Impossible Language . 9/26/14 . In conjunction with story booth, Crosstown Arts, and the Mid-South Book Festival, Impossible Language brought three poets up from deepest Mississippi - the Center for Writers in Hattiesburg. This is a place of deep nostalgia for your series founder, who spent eight years falling in and out of drunk love with people and college and poetry there. So it was with delight she was able to provide a warm Memphis welcome to Allison Campbell, Rebecca Morgan Frank, and Angela Ball. 

1. Kayla Brooks, Partnership Development Manager of Literacy Mid-South, welcomes the audience to the first ever Mid-South Book Festival.

2. Allison Campbell, who can be found at ddiderot.wordpress.com

3. Rebecca Morgan Frank, author of Little Murders Everywhere and editor-in-cheif of Memorious

4. Angela Ball, author of many books, including Night Clerk at the Hotel of Both Worlds

5. Your host, Ashley Roach-Freiman

6. The poets at the book table

7. Memphis-based poet John Bensko and Angela talk about poetry things, probably

8. Pinch Journal Assistant Managing Editor Matt Gallant

9. Hot Mess Burrito co-owner and bartender for the night Will Freiman

In conjunction with the Mid-South Book Festival, Impossible Language proudly presents three poets who hail from the deepest south - Hattiesburg, Mississippi, AKA a damn fine little town. All are connected through the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers, and all are writing incredible poems. Please join us for the first reading of our fall series. It’s a good one.Allison Campbell is in her third year of doctoral studies in poetry at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. Her poetry has appeared in some fine journals, including: Harpur Palate, Witness, and Armchair/Shotgun. She also collaborates with illustrator Alf Dahlman on the poetry/comic/art blog ddiderot.wordpress.com.Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of Little Murders Everywhere, a finalist for the 2013 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Harvard Review, New England Review, 32 Poems, Ploughshares, Guernica, Georgia Review, and elsewhere. She was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award for her new manuscript in progress. She is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Memorious and an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers.
Angela Ball is the Moorman Distinguished Professor of English in the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the author of five poetry collections, including The Museum of the Revolution: 58 Exhibits, Possession, Quartet and Night Clerk at the Hotel of Both Worlds (winner of the Donald Hall award from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs), as well as two chapbooks. Awards for her work include an individual writer’s grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Arthur J. Schiable Award in the Human ities from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; invitations to represent the U.S. at the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam and the Poetry Festival of Bogotá, a residency at Chateau Lavigny in Switzerland, and a semester as Poet-in-Residence at the University of Richmond. Her work has twice won the Poetry Prize from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and twice received grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Her work has been featured in Best American Poetry, on the Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, and has been frequently anthologized. The many journals that have featured her poems and translations include Field, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, the New Republic, Poetry, Grand Street, Partisan Review, and The Atlantic Monthly. For thirty-two years she served as Poetry Editor for the Mississippi Review.

In conjunction with the Mid-South Book FestivalImpossible Language proudly presents three poets who hail from the deepest south - Hattiesburg, Mississippi, AKA a damn fine little town. All are connected through the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers, and all are writing incredible poems. Please join us for the first reading of our fall series. It’s a good one.

Allison Campbell is in her third year of doctoral studies in poetry at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. Her poetry has appeared in some fine journals, including: Harpur Palate, Witness, and Armchair/Shotgun. She also collaborates with illustrator Alf Dahlman on the poetry/comic/art blog ddiderot.wordpress.com.

Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of Little Murders Everywhere, a finalist for the 2013 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Harvard Review, New England Review, 32 Poems, Ploughshares, Guernica, Georgia Review, and elsewhere. She was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award for her new manuscript in progress. She is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Memorious and an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers.

Angela Ball is the Moorman Distinguished Professor of English in the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the author of five poetry collections, including The Museum of the Revolution: 58 Exhibits, Possession, Quartet and Night Clerk at the Hotel of Both Worlds (winner of the Donald Hall award from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs), as well as two chapbooks. Awards for her work include an individual writer’s grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Arthur J. Schiable Award in the Human ities from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; invitations to represent the U.S. at the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam and the Poetry Festival of Bogotá, a residency at Chateau Lavigny in Switzerland, and a semester as Poet-in-Residence at the University of Richmond. Her work has twice won the Poetry Prize from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and twice received grants from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Her work has been featured in Best American Poetry, on the Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor, and has been frequently anthologized. The many journals that have featured her poems and translations include Field, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, the New Republic, Poetry, Grand Street, Partisan Review, and The Atlantic Monthly. For thirty-two years she served as Poetry Editor for the Mississippi Review.

Catching Up, Keeping Up

I know, it has been too long. But believe me when I say that I have been enjoying a much needed siesta since the fantastic success of the first ever season of Impossible Language and am in the planning stages of season two. There will be more poems and art. Promise. 

In the meantime, let’s take a moment to appreciate what the Impossible Language alum have been up to, shall we? The poets that have been a part of this series are worker bees doing great things. 

- Adam Clay - Adam is one half of the editorial team for TYPO and the newest issue just hit the internet. Gosh, read it, it’s a humdinger. He was also the poetry contest editor for the Pinch Journal Literary Awards and I am pleased to say he picked a good one (because of course he would). He’s also got poems everywhere and hopefully his new book, Stranger, will be coming out from Milkweed sooner rather than later.

- Ada Limón - Ada got a gorgeous new website AND is releasing a new book from Milkweed Editions called Bright Dead Things. I can make do with Sharks in the Rivers til then, but just barely. 

- Ruth Baumann - Ruth is the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop around here. She publishes so much that she has actually stopped telling people about it. TELL THE WORLD RUTH WE LOVE YOU. Her chapbook these tornadoes has been a finalist in many chap competitions and in the meantime she has written another chapbook. Ok Ruth, you can stop now. 

- Caki Wilkinson - Her new book The Wynona Stone Poems is going to come out in November and Oh My God Look at the cover of that book. It is beautiful. Also - follow Wynona on Twitter. She’s a riot. 

- Sean Patrick Hill - Besides continuing to publish gorgeous poems, Sean started a poetry broadside press in Louisville called Green Fuse Press. The first release is a nice Graham Foust - go get one. 

- Abraham Smith - It has been announced that he co-edited an anthology called Hick Poetics with Shelly Taylor that should be coming out this year from Lost Roads Press and I srsly can’t wait. In the meantime, I like to read Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer out loud in the bathtub. Is that so wrong?

- Jonathan Owen May - I got an overwhelming response to this guy - y’all really loved his poems. Ok fine - he posts some of them here. Enjoy! He also writes about books and the media on the Reading at Recess blog - AND HE SPEAKS GERMAN, PEOPLE.

- Laressa Dickey - Laressa has been travelling the world, doing readings and otherwise living a beautiful life. Miel has just released a beautiful tiny chap called Little Voice Box - check it out!

- Clay Cantrell - Clay will be embarking on his thesis year at the UofM this fall. In the meantime, he is busy writing a lot more good poems than me, playing folky fuzz ass guitar, opening for the likes of Jerusalem and the Starbaskets and probably planning world domination through death metal. 

- Jessica Comola - Damn, who knows what Jessica Comola is up to besides being a mysterious genius poet who is probably writing a masterpiece. Have you read Girl at the End of a Matchstick at Anti-? So good.

- Tim Earley - Tim just released a book this year - the excellent Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery - and people are freaking out about it. Seth Abramson did - he recommended it to “anyone with a pulse”. I second that notion. Tim is taking over the Trobar Ric reading series in Oxford, MS, and I totally look forward to many pilgrimages down south. 

- Heather Dobbins - The Common recently posted a glowing review of Heather’s book In the Low Houses, a book that has been in my read and read and read stack as of late. Trust me, that stack is short. I recommend you read it also.

- Tara Mae Mulroy - Tara Mae just posted a brief interview about her writing process on her blog. I so enjoyed her chap Philomela and find reading about her writing life pretty interesting. Here’s hoping Swallow Tongue gets picked up soon!

- Elaine Scudder-Walters - Elaine came out of poetry hiding to read to us and it was wonderful. I know she’s a school teacher, and what a crazy job that is, so let’s hope this summer is a super poetic one.

- Caitlin Mackenzie - Congrats to Caitlin for having her poem “Postcards from the Northwest" nominated for the Best Single Poem Award for the Forward Prize! Fingers crossed - it’s soooo good. I bet those Pacific Northwest rivers and lakes are looking pretty nice right about now.

Boy. I will have to get to the artists next round because that is a lot of talent for one tumblr post. Buy some books, read some poems, and stay tuned for announcements regarding the next season of Impossible Language. xo

Last night, I was lucky to host Impossible Language at story booth for the first time. I know I’ve talked a big game about the art/poetry connection and am so proud of what has been accomplished so far in the 430 space, but I must say…hosting and hanging at story booth is just so chill. I think everyone really liked it. 

The reading was wonderful, with much credit to Heather Dobbins for helping to bring these poets together. 

1. The story booth space, with a view from the mic

2. The wonderful Elaine Scudder-Walters

3. Heather Dobbins, in full gif glory. Her reading made me say, “Damn, Heather." Which is a good thing. Her book, In the Low Houses, is splendid. 

4.Caitlin Mackenzie, who I was delighted to meet, and who I think brought the Oregon rain down with her. Read her poem “The Dive" - it’s a good one.

5. Tara Mae Mulroy, author of my current favorite chap, Philomela.

6. Tara Mae, Heather, and Matt Gallant at the book table

7. Your host Ashley Roach-Freiman

8. Matt Gallant, creative non-fiction editor of the Pinch Journal

9. The handsome bartender, Will

10. Another view of story booth

This Saturday @ story booth - four poets, 6pm.

Elaine Scudder-Walters is native Midtown Memphian and a graduate of Rhodes College. She has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Alabama where she received the Dean’s Merit Prize. She also worked as an Assistant Poetry Editor for The Black Warrior Review. A teacher with the Memphis City Schools since 2003, she currently teaches CLUE at Snowden, a school attended by five generations of her family.

 

Tara Mae Mulroy is a graduate of the University of Memphis MFA program. Her chapbook, Philomela, was released from dancing girl press in January 2014, and her poems, stories, and essays have appeared in CutBank, Third Coast, Zone 3, and others. Her blog is at taramaemulroy.wordpress.com.

 

After taking a ten-year education vacation to California and Vermont, Heather Dobbins returned to her hometown of Memphis. Her poems and poetry reviews have been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Big Muddy, The Rumpus, The Southern Poetry Anthology (Tennessee), and TriQuarterly Review, among others. She has taught for fourteen years in Oakland, California, and Memphis, where she founded River City Scribes, a creative writing workshop for teens. Her debut collection,In the Low Houses was recently published by Kelsay Press and will be available for signing at Story Booth.


Caitlin Mackenzie is a writer whose work has appeared in publications such as CutBank, Lambda Literary, Colorado Review, Fugue, and Structo. One of her poems was recently nominated for the Forward Prize. She earned a MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars a few years ago and promptly moved to Eugene, Oregon, where she now lives and plays in the mountains and streams.

Better late than never, finally some images of the gorgeous art featured at the second Impossible Language on 1.18.14. 

1. The empty gallery, facing our brand? Logo? Kindly painted by April Pierce. The gallery for all three Impossible Language(s) has been the amazing Crosstown Arts. I’ve loved working for them and with them - I mean, srsly, they are doing good things for this city.

2. Left view of the gallery, featuring work from all three artists - Caitlin Hettich, Amelia Briggs, and April Pierce

3. Right view of gallery.

4. Right view again, square. 

5. Pigs’ ears, Caitlin Hettich. You heard me right.

6. Painting by April Pierce, who really brought the art/artists together for this. They are all working towards their MFA for this glorious stuff here at the University of Memphis and I have to say - they are making excellent work. Thanks y’all. 

PS. Don’t forget - four lovely poets will be reading 4.26.14 at story booth at 6pm. This is a new venue for us, but I’ve been there and I must say it’s looovely.

I am intensely lucky to work with talented, hard working artists who are willing to put together beautiful shows in one day. I don’t think it has been well-represented in the past just how lovely the art comes together for Impossible Language, but no one works harder than the artists. They come into the gallery hours before I do and make the space unique and gorgeous.

The top three photos are of embroidery pieces done by Meghan Vaziri and the next four are mixed media pieces by Mary Jo Karimnia. The final shot is the right wall of the gallery leading to the front wall. I could say a lot more about both of these women, but I’ll leave it at thanks.