Dear Tarheel Friends,
I’ll see you soon!
12/10 — Reading and Signing, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC, 2:00 p.m.
12/11 — Prologue with Ben Steelman, WHQR, Front Street, Wilmington, N.C. (radio broadcast)
12/12 — Reading and Signing, Pomegranate Books, Wilmington, NC
12/13 — Reading and Signing, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC
A moving nonfiction debut by Mississippi Delta poet Mike Smith, this memoir-in-essays, And There Was Evening and There Was Morning: Essays on Illness, Loss, and Love, tracks the loss of Smith’s first wife to cancer after the birth of their second child, offering a portrait of marriage, family, and tragedy. In honest, and at times darkly comic terms, Smith documents the strange set of coincidences between his first wife’s illness and his stepdaughter’s similar battle the year his second marriage began, and examines blended families, remarriage, helping children find ways to cope with the loss of a parent, and the influence of spirituality upon loss.
Tuesday, December 12th at 7pm
1. Bring volunteers of a colony to a boil.
Add the sign which warned the whole
thing broke, unstable, until bellies
growl and burst. But still the windows
about the pearly-white girl. Sunlight
is two-dimensional blues. In the sun,
finger over his hair and beard
until a bit is melted. Using your friend
and guide or electric beater slowly blend
the pale mixture into old news until smooth and whole.
Civility is salt and pepper to a new regime.
See the original and more at
“There are the odd rhyming resonances to which the bereft seem peculiarly attuned.”
Thanks to Editor-in-Chief, Kole Oakes, for the lovely chat about AND THERE WAS EVENING AND THERE WAS MORNING!
It’s so thrilling when I stumble upon a new acknowledgment of my first wife’s work, and bittersweet to realize that it is at least as relevant now than when she was alive. As I claim in my memoir, her argument that returning to inscrutable texts can help us learn how to stay in relationship to the inscrutable people we encounter has taught me how to be a better parent, teacher, and citizen. (Now, to start saving up to buy a print copy, so I can find it for myself. Geez! Love the title, too!)
This is an excellent short essay by Mary Volmer, which uses John Edgar Wideman’s memoir, Hoop Roots, to talk about writing as sport. Like athletes, writers embody re-creation as recreation and grow “original” through rote practice. It ain’t easy.
By Mary Volmer
The obsessions of writers and athletes begin the same way, as play. In his memoir, Hoop Roots, John Edgar Wideman explains that his basketball obsession began, “as messing around…throw a ball through a hoop, a fun silly kind of trick at first, until you decide you want to do it better.” He might as well have been speaking about storytelling and writing.
Writing starts as novelty, as messing around, until you decide you want to do it better, and become willing, as Wideman says, to “learn the game’s ABC’s. Learn what it costs to play.” What follows is a period of joyful mimicry. Not yet aware of the limits of your ability, you are burdened only by your own evolving expectations. Try and fail and try again, until the ball begins to fall through the hoop with regularity–until the writing, once derivative, takes on its own life…
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