Sundress Publications announces the first two episodes of a new podcast, Shitty First Drafts. A podcast made for and by writers, the show playfully investigates the creative processes of different artists to determine how a finished draft gets its polish.
In the podcast’s first episode, Stephanie Phillips and Brynn Martin are joined by writer Jeremy Michael Reed. Currently living in Knoxville and having finished up his Ph.D. in poetry in early May, Jeremy shares that he didn’t always plan on being a writer or even to study it in school. Of the two poems he shares during the episode, one an early piece of writing from his undergraduate years and the other a more polished piece from graduate school, both touch on Jeremy’s childhood in Michigan, his family, and memory.
In the second episode of Shitty First Drafts, Samantha Edmonds joins Stephanie Phillips and Brynn Martin to talk about her process as a fiction writer. After finishing up her MFA in fiction this spring, Sam is headed to pursue her Ph.D. in the fall at the University of Missouri. While on the podcast, Sam discusses her broad range of publications from essays and short stories to Buzzfeed listicles. The pieces she shares during the episode are two versions of the same flash fiction story about a man who falls in love with the moon with such intensity that he decides he wants to pull it down from the sky.
Jeremy Michael Reed holds a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee. His poems and essays are published in Oxidant|Engine, Still: The Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere, including the anthology Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing. He’s an associate editor for Sundress Publications, and he will join the faculty of Westminster College in Fulton, MO in fall 2019. You can find more of his work at jeremymichaelreed.com
Samantha Edmonds is the author of the fiction chapbook Pretty to Think So, forthcoming from Selcouth Station Press in 2019. Her fiction and nonfiction appear in such journals as The Rumpus, Mississippi Review, Black Warrior Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, LitHub, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. She serves as the Fiction Editor for Doubleback Review and the Community Outreach Director for Sundress Academy for the Arts. She currently lives in Knoxville, where earned her MFA from the University of Tennessee. She’ll be starting a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri in the fall. Visit her online at www.samanthaedmonds.com
In this workshop, participants will discuss how today’s poems try to shift our understanding of the world, write new poems using those techniques, and think about how through their use of perspective, question, repetition, and more, speakers of contemporary poems take their reaction to an event and turn it into proactive reflection on self and community. This workshop will ask: what is active when poetry comes alive to you, and how do we use those elements of poetry to help us become more alive to ourselves and others in the face of current events?
This workshop will focus on how in the wake of traumatic events or in the midst of national arguments, we turn to poetry. After the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” was read online by millions. After the killings of black men and women by police, Jericho Brown’s “Bullet Points” is shared on social media again and again. In the last few years of national political strife, the National Endowment for the Arts says poetry readership is at an all-time high for the new millennium.
Jeremy Michael Reed is a PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. His poems are published in Still: The Journal, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere, including the anthology Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing. He’s the editor-in-chief of Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, associate editor of Sundress Publications, co-director of The Only Tenn-I-See Reading Series, and assistant to Joy Harjo.
The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is an artists’ residency that hosts workshops, retreats and residencies for writers, actors, filmmakers, and visual arts. All are guided by experience, professional instructors from a variety of creative disciplines who are dedicated to cultivating the arts in East Tennessee.
This small bookshelf is the one that sits next to my writing desk at home. On top are items that make a little kind of home altar, things from important moments in my life that I look at or think about while I write: some rocks from a river in Montana I used to go swimming in, a marker from a long-distance pilgrimage route I hiked, and some notes from friends. Underneath these are the books I’m thinking most often about lately.
I’m at the point in my PhD that I’m writing my dissertation, and the books that are most important to me and to that project are here. Across the top shelf are some complete favorites: Olio by Tyehimba Jess, Whereas by Layli Long Soldier, Sand Opera by Philip Metres, One with Others by C.D. Wright, and Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey. Others on the top shelf are newer finds that have really shaped my thinking: Testimony by Simone John, Hardly War by Don Mee Choi, Persons Unknown by Jake Adam York, and Blue Front by Martha Collins.
Across the bottom shelf are some books that are old favorites (Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, and Adrienne Rich) but mostly the bottom shelf has books I’m still super excited to read: Taylor Branch’s trilogy on King and the Civil Rights movement, Kevin Young’s Brown, Tarfia Faizullah’s Registers of Illuminated Villages, and more. In the bottom right corner you’ll see an abandoned system for keeping track of poems on index cards and on the top right are tucked some of Robert Caro’s life’s work, his biography of Lyndon Johnson, that I’ve been really enjoying reading in small pieces while working on other things.
Jeremy Michael Reed is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. His poems are published or forthcoming in Still: The Journal, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere, including the anthology Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing. He lives in Knoxville, where he is the editor-in-chief of Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, assistant editor of Sundress Publications, co-director of The Only Tenn-I-See Reading Series, and assistant to Joy Harjo. You can read his work at: www.jeremymichaelreed.com