Friday, August 9, 2013

Reading Recap: The Emerging Writers Reading Series

The very first reading I did in New York City was as part of the NYU KGB Emerging Writers Reading Series.  I read with Jim Shepard, a hilarious writer whose fiction has a historical bend that really speaks to me.  Jim and the organizers were incredibly kind - at one point while I was looking over one of my poems before reading, he leaned over and said, "That's a good first line," a kindness that settled my nerves immediately - and the whole reading was a great experience for me.

CA Conrad at KGB Bar, photo by Amanda Calderon

When I found out last spring that I would be one of organizers for 2012-13, I was so excited to help bring that experience to a whole new group.  Putting together the readings was tremendous fun and I couldn't be prouder of how the season turned out.  Working with my incredible co-coordinators Amanda Calderon, J.T. Dawson and Gina Rodriguez, we were able to put together quite the group.

I was so pleased to host Dan Chiasson in November of last year.  He read mostly from his forthcoming book, and it was brilliant.  For me, the appeal of his work has always been the way he connects the natural world with the interior mind.  I'd never heard him read before that night, but he just blew me away. At the event, Charif Shanahan gave a more beautiful introduction than I could have, and student readers Chris Arp, Jen Levitt, Julie Buntin, and Maya Catherine Popa tore down the house.

Sadly, the second reading I was schedule to host, with Srikanth Reddy in February, had to be canceled because of a bad snowstorm that happened the same day.  I was particularly disappointed because Chicu is one of my very favorite poets, but all the student readers were able to fit into the readings for the rest of the term, and he'll be coming to read at NYU again this fall.

And of course, I was also a guest at the six other readings in the series, organized by my co-coordinators.  Just for posterity's sake, I'll list those here, too, and know that they were all wonderful experiences:

  • Tupelo Hassman with J. Scott Brownlee, Rebecca Kutzer-Rice, Sarah LaBrie, and J.T. Dawson.
  • Brando Skyhorse with Jackelyn Hoy, Marco Kaye, Matt Wimberly, and Dinika Amaral.
  • CA Conrad with Robin Coste Lewis, Jakki Kerubo, Michael Nordenberg and Matthew Thompson. (The image above is from this reading, taken by Amanda, because apparently I didn't take a single image of any of these readings.)
  • Siri Hustvedt with Emily Barton, Adam Dalva, Marina Weiss, Amanda Calderon, and Sultana Banulescu.
  • Joyelle McSweeny with Kanishk Tharoor, Christine Larusso, Matt Broaddus, Ed Winstead, and Daria-Ann Martineau.
  • William Giraldi with Edwin Aponte, Michael Mah, Kodi Saylor, & Javier Zamora.

All the KGB readings are a blast - crowded, booze-soaked, and filled with the best sorts of readings out there - so if you're interested in attending one next year, join their facebook group to get updates from the new coordinators.