Thursday, May 14, 2015

Updates: Hillary Gravendyk's poems

In the last year, a few projects and poems from Hillary were published and I wanted to give an update on those. Thanks to her friends and family for help with the task of pulling her work together. If you have any questions about her work, or her collection of poems Harm, please feel free to message me on Facebook.

There is a memorial blog page for Hillary on the UC Berkeley site here.

New poems from Hillary appeared in Newfound, and are beautiful. Read them here.

There was also a memorial issue of Comma Poetry dedicated to Hillary's poetry which is still up/the current issue, here.

Six wonderful collaborative poems between Maureen Aslop and Hillary came out in the Volta: Check them out here.

The poet rob mclennan offers to this list the four poems she submitted for the dusie 'tuesday poem' series, posted in July 2014. You can find them here. rob also wrote "a wee obit" that I'll relink to here on my blog for those who might not have seen, here.

In the last few weeks I have compiled a ms. from the remaining poems in Hillary's dropbox. Benjamin has looked it over and it is now with Omnidawn's editors who are very much and warmly interested. As soon as I hear anything from them, I'll say something here about it.

I also know that Hillary and my book of collaborations is slated to come out from 1913 Press next year. At the end of the summer a special pre-sale for Unlikely Conditions by Hillary and myself will go up on their site. I'll share the link when it appears.

Margaret Ronda shared this: I've added the links of her work to to the others on the website for the Hillary Gravendyk Scholarship (for the Squaw Valley Community of Writers). The links can be found at the bottom of each page. Find it here.

Cati Porter let me know that Maureen Alsop, a longtime friend and colleague and she suggested that Inlandia could honor Hillary through dedicating a memorial poetry book competition in her name. With Maureen's help, Cati contacted Benjamin and her sister and received their blessing. This year's contest just closed, but Cati is glad to say that it attracted some very fine work and they're looking forward to keeping her memory alive through this contest, year after year. If you'd like to know more about it, or would like to participate in some way in the future, here is the link to the page: here.

And a photo of Hillary from I think 2009. Because. Because so adorable. Missed by so many.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring News

I'm on sabbatical, thanks to my college for that. Working on many things I've wanted to explore and complete. Will have some news soon of two pieces of fiction I've published in the last month.

Otherwise, a very kind thank you to Rob at Sixth Finch for taking this poem here. My college friend Mark provided the inspiration by posting a sign from work from which I took the title.

You can also find three new poems of mine in the phenomenal magazine Sink Review, here.

I also was able to place a poem with The Equalizer. What a great line-up of people. Thank you Michael Schiavo. See the pdf of part two from this past winter, here.

I'll also be reading for Spoke Too Soon at the Minneapolis AWP, Thursday night. I assume you will be eating a burrito and visiting with your bosom friends at that time. That's cool. It's here though, if you are nearby.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter News

Thank you to Taos Literary Journal and Sawnie Morris for this incredibly thoughtful discussion of my second book Manifest, here. You invested a lot of piercing attention to this book, and that is a fact not lost on me.

Thank you also to Kundiman for allowing me to read on the Kundiman panel during the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark this past October. I had the great pleasure of reading with Joseph Legaspi, Chen Chen, Sally Wen Mao, and Fatimah Ashgar. The YouTube of that event, The Tenth Anniversary Reading for Kundiman can be seen here.

In other poetic news, I have gotten a lot of support about the poems Hillary and I had in the Banango Street: you can read them here (thank you Julia Cohen and Emily Kendal Frey).

Friday, September 26, 2014

New Readings

Tonight I'm reading at Snocky's in Philadelphia at 8PM for Philalalaia's Book Festival and for Coconut Books and Bloof Books. You may wonder what I have to do with Coconut Books. Bruce Covey asked me to read, and so I shall. The line up includes Gina Myers and Shanna Compton. This is a unique Philadelphia festival. I strongly recommend going to Tyler Art School on Temple's Campus to see book tables and the editors behind them, esp Bedfellows and Jackie Sacidario.

On October 25th at 10:50 AM in Newark, I'm going to be reading with fellow Kundiman readers at the Dodge Poetry Festival, including Sally Mao and Joseph Legaspi. More info on that soon.

I am submitting a full length ms. of Hillary Gravendyk and my work within the week. Wish us luck.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hillary Gravendyk Burrill 1979-2014

On May 10th, I lost my friend and writing partner, the poet Hillary Gravendyk. rob mclennan wrote about her here. Other postings are listed on a new page at Poetry Foundation's blog, here.

Hillary and I became fast friends at the Vermont Studio Center in 2008. We both attended because the poet-in-residence at that time was Alice Notley. We both reveled in Alice being around and willing to chat with us, her talks on dreams, and her incredible reading for the VSC at the end of which she promised to "burst into flames". Hillary even messaged me, "I see Alice eating toast in the cafeteria," and we were star-struck together. My new friend and I had long talks there about art and artistic vision, seeing people as they are, Agnes Martin, and our childhoods. We even joked during Easter Mass at a little chapel in the country about our being out of synch with the Episcopalian congregation in terms of kneeling and sitting, but in synch with each other (raised Catholic). We began collaborating then, inventing increasingly impossible poetic challenges for each other. I once received a whole piece of text from Congress about senate appropriations for the war in Iraq as my "prompt". I told her to write in alexandrines and hemistitches. She even made me write a poem that included the word "warlock" and I made her write a poem that included the word "Walgreens". Agony and dirty looks!

Somehow, we managed to visit once or twice a year since then, spent Thanksgiving together in 2010, went to conferences together, traveled around SF and LA, did all the fun things. I felt I had a very special friendship with Hillary and I only say that in public because really, just about anyone who was her friend would say he or she felt the same. She had a big big heart and soul for sympathy. She could read piercingly into situations and people's characters and always gently warned you of anything surprising that could happen in a social situation. That meant she made the people around her feel safe. I've already heard from her friends and other writing partners how calming her presence was. Also, she was incredibly funny and full of pithy remarks.

The perceptiveness she wielded on people, she used fiercely on poetry as well. She could see straight into the heart of a poem and know what was good and what didn't quite make sense right away: stylistic zags and the ultimate weight of it. Her literary mind was the best I've known: immediate and able to bring a whole culture/a whole cultural context to bear on a piece effortlessly. She was an appreciator of so many things, and her work itself was emotionally potent, but so finely crafted that her poems seemed to have evolved from some impossibly intelligent heart.

I am aware of several projects underway now to pay tribute to Hillary and to mark her life publically. I will post more about them when details are more available. If you want to mention any here, that would be great. She particularly thought this new review of Harm in the Boston Review by Julie Kantor was/is particularly insightful.

In addition, I'm currently in the process of gathering her poems and our collaborations at the request of her husband. If you are an editor who had correspondence with her about pieces she was about to submit to you, or are a person with whom she wrote collaborative poems, please contact me on facebook or at arrieuking on gmail. Thank you.

Here's a photo from the first week I met Hillary in Vermont, 2008. There was such a blizzard that they closed the elementary schools! In Vermont!


To know me as golden is to know me all wrong.
Every time I breathe in it smells rusty, like blood, and when I cough there is blood in the air.

If I were in charge of these special effects, I’d make it thicker;
it’s so hard to take it seriously. Bright little hearts and stars and carnations on a white cloth.

Let’s go out with a thicker line, a cerulean skylight,
rain that gets dumped out of a trough to thwack the pane of glass,
a smear of red like tempera paint across the cheek or the hand, streaming from the mouth.

Let’s have a disaster, a lake made of salt, a blackout.
Everything riots and unspools, the whole room on one side and all the sound winking out.

You stay here. Let me run into that starring role, pinker and more flooded with blood:
remember when it meant exuberance, remember awe? Let’s be that breathless.

 --Hillary Gravendyk

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Summer News

Posted a new movie review on Under the Skin at the wonderful Bitch Flicks.

Working on a play right now and the preliminaries for a Quilt course. Also: collaborative manuscript with Hillary Gravendyk. So much fun to work with her. Some collaborations that are up at Like Starlings: Click here.

Reading in Los Angeles on June 1 with Hillary Gravendyk and others; and in Louisville on August 15th. Scroll down and see the details on the right hand column.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Reading tonight at Tattooed Mom's, 530 South Street in Philly. And Wednesday, March 26th, am reading with the wonderful Deborah Bayer. There's an open mic, too. Dante Hall. Details here.