Monday, June 18, 2012

Michigander Monday: Traci Brimhall

I'm pleased to welcome Traci Brimhall to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Traci, please tell us a little about yourself.

Traci:  I'm a Leo born in Little Falls, MN with a love of long walks in the woods and a weakness for Girl Scout Cookies.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your books.

Traci:  Oh, those. Well, I've published two books of poems, Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton), chosen by Carolyn Forche for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press), winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Traci:  I think the horizon is still several years away, but I'm working on a new book of poems as well as a poetry comic book.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Traci:  In the middle of summer, I will be down in Mississippi as the poet in residence at Ole Miss, and later this summer I'm doing a mini book tour in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois with poets Glenn Shaheen and Kyle McCord. Sadly, no Michigan dates in the near future.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?

Traci:  I love my local bookstores (Kazoo Books and Michigan News) and my local library, which has a really great selection of poetry. Dean at Michigan News has been especially supportive and kind. There are so many writers and lovers of the arts in Kalamazoo.

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Traci:  Well I've only lived in Michigan for 2 1/2 years, so I'm sure there are tons of great places in the state I haven't even seen yet, but my favorite is my backyard. I live right on the edge of a big arboretum in Kalamazoo and I try and walk there most days. I love being that intimately familiar with a place. I know where the mayapples are likely to pop up, where the herons like to nest, where the deer are likely to be feeding at dusk.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Traci:  I'm sorry to be so Kalamazoo-centric in my responses, but I love Kalamazoo's summer food festivals and the Kalamazoo Beer Week.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Traci:  My in-laws. They're pretty wonderful people.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Traci:  When someone points to their hand to show you where they're from, they're not crazy or offering a modified Vulcan greeting.

Debbie:  Finally, last question:  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?

Traci:  I'm a Michigander and I hang out with a whole gaggle of other Michiganders.

Debbie:  Michigander it is!  Traci, thank you so much for joining us today.

To learn more about Traci and her books, stop by her web page.  You can also hear her read one of her poems, "Fiat Lux," on YouTube.

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