Join us for a panel presentation featuring accomplished authors from the state of Michigan! Poet Kristin Brace is the author of the moving chapbook, Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin. Thad Cummings is the author of the inspirational self-help book Running From Fear: Walking Into the Desert and Finding Life Again. Callie Feyen is the author of the educator memoir and love letter to literature, The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet. Kathryn Houghton is the author of Little Michigan: A Nostalgic Look at Michigan’s Smallest Towns, part of the Tiny Towns book series.
Praise for Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin by Kristin Brace
“Kristin Brace's Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin takes us down a loving rabbit hole into the revelation that time and space are indeed a continuum, but not the one we have come to understand. We discover that there are many times and many spaces seamless and occurring at once. Hallucinatory in juxtaposition and structure, the narrator keeps us oriented as we enter this trans-personal history with "the old birds blurring into the new." -- Jack Ridl, author of Practicing to Walk Like a Heron
“Setting out in a Buick that sails over the prairie, poet Kristin Brace voyages through her grandmother's "slow winding down of the physical self." The poems in Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin are heart-brave. They don't flinch from the hard knock of truth, don't dip into easy sentiment; rather each accomplished line honors that grandmother's complex life journey through a keen eye, an ear tuned to the marvelous music of storytelling, and admirable, elegant poetic aptitude. -- Kathleen Driskell
“Like her grandmother's "bushes dense / with raspberries," Kristin Brace's twin-twining threads of alternating poems in Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin proffer bitter-sweet detail after precise detail--bitter for the inevitable and sometimes heart-breaking changes to family they depict, so sweet for their tender and heartening ways of remembering. Brace is a personal narrator, but in her poet hands, these intimate and interlaced stories celebrate the everyday of us all. -- D. R. James, author of If god were gentle
Kristin Brace writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature. Her poetry manuscript Toward the Wild Abundance received the 2018 Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize (Emerging) and is forthcoming from Michigan State University Press in 2019. She is also the author of the poetry chapbooks Fence, Patio, Blessed Virgin and Each Darkness Inside (Finishing Line Press, 2018 and 2019 respectively). Brace earned an MFA in Writing from Spalding University and her work has appeared in journals such as Fiction Southeast, The Louisville Review, Water~Stone, The Chariton Review, and The Other Journal. She serves as executive director of the Grand Rapids Creative Youth Center, where kids become published authors. Brace plays the accordion, studies Italian, and loves Lake Michigan in every season. She makes her home in West Michigan with her husband, the entrepreneur and inventor Neal Brace. She can be found online at www.kristinbrace.com.
About Running from Fear by Thad Cummings
There is no shortage of good books, friends, support groups, therapies, religious teachings, advice and knowledge on how to live a life full of abundance, joy and love. Yet, in so many lives, it barely exists. Fear is the roadblock that keeps us from engaging a life we all desire, but cannot seem to get to because it is always somewhere over there, just out of reach. From our jobs to our relationships, from our past pain to our current despair, to all the negativity that clouds our communities, fear affects everyone, universally. This is a conversation with stories about how we can engage the fears we all face so that they are no longer controlling our lives. This is about turning knowledge into practical wisdom. “If you let the mistakes of your past define the present, you will never have a future.
Thad Cummings is the author of Weathering The Corporate Storm as well as a 3-part series on finding joy including, Running From Fear, Blessed Are The Poor, and The Door Of Humility. Thad travels the country speaking and holding seminars on all matters of fear and redefining barriers through his organization, Changing Company. He is passionate about bringing new conversations to the landscape where all voices are heard, barriers are broken, and the polarization of our community is diminished.
About The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet by Callie Feyen
What *do* teachers feel when facing William Shakespeare, tales of family feud, breathless kissing scenes—all in front of a class of teens who are keeping their heads down (and threatening to fall asleep or plot their next prank in the process)? We may never know what our own 8th or 9th grade teachers felt. But, on this count, educator Callie Feyen has done us a favor. She has written a poignant memoir—'The Teacher Diaries: Romeo & Juliet.' It begins with a kiss. Then, page by page, it reveals her generous, hopeful, and humorous heart. For teachers everywhere, this is a beautiful book to help them remember why they teach. For those of us who just love to get the juicy details of what someone in a challenging position really thinks, this book will satisfy. *Bonus classroom activities included.
Callie Feyen likes Converse tennis shoes and colorful high heels, reading the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the Twilight series. Her favorite outfit has always been a well-worn pair of jeans and a white T-shirt, but she wants hoop skirts with loads of tulle to come back into style. Her favorite line from literature comes from Sharon Creech’s Absolutely Normal Chaos: “I don’t know who I am yet. I’m still waiting to find out.” Feyen has been a middle school teacher, is the Teaching and Learning Editor and Children's Editor for Tweetspeak Poetry, and serves as the At-Risk Literacy Specialist in the Ypsilanti Public Schools.
About Little Michigan by Kathryn Houghton
Michigan small towns have their share of surprises. Do you know which crime scene inspired the famous film Anatomy of a Murder, or where you will find the infamous “Naughty Cow” statue―and how it got its nickname? The locations featured in this book range from quaint to historic, and they wonderfully represent the Great Lakes State. Little Michigan, written by lifelong resident Kathryn Houghton, is for anyone who grew up in a small town and for everyone who takes pride in being called a Michigander. They may be small towns, but they have huge character!
Born and raised in mid-Michigan, Kathryn Houghton has spent most of her life in the Mitten State. She can’t imagine living anywhere else, and not just because no one in Michigan looks at her funny when she calls it pop instead of soda. It’s the people that make Michigan feel like home. She teaches writing and editing at Michigan State University. She lives in Holt with her sister and three dogs.