The APRIL Blog

Oct 15

Acrostics in Thanks

We’ve had a blast writing silly acrostic poems to thank all of APRIL 2015’s supporters. Check them out!

Oct 01

Reverse Fan Mail Authors for APRIL 2015

The annual Reverse Fan Mail project is one of our favorite parts of APRIL. The process is simple: one person makes a donation to the festival, then we take their name and send it to one of our favorite small press authors. That author then writes a brand new, never-published piece of writing with the donor’s name as their ‘prompt’ or inspiration. Then we send a hard copy of that piece to the donor. It’s one direct way APRIL carries out our mission to connect readers with authors.

All Reverse Fan Mails this year will be printed as broadsides and feature a new print by Justin Duffus and it looks like this:

Donate on or before October 17 (the last day of this year’s fundraiser!) and get a Reverse Fan Mail from:

Jac Jemc’s My Only Wife (Dzanc Books) was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award. Her collection of stories, A Different Bed Every Time (Dzanc Books), is released this month.

Ed Skoog is the author of two collections of poetry, Mr. Skylight (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) and Rough Day (Copper Canyon Press2013). 

Shya Scanlon is the author of the novels Forecast and Border Run (Artistically Declined Press, 2012), and the poetry collection In This Alone Impulse (Noemi, 2011). His novel, The Guild of St. Cooper, will be published in 2015 by Dzanc. He curates contributions for the Twin Peaks Project, a series of analyses, reflections, and reminiscences about the impact of Lynch’s seminal show. More info at www.twinpeaksproject.com

Wendy Xu is the author of You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013) and two chapbooks. She is the recipient of a 2014 Ruth Lilly fellowship and co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry / iO Books.

Arna Bontemps Hemenway Arna Bontemps Hemenway is the author of Elegy on Kinderklavier (Sarabande 2014), which was named a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick for Summer 2014. His fiction has appeared in A Public Space, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ecotone, FiveChapters, The Missouri Review, The Seattle Review, Meridian Literary Review, Bat City Review,They Magazine, and Epilogue Magazine, and has been named a Notable/Distinguished Story of the Year in both the Best American Short Stories and Best American Nonrequired Reading anthologies.

Rich Smith is the author of All Talk (Poor Claudia) and the chapbook Great Poem of Desire and Other Poems (Poor Claudia). His poems have appeared in Tin House, City Arts Magazine, Guernica, Southeast Review, Hobart, Barrow Street, The Bellingham Review, Pleiades, Verse Daily, and elsewhere.

Kate Lebo’s first cookbook, Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter was just released from Sasquatch Books. She is also the author of A Commonplace Book of Pie (Chin Music Press, 2013) and The Pie Lady’s Manifesto, a zine republished by The Rumpus in 2014. Her poems, essays, commentary, and recipes have appeared in Best New Poets, New England Review, Gastronomica, Willow Springs, AGNI, The Washington Post, City Arts Magazine, 94.9 KUOW, Poetry Northwest and other places. She teaches poetry and food writing workshops across the nation, but especially at Richard Hugo House and The Pantry at Delancey. A graduate of the University of Washington’s MFA program, she’s the recipient of a Nelson Bentley Fellowship, the Joan Grayston Poetry Prize, and a grant from 4Culture.

Mike Young is the author of Sprezzatura (Publishing Genius, 2014), Look! Look! Feathers (Word Riot Press, 2010)We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough (Publishing Genius, 2010), and Who Can Make It (Big Lucks, 2014). He’s also the publisher of NOÖ Journal and Magic Helicopter Press, and writes for HTMLGIANT.

Jane Wong holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a former U.S. Fulbright Fellow and Kundiman Fellow.  She is also the recipient of scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Currently, she teaches literature and poetry at the University of Washington and the Richard Hugo House. The recipient of Meridian’s 2013 Editors’ Prize, poems have appeared in journals such as CutBank, Hayden’s Ferry Review, ZYZZYVAMid-American Review, The Volta, Salt HillThe Journal, and the anthologies Best New Poets 2012 (The University of Virginia Press) and The Arcadia Project (Ahsahta Press). She has two chapbooks, including Dendrochronology (dancing girl press) and Kudzu Does Not Stop (Organic Weapon Arts). Her poetry reviews appear regularly in Warscapes, a journal providing a lens into current conflicts through literature.

More about our festival and our other thank you gifts at aprilfestival.com.

Check out our swanky new tote bag! Design c/o Aidan Fitzgerald (aidandrawings.tumblr.com). Available now via our 2015 fundraiser. 

Check out our swanky new tote bag! Design c/o Aidan Fitzgerald (aidandrawings.tumblr.com). Available now via our 2015 fundraiser. 

Sep 25

Internships/volunteerships

APRIL is a busy organization hosting around 25 events a year and 100% volunteer-staffed. If you want to help us connect readers with independent literature, you can sign up for an internship/volunteership. There’s plenty to be done, so you can tailor your tasks to gain experience where you want it the most. School credit is not required, but we’re happy to work with your school to complete the steps to secure your internship credit if desired.

What You Will Learn / Do:

- Work with staff to select tasks that support educational goals related to grant writing, budgeting, fundraising, data collection, licensing, organizing volunteers, marketing and/or social media as your experience and learning outcomes dictate.

-Gain real life experience and practice applying classroom theory in an established, growing arts nonprofit and gain practical knowledge of event planning and costs, especially within Seattle and the literary community.

- Connect with APRIL’s fiscal sponsor, Shunpike, and liaise with Program Managers on account-related matters, such as submitting check requests, completing permit paperwork and more.

-Prepare a final report of recommendations/complete a final project based on preferred area of expertise.

-Provide minimal support to APRIL staff as appropriate and needed.

-Class credit may be available.

What We Require:

- Must have an interest in small press and independent literature, as well as an interest in development, marketing and communications, and creative nonprofit business management.

- APRIL is staffed entirely by part-time volunteers, so Interns must be organized and self-directed, with an ability to work independently and prioritize time-sensitive assignments.

- Creative and outgoing :)

- Familiar with social media

-Experience with grant writing, finance, and/or marketing are all a plus.

-Workload and hours are flexible but deadlines are firm; a minimum of 5 hours a week of work are required.

If interested, email a brief description of your prior experience, what you’d like to pursue during your time with APRIL (including the duration of internship/volunteership you’re looking for) and a bit about your favorite small/independent publishers or books to tara@aprilfestival.com.

Sep 11

Don’t die, summer: A review of SORROW ARROW

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Review by Book Club member, Hannah Clark. Check out our recommendations for further reading on Octopus Books.

My first read of Emily Kendal Frey’s Sorrow Arrow was while lying in my mother’s housemate’s room in the woods of Northern Michigan with an enormous and terrifying Santa Claus mask staring me down from the wall. Somehow this felt very appropriate.

Sorrow Arrow is a collection of short, witty and straight shooting poems that build to form a larger cohesive whole. Themes – sandwiches, strawberries, vomit, mom bangs — repeat without ever becoming repetitive, instead opening up a bit of this weird world with each lyric reference. “People are intriguing and boundaried / Tiny ships in paintings / A sandwich without several items”

I ended up reading most of the poems aloud to my mother, who laughed audibly at points like “Don’t fuck with me Christian PTA moms / my sandwich is overly mayonnaised”

But while the collection is really funny at points, the title doesn’t lie – there is sorrow here. Frey writes about the mundane and absurd, and deals beautifully with the feelings of growing older, the missed freedom of childhood, the absurdity of family, the divide between the wild and the urban: “I used to be so there under a tree / I really felt I was interested in freedom”

Right now is the perfect time to read this book, as summer is waning and that strong feeling of early fall nostalgia sets in. Frey says what we’re all thinking right now: “Don’t die summer / There are wolves among us / We promise to make more art”

Sep 09

More books from Octopus Books

If you’re “so sad you’re actually broccoli” that Emily Kendall Frey’s Sorrow Arrow is over, why don’t you try out a few more titles from Octopus Books? Our favorites are:

Picasso’s Tears by Wong May 

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Sexual Boat (Sex Boats) by James Gendron

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The Trees The Trees by Heather Christle (an APRIL 2013 reader! You can see art inspired by this book that was featured at Vignettes Gallery by clicking here.)

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Balloon Pop Outlaw Black by Patricia Lockwood

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40 Watts by C.D. Wright

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Aug 08

It’s not that bad being lonely: a review of Thomas Patrick Levy’s I DON’T MIND IF YOU’RE FEELING ALONE

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by APRIL Book Club member Sarah Baker

Reading I Don’t Mind If You’re Feeling Alone, you never quite feel that you are following Thomas Patrick Levy’s words; instead, you are caught in their current. The rush of imagery propels you through each scene, but it isn’t a journey without friction. There are so many textures here: carpet, hair, puddles, burning oil, sparkling lemonade.

Chronology and continuity are not strict or chartable either, like the dream you had last night but whose exact details you can’t remember. Levy restores those spaces with events both uncanny and intimate, absurd but familiar:

“The colors cutting through the silk we left in the lawn. This might be how they build their homes. Each toe like a kernel of corn. This is how we take off our clothes. The nests of silk so quiet. It hurts like sleep to build a home and most nights you are not this soft.”

The poems are most enjoyable when you allow his scattershot imagery to pile up in the back of your mind, so you feel the pull of déjà vu when an object or character arrives in a new context. Or, when images are inverted in a few lines:

“And Scarlett once I watched a man make your body in reverse and the dress he made you wear I swear was made of thin orange threads of my sweat … I see your knees bare as fields near the freeways and I see your knees crushed carrot-raw on wet hairs of carpet”

The “Scarlett” above is from the section titled “Please Don’t Leave Me Scarlett Johansson,” first published as a separate chapbook. These poems have no punctuation, but like the other poems in this complex network they are strewn with capitalized dialogue, which turns those phrases into signposts, as if to say YOU ARE HERE.  When Woody Allen whispers to Scarlett “YOU ARE SEXUALLY OVERWHELMING,” even a whisper is forceful, insistent.

Levy takes you through lonely landscapes: cornfields, islands, deserts. And there is also a loneliness in his unnamed characters, identified only by generic pronouns that let the characters bleed together.  Even the section with Scarlett Johansson is undoubtedly lonely. She is a solipsistic figment, triggered by loneliness. Her faraway roles of celebrity and sex icon allow her to be whomever we like, whomever the “I” in these poems wants her to be.

Levy may say he doesn’t mind if you are feeling alone, but that’s only because it’s not that bad being lonely. At least there is beauty and strangeness there. 

—-

Get I Don’t Mind If You’re Feeling Alone from YesYes Books here.

more books from YesYes Books (Side B)

When we read If I Should Say I Have Hope by Lynn Melnick last April, we recommended Boyishly by Tanya Olson and Man Vs Sky by Corey Zeller as other great reads from YesYes Books. Today, we were sitting at a bar waiting for some food, and do you know what’s great for just that situation? YesYes Books’s “Poetry Shots,” quick and dirty little e-books you can get on your device and throw back. More invigorating that Fernet! Less offensive than Jagermeister! Great authors like Dorothea Lasky and Ben Mirov featured.

*Could also refer to the kind of shot that comes from a gun. Poetry is into double-meanings like that.

Jul 10

No prerequisites needed: A review of ‘Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic’

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by APRIL’s Frances Dinger

This book is brief, but in a pleasant, breathless sort of way. And, despite what the title would suggest, it doesn’t require any background in Heideggerian philosophy but a cursory understanding of Marx does enhance the reading experience.

Regarded by some as a South American Howl, Papasquiaro’s book deftly confronts the collision of working class culture and high art.

His juxtapositions are often both comical and poignant: “& all because you need to you’re desperate to let go & cry openly / with nobody & nothing to interrupt you / not even those chicks in hot pants … / & you’re not the only 1 who claims to be the only passenger / on his schizophrenic submarine”

For Papasquiaro, the personal is political at the same time that the individual is entirely singular but also just a part of a larger social structure entirely out of their control. This is the kind of poetry you want to read in a rage against injustice, or hungover, or heartbroken. 

In brief, this is the perfect summer poetry book because it lets you choose your level of engagement. Enjoy the ride of the language or engage with the political subtext. Either way will honor this book.

But that is enough from 1 person with 1 opinion. Grab a cold beer or iced coffee, sit on a stoop and read this book. 

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Buy Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic here.

more books from Wave Books

Seattle-based Wave Books (publisher of June’s APRIL Book Club title) publishes beautifully designed, award-winning titles by established poets and their catalog is STUFFED with our favorite books. Here’s a few to start:

Destroyer and Preserver by Matthew Rohrer (an APRIL 2013 reader)

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

Snowflake / different streets by Eileen Myles (2 books in one!)

The Most of It by Mary Ruefle

If I Don’t Breathe How Do I Sleep by Joe Wenderoth

PS- Check out their subscriptions!