Emily read from her delightful and irresistible tale, Men Walking on Water, set in Detroit during Prohibition. You'll fall in love with the wide-ranging cast of characters, even those touched with evil. . They have secrets; they struggle; they fall in love; they seek revenge, love, solace, redemption, and very often, a big swig of scotch. Read this book and roar into the 20s. You'll be sorry when you turn the last page and find yourself back in the present.
Emily's #literarycocktail was a riff on a classic Manhattan, using scotch instead of bourbon or rye whiskey and a combination of sweet and dry vermouths, named a Detroit (obviously) and subtitled Deliver Us Some Evil, which the rumrunners often did in product (scotch) and often deed.
Kelly began her reading with poetry from her collection, The Witness, inspired by interviews with the victims of the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal—painfully chilling, yet necessary, writing and reading. Since it was October, she told a ghost story, an excerpt from her novel-in-progress—also chilling, only in a ghostly way. Her #literarycocktail, Forgetting, featuring rum, fresh lime, Chartreuse and Maraschino liquors, packed its own kind of wallop.
Kundiman Prize recipient Matthew Olzmann read from his collection, Contradictions in the Design. He made us laugh and consistently turned that reaction on its head with the emotionally charged endings of his poems.
His #literarycocktail was a Replica (of a drink we did not make for Moby), subtitled I-Could-Drink-This-Forever-Cocktail, both references to his work. It was a riff on a classic gin & tonic, featuring muddled rosemary and mint plus grapefruit bitters. A little research and Matt decided the medicinal powers of each ingredients turned the Replica into a health drink, and a tasty one at that.
Terry stepped out of the audience and onto our stage after a last-minute cancellation left us with a blank spot on our roster. How lucky we were to have a master read her poems with a social conscience, poems that are conscious of human nature and nature and the two intertwined, poems brimming with despair and yes, with a good dose of hope.
Her #literarycocktail was the Minotaur, referencing "Compassion for the Minotaur." Containing bourbon, Amaro Averna, Hellfire Bitters and bourbon cherries, it was rich and spicy, with a touch of (sweet cherry) compassion, because we understand there’s something dark and unlovable inside us all.
When we offered Josip his #literarycocktail, a Flushed & Quiet, he told his story "Wino" from Heritage of Smoke. There's a lot of drinking in Josip's stories, but this one begins with a non-drinking family. Here's an excerpt:
"My father, mother, and siblings—none of them drank. It was a little different with my uncles, one of whom fell off a barn after drinking plum brandy and broke his neck; another kept a vineyard and was always flushed and quiet.
"There were all sorts of alcoholics, and the worst of all [were] winos (vinasi). Something in the wine made these people hooked and incurable. Oh, you can recognize them easily, said Pop, They dehydrate, so when you see a man drink several glasses of water in the morning, you might look for the correlation of wine in the evening. Nobody needs to drink water in the morning except alcoholics, he claimed."
We were all a bit thirsty after #YeahYouWrite that October Wednesday!
Kelly Fordon’s work has appeared in The Florida Review, The Kenyon Review (KRO), Rattle and various other journals. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks. The first one, On the Street Where We Live, won the 2012 Standing Rock Chapbook Award and the latest one, The Witness, won the 2016 Eric Hoffer Award for the Chapbook and was shortlisted for the Grand Prize. Her novel-in-stories, Garden for the Blind, was chosen as a Michigan Notable Book, a 2016 Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Finalist, a Midwest Book Award Finalist, an Eric Hoffer Finalist, and an IPPY Awards Bronze Medalist in the short story category. She works for The College for Creative Studies, Springfed Arts and The InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit
Matthew Olzmann is the author of two collections of poems, Mezzanines, which was selected for the Kundiman Prize, and Contradictions in the Design, both from Alice James Books. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Poetry, Poets.org, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Brevity, Southern Review and elsewhere. He’s received fellowships from Kundiman, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Kresge Arts Foundation. Currently, he teaches at Dartmouth College and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Emily Schultz is the co-founder of Joyland Magazine, and creator of the blog Spending the Stephen King Money. NPR and Kirkus selected her novel, The Blondes, as a best book of 2015. It is in development for a miniseries with AMC’s Shudder. Her new novel, Men Walking on Water, is about Prohibition-era Detroit and was published by Knopf in Canada. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Elle, Slate, Vice, Evergreen Review, and others. She lives in Brooklyn.
Josip Novakovich emigrated from Croatia to the United States at the age of 20. He has published a dozen books, including a novel, April Fool's Day, five story collections (Infidelities, Yolk, Salvation and Other Disasters, Heritage of Smoke, and Tumbleweed) and three collections of narrative essays as well as two books of practical criticism. His work was anthologized in Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Prize Stories. He has received the Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Ingram Merrill Award and an American Book Award, and in 2013 he was a Man Booker International Award finalist. He teaches creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal. (Photo credit: Linda Ibbotson)
Terry Blackhawk is the author of Escape Artist (winner of the 2003 John Ciardi Prize), The Light Between,and five other poetry collections. She has received six Pushcart Prize nominations and awards from Poetry Atlanta, The MacGuffin, The Marlboro Review and Nimrod International, which awarded her the Pablo Neruda Prize in 2010. In 2015 Blackhawk retired from Detroit’s InsideOut Literary Arts Project, a poets-in-school program that she founded in 1995. She is a 2013 Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellow,