I am on the radio today reading poetry! If you're in Houston you can catch my segment in the 2019 edition of Voices and Verses on Houston Public Media. Click above to listen!
In this sound portrait, Walrath describes how she fell in love with poetry in high school, her love of the weird and her inspirations. She reads her poem, “Blue Cadillac.”
Oh, the way you sat in
the drive, taking it all up.
I climbed into your cool interior, sliding
across the widest, darkest navy seats
spread beyond me, beyond my vision.
They seemed to expand and dissolve
into a bright light on the driver’s side.
We drove, through endless lanes
of white picket fences, long green,
green lawns, the Texas sun staccato
in the trees, and it may be that I wore
an Easter Sunday dress, all laced in white,
and bows on my tights, or white slumping socks
above black buckle shoes shining with polish.
And in the heat of a Texas summer,
how you could swallow me up
in your blue dusty smell, that
sweet sweet tobacco tucked
into the glove compartment
beside a lady’s silver lighter.
For the sun merely seemed
to enclose you, a line of gold
light above the leather dash.
But the very roundness of you, round seats
and silver knobs and panels like porthole
windows into another time, but mostly
the round, stitched-leather steering wheel
which was surely made for white driving gloves.
And somehow in this memory of you,
your massive lines like some primordial
behemoth long since dead and buried in
ice, the very blueness of you, I may have
remembered myself, another classic beauty.
This poem was published in my chapbook, Glimmerglass Girl.
I have a reprint up at Flash Fiction Online this month of my little boney, witchy story "knick knack, knick knack." This little story has seen a lot of love since it first appeared in Fireside last February 2018! It also appeared as part of a local art exhibit, Color:Story. The above artwork is the piece that Houston artist Marlo Saucedo made after reading this story.
What I love about this story is that so many people have different interpretations of it. I first wrote it inspired by the kodama in Japanese film Princess Mononoke, and also the idea of wanting to tell a mother/daughter story about aging. Marlo interpreted the story as following the tradition of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. The idea of skull spirits is not central to one culture, but many. We put a lot of weight in the dead as humans, and I've always been fascinated by the different myths we create about the spirits who guide us. So I'm grateful that people continue to enjoy this little flash story.
Read the story at Flash Fiction Online . . .
This past weekend I participated in Zinefest Houston - one of my favorite local events. In this event, local paper artists create zines to sell--small, hand-made, individual books, pamphlets, and other paper ephemera. I've participated twice and I always enjoy this well-crafted event. What I like about Zinefest is the audience. It's mostly young people who are interested in meeting other writers and artists. It's also one of the most diverse and well-attended events I go to every year. I always end up meeting some lovely folks!
For me, the zine is about vulnerability. You can put something in a zine that you might not want to put online. You can also show off your skills with your hands. Each zine I make is hand-folded, hand-cut, or hand-colored. In this way, zines are ephemeral and special. Like chapbooks, they usually focus on one specific theme. I love making them and buying them because I always learn new ways to play with paper. We often forget that paper is what physically connects us to readers. It's a precious resource. Perhaps this is why most of my writing starts out as a handwritten draft. That connection to paper propels my imagination. It says, it's okay to make a mistake, in a way that Word, with its myriad of editing options, doesn't.
Zinesters are some of the coolest people I've ever met. They might seem strange to outsiders, but every time I'm around them I feel at ease. It's like finding your tribe.
I'm already thinking up new ideas for next year's festival!
This November 17, I'll be reading with Gemini Ink and fellow Finishing Line Press writers at Kaboom Books. I'll read a bit more from Glimmerglass Girl and try not to buy more books. Oh, let's face it, I'll probably buy more books.
RSVP on Facebook . . .
Feature in the Houston Chronicle: Looking through Houston poet Holly Lyn Walrath’s ‘Glimmerglass Girl’
Sometimes being a writer can be a little surreal. Yesterday, I went out to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to take pictures with the butterflies, today I get to share with you this Houston Chronicle feature about my writing.
Poems have always been there for me. I've had a whirlwind of personal life stuff lately. Putting out a new chapbook. Moving to a new house. A death in the family. But I can always come back to poems.
Thanks to everyone who has come with me on this journey and to those who've always supported my writing. It's lovely to know all of you. I'm grateful to get to share my words with the world.
"Walrath’s “Glimmerglass Girl” is an intense collection of poetry that speaks out from the first page. Not for the faint of heart, it’s open, but sharp as Walrath doesn’t shy away from letting her readers see the blood, even if she lets it drip across flowers and suburban kitchen countertops.
The female experience is a large part of Walrath’s poetry. Much of the work does match her interest in the speculative. The spirits of nature and the wonder of fairytales are common themes across her verses. However, like fairytales there is something dark and primal underneath the resemblance to children’s literature."
Read more at the Houston Chronicle . . .
This fall I'm hitting up a few book events in Texas. Here's where you can find me, pick up a copy of Glimmerglass Girl, and say hi!
Join Writespace and Spider Road Press as we celebrate the release of Glimmerglass Girl, the debut poetry chapbook written by dedicated Writespace volunteer Holly Lyn Walrath. The collection’s publisher, Finishing Line Press, describes the work as a “unique visual collection of speculative poetry [that] addresses femininity, feminism, and the intersection of womanhood and nature."
To celebrate Glimmerglass Girl, we are inviting women-identifying writers to share their own work alongside Holly at our Women’s Voices Reading and Open Mic. We are excited to hear work that examines all aspects of womanhood, and we especially welcome historically marginalized voices.
DATE: Friday, October 19th, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Writespace (2000 Edwards, Studio #208, Houston, TX 77007)
PRICE: Free to all! If you are interested in reading, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas Book Festival - Tabling with Bountiful Balcony Books
DATE: Saturday & Sunday, October 27-28
LOCATION: Texas State Capitol
I'll be tabling with Bountiful Balcony Books at this year's Texas Book Festival! Come say hi and pick up a signed copy of Glimmerglass Girl or one of the other awesome offerings from the Bountiful table!
Zine Fest Houston - Tabling
DATE: Saturday, November 17, 2018
LOCATION: Lawndale Art Center
PRICE: Free to all!
I'll be tabling at Zine Fest Houston this year with some new story zines! Come say hi and pick up a signed copy of Glimmerglass Girl!
I have a new poem, "Erasure" (after Ralph Waldo Emerson) - in ARTHouston Magazine Issue#7 (September 2018)
those souls / in the pictures /
breathe / memory /
in danger of forgetting /
that they had their origin /
in wax / and / paint / in the narrow lodging /
of a thought which pours itself /
color and form / barbaric pearl and gold /
I was to see / with eyes / pierced
/ with / salt water, to find that which was perfect /
in the chambers of / the earth
Save the date! I'm celebrating the launch of my book Glimmerglass Girl in Houston at Writespace on October 19! And, because I love this community of writers, it's also an open mic for other women who want to come read their work. I can't wait to hear all the amazing writers who I know will be in attendance. This is not an event you'll want to miss!
RSVP or Share on Facebook!
Hey y'all! I have a new poem up at the Ekphrastic Review. It is an excerpt from my chapbook, Glimmerglass Girl.
This poem is called "Anvil Crawler" and it is an art response poem to a piece of art by John Bernhard, a local Houston artist. I got to go see him yesterday and pick up my copy of the book Dreamlike Art & Deviations (Isn't it gorgeous?) which is now available on Amazon. John and I have worked together for several years now as part of his magazine, ArtHouston. So it was lovely to see him, the book, and his exhibition at the Art Car Museum in Houston.
I love collaborating with artists like this, and you'll notice that many of the poems in my chapbook are ekphrastic or pieces that are paired with artwork. There's just something moving to me about putting words and art together.
We weren't able to include John's artwork in the chapbook because it's full color and I didn't want to diminish the work by transferring it to black and white. As you can see, the color really makes a difference. However, I'm still glad that this piece appears in my book and it was a delightful experience working with John.
Anywho, go read the poem!
Here's my schedule for Comicpalooza 2018!
The Uncanny Valley in Fiction: Writing the Nearly Human
Friday, May 25
3:30-4:30pm - 370D
Evoking the uncanny, as understood by Housman and Freud, is one of the most evocative ways to add a skin-crawling sense of horror to your fiction. This panel will focus on how the uncanny works, what its roots and motifs are, and how to use it. Examples will include works by Neil Gaiman, Salvador Dali, Susan Cooper and David Lynch.
Poetry of the Imagination: Offsite Reading
Friday, May 25
7:00-9:00pm - Kaboom Books
3116 Houston Avenue
Houston, TX 77009
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA). Join SFPA President Bryan Thao Worra, along with Houston residents Holly Walrath (author of Glimmerglass Girl), Saba Razvi (author of Of the Divining and the Dead), T. Haven Morse (Flooded By, Beam Me Up Yoda), Kate Pentecost (Elysium Girls), and Deborah L. Davitt (Ave, Caesarion), along with Dallas-area poets Michelle Muenzler (The Hills of Meat, the Forest of Bone) and Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Strange Monsters), and Iowa poet Karen Bovenmeyer (Swift for the Sun) for an evening of speculative poetry.
This event is FREE and open to the public!
Character Springboard Workshop
Saturday, May 26
1:30-3:00pm - 370E
Drawing from popular television, movies, and books, this workshop explores how to create in-depth characters in your novels and short fiction. Feel free to bring a piece you are working on, or start something new using exercises from the workshop.
Writing Violence in Speculative Fiction
Saturday, May 26
3:30-4:00pm - 370F
Good writing involves conflict, and conflict can involve violence. How do writers create violent scenes effectively without sacrificing world building and characterization? When is the hint of violence scarier, and more effective, than a fully realized attack or battle? Should violence be handled differently for different audiences (such as YA and senior citizens)? Does the current international political and military climate affect the way that writers shape violent scenes? Our panel will discuss these crucial questions for the genre writer.
Speculative Poetry Deathmatch!
Saturday, May 26
4:30-5:30pm - 370E
Join us for an entertaining and interactive panel on science fiction, fantasy and horror poetry. Learn a little about speculative poetry, hear poets read some of their works, and then participate in a lyrical death-match in which you, the audience, decide which poet walks away with a tinfoil crown and bragging rights.
Below is a list of events I'll be participating in this year! Hope to see you around. Please come say hi - I love meeting other writers.
Comicpalooza (Panelist and hosting the SFPA Poetry reading May 25th)
I'm the 2018 SFPA Contest chair. Submissions open June 1!
June 26, 6:30pm: Reading Fix Coffee Bar hosted by Mike Alexander
Flash Fiction Retreat Breckenridge
August 22nd-September 12: Writespace Writing Life 101 Workshop
August 25: Writespace Poetry of the Fantastic Workshop
September 29: Reading, Art & Words Show hosted by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
I'll be attending Comicpalooza this year as a guest of the literary track. Here's a list of the panels, workshops, and Q + A's on which I'll be presenting. I'm particularly excited to get to chat with Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians trilogy.
Also, a little plug for my world-building workshop: There are still seats! If you attend Comicpalooza you can attend this workshop for free. I've been cooking up some fun anti-worldbuilding ideas to help you think about this from a new angle in your writing. See you there!
Friday, May 12th
2:30 - 4:00pm – Creative Community – Finding Your Tribe
They say it’s lonely at the top – but it’s pretty solitary down at the bottom too. Wherever you are in your creative career, the war against isolation, anxiety and self-doubt is never-ending. The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. Let’s talk about joining, creating and/or maintaining a creative support system that will help you go the distance.
4:00 – 5:00pm – Speculative Poetry Death Match
Join us for an entertaining and interactive panel on science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry. Learn a little about speculative poetry, hear poets read some of their works, and then participate in a lyrical death-match, in which you, the audience, decide which poet walks away with a tinfoil crown and bragging rights.
Saturday, May 13th
11:30 - 1:00pm – Worldbuilding Workshop
Drawing from popular television, movies and books, this workshop explores how to create in-depth worlds in your novels and short fiction. Feel free to bring a piece you are working on, or start something new using exercises from the workshop (Saturday, 11:30 am). Sign up and submit your work by emailing email@example.com
1:00 – 2:00pm – Boredom-Proofing Your Story
If too little is happening, your readers get bored. If too much is going on, they'll be confused. The art of crafting an irresistible page-turner lies in skillfully walking that narrow line - and we're going to talk about how to do exactly that.
4:00 - 5:00pm – Lev Grossman Q & A
Lev Grossman is the author of five novels including the #1 New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy, which has been published in 25 countries and is now an hour-long drama on the Syfy channel. The Magicians books have been praised by, among others, George R.R. Martin, Audrey Niffenegger, William Gibson, Kelly Link, John Green and Joe Hill. Grossman spent 15 years as a staff writer at Time magazine, where he served as the book critic and lead technology writer and wrote more than 20 cover stories. He has also written essays on culture and technology for Salon, Slate, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, Lingua Franca, the Week, the Village Voice and the Believer, among many others. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and three children.
Sunday, May 14th
4:00-5:00pm – Wordsmith for Hire: All About Freelance Writing
Tired of writing as a hobby? Ready to turn your keyboard into a moneymaker? You can – but it’s not as easy as hanging out a “for hire” sign. In this panel, we’ll examine the different types of freelance writing, where and how to find work, and what you need to know to make yourself attractive to potential clients.
I'm very excited to share with you a new project I'm a part of in October, Eastext, a collaboration with artist Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola.
I met Pablo when one of our Writespace volunteers shared his call for poets for an upcoming art project. I've always felt pulled toward ekphrastic work - that which responds or interprets artwork in some way. In fact, this is one of the more effective prompts I use in workshops and in my own writing experience. I love to visit museums and galleries and see what poetry comes from viewing artwork. Through Arts & Culture Texas and ARTHouston, I've even had the pleasure of writing about art. So Pablo's project seemed like a great fit.
After our conversation it became clear to me that my involvement needed to be more than just ekphrasis. Pablo reached out to me with an idea - to use my current fascination with erasure poetry as a response to some of the news coming out of Houston's east end. In this way, the poetry I will be presenting is part of not just my own love of ekphrasis, but also a blending of worlds - my own with that of the artist's. For this, I am very grateful to be involved. I'm also thrilled to be reading alongside local poets Eloísa Pérez-Lozano (who I've had the pleasure of publishing in Writespace's In Medias Res anthology), John Pluecker, Vanessa Torres, and Gwendolyn Zepeda.
I'll be reading my poetry October 13, 20, & 27, at 6:30pm. Event locations are to be found at the link below.
For more information click here.
Read the article in Arts&Culture Texas
Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author of poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath
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Holly Walrath's books on Goodreads
ratings: 19 (avg rating 4.21)
Our Space: Shorts & Poetry from the Houston Community
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)
In Medias Res: Stories from the In-Between
ratings: 2 (avg rating 4.50)
The 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association
ratings: 16 (avg rating 4.31)
ratings: 9 (avg rating 4.67)