The Ugly Mug

Wednesday night I went to The Ugly Mug in Orange, California for the Cadence Collective: Anthology/Sadie Girl Press Night. I wasn’t planning on going because I’ve been going through some health issues. Also doing full-time this semester leaves me with little wiggle room to have fun. I became easily swayed into going after I finished up an essay for Anthropology. I finished my essay early because I wanted to see and hear my poetry community. Finishing the essay early also gave room for a relaxing weekend, which is why I am even able to write this post in the first place.



I hadn’t seen anyone in a month prior to Wednesday. Being there at The Ugly Mug felt like the first time hearing everyone again. It was magical. Sarah Thursday did a wonderful job. She told us the story to her cover art for All the Tiny Anchors. I’m not going to tell it because if you weren’t there you missed out! Ask her about it the next time you see her. Thursday also read a few poems she hadn’t read out loud before at the request of Terry. She also read from The Unnamed Algorithm. Hearing Sarah Thursday read after so long was a sugary sweet treat.



Terry Wright was absolutely phenomenal. She read her poems from the Sadie Girl Press Sampler: The Language I Was Broken In. Do I need to mention that she also read from Cadence Collective: Year Two Anthology? Of course she did! Terry Wright is a woman full of talent. She told us the story behind her poem Mappae Mundi. I am going to be honest I really love the last line of that poem, so when she explained how that came about I giggled. I cannot wait until her chapbook release party in December. I’m so excited to have her work on my bookshelf soon.



JL Martindale read poems from her joint chapbook with Daniel McGinn The Bottle & The Boot. I cannot explain to you how wonderful her reading was. It was absolutely raw, loud, and she exposed herself without holding back. I was swooning so hard. Seriously, it’s been well over a month since I heard this woman read her poetry. I forgot how much her poetry jumpstarted my heart with emotions. JL also read a poem by Amanda Tan titled I dazzle, even with my eyes closed. It was very nice to hear Amanda’s poem be read by JL.



I also enjoyed hearing G. Murray Thomas read. Who can get tired of G. Murray Thomas reading his poetry? I can’t. I also never get tired of his awesome hugs. Robin D. Hudechek also read her wonderful poetry. I loved hearing her read What My Hands Know. It’s an absolutely beautiful poem. It gets me every time. Michael Cantin read a poem about his very big white balls but they weren’t actually about his balls. It was amazing. His reading was flawless and it left me absolutely stunned (in a good way of course). I kind of wish he read his gold poem too. Great stuff. LeAnne Hunt also read. I always love when she reads. It’s always so good. Marc who was sitting next to me agreed that LeAnne’s poetry was too good. K. Andrew Turner had challenged Elmast Kozloyan to write a poem where she incorporates Armenian. She accepted the challenge and oh it was great. I cannot wait for her second chapbook Luna Seas. Marc J. Cid also read three poems. One of the poems he read was Inoculation, which you can find on Cadence’s website. Ben was a gracious host and closed the night reading a poem by Keayva Mitchell, Alexis Rhode Fancher, and Ricki Mandeville from the Cadence Year Two: Anthology. I got there 30 minutes late though because Bruxie’s was calling, overall it was a great night.



I am so honored to be part of such a strong, talented, supportive poetry community. It’s been the best gift I’ve received to be able to be part of it since I was seventeen. I genuinely can say they are my chosen poetry family. I don’t know when I will be able to go back to The Ugly Mug. All I know is every time I do go back I always feel welcomed. These nights are only made possible because Phil the Ugly Mug owner makes it happen. I should also tell you Phil makes the best Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups milkshake. So when you go, order one, and have it.

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Get to Know Moon Pixel’s New Co-Host Elmast Kozloyan

As I announced last month Elmast Kozloyan will be helping me with Moon Pixel Open-Mic by being my co-host for September, October, November, and December. We both will be hosting each month, unless I can’t attend because I am sick. She will be taking over the entire night if that were to happen. I asked her a few questions and she answered. This is so you all can know Elmast a little bit better.

What significance has the moon played in your personal and artistic life?

Elmast: “I felt I’ve always had a deep connection with the moon. A few years back I was going through a difficult time emotionally and there were very few stable things in my life. I would go for days without much sleep and most nights I would go outside to just stare at the moon. Although its shape changed every night it was always there and became the one constant thing I could hold onto.  It is my literal and figurative rock. Right now in my artistic life the moon will play a heavy role in my next book of poetry Luna Seas. The center focus is the idea of insanity taking inspiration from mythology/folktales and the power of nature, particularly the relationship between the moon and ocean. ”

Has having a healthy artistic community helped you evolve and grow as a writer? How?

Elmast: “Absolutely! I don’t know where I would be today without my community. Surrounding yourself with creative people is an essential component for growth as an artist. I have been very blessed to have an amazing supportive community of writers whom I’ve come to consider a second family, as well as having community with those outside of the literary arts. All artists are storytellers and we have all been given a gift that we are compelled to share with the world, and I find it inspirational to watch others grow in their craft and tell their story. It pushes me to challenge myself and try new things and the feedback I get from other writers and artist are so valuable.”

In the next six months how do you see your writing improving, or growing? How do you want to challenge yourself?

Elmast: “I very honestly couldn’t tell you, if I knew where my art was going to be I think I would already be there. Although I always have goals of where I would like to improve. I find myself changing in ways I never expected. You just have to ride the wave and see where it takes you. Trying to force your own way may cause you to drown. The goal on my horizon is to experiment with new forms and subject matter. Poetry has been my main focus and I would like to try storytelling in a new medium. ”

Elmast has a feature coming up September 14, 2015 at Gatsby Books, Long Beach. For more information  go to Cadence Collective.

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Elmast Kozloyan: is a poet trapped in limbo between magic and reality (though seldom chooses the latter). At the age of fifteen won a silver medal for poetry in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and since then has been mentoring youth poets, is an editor of CSULA’s Statement Magazine and published in places such as Cadence Collective, Poetry in Motion, Pacific Review,  East Jasmine Review, and the Los Angeles Times. She also has a chapbook called Doe Eyed Venus.