Every so often in Seattle, a writer pops into the popular consciousness. You’ll find them everywhere at once: in every Seattle-centric magazine, newspaper, and website that covers the literary scene. (Yes, there aren’t so many of those these days, but that’s a complaint for another time.)
When this kind of writer appears—a Robert Lashley, say, or a Sarah Galvin, to use two recent-ish examples—it must be easy for aspiring authors to fall prey to jealousy. You toil at open mics and publishing for free in hand-printed literary magazines, then suddenly the it lit figure of the moment stares out at you from free boxes around the city. This doesn’t happen very often, and it probably feels as though they’re taking up some of the spotlight that by rights ought to belong to you.
In my experience, though, these overnight success stories happen because the writers in question Work. Their. Asses. Off. They read everywhere, they write all the time, and they put in the hours to gain the respect they deserve. Case in point? Anastacia-Reneé, the poet who has received glowing profiles in a number of local publications including a fantastic City Arts cover story by Galvin that’s on the stands right now.
The reason Anastacia-Reneé is getting so much attention is that she’s publishing three books of poetry with three different publishers this summer: (v.), Forget It, and Answer(Me). This confluence wasn’t just handed to her on a platter; the truth is that Anastacia-Reneé is relentless. She reads all over town and advocates for other writers. She experiments in plays, visual art, and nonfiction. Until recently she was the Poet in Residence at the Hugo House, making her expertise available to aspiring authors with regular office hours and special appointments.
Anastacia-Reneé’s restlessness shows up on the page, too. She has written under a number of aliases over the years, and her work investigates the question of identity—race, sexuality, community—in nearly every poem. She is fragmented, and she is mighty, and she is a force of nature. She’s exactly the kind of writer we need to see posted on every corner of the city right now.
To celebrate the second release of her busy summer, Forget It from Santa Cruz publisher Black Radish, Anastacia-Reneé will be joined on Tuesday at Elliott Bay Book Company by three stellar Seattle-area authors: poet Jane Wong, memoirist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, and poet/civil-rights attorney Shankar Narayan. She’s not only generous with the spotlight, but Anastacia-Reneé is perfectly willing to give time and exposure to authors who complement her work. Other writers would balk at giving three dynamos some of their stage time. Anastacia-Reneé knows that every stage is big enough to share. Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave., 624-6600, elliottbaybook.com. Free. All ages. 7 p.m. Tues., July 25. Paul Constant is co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books. Read books coverage like this at seattlereviewofbooks.com.