The NEA has announced its 2013 Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing. I’m happy to be on this list.
The NEA’s general announcement about its grants is here.
More news here:
Jim Shahin has published my poem “Grace” in his “Smoke Signals” column in the Washington Post online. You can hear an audio version of this poem (and two others) here, at the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Soundcloud page.
I’ll be reading at the University of Houston, Victoria, on Thursday, November 29, as part of the American Book Review Reading Series. The reading begins at 12:NOON in the Alcorn Auditorium (UW204). More details are here.
New poems are on their way from Greensboro Review and New England Review this winter, with more to follow in The Southern Review in the Spring.
Here’s a recording of the reading I gave at Texas Christian University on 10/24/12.
The folks at the Southern Foodways Alliance have posted audio recordings of the poems I read on October 20th at the 2012 SFA Symposium celebrating barbecue and barbecue pitmasters.
Andy McFadyen-Ketchum and the crew over at Poem of the Week are presenting two poems from Persons Unknown this week, with reviews, brief conversation, and early drafts.
See how this exchange concludes:
AMK: I like how “Darkly” opens with that short, declaration sentence “The moss never falls.” Not only does it establish the poem’s early subject of meditation, but it sets a terse, somewhat dreary tone to the poem that I don’t think would have been accomplished has you combined that first line with the lines that follow. That said, I could see these first lines going through multiple forms in the drafting process: “The moss never falls / however gray.” or, perhaps, “The moss never falls; / it hangs like shirts…”. How much editing did these first few couplets go through. How much editing do your poems go through in general?
JAY: The kind of drafting you’re talking about here-working out the syntax-I usually do in my head, or in my throat, talking out the poem as I write it, so this is how these sentences were the first time I wrote them down. I played with the line breaks, which meant playing with the stanza shape as well-eventually settling on the short line, determined by the length of that first sentence. That becomes, to adopt a musical idea, the tonic everything else works from or toward.
But those first lines were written after much of the middle of the poem was written…
Full feature is here.
The Kenyon Review asks me a series of questions about my poem “Cry of the Occasion,” which appeared in The Kenyon Review‘s summer issue, including this exchange:
What have you learned about the writing process in the last five years?
I love, have always loved, that total world-silencing concentration, that “flow” state Csikszentmihalyi talks about: that’s my drug, but I’ve learned I can wear myself thin working toward that high. So I’ve learned to play more. I start working on a poem, and if it doesn’t come right away, I move to something else and then return to the first thing and go away again to a third thing and then come back to the second and the first—but there are maybe ten things at play. I’m waiting for something to step out of place and show one these elements in a new light or waiting for the ten things to combine in a way (imagine a Deerhunter song or Radiohead’s latest From the Basement session) to make an eleventh (or twenty-fifth) thing that becomes a poem.
Read the rest of the conversation here.
My brief essay “Speaking in Tongues: A Barbecue Communion,” originally written for the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Gravy, is on CNN’s Eatocracy today.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
What barbecue you eat provides an image of your tongue, of your taste, and thereby of your general discernment – even your tolerance. Where you eat says a lot about you, too. My tongue has always preferred the tangy, the hot, and the salty to the sweet, and I like a little char on my meat. This was Dreamland at its best.