This year at AWP, we’re going all out. The conference is coming to The Conium Review‘s home city of Portland, OR. We’re doing an event every night of the conference, starting with “Books & Brass: An Evening of Prose, Poetry, and Live Jazz” on Thursday, March 28th. Next, we’re hosting a “Literary Masquerade” on Friday, March 29th. Finally, we’re pleased to announce the lineup for our final event, “The Northwest Micropress Fair After Party” on Saturday, March 30th. This particular event follows the Northwest Micropress Fair, which is an independently organized book fair held in the Cleaners at the Ace Hotel. We’ll be tabling at this micropress fair and we’ll also have a booth at the main AWP Conference bookfair. We’ll be selling books and doing author signings at each location.
About the Event
The After Party officially begins at 7:30 when the doors of the Cleaners at the Ace Hotel reopen for business. The readings start at 8:00pm, with music to follow and a cash bar available. The Northwest Micropress Bookfair and After Party includes a ton of presses, including Presses and producers include: Entre Ríos Books, Scablands Books, Chin Music Press, Page Boy Magazine, Sage Hill Press, SPLAB, Short Run Seattle, Blue Cactus Press, Frontera Magazine, Margin Shift Reading Series, Cadence Video Poetry Festival / Northwest Film Forum, Till Writers, Ravenna Press, StringTown Press, Papeachu Press, Rhododo Press, Coast | No Coast, Winter Texts, Crab Creek Review, Poetic Games, Not a Pipe Publishing, Cascadia Rising Review, The Conium Review, Arq Press, Overcup Press, and Floating Bridge Press.
This will be a big event on the final night of the conference. Don’t miss it! Reading for The Conium Review are TJ Fuller, Chelsea Harris, and Simone Person. Find this event on Facebook.
About the Readers
TJ Fuller writes and teaches in Portland, Oregon. His fiction has appeared in Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Jellyfish Review, and elsewhere. He won the 2017 Flash Fiction Contest at The Conium Review.
Chelsea Harris has appeared in The Portland Review, Literary Orphans, The Conium Review, Grimoire, and Smokelong Quarterly, among others. She received her MFA from Columbia College Chicago and currently lives in Washington State.
Simone Person is the author of Dislocate, the winner of the 2017 Honeysuckle Press Chapbook Contest in Prose, and Smoke Girl, the winner of the 2018 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest in Poetry. She grew up in small Michigan towns and Toledo, Ohio and is a dual MFA/MA student at Indiana University in Fiction and African American and African Diaspora Studies. In 2018, Simone became the Prose Editor for Honeysuckle Press. She sporadically, and to varying degrees of success, uses Twitter and Instagram at @princxporkchop.
You call yourselves the most successful animal in the ocean. At the top of the food chain for millions of years, despite your small brain. You say, who needs intellect? Or empathy, compassion—your offspring learn young all that’s for weaklings and losers. You tell them, win at any cost. You’re under no illusion that it’s nice at the top; no it’s straight up competition for all you’ve got. But you get to cruise the oceans enjoying the view and never worry about what’s coming for you.
There’s no prey shape to our posture, no surface marking to signal our lower strata. Some of us are stupid, some of us are smart. We have beauty, color, and art. Some of our bodies are wildly bizarre, others are shaped much like yours, rounded and tapered at the ends to reduce drag in the water. But underneath all our flesh is bone, while you are constructed entirely of cartilage. So you swim faster, and turn more tightly. Your jaw holds many rows of teeth that freshly regenerate every few weeks. Some of us don’t even have teeth. Some of us can’t smell or hear while you can scent a single drop of our blood from hundreds of feet and hear us coming for miles. Over millions of years we’ve evolved through every possible social organization. You evolved into the perfect killing machine.
You tell yourselves you keep us in check. You say, without us their numbers would explode and then they’d all die of starvation anyway. You call it the law of nature. As if it’s the only one. But in fact it turns out that following a mathematical pattern called a power law, the speed of growth declines with size. That’s why a shrimp grows faster than a whale, and that’s why we naturally breed more slowly in places where there are a lot of us already. (Think about it, if you can, how you feel when we outnumber you. Hungry, aren’t you?) And that’s why you do so well when there are many of you and just enough of us—an inverted pyramid top heavy with you. It seems like a paradox how you could survive unless you understand (can you?) how fast in those places everything under you cycles through, growing and dying but before we do reproducing as much as we can to survive you. You tell yourselves it’s a super-productive system, you tell yourselves it’s better for us too—all that sex, plenty of food—but you wouldn’t change it even if you knew we didn’t feel the same way as you. Your skin is an interlocking web of ridged diamonds, a structure that by its very design resists drag or attachment.
About the Author:
Katherine Forbes Riley is a computational linguist and writer in Vermont. A Dartmouth College graduate with a PhD from University of Pennsylvania, her academic writing appears in many places. Her creative writing appears in Halfway Down The Stairs, Noö, Spartan, Crack the Spine, Storyscape, Whiskey Island, Lunch Ticket, Eunoia Review, Literary Orphans, Eclectica, BlazeVOX, McNeese Review, Akashic Books, and Buffalo Almanack, from whom she received the Inkslinger’s Award.
Image Credit: © Morphart – stock.adobe.com
Earlier this week, James R. Gapinski’s flash fiction “Kitten Egg” was published in Literary Orphan, Issue 24. His piece “Yelp Reviews from the End of Days” was also published at The Electric Encyclopedia of Experimental Literature.
James is The Conium Review‘s managing editor. Find links to more of his recent work on his website.