BILL HARRIS

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Bill Harris, Art by Nicole Macdonald from her Detroit Portrait Series

Today on the blog, Bill Harris and I will be talking about his story, “That First Year the Business Was Wood,” from his award-winning Wayne State University Press collection, I Got to Keep Moving.

Bill Harris is a Wayne State University emeritus professor of English. He is a playwright, poet, and arts critic. His plays have been produced nationwide and he has published books of plays, poetry, and reappraisals of American history. He received the 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award. http://www.billharriswrites.com.

It’s best to read the story before listening to our discussion so we don’t spoil the ending for you. Just click on this link below:

That First Year the Business Was Wood from I GOT TO KEEP MOVING

 

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“I Got to Keep Moving” is available from Pages Bookshop here or Wayne State University Press here or Bookshop here or Amazon here.

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I plan to continue discussing stories through the fall. Please let me know if you have a new book of short stories out so we can talk about it!

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I HAVE THE ANSWER: MARKETING HELP NEEDED! 

I Have the Answer has been out since April 11th. It was hard to market or even think about a new book this past spring, and if you are so inclined, I would love your help.

There are two main ways:

  1. Write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews at these places make a big difference and help drive sales. My hope is that people read the reviews and then purchase the book from their local indie bookstore like Pages Bookshop in Detroit!
  2. If you have already read and enjoyed the book, please let your friends know on social media with either a picture or just a suggestion that they might want to buy the book. Here’s a link to WSUPress for more information: https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/i-have-answer Please use the hashtag with #IHAVETHEANSWER and please tag @WSUPress and @kfor24. 

 

I recorded a podcast last week for Without Books and if you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend the short messages they record by authors reminding us all about the importance of books.

Stay safe and well.

Love,

Kelly

 

DESIREE COOPER

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Let’s deconstruct a story! Today Desiree Cooper and I will be discussing the story “Night Coming” from her 2016 award-winning short story collection, Know the Mother. 

In order to get the most out of our discussion, you might want to read the story first and then listen to our conversation afterward. Here’s a PDF of the story. (Below the video you will find a link to purchase the book.)

Night Coming from KNOW THE MOTHER

 

 

know the mother cover

Bio: Desiree Cooper is a 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, former attorney and Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist. Her debut collection of flash fiction, Know the Mother, is a 2017 Michigan Notable Book that has won numerous awards, including 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award. Cooper’s fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in The Best Small Fictions 2018, CallalooMichigan Quarterly Review, The RumpusRiver Teeth, and Best African American Fiction 2010, among other publications. Her essay, “We Have Lost Too Many Wigs,” was listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2019.  In 2018, she wrote, produced and co-directed “The Choice,” a short film about reproductive rights and recipient of a 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Berlin Flash Film Festival, and Award of Merit from the Best Short Film Festival in Los Angeles. Cooper collaborated with the Dance Department at The College William & Mary to create a dance “Aloft” inspired by her feminist fiction which debuted in October, 2018. Cooper was a founding board member of Cave Canem, a national residency for black poets, and has received residencies at Kimbilio and Ragdale.

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:

WSUP here

Bookshop here

Amazon here.

 

In Other News:

 

Zilka Joseph is offering manuscript consultations and private classes right now! Joseph is an Ann Arbor poet whose work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in POETRY, Poetry Daily, Mantis, Kenyon Review Online, Michigan Quarterly Review, among other places and whose first full-length collection of poems Sharp Blue Search of Flame was published by Wayne State University Press (2016) and was a finalist for the Foreword INDIE Book Awards,  You can find out more information about her editing services here.

My new book I Have the Answer was named a Top Summer Indie Read by Kirkus Review!

Kirkus Review July 1 2020

If you have read the book and enjoyed it, I would truly appreciate a star rating on either Goodreads here or Amazon here. It only takes a minute and makes a big difference to authors like me.

If you are on Goodreads, please friend me so we can share our reading lists. I’m always looking for suggestions, but even more so during these isolating times…

See you in two weeks!

Dan Wickett of Dzanc Books

 

 

DOES DAN WICKETT HAVE THE ANSWER?

 

Dan Wickett pic

In honor of my new book, I Have the Answer, I’m going to spend the next year or so asking writers, readers, and random folks some silly questions. Here’s my first interview with the mysterious co-founder of Dzanc Books, Dan Wickett:

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Hi Dan, I’m just wondering if you have the answer?

I don’t believe I have the answer to nearly any questions I ever consider. I might search for them–yet they do a fine job of staying just out of (or sometimes quite far out of) reach.

That is very disappointing. 

Silence.

OK, um, Dan, given that you are clearly not going to lead us out of the abyss, what do you say to people who believe they have the answer?

To be succinct–I’m amazed by their confidence, or faith–whichever is the case.

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of the world right now?

>Sigh<

I know you visit the zoo frequently. Which is your favorite animal and why?

A seeming ever-changing answer to that one–right now, the pronghorns. They arrived a couple of months ago, seem quite young and so still interested in people. When they get moving they’re amazing–they’re basically created to not be able to be caught–able to jump sideways at near full speed and keep going. And their coloring of a light brown and white helps.

pronghorn

Picture of a Pronghorn by Dan Wickett, Detroit Zoo.

I’m assuming you bring books with you to the zoo and read aloud to the animals. If so, which ones have they enjoyed the most lately?

Ha! It IS indeed rare that I go out without some reading material. Not a ton of reading aloud to the animals, but the last book I took around with me and sat and read in view of more than one of the animals was Christina Kallery’s collection, Adult Night at Skate World.

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Were the animals scandalized?

I think they survived it pretty well.

Thanks so much, Dan Wickett. You are the first person who has failed to provide the answer, but I predict you will not be the last. 

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If you want to see Dan Wickett in the real world you might try the Detroit Zoo or you might try Brain Candy events on the third Mondays of the month at Green Brain Comics in Dearborn where he hosts a poet, a prose writer, an artist, and a musician.

Dan Wickett founded the Emerging Writers Network in 2000, Co-Founded Dzanc Books in 2006, and Brain Candy in 2018.

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Perhaps the pronghorns have the answer?

Lewis and Clark made several other observations on the behavior of the pronghorn… They described the animal, which they referred to as the “Antelope” or the “Goat”, as follows: 

“Of all the animals we have seen the Antelope seems to possess the most wonderful fleetness. Shy and timorous they generally repose only on the ridges, which command a view of all the approaches of an enemy … When they first see the hunters they run with great velocity …”

 

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kid i have the answer

I am happy to announce that my new collection of short stories, I Have the Answer, is forthcoming from Wayne State University Press in one month and seven days! Woot!!

BUT I have a few copies now for the prelease low price of $15. If you are interested, see below:

I Have the Answer

Kelly’s new short story collection signed by the author. ($15.00 + $1 for shipping)

$16.00

The first official book launch is tentatively scheduled at the Grosse Pointe Public Library on May 5th at the Central branch (10 Kercheval) of the Grosse Pointe Libary at 7pm.

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MY PERSONAL FAVORITE:Valerie Nieman

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Valerie Nieman

 

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At this moment in time which of your own poems is your personal favorite, and why?
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The Leopard Lady Speaks

This leopard-skin come onto me

when I lost love,

(this is not for the marks to know)

when my man’s absence 

set a hot kindle of distrust

that blowed back on me

as lack of faith 

in what is more worthy 

than some handful of spit and dust.

No wonder I lost

my natural color, trying to be

all things to him, and him not wanting

what I ever was or become or any between—

turning away like a spoiled child,

turning away like the sun eat up

by the moon, and not my doing

or undoing.

I scourged my soul,

turning myself inside out

to make him a better tent

against the weather of the world,

stretching myself across his failings

like a worn-through quilt 

on a wide cold bed.

They weren’t enough left of me

to fill a thimble, then,

but I gathered myself back up

and stood, feet reasonable

to the earth, liver’n lights settling back 

like I’d been dropped

from a high place,

and I was about satisfied,

but the letting-go of that man—

him of me then me of him—

left me streaked, specked, and spotted

like the flocks of Jacob,

and I opened my mouth to say 

the true things that underprop the world.

 

 

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I chose this poem because it first chose me.  I was sitting with pen in hand, wait for lightning to strike, and it did — this voice arrived and kept visiting with me for many years until the entire story of Dinah (the Leopard Lady), the Professor, and their lives on the road with a mid-century carnival sideshow came into being. I didn’t so much write as excavate, make a space for her being.

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BIO:

Valerie Nieman’s third poetry collection, Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse, includes work that first appeared in The Missouri Review, Chautauqua, and The Southern Poetry Review. “Steeped in sideshow tradition, and addressing issues of race, gender, self-concept, and creative expression, your book is beautifully written,” writes Lisa Schaefer, curator of The Coney Island Museum. Her fourth novel, To the Bones, a mystery/horror tale that takes on the coal industry and its effects on Appalachia, was published in 2019. Her poetry has appeared widely, from The Georgia Review to Crannog, and has been published in numerous anthologies, including Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. She has held state and NEA creative writing fellowships. A graduate of West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte and a former journalist, she teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University. 

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Valerie Nieman book

Available for purchase at Press 53 here or Indiebound here or Amazon here.