Elaine Bleakney

September 2023.  I wrote a short piece called "Boats" for Emmanuel Iduma's project,Tender Photo. Iduma asks writers to select a photograph from his selection of contemporary African photography and pair it with a photograph from their own family album. And then he asks us to think about how the two images might converse with each other. (He frames this activity as kinship, kindredship.) I paired Victor Adewale's "Two Brothers at Usuma Lake" with the picture you see above. I admire Iduma's warmth in curation and lyric thinking about photography; his writing opens, tenderly, another door to the images he finds. 



September 2023. I started a Substack called Stranger and Stranger, a shelf for poetic attention, sent every other Monday. Subscribe here

Thanks to friends and writers Nate Chinen (The Gig), Bucky Miller (It's Probably Fine), and Belle Boggs and Bea Allen (Frog Trouble Times) for encouragement and welcome to this thunderdome of writers/writing. You will find them on my Substack recommendations list.



June 2023. Jennifer Kronovet visited Asheville as a fellow at the inaugural Yetzirah Summer Conference and I lucked out: a full week of Jenny, poems, donuts, Jenny. 

Seventeen years of friendship is no small matter and Jenny brings vision and acceptance. 

I failed to get a good photo and that's love: ever unruly.



June 2023. One of my favorite people, photographer and writer Bucky Miller, called me out in his recent interview with Glasstire:



May 14, 2023. I was a guest on Wordplay, a show on Asheville FM, and my friend Andrew Hayes listened to it and texted a sweet review before the episode disappeared.



My poem "Divorce Poplar" appears in the Spring 2023 issue of Harp & Altar, thanks to editors Jessica Baran and Keith Newton.



"Bewilderment Tea House," a poem I wrote, appears in Deadfall, the Winter Solstice 2022 limited-edition all-letterpress group by The Index Press. Each "issue" contains at least five prints you receive in the mail, made by Molly Dickinson, Amanda Rybin Koob, and Fritz Swanson. (Subscribe here.)





April 2022.  Take heart: two trilliums this year where there was one the last! 

Take heart: your connective weirdo friends know you, connective weirdo that you are, & are yrs for the reaching. 

Too much tumult and broken world. Take heart, take heart.



November 2021. Teresa K. Miller traveled from Portland to Asheville to read from Borderline Fortune at Bagatelle Books. She reminded me of something I had forgotten. We met in Seattle as part of a big reading at a bar, years ago. Everyone was very cool, and I said something about not being cool, onstage, and she remembered this to me. Resonance is the beginning. It's not easy to get to Asheville on a book tour. Mountains are never easy. Teresa wrote her book in a gust of faith and then she made her way here to read from it.



August 2021. Reading outside with musicians Sally Anne Morgan and Meghan Mulhearn at the end of summer was very lively AS ADVERTISED.



Covid 2020. My friend Patrick, owner of Bagatelle Books here in Asheville, NC, had an idea to create new bookmarks for the shop with lines by writers who had read there. I was happy to curate this project. Shanita JacksonAsh Lounsbury, Glenda Romualdo, and Eric Tran contributed their gorgeous lines to be enfolded in Bagatelle's books.



Summer 2020. This was a summer for memorizing "Paul Robeson" by Gwendolyn Brooks and saying it over & over again.

Roberson sacrificed material comfort and, ultimately, his mental health in support of oppressed people around the world. Testifying before the bogus and very real House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956, he said:

"My father was a slave, and my people died to build this country, and I am going to stay here, and have a part of it just like you. And no Fascist-minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear?"



May 2020. At the dawn of our pandemic Zoom existence, I curated an online one with two poets I admire: Julia Bloch and Eric Tran. They are both so generous in this reading. You can watch it, here.



Spring 2020. I started Backstroke: writing, editing, and marketing support services.



December 2019. I was excited to be part of Revolve Now  at the newly-renovated Asheville Art Museum. Revolve Now was an evening of sound, performance, movement, and spoken-word vignettes. I ran a partly improvised tour for all takers called THIS IS NOT A TOUR.  

This activity occurred at a heightened time of loss, transition, grief, and euphoria in my life. Maybe these are good qualifications for a tour guide. I walked around the museum with groups of strangers and friends asking them to scream every time they saw a lemon (Donald Sultan's lemons, upstairs). 

My t-shirt was made by my friend Jason.

Here is something Jason made better (he did that):



October 2019. I read from my new work along with my friends Jonathan Farmer, author of That Peculiar Affirmative, and Ash Lounsbury at Bagatelle Books, West Asheville, NC. 

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