May Reading List

Hi everybody.

I’m back after a whole month with a list of things I read in May, which is actually a lot more sparse than usual. I think part of this is due to me forgetting to mark some things down on my list (which I update in Google Keep over the course of the month), but a big part of it is also just due to the inevitable truth: I haven’t been reading very much lately.

Sure, sometimes I’ll flip through a good book for half an hour or so, or scroll through a short story online to warm myself up before writing. And half the reason I log onto Twitter anymore is just to see what cool poems Kaveh Akbar has been retweeting. I have been listening to a great deal of music and paying close attention to the lyrics, which I think counts. But there used to be a time when I would pass entire afternoons just sunken into the reverie of some book or another, addicted to the fantasy, needing to know what would happen and caring about the characters and forcing myself not to skip ahead. I haven’t done this in a while; these days, I feel like I only do it when I’m trying to reach some deadline or another.

Luckily, I’m hopefully about to start having to read at least a little more—I’ve accepted a remote summer internship with a publishing company, which will primarily involve copyediting completed manuscripts. I’d also just like to get better about reading books on my own—there are so many on my list that I’m excited about in theory but haven’t picked up yet!! Especially in the realms of YA, science fiction, and fantasy, since we all know reading in your genre makes you much better at writing in it.

Anyway, here is the list without further ado:

Shame Stack,” by Anne Carson
What I Didn’t Know Before,” by Ada Limon
When the Neighbors Fight,” by Terrance Hayes
My Sentence,” by Dana Levin (which includes the phrase “the pixilate gold of the trees”)
Wild nights – Wild nights! (269),” by Emily Dickinson
“I Am…,” by Alejandra Pizarnik (translated by Yvette Siegert)
“Pledge 2.0, Tribe, Zoo,” by Carlina Duan
“what’s not to liken?” by Evie Shockley
“Under the Sign of Wolves,” by Vasko Popa (translated by Charles Simic)
Small Fantasia: Light Years,” by Ishion Hutchinson
It Is In Your Self-Interest to Find A Way to Be Very Tender,” by Safia Elhillo
Circe, by Madeline Miller
Incant Against Suicide,” by Mary Karr
dance moves,” by Kwame Opoku-Duku
Death and Memory,” by Frank Stanford
Logic,” by Richard Siken
Yilan,” by Kristin Chang
Obit,” by Victoria Chang
Vals” / “Waltz,” by Pablo Neruda

A lot of these I haven’t been able to find direct links for because they’re poems from books—either books I was reading or books that other people took pictures of and then posted online. It really isn’t a joke to say that Twitter is a fantastic way to discover random poetry. (Of course, it’s also a social media vacuum that I very often use to procrastinate for no reason—technology goes both ways, I guess.)

My writing goals for June:

I’m going to make hard progress on the book I’m writing.

I’m going to delve more into reading, inside and outside my genre.

I’m going to get back into submitting my work. I have a lot of short stories just sitting around because I haven’t been in the mood to submit them anywhere, but life is only so long and most places take so long to get back to you, so I should probably go ahead and send them out before enough time passes for me to get back to hating them.

I think that’s pretty much it for now! My only other update is that I received my contributor copies of Blue Earth Review, which published my short story “Paradise”! I’ve been meaning to take some pictures of the review because it is JUST SO HANDS-DOWN BEAUTIFUL THROUGH AND THROUGH, but I haven’t yet, so I’ll save that for a future post.

And I’m finishing this post at 10 am, just in time to go hunt down some presale tickets to try to see Mitski! May anyone who happens to be reading this have just as content a morning!

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April Reading List

This is very, very late, so I’m just going to post it.

“To Bed,” by Rita Dove
Common Things,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
All the poems in my Game Day and end of the year/graduation playlists
Spring is like a perhaps hand,” by e.e. cummings
“Turning into Dwelling,” by Christopher Gilbert
The Journey,” by Mary Oliver (probably my favorite poem I’ve read recently)
Renascence,” by Edna St. Vincent Millay (read the Wikipedia page about this poem! What a scandal!!)
soil,” by Irene P. Mathieu
Her Kind,” by Anne Sexton
Fannie Lou Hamer,” by Kamilah Aisha Moon
Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
“Infirm,” by Gwendolyn Brooks
The House,” by Warsan Shire
Question,” by May Swenson
Ode to the Cat,” by Pablo Neruda
When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be,” by John Keats
Elegy for Whatever Had a Pattern In It,” by Larry Levis
A Cigarette,” by Ilya Kaminsky
Knowledge,” by Kim Addonizio
Today I Was So Happy, So I Made This Poem,” by James Wright
Motherhood,” by Rita Dove
Reverie in Open Air,” by Rita Dove
Lamentations,” by Rita Dove
The United States Welcomes You,” by Tracy K. Smith
A Lemon,” by Pablo Neruda
“Swing,” by Kevin Young
Faggot Poetics,” by Cameron Awkward-Rich
For the Dogs Who Barked at Me on the Sidewalks in Connecticut,” by Hanif Abdurraqib
the times,” by Lucille Clifton
Betrothed,” by Jack Gilbert
June,” by Alex Dimitrov
Becoming a Horse,” by Ross Gay
P.S.,” by Franz Wright
Miracle Removal,” by Kevin Young
What We Were Promised, by Lucy Tan
Dogs Go Wolf,” by Lauren Groff

One of the things I do appreciate about making these monthly reading lists is that it propels me to go back and revisit a lot of the poems I’ve read. When I’m finding the hyperlinks, I’ll often reread the poem entirely, or at least refresh my memory of what it was called. (Although it’s true that one of these linked pieces is a short story—I’ll let you figure out which one by reading them all!) (Just kidding, it’s “Dogs Go Wolf”.)

That’s about it, I’m going to keep this post short because I’m in the middle of Madeline Miller’s Circe right now and I can’t wait to get back to it!! (I seriously can’t remember the last time I identified so much with a main character, Circe is the bomb.) I’ll let you all know what I think once I finish it. Happy May!

March Reading List

This is coming a couple of days late—apparently I don’t have my life together at the beginning of April as much as I did at the beginning of March—but I’ve got my list ready of all the cool stuff I read in March!

Nights with the man who was not our father,” by Brendan Constantine
Grace,” by Kim Addonizio
On Gentleness,” by Jamaal May
“Transplant,” by Romalyn Ante
Sonnet II,” by Pablo Neruda
Sonnet VIII,” by Pablo Neruda (also, take in for just a minute the glorious layout of this website, Links2Love)
Sunshine Ninety-Nine,” by N.K. Jemisin
Non-Zero Probabilities,” by N.K. Jemisin
Other People,” by Neil Gaiman
October Song,” by Cynthia Miller
“LOVE,” by Chrissy Williams
Baptism,” by Hieu Minh Nguyen
Chapter 20 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling
“Loose Lips,” by Lily Blacksell
The Girl Who Smiled Beads, by Clemantine Wamariya
“The Last Wish,” by Ha Jin
American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin,” by Terrance Hayes
the kids wonder where their mother is,” by Rishee Batra
In a Box with a Few Tiny Teeth,” by Brooke White
A Lovely Love,” by Gwendolyn Brooks
my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell,” by Gwendolyn Brooks
piano after war,” by Gwendolyn Brooks
Sadie and Maud,” by Gwendolyn Brooks
We Wear the Mask,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Sympathy,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Book of Statues,” by Richie Hofmann
Late Fragment,” by Raymond Carver
Snowdrops,” by Louise Gluck
“Instructions for Surviving an Earthquake,” by Adriana Cloud
Some poems from Don’t Call Us Dead, by Danez Smith
“Search Patrols,” by Ilya Kaminsky
I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store,” by Eve Ewing
Pinching the Wrist,” by Ilya Kaminsky
from Quarantine,” by Malachi Black
Autobiographia Literaria,” by Frank O’Hara
“How It Felt,” by Sharon Olds
Differences,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
“VI. Wisdom: The Voice of God,” by Mary Karr
Meditation on Beauty,” by J. Estanislao Lopez
Admission,” by A.R. Ammons

Happy reading! Also, I’ve been thinking about finding a way to compile my recommended reading into some sort of comprehensive page or folder on this website, where you can see recommendations for works by a bunch of different authors and poets, but it’s still somehow visually appealing and easily navigable… Not that people ever really comment on these posts normally, but is this something anybody would be interested in? Leave a comment and let me know!

Readings, more readings, and how much I love readings

All right. I’m bubbling down from my I SAW LORDE AND MITSKI LIVE LAST NIGHT euphoria to write a sort of March update—although first, really quick—

I SAW LORDE AND MITSKI LIVE LAST NIGHT!!!!!!

Mitski is one of my absolute role models in so many ways, and I basically fainted when she played “Townie”. She is a rock star in every sense of those two words. And Lorde was so genuinely amazing and talented and kind, and the fact that she talked about writing and played “Writer in the Dark” is enough to power me through at least a thousand words today.

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That photo is of Mitski, rocking her own heart out and mine.

Anyway—that soul-enlivening, fulfilling, overwhelming concert was only the most recent in a long string of cool events I’ve gone to this month! Luckily for this writing-related blog, most of them have been readings.

The first event I went to was with TOMI ADEYEMI!!! (And yeah, I was basically as excited to see her as I was to see Lorde and Mitski.)

A couple of Saturdays ago, my friend and I spent the entire day in Barnes & Noble, reading Children of Blood and Bone (which has now reached its third—I think?—consecutive week at the top of the NYT Bestseller List). I’d never done this before, and it was weirdly a lot of fun. If you have anyone you can do that with, I’d definitely recommend it—you can pick out a book you’re both excited about and sit in the Starbucks for hours, drinking hot chocolate and stopping every once in a while to freak out when something exciting has happened.

Then we drove to Detroit, where we got to hear Tomi speak a little and read an excerpt from the book. We also got to meet her briefly, and she signed our books and even took a picture with us!!! Here it is:

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I don’t think a day will ever come when I won’t smile when I look at this picture. Tomi Adeyemi is such an inspiration—she makes me want to keep writing all of the time and to dedicate myself to my ideas, even though seeing them through is a lot of hard work. I would highly recommend checking out her website because she posts a ton of helpful writing advice. (Plus, she was seriously just so nice.) I wrote an article about the event here for the Daily in case you’d like to hear me geek out about her a little more.

More recently, I went to an event that was a lot smaller but still very exciting: the annual Caldwell Poetry Competition performance through U of M’s Lloyd Hall Scholars Program. I think I’ve said before here that LHSP played a big part in helping me find a community and a lot of avenues for writing and the arts when I first got to college, and this was my third year participating in Caldwell. There’s a written category and a performance category; written poetry is definitely where I feel more comfortable, but I entered the performance contest too, because why not, right? Performing scares me a little, and I think doing things that scare you is good.

Last year, I did an interpretation of “Pretty,” by Katie Makkai, which is a poem I’ve loved deeply since high school. This year I did “B (If I Should Have a Daughter),” by the wonderful Sarah Kay. I won’t lie—my performance last year was a lot better, I think because I was a lot more passionate about that poem. But even though I didn’t do very well personally this year, I’m still so glad I got to go, because it gave me the chance to hear so many talented people performing both original and interpreted work. This year was definitely the all-around strongest Caldwell competition I’ve ever attended (even though we had a surprise evacuation in the middle after a fire alarm was pulled). It went on for about two hours and I wasn’t bored for any of it.

This year, I’d like to try writing a little spoken word poetry. Just as an experiment—I know it’s not my forte, but I wrote a little of my own in high school, and I remember it giving me this great feeling of release. I wasn’t just sharing my words with the world, I was showing the world what they meant with my voice, with my body. That’s not an opportunity I give myself very often. Poetry in general is difficult for me, let alone a type of poetry that’s meant to be performed—but I’d still like to try it, for the sense of ownership and confidence that I know it offers when you can pull it off successfully. Plus, I think poetry is just a fun community to engage with in general. I love the exchange of ideas and the bold sharing that happens at events like this.

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Finally, last Sunday, I attended the annual reading of the Prison Creative Arts Project’s literary journal, The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing. This is my third year involved with the lit review, and my first working as one of the assistant editors, so I got to help out a lot with organizing the event. To be involved with this was such a privilege, and I was glad for the chance to hear so many great pieces read aloud. This is the lit review’s 10-year anniversary, so we published a “Greatest Hits” compilation, and we also had a bunch of signs and flyers individually designed and handmade by Sierra Brown, like the beautiful poster above.

All right, I think that’s pretty much all of the amazing things I’ve had the opportunity to attend lately. Engage with the arts! Attend local readings!!! They’re basically always free, and they offer such a great chance to meet other writers and readers and to get a look at what other people are working on and experimenting with.

(And listen to Mitski!!)

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February Reading List

Every month, I make myself a playlist to correspond and use it as a receptacle for all the songs I find and/or revisit that month that I think are good. In typical twentysomething Spotify fashion, I’ve been titling the playlists with the name of the month (in all lowercase, too—I’m like THAT!), but I’ve also been tacking on a word or phrase that’s writing related. Weirdly enough, the word usually does end up corresponding to the vibe of the month in some way. For instance, I called my October playlist “submissions deadline,” and then October actually got really stressful with deadlines. I’ve been trying to veer toward more positive and/or neutral titles since then.

Anyway, I started the March one today (so far it’s just Destiny’s Child), and I’m calling it “outlining.” It’s the first of the month, and I’d really like to get my life together for March. I’m going to try out V.E. Schwab‘s habit tracker thing because she makes it look SO COOL, and I’m going to make some headway in terms of figuring out what I want to do this summer.

(While we’re on the subject of things I may or may not be going to do, I mentioned in my previous post that I was going to try to go to AWP, which is happening next week. Unfortunately I had to get some car repairs done and the AWP horizon is no longer looking super bright in a financial sense. BUT it’s all good because I should still be able to get the student price next year, so hopefully I’ll be able to make it to that one! I just thought I ought to tie up that loose end for continuity’s sake. But anyway, if anyone who’s reading this post is going, I hope you have a great time!!)

One thing I AM doing is posting my reading list on the actual first of the month this time. So, without further ado:

Lament for the Makers,” by Frank Bidart
Giammi Non Mi Conforto” // “Never Again that Comfort for Me,” by Rinaldo d’Aquino (a poem from the Crusades that’s written like some folk song)
Persephone, Falling,” by Rita Dove
The Tiger,” by Nael, age 6
Love Poem in the Time of Climate Change (Sonnet XVII),” by Craig Santos Perez
The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” by Flannery O’Connor
Lines written at Castle Island, Lake Superior,” by Jane Johnston Schoolcraft
One Side of an Interview with the Ghost of Marvin Gaye,” by Hanif Abdurraqib
Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth,” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Kill Me Now, by Timmy Reed (which I reviewed for The Michigan Daily here)
The Vulture interview with Quincy Jones
Ghazal,” by Larry Levis
Everyone Was in Love,” by Galway Kinnell
“Ancestors,” by Kiki Petrosino
“The Spirit Neither Sorts nor Separates,” by Linda Gregg
“I—Towards a Definition,” by Alice Notley
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
To the Pine Tree,” by Jane Johnston Schoolcraft
“On Doric Rock, Lake Superior,” by Jane Johnston Schoolcraft
I Don’t Miss It,” by Tracy K. Smith
Invocation,” by Jane Johnston Schoolcraft
These love poems for Valentine’s Day (I’m actually pretty happy with this column)
runaway,” by Dean Symmonds
On the Most Terrifying Character in the Wizard of Oz,” by Amy Woolard
Dogs in Love,” by Ali Shapiro
On Sufferance,” by Lydia Davis
The Opposites Game,” by Brendan Constantine
The Promise,” by Marie Howe
The Author Explains good kid, m.A.A.d City To His White Friend While Driving Through Southeast Ohio,” by Hanif Abdurraqib
Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A Scientific Analysis of Disney Movie Sidekicks Through The Lens Of Hip Hop,” by Hanif Abdurraqib
On College,” by Hanif Abdurraqib
To the Woman Crying Uncontrollably in the Next Stall,” by Kim Addonizio
All You Zombies,” by Robert A. Heinlein
“Portrait of My Father, Alive,” by Fatimah Asghar
2019,” by Rickey Laurentiis
You’re really faithful to your abusers, aren’t you?” by Samiya Bashir
Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience,” by Rebecca Roanhorse
Concerning That Prayer I Cannot Make,” by Jane Mead
The Slave Mother,” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Eliza Harris,” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Ruth and Naomi,” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in],” by e.e. cummings
Sonnet II,” by Pablo Neruda
Apology for My Son Who Stops to Ask About His Mother Once More,” by Blas Falconer
Hum of the Machine God,” by Jamaal May
What Would I Do White,” by June Jordan
After Years,” by Ted Kooser
The Poem Climbs the Scaffold and Tells You What It Sees,” by Natasha Oladokun
“Callus,” by Mario Chard

Wow! Hyperlinks galore!!! Am I really trying to share things with people, or am I just trying to feel cool and prove I’m a WordPress expert? The world may never know. Anyway, in the time it took for me to find all those links, I listened to the entire Destiny’s Child #1’s compilation album. Not that that’s a net loss or anything.

I don’t think I have any other writing-related updates, other than that I’m home for spring break right now and getting a lot done!! This morning I sat down to take care of some submissions/housekeeping stuff, and it’s all rainy and I’m sitting here with some hot tea in a mug my friend Charlotte gave me that says “WRITE LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER”. What a #classic scene. I’m too lazy to Instagram it, I guess, so I’m just writing it down here.

Now all I’ve got to do is finish up a chapter and get myself outside!! I bet I can convince myself that the rain actually makes running more fun. Happy March, everybody!

Love in the Time of February

This is coming a couple of days late, but happy Valentine’s Day!!

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, if only for the candy and cupcakes. This Valentine’s Day was a little weird because I wrote two romance-related pieces for The Michigan Daily in the same week. The first was a “poetry playlist” for my literature column, which is pretty sweet and uplifting and contains a bunch of great love poems. The second was a music playlist full of mournful and/or angsty songs about being single. I wrote both of them on the same day, pretty much back-to-back, which made for kind of a hard gear shift. Maybe it’s official now — I don’t truly have any real opinions on anything, I’m just really indifferent, and I’ll stretch that indifference one way or another for the sake of trying to write convincing journalism.

I’m just going to fall back on my old reasoning that I truly believe many things, even contradictory things, at the same time. Like Alanis Morissette says: “I’m sad but I’m laughing, I’m brave but I’m chickenshit,” etc. I hate Valentine’s Day, but I love it!

Anyway, they were both really fun pieces that each include some good music/poetry recommendations, so I’d recommend checking them out if you have the time. 🙂

While I’m on the subject of the Daily, this isn’t Valentine’s-Day-related at all, but I also wrote my first lead for the B-Side! The B-Side is a biweekly insert that the senior arts editors put together on various subjects. This one focused on queerness in the arts, so I did some interviews and wrote a piece on queer art and social activism that you can find here if you’re so inclined. This was all in the span of the last week or so, so I’m in a journalism mood, big time.

Last but not least, bonus announcement: I might be going to AWP this year! :O Stay tuned!

January Reading List

It’s the first day of February, yay! I read somewhere (on Twitter, I admit) that today is exactly halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. I forget what the term for that is called, but I think it’s a pretty cool fact (if it is a fact), especially coming right on the heels of such a kickass full moon.

Anyway, as promised, here is the list of all the things I read in January!

Fourth Grade Autobiography,” by Donika Kelly
Night Sky with Exit Wounds, by Ocean Vuong
Selected poems from Flowers of Hell, by Nguyen Chi Thien
This Hour and What Is Dead,” by Li-Young Lee
Three Words,” by Li-Young Lee
In the Library,” by Jean Valentine
The soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? because I just love folk music
*Bonus folk song: “Can the Circle Be Unbroken,” by The Carter Family
“My Father Is the Sea, the Field, the Stone,” by Ruth Awad
“Math Lesson,” by Eloisa Amezcua
Self-Portrait as a Constant Point of Contention,” by Cortney Lamar Charleston
Sabratha,” by Charity Young
“startle,” by Francine J. Harris
Good Bones,” by Maggie Smith
Jacaranda,” by Robin Kozak
The moon rose over the bay. I had a lot of feelings.,” by Donika Kelly
If your Nerve, deny you (292),” by Emily Dickinson
Victory Lap,” by George Saunders
The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” by W.B. Yeats
A Cradle Song,” by W.B. Yeats
Puppy,” by George Saunders
The Mechanic,” by Robert Creeley
“It’s all fun and games until somebody gains consciousness,” by Franny Choi
Pavlov was the Son of a Priest,” by Paige Lewis
There is a solitude of space,” by Emily Dickinson
“The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster,” by Richard Brautigan, and by Joanna C. Valente
Dew,” by Kay Ryan (I read this one off the wall of a subway in New York City, which feels like a really hip detail worth mentioning—and look, according to the link I used, I’m not the only one who took notice of it!)
A Small Needful Fact,” by Ross Gay
What Did You See?” by Fanny Howe (again—I loved this poem in high school and just revisited it recently)
“Blindman’s Bluff,” by Raymond McDaniel
“Cataracts,” by Raymond McDaniel
Praying,” by Mary Oliver
The Peace of Wild Things,” by Wendell Berry
Michael,” by William Wordsworth
The Price of Rain,” by Franny Choi
I Cannot Be Quiet an Hour,” by Mary Ruefle
Little Mountain Woman,” by Terese Marie Mailhot

As with December, I think there’s a running theme of the list being very poetry-heavy. Again, I’m pretty sure it’s all the Twitter. But there are a couple of short stories on there, and books (of poetry LOL).

I’m back in Ann Arbor now, and still reeling from the awesomeness that was New York City. I went to the New York Public Library, and there’s a big part of me that’s resolved to move to New York just so that I can go and write there all the time. I think in big, distinguished old buildings like that, it’s hard not to get real work done because I’d feel kind of guilty otherwise—like, hundreds of people didn’t work very hard on the design and construction of this building just so that I could sit inside of it and watch The Office with my earphones in. I get this also with the Law Library at U of M.

We also went to the MET, where they were having an exhibit on the art, music, writing, politics, whatever else of the 1960s—so that was pretty much perfect—and we went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where I got really sucked in reading quotations from immigrants arriving to the U.S. It was crazy how there were so many specific stories from people from completely different places, stories that were sometimes similar but also different in really important ways. I took pictures of a couple that really stuck out to me in particular:

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I want to go back to Ellis Island someday because I didn’t get to read every single quotation, and I kind of wanted to—I could have spent hours there.

On a different note, while I’m importing stuff onto my computer, here are a couple more photos! The first is me in Times Square, and the second is my brother and my dad on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.

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Okay, I’ve got more poetry to go and read (not on Twitter, for class), so that’s all for now. Thanks for reading! 🙂

New Poetry in The Merrimack Review

I have some new poems out in The Merrimack Review!

There are three of them—”Fur,” “The Tardigrade,” and “Winter in Oz,” and you can read them here (same link LOL). Very very happy to have some new poetry out there in the universe. I want to start writing more poetry because I’ve been reading a ton of it lately (January reading list coming soon), and I often come up with little lines and emotions and ideas that I feel like would fit ideally inside poems if I could only figure out how to write them. I guess the only way I’ll learn how to do that in a way that I really like is to keep practicing, so we’ll see!

Also, shameless plug for my friend Brooke White, whose nonfiction appears in the new issue of Midwestern Gothic. Midwestern Gothic is one of my favorite publications out there and Brooke is one of my favorite people, so if you have a chance to check out the new issue, I’d definitely recommend it! It features work from tons of other awesome writers as well (including Cortney Lamar Charleston, whose amazing poetry I just started reading within the last month or so).

In other news, I’m considering posting some very amateur photography here and would appreciate some input on whether that’s a good idea or a horrible one. 🙂

Forthcoming Fiction in Blue Earth Review

There’s no real point to this post other than what the title says: I’m getting published in Blue Earth Review!!!

Yay!!!!

The fiction in question is “Paradise,” a short story I wrote last year inspired by John Prine’s song of the same name. So naturally I’m back in my recurring John Prine mood for a few days. Everyone should listen to his eponymous debut album. Also the new album Ruins by First Aid Kit. (Glowing review coming soon from The Michigan Daily.) Also, according to it seems like everybody, the new Porches album? Although I haven’t listened to that one yet, so I guess I shouldn’t say. But the First Aid Kit one is beautiful—I can’t get enough of “Postcard,” and “It’s a Shame,” what beautiful songs!

Anyway, I’m off-topic now. Writing and music always end up going together for me—like right now, for instance, I’m in my house’s dining room listening to the soundtrack from The Last Five Years coming out of the kitchen. Now I really want to watch that musical.

I’m actually seeing a musical this weekend! The Lion King. I’ll be in New York City for a concert of my dad’s. My goal is to take a bunch of pictures and to bond with my family. A+ goals!

I’ve been in such a good mood the last few days—I don’t even know if it’s the publication thing, I kind of don’t think so. Although that is great! But I think writing a lot just puts me in a good mood. The night before last, I was on my way to bed at 1:00am, but I kind of felt like writing, so I sat down to write a few paragraphs, and I ended up writing around 2500 words. I went to bed at like 2:30. And I’m not the sort of person who normally does that—I really usually just write in the morning or early afternoon, by the time night comes around I’m a lot worse at thinking. But it was really fun, very stream of consciousness. By the end I was writing all about Japanese maples. I’ve been getting really into specificity lately and I just can’t believe how beautiful they are.

And then today I woke up early-ish to work on something for my fiction tutorial, and I wasn’t really expecting to get through the whole thing because it was very last-minute and I only left myself two or three hours to do it. I was expecting to just use the Japanese maple CNF thing. But then I did get through it—I actually felt really good about it—and now it’s like my whole day is better. I love how that’s how it works, writing and feeling good, or sometimes just feeling better. It’s like this whole reciprocal thing.

Anyway, I have real things to go and do (for Midwestern Gothic! I’m officially an intern there now!), so I should sign off. It’s weird how this started out with me patting myself on my back and it sort of ended there, too. But also it started out as kind of an announcement and then it turned into more of a diary entry. I think I must be very big into stream of consciousness these days.

December Reading List

December was a huge month for me in terms of poetry. I think it’s because I spent a lot of time mindlessly cruising through Twitter, and I follow a lot of people who are also into writing. Or maybe that’s just what happens when the semester ends and I don’t have any books assigned for me to read anymore. At any rate, I ran into a lot of good stuff this month, yay! Here are my recommendations:

Get in Trouble, by Kelly Link
Shewings #66 and #69 by Julian of Norwich
Mirk’s Festial
Prik of Conscience
Ode to the West Wind,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Beowulf
The Most of It,” by Robert Frost
Cat Person,” by Kristen Roupenian (’cause, duh)
Something Better than This,” by Mary Gaitskill
The Husband Stitch,” by Carmen Maria Machado
This blog (my friend and old housemate, Ji Ye, is doing a bunch of world travels and documenting them here with a ton of amazing stories and amazing photography)
the lost women,” by Lucille Clifton
how to say,” by Safia Elhillo
“The Apple Trees,” by Louise Gluck
The Gift,” by Li-Young Lee
“Choi,” by Franny Choi
I’m Nobody! Who are you?” by Emily Dickinson
All the poems I could find linked on Ocean Vuong‘s website
Intelligent Design,” by Vievee Francis
Say It, Say It Anyway You Can,” by Vievee Francis
Given to Rust,” by Vievee Francis
Beast & Beauty,” by Vievee Francis
Proletarian Portrait,” by William Carlos Williams
“It Is Maybe Time to Admit That Michael Jordan Definitely Pushed Off,” by Hanif Abdurraqib
Song of a Man Who Has Come Through,” by D.H. Lawrence
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
things that shine in the night,” by Rigoberto Gonzalez
“Not Crazy Just Afraid to Ask,” by Shauna Barbosa
Amen,” by James Baldwin
The Conditional,” by Ada Limon
The Captain’s Verses, by Pablo Neruda
Choi Jeong Min,” by Franny Choi

This might be just because it’s the most recent thing I’ve been reading, but I’m absolutely in love with The Captain’s Verses. It’s a bilingual version, too, with the Spanish on the left and the English on the right, so I’m getting to practice a little Spanish while I read. It’s really interesting to see which phrases I like more in Spanish or in English, and which poems hardly needed any changes when they were being translated. My favorite poem so far is definitely “The Stolen Branch,” or “La Rama Robada“.

I’m definitely going to try getting my hands on some more of Neruda’s work soon! I’m not kidding, he might be shaping up to be my actual favorite poet (or I might just be going through a phase). The Captain’s Verses includes mostly love poems, so maybe if I read some other stuff by him that isn’t all love-related, I’ll know for sure.