by Helena Witzke
Dr. Adam Clay, WMU alum, has just published his second book of poems, “A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World.” Clay, who earned his Ph.D. in English with a creative dissertation from WMU in 2009, published his first volume of poetry “The Wash” (Parlor Press) in 2006.
According to Clay, “Hotel Lobby” is far different from his earlier works. This new collection focuses on his personal experiences and the things he witnessed in Michigan, such as the crumbling economy and the turmoil of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It also makes use of a very different poetic form than its predecessor.
“I’m still editing the book now when I read the poems out loud—I’m not sure I can ever call any of my poems complete or finished,” he admits.
While a doctoral student at WMU, Clay taught classes in creative writing, focusing on poetry. He has always taken an active role in both local and national literary communities, often finding new ways to showcase the work of fellow poets. In 2003, as a graduate student at the University of Arkansas, Clay created the online journal of poetry Typo Magazine, which he co-edits with Matthew Henriksen.
“At the time, there weren’t all that many online journals, though it seemed like the readership for them certainly existed,” he says. “We solicited work for the first issue and from there, things just took off.”
While in Kalamazoo, Clay also jump-started the Poets in Prints series in conjunction with the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. Clay served as the curator for the Poets in Print series from 2008-11.
Clay still sees Kalamazoo, and especially the campus environment, as being a rich place for writers. “Kalamazoo has so much happening as a literary community: The Frostic Series, The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center, New Issues Press, Asylum Lake, Fire, and the Portage Library, too. I’m probably leaving a lot out, which is to say it’s a great town for the arts—and writing in particular.”
“A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World” is available through Milkweed Editions.