We’re honored to have Matthew Gavin Frank read at our 2016 Blue Light Reading here in Bloomington, IN in just one week. To celebrate, we asked Matt a few questions about how he started writing (it’s a great story), his experience designing menus for Julia Roberts’s private parties (no kidding), his research process (some of which was even unintentional!), and if he believes in sea monsters. We hope you enjoy his responses as much as we do, and that you’ll come on out to hear him read from his work at our annual Blue Light Reading at The Bishop March 5 at 7 PM. Read more…
Posts Categorized: Blue Light Reading Series
Indiana Review is getting ready for the annual Blue Light Reading–where we have the great honor of inviting three readers to not only share their work but also conduct a workshop, open to all. We are proud to have Elizabeth Eslami as one of our readers this year. In this interview, she discusses her short-story collection Hibernate, her Blue Light Workshop theme, and some advice for all writers.
Elizabeth Eslami is the author of the story collection, Hibernate (The Ohio State University Press, 2014), for which she was awarded the Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction, and the novel Bone Worship (Pegasus, 2010). Her essays, short stories, and travel writing have appeared most recently in The Sun and Witness, and her work is featured in the anthologies Tremors: New Fiction By Iranian American Writers, The Weeklings: Revolution 1, and Writing Off Script: Writers on the Influence of Cinema.
She currently teaches creative writing at Indiana University.
Thanks to Mike Notaro and the Bishop Bar, we have provided the recordings of the readings and Super Regal’s set above. The order from top to bottom: Super Regal, Stacey Lynn Brown, Kiese Laymon, and Kathleen Rooney.
Last Saturday, March 29th, Indiana Review hosted the fourth annual Blue Light Reading Series at the Bishop Bar, and we’re still nursing our literary hangovers—this year’s readers delivered some of their most inebriating prose (gotta love extended metaphors), and we feel compelled to gush about the night.
On Friday afternoon we pre-gamed with dynamo author Kathleen Rooney at her “Poems While You Wait” workshop. After weeks of scavenging for as many functional typewriters as possible, we finally acquired enough to set an early twentieth century vibe for the presentation, typewriters poised atop desks with some o’ that fresh new ink. Still, those of us familiar with the concrete box that is Ballantine were not as quick to romanticize the setting as Kathleen was. (But thanks, Kathleen, for the refreshing new perspective!) Read more…
Alissa Nutting, another of our featured readers for this year’s Blue Light Reading (3/29), shared some really interesting opinions and insight on media, women, and fiction research. Check it out:
IR: Was your first story collection, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, inspired by an “unclean” job that you had at one point?
AN: More generally it was inspired by being a girl in our society, and then a woman–two very unclean jobs, in my opinion.
IR: What initially got you hooked on writing about a teacher-student relationship (for lack of a better word) in your novel Tampa?
AN: It’s an act that seems to be happening so often currently, really proliferating–once I started paying attention to cases of female teacher/male student relations, I literally had a hard time keeping up with them all. What interested me were the ways the scenario is glamorized and in many ways accepted and championed in the media and society. Given the cultural factors, it doesn’t seem odd to me that it keeps happening.
IR: How did you prepare/research for Tampa? Did you talk with a female predator(s)? Read more…
This Saturday, March 29th, we’re hosting the fourth Blue Light Reading Series! Kathleen Rooney, one of our featured readers answered a few questions for us about her work.
IR: How much of yourself, if any, is reflected in the protagonist of your latest work, a novel, O, Democracy?
KR: The protagonist, Colleen, is pretty close to my sensibility, but in the book she makes some terrible decisions, because bad decisions make good fiction. One of the reasons I chose to tell the story from the omniscient perspective of the dead Founding Fathers and not a close first-person through Colleen is that I wanted to maintain enough distance from the character to see her clearly and not uncritically. So the character of Colleen reflects me, of course, but so too do the characters of the Chief of Staff, the Senator, and the all rest.
IR: In your book of poetry titled Robinson Alone you explore the mysterious life and disappearance of poet Weldon Kees. What sparked your interest in Kees?
KR: Kees is a quintessentially American and a specifically Midwestern poet, but strangely enough, I didn’t learn about him or his writing until I was studying in the UK, where the work of the poet Simon Armitage brought Kees’ existence to my attention. The fact that back then, around 2000-2001, Kees’ work was still relatively tricky to come by just made me want to read it more, and when I finally did get my hands on a copy of his Collected Poems, I was blown away by the humor, darkness, anger, and humanity of his work. The fact that his life was so fascinating, too, and that it was punctuated by a mysterious disappearance–a question mark following his supposed death date–just made me even more intrigued.