Tag Archives: Events

I Be All Up in AWP

Friends! Oh, friends! Such fun times happening right now and in the near future. I’ll be at AWP in Los Angeles this week. What does that stand for? There are many different interpretations but I think it means Awesome Writer Party.

Here’s where I will be when I’m not at the Future Tense booth (table #106–come say hark!)…

Thursday morning Future Tense anniversary reading

Friday morning panel on getting your first book to print

Saturday night reading at The Redwood Bar

I have so many friends that live in L.A. It’s going to be beautiful to see Zoe Ruiz, Meredith Alling, Melissa Chadburn, Davy Rothbart, Ariel Maccarone, Myriam Gurba, Wendy C. Ortiz, Amelia Gray, Justin Maurer, Stephen Kurowski, Michelle Tea, and all the rest of you warm weather angels .

See y’all at the hotel pool!

Splash Up

Rookie Season

I never thought I’d give up writing for anything, but as 2014 winds down, I look back on all the stuff I did in the name of collage and I get the same excitable newcomer rush that I did when I started writing and publishing over twenty years ago. Like my first (often naive) forays into the world of making books, I have jumped head-first into this passionate exploration of a new form.


So, when I put up my first solo collage show at the Basil Hallward Gallery at Powell’s on New Year’s Day, it will be to celebrate the past twelve months of making over 100 collages, getting a few of them published, slowly putting together a Society 6 page, taking an on-line collage class, discovering (and befriending) as many collage artists as possible, launching a new collage column for The Rumpus, and co-hosting the lively new “Open Collage Nights” at the IPRC in Portland (every 2nd Wednesday of the month).


The show will be up for the whole month of January and it’s called “Rookie Season.” I have about forty pieces framed and ready to go on the walls. I’ve picked out pieces that will hopefully show some of the growth and changes I made through the year. It’s funny to look at collages I made last January and February and think, “Oh, those are my early works.”


First Thursday lands on January 1st this year, so come out and see my collages in person (I think they look much cooler that way as opposed to a flat jpeg). I may even have a surprise or two for you. Plus, you know–probably some snacks and cheese and stuff. I’ll be hanging out from 6:30pm til about 8:00. Hope to see you!


My AWP Schedule

I’m posting this as much for my own memory’s benefit as I am for anyone who wants to see me at the AWP Conference next weekend in Seattle. Here’s what I’m up to and where I will be. I’m so excited to see everyone!


* denotes off-site events

The rest of it happens at the Washington State Convention Center & Sheraton Hotel (which is across the street from the Convention Center and where the panels will be)

*Thursday night, February 27th, 9pm: Reading with others for Similar Peaks. Vermillion (1508 11th Ave.) with Rauan Klassnik, Donald Dunbar, Kate Durbin, Leah Umansky, and others.

Friday, 12 noon: Panel on publishing with small presses and bigger presses, with Amelia Gray, Peter Mountford, Tara Ison, and Matt Bell. Willow Room @ The Sheraton

Friday, 1:30: Book signing at the Tin House table. Booth 1704

Friday, 4:00: Booth signing for Third Place Books. Booth 830

*Friday, 6-8pm: Performing in Newer York Literary Carnival. Caffe Umbria, (320 Occidental Ave. South) (Note to self: go to this immediately after)

*Friday, 10pm: Ink Node reading at Left Bank Books at Pike Place Market. With Mathias Svalina, Dena Rash Guzman, and others. (also, Friday night is The Literature Party–dancing!–co-sponsored by Future Tense Books)


Saturday, March 1st, 1:00: Booth signing for The Independent Publishing Resource Center. Booth G7

*Saturday, March 1st, 5pm-6:30pm: Co-hosting this Six Press Reading, which features Future Tense author May-Lan Tan. Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater (2322 2nd Avenue)

*Saturday, March 1st, 10pm: Co-hosting the Sweet Fanny AWP wrap-up reading, which features Future Tense author Chelsea Hodson. Georgetown Liquor Company (5501 Airport Way South)

Future Future Tense author Chelsea Hodson

Future Future Tense author Chelsea Hodson

When I’m not doing all this other stuff, I will be at the Future Tense/Magic Helicopter/Publishing Genius/Mammoth Editions booth, which is #Q24, by the North Hall. We’ll be right between Night Train and Factory Hollow Press. Also pretty close to The Austin Review and Sunnyoutside.


See you there!

The Last Two Nights

Some fantastic times were had the past two evenings.

On Tuesday night, I read at The Soft Show, a great reading series here in Portland where a trio of illustrators draw cartoons to go with your story. I read with fellow writers Martha Grover, Jason Squamata, Alissa Nielsen, and Justin Hocking. Here’s the panel of illustrations (by Pete Soloway, Emily Randazzo, and Becky Hawking) for my story…


The story I read was an unpublished story called “The Baby and The Apple Bell”–it’s narrated by an 18-month-old baby. Here’s a few lines from it…

My mom told me about volcanoes once because that’s my middle name. Tony Volcano Martinez. My mom’s name is Jennie or Baby or Mom. Not all of them at once though. You just pick one and say it. I am always confused when people call my mom “Baby.” I’m the baby. Not her. We don’t look anything alike. I say the word baby and she adds it to my list of words. B-A-B-Y.

Then last night, I was on the YouTube show The Casserole, with one of my favorite poets and dearest friends, Emily Kendal Frey. It was a fun show, hosted by Chelsea Kurnick, who runs the show via the Interwebs at her place in Seattle. You can watch it here…

Also, a couple of fun things popped up this week:

This crazy interview for Propeller Magazine.

This interesting essay on the subject of marriage and how it’s portrayed in This Is Between Us.

And oh, you may have noticed I added a tab on top for COLLAGE. Because I’m going to be doing a lot of it this year. Believe dat!

In the Thick of It!

My book has been out for almost a month now. It’s kind of a whirlwind right now. But a fun whirlwind. Or maybe a blizzard. Like a Dairy Queen blizzard. Yeah–that’s it. I’m in the thick of a sweet blended ice cream treat with chunks of peanut butter cups and Oreo cookies.

I’m currently in NY for a few days. I had a great reading at BookCourt last night. Here are a few pics from this tour so far.

With Zoe Ruiz, editor of The Rumpus and doughnut expert. Also, translator of French restaurant names.

With Zoe Ruiz, editor of The Rumpus and doughnut expert. Also, translator of French restaurant names.

Post-reading get-together after Skylight Books event. With amazing trio (from left): Melissa Chadburn, Wendy C. Ortiz, and Ariel Maccarone.

Post-reading get-together after Skylight Books event. With amazing trio (from left): Melissa Chadburn, Wendy C. Ortiz, and Ariel Maccarone.

Myriam Gurba and I went to the Church of Scientology in L.A. but they weren't interested in us doing a reading there.

Myriam Gurba and I went to the Church of Scientology in L.A. but they weren’t interested in us doing a reading there.

This is from my reading at Vacation in San Francisco. Maybe my best reading of the tour I think. I must have gained super powers from my Dan Clowes shirt.

This is from my reading at Vacation in San Francisco. Maybe my best reading of the tour I think. I must have gained super powers from my Dan Clowes shirt.

Janey Smith's kitten, named "Cat" which I think is short for Catastrophic Feline Monster.

Janey Smith’s kitten, named “Cat” which I think is short for Catastrophic Feline Monster.


While in Seattle, I got to see a bunch of friends including Matthew Simmons who instigated this group photo of TIBU lips action and some University Bookstore employees.

While in Seattle, I got to see a bunch of friends including Matthew Simmons who instigated this group photo of TIBU lips action and some University Bookstore employees.

Off to Baltimore tomorrow and back in NY at Word on Friday. Check my events page to see the details. Bye for now!

One Week Until The Mayhem That Is LitHop PDX

Next Wednesday night, October 2nd (It’s October already!) I’ll be roaming the streets of upper Hawthorne Boulevard, probably madly texting or walkee-talkeeing with Jeff Alessandrelli about our gangly, awkward, beautiful baby named LitHop PDX.

54 readers (maybe more if you factor in surprises), six venues, three hours. Oh, boy. Check out our site, our FB page, or Twitter page for more info. There will also be a posse of people handing out maps and programs the night of the event.


This is the biggest literary shindig I’ve thrown and it’s going to be fun. And there’s going to be a big after-party at the Eagles Lodge after. I know what you’re thinking: Eagles Lodge?! Well, yeah–apparently it’s one of the hot hangouts these days. Cheap drinks, good music, bingo if you get there at the right time.

Plus, if you’re interested you can see me read at this thing too. I’m the last reader of the Tin House line-up at 9:30pm at Bar of the Gods. If all goes well, I should be pretty relieved and happy by this time of night.

Speaking of happy, here’s a drawing of me by my multi-talented pal, Zachary Schomburg (he’s reading that night too–at 7:15pm). Whenever I hang out with Schommy it’s constant laughs and perma-grinning.

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 1.49.16 PM


What the Heck Am I Doing?

Well, I was planning on laying low this summer, but after updating my Events page, I realize I am actually pretty dang busy. Go check it out.

I’m also hosting an event with my fellow Future Tenser Bryan Coffelt on August 3rd at Colonel Summers Park. Outdoors! In the shade of trees! BYOB! The readers will be three of my favorite people: Amelia Gray, Matthew Simmons, and James Gendron (a poet I’m pretty obsessed with right now). Details here.


In the meantime, Mr. Coffelt and I are also putting the finishing touches on the paperback reprint of Gary Lutz’s book, Partial List of People of Bleach. It’s going to be as amazing as you’d expect a Lutz collection to be. At the same time, we’ve started work on putting together the fall Future Tense release, a collection of personal essays by Jamie Iredell. We’re still wrestling with titles ideas. Jamie will be in Portland for Wordstock and we’re hoping to have copies of his book by then (first weekend of October).

In other news, the audiobook of my memoir, A Common Pornography, was just released by Audible. If you’re an audiobook fan and aren’t hooked into Audible, you really should be. They’re producing some great stuff. They did the audio book for Chloe Caldwell too. And they’ll be doing the audio version of my novel, This Is Between Us, as well. Rumor has it, that they’re also going to do a bunch of audiobooks of the Akashic Noir series, including Portland Noir, which I edited in 2009.

Writing-wise, I seem to have picked up on some poetry mojo and have written a good dozen or more poems in the last couple of months. I read one as the surprise guest at Dena Rash Guzman’s book release party recently while Ryan Werner danced in spandex pants and cowboy boots. I ended up riding on Ryan’s shoulders by the end of the poem (it was called Rock Criticism).


I have my own page on Ink Node if you wanna read some poems. I also have some appearing soon on Sink Review and elsewhere.

In the more journalistic side of things, I also have a article in the current Poets & Writers Magazine about people who are kick-ass live readers. You gotta buy the mag to read it but they also ran this cool web-only feature with clips from the people I interviewed (Almond, Lisick, McClanahan, Heald, Zhang, Kennedy, Nutting, D. Brown).


Speaking of Alissa Nutting, I am crowning her saucy novel, Tampa, my fave of the year so far. And I talked to her about it for Tin House. That woman is tearing up the summer reading lists right about now, and for good reason.

Non-bookish stuff? TV stuff? Our household has been really into The Killing this season (the last Jonathan Demme-directed episode was amazing) as well as The Bridge and the new season of Wilfred (so depraved and funny). I also like that Amy Schumer show quite a bit. And we can’t wait for Breaking Bad, of course.

That’s all for now. Stay cool out there, friends. See you soon.

In the Shiny Red Chair


Wordstock, Portland’s huge yearly literary festival, recently announced that I’m their guest curator for this year’s festival (October 3rd-6th). I’ve always been a fan of the festival, so I’m excited to be a part of the planning process this time around.

I’m working closely with an awesome duo there–Sara Guest and Jeff Alessandrelli–and we’ve already made a few changes. We’ve invited many many more small press writers* this year. We’re organizing Portland’s first bar crawl literary monster, LitHop. We’re going to test out a fun and daring new tabling scheme for people who couldn’t usually afford to pay for a whole table (it’s going to be called Squatters Row). And we’re gonna have more panels that address hot topics like ebooks, audio books, and print-on-demand technology.

Some of this is still in the planning stages, so more solid info is still to come.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at kevin.sampsell@bewordstock.org

Thank you!!

*some of the small press stars already confirmed for this year include Mike Young, Jamie Iredell, Chelsea Martin, Noah Cicero, Derrick Brown, Beth Lisick, Leni Zumas, and more tba. And of course, there will be the usual roster of hot-shot famous people too.


Horizontal News

Some sweet action coming up on the horizon…

I’ll be going to New York at the end of the month to attend Book Expo of America, which is the big convention the publishing industry has every year. I’ve gone a few times before in the past, mostly as part of my Powell’s job as an events coordinator. But this time I’m going to hang out with people at the Tin House booth (I’ll be signing review copies of my novel for booksellers on Saturday afternoon, June 1st at 2:00). I’ll also be doing a reading that night with Joseph Riippi, Dawn Raffel, and others at Polly Bresnick’s reading series at Unnameable Books. Please come say hello.


Polly Bresnick!

Next month, I’ll have a story in Poets & Writers Magazine. I interviewed a bunch of writers and got their secrets on how to give a good reading. It was a fun story and I’m excited to get into this magazine that I’ve been reading for years.

And in October (a month before the novel!), I’ll be included in the Best American Essays 2013 anthology, edited by Cheryl Strayed. I’m extremely honored to be in this series. You could say I’m on top of the world right now.




A Few Steps Closer

Friends! An update on the novel. It’s coming out in November! I finished the copy edits recently (about 14 hours of work–made me realize I still have a few things to learn) and my editor (Hi, Masie!) and I have been receiving some ultra-sweet blurbs from beautiful folks like Jillian Lauren, Patrick deWitt, Davy Rothbart, Lidia Yuknavitch, Amelia Gray, and Jess Walter.

You can see info about it on Goodreads already.

Go add it to your “to-read” list.

Next up, Tin House will print up some review copies and give them to some folks at Book Expo (May 29th-June 2nd) in New York. I will also be there! In fact, I’ll be doing a reading on June 1st while I’m there. More details to come on that. My friend Polly Bresnick is setting up something killer.

Here’s what the review copies will look like…


What have I been reading lately?

The amazing new Nick Flynn memoir, The Reenactments, the strange short stories of I Want to Show You More by Jamie Quatro, the new Future Tense Scout Book series 😉 and The Stud Book by Monica Drake.

What I can’t wait to read next:

TAMPA by Alissa Nutting and Big Ray by Michael Kimball.

And what I’m watching:

I thought The Place Beyond the Pines was ambitious and awesome.

The addictive and delicious TV show, Nashville.

I will be at the retrospective of my friend Vanessa Renwick’s films. (I talked about her recently on this blog for Oregon Movies, A to Z).

And I missed it the first time around, but I hope to see Brian Lindstrom’s powerful documentary, Alien Boy, asap!

Scarlett and Gunnar = <3

Nashville’s Scarlett and Gunnar = ❤