April 24th, 2013
The 2012-2013 Visiting Writers Series featured short story writer Mike Buckley, poet John Brantingham, and poet and publisher Paul Tayyar on Thursday, April 11th, 2013, at California State University, Long Beach’s Soroptomist House.
Michael Buckley read the beginning of a science fiction dystopian novel that takes place in Long Beach at The Pike before it was, what he described as, the “washed up corporate thing” that it is today. Buckley evoked a Pike much “dirtier, seedier, [and] characterized by tiny, shady streets and lots of strange people.” The title of his piece was “The Contortionist,” and it featured the two main characters meeting for the first time after a large war. He also read his short story “I Didn’t Know Her At All.”
Buckley received his M.F.A. from CSULB in 2009, and has since published a collection of short stories called Miniature Men. His fiction has appeared in national journals, like The Southern California Review, and is anthologized frequently. He is also a science fiction writer and co-founder of SciFutures, a consultancy firm that uses science fiction to shape corporate policy.
John Brantingham read five poems from his book East of Los Angeles (Anaphora Press, 2011), including “Home Tectonics,” “We Turn Out the Lights,” and one of several poems titled “Los Angeles.” Brantingham said that his collection is about his trying to leave the San Gabriel Valley and being forced back. He also read some of his new poems.
Brantingham is the author of several other books, including Mann of War and Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods. His poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and in hundreds of magazines in both the U.S. and the U.K. He also teaches composition and creative writing at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.
Paul Tayyar, Buckley, and Brantingham then discussed the pros of independent publishing. Tayyar began by talking about how World Parade Books started, and he later encouraged the aspiring writers in the room, who may be feeling discouraged about entering the publishing world, “to take matters into their own hands” by organizing readings, small presses, or online literary sites. Tayyar, Buckley, and Brantingham then engaged in a Q&A among each other before taking questions from the audience.
Tayyar received his M.A. degree in American Literature from CSULB in 2001, and went on to earn his Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of California, Riverside. He teaches at Golden West College and is the founding director of World Parade Books. He recently published a novella titled In the Footsteps of the Silver King (Spout Hill Press 2012), and his collection of poems titled Magic Carpet Poems will be released later this year.
L-R: Brantingham, Tayyar, and Buckley
Written by Cortney Kimoto