In the past few days, I went to two readings here in Houston: the Gulf Coast Reading Series (last Friday) and the NANO Reading Series (this past Tuesday). Both readings were fun. I had a fun time. So thanks to both groups of people who make these readings happen. After the jump, some notes about both series, the authors who read, and the bookstores, if you’re interested.
Gulf Coast Reading Series @Brazos Bookstore
The Gulf Coast Reading Series has a home at Brazos Bookstore, a small independent bookstore in Houston. I’ve posted about the bookstore before, drunkenly, here. I was not drunk at the Gulf Coast Reading Series this time around, and I’m glad of that because I did not have to get up and go to the bathroom the entire time. I was not squirmy, and so I could enjoy the poems of Adam Day and Adrienne Fisher and the tiny stories of Adam Peterson without distraction.
Adam Day read, among other things, a series of poems with the word ‘badger’ in them about a character called Badger. One of my favorites was this one, “The Gods Describe Building Bodies, like Badger’s,” which appears over at Guernica. I remember when he began reading this poem, I perked up a little at the opening line, felt pleased by the word ‘ladle,’ and later, then, I laughed at the popping out of the ‘penis and more’ when the gods shake out the body.
Following Adam was the second Adam, Adam Peterson, whose chapbook My Untimely Death I blogged drunkenly about here (I have since cut back on the drunk blogging, for better, I think). Adam Peterson read three short shorts: the first a very clever piece about turning all of the wood in a city back into trees, the second about Angelina Jolie’s dead body and how a group of people mistake her tattoos for a treasure map, and then a third, a bit longer, about a group of friends performing an autopsy on another friend to figure out what went wrong in his life. I can’t find any of what he read online to link to, but I encourage you to check out his blog, on which Adam has been posting his thoughts on his new hometown: Houston. Of note is his commentary on Houston weather, or this bit about his new ice maker.
The third Gulf Coast reader was Adrienne Fisher, who read a series of poems inspired by her travels to Europe and Canada, which, as I heard them, I remembered feeling very calm and thinking how I too wanted to visit a cabin in Canada. I remember talking to someone after the reading about how Adrienne Fisher’s poems were the perfect closing for the reading. I felt a calm sensation seem to settle across the room as she read; everyone became quiet, docile, which I think we needed after listening to the Adams. I mean this in a good way for all three readers. Oh nuts, I cannot find a link to any of Adrienne’s work online, so I’m sorry that I can’t be more specific here as to what I’m talking about. I wish I could clearly remember some of the lines from her work to share with you (apologies to Adrienne, if you’re reading this – send us a link if you have one?); I should have posted about this sooner, then I could have remembered.
After the reading, everyone politely put away all of the folding chairs and gathered in knots around the book store. I think some people went for Indian food or something. I went home.
NANO Reading Series @ Kaboom Books
The NANO Reading Series is run by the people who do NANO Fiction (editors Kirby Johnson and Glenn Shaheen) and is hosted by Kaboom Books, another small bookstore (with two locations) in Houston. For the first reading of the series, Hayan Charara and Sarah A. Strickley read some of their stuff.
Sarah A. Strickley read first; she read to us a series of mini essays (I think that’s what she called them) about her family in Kentucky and fireworks accidents and so on. My favorite of the short essays talked about all of the weird ways people in her family had died. It begins by describing how a relative died from rabies; he had accidentally mingled his blood with that of a jackrabbit while field dressing it. The next relative was mauled by a bear. Strickley told us that she thought the mini essays were really funny, and I agree with her.
Hayan Charara read from some poems, which he introduced by saying that he could not have read these to an audience had his father not left the United States. He also said between poems that his wife decided not to come to his reading tonight because all of his readings were ‘too sad,’ I think. And he was right. All of his poems were very sad. If you’d like a sampling of his poems check out this one, and this one, and these ones.
After this reading, some people had more wine and stuff, and others went back into the bookstore and looked around at all of the books. I had already had some wine, so I went inside. The shelves in Kaboom Books go from floor to ceiling. They have a big metal ladder on rollers that you can roll around the store to look at the top shelves. I did not get on the ladder that night.
That is all. Thank you for reading, and please check out these writers if you have a chance. And, as usual, if you would like to send in a post about a recent reading you attended, email us.