Elaine Bleakney


April 2024, a game of chance. My gym has a fishbowl full of affirmations such as: "My body is strong." In response I made a bowl full of lines such as: "King of nothing!" They will be at Bagatelle Books for you until they are not. 

 


Once upon a time I was a kid and tagged along with my friend to the Village Vanguard.


 

Februrary 2024. "Defeat means nothing but Defeat/No drearier, can befall!" Still with Emily. 

 


 

ThursdayJennifer Clarvoe and James McMichael, my poets, had lunch in Ojai, California. I requested a picture.

 


 

October 2023. My poem "Arborescent" was the poem of the week from the Yale Review.

 


 

October 2023. I've been thinking about this video and my son's spirit. It's okay with me if all the images go away. I would like to remember this.

 


 

August 2023. Time is a little out of order. I traveled to Mexico with my friend Cristina and reconnected with the joy of hanging laundry on a line. And running up to the roof to pull it all down in the rain.

 


 

October 2023. Thanks so much to gallerist Tracey Morgan for launching these evenings of writing-in-the-gallery with me. And thanks to Mountain XPress for picking up the latest event.  

 


 

September 2023.  I wrote a short piece, "Boats," for Emmanuel Iduma's Tender Photo project.

 


 

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

 


 

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  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. Robeson 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 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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