Dear friends, readers, and book lovers, I’ve been tagged! ~ that is, by fab friend and fiction writer Marianne Villanueva, who in turn was tagged by the exciting Rashaan Alexis Meneses – to participate in “The Virtual Blog Tour.”
When one is tagged, one must answer 4 basic questions, and then tag (and briefly introduce) 3 to 4 other writers who will then each continue the process with their own writing friends.
Inquiring further into the process, I was directed to this passage on poet and North American Review editor Vince Gotera‘s blog, which describes what it’s all about:
“The ‘virtual blog tour’ is an excellent, friendly way for writers, artists, and other creative folks to bring attention to their own work as well as that of others. It begins with an invitation from another artist or writer. Then in your blog you acknowledge the person who invited you, answer four given questions about your work and your process, and then invite three other people to participate. These people then do the same thing, referring their blog readers to the blogs of three more people, and so on. It’s a wonderful sort of ‘pyramid scheme’ that’s beneficial for everyone: the artists and writers as well as the readers of their blogs. We can follow links from blog to blog and then we can all learn about different kinds of creative process and also find new writers and artists we may not have known about before.”
The 4 Questions for the Virtual Blog Tour:
1. What are you currently working on?
I write every day / have been writing (at least) a poem a day since November 20, 2010, and posting these on Dave Bonta‘s Via Negativa site.
Out of my daily writing practice, I have gathered poems into books! I have two (2) new books: one has just been released~ Night Willow (prose poems), from Phoenicia Publishing in Montreal, in early June this year; and on August 3, 2014, Utah State University Press released my book Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser, which was selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize.
Currently, I am sending out a brand new manuscript and hoping that it finds a home very soon. I’m also excited to begin outlining work for at least a couple of new projects ~ essays on poetry/poetics, perhaps a book on poetry and food.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Every writer brings a unique voice, sensibility, temperament, and approach to his or her own writing. All this is informed by one’s particular history, milieu, background, and experiences.
In my work I am always interested in trying to write strong and compelling poetry that is lyrical and unafraid of complexity and intellect.
My sensibility, honed and informed by my history as a Filipina writer in the diaspora, as a woman steeped in family and larger histories in the Baguio of my childhood, growing up, and my imagination— all inform my writing in a singular way.
3. Why do you write/create what you do?
To play. To think and reflect. To dream. To argue (with/against/for/to ___). To be badass. To find light. To navigate the dark. To draw. To shade. To sift. To pray. To take apart. To tinker. To make and remake. To cook. To find and lose and find. To try. To be.
4. How does your writing/creating process work?
In other parts of my blog, and in recent interviews and reviews here and there, I’ve had the opportunity to share a bit more in detail on my creative process especially for the last three, going on four, years now of my daily writing practice.
I write and revise on a daily basis. The benefits for me of having cultivated a daily discipline: being better able to tune out external noise and tune in to the space where writing can happen.
On the other side of the solitary and individual space where the writing happens for each of us, there is that space which intersects with community, with others. It’s important that a writer find a way to balance the solitary act of writing and creating, with the ability to connect deeply to the world around her. ________________________________________________________________
And now, here are 4 writers I am tagging, and introducing ~ Ta-dah!
Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua
I am very glad to have recently made the acquaintance of the poet Sam Roderick Roxas-Chua, who grew up in Glendale, California. Sam has read for Oregon Poetry Association, Windfall Reading Series, Isangmahal Arts Collective, NW Poets Concord, Talking Earth, PoetsWest, Brigadoon Books, Fault Lines and Word Lab in Manila, Philippines.
He is published by The Jefferson Monthly, The Inflectionist Review, Word Laboratories, Mixer, Concord, and Paw Print. In June 2014 he won the First Place award for The Missouri Review‘s 7th Annual Audio Competition in Poetry. He is a member of Red Sofa Poetry Critique Group and Centrum’s Madrona Writers Group in Port Townsend, WA. Sam lives in Eugene, Oregon and is a student at Pacific University’s MFA in Writing program.
Erica Goss is 2013-2014 Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA. Born in Germany and raised in California, Erica Goss has been writing poetry since she was a child. As a writer, she is interested in the juxtaposition between nature and human beings, finding inspiration in that tenuous intersection of the wild and the domesticated. Her poems often deal with how far people can encroach upon nature, where the boundaries are, and how we project our own hopes and fantasies upon the natural world.
Erica is a former editor of Caesura, the journal of literature and art published by the Poetry Center San Jose. She taught high school poetry for five years, has lead art and writing camps for young people, and currently teaches poetry workshops for adults. In 2012, she began writing a column on video poetry for Connotation Press. Her poems, reviews and essays have appeared in many literary journals, most recently Pearl, Ekphrasis, Main Street Rag, Café Review, Perigee, Dash Literary Journal, Eclectica, Up the Staircase, Lake Effect, Stirrings, Passager, Caveat Lector, Rattle, Zoland Poetry, Comstock Review and Innisfree Poetry Journal. She received the Many Mountains Moving Prize for poetry in 2011.
She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2013, and received the first Edwin Markham Prize for poetry, judged by California Poet Laureate Al Young. Wild Place was also a finalist in the 2010 White Eagle Coffee Store Press Chapbook Contest, and received a special mention from Jacar Press’s 2010 Chapbook Contest. Erica hosts Word to Word, a Show About Poetry, on KCAT Cable TV in Los Gatos.
I am very excited to read poet R.A. Villanueva‘s new book Reliquaria, which won the prestigious 2013 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. He is also the winner of the inaugural Ninth Letter Literary Award for poetry.
Reliquaria is available to pre-order now from University of Nebraska Press, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Here is the description of the book from Amazon:
“In his prize-winning poetry collection Reliquaria, R. A. Villanueva embraces liminal, in-between spaces in considering an ever-evolving Filipino American identity. Languages and cultures collide; mythologies and faiths echo and resound. Part haunting, part prayer, part prophecy, these poems resonate with the voices of the dead and those who remember them. In this remarkable book, we enter the vessel of memory, the vessel of the body. The dead act as witness, the living as chimera, and we learn that whatever the state of the body, this much rings true: every ode is an elegy; each elegy is always an ode.”
A semi-finalist for the 2013 “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize and a finalist for the 2011 Beatrice Hawley and Kinereth Gensler Awards, additional honors include fellowships from Kundiman and The Asian American Literary Review, and scholarships from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Recent poems have been nominated for The Pushchart Prize and anthologized in A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. He holds graduate degrees from Rutgers University and New York University.
His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Five Points, The Common, AGNI, Gulf Coast, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, DIAGRAM, Bellevue Literary Review, Smartish Pace, Painted Bride Quarterly, Indiana Review, The Collagist, The Literary Review, Paperbag, Crab Orchard Review, RATTLE, Lantern Review, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010, This Recording, Letters: A Journal of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, Kartika Review, La Fovea, Mead, and The Margins.
He is on the Editorial Board of Tongue: A Journal of Writing and Art; and formerly served as the Poetry Editor of Washington Square and co-curator of Experiments & Disorders, a performance series at Dixon Place devoted to new poetic forms.
Born in New Jersey, he lives in Brooklyn and London.
Karen Salyer McElmurray
When I desperately need real, tell-it-to-me-like-it-is writing truths drawn from lived experience, I turn to Marginalia, the correspondence between two writing friends, Karen McElmurray and Nancy Peacock. I was very happy to have met Karen McElmurray in person, finally*, at the AWP this year in Seattle, where I went and listened to her talk at a panel on the “Hidden Populations” in the writing workshop/writing classroom. Her voice, in person, was as I encountered it on the page: memorable and lovely because real and true.
Karen writes both fiction and creative nonfiction. Her memoir, Surrendered Child, won the AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction and was listed as a “notable book” by the National Book Critics Circle. She is also the author of Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven (University of Georgia Press), a novel that won the Lillie Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing and, most recently, The Motel of the Stars, part of the 2009 Linda Bruckheimer Series from Sarabande Books. Karen has an MFA in Fiction Writing from the University of Virginia, an MA in Creative Writing from Hollins University, and a PhD from the University of Georgia, where she studied American Literature and Fiction Writing. Her work has received numerous awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She is frequently visiting writer and lecturer at a variety of programs and reading series.
*P.S.: My bad, bad memory!!! the 2014 AWP in Seattle was where I met Karen again, a very very very long time after I first met her (very briefly). This was at a local writing conference at Christopher Newport University, shortly before or after her first book was published!
P.P.S.: Here is Karen’s Virtual Blog Tour post!
Please check out these writers’ works!!!