In a reading list published on Electric Literature, Elizabeth Gonzalez James, author of Mona at Sea (Santa Fe Writers Project, 2021), recommends stories about struggling under capitalism, such as Temporary by Hilary Leichter, The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein, and And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment & Inappropriate Jokes About Death by J Mase III. In introducing these books, Gonzalez James writes that “unemployment doesn’t actually make for great fiction” and that she is all the more impressed when writers express the experience well. Write an essay in which you discuss a time you struggled with employment. Peruse the list for ideas on how to do this in fresh and surprising ways.
Hey gente, happy summer! This will be my last post on this blog as the literary outreach coordinator in Houston. It’s been a pleasure sharing news and highlights over the last two years, and calling attention to all the ways that Houston is a major literary city. Things are always happening in the Bayou City and here are a few more folks and events to mention.
All the Books
I wanted to take a moment to talk about some Houstonians who have books coming out in the near future. Ayokunle Falomo’s collection AFRICANAMERICAN’T and Tamara Al-Qaisi-Coleman’s collection The Raven, the Bayou and the Willow will be published by FlowerSong Press, due out sometime in 2022. J. Estanislao Lopez’s debut collection, We Borrowed Gentleness, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in October 2022, and lastly (and as a way to welcome a new Houstonian to her new town) I’m happy to share that Ariana Brown’s debut collection, We Are Owed, will be released from Grieveland Press in July.
Shout-out to powerhouse essayist Icess Fernandez Rojas as she interrogates and speaks truth to power about the lack of Black representation in Latinx Hollywood and offers an analysis of the new film, In the Heights, in her essay “When They Forget About Us… Again” published in Sofrito For Your Soul.
I am excited to see all the things Houston has to offer as readings are starting to come back in front of live audiences. Last Saturday, Write About Now held their first live event since the pandemic called “Mics + Murals,” a collaborative reading with live painting and music copresented by the Station Museum of Contemporary Art.
One foot in front of the other and let’s walk together to see where the words take us.Write About Now Mics + Murals event at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston. Lupe Mendez is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Houston. Contact him at Houston@pw.org or on Twitter, @houstonpworg.
Ripple, Kingston University Press
The 17th annual Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop was held online from June 13 to June 18. The conference featured manuscript workshops and generative classes in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and multigenre work, as well as craft seminars, individual conferences with faculty members, readings, and opportunities to socialize. The faculty included poet Thorpe Moeckel, fiction writers Fred G. Leebron and Daniel Mueller, nonfiction writer James McKean, and multi-genre writers Cade Leebron, M. Randal O’Wain, Jon Pineda, and Maxine Swann.
Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop, Hollins University, 7916 Williamson Road, Roanoke, VA 24020. (540) 362-6225. Christine Powell, Contact.