Poetry Reading with Amanda Johnston and Alexis Paige
Join us for an evening of poetry and prose with Amanda Johnston, ANOTHER WAY TO SAY ENTER (Argus House Press) and Alexis Paige, NOT A PLACE ON ANY MAP (Vine Leaves Press).
Amanda Johnston earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of two chapbooks, GUAP and Lock & Key, and the full-length collection Another Way to Say Enter (Argus House Press). Her poetry and interviews have appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, Callaloo, Poetry, Kinfolks Quarterly, Muzzle, Pluck! and the anthologies Small Batch, di-ver-city and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. The recipient of multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, she is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. Johnston is a Stonecoast MFA faculty member, a cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founding executive director of Torch Literary Arts.
"Amanda Johnston’s first book sings with the passion of our great warrior poets. I hear the down-to-earth clarity of June Jordan, the passion of Sonia Sanchez, the self-assuredness and rage of Audre Lorde. While Johnston’s poems bring to light grave and unending traumas in the wake of slavery, for me, they are hopeful. They reassure me of a fierce connective tissue between us (embodied in many of her poems as mother love) that would lift a truck from the body of a child to save her. Johnston’s poems apply just the right degree of salve and just the right degree of fire to our current American wounds. A beautifully crafted, fierce and compelling voice." - Toi Derricotte
“'What is safe in this burning for survival?' Amanda Johnston turns and turns the question, a high stakes puzzle to unravel, the answers all bound up in love. Tight, spare, minimalist and brimming with mystery, these poems weigh the consequences of every gesture: the opened lock, the raised right hand, the inward reach. “You grip the wheel, knuckles frozen, and press the gas/as clouds drift in and out of your mouth.” With strong resolve, illimitable talent, and a clear reverence for the forebears these poems reach for and find, Amanda Johnston crafts a collection of beauty and daring. Her risks are honest; her voice, vital— I mean absolutely necessary." - Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
Writer and teacher Alexis Paige survived a tri-coastal upbringing, a large, colorful family, and the accompanying eccentricity that is useful, if not a prerequisite, for creative nonfiction work. After studying English and African-American literature at Rutgers University and the University of New Hampshire, Paige covered select-board meetings and chowder cook-offs for a small newspaper in Maine before chronic wanderlust drew her west.
In San Francisco, she received an MA in Creative Writing and Poetry from San Francisco State University, while tending bar at various venues that should have bored her with their stylishness. She moved to Houston in 2004 for no good reason/it’s a long story, and was arrested in 2005 for Felony Intoxication Assault after causing a car crash in which a Houston society bride broke her leg. This experience—including quitting alcohol, serving two months in the Harris County jail, and confronting her own racial privilege—is the subject of her memoir-in-progress, The Right to Remain.
Since leaving Texas in 2007, Paige began teaching writing at colleges and universities throughout New England. Winner of the 2016 Vine Leaves Press Collection Award, her first book, Not a Place on Any Map, was published in December 2016. Her essay, “The Right to Remain,” published in The Rumpus in 2015, was named as a Notable in the 2016 Best American Essays anthology. Essays and other work appear in multiple anthologies and journals, including the New Madrid Journal, The Pinch, The New Mexico Review, rawboned, Passages North, Fourth Genre, The Rumpus, Pithead Chapel, 14 Hills, and on Brevity’s blog, where she serves as assistant editor. Her essays have been featured on Freshly Pressed and Longform, nominated for Sundress Best of the Net, and a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee. In 2013, Paige won the New Millenium Writings Nonfiction Prize. Twice a top-ten finalist of Glamour Magazine’s essay contest, Paige completed an MFA in Nonfiction from the Stonecoast creative writing program in 2014, where she was Creative Nonfiction Editor of the Stonecoast Review. In addition to publishing, Paige has spoken widely at national writing conferences, served as visiting artist at Saint Lawrence University in 2014, and as writer-in- residence at Bay Path University in 2015. She lives on the dark side of the moon, in central Vermont, with her husband and their mash-faced dogs, Jazzy and George.