Apr 6, 2008

Pre-Conference Reading

OK, so while I thought the pre-conference reading would be poets, there was not one. The readers were fiction writers.

Mary Gaitskill, author of Veronica, was introduced by the editor of Potomac Review, Julie Wakeman-Linn, and she read from Veronica, which is a very poetic work. I have never read her work, but it is certainly descriptive, poetic, and uses imagery to get to the heart of the matter. I'm not too sure she is my cup of tea, to use a cliche.

She then introduced Dave Housley, an editor of Barrelhouse Review and author of Ryan Seacrest Is Famous, who read "Combat Photographer." It was a great short story about a combat photographer attempting to re-enter society to find a steadier job with benefits because his wife is pregnant and she wants him to be more stable and not off to war.

The next reader,
Nathan Leslie, read from his collection, Madre. "The Towel" was a great story about young families and the adjustments they go through; the main character Norman and his wife have very different views of parenthood. The descriptions of the various stroller models are hilarious. I just had to select the book of short stories for my free conference book. I can't wait to read the rest of the stories.

Lalita Noronha is the author of Where Monsoons Cry, and she was the third reader. Her descriptions of Indian culture and life were phenomenal. I was torn between this book and Madre for my free conference book. Noronha has a performance-like presence when she reads her prose, and it transported me to India quickly--even though she only read a few pages. I think this book will be one of the next ones I pick up in the bookstore.

Another Arab-American author, Susan Muaddi-Darraj, read last and her book is The Inheritance of Exile. Anna picked this book as her free conference work. I can't wait for her to read it and I can finish Madre; we're going to switch off and trade, so we can each discuss them. She was another reader that I really enjoyed, who easily transported me into the world she created.

It was a good reading, and I got to check out Rockville's revitalization, which is amazing with the new town center. It was a great walk, though a bit chilly. There also was a great Tapas restaurant on the corner near the VisArts Center. It smelled delicious and look reasonably priced. We'll have to make a point to go there sometime.

You'll just have to wait for the conference review later.

Please do not forget to enter the Poetry Book contest this month via the Welcome post, which has all the necessary rules and information.


Anna said...

I wasn't disappointed at the lack of poetry, simply because it made it different from other readings I've been to in the past.

I want to finish "The Gravedigger's Daughter" before I start "The Inheritance of Exile." You need to start "Madre," too. LOL

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the conference. I may or may not blog about it. ;)

Serena said...

I would have preferred a mixture of readers, fiction and poetry, considering this is national poetry month and all, but that is what I get for assuming.

I have not been feeling better yet, so the conference report will have to wait until I can focus my thoughts more clearly.

I hope you find time to blog about the conference and your thoughts about it. I'd like to hear your take on it as well.

Anna said...

I'm working on a blog about the conference right now. I started putting my thoughts down last night, but didn't finish. I did get my hour of writing in though. :D

I don't think the conference people thought about the national poetry month connection; they were just featuring whoever was available to read, in my opinion.

We'll have to go to another reading together when the writer's center offers them, though I'm not sure your hubby will want another night with the rambunctious girl! ;)

Serena said...

April 29 there is another poetry reading, performance poetry. I think it is in D.C. I may head to that one as well.

Hopefully, this sinus issue goes away soon.

I look forward to your conference post.