Report: Atlanta Queer Literary Festival

Over the weekend I made a jaunt down to Atlanta for the AQLF. It was super fun!

I got in Friday night and had a nice dinner with friends, then went back to my hotel and hit the hay. Saturday I had breakfast with Jim Elledge, which is one of the nicest ways to start a day, and then spent the rest of the afternoon reading my poems to people, listening to other people’s works, and chatting with other writers.

The festival was small, but it was nice. There was a very collegial and intimate feel to the day. It’s the most fun I’ve had at a literary event that I didn’t plan myself. LOL.

Other highlights were running into Michael Montlack, who edited My Diva, hearing Andrew Bierle read the opening of First Person Plural, hearing Collin Kelley, Dustin Brookshire, and Megan Volpert read their work, then spending various amounts of time hanging out. Jim’s new chapbook is amazing, by the way. H, the full length version, is going to be fantastic when it comes out.

Odd story: I rode MARTA (their metro) to and from the airport and around town. On my way in, suitcase in tow, a woman struck up a conversation on the platform with me. (Mostly, she wanted to talk.) It turned out she was born in Milwaukee and had lived in Tempe for some time, and also loved DC. Then she went on and on about all the awful things that have happened to her–losing jobs, losing savings, etc, and I was totally sure I was in for the long-form panhandle like I got last time I was in Atlanta (guy talked to me for 15 minutes about how he was a Katrina refugee…then, did I have $5?). But when we got off in Decatur, she very kindly asked me where I was staying, then gave me clear directions to get there. And she said, “Enjoy your visit.” And was gone. I have a theory on stuff like this that I’ll share another time.

Even weirder, as I walked out the MARTA exit, another woman asked me if I understood the directions or needed more help. I looked around and was like, “Um, me?” And she was like, “Yeah, you.” I thanked her but said I knew where I was going. I couldn’t believe people were so friendly. It was a nice change of pace. In DC, when strangers talk to you, they just want to know what kind of shaving cream to buy, or if they can skip you in the line at Target because they’re so much busier than you are.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun, and I needed the mini break from DC!

Story/Stereo….ROCKED.

On Friday, The Writer’s Center kicked off a re/newed free event series called Story/Stereo that featured readings by our first two Emerging Writer Fellows, Suzanne Frischkorn and Neil Smith, as well as a musical performance by local band Roofwalkers.

There was a great crowd–near capacity–in the auditorium for the event, and there was great energy and enthusiasm all night long. I was so excited to see young people in the audience, and I knew they would really enjoy the band as well as Suzanne and Neil’s work. Suzanne read from Lit Windowpane and shared some work from her new manuscript, which was awesome, and Neil read from his novel-in-progress Heaven Is a Place Where Nothing Ever Happens. Both writers received high praise from Howard Norman, who introduced them and discussed their work.

Roofwalkers did a cool collab with Suzanne (you can read a bit about it at her blog), and then everyone sold merch and signed autographs. This is the first time I’ve sold t-shirts and posters at a literary event, but I love it! The Story/Stereo posters and shirts are super cool.

The next event will be Oct 2, featuring Alexander Chee and Srikanth Reddy with musical guest Bluebrain.

Upcoming DC Events

come hear poets
PLUS OPEN MIC
artomatic solo stage
june 17, 19, 26

three big readings at dc’s
all-free, all action, artomatic,
by artists, for everyone
get the latest here:
comehearpoets.blogspot.com

wednesday, june 17, 7-8:30 pm
Richard Peabody (Gargoyle, Last of the Red Hot Magnetos)
Maria Padhila (Capitol Cougar blog)
Dallas Corsair (Z-Spot)

friday, june 19, 9-10:30 pm
Rose Solari (Orpheus in the Park)
Charles Jensen (Living Things, The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon)
plus performance poets isee
and Brewster von Thyme Thackeray with musical accompaniment

friday, june 26, 9-10:30 pm
Reb Livingston (No Tell Motel, Your Ten Favorite Words)
Reuben Jackson (fingering the keys)
David Beaudouin (THE PEARL, Human Nature)
Pamela Murray Winters (Once Daily As Directed blog)

…and you
open mic signup starts 30 minutes before each reading

books for sale, surprise guests,
homemade cookies
55 M Street, SE
http://www.artomatic.org