About the Event

The Blue Light Books Reading is a day of generative workshops and readings, free and open to the public. It is a time to come together as a community to celebrate the literary arts at IU, in Bloomington, and in our local community.

This year’s event is funded in part by the Smithville Charitable Foundation and the Ruth Lilly Professorship in Poetry, Indiana University.

The 2021 Blue Lights Books reading and workshops will be hosted virtually over Zoom on April 3rd.

Register for the reading here: https://events.iu.edu/english/event/181676-indiana-review-blue-light-reading

To register for a workshop, email: inreview@iu.edu. In your message, please introduce yourself to us: let us know your name, where you heard about the workshops, your connection to IU/Bloomington/a nearby county, what you like to write, etc. All levels of writers are welcome! (Please note: workshops are capped at 20 participants each.)

This Year’s Workshops

Stories as the Wreckage of Ideas – 10am ET

The World of Dew and Other Stories

Science fiction is sometimes called “the literature of ideas,” and writers of speculative fiction are often drawn to the genre because it allows them to explore ideas that they find exciting. But ideas as they exist in our heads rarely fit neatly into the strictures of narrative, and writing a story can sometimes feel like the process of ruining a perfectly good idea.

In this workshop, we’ll talk about the role of ideas in speculative fiction. We’ll focus on the disjunction between ideas as they exist in our heads and the stories that end up on the page—and how that disjunction can itself become a creative force.

Hosted by 2020 Blue Light Prize winner Julian Mortimer Smith

Logic of Disruption: Crafting New Sense and Non-Sense – 10am ET

The World of Dew and Other Stories

Because we mostly mean to communicate when we write or make a thing, sometimes we are labored to exhaustion in our efforts at making “sense.” Full, complete, rich lines and sensetences embellish the thought and there is nothing else to discover or ask of it. At times we make the mistake of making too much sense, relying on cliches, platitudes, a dogma to communicate. Other times, we just can’t capture or convey what it is we mean, and something mysterious remains in that absence. How might it be possible to artfully strike a balance between? In this workshop, we will first disabuse ourselves from the need to make sense before questioning the types of sense-making we privilege in our writing decisions—narrative over image? image over reason? sound over grammar?—then we’ll venture into the craft techniques which disrupt the logical desires of sense-making to produce nuanced and surprisingly counterintuitive affects. We will use texts and images from Bob Kaufman, Ai, Dawn Lundy Martin, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Douglas Kearney, and others as guiding examples for activating and confounding our senses and sense-making processes.

Hosted by Jonah Mixon-Webster

A reading will begin at 6pm ET, featuring works by Jennie Malboeuf, Sally Wen Mao, Jonah Mixon-Webster, and Julian Mortimer Smith.

About the Readers

Julian Mortimer Smith

Julian Mortimer Smith is a writer of speculative fiction. His short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Terraform, LightspeedBest American Science Fiction & Fantasy, and many other venues. His first collection, The World of Dew and Other Stories, won the 2020 Blue Light Books Prize and is being published by Indiana University Press (April 2021). He lives in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. (website)

Jonah Mixon-Webster

Image Credit: Aslan Chalom

Jonah Mixon-Webster is a poet-educator, scholar, and conceptual/sound artist from Flint, MI. His debut poetry collection, Stereo(TYPE), won the PEN America/Joyce Osterweil Award and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. He is an alumnus of Eastern Michigan University and Illinois State University. He is the recipient of the Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, Images & Voices of Hope, The Conversation Literary Festival, and the PEN Writing for Justice Program. His poetry and hybrid works are featured in various publications including Obsidian, Harper’s, The Yale Review, The Rumpus, CallalooPennsoundBest New Poets, and Best American Experimental Writing. (website)

Jennie Malboeuf

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Jennie Malboeuf is the author of God Had a Body, which was published in 2020 by Indiana UP and the Indiana Review. Her poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Crazyhorse, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Born and raised in Kentucky, she teaches at Guilford College in North Carolina. (website)

Sally Wen Mao

Sally Wen Mao is the author of Oculus (Graywolf Press, 2019) and Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014). She is the recipient of a Pushcart Price and fellowships from the New York Public Library and George Washington University. Her work has been published in Poetry, Kenyon Review, Tin House, A Public Space, and the Best American Poetry. She is currently a Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas. (website)