Mel Nichols – Six Tracks

A few hours before her public reading on 14 February, poet Mel Nichols recorded a short set at the home of Steve Evans and Jennifer Moxley. Here are a half-dozen tracks from that session, recorded at the dining room table on a pretty good microphone attached to a pretty cheap tape player, then digitized using Garageband, iTunes, and Audacity.

Voice Over (0:39)

Day Poem: I kiss you, city… (0:40)

Day Poem: Earth breathing fireworks…. (1:07)

Sur le neige (0:39)

Notes from the Forest (2:30)

Poet Mel Nichols in Maine (photo by Benjamin Friedlander)

Mel Nichols in Maine (Rod Smith in background, photograph by Benjamin Friedlander)

Up Next – Stephen Cope & Catherine Taylor

The spring NWS continues this Thursday with an afternoon reading and evening conversation featuring Catherine Taylor and Stephen Cope. The reading will be at 4:30pm in the Soderberg Auditorium. The conversation, which will address questions of genre and editing as well as documentary poetics, with special reference to Cope’s new edition of George Oppen’s prose writing, will begin at 8pm in the Wicks Room, Neville 304. Both are free and open to the public.

Cope’s edition of Oppen Catherine Taylor

Stephen Cope’s poems, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in XCP: Cross-Cultural Poetics, Mirage#4:Period(ical), Denver Quarterly, Shark, Sagetrieb, The Germ, Jacket, and elsewhere. In Spring 2001, he served as guest editor of The Review of Contemporary Fiction’s special issue on the work of David Antin. Cope received his PhD in 2005 from the University of California, San Diego, where he was a research fellow at the Archive for New Poetry. He has taught at universities in California, Iowa, and Ohio, and is currently a lecturer in the English Department at Ohio University in Athens as well as a faculty member in Bard College’s Language and Thinking program. His edition of George Oppen’s Selected Prose, Daybooks, and Papers has just appeared from the University of California Press.

Catherine Taylor is the author of Giving Birth: A Journey Into the World of Mothers and Midwives (Penguin Putnam, 2002). She is the editor of /nor: New Ohio Review and publisher of Essay Press, an imprint dedicated to publishing innovative, explorative, and culturally relevant essays in book form. Taylor took her doctorate at Duke University and is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Ohio University, where her research and teaching interests include documentary poetics, creative nonfiction, experimental writing, and American literary and cultural studies. She is currently at work on “Apart,” a book manuscript that combines documentary materials with the lyric essay in an exploration of family and nation in apartheid-era and contemporary South Africa, the research for which was undertaken while Visiting Professor at the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town in 2004 and 2006. Her essays, poetry, and reviews have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Typo, Xantippe, The Colorado Review, The Laurel Review, Jacket, and ActionYes!

Event Report – Mel Nichols & Rod Smith (Setlist)

NWS Assistant Katie Lattari compiled the following setlist for Mel Nichols and Rod Smith’s reading on 14 February 2008 (see event report with photos here). The event was recorded on digital video tape and will be available in dvd and vhs formats shortly. A lo-fi (8-bit) audio recording was made, as was an archival quality audio recording (thanks to Rebecca Griffin). Continue reading

Event Report – Mel Nichols & Rod Smith

Approximately thirty-five people turned out to hear a Valentine’s Day reading by D.C.-based poets Mel Nichols and Rod Smith. The first event of the spring ’08 NWS featured new work by both writers and a lively question and answer session. Oh, and a singing puppet. And Flarf. And….

Full set-lists are on their way, as are some audio highlights. In the meantime, a few snaps from the event.

Poet Mel Nichols opens her Valentine’s Day set with the help of “Love Ya”

It just called to say it loved you….

Mel Nichols reads in the UMaine New Writing Series in 2008

Mel Nichols reading from her work

Rod Smith reading in the UMaine New Writing Series in 2008

Rod Smith reading from his work

Rod Smith reading in the UMaine New Writing Series in 2008

Rod Smith reading from his new book, Deed

Katie Lattari keeping track of the setlist

NWS Assistant Katie Lattari diligently compiling the set list

Poet Mel Nichols responding to a question from the audience

Mel Nichols responds to a question from the audience

nichols-smith-qa.jpg

Rod Smith & Mel Nichols during the Q&A

Valentine’s Day mascot of the NWS

Our V-Day mascot, looking a little melancholy as the event draws to a close

Next Up – Grady Awards 2008

Please join us this Thursday, 21 February, at 4:30pm in the Soderberg Auditorium, as the NWS helps celebrate the achievement of this year’s winners of the Steve Grady Awards in poetry and fiction. The readers (in alphabetical order) will be:

REBECCA GRIFFIN (Graduate, Poetry)
Rebecca Griffin comes to Orono from Somerville, Massachusetts where she worked as an editor for several years. She loves living near her extended family in Orono, and is thrilled to be a frequent attendee of local bean suppers and church fairs. In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys cooking, walking around town, and chasing her cat around her house.

EMILY KOHLER (Graduate, Fiction)
Emily Kohler graduated from Ohio University with a degree in English and a minor in Classical Civilizations. Her interests include kayaks; road trips; Kevin Spacey; Pilot black ink, retractable, fine point pens; and all things Italian. She is a second year teaching assistant in the English department.

KATIE LATTARI (Undergraduate, Fiction)
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, then when I was 8 years old, my family and I moved to Maine and have lived here ever since. I’m a third year English major (creative writing concentration), and I hope to pursue writing in an MFA program after undergrad. I love baseball, guitars, and shoes, and currently live in Winterport, Maine.

STACIA MATTHEWS (Undergraduate, Poetry)
I am a fourth year English major with a concentration in creative writing poetry. I am graduating in May, and plan to take a year off before attending Grad school in 2009 to earn an MFA in creative writing. I enjoy reading and writing when I can find the time, and I love all Boston sports teams, especially the Patriots and the Bruins. Someday I would love to travel to and maybe live in Tuscany, Italy.

NICHOLAS MOHLMANN (Graduate, Poetry)
Nicholas Mohlmann was born and raised in Virginia. He earned a BA in English from George Mason University in 2005. He is currently finishing his second year as a grad student in the English department and will complete his MA in May.

ZACHARY RICHARDS (Graduate, Poetry)
Zachary Richards was born in Ellsworth, Maine on October 3, 1984, and grew up in the small coastal town of Roque Bluffs, Maine. He began attending the University of Maine in September of 2002 and graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in May of 2006. While an undergraduate he also completed minors in Mathematics and English. He returned to the University of Maine in September of 2006 to pursue a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

JENNY SMICK (Undergraduate, Fiction)
I am a senior-year English major (concentration in creative writing). I am passionate about reading, writing and theatre, and sometimes try my hand at playwriting for fun. One of my favorite things to do in my free time is have a good conversation.

MEGAN SODERBERG (Undergraduate, Poetry)
A native of Northern Michigan Megan first came to UMaine as a Marine Biology major, and then sort of took a left turn. She is now a fourth year English Creative Writing major, minoring in Women’s Studies and Film and Video. After graduating she hopes to attend film school (or at least that’s the plan for now), as well as continue writing and studying literature

CLINTON SPAULDING (Graduate, Fiction)
Clinton Spaulding was born in Hartford, Connecticut and moved to Maine as a child where he learned to hunt, fish, and enjoy the wilderness. Since then he has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. living in Arkansas, Massachusetts, and was stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas while in the Navy. He is now back in Maine writing poetry and raising two kids free from the clutches of censorship.

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Special thanks to guest judges Edward Desautels (fiction, NWS F’07) & Daniel Bouchard (poetry, NWS S’01 & S’05).

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Grady Award Winners S08 Collage

Next Up – Mel Nichols & Rod Smith

Poets Rod Smith and Mel Nichols kick off this spring’s New Writing Series on Valentine’s Day at 4:30pm in the Soderberg Auditorium.

Poet Mel NicholsPoet Rod Smith

Nichols is the author of Day Poems and The Beginning of Beauty (Part 1: hottest new ringtones mnichol6). You can read more about her here. And see a YouTube clip here.

Rod Smith first read in the NWS in the fall of 2000. You can read about him here. His most recent book, Deed, was reviewed in The Nation in December. He’s on YouTube, too.

Poets Rod Smith and Mel Nichols

Photograph by Benjamin Friedlander