Middle Coast Poets – A Reading Series

Posted in Poetry Readings on April 23, 2013 by paulscotaugust

Robert Vaughan and I got together for coffee a few weeks back and over the course of getting caffeinated and catching up on each other’s current writing projects, we lamented the fact that there really wasn’t any national poetry month events going on in Milwaukee this year. We joked that we should create one, and then it wasn’t a joke, and the planning began, and the planning for a one-off NaPoMo reading turned into an idea for a quarterly reading series. And so the Middle Coast Poets Reading Series was born! You can find us on Facebook here. We will have poets from Milwaukee and the surrounding states, and touring poets read each quarter, and we will alternate between the Riverwest and Bay View neighborhoods.

And our inaugural reading will take place on Monday, April 29th, at the Riverwest Public House at 815 east Locust Street in Milwaukee. The reading will begin at 7pm and go to about 9pm. The house serves alcohol, and books will be available from several of the poets.

The poets will be reading a favorite poem by someone else, followed by a few of their own, and are as follows:

Nikki Wallschlaeger
Matt Specht
Sharon Foley
Kari Freitag
Dawn Tefft
Paul Scot August
Ed Makowski
Andrea Potos
David Tomaloff
Brittany Cavallaro
Robert Vaughan

Please join us at our inaugural reading and support poetry in Milwaukee!


Why people hate poetry

Posted in General Poetry Stuff on April 23, 2013 by paulscotaugust

Molly Snyder writes about poetry for OnMilwaukee.com and here she interviews several Milwaukee or Milwaukee-connected poets (including yours truly) about why they think people hate poetry.

“It’s funny, people I meet – non-writers – for the most part say they like poetry, but don’t seem to actually read much of it,” says August. “But so much poetry being written today is accessible and easier to relate to than maybe ‘The Wasteland’ or Pound’s ‘Cantos.’ And it is so good.”

Read it here and put Molly into your regular reading schedule. She’s a good one!

The Next Big Thing

Posted in General Poetry Stuff on February 20, 2013 by paulscotaugust

The Next Big Thing

Christina Lovin, author of the book A Stirring in the Dark (Old Seventy Creek Press, 2012) was good enough to tag me in the blog chain that is going around known as The Next Big Thing interview project. Thank you Christina! Here are my responses to the self-interview based on my (hopefully, someday) forthcoming full-length book of poetry Apologizing to Fish.

What is your working title of your book?

My first full-length manuscript is titled Apologizing to Fish. It is currently making the rounds at a whole bunch of poetry book contests and I hope it grows-up soon from a manuscript to an actual book.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

After several years of writing, revising, and publishing individual poems, themes and patterns presented themselves until it began to look like a book. The title of the manuscript comes from a poem I wrote about going fishing with my father and my son.

What genre does your book fall under?

Oh, it’s definitely poetry.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for the love and relationship poems. Robert Duval to play the speaker’s father. Kathy Bates to play the speaker’s mother.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Narrative Explorations and lyrical bursts concerning dead and dying railroads, towns, parents, and relationships.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Well, hopefully it will win a contest and be published by a reputable press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I think after about three years of writing and revising and publishing this group of poems, I felt it was time to compile them into a book.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I wouldn’t compare it to other specific books of poetry, but I would say certain books that I read during this time period gave me inspiration and pushed me to craft better poems than had I not read them. Other poets are my teachers.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

While writing this collection of poems, I was reading and constantly returning to poetry by James Wright, Richard Hugo, Larry Levis, James Harms, Robert Wrigley, Keetje Kuipers, B.H. Fairchild, Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio and many others. They were both inspiration and poetry guides.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The amazing cover, which doesn’t yet exist outside of my head. For the book which doesn’t yet exist. But *I* believe it will, and it will be amazing, this cover. Trust me. You’ll love it.


Some other writers and poets I have chosen to “tag” and who will posting their responses at the links below:

P.J. DeGenaro’s blog can be found here.

Terry Lucas’ blog can be found here.

Christi Craig’s blog can be found here.

Johanna C. Dominguez’s blog can be found here.

Palm Beach Poetry Festival and B.H. Fairchild

Posted in Poems by others, Poetry Seminars and Workshops on January 15, 2013 by paulscotaugust

I will be attending the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, January 21-26, 2013 in beautiful Delray Beach, Florida. Now besides the fact that I will be workshopping with the amazing B.H. Fairchild, which is in itself reason to travel across the country, and besides the fact that the faculty is off-the-charts amazing, it will also be 75 degrees. In January. For comparison, it is currently 25 degrees here in Milwaukee, and icy. So yeah, see you on the beach!

Festival Faculty includes: B.H. Fairchild, Terrance Hayes, Jane Hirshfield, Tony Hoagland, Laura Kasischke, Thomas Lux, Tracy K. Smith, Lisa Russ Spaar, Marty McConnell, Rives, and Special Guest, Billy Collins.

You can find more about The Palm Beach Poetry Festival here.

Here is the description of the workshop I will be attending:

In my poetry workshop participants will critique each other’s poems, followed by a critique from me. Participants should bring along four or five samples of their own work (one-page poems preferred). We will use work by master poets to illustrate and discuss certain matters of craft. I will also make a poetry assignment or two during the course of the week based on the issues raised during our meetings and discussions.

More about B.H. Fairchild can be found here

And here’s a favorite poem of mine by B.H. Fairchild:

Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest

In his fifth year the son, deep in the backseat
of his father’s Ford and the mysterium
of time, holds time in memory with words,
night, this night, on the way to a stalled rig south
of Kiowa Creek where the plains wind stacks
the skeletons of weeds on barbed-wire fences
and rattles the battered DeKalb sign to make
the child think of time in its passing, of death.

Cattle stare at flat-bed haulers gunning clumps
of black smoke and lugging damaged drill pipe
up the gullied, mud-hollowed road. Road, this
road. Roustabouts shouting from the crow’s nest
float like Ascension angels on a ring of lights.
Chokecherries gouge the purpled sky, cloud-
swags running the moon under, and starlight
rains across the Ford’s blue hood. Blue, this blue.

Later, where black flies haunt the mud tank,
the boy walks along the pipe rack dragging
a stick across the hollow ends to make a kind
of music, and the creek throbs with frog songs,
locusts, the rasp of tree limbs blown and scattered.
The great horse people, his father, these sounds,
these shapes saved from time’s dark creek as the car
moves across the moving earth: world, this world.

New poem up at Mead Magazine

Posted in My Poems on November 19, 2012 by paulscotaugust

Mead: The Magazine of Literature and Libations has published my new poem Burnham’s Island, Prairie Lake.

Go check it out, and while you are there, have a drink or two with the other wonderful poets to be found there.

Interview in The Chetek Alert

Posted in My Poems on October 27, 2012 by paulscotaugust

Back in August, I did an email interview with a reporter from The Chetek Alert, the small-town newspaper from Chetek, WI., where my parents live. Their online version is a subscription only, so now that I finally have a scan of the front-page article, I can link to it here. They also reprinted one of my poems on the second page that originally appeared in Dunes Review.

I did not tell my parents about the interview so they would be surprised. When they stopped at the IGA to pick up milk and bread and the weekly paper, there I was on the front cover. (I think my dad’s reaction when my mom told him I was on the front page was probably “What did he do now?”)

Read Page 1 here.

Read Page 2 here.

Three New Poems in South Dakota Review issue 50:1

Posted in My Poems on October 6, 2012 by paulscotaugust

Three new poems of mine appear in the new issue of South Dakota Review.

Again, Burnham’s Island
Elegy with Great Black Wings
Arriving Home After the Second Opinion

Information about South Dakota Review can be found here.