Hello friends in the void,
It’s been a long time since I posted an update. It’s been a tough and surprising two years, but I’m still here: still writing weird poems and blog posts; still teaching undergrads about poetry, literature and the ethical questions surrounding contemporary funeral practices and the treatment of the dead; still reading odd books and getting way too into Halloween decorations.
I am now officially a Ph.D. candidate in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I passed both my preliminary exams and my dissertation prospectus defense, which means that all I have left to do now to complete the degree is to finish writing the book of poems I have been cooking since the publication of The Marriage. As much as I’ve deeply enjoyed locking myself away to study and write about Emily Dickinson, Gothic literature, poetry, and aesthetics, it’s exciting to return to sharing the poetry I’ve been writing.
On that end, a few pieces of my writing have trickled out in the past two years. Though you can’t read them online, two poems of mine, both featuring alligators and one the horrors of a wedding reception, were in The Chattahoochee Review‘s Volume 33.2-3. I was thrilled when Painted Bride Quarterly published this poem of mine, which one friend generously described as “sexy,” in their 89th issue: http://pbq.drexel.edu/annah-browning-taken/
I also wrote another guest blog post for Superstition Review: an meditation on madwomen in literature, featuring my deep and abiding love for Shirley Jackson, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath, which you can read here : https://blog.superstitionreview.asu.edu/2015/01/29/annah-browning/ It addresses a lot of the things I’ve been writing about in my critical and creative work in the last two years, and I’m particularly proud of it. The new poems are all female speakers, of both human and non-human varieties, and feature ghosts, widows, madwomen, and a lot of witches.
Speaking of the new creative work– I’m really excited to announce that one of these new Gothically-inflected poems, “Ghost Encounter,” has been chosen as an honorable mention in Boulevard‘s Emerging Writers Contest: http://www.boulevardmagazine.org/poetry-contest.html It’ll be coming out in the Spring 2016 issue.
I’m also involved in a Secret Art Project, the nature of which will remain secret, except to say that it involves both my writing and my painting, and the collaboration of some of my smartest and most diabolically creative friends. Here is a watercolor of mine that will probably not end up the final project. It’s called “The Fear of Being Forgotten.”
In the words of that 80s song– don’t you forget about me…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdqoNKCCt7A
To wash that song out of your mind, here is one of my favorite pieces of opera– “Va Tosca: Te Deum,” from Puccini’s Tosca, which I was lucky enough to see a stellar performance of this past season at Chicago’s Lyric Opera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3lPxwct2sk If you live in Chicago and have a student ID, did you know that you can get $25 tickets for really amazing seats to the opera? Check it out here: https://www.lyricopera.org/next/ My friend Ekaterina (Katya) Kulik, fellow writer and one of encyclopedic knowledge of all things opera, started taking me to the opera with her a couple of years ago, and it has become one of my new favorite things in the world.
You should also check out her hilarious and wonderful blog, Mice Notes, in which she draws comics of mice with crushes on humans such as Eric Owens (opera singer) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock actor): https://micenotes.wordpress.com/ She also paints art masterpieces with all-mouse casts to delightful and stunning effects in a series called Everything is Better with Mice. She did this Fuseli one for me at my request: https://micenotes.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/everything-is-better-with-mice-19/
I hope you are all doing well out there in the world in your endeavors. Hopefully there will be more to share soon.