Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Some Q & A from my University Press of Kentucky Press Kit . . .

A Conversation with Kathleen Driskell
What was it like to imagine the lives and afterlives of your “neighbors?” How do you translate their voices into poetry that mixes both lyrical and narrative elements?
I’ve been thinking about the lives of these people for twenty years, since the day my husband and I stumbled upon the church property for sale and I spied its humble graveyard right next door. As a young mother, I was first moved—I could actually feel my heart move inside my chest—standing in front of a row of seven small headstones, infant brothers and sisters who died within a few years of each other in the late 1800s.

All cemeteries are filled with mysteries. I think that’s one of the reasons people are drawn to them. Mt. Zion next door is no different. Slave graves rest in one corner and at the opposite corner sits a man’s headstone that seems determinedly placed outside the boundaries of the cemetery proper. Those mysteries provide the perfect soil for the imagination to take root. It’s more difficult to try to place myself inside the grief of those who have recently buried loved ones next door, particularly the twenty-three-year-old son of my neighbors. As my poems address both those who have died long ago and more recently, I tried to take on, at least to some extent, the diction, sensibility, and rhythms of poetry necessary for the particular time and situation in which the person lived and died. I hope the reader can feel those differences when reading through the book, comparing, for instance, the lyric “Infant Girl Smithfield” with the more narrative “The Mower.”

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Hot New Release"

My new poetry collection, Next Door to the Dead, selected as Kentucky Voices title from the University Press of Kentucky--at least in this moment--is a "Hot New Release" in Poetry about Places!

Monday, October 20, 2014

"What the Girl Wore" featured on Poetry Daily

I'm pretty thrilled that my poem "What the Girl Wore" was published recently in the Fall 2014 issue of Shenandoah, a wonderful magazine with a rich and long literary history. It's an important poem to me. I think of it as a companion piece to my lyric "Why I Mother You the Way I Do" (from my collection Seed Across Snow  from Red Hen Press). Both poems are rooted in my teenage years when three girls I'd known were killed when I was seventeen. Two were sisters hit by a car while trying to run across the road in front of my high school after the dismissal bell and then a few months later the kid sister of a friend of mine was murdered. I've always suspected trying to understand these inexplicable tragedies is what spurred me on to be a writer.  I just heard that Poetry Daily will feature "What the Girl Wore" on October 22, a wonderful honor for a poem that was rejected about a dozen times before RT Smith took it for Shenandoah.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thanks to RT Smith, editor of Shenandoah, for publishing my poem "What the Girl Wore," which is included in my book of poems Blue Etiquette coming out from Red Hen Press. It's an important poem to me and I'm grateful that it's getting its little moment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, Host of Accents
I'm very happy to be driving to Lexington this Friday, September 19, to slide behind the microphone in the studio of Accents - A Radio Show for Literature, Art and Culture and have a conversation about poetry with host and friend Katerina Stoykova-Klemer. I'm grateful to Katerina for many things, not the least of which is her beautiful poetry (I can recommend one of her latest books--she's a busy literary citizen!--The Porcupine of the Mind). Accents airs live each Friday 2-3 pm from the studios of the University of Kentucky on WRFL, 88.1 FM. If you miss the live broadcast, you can stream from http://wrfl.fm. An archive of previous Accents shows is available there.

"The mission of the show is to promote the arts—local, national and international alike," so who knows what we'll talk about? Katerina is kindly translating some of my new graveyard poems--just in time for Halloween--into Bulgarian! That's amazing. We'll also talk about teaching poetry, I bet. We both have new writing classes beginning this fall at The Carnegie Center (see my post below). And maybe my newest fascination with pairing visual art or animation with poetry. But, really, I never what wonderful direction our conversations are going to go in, so I look forward to it and hope some you will catch if not our program then some of the podcasts from other Accents

Monday, September 8, 2014

Heart Like a Wheel . . . Teaching a Master Class at The Carnegie Center, Lexington, KY

With Kathleen Driskell. If you’ve been writing poems for a while and want to take your poetry to the next level, this is the class for you. Our efforts will focus on identifying the structural “heart” (or engine, if you like) of each poem you workshop; once the heart has been identified, we’ll then focus our discussion on structural elements that might be revised in your work so that movement, sound, figurative language, and the sense of each poem work together . . .

Friday, May 30, 2014

Charlie Schulman and Michael Roberts Riff on Collaboration at the Spalding MFA Residency in Louisville

MFA faculty member in screenwriting and playwriting Charlie Schulman joins his writing partner Michael Roberts to give a presentation at the Spalding MFA residency May 2014 to talk about their collaboration on the musicals The Fartiste and The Goldstein Variations, wildly different projects--one is uproarious, one is serious and mysterious--but both are musicals with poignant books and song. This duo had Spalding MFA students and faculty laughing and crying all within one meaningful and unforgettable hour. What amazing curriculum! 

Listen to a song from The Fartiste 
Learn more about The Goldstein Variations.