Archive | 10:12 AM

Ann Arbor Book Festival Book Crawl 2016

21 Jun

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m so lucky to live near Ann Arbor! Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, is a very bibliophile-friendly city. On Saturday, my friend Amy and I went for the 10th annual Ann Arbor Book Festival. For the second year in a row, we took part in the Book Crawl, a kind of bar crawl with books and poetry.

We did the last three stops on the tour, the first one being Benjamin Landry at my favorite bookstore, Literati. Landry is a poet and at the reading, he read from his most recent book, Burn Lyrics. The book takes fragments from Sappho’s poems and Landry puts his own words to the ideas. He likes to write concept collections like this because he’s able to develop the content quickly after imagining the concept. He also finds they are easier to sell than a general collection. He was asked how his writing was impacted by getting his MFA from UofM and he said that he was introduced more to the idea of writing from fragments. Before, his poems were more narratives.

The second stop on our tour was Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tea Room which featured two novelists. The first was Robin Gaines who read from her novel Invincible Summers. The story was about an 11-year-old girl living in 1969. If I had been in a book-buying mood, this would have been the one for me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to purchase anything that night.

Writer David Pratt

Writer David Pratt

The second writer was David Pratt. Pratt has several books published and has recently finished another. He’s working on a movie based on some short stories he’s written. He read from his award-winning book, Bob the Book. It’s the story of sentient books and focuses on Bob, a gay book and his boyfriend, Moishe. It was enjoyable to hear David read, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed reading the book on my own without his inflections and voices. It would make a good audiobook.

Our third and final stop was a Tapas bar named Aventura that I really want to go back to for dinner sometime. The food looked delicious and the drinks were pretty (and probably delicious). The first poet at this stop was Joy Gaines-Friedler. She does a lot of volunteer work with at-risk communities, engaging them in creative expression. One thing she said that I really liked was about a friend of hers who passed from AIDS. He left her his journal and she uses lines from it as epitaphs in her poetry. I thought that was sweet.

The final reader was poet Jeff Kass. I really enjoyed his set. He’s a slam poet and that’s the form of poetry I’ve always enjoyed most. He teaches creative writing at a local high school and brought along his daughter, an award-winning youth slam poet, to read as well. His poems were about teaching and fatherhood and they made me think of my husband and I enjoyed that a lot.

I hope to continue going to this event for years to come. It’s so fun to combine food and literature in such a great way. If you’re ever near Detroit, make a pit-stop in Ann Arbor for some great bookstores!

Until next time, write on.

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