Here’s a special deal for those who teach: add Troy, Michigan to your course’s required reading list in Spring 2015, and Futurepoem will send you the lesson plan! Wendy S. Walters has prepared a series of writing and discussion topics associated with the book and beyond. Curricula will be available in early January. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I am thrilled to finally share the news that my first book of prose (essays and stories) will be released in 2015! For more news on Multiply/Divide, go here:
In the manner of Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Wendy Walters deftly explores the psyches of cities such as Chicago, Manhattan, Portsmouth, and Washington D.C. Her approach is varied, intimate, and inventive. In “Cleveland,” she interviews an African-American playwright who draws great reviews, but can’t muster an audience. An on-air telephone chat between a DJ and his listeners drives a discussion of race and nutrition in “Chicago Radio.” In “Manhattanville” the author, out for a walk with her biracial son, is mistaken for his nanny. There’s even a fable, imagining a black takeover of Norway. All of these pieces explore societal questions–how eras of immense growth can leave us unable to prosper from that growth, how places intended for safety become fraught with danger, and how race and gender bias threaten our communities. Walters’ haunting utterances are beautifully precise estimations of a place and its people.
Amy Sara Carroll writes: “Troy, Michigan, is located fifty miles from where I now live. It’s in my neighborhood, so to speak, which partly explains why Wendy S. Walters’s Troy, Michigan speaks to me. I’m still learning the neighborhood, though. Michigan remains exotic to me. I first came to love its “Great Lakes, Great Times” at a distance, vis-à-vis Wendy when we were MFA-ing at Cornell University (which also informs how and why I keep this book in my bag when I travel “these red and gold and ribbon days”). Still, neither of these explanations fully accounts for my endorsement of Troy, Michigan. Read the rest here.
J. Mae Barizo writes: “Wendy S. Walters’s Troy, Michigan chronicles municipal and personal history in this elliptically elegant collection of sonnets. This book swivels gracefully through eras in the city of the title, alluding to its mythic namesake while divulging the narrator’s observations on industry, race, and the tug of the natural world. Walters spent 15 years of her childhood in Troy, which is in close proximity of Lake Huron and Lake Erie; her father worked for General Motors.
The opening poem, “Prologue, 1970s” is a graceful testament to the continuing relevance of the sonnet to contemporary poetry and sets the tone of the collection with its opening lines: “Imagine you love sky enough to embrace / snow in the right neighborhoods outside one / gray city.”
I am so grateful to Justin Allen and Mosaic Magazine for taking the time to speak with me about Troy, Michigan:
“How might sonnets about a suburb’s past incite conversations on racism? While poetry may seem inadequate to many at achieving this feat, Wendy S. Walters’s Troy, Michigan takes significant strides toward undoing this perception. Even the most mundane of rationale falls into question: “Back then a fear of strangers did not feel / small-minded. Too many outsiders lived / in neighborhoods. Why not predict trouble / from mixing?”
Walters’s preceding volume, Longer I Wait, More You Love Me (2009), found the writer engaged with the long poem and experimental narrative structure. In Troy, her use of the prose sonnet to grapple with history, psychology, and autobiography further exhibits her ambition and dexterity.” Check out the rest of the interview here:
This year I am not curating the First Person Plural Reading Series. But I am reading at First Person Plural! Lucky me. Join me at Silvana on Tuesday, November 18th at 7pm with Cameron Fraser, Asali Solomon, and Marguerite Van Cook + James Romberger. Special DJ sets by Lady DM. Silvana is located at 300 W. 116th St. near Frederick Douglass Blvd, across from Harlem Tavern, steps from the B/C at 116th. Admission is free.
I am thrilled to share some of my thinking behind writing this collection on the “In Their Own Words” blog at The Poetry Society of America. Here’s a snippet:
“Troy, Michigan is a collection of sonnets inspired by the city map of my hometown—I wanted to represent the rectangle shapes repeated throughout of the city plan. I chose the sonnet form because younger writers often use it when they attempt to become a poet. Even though I no longer qualify as a younger poet, this book was also about bringing to life a version of myself from the past to try to make sense of the landscape that had shaped my understanding of both safety and danger.” More here.
I’ll be reading with Emily Abendroth (]Exclosures[, Ahshata Press), Brett Fletcher Lauer (A Hotel in Belgium, Four Way Books), and Frances Justine Post (Beast, Augury Books) as part of the Showcase Reading Series. The Showcase Reading Series features leading and emerging poets with books in this year’s Poets House Showcase. See more here:
New summer reading schedule posted below! I’ll be reading poems from Troy, Michigan and other new works.
Sunday. The Franklin Park reading Series at POPSICKLE FIVE, June 29 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Featuring: Mark Leidner, Spencer Madsen, Wendy S. Walters, Molly Rose Quinn, and Gregory Crosby.
Wednesday. 7pm with Eric Baus, author of the brand-new The Tranquilized Tongue and Karen Weiser at Berl’s Poetry Shop in Dumbo.
Wednesday. Poet’s House, with Emily Abendroth (]Exclosures[, Ahshata Press), Brett Fletcher Lauer (A Hotel in Belgium, Four Way Books), and Frances Justine Post (Beast, Augury Books) @ 7pm.
Please save the date! A party celebrating the release of my newest collection of poems Troy, Michigan (Futurepoem) will be held on Saturday, May 10 from 7 to 9pm at A Public Space in Brooklyn. Details to follow. Hope to see you there! You can get the book here.
A Public Space
323 Dean Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217