Last night I attended the launch of Collin Kelley’s novel, Conquering Venus. (Vanilla Heart Press, 2009). The event took place at Outwrite Books in Atlanta, a perfect setting for the reading because of the intimate arrangement of the seating, the streamer and balloon art installation, and the store crammed with books. Collin read the prologue and the first chapter, keeping us entranced the entire time. He reads with a lot of expression, undoubtedly because of his long experience as a poet. It was a treat to hear his interpretation of the characters – the dialogue is snappy, witty, and irreverent, especially the exchanged between Martin, the protagonist, and Diane, his middle-aged friend.
Afterwards Collin answered questions about how much of the novel is true, what his writing habits are, whether or not there will be more poems in the sequels he is currently writing, and if writing the novel has interfered with his poetry writing. If you’re curious about the answers to these questions, go to one of his many scheduled readings. There will also be a virtual tour in September for those of you who live outside the US.
To read more about Collin Kelley’s novel, visit the blog for Conquering Venus. There’s a video trailer and a preview selection from the novel.
On a personal note, at the reading I saw several poets and writers I’ve met through Collin Kelley: Karen Head, Rupert Fike, Cleo Creech, Megan Volpert, and others. I also had the chance to meet in person the lovely Lisa Allender, whom I had known only through facebook and her blog, Lisa Allender Writes.
Lisa and I spoke with Karen Head about her experience on The Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. We were both impressed with her poise under fire, and her direction of the event. Stay tuned for an article in Time about Karen’s international twitter poetry writing.
It was gratifying to be in a room of writers and readers who so obviously adored the reading. Through his art and his charm, Collin Kelley has the gift of gathering like-minded people together.