Saturday, March 14, 2015

West Hollywood Lamppost Poets Project

West Hollywood City Poet Steven Reigns
I am thrilled to announce that I am one of 23 poets chosen for the West Hollywood Lamppost Poet Project. My face and a line of my poetry will appear on a banner along Santa Monica Boulevard during National Poetry Month in April. The project was conceived by Steven Reigns, who was recently inaugurated as West Hollywood's first City Poet. It's a brilliant way to get poetry in front of the thousands of people who drive, walk and bike along Santa Monica Boulevard on a daily basis.

A special reading to celebrate the project will be held on April 25 at 4 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library, 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. I'll be reading with fellow lamppost poets Teka-Lark Fleming, Amy Gerstler, Eloise Klein Healy, Michael Klein, Terry Wolverton and Steven. The full list of poets who will be featured on the lampposts will be revealed soon!

Find out more about the reading at this link.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

From the air

this continent is a jigsaw puzzle,
full of shapes and patterns –
perfect squares of farmland
and alien crop circles.

And from space
the cities are cathedrals of light –
points of navigation to guide us
when the road is hidden in darkness.

Up here, no one questions
your patriotism, your beliefs,
who you have chosen to love –
those are earthbound concerns.

Get up, off the ground, take wing
or you’ll never see the whole –
the patchwork nation we truly are
held together by invisible string.

A quilt is only as sturdy as the fabric
and the seamster’s precise fingers –
the needle pulled high and taut
before plunging back into layers.

Don’t be afraid to prick your finger
and always prick up your ears
when others try to define your freedom –
my darlings, there will always be blood.


Written on the occasion of the 17th annual Blended Heritage celebration at the Fayette County Public Library. The theme of this year's event was Patchwork Nation.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Weekend Update

The limited edition chapbook Poetry and Prose for the Phoenix Art Museum is available for pre-order now from Four Chambers Press. The chapbook features my poem "Turn Left" as well as responses to pieces in the museum's collection by other fantastic poets and writers.

Sibling Rivalry Press opens for manuscript submissions beginning March 1. Poetry, fiction, nonfiction and more. SRP has produced so many beautiful, award-winning books, including my poetry collection Render and The Venus Trilogy, as well as books by Saeed Jones, Ocean Vuong, Michael Klein, Joanna Hoffman, Megan Volpert, Steven Reigns and Stephen S. Mills. If you're looking for a small press that works on behalf of its authors and truly cares about your work, this is the place to submit.

I'm excited about my upcoming reading/workshop schedule. I'll be leading a poetry workshop at the Peachtree City Library on April 4; reading at the West Hollywood Library on April 25 for National Poetry Month; reading at the Ugly Mug in Orange, CA with Steven Reigns on April 29; and at the Battery Park Book Exchange in Asheville, NC on May 9. Keep track of all my readings at the Event tab at the top of the site.

I'm headed back to Paris and London this summer and there are some secret projects afoot related to Leaving Paris. I can't wait to tell you about them later this year!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ekphrastic Fantastic

The Bride's Descent by Philip C. Curtis
(Phoenix Art Museum)
Friend and fellow poet Julie E. Bloemeke alerted me to  a fantastic collaboration between Four Chambers Press and the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona. The press – which publishes a literary magazine and chapbooks – sent out a call for poetry and prose in response to pieces of art at the museum. Right up my alley!

Julie flew out to Phoenix and spent a few days at the Phoenix Art Museum looking at specific works she wanted to respond to in her poems. She came home excited and already well underway with her drafts for three different poems. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to Phoenix, but I was already familiar with one of the artists that Julie was raving about – surrealist painter Philip C. Curtis.

At the eleventh hour I decided to write a poem in response to Curtis' haunting "The Bride's Descent." As you can see above, the image is arresting. Curtis' has a touch of Magritte about his work, which I also love, and the The Bride conjured up all sorts of imagery: Kill Bill and The Bride Wore Black, chessboards, funeral parlors, the choice of whether to turn right or left at the bottom of the stairs. Ultimately, the poem I wrote and submitted the day before the deadline is called "Turn Left." I was absolutely thrilled when Four Chambers accepted the poem for the chapbook collaboration, Poetry and Prose for The Phoenix Art Museum.

In typical synchronistic fashion, Julie responded to another piece of Curtis' work, "Wait by the Station," which was also accepted for publication.

Sadly, I won't be able to attend the launch party and reading for the chapbook at the Phoenix Art Museum because of my schedule and commitments, but I love that Four Chambers has embarked on this kind of collaborative project with the museum. There should be more of this. Much more.

Ekphrastic poetry has been much on my mind as I continue my series of poems about women in film, so this acceptance for the new chapbook is just another link in the chain of my future work.

Thank you Four Chambers, Phoenix Art Museum and Julie!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A quick update on "Leaving Paris"

For those who don't follow me on social media, I've been burning the midnight oil finishing up the third novel in The Venus Trilogy. Leaving Paris is about a week away from going to my editor before being submitted to Sibling Rivalry Press for further editing and production.

I began red-lining a printed copy of the manuscript the weekend after Christmas. I'm about a dozen pages away from completing those corrections, which also included several small rewrites and expanding on various scenes. The manuscript is now two pages longer because of those additions.

This weekend, I'll be adding two of Martin's poems and inserting a couple of dream sequences that offer clues to the big mystery that is revealed – and solved – at the end of the book.

Martin and Irène's journey is coming to a close, but there is a very good chance that Diane and her detective husband, Bernard Sullivan, might show up in a book of their own one day. A proper mystery in the Nick and Nora Charles vein, but with a lot more profanity and name-calling. That's a little spoiler for y'all.

More soon!

Collin Kelley: Modern Confessional

Welcome to Collin Kelley: Modern Confessional, the website for poet, novelist, playwright and journalist Collin Kelley.