I'll be reading at Backstory Books for Dan Raphael's FoPo Series:
Thursday, June 8
Backstory Books, 6010 SE Foster Rd.
Then, my wonderful students will be doing their annual Savage Writers reading:
Sunday, June 11
Common Grounds Coffee House, 4321 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Hope to see you there!
I can't believe it is finally happening. My book launch for Bruising Continents (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017) on April 28! I'll be joined by the glorious poet Stephanie Heit and musicians John C. Savage, Tim DuRoche, and Andre St. James. And, of course, you and 16 of your closest friends.
Friday, April 28
Ford Food & Drink, 2505 SE 11th Ave., Portland, OR
10 years in the making. My book. Along with gorgeous letter-pressed poems and my friend Stephanie's wonderful book, The Color She Gave Gravity, from The Operating System.
Bruising Continents is a love story to the landscape of the west and the south. A love story to the landscape of the body. Let me let some excerpted, incredibly generous blurbs of writers I adore speak for me:
"Claudia F. Savage’s song to her lover proves so thick in the throat that it also thrums a hymn to very eros. Bruising Continents strains at the page: it resembles the hive in one of its poems... "
H. L. Hix, author of I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language
"...The very title of Claudia F. Savage’s Bruising Continents suggests that each body is a world all its own, and each world a body—land a kind of skin, skin a kind of land, and the love story lurking deep inside the drama of these poems reveals that eros properly seen is a force as monumental as continental drift, as intimate as rain in the mouth, and that desire not only makes us complicit in what gives us pleasure, it makes us 'a pleasure-bird / seeking the damp seed.' Better than a book of witness, and better than a book that is wise, this poet writes us a book of becomings, gives us no map of desire’s realm, but lets the roots root down, and the tendrils tendril out, weaving us back into the exuberant, confounded song that is the erotic world."
Dan Beachy-Quick, author of gentlessness
"This book will break your heart, your bones and your spine with awe through its metabolism of light and language... Savage turns her alchemical eye to the process of healing to re-present the world to us through rain that 'wants to be music'."
Jayne Fenton Keane, author of The Transparent Lung
"Claudia F. Savage’s poetry seeps into your body and leaves you wanting more than simply a taste. Once inside her words, you want to devour and gulp ferociously until you are full of her magic..."
Katie Jean Shinkle, author of Baby-Doll Under Ice and The Arson People
Please join us.
An evening of rare duos at the Leaven Community Center.
Sporting (drummer John Niekrasz and Luke Wyland)
Thick in the Throat, Honey (me and John C. Savage)
It's OK Girl (dancer Danielle Ross and saxophonist Ben Kates)
8PM, 5431 NE 20th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97211
Humans are complicated, and I find that complexity—even as it pertains to murderous behavior or planetary sabotage—fascinating and repulsive in equal measure. --Laura Sims
I'm so excited about my interview of the dazzling poet Laura Sims in BOMB magazine. We talk about the end of the world, motherhood, myth, and poetic risks. Oh, and, her fabulous book from Ugly Duckling Presse, Staying Alive. The title feels all too apt these days......
My Micro-Chapbook workshop is coming to a close next week. It has been so wonderful to watch all the poets write such powerful work and support each other through that work. Just when you think you can't write more than 1 or 2 poems on a subject or in a certain form, you write 8 or 10! You write your own epic. Students are writing about their families, their obsessions, paintings, their work, peace, South Africa, the election, and water with phrases that ignite. They are funny, solemn, and deep.
Series can ignite a spark to full roar. I'm having so much fun I may do another class in February with all different exercises but the same idea. Keep the flame lit. Keep writing.
Come join us.
I keep thinking about the body and my workshop in a few days. How poetry can bring you back to the body. How writing about food can help you remember details that you wouldn't have thought of and place you firmly there in that memory.
This weekend a student of mine wrote about camping with her sister and eating steaming oatmeal with chunks of candied peppermint.
It made me think of the Ondaatje poem, "The Cinnamon Peeler":
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler’s wife. Smell me.
I'm excited to write in Nashville. To hear students talk of meals they remember. To use poetic form to craft the memory as sharp and sweet as peppermint burning your tongue in the early morning.
Huge thanks to the wonderful poet, Thandiwe Shiphrah, for inviting me to perform and teach in Nashville, TN next week. I'll be at the Global Education Center as part of their Line Breaks Literary Series on Friday night and Saturday. My workshop is: Recapturing the Sensual: Poems of Food and Memory. We'll be reading juicy, deep poets and making luscious work of our own. I'm beyond excited to write with a beautiful new community. Their website alone gives me joy. Thank you to everyone at the Global Education Center for making this possible. Send your southern friends my way.
Nashville here I come!
I'm a pretty frugal person. I hardly go out to eat and I wear my clothes till they practically walk by themselves. But, the three years I sent my book out, I became a gambler. The $25 - $40 slots were also known as "poetry book reading/contest fees." Every month, I rolled the dice and sent my book out another few places. There were places that had no reading fees, or you could buy a book or two in exchange for reading fees, but, most of the time, a first book award or press I loved was just too tempting. Copper Canyon? Of course. Yale Younger Poets Award? BOA? Omnidawn? You bet. I couldn't resist the thought of winning something and getting my book published. I would see my credit card bill each month and shudder. Another $100 and, a few months later, another 4 rejections in my inbox. Or, worse, a finalist or semifinalist in my inbox, but no publication. Those semifinalist emails made me bolder or dumber, depending on your point of view.
I revised my book dozens of times. I kept sending it out. I read more and more books by my peers. I researched and developed strategies and watched my bank account dwindle. Most presses would send me the odds: 866 manuscripts or 580, or, the worst, 1600 manuscripts for 1 published book.
Still. I couldn't stop. I had come so far. So many finalists. So many "you were one of three, but we went with the other two." So many, "we loved your work, please try us again." There was no logic at all to my persistence except raw desire to see it all through. And, as more and more of the individual poems and poetic series got published in journals I became more determined. Half my book was accepted in journals, then, three-quarters of my book. Surely someone would pick up the full thing soon. Right?
The month after I got a brutal rejection (really, 8 paragraphs of what you hated? whew. rent a movie or take the dog on a walk.) And, then, it happened. The lovely publisher Spuyten Duyvil, out of Brooklyn, took my book, Bruising Continents. The publisher loved my long poem. Loved my eccentricities and rawness. Such a gift.
Of course, after over 70 rejections, there were no reading fees needed. But, of course, all those rejections made me revise, reconsider, rework the book. All those rejections, all those reading fees, made me work harder so that the next time, maybe, my luck would turn. Jackpot.
My dear teacher, Alice Notley, who I spent three weeks with in 2007 at the Atlantic Center for the Arts just won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. It is huge and it is long overdue. Alice is, in a word, a genius. The kind that works incredibly hard and lives her art every day. The kind that is so innovative that you can’t keep up–every book something new, exciting, unexpected. Reading her and seeing her read you are left crying and breathless.
I’m so happy for her today and for poetry. Sometimes it feels like the true radicals are always relegated to the margins. What bliss to see someone so phenomenal and uncompromising given the kind of spotlight she wildly deserves.