free Library — Deadline March 1

Little Patuxent Review reminds all its readers and contributors that we are sponsoring a free poetry contest for Maryland residents with the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The winning poem will be published in Little Patuxent Review, displayed in a Central Library window, and honored at a reading at the Central Library. Runners-up may also be considered for publication.

The deadline is March 1, 2018.

More information is available on the Pratt Library website and by clicking the image in this post.

 

From Our Current Issue: Q&A with Jessica Van Devanter

Little Patuxent Review just released its Winter Issue (available for purchase at this link). Each week we’ll highlight some of the content from this issue. For this week, we’re looking at Jessica Van Devanter’s short story, “Bolo Tie.”

Van Devanter is an emerging writer living in San Diego, California. She is currently enrolled in the creative writing program at University of California San Diego Extension, working toward a Professional Certificate in Creative Writing. In addition to LPR, her stories have been published in Gone Lawn Journal and The Ocotillo Review.

Van Devanter was among many of our readers who traveled long distances for our launch in Columbia, Maryland two weeks ago. We don’t take that for granted and are very grateful. We look forward to reading more of Van Devanter’s fiction in the future.

Q: What a trip the bolo tie takes you and us on in this story. Can you describe your writing process a bit?

The process of writing “Bolo Tie” was not so different from the experience of the main character. I was feeling hemmed in, and looking in my closet. My Grandpa actually did have a bolo tie, though not like the one described in the story. I was imagining it, imagining wearing it. I was laying on my bed and watching the ceiling fan, and the fantasy began to spin out in front of me and before I could lose myself in it I thought “I have to write this down!”

Q: Why did you decide to come to Maryland for the LPR launch?

When I received the email from editor Steven Leyva that “Bolo Tie” had been accepted for publication, he also invited me to the launch party. When I had finished my celebratory flailing and cheering, I took another look at the LPR website and was impressed by the professionalism and strong cohesive vision that came across. I knew I wanted to meet these people, and I was not wrong. The LPR is an impressive publication because it is made up of impressive people. The warmth and creative spirit that filled the room during the reading were the likes of which I will not forget.

Q: What was it like for you to give the reading?

The LPR launch was my first reading for a publication, and to say I was nervous might be an understatement. But once Stephen Leyva and Susan Hobby took the podium, I was glad I came. They gave an air of comfort and familiarity that told me I was in the right place. What more could a burgeoning writer ask for than a group of encouraging and inspiring artists with smiles and infectious laughter?

Continue reading

Meet the Board: Q&A with George Clack

George Clack joined the Little Patuxent Review’s board last summer and has taken on the role of social media coordinator. In recent years he’s been teaching literature and film in the continuing education programs at Howard Community College and Johns Hopkins University. Previously, he worked as a magazine editor with the National Endowment for the Arts, then the U.S. Information Agency, finally morphing into a digital editor, publisher, and content provider with the U.S. State Department. For three years he blogged on books and writing at 317am. In the Q&A that follows, he answers questions about LPR, why he loves the journal, and why he devotes so much time to it.

Q: What brought you to the Little Patuxent Review?

The magazine’s publisher emeritus and presiding spirit, Mike Clark, and the publisher, Desiree Magney, recruited me. It was a little like what I imagine being recruited by the CIA or MI6 might be. Through word of mouth, they’d apparently determined I was the right sort, and so then I had to decide whether I was willing to carve some time out of my busy life to do real work for the LPR. I thought hard about this: you could say I’m hooked on great writing or that I believe that literature is a force for good in the world. Either way, I know from my own experience that what writers want above all is to have readers. The mission of the LPR for me is to connect writers—particularly writers just starting out—with readers. So in a sense I joined the LPR this year for the same reason I joined IndivisibleHoCoMD, the local Trump resistance movement: to put my beliefs into action. Mike Clark likes to say working on the LPR is a labor of love for everybody involved. I’d agree.

Continue reading

From Our Current Issue: Hannah Bonner

Little Patuxent Review just released its Winter Issue (available for purchase at this link). Each week we’ll highlight some of the content from this issue. For this week, we’re looking at Hannah Bonner’s essay, Fixed in a Moment of Fierce Attention: 13 Ways of Looking at Claire Underwood.”

Bonner is a Film Studies Ph.D. candidate at the University of Iowa. We’re very grateful that she came from Iowa City to Columbia, Maryland for our launch this past weekend. She’s one of so many readers who made this issue and launch such a success.

Bonner’s poetry has been published in So to Speak, The Freeman, Asheville Poetry Review, and North Carolina Literary Review, among others. In addition to LPR, her essays have been published in Bustle, VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, Misadventures magazine, and Weird Sister.

Q: At one point you cite Wallace Steven’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” Your essay is very different in form from the poem, but did Stevens guide your writing in any way? What were your other influences/inspirations?

At the time I was writing “Fixed in a Moment of Fierce Attention: 13 Ways of Looking at Claire Underwood” I was reading a lot of non-fiction, so Wallace Steven’s poem was not in the fore front of my mind (though I did re-read it during the writing process). Instead, I was reading Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, Tan Lin’s 7 Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking, and Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. Each of these texts are very esoteric, but also very sensual, lyrical, and deeply preoccupied with perspective, revision, and fragmentation.

I was at the Vermont Studio Center so I had all this uninterrupted time to soak in their episodic prose, but also in their obsessions, whether with a lover or a color. Claire Underwood had been an obsession of mine for years. I was trying to hone in on why I’m drawn to her and how ephemeral and ultimately unsatisfying it can be when we’re obsessed with someone or something that we can only access in a surface and finite way.

Continue reading