Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Peoples

How often do you look at a blog's links, anyway? They're just there. Half of them don't work. Some of them haven't been updated in twenty years. They're all out of context, with no description or reason for you to want to click on them.

So, as a public service, here's the rundown on my current list of "My Peoples" and why you should read them.

Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson is the author of Blackberries, Blackberries, Water Street, and Birds of Opulence (forthcoming). I had the pleasure of both taking a class and being an associate instructor for Crystal back in the good ole days at Indiana University. Even though I didn't get a chance to have her in workshop, she taught a young(ish) Misstra Knowitall a ton about writing and teaching.

Her blog is a must read because it gives you insights into not only the writer, but also writing and the writing biz. I would recommend starting with her post about how she has to remind her mama that she's a writer and what that actually means. She's also got a dynamite post about the pressures that writers feel now that social media and the writing business have formed such a close (incestuous?) relationship.

Pedro Bell

Pedro Bell  helped develop the P-Funk cosmology and his writing and visual art are essential to understanding any endeavor that purports to be "on The One". This links to Pedro's MySpace account. I haven't heard from my brother in a while, but there's some good autobiographical information and if you leave him a message he might write you back. You should check out the series of interviews I did with him. Dude is deep.

 "So I don't steal nothing." Miss you, ND.

Under the Blue Light: Indiana Review Blog

What can I say about my baby? She's grown up so much *sniff* since I was editor. Now they've got a new design and they do awesome contests and they have interviews and authors reading. *Sigh*. Well, check out the newest posts, but if you want to walk back down memory lane, take a look at the beautiful IR editors at AWP in 2007. 

Cake and Potatoes: Jackson Brown

Jackson Brown and I were roommates back at IU. I thought I had it going on, but this brother is a writer, cartoonist, musician, and one of the coldest MCs to darken (ahem) the hallways of Ballantine Hall. Cake and Potatoes is all that and a bag of corn chips. Funny, silly, searing, smart ass hell, and beautifully drawn. It looks like he's on hiatus (or is that "hi-itis?) but check out his greatest hits. For my taste, Off the Chain is one of my favs.

I so tried to find a pic without a Black hand holding a link card. Alas. 
Jericho Brown

I was lucky enough to meet this brother during my Funk Issue days. This links to the book site for his collection, Please, which if you ain't got, you need to get. It's funky and all that. I also did an interview with Jericho that is, of course, quite funky.

Remember me?
Post No Ills: Kyle Dargan

Post No Ills is Kyle's brain child, which like a lot of his brain chilluns, is both smart and cool. You can find great reviews of the latest in literature, movies, and politics here. They just did a review of Evie Shockley's The New Black, which I gotsta go cop. Oh, what's that you say? Did they do an interview with Misstra Knowitall himself? Well, as a matter of fact they did.

Patrick Rosal

My best memory of Patrick Rosal is at the end of the Indiana Review Funk Issue reading when he jumped on the piano and started everybody to singing Billy Ocean's "Suddenly." (I'm glad he knew all the words because I wasn't doing nothing but humming until "...wake up and suddenly you're in love!") Pat's an amazing poet and someone who writes with his heart. He's been blogging for a minute and on his site you can find everything from poetics to politics to boxing.Check him out.

Play Vicious: Ro Pulliam

I met Ro in Baltimore during my Americorps days. I lived in a house with four(!) roommates and somebody got the brilliant idea that we needed another one. Thank God we did. Ro's my man. A renaissance man who holds it down with the words, music, and web design. His site is complex and fly, just like him.

Datsun Flambe: Rion Scott

I met Rion Scott during the Funk Issue (see a pattern?) and if you want to read somebody, you should read him. He's smart and funny as hell (see another pattern). He's publishing some great stuff over at PANK magazine, but his updates at Datsun Flambe are keepers. 

The Spire: Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is a writer of Lebanese-American descent that keeps it real. I met her at Indiana University and that was one of the first things I learned about her in workshop. She's thoughtfulness, humility, and honesty shine through in her work. She shares a lot of her work at The Spire, along with life reflections. Cool stuff.
Sorry, I couldn't resist

Tayari Jones

Writer, teacher, hustler. I picked up her first book, Leaving Atlanta, while I was still in the wilds of Minnesota, and I had to keep stopping myself from trying to write like her. This site is not only good for getting insights into her process, but it's essential for keeping up with what's going on with African-American fiction. Oh, and does she have any interviews with Misstra Knowitall? Funny you should ask.

Secret Inside Girl: Vanessa Mancinelli

From her "About" page:  Vanessa Mancinelli: 1. Writes fiction. 2. Teaches literature. 3. Lives in Los Angeles.

I would also like to add: 4. Is obsessive about her teaching 5. Is obsessive about her planning.  6. Sings a mean Bill Withers. You need to check out her Seriously, this just happened post. Hilarious.

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