This year, I Scream Social went to its very first AWP, and Portland could not have treated us any sweeter. We had a phenomenal venue and featured 7 badass women and non-binary writers that completely floored us and filled us with love.
Our friend and Host Publications colleague, Claire Bowman, found the perfect woman-run, local ice cream shop (Ruby Jewel Scoops) located in downtown Portland with a charming nook. Ruby Jewel was generous with their space, time, and of course, ice cream — allowing us to feel right at home during our Portland adventure.
As Austin locals hosting a community-based reading series, Portland and AWP turned out to be a new and challenging beast for us to conquer. So we turned to a different kind of community, literary Twitter, to help us shape the lineup of our dreams! This star-studded lineup featured brilliant voices though multiple genres, from all over the country, with different backgrounds, and a wide net of experience and accolades.
The rest of this story is smooth sailing on a waffle cone through a sea of creamy, melty ice cream. Delicious and forgive me. Below is a fun recap of our reading, favorite ice cream flavors, and more information about our featured readers' work!
With love & ice cream,
The I Scream Socialists
Dynamic duo & your I Scream Social hosts: Schandra Madha & Annar Veröld!
The evening kicked off with writer and photographer Grace Shuyi Liew reading from her first full-length collection of poetry, Careen (Noemi Press). Grace's favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate chip salty caramel pistachio.
Next up, we were honored to introduce poet, political strategist, and cultural worker Camonghne Felix! She read a couple of pieces from Build Yourself a Boat (Haymarket Books) that we, of course, loved so much that we revisited her work on the plane ride home. Bonus: do yourself a favor and listen to Camonghne's interview on VS!
Experimental writer, educator, and performance poet Maryan Nagy Captan read us a captivating long poem. Maryan is an Austin-based poet and Michener Center for Writers Fellow, so of course we asked her to join us again for the April I Scream Social at Malvern Books! Her favorite flavor of ice cream is Moose Tracks!
About Grace Shuyi Liew's Careen: "If life is but a series of contiguous movements, Careen investigates the reasons one might momentarily lose all control and fall out of line. What is the nature of a desire? What are the consequences of uninhibited longing? How do we come to terms with the systematic conditions and lineages tethered our individual lives? Any hunger for inclusion calls back to a long history of displacement. Then, “eventually, every color careens into its own lack,” and the carte blanche of whiteness that envelopes a racialized nation is deftly overturned. On a journey in search for a home, Careen is a love note plunging headlong into its objects of unattainable desire."
Love for Camonghne Felix's Build Yourself a Boat: “With Build Yourself a Boat, Camonghne Felix heralds a thrillingly new form of storytelling, as much investigation as it is song, as broken as it is doused in genuine strength. These poems are packed with embodiments—not depictions—of Black female pain, empowerment, memory, and discovery. This is a fantastically tender book, generous in its precision and thoughtful in its experimentation. This debut does not come quietly or shyly—Felix is an applaudable master of language, inventively carving and pulling at words and sounds to assemble the parts of this story. Here is a voice that commands, insists, reiterates, and consumes—a voice that has earned its right to shout freely, with curiosity and aliveness and heart.” — Morgan Parker, author of Magical Negro
Check out Maryan Nagy Captan's poem The Cuttlefish on Foundry, March 2019 Issue
About Kat Lewis' In and Of Blood: In In and of Blood, Kat Lewis uses beautifully violent language to prove that there is no good or evil - only circumstances. As her characters try to mitigate their immorality and point fingers to say that their monstrosity is no worse than others', Lewis splays a truth about the human condition across each page.
About Lily Someson's phoenix - a poetry zine about love, loss, and lake michigan: is a zine by Lily Someson touching on love in all of its forms, platonic or romantic. Exploring mostly LGBTQA+ concepts, phoenix compares the author's experiences to Lake Michigan and finds a base in Indiana, Chicago, and Wisconsin. This zine provides a look into the roaring midwest summer, the great lakes, and how to love from every side of them.
Excerpt from Katerina Ivanov's short story When Plows Come (Joyland Magazine):
"Julie keeps repeating how ER is going to be really good for me, how I’ll be a good fit, how they don’t have a lot of bilingual nurses down here, but they do get a lot of Dominicans. Without insurance, she feels the need to point out. My eyebrow rises of its own accord and her smile falters.
“It’s so hard to get a patient history from them,” she says. “But now I have you!”
“I’m not Dominican,” I offer, unhelpfully.
Julie looks deeply uncomfortable, clearly trying to stop herself from asking the infamous what are you, then?, when one of my patients codes."
Love for Candace Williams' Spells for Black Wizards: "What strikes me most about Spells For Black Wizards is the way Candace Williams chooses to honor the living—not just the people, but the space and the way she lives in it. "I turn off all the lights / and I'm still black" manages to give both a familiar warmth, and a familiar chill. I not only find myself alive in this book, but also I find the people who might be my people doing more than just becoming ghosts. The landscape that might be my landscape, complex in its joys and violences. There is a comfort in seeing yourself or your mother or your lovers or your past or your future echoed back to you, no matter how many times it is done. In Spells For Black Wizards, Candace Williams does it well, in new and exciting ways. I read this book, and I find a place to rest comfortably. Not safe from the world outside, but at home with my people nonetheless." —Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, author of Go Ahead in the Rain, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us and The Crown Ain't Worth Much