“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.

After Action Reports- Veterans Workshop

The spring and summer of 2018 have been more focused on creating and submitting proposals for events and projects as they have been about actual writing. And as such, I’ve had little to show, publication-wise, for the year, but I’ve been able to create and participate in more events with my community here in Tulsa. That may not inflate my sense of writer-legitimacy, but I think it soothes the soul by bringing meaningful work to audiences who may or may not otherwise have access to it.

That said, another of the projects I’ve been preparing for has been announced and this one is near to my heart.

John Musgrave
John Musgrave— Marine, Poet, Father www.johnmusgraveveteran.com

After Action Reports is a joint reading/workshop for veterans and their families that I will be facilitating with my father, John Musgrave (recently featured in the Ken Burns Documentary The Vietnam War). This reading comes from two sources: my father’s writing (available here), which has always been a means of healing and processing for him after returning from Vietnam; and my strange relationship to his war, having grown up both utterly disconnected from it and yet intimately shaped by it. After Action Reports hopes to offer tools for how to make writing a viable tool for for veterans and their families, through the combined perspectives of a Marine Infantryman and his adult, civilian son.

For more information, including time, location, and dates of the event, please see the official announcement from the McKeon Center for Creativity. For further updates on my Father, and to contact him directly, you can find him at www.johnmusgraveveteran.com.

Convergence— Call for Artists

Sunrise Hunt
“Sunrise Hunt,” Oil on canvas, by Yatika Fields 2018

I’m pleased to announce I’ll be curating a multi-media, interdisciplinary art exhibit and workshop this coming year at the Center for Creativity in downtown Tulsa. The show will examine humanity’s place in the world with a goal of challenging the commonly held western ontology of humans as separate from or special among the natural world. I will be joined as curator by one of my good friends, fellow Osage, and Tulsa Artist Fellow, Yatika Starr Fields. Yatika’s work is an inspiration to me and it embodies much of the aims of this upcoming show and I couldn’t have asked for a better collaborator.

As a part of the show, I will be giving a craft talk on how to be present in the natural world through photography and writing, using examples from my own process. From this workshop, Yatika will gather ideas for, design, and paint a mural that will live in the Center for Creativity.

The Call for Artists PDF can be found here: Convergence: Challenging Anthropocentrism.

For additional information, or to read the Call for Artists in html, please see here: Call for Artists.

To see more of Yatika’s amazing and moving art, you can find him at Yatikafields.com.

New web series— Words on Air

This has been a summer of drafting and traveling, so the publication news has been sparse. However, I’d like to let everyone know that OSU’s Center for Poets and Writers is releasing a new web series, “Words on Air.” The series will be uploading new episodes weekly for at least the next couple months with more to come at a later date.

As a part of Tulsa LitFest, I had the pleasure of interviewing the illustrious Susannah Sharpless of Graywolf Press and this conversation will soon be released as part of “Words on Air.” My goal with the discussion was to provide an introduction to parsing the publication landscape at large and Graywolf Press itself.

If you get a chance, check it out. The series will feature some of my colleagues from the Tulsa Artist Fellowship as well as some of the best writers in Oklahoma.

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

Correspondence in The Sun

IMG_20170821_090218328_HDR-01
Maynard, August 2017

In the March 2018 issue of The Sun, the editors gave me the opportunity to respond to some reader correspondence. You may read it HERE.  I am very grateful to them for it. Although this is not a new experience, I was still surprised by this particular response to “Eclipse.” How strange, I thought, that someone could read my pain and react with such aggression toward me for it. But this week we’ve seen the teenage survivors of another school shooting receiving an even more venomous reaction to their pain.

I want to believe that those who see pain and think attack are outliers. I want to believe we are better than this.

I know that we can be.

“Eclipse” live at The Sun

My latest essay, of the aforementioned TBA acceptance letter, is now live at The Sun Magazine. (Found here in its entirety.) I just reread it and the words felt new to me even if the events did not. Like someone else had been writing about my life. I wrote the piece to power through my grief and take me outside of the moment and myself. Guess it worked.

Over the holidays, I missed Maynard a lot. I kept forgetting our new normal. That when we returned from one family event or another, there would just be one dog waiting to be let out, not two. I’m thankful that he’s been extended to others through this piece.

The headlines haven’t really let up yet, but I’m hoping that this new 2018 will bring more light to all.

Acceptance Letter (Specifics TBA)

I’m happy to announce that another of my essays has been accepted for publication. Until I have all the details finalized, I can’t give you true specifics. I am proud of this one.

MaynardThe piece, like “Worry,” was very personal and very easy to write. I wrote it to process and in some ways escape the death of my dog (the handsome fella to the right). It just flowed out. After it was done, I was reminded of the sheer biological necessity of my writing. This catharsis was vital. I knew I’d done it right when, after the rush of writing and editing and submitting, I felt scooped out and empty. I’d been excavated. For several days, I lay on the couch and could do nothing. It hurt and was numb and felt good all at once.

I’m so thankful that I’ll be able to share it with you soon. Maynard touched my life very deeply, and I hope this piece manages to extend his reach even more.

‘Worry’ in Best American Essays 2017

“Our power is patience. We have discovered that writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent, if only that person will write the same thought over and over again, improving it just a little bit each time. It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anybody can do it. All it takes is time.”
— Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday

I often turn to Vonnegut, not just for inspiration, but also consolation. August has been difficult for my family. I had to say goodbye to my loyal writing partner of over a decade, my dog. As I figure out a whole new daily routine and realign my senses to not be alarmed by my dog’s absence, there has been good news on the writing front. Small victories, as they say.

One of those victories I can share with you now is that my essay, “Worry,” was selected as a notable essay in the 2017 Best American Essays anthology. I am extremely humbled by this recognition. Worry was an ape who took me in and guided me through seven years. She was, in almost all ways, my grandmother, looking over me. She passed away in 2014, but I like to think that she’s still taking care of me.