This year, we asked guests we’ve featured on The Blood-Jet Writing Hour in 2013 to share with us their favorite books, literary magazines, and reading series from the year.
Because I direct a local literary nonprofit, the Inlandia Institute, my focus tends to be, well, local. My literary life is centered around the organizations that make where I live more literary & lively. This year, I haven’t read nearly as much as I would have liked to, but what I have read has stuck with me, and the lit orgs that I have come to admire most are those that are working as hard as I do to shine a light on a region that is largely overlooked: The Inland Empire, aka Inland Southern California, aka Inlandia.
Thirteen of My Favorite Things:
1. Nicelle Davis’ book is a hybrid fantasy text of pop culture & religion. From
“Jesus Propositions Judas with Salvation”: We ought to cut / each other from our skin-tethers— / quit this arithmetic / of oxygen, / rubidium, / and flash of blue.
2. Louise Mathias’ is a gorgeous string of intense, brief lyric poems, like the title poem, “The Traps”: Missy gets tied to the rafters. / She likes the lack of choices, / I’m afraid: one, solitary / hummingbird / per zipcode…
3. Chad Sweeney’s Wolf’s Milk: The Lost Notebooks of Juan Sweeney, a “translation” of one of Sweeney’s ancestors. From the Translator’s Note: “Little is known about the life of Juan Sweeney de las Minas de Cobre. He grew up between Andalusia, Ireland, Oklahoma and Bolivia, lived centuries ago and has yet to be born….”
4. Juan Delgado & Tom McGovern’s Vital Signs, an Inlandia imprint book. It begins with the hand-painted signs and murals found all over San Bernardino. About the El Tigre Market, now gone: On one side of the market someone painted / a row of flower pots, hanging geraniums / for the locals who must now go across town.
5. My offspring, of course: Poemeleon: A Journal of Poetry & Inlandia: A Literary Journey. New issues of both of these mags coming soon. Also, Tin Cannon, a publication of PoetrIE. And, I love that Rattle’s editors are now residents of the I.E.!
6. Inlandia Institute goes without saying, so instead, I’ll say PoetrIE, another local lit org focused on supporting local writers.
7. Poets & Writers Readings/Workshops program, a major supporter of local literary events. (Thank you, Cheryl & Jamie!)
8. LitLandia – a quarterly reading series that brings together writers from the two lit mags I edit
9. Fourth Sundays at the Claremont Library in Claremont – run by poets Lucia Galloway and Frances McConnel.
11. Cellar Door Books in Riverside.
12. The Frugal Frigate in Redlands.
13. Inlandia Literary Journeys, a joint project between the Press-Enterprise and the Inlandia Institute featuring video interviews, a weekly column, and a group-run blog. (Thank you, P-E!)
Cati Porter is the author of Seven Floors Up (Mayapple Press), and the chapbooks small fruit songs(Pudding House, 2008), (al)most delicious (Dancing Girl Press, 2010), and what Desire makes of us, an e-chapbook with illustrations by Amy Payne (Ahadada Books, 2011). Her latest chapbook is The Way Things Move the Dark, (Dancing Girl Press, 2013). She is founder and editor of the online journals Poemeleon: A Journal of Poetry and Inlandia: A Literary Journey. As the Publications & Programs Coordinator for the Inlandia Institute, she writes for & co-hosts the video interview series for the Press-Enterprise Inlandia Literary Journeys project. She lives in Riverside with her husband and two sons.