A Conference, a Website, and a Book

20150311_125506Whew, it’s been a long time since I posted here about what’s going on with me. Here it is March and I’m just finally feeling recovered from the holidays. I always think I’m not making enough progress in this endeavor of writing and advocacy–until I put down what I’ve been up to.

The next big thing coming up on my schedule is the American Adoption Congress Conference, where I’ll be moderating a panel discussion with my adoptee sisters from Lost Daughters on March 28. Ten of us will talk about diverse narratives within the collective adoptee voice. Early-bird registration rates have been extended, so there’s still time to make your plans to meet us in Boston. We’ll also have copies of our anthology on hand and our signing pens ready!

At the end of January, I launched a new website I’ve been working on for some time, called Adoptee Reading Resource. My goal with the site is twofold: to catalog every book written by an adoptee that I can identify and to also list adoption books authored by non-adoptees that adoptees recommend. In other words, it’s an adoptee-centric book site, to enable adoptees–and everyone else–to discover adoptee-centric books. (Yes, I can work in the word “adoptee” a few more times if you’d like.) Now that it’s live, I’m excited to see how it grows.

Continue reading “A Conference, a Website, and a Book”

What’s Going On – April/May 2013

My big news is that I have completed every page, class, defense, and reading required to earn my Master of Arts on May 15. It’s been three years of hard work while trying to maintain balance at home, but it’s been worth every difficult moment. I’m a better writer and, even more importantly, I’ve met some kindred spirits along the way.

I finally made it over to Marietta to read at the Play Pen Open Mic, a tradition for students in my program. I also read at the open mic during the American Adoption Congress National Conference in my hometown of Cleveland earlier this month–and, my birth father was in the audience! I’m so glad I had the chance to read a poem I wrote about our meeting for the first time.

Karen Pickell and Natasha Trethewey
Karen Pickell and Natasha Trethewey

Recently, a poem of mine called “Green” won second place in a free verse contest held by the Georgia Poetry Society and judged by Alabama poet Irene Latham. I had the opportunity to read the poem last week at a joint meeting of the Georgia and Alabama poetry societies. Later that day, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey read selections from her books and talked about her role in cultivating an appreciation of poetry throughout the country.

May will be a month of transition, now that I’m no longer a graduate student. I have a couple of book reviews coming up at Lost Daughters, and will also be into the nitty gritty of editing our forthcoming anthology. I’m proud to have accepted the position of Associate Editor at Flycatcher, which comes with a new set of responsibilities. And, it’s time to get cracking on putting the work I’ve completed for my degree out into the world.

Excuse me while I break out my shades–the future’s looking bright!

What’s Going On – March, 2013

These first three months of 2013 have just whizzed by for me.

Priority number one has been finishing my Capstone thesis, which I’m thrilled to say has been signed off on by both of my advisors. Only the oral defense remains. I’m set to graduate with a Master of Arts in Professional Writing on May 15. Now I’ll be turning my attention to submitting individual pieces from my thesis for publication, as well as preparing the full manuscript.

This Saturday, I’ll be reading three poems from my thesis for the Johns Creek Poetry Group. The poems express various aspects of adoptee experience. This group is a local chapter of the Georgia Poetry Society, which publishes an annual anthology of members’ poems for which I’ve recently agreed to serve as assistant editor.

The second issue of Flycatcher went live on January 31, and received a nice write up from New Pages. I had the pleasure of reviewing Ada Limón’s poetry collection, Sharks in the Rivers, for this issue. We are also celebrating the inclusion of three pieces from our first issue in the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be co-editing an anthology of essays by the contributors of Lost Daughters, which will be released by CQT Media and Publishing in conjunction with the APRC Conference in November.

In April, I’ll be attending the American Adoption Congress International Adoption Conference in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. The push is on in Ohio to pass legislation that would grant all adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates, and I’m proud to be supporting this cause.

It’s good to be busy!