January Events

And so begins a new year. This household rang in the event by working on various Powerpoints or story drafts until about 10 PM and then headed to bed like the responsible adults we pretend to be in front of our parents’ friends. (I was still reading by the time the totally unnecessary fireworks went off. So, you know, I’m not a total square…)

This month is a busy one. My show, Convergence: Challenging Anthropocentrism opens on the 4th. Details for the reception can be found at Convergence: Opening. If you’re in the neighborhood for Tulsa’s First Friday, come on down and chat me and my co-curator up. For those that can’t make it, the exhibition will be up all month long. There will also be some cool programming after MLK Day. Such as:

Animal People— Lecture I will give a lecture on how my work with apes, and my education by animals, led me to writing. Science just couldn’t encompass all the truths I found in nature.

HumanNature— Photography and Writing Workshop For those who would like a more active event, I’ll also be leading a workshop wherein we explore the urban landscape and the ways nature rebels against our efforts to exile it from our human centers. Through photography, we will train presence, which will then be used to generate short written pieces questioning the human/nature binary.

Mural Design and Creation— Yatika Starr Fields My co-curator, Yatika, will be leading a mural workshop throughout the week. He, along with participants, will create a permanent mural exploring the themes of the show. Join in on this collaborative work and leave a (literal) lasting mark on the McKeon Center for Creativity.

The Development of Complex Tool Use Among Chimpanzees— Lastly, perhaps the real treat of the whole month, join us for a lecture with the smart, incredible, illustrious, beautiful, [superlative] [superlative] [superlative] Stephanie Musgrave to discuss her research on the development and transmission of chimpanzee tool use in Central Africa. I’m biased but I can’t recommend enough letting this woman learn you something.

Gratitude

Con Thien
The view from Con Thien (The Hill of Angels), looking north across what was once Vietnam’s DMZ.

I have a lot to be grateful for, always, but especially in the last month. And, as there is no lack of need for more gratitude in this world, I will take this opportunity to quickly and insufficiently outline mine here.

I recently traveled to Vietnam with my Father where, for the first time in 51 years almost to the day, we visited the sites of his war. It was a complicated experience, and my mind is still buzzing with the swarm of implications, emotions, and sensory details of it all. In the next little bit, I hope to find some clarity that will enable me to share this journey and what it meant/means.

Since returning, my upcoming multi-disciplinary art show, Convergence, has finished its call for artists and selected an incredible variety of works to exhibit. I cannot thank the artists who submitted work enough. It was humbling and invigorating to see the many ways people are engaging with both the perceived human/animal divide and the very real effects of the Anthropocene.

And just this past weekend, for Veterans Day/Armistice Day, my Father and I were humbled to put on a workshop/reading/conversation for veterans and their families. It was an intimate and powerful experience. I thank everyone who came out, shared their stories, and listened to our perspectives on how to use writing to convey experiences that can often be difficult to translate into words for the benefit of both the veteran and those who love them.

Both these events were made possible by the support of the Center for Creativity and I look forward to doing more work with them in the future.

Lastly, my Father and I were interviewed for Words on Air, by the OSU Center for Poets and Writers. We each read a bit of our work and spoke, briefly, on what patriotism and service looks like to us and how racism is antithetical to both (though no less common for it). I’m excited to share it with you as soon as it is live.

Thanks to everyone who made these events possible. And thanks to you for being interested.

“Words on Air” live and Convergence Feature

I recently mentioned (here) that an interview I did with Susannah Sharpless of Graywolf Press would be airing on the new series “Words on Air” from Oklahoma State’s Center for Poets and Writers. Well, that episode is now live. It’s a casual introduction to publishing and the value of small presses like Graywolf.

Words on Air with Susannah Sharpless.

Also,  I’d like to note a recent feature from Mvskoke Media on the upcoming interdisciplinary, multi-media art exhibit I’m co-curating (mentioned here). Liz Gray did a great job accurately and efficiently introducing the show and some of the original thinking that led to its creation. I’m thrilled and grateful for the feature. And, more and more, I’m growing excited to see the work being submitted, though I know when it comes time to make selections, I’m going to have to make some very tough calls.

A part, not apart.

Catch me at Tulsa Litfest

small-press-panel-graphic

Anyone who is around Tulsa in late April should register for and stop by the first ever Tulsa LitFest, presented by the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. Spots are limited and filling fast so registration is highly recommended.

I’ll be moderating a Small Press Panel with a few incredible publishers:

AWST PRESS: Awst Press, based in Austin, TX, features impressive work from diverse voices. Awst endeavors to support authors through each project and beyond by increasing their respective audiences, playing an active role in the editorial and publishing process of all projects, promoting their activities well past their publication with Awst via the website and social media, and seeking ways to compensate them for their efforts including generous royalties and identifying grants for which they might be eligible.

DEEP VELLUM PUBLISHING: Deep Vellum Publishing is a not-for-profit literary arts organization that seeks to enhance the open exchange of ideas among cultures and to connect the world’s greatest writers with English-language readers through publishing international literature in translation, while fostering the art and craft of translation, and promoting a more vibrant literary community in the Dallas community and beyond.

GRAYWOLF PRESS: Graywolf Press is a leading independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of twenty-first century American and international literature.

SIBLING RIVARY PRESS: Sibling Rivalry Press, one of the country’s premier independent presses focusing on LGBT literature and poetry, is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, with a mission to publish work that disturbs and enraptures. Its books, authors, interior design, cover art, and overall vision have been honored by the Lambda Literary Foundation, the American Library Association, and the Library of Congress, who, by special invitation, houses SRP’s entire catalog in its Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

A small interview- On Teaching

TCC Faculty Profile.

In which I talk about (or at least touch on in a couple words):

  • Trying desperately not to become a writer and failing.
  • Why coming to Oklahoma didn’t sound like punishment.
  • How certain hobbies inform my writing.
  • Dealing with the international travels of my wife through application-mania.
  • The inherent privilege of teaching*.

*Although teaching is inherently a privilege,  and I am inspired by my students on a daily basis, and, as with writing, I am not sure I could stop myself from being a teacher even if I tried, I would be remiss not to note, in solidarity with public educators, the current state of Oklahoma public teachers as the poorest paid in the nation