I'm pleased to welcome Glenn Shaheen to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Glenn, please tell us a little about yourself.
Glenn: I was born in Canada, but have lived in the United States since I was a teenager. Presently I am a doctoral candidate at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where I live with my fiancee, the fiction writer Laurie Ann Cedilnik. I also serve on the board of the Radius of Arab-American Writers, Inc., an organization dedicated to the support and promotion of writing by Arab-Americans.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book.
Glenn: Predatory is my first book of poems, and won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize in poetry. It was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press last fall. It's an analysis of the way we Americans have come in the past decade to let a fear of destruction consume us, the destruction of our nation, the destruction of our society, or the destruction of love. This fear is an obvious fallacy - it's conceited to think that any of these things would be destroyed in our lifetimes. That's the kind of thinking that the party has to end once we left, but that's almost never true - somebody did a keg stand and made out with a lamp as soon as we got in the taxi!
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Glenn: I'm working on a second manuscript of poems right now, but it's very nascent. Right now it's about community and how individual responsibilities translate into social duties, though I could cut half the poems tomorrow. The working title is Great Southwest.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Glenn: My only booked appearance this fall is reading for the Monsters of Poetry series in Madison, Wisconsin on October 12th. Nothing in Michigan until the spring I'm afraid!
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore?
Glenn: I loved Literary Life in Grand Rapids, but unfortunately they recently shut their doors. In Kalamazoo, Kazoo Books is terrific, and so is Michigan News Agency. Support your local bookstores!
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Glenn: The dunes at Saugatuck are fantastic, and I love biking the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail - I haven't made it up to the UP yet, but I hear that's gorgeous as well.
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Glenn: The first snow is always great! It's usually a surprise, even though you know it's coming, and you've forgotten enough about icy roads, shoveling the driveway, endless cold, etc, that it's sort of pleasant. The 12th snow is not as great.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Glenn: I like poet Hayan Charara, who no longer lives in Michigan, but was born and raised here. I think he counts enough as a Michigander. Or Michiganian? I don't want to get too far ahead of myself on these questions! His books are The Alchemist's Diary and The Sadness of Others.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Glenn: It is phenomenally beautiful here for about 10 months. Also, the amount of farm to table restaurants here is great - I thought I'd lose weight moving from Texas, but, ha ha, no dice. Too many terrific places to eat!
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"?
Glenn: I've only been a Michigander for a year, so maybe I'm not the right person to ask. I've always said "Michigander" though, and my spell check seems to think the answer is "Michigander," so that's what I'm going with!
Debbie: Glenn, we'll add you to the Michigander column. Thank you for being here today for Michigander Monday!