By Jennifer van Alstyne
Andrea Rexilius introduced our fourth and final What Where Series Reading of 2014. Maureen Owen is the author of nine books of poetry, including Edges of Water (Chax Press, 2013) Erosion’s Pull (Coffee House Press, 2006). American Rush: Selected Poems was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize. Owens’ language created a juxtaposition of concrete language and imagist depictions of the body creating very intentional choices for soundwork. I particularly enjoyed her long titles, such as “Weren’t We Also Written in that Order or Saturated So?” We are always pleased to have Owen, former JKS faculty and a longtime friend of the University, return.
Stephen Graham Jones is the author of 16 novels and six story collections, most recently, Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly (ChiZine Publications, 2013) and After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press, 2014). At the start of his reading, Jones said, “Every time you get a new favorite poem, your head changes. It ripples.” Words have the power to change us. Jones read from a piece called “How to Know You’re A Killer” which included number seven:
“Another way you know you’re killer through and through is that you can’t stop with the lists, they’re everywhere, and they’re all so necessary, they’re all so perfect, so elegant, so right, they each take so many drafts to get them that right, but the main way you know you’re a killer is that you’re not on a single one of these lists.”
This was followed by a short piece on final girls in horror movies. “This,” he said, “is a baptism in blood.” Jones teaches in the English department at the University of Colorado – Boulder.
TC Tolbert is the author of Gephyromania (Ahsahta Press, 2014), Conditions/Conditioning (New Lights Press, 2014) I: Not He: Not I(Pity Milk, 2014), spirare (Belladonna, 2012), and territories of folding (Kore Press, 2011), He is also co-editor of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat, 2013) with Trace Peterson, who presented at the Jack Kerouac School’s Queer Poetics Symposium in Spring 2014. Tolbert’s reading was a bit unconventional in the best possible way. He invited the audience to form a triangle with the stage and read with three audience members, each at a corner of the triangle. Tolbert tore down the wall between audience and performer, echoing his poem: “to break a singular thing that is also plural.” Polyphony filled Naropa’s Performing Arts Center as Tolbert’s colloquial but exact language allowed for a shared moment. Tolbert gave a talk in the 2014 Writer’s in Community Class and can be found here for Naropa students, faculty, and staff.
Thank you to our guests for providing a wonderful ending to our 2014 What Where Series. For a listing of our other JKS 40th Anniversary Events, please click here.
Jennifer van Alstyne has been published in the Eunoia Review, Crack the Spine, Midwest Literary Magazine, The Monmouth Review, The Foundling Review, Paper Nautilus, Poetry Quarterly, and Whiskey Traveler. Her collection, “Scansioned Music: A Glenn Gould Collection”, was published in Crossroads 2013 for which she was the winner of the Jane Freed Grant. She is currently an Associate Editor for Something On Paper and Book Reviews Editor for Bombay Gin.