Greg O’Neill, current Butler MFA candidate in fiction is the program’s resident music scene guy. He knows music: Who to watch and where and with whom (hint: with him, if you’re buying). He shares his thoughts on Indy’s music scene.
As a music fan and musician, Indy has always been good to me. There are venues all over the city for both local and touring acts. Places like the Melody Inn which is next to Butler’s campus and books acts as disparate as Japanese punks Peelander-Z and surf-rock god Dick Dale; shockingly legit jazz clubs like the Chatterbox and the Jazz Kitchen; a trio of clubs in Fountain Square — White Rabbit, Radio, Radio and Hi-fi — specializing in everything from burlesque shows to bearded folkies; not to mention your standard outdoor amphitheaters and sporting arenas (I saw both Taylor Swift and Nine Inch Nails under the Pacers banner at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse).
And because Indy inhabits this weird limbo of sometimes-medium-sometimes-major market, national touring acts like Animal Collective, Kurt Vile or Savages will often play more intimate spaces than up in Chicago. Here’s how close you can get:
I’m also constantly surprised by all the MCs who just keep spawning in nearby Fountain Square’s hip hop scene, each year culminating in the hip hop block party, Chreece — sold out in its first two years.
I could go on.
And I will.
Only to mention the two stellar record stores in town, Luna Music and Indy CD & Vinyl. They both sell a great selection of old records and host incredible events like in-store performances from artists playing in town.
I like Indy. It’s a tidy little secret with lots of cool people, cheap housing and zero pretense. Find a local and prepare to spend a single digit number of dollars on drinks.
“I just feel so lucky to be able to live this life where I get to write poems and read poems and think about poems all the time. And I do think that began at Butler,” he said. “Through the friends and mentors I met at Butler who were willing to listen to me blather on and on about this or that poet or this or that poem, the friends and mentors who would often blather back at me with equal fervor. That was such a gift, remains such a gift—one I think about every day.”
– Kaveh Akbar (’15)
Kaveh Akbar graduated the Butler MFA in 2015. In 2016 Kaveh won the Lily Foundation Grant, published a chapbook, signed a contract to publish a full-length book of poetry, and published dozens of poems in highly regarded magazines like Poetry, Tin House, Indiana Review, Field, Poetry Foundation, and Visible Binary. In 2017 his poems will appear in Ploughshares and the New Yorker. Along with Butler MFA, Kaveh hosts the Divedapper Poetry Carnival, an annual event in Indianapolis that makes poetry fun in Indianapolis. He is also the creator of Divedapper, a popular blog of conversations with the biggest names in poetry.
Congratulations to Butler MFA graduate, Laura Kendall. Not only is she a new bookstore owner, she will also be published in Creative Nonfiction. One of the most prestigious and selective literary magazines in the country, Creative Nonfiction is an achievement for any nonfiction writer. Laura said, “This was the only place I submitted this piece, because I didn’t want it to go to just any publication. I’m pretty happy I aimed big with this one.”
Laura read part of the essay, “An Equation, Solve for Father,” at the Butler MFA graduate reading last May. “It’s a piece about the complicated (still) feelings I have toward my dad due to his having Asperger’s,” Laura said.
Laura’s essay will appear in the Winter 2017 issue due out in January.
The Butler creative writing program gathered together to celebrate Thanksgiving, MFA style — abundant food, plenty of drink, and student readings. Thanks to all who joined in the merriment. A special thank you to Denise who prepared the Turkey in addition to several of her delicious sides.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the blog asked the MFA community what was about the program that made them thankful.
Karin Salisbury: It’s a home away from home. I’m grateful for insightful faculty, supportive staff, and faithful friends I adore. I am also grateful for the many outreach programs, including Writing for Wellness.
Luke Wortely: Writing in the Schools
Lydia Johnson: I’m thankful for friendships, writing support, encouragement and being a part of a community of writers and the Butler community at large. Also that the programs and events are open to alumni so that we can still be involved!
John Eckerd: I touched Kaveh Akbar’s leg once.