Tag Archives: marfa

Hot Objects

21 Sep

I have been kept busy by excitement this month: my friend Becca’s wedding in Marfa, TX, the launch (and reading at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN) of my first book, The Glass Crib from Zone 3 Press, finishing the manuscript of my second book, and coming up with fun lesson plans for any one of the 5 (yes, 5) classes that I’m teaching this semester.


1. Marfa


The Wedding Site


The wedding was one of the sweetest weddings I’ve ever attended!  It was held at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute (above).  The bride wore an amazing gown re-purposed from a WWII parachute.  After, we headed over to El Cosmico in Marfa for a fun reception complete with a tower of cupcakes!  I loved re-connecting with a few of my former Bucknell Younger Poets (2005 alums):


L-R: Me, Becca Wadlinger (the bride), & Sarah Smith

Marfa was such an amazing little town!  The pre-party was at the Pizza Foundation, which is a great pizza shop in a converted gas station.  They make the best pizza I’ve had in a long time!  Jeff and I stayed at the historical Hotel Paisano in “downtown” Marfa and spent our afternoon walking around, visiting the cute little bookshop, and lunching at Squeeze (which is run by a Swiss family and offers, among other things, gourmet chocolate and smoothies).  After the wedding, we went out to see the “Marfa lights” to no avail, but we did enjoy looking at the desert in the moonlight.  Very romantic!


2.  The Book


The Cover!


The book is here!  It was released officially on September 15 and to say I’m excited in quite an understatement!  You can order your own copy from Zone 3 Press or Small Press Distribution.


To celebrate the book’s launch, I was invited to travel to TN, where I gave a craft talk to an intimate class of poetry students (along with Rigoberto González, who selected my book for the 2010 Zone 3 Press First Book Award in Poetry) followed by a reading at the Gentry Auditorium on the Austin Peay State University Campus (where Zone 3 Press is housed).  Rigoberto gave such a moving introduction and I was literally almost in tears.  He gave me a copy of his introduction after for me to keep, for which I’m incredibly thankful.


Me & Rigoberto González


After the reading, Rigoberto and I signed copies of our books.  This was such a surreal experience.  Each time someone came up to me to ask me to sign their book, I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.  Was it really just a few  years ago that I was a giddy creative writing undergrad at UH holding out my book to Kevin Young/Nick Flynn/Matthea Harvey/Natasha Trethewey/you name it and asking them to sign a copy?  So weird.  I was really grateful that so many APSU students/faculty/administrators came out and that my writing moved them in some small way.  One woman told me that after hearing my poems about my sister, that she needed to go home and have a glass of wine (“or two,” she said).  Thank you?  I’m sorry?  Wow.


In case you missed the reading, someone from APSU has a video up here and there’s a write-up here.


Blas Falconer of Zone 3 Press was such an amazing host, I must say.  He put Jeff and me up in a hotel, drove us back and forth from Nashville (where we were staying) to Clarksville, and took us out to dinner in Nashville at mÄmbu and the Germantown Cafe.  I had the best time!


3.  Hot Objects


Hot Objects


One thing that has kept me busy lately are the 5 classes that I’m teaching this semester.  I was asked to go full-time for this term and I thought it would be a great experience.  I’m teaching 2 sections of Comp I, 2 sections of Comp II, and a Creative Writing Workshop.  I love making lesson plans (nerd, I know) and I wanted to share a sample one with you that I’m doing tomorrow with my CW students:


Hot Objects


Time: 1 80 minute class period

Materials: a bag filled with enough random objects for each student to have one (in this case: a balloon, a voodoo doll, a pinecone, an apple, a watercolor set, a doorjam, tanning goggles, a hot pink tiara, a map, a key, nailpolish, etc.)

Method: Begin the class by talking about the principles of persona and point of view in creative writing.  For the activity to accompany the lecture, have each student choose 1 item from the bag.  When all students have their items, explain to them that they will be focusing their writing for the day on POV/Persona.  Have them brainstorm for 5-10 minutes about their object using the 5 senses: what does it see? smell? taste? touch? hear?  After brainstorming, have student spend 30-40 minutes writing a piece (a poem or brief narrative story) in the voice of their object.  Explain that since it is in the voice of the (apple, key, nailpolish), that they should use the first-person pronoun.  Tell them that what they have the object do/see/etc. is up to them, but they should try to get “inside” the object and bring that object to life in someway through their writing.   In the last 10 minutes of class, have students volunteer to share their work and encourage other students to comment on the work as well as the exercise itself.