Clarinda Harriss On the Record with Sheilah Kast

Clarinda Harriss will be appearing on WYPR’s On The Record with host Sheilah Kast.  Clarinda will be talking about BHB, and the upcoming, dual-signing event at the Ivy Bookshop with authors John C. McLucas and John Adam Wasowicz!

Catch the interview this Friday, November 3rd, at 9:30am by tuning into 88.1 FM in the Baltimore region, or by streaming the station on your computer or mobile device.

 

Book Club Series: Needs by Clarence Brown

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Gallery CA, 440 E Oliver St, Baltimore MD, 21202

November 9, 7:00 – 8:30pm

The first of the Book Club series will take place today, November 9th at Gallery CA. Please stop by and listen to Clarence Brown discuss his novella, Needs, in a conversation facilitated by publisher Clarinda Harriss.

CityLit 2015: “Most important festival ever”

BrickHouse Books is proud to have been part of the twelfth annual CityLit Festival on May 2.  It took place at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and was the only event in the city that day not to have been canceled due to the rally at City Hall.  http://citylitproject.org/index.cfm?page=news&newsid=157

BhB had a table and our own Clarinda Harriss read a poem as part of the panel honoring Michael Salcman’s new anthology, POETRY IN MEDICINE.

Click here to listen to podcasts from the festival.

Discovering Our Authors: Adrian Koesters

One of the pleasures of being the new prose editor at BrickHouse Books is discovering the people who have published with us, including the poets. After all, I have said that what I look for in prose submissionsamong other things—is “a distinctive voice . . . and an obvious love of language.” Meaning a touch of poetry.

To illustrate this point, I asked Adrian Koesters to write a few words about what she brings from her poetry to her prose. Here is what she shared with us:

Many Parishes

Adrian’s BHB title

Flannery O’Connor has famously said that anybody who lives through childhood will have enough to write about for the rest of her life. I’d add to this that living through a childhood in Baltimore 40 years ago filled my ear with enough distinctive cadences to write through to last through the rest of mine, and these are what come naturally to me as I write. The rich, thick, what one of my sisters calls the “Dundalk” accent but that you might identify as the language of the “Hon”; the loud, long melisma of the vegetable street-cart vendor crying, “Strawberries! Cherries!” as he passed our house (we never-in-all-my-life heard these men called Arabbers); our cries of “Wait-a-minute, wait-a-minute!” after the ice cream car that we’d just gotten permission to run after with our nickels or dimes; my grandmother’s now-soft elisions (the way, for example, she could make the simple, embarrassed courtesy of the word “no” last for four syllables), now-percussive “No, not that!” or “Tuppitware,” as she called it, or “I-never-did-in-all-my-life” or “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” The tall, sexy white girl two doors up who sashayed past us where we sat on the front steps, taunting, “I ain’t got no/Skinny leeeegs!/I ain’t got no/Flat chest!”

When I first began to write poetry as a girl, it was these elisions and percussives that I was most aware of when I sat down to write something, and to the extent that I was at all conscious of what I was doing, those were what I tried for. In the early days, like many young writers, I loved poetry for, as I thought, its get-in-and-get-out permissiveness. The brevity of a poem allowed me to explore for an instant something that was more often than not too frightening to stay with consciously for long. Still, in working a poem in this way, to get the sound I might be able to get out of it, I also over time discovered the great pleasure of simply giving myself over to words, to those moments that you literally lose your “self” in the act of creation.

When I much later came to prose, the drummings of poetry in common talk stood me in great stead, as you can see a bit in this first line of an early unpublished story titled “The Ape Guy,” where I attempted a story with words of only one syllable: “There’s a blue page on the wall with a guy that’s been dead a long time.” If you scan that line, you’ll see how the stresses fall: There’s/a blue page/on the wall/with a guy/that’s been dead/a long time. If I read that line, I myself can’t visualize the guy or the blue page but I readily hear the series of anapaests (two short beats and a long) ended up with a spondee (a short beat and two longs), without even knowing that I hear it.

And for me, this remains the greatest pleasure of writing. When I find myself sliding into those moments in a run of dialogue, a block of narrative, or a stanza of a poem, where the beats of the language that filled me up in my first days emerge somehow to make another, new small bit of music that talks to me, and, I hope, my reader: that’s when I know I’m doing what I most want to do. It’s also where I find myself, again, at home.

Adrian Koesters is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. She attended high school in Bellingham, Washington, and has lived most of her life in Nebraska, where she has worked in Omaha and Lincoln as a high school teacher, secretary, sign language interpreter, academic advisor, editorial specialist, and university professor. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and a Ph.D. in English (fiction and poetry writing) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches writing and is the host of the online reading series for Prairie Schooner magazine. She has been an assistant editor for Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column “American Life in Poetry” and is the fiction editor at A River & Sound Review journal.

Adrian’s BHB title Many Parishes is on sale at a discount through the end of this year.

For more on the aural aspects of poetry, see “Discovering Our Authors: Peter Weltner.”

Oral project reveals civil rights stories all around

Harriet Lynn, a professor and actor, recently started an award for senior poets writing about Baltimore. Her mother was the winner of the competition several years ago and Lynn has re-started it in her mother’s name. Lynn is now starting an oral project that invites anyone with a story to participate. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of MLK Jr.’s speech and the March on Washington, the project is part of the oral history that is spreading on a national scale to gather stories.

By visiting this website, you can find out about Lynn’s story project titled “All Together Now” sponsored by the Story Center. Lynn’s story details what happened during the Civil Rights Movement era. The 3 minute digital story is now archived online with other personal short stories about civil and human rights.

Make sure you spread the word. Anyone with an interest or story can be a part of the project.

 

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Artifact Coffee reading event!

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Join us for a fun reading event at Artifact Coffee on Monday, November 11 at 7:00 PM. BrickHouse Books author Clarence Brown will be reading from his book Needs.

Great opportunity to hear some great reading and drink some coffee. What more can you ask for? Hope to see you there!

Readings to look forward to!

In the DC/Baltimore area and need something to do? Fan of readings and love meeting equally enthusiastic literature lovers? Huge fan of Poet Reginald Harris?

51bEc4VnWiLIf you said yes to any of these questions, you’re in luck. Reginald Harris will be in the DC and Baltimore area to support Autogeography, his collection of short poems. Reginald will be reading in two locations:

Reading with Susan Scheid‏
A Sunday Kind of Love
14th & V St, Washington DC
Sunday October 20, 2013
5:00-7:00 pm
$5
Reading with Hailey Leithauser
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore MD
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
6:30-8:00pm
Free
For more information check out Reginald’s website.

Check out the reopening of local historical landmark

250px-PoeHouse-BaltimoreEdgar Allan Poe fans will be pleased to hear that The Board of Directors of Poe Baltimore, Inc. are re-opening the Edgar Allan Poe House National Historic Landmark. The event will take place Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM at 203 N. Amity Street, Baltimore, Maryland. To RSVP email poebaltimore@gmail.com.

For more information check out Poe Baltimore’s website and the flyer: PoeBaltimore Invitation 10.5.13

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An Interview with BhB Author Doritt Carroll

If you ask her, Doritt Carroll will tell you that she is (unfortunately) a lawyer and (fortunately) the mother of two daughters.  She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. Her collection In Caves was published in 2010 byBrickhouse Books.  Her poems have also appeared in a long list of publications, including Coal City Review, Poet Lore,Nimrod, Slipstream, Rattle, The Baltimore Review, and the Journal of Formal Poetry. Her poem “motherlove” appeared in the Fuck Poems anthology by Lavender Ink.  Her book Glttl Stp will be published in September 2013. Ilse Munro write of this latest volume that “Carroll’s control and precision reveal aspects of the human condition that would leave a lesser poet running from the room, screaming.” Lorraine Whittlesey describes Carroll’s voice as “uniquely honest,” a voice that employs “Picasso’s and Miles Davis’s understanding of the importance of the space between objects.”

HUERGO: What moves you to write?

CARROLL: I don’t know if I’m exactly answering your question, but when I write, I’m having a conversation.  I want someone to see something I’ve seen, in the way that I’ve seen it.  Often, I’m writing to someone who wouldn’t actually listen if I called them up to describe it.  And, to be fully frank, I’m often imagining that if I write something good enough, people will be proud of me, people who could never be proud of me in real life.

HUERGO: How would you describe your drafting and revision process?

CARROLL: I think I’m different from other poets.  I’m not a good reviser.  If I get myself in a position in which extensive revisions are necessary, I may never finish the poem.  It’s almost as if, by writing it down, I’ve painted myself into a corner.  So when I get an idea, I try NOT to write it down or even say it out loud.  Instead, I arrange it and change it completely in my mind.  I only start writing when I’m pretty sure it’s in the right form, and only minor alterations, such as line breaks or avoiding the repetition of a word, will be needed.

HUERGO: What is the most important theme in your work?  Why?

Dorritt Carroll In CavesCARROLL: I think I have trouble writing a poem that isn’t about isolation.  It’s the theme of my existence.  I was a late in life child of troubled parents.  If I think about myself as a child, I’m always alone with a book or a doll.  Even in the middle of a crowd, I will often stop to notice how the essential parts of ourselves never meet, never interact.  I think true human contact and understanding between two people is almost a myth.

HUERGO: Was there a teacher or mentor who influenced your writing?

CARROLL: Gerry Connolly was my first real teacher. She taught me that, when I’ve painted myself into a corner, it’s often helpful to read others who have written on the same topic, or in the same way, to see how they solved the problem. In more recent years, I can’t say enough about Clarinda Harriss.  She has been editor, mentor, publisher, and indefatigable reader of emailed drafts.

HUERGO: What advice do you have for writers?                                                      

CARROLL: “Throw grenades at your clichés! Your goal in writing should be to make us see an ordinary subject in a completely new way. Make your reader say, “Well, I’m never going to look at that in the same way again.”

HUERGO: What are you working on next?

CARROLL: Unlike others, who write a book and then find a title, I find a title, and it tells me what book to write.  The book I just finished is called GLTTL STP (glottal stop), a term that refers to choking off sound briefly when singing.  The minute I thought of that title, I knew I would write a book about things withheld, things not said.  The next title, and I have just started working on this, is Sorry You Are Not an Instant Winner.  We’ll see where that title takes me.

Interview conducted by Elizabeth Huergo.

Click here for more information on Doritt Carroll