Category Archives: Frequency North

Frequency North Presents: Stevie Edwards

Stevie Edwards will be reading for the next installment of the Frequency North Reading series on Thursday, April 23 at 7:30pm. The reading will be held in the Standish Rooms, located on the second floor of the College of Saint Rose’s Events and Athletics Center.

stevieStevie Edwards is a poet, an editor, and an educator. She currently is a Lecturer in the English Department at Cornell University, where she recently completed her MFA in creative writing. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Good Grief (Write Bloody 2012) was awarded the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Bronze Prize for Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Her second poetry collection, Humanly, is forthcoming from Small Doggies Press in 2015. She is the Editor-in Chief of MUZZLE Magazine and Assistant Editor in Book Development at YesYes Books. Her poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Indiana Review, Devil’s Lake, Salt Hill, BODY, Vinyl, and Aim for the Head: An Anthology of Zombie Poetry. See more on her website, located at http://www.stevietheclumsy.com/

All readings are free and open to the public. Frequency North events are funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

For more information, visit www.FrequencyNorth.com or follow on Twitter @frequencynorth.

Frequency North Presents: Leah Umansky and Sean H. Doyle

Poet and teacher Leah Umansky and author Sean H. Doyle will be kicking off the Frequency North Reading Series for Spring 2015. Their readings will take place on Thursday, March 19 at 7:30pm in Standish Rooms, located on the second floor of the College of Saint Rose’s Events and Athletics Center.

Copies of the authors’ books will be available for purchase and signing.  The program is free and open to the public.

leah

Leah Umansky is the author of the Mad Men–inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream (Kattywompus Press 2014) and a full-length collection, Domestic Uncertainties (Blazevox 2013). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, The Brooklyn Rail, and Coconut Poetry. She is presently at work on her second full-length collection. She also hosts and curates the COUPLET Reading Series in NYC. She was named #7 in Flavorwire’s list of 23 Poets Who Will Make You Pay Attention to Poetry. Follow her and read more at: leahumansky.com.

sean

Sean H. Doyle lives in Brooklyn, NY. He works hard every day to be a better person and is learning how to love himself more. His book, This Must Be The Place, is forthcoming from CCM Press in 2015. His work has appeared in Whiskey Paper, Everyday Genius, and The Rumpus, among other places. Along with Eric Nelson, he co-hosts the Almost Live at Mellow Pages podcast.

For more information on Sean and his work visit his website at: seanhdoyle.com.

Frequency North events are funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

For more information, visit FrequencyNorth.com or follow on Twitter @frequencynorth.

Frequency North Presents: Dave King

screen graphic_dec5_1024x768Novelist Dave King will be giving a reading Friday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the College’s Neil Hellman Library, 392 Western Ave., Albany, New York. This will be the conclusion to the first half of the Frequency North reading series.

This event is free and open to the public, and is funded in part by Poets & Writers Inc. with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Dave King holds a BFA in painting and film from Cooper Union and an MFA in writing from Columbia University; he taught English at Baruch College and Cultural Studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York before moving to New York University’s Gallatin School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Of his bestselling debut novel, the New York Times Book Review wrote, “The Ha-Ha is full of emotional truth and establishes King as a writer of consequence.” The Ha-Ha was a finalist for Book of the Month Club’s best Literary Fiction Award and the Quill Foundation’s award for Best Debut Fiction and was named one of the best books of 2005 by the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Amazon.com. Several foreign language editions are in print, and a film version is in development. In addition, The Ha-Ha earned Dave King the 2006 John Guare Writers Fund Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

pbKing’s poems and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The Village Voice and Fence, and in the Italian literary journal Nuovi Argomenti; King is also a translator of the Italian poet Massimo Gezzi. He and his husband, the painter Franklin Tartaglione, divide their time between Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley of New York, and a new novel, tentatively entitled The Beast and Beauty, is forthcoming.

The Frequency North spring 2015 lineup will be announced soon. All readings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.FrequencyNorth.com or follow on Twitter @frequencynorth.

Frequency North Presents: Kiese Laymon!

The second event of the Frequency North season is next Thursday with author, Kiese Laymon!

Laymon will read on Thursday, October 23rd, at 7:30 p.m. in the Saint Rose Events and Athletics Center (Standish Rooms, Second Floor), 420 Western Ave., Albany. Copies of his most recent works will be available for purchase and signing.

The program is free and open to the public.

kiese-laymonKiese Laymon is a black southern writer, who earned an MFA from Indiana University and is the author of the novel, Long Division, and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.  Both of Laymon’s book are finalists for the Mississippi Award for Arts and Letters in the fiction and nonfiction categories.  Laymon is currently at work on a new novel And So On, and a memoir called 309: A Fat Black Memoir. He is an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College. Check out his website.

This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers Inc. with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The remaining “Frequency North” schedule is as follows. All readings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.FrequencyNorth.com or follow on Twitter @frequencynorth:

• Thursday, November 6, 2014, 7:30 p.m. – Marc Spitz
Standish Rooms, Events and Athletics Center (Second Floor), 420 Western Ave., Albany

• Friday, December 5, 2014, 7:30 p.m. – Dave King
Neil Hellman Library, Reference Area (1st Floor), 392 Western Avenue, Albany NY 12203
Co-presented with the M.F.A. in Creative Writing

Frequency North kicks off with Chloe Caldwell!

The 2014-2015 season of Frequency North kicks of with Hudson, NY native, Chloe Caldwell!

chloecaldwell1Caldwell will read on Thursday, October 9th, at 7:30 p.m. in the Saint Rose Events and Athletics Center (Standish Rooms, Second Floor), 420 Western Ave., Albany. Copies of their most recent works will be available for purchase and signing.

The program is free and open to the public.

Chloe Caldwell is the author of the forthcoming novella Women(SF/LD Books, 2014) and the essay collection Legs Get Led Astray (Future Tense Books, 2012). She is the founder and curator of the Hudson River Loft Reading Series in Hudson, NY, and has taught Creative Writing workshops at Omega Teen Camp, The Hudson Opera House, The Independent Resource Center, and personal essay classes online through Lit Reactor.

This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers Inc. with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The remaining “Frequency North” schedule is as follows. All readings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.FrequencyNorth.com or follow on Twitter @frequencynorth:

• Thursday, October 23, 2014, 7:30 p.m. – Kiese Laymon
Standish Rooms, Events and Athletics Center (Second Floor), 420 Western Ave., Albany

• Thursday, November 6, 2014, 7:30 p.m. – Marc Spitz
Standish Rooms, Events and Athletics Center (Second Floor), 420 Western Ave., Albany

• Friday, December 5, 2014, 7:30 p.m. – Dave King
Neil Hellman Library, Reference Area (1st Floor), 392 Western Avenue, Albany NY 12203
Co-presented with the M.F.A. in Creative Writing

An Interview with Jade Sylvan

Photo Credit: Caleb Cole

“People seem to want to invite writers into their lives, and we love it. We’re story-sponges,” says poet and memoirist Jade Sylvan on why she loves being a writer.

Jade Sylvan is an award-winning performer, songwriter, actor, slam poet, and nonfiction writer who currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sylvan is the author of two novels, Backstage at the Caribou (2009) and TEN: The Novel (2013) and a book of poetry titled The Spark Singer (2009), and most recently her memoir, Kissing Oscar Wilde (2013). She was the recipient of the Bayou Poetry Prize in 2011 and a finalist in the Write Bloody Book Competition in 2012.

Sylvan will read at Frequency North on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:30p.m. in the Standish Dining Rooms in the Events and Athletics Center. This event is free and open to the public. I had the chance to talk with Jade Sylvan over email about Oscar Wilde, her thoughts on writing memoir, and her current projects.

Your most recent book, a memoir titled Kissing Oscar Wilde, was released in early October. What inspired you to write this book, and how did it evolve from your original ideas?

I submitted some of my poems to the Write Bloody book competition in 2012. I wound up being a finalist, which meant I had to assemble a manuscript of forty poems in about three weeks to submit for consideration. I did not win the competition, but the day the results were posted, Derrick Brown emailed me and said that everyone loved my autobiographical prose poems about being in France. He said Write Bloody wanted to start publishing more prose work, and asked if I had any more of these types of pieces, because he’d be interested in publishing a novel-like memoir. I did not, but his question made me realize that I’d actually been writing this book in my head for years, so I told him yes, and spent the next several months writing the first draft.

Do you find it difficult to write about your own life?

I used to. In fact, I used to say I never wanted to write about my own life, that people who write about their own life are self-absorbed and lack imagination. Then when I hit my late twenties and came out as queer, suddenly all I wanted to write about was my own life. My narrative now understands my earlier reaction against personal narrative was part of my internalized queer shame. But who knows. I may have just changed my mind.

Did you face any unexpected challenges in writing this book?

I think but biggest challenge with this was trying to be as honest as possible. It’s hard to write about myself in the sense that I have to describe painful or embarrassing things sometimes. I tried so hard with this book to just write what happened and hope readers would forgive me for my stupidity and desires.

As an Oscar Wilde fan, I have been dying to ask: What is the significance of this title?

Oscar Wilde’s grave was covered in lipstick kisses from fans from the 1990s until 2011, when the French government washed them all off and surrounded the grave in a glass barrier. I thought this was utterly poetically tragic, so on tour I vowed to find the grave and return a lipstick kiss on it. Also, it’s about romance, queerness, artistness, love, and death. You know, all the best stuff.

 

The book tour for Kissing Oscar Wilde begins this December and continues on into next year. What are you most looking forward to about travelling and promoting your book?

My favorite part of touring as a poet and writer is the vastly different worlds you get to experience. People invite us in and we absorb their stories and carry them with us until we release them into the world in a new form. It’s a perfect symbiosis.

You have published books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Would you say you prefer writing one genre over the others?

Not exactly, but I do go in waves. I go through periods where I’m only interested in writing nonfiction, or poetry, or sci-fi short stories. But I don’t think I prefer one genre over another. I identify mostly as a poet and a novelist, though I’ve been writing quite a few short stories, essays, screenplays, and other non-poetry and non-novels lately. Really, I just think if it all as writing, and the form I want to write is whatever is best going to serve the particular work’s intention.

Do you have any traditions or rituals that you must do when you sit down to write?
I wish I did, but I don’t. I trained myself a while ago to just write, no matter what’s going on. Sometimes It’s a good writing day and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it feels like some otherworldly mystical voice is dictating the words and sometimes I feel like a sentence mechanic. I write anyway.

I read on your website that have been writing for and acting in a film called TEN (2014). Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

I’m working on a documentary and live performance about the mythology of the Beatles and Rock & Roll, and a comic called Pitchblende, which is about Marie Curie and Nikola Tesla teaming up to fight Aleister Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn.

Do you know what you will be reading for Frequency North in January?

I’ll be reading from Kissing Oscar Wilde. That’s all I know.

When you are not writing or acting, how do you like to spend your time?

I produce a lot of shows around Cambridge, and I’m also a yoga teacher. I’m kind of a workaholic, and don’t stop for much. The only art I consume with regularity is alternative burlesque and other variety-type shows here in Cambridge. I also enjoy eating good food, drinking good beer and whiskey, the beach, the mountains, the forest, good conversation, and cuddling.

Do you have any final words of advice for aspiring writers?

Please make me believe.

An Interview with Rigoberto González

gonzalez_rigoberto_2

“I became such a believer in books as salvation that I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else as an adult. I don’t know if I’m saving lives, but I do know that I’m enriching my own,” says poet and activist writer Rigoberto González on his love of writing.

Though his talent spans many genres, González is a poet at heart. He is the author of four full-length books of poetry, So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water until It Breaks (1999), Other Fugitives and Other Strangers (2006), Black Blossoms (2011), and Unpeopled Eden (2013). He has also written two books of bilingual prose for children, Soledad-Sigh-Sighs/Soledad Suspiros (2003), and Antonio’s Card/La Tarjeta de Antonio (2005), as well as young adult novels in The Mariposa Club series and a novel titled Crossing Vines (2003). His nonfiction writing includes Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa (2006), Red-Inked Retablos: Essays (2013), and Autobiography of My Hungers (2013).

González will read at Frequency North on Thursday, October 17 at 7:30pm in the Standish Dining Rooms in the Events and Athletics Center as part of the National Day on Writing celebration. There will be a Late-Afternoon Talk that day with González in the Science Center room 151 at 5pm. Both events are free and open to the public. Over email, I asked González about his work, his writing habits, about being a “young gay kid in a poor Mexican family,” and how books saved his life.

So much of your work is derived from personal experiences. Do you find it difficult to write about your own life or does it just come naturally?

It’s not difficult for me to mine personal experience anymore, but it was in my 20s, when I was just beginning to commit memory to print. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in reading about me; I wasn’t sure if my family would be devastated that I was revealing so much about them as well. I still didn’t have a compelling reason to reach toward memoir, other than to have something to write about.

Now, in my 40s, I understand that my difficult journeys have given many who have traveled the same roads a place to reflect and to feel less isolated. And since so many of my family members are now dead, I am telling stories to remember them. As I get older I become more comfortable because I care less about what people will think or say when they read about me. Thankfully, I only hear from readers who are grateful and who understand that it takes courage to transcend shame and embarrassment.

You are visiting Saint Rose as part of our National Day on Writing celebration, which seeks to “help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives.” How important is writing in your life?

I always say that books saved my life. I was a young gay kid in a poor Mexican family who saw nothing bright in his future. This filled me with such anxiety that I considered suicide. But turning to books helped me turn away from those thoughts and from the conditions that were filling me with dread and depression. Being a writer helps me feel I’m doing something useful and necessary. There are so many lessons to be learned in what I just wrote: that writing helped me imagine a world outside of the tiny one I felt trapped inside of; that writing has allowed me to become part of a community that helps others toward thought, creativity and, yes, even pleasure; that writing gives me a reason to wake up in the morning and look forward to the desk and chair.

You have written books of poetry, fiction, memoir, and even bilingual children’s books. Would you say you prefer writing one genre over the others?

Poetry is my first love, though recently I have been writing more literary criticism. I suppose it would be ungrateful to say I prefer one over the other, but the truth is that my favorite genre is the one I’m currently immersed in. I just completed my third young adult novel. I’ve been slowly revising a few poems and collecting my thoughts and ideas for a book of essays on poetry. I’m so blessed to be able to move from one to another, sometimes in one sitting–I’ll never suffer this thing some writers talk about called “writer’s block.”

You currently teach creative writing at Rutgers University in Newark. Is teaching something you always planned on doing with your degree?

No. I’m very honest about this with my students. After earning my MFA, I resisted the urge to step into the classroom as a teacher, mostly because all I saw on my campus were beleaguered adjuncts and professors who kept saying they didn’t have enough time to write. Why in the world would I choose that path? For about seven years I did anything but teach. Yes, there were some lean times, some second-guessing, but when I finally went on the job market (and only because I needed the health insurance), I was more a competitive candidate with three books to my name and a few national awards. That helped me land a job that didn’t work me to death and that nurtured me as an artist as well as a teacher. I’ve grown to love teaching and I adore my students, but they know that I’m a writer first, so I encourage them not to look at teaching as the only possible profession.

When you’re not writing or teaching, how do you spend your time?

Reading. I’m a book critic so I read constantly. I have a stack of books that I want to read for pleasure and I can’t wait to go off to a beach somewhere and just read without having to review or analyze or critique. But in order to avoid sounding like a total nerd, I’ll say that I like to travel in the summers and winters. I just spent a few months in Italy and in January I usually go to Puerto Rico. But this winter I’m off to Baja. Next year, Hawaii.

Sounds like fun! Do you know what you will be reading at Frequency North?

No, not yet. I only know I want to highlight my two recent books, Red-Inked Retablos and Autobiography of My Hungers. I’m very intuitive with my reading choices. I like to get a sense of the community, the space, before I decide what I will share. If I don’t feel comfortable, I usually don’t read the more sensitive material. If the room is generous, I respond in kind.

Do you have any specific writing rituals or traditions?

I don’t think so. I only know that I can only think after drinking a pot of coffee in the mornings. I also know I don’t write between noon and six–never been able to–and that I like to write at night. I usually call it quits at three in the morning. These are more like habits. I adopted them in graduate school and still practice them. I suppose because they’ve never failed me, so why change?

What would be the best advice you could give to aspiring writers?

To read widely and voraciously. There will always be time to dream about publications or the profession, but time to read is precious. Make room for it. One of the early choices I made was not to own a television. I’ve never owned one since I left for college and I don’t miss it. Yes, there are some great things on television, but I also know I wasted too many hours staring and not thinking. It’s the one distraction I don’t allow in my home. If I’m bored, I pick up a book. I suggest aspiring readers do the same.

And who are your favorite authors?

Too many to name and my list gets longer each year. But I do have some go-to authors–these are the people I reach for when I want to be reminded of the power and beauty of writing. If I want poetry I reread Federico García Lorca or Elizabeth Bishop or Mahmoud Darwish. If I want prose I reread Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison, Italo Calvino or Gabriel García Márquez. Note that I don’t only read American writers or writers writing in English. That’s important to any writer’s education. But I also read very contemporary works. Some of my favorites this year: Ruth L. Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being; Carmen Giménez Smith’s Milk & Filth; Tim Z. Hernández’s Mañana Means Heaven; and Aleksander Hemon’s The Book of My Lives; and Thomas Glave’s Among the Blood People.

What projects are you currently working on?

Once I’m done responding to this interview I’m going to turn back to a lecture I’m working on, which I am delivering at the Library of Congress next week. It’s about Latino poetry and it’s the opening essay in a book about contemporary Latino poetry.

And I’m slowly working on my next memoir–another book about my father. I can’t say anything more about that one because I’m only a few pages in. I don’t know where it’s going to take me. I just know who’s keeping me company.