How WORD Celebrates the End of Summer

by Sean Campbell

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It was kind of like summer, but not really: a group of hot artists showcasing some of their best work at WORD for a reading hosted by Electric Literature, Emily Books, and The Atlas Review.

Emily Cooke started us off with a woman struggling through grad school and life with some pages from the novel, Cassandra at the Wedding, by Dorothy Baker. On a grad student with literary aspirations and pedigree: “I’d prefer it if I was the writer and have all the other writers write their theses about me… It’s not easy for the child of a writer to become a writer. I don’t know why, it just is.”

Helen Philips read from her story about a foreboding future, The Knowers, soon to appear in Recommended Reading. “And I applauded myself for going straight from the bureaucratic office to the canal, for standing there above the sickly greenish water, for glancing once more at the piece of paper, for tearing it into as many scraps as possible though it was essentially a scrap to begin with, for dropping it into the factory-scented breeze.” You can also see the sentence in action in Electric Literature’s latest Single Sentence Animation.

Matt Dojny followed with You Are the Stepson, staring the portly, irresistible, and blind Lacey Roommate, who happens to be boning the narrator’s mom and every other woman within reach. “You wouldn’t expect a blind man to get so much trim, but you would be sadly mistaken.” According to the mom, “he’s like a true artist of love making do to being more touch oriented.” See also: the situation with this ant.

Then there was the southern hospitality of poet Alex Morris whose speaker has lost his leg but refuses to let it go: “O.T. hopped up and found the nurse. She was behind the curtain cradling his severed leg, singing to it, calling it Baby Mosses. OT plucked it from her. She was gonna scream. He put the finger to her lips. He put it to her nose. He gave her pink-eye.”

Montana Ray said it best when she closed out the night with the beats of her percussionist, Lalo, and some words from her “guns and butter”: “Suddenly, everyone was Jamaican and shirtless, without a fruit-stand in walking distance.”

But there were plenty of cookies and wine to make up for the crowd’s abrupt, Caribbean transformation and the lack of fresh produce.

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