We welcome you to our February edition of the Wilde Readings Series with Melvin Brown and Anthony Moll, hosted By Linda Joy Burke. Join us at the Columbia Art Center (Columbia Art Center 6100 Foreland Garth Columbia, MD 21045) on Tuesday, February 14th 7-9 PM. Please spread the word – bring your friends, family, and students.
We encourage you to participate in the open mic. Please prepare no more than five minutes of performance time/two poems. Sign up in advance by calling the Columbia Arts Center, or when you arrive. The number is 410-730-0075. Light refreshments will be served. Books by both featured authors and open mic readers will be available for sale.
Get to know our authors Melvin and Anthony below!
Who is the person in your life (past or present) that shows up most often in your writing?
MB: My grandmother.
AM: I write a lot about chosen family, which means so much to Queer folks who are severed from their biological family. That includes my partner and our closest friends, but also exes and partners of partners. In my most recent collection, it also includes my dog, Chickpea.
Where is your favorite place to write?
MB: My study or kitchen.
AM: Most of my writing happens on my couch, but a few times a year, a small group of my close friends and I will take short retreats to either beach towns in the winter or cabins in the other seasons. We’re dedicated to be writing and nothing else until dinner, then we can stop to share, eat, and generally be in community together. It’s a really delicious balance of productivity and being social.
Do you have any consistent pre-writing rituals?
AM: I don’t know if counts as ritual, but most of the time I spend generating ideas, outlining, and sometimes even drafting, is when I am walking around my neighborhood in Baltimore. Those ideas all rest in the Notes app of my phone (the digital equivalent of the writers notebook), until I have some time to craft them into something worthwhile.
Who always gets a first read?
MB: My friend and Poet Peter J. Harris.
AM: My partner is always my alpha reader, because she’s an voracious, brilliant reader who can also speak to me candidly about what’s working and what isn’t. Then it goes to my writing group for beta, and they are a skilled group of writers who can really look at the work-in-progress from every angle. Every one of them has played a part in helping my books come together.
What is a book you’ve read more than twice (and would read again)?
MB: Do Lord Remember Me by Julius Lester.
AM: About a Mountain by John D’Agata. I know he’s a bit of a controversial figure, but I really love the way he blends research and lyrical prose in that work. I also love the mythology that has come to surround the book!
What is the most memorable reading you have attended?
MB: Can’t remember.
AM: A few years before she passed, Toni Morrison read in Santa Cruz, and Angela Davis provided the introduction. I think it was the only time I’ve ever been truly starstruck, and the energy that night was as if whole audience knew we were in the presence of some of the most brilliant minds of our era.
Melvin E. Brown is an American poet, educator, editor, and lyricist. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Brown was the longest-serving editor of Chicory, a magazine published by the Enoch Pratt Free Library. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and the author of two collections of poetry, In the First Place and Blue Notes and Blessing Songs.
Anthony Moll is a Queer poet, essayist and educator. Their work has appeared in Hobart, Little Patuxent Review, Poet Lore, jubilat and more. Anthony is a PhD Candidate in English and holds an MFA in creative writing & publishing arts. Their debut memoir, Out of Step, won a 2018 Lambda Literary Award and the 2017 Non/Fiction Prize. Their latest collection of poems, You Cannot Save Here, won the 2022 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize. Their work has also been recognized with the Adele V. Holden Prize for Creative Excellence, the Bill Knott Poetry Prize, inclusion on the American Library Association’s Over the Rainbow List, and a Best of Net nomination.