Readings by Travis Nichols & Paul Killebrew
PRESS STREET & ANTENNA are proud to host a reading by authors TRAVIS NICHOLS & PAUL KILLEBREW
Paul will be reading from his new poetry collection Flowers and Travis from his debut novel Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder.
Drinks and light refreshment will be served.
On Travis Nichols & Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder:
Titled after the US Air Force song, this engaging debut explores the legacy of the
Greatest Generation from the perspective of Generation Y, the fallout of war through
the eyes of a pacifist, and the enduring human desire for love, adventure, truth, and
“Nichols handles beautifully the hidden meanings in old family tales heard a hundred
times . . . the novel often reads like a piece of music that is wonderfully original.”
“Travis Nichols locates the story in history, the pistol in epistolary. This is crushingly
great, altogether original debut that reads like an incantation. I dare you
to stop reading.”—ED PARK
Born in Iowa in 1979, Travis Nichols now lives in Chicago where he is an editor at the
Poetr y Foundation. A regular contributor to the Huffington Post, former bookseller, and
tour bus manager for the Wave Books Poetr y Bus, his writing has appeared in the Village
Voice, Believer, Details, Paste, Stranger, and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
On Paul Killebrew and Flowers
Killebrew strikes many different notes in his long-awaited debut. Amid poems cluttered with offices, “confederated ideas,” ambition, and calls from the mayor, he is sometimes cheeky, resigned to “the tremendous gap between the refrigerator/ and the conscientious voter.” Love poems like “I Will Learn to Make You Happy” and “I Love Country Music” are intimate and graceful, displaying startling and simple truths, noticed precisely. Killebrew channels Frank O’Hara, and it’s tempting to get lost in these moments of ebullience. Elsewhere, John Ashbery is the New York School spirit most palpably felt, not just in the poem titled for him, but also in the long central poem “In Eight Parts,” which begins, “I grew up an anxious painting by my dad’s shaking hand,” and can be read as Killebrew’s “Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror.” There are also more abstract moments: “birdbath interstate flowerbed shoulder restitution fencing.” Throughout, Killebrew intelligently and compellingly explores the possibilities and uses of poetry and the experience of living in language—how its abstractions seduce, and how concrete moments like thunderstorms “make the whole thing feel justified,/ or at least without unbearable luxury.” Though his work worries the “negotiation between expectation/ and an ever-tapering capacity for surprise,” Killebrew’s collection leaves us plenty of reason to be optimistic. (Apr.)