Currently a professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Rita Dove is coming to give a lecture at ASU’s Tempe campus. Called “An Evening with Rita Dove,” this event will be the highlight of ASU’s second annual Humanities Week. This is a series of special events that celebrate how students and faculty are exploring human adventure across culture, time, and space.
Born in 1952, Rita Dove has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and others. She has written extensively; her most notable works include her poetry collections Thomas and Beulah (which won the Pulitzer Prize), Playlist for the Apocalypse, and Collected Poems 1974 – 2004. Although many of her awards relate to her poetry, Dove has also written essays, songs, a play, and a novel.
Dove’s lecture is free and open to the public; it will take place on Tuesday, October 18, at 7:00pm in the Roskind Great Hall. Go here to learn more and register!
David Baker’s new book Whale Fall, published by W. W. Norton & Company, is a poetry collection that operates on both a macro and micro level. As Baker’s poetry delves into global ecosystems, it also delves into his personal life. His masterful ability to blend these themes is apparent even early on in the book. His poem “Mullein,” the second in the collection, relates the scientific names of plants to the intimate nicknames Baker’s father gave to friends and family.
Whale Fall is filled with scientific terminology. In fact, the title itself is the name of a particular phenomenon. As Baker explains in his interview with Renee Shea in World Literature Today, a whale fall is an “oceanographic term that describes three stages of [a whale’s] death and decay.” It can take years for the whale carcass to settle on the ocean floor, and its body can provide nutrients to other organisms for decades.
Baker’s poetry is known for its sense of place and environmental message, and Whale Fall follows this trend. For those looking for beautiful nature imagery grounded in environmentalism and threaded with a personal narrative, Whale Fall is the perfect poetry collection.
A virtuoso of eco-poetry and acoustics, Baker meditates on the nonpareil majesty of the planet with rigorous consideration and reverence… Baker’s careful, captivating writing sinks under the skin, summoning a long-forgotten need for stillness, wonder, and attention to the sacrosanctity of the world.
David Baker has written nineteen books, thirteen of them poetry collections. His work has been published in American Poetry Review, Antaeus, The Atlantic Monthly, and elsewhere. To learn more about Baker, visit his website.
From the shadow of the garfish to the memory of seabed in Ohio sandstone, nothing appears to be too slight or too immense for David Baker’s powers of lyric transformation. In book after eloquent book, his artistry has become more purely his own: pared down to essentials while refining its scope of generous inclusion. Baker’s method, like his subject, is the fine pulse of human encounter: here in its most distillate manifestation.
Linda Gregerson, author of prodigal: new and selected poems and magnetic north
Join the Hippocampus Magazine in their An Evening with Rebecca Fish Ewan event, “a discussion and Q&A with memoirist, poet, and cartoonist Rebecca Fish Ewan.” Here is their message about the event:
“We released Rebecca’s fun, new, interactive book, Doodling for Writers, during the height of the pandemic so — well, things got a little “drawn out!” So we’re kicking off the New Year with a bit of a belated book birthday celebration, online, Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. eastern time.”
This will event will include: a welcome from Alex at Midtown Scholar, a discussion with Rebecca and Donna Talarico (the publishers), an audience Q& A, as well as, optional, fun activities (bring a pencil!).
“Plus, chances to wincozy & comfy Doodle On! t-shirts and mini Doodle On! notebooks.”
Also, “Rebecca will sign a bookplate (a fun, colorful sticker to put inside your book!) — and maybe even scribble a doodle just for you! — for everyone who purchases (or has purchased) a book. This will hit your mailbox about two weeks after the event.”
To sign up for the event and learn more, click here. To pre-order Rebecca’s book, click here. Also, make sure to follow Rebecca on both her LinkedIn Profile or website.
Join us in congratulating SR poetry contributor Emma Bolden. Emma recently published a poem with The Adroit Journal titled, “Plenary Absolution.”
Emma is the Associate Editor-in-Chief for Tupelo Quarterly and recipient of a 2017 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship. Her work includes House Is An Enigma (Southeast Missouri State UP, 2018), medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016), Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013), and four chapbooks. You can also find her writing in several journals.
To read Emma’s latest poem, click here. You can also find her poetry from SR’s Issue 23 here.
Join Changing Hands at First Draft Book Bar (the wine and beer bar inside Changing Hands Phoenix) for a discussion of this month’s pick, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.
Stop by Changing Hands Phoenix or Tempe to get your copy of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.
Then meet Changing Hands and Arizona Republic reporter Barbara VanDenburgh at First Draft Book Bar to discuss the pick and enjoy HAPPY HOUR prices all through the event.
Sign up for Barbara VanDenburgh’s weekly “Feel Good 5” newsletter here, and join the First Draft Book Club Facebook group here.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.
With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.
WHAT IS FIRST DRAFT BOOK CLUB? First Draft Book Club is the official book club of First Draft Book Bar – the coffee, beer, and wine bar inside Changing Hands Phoenix. Every month, Arizona Republic reporter Barbara VanDenburgh picks a hot new book and hosts a guided book club discussion.
Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
Join us in congratulating SR poetry contributor Robert Krut! Robert’s newest book titled The Now Dark Sky, Setting Us All on Fire was recently published this summer.
Robert’s book won the 2018 Codhill Poetry Award. The poetry collection contains surrealistic imagery, cityscapes, and apocalyptic moments that allow the reader to imagine a new world with “fingerprint police,” “helix fireworks,” and “vampire teeth.”
SR’s own founding editor, Patricia Colleen Murphy, said “Robert Krut inventively crafts image after shape-shifting image, each suggesting an alternate universe designed to help us better understand our real one.”
More information about Robert and his new book can be found here. One poem included in the book can be found in S[r]’s Issue 18, and four more in Issue 3.
Today we are pleased to feature poet John-Michael Bloomquist as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, John-Michael discusses how living in Poland for the past year and a half has “influenced my understanding of poetry in general, as well as given me some perspective on a question…what is the soul of American poetry?”
While John-Michael admits that he “doesn’t think he knows the answer to this question,” or that “the answer is necessarily important,” he affirms that “the question is always worth thinking about.” From his recent experience of reading several works of Polish poetry, he concludes that, “I don’t think I can say what the soul of Polish poetry is, but I can say that it has really affected my soul”, and that “by immersing myself in the poetry and trying to learn some of the language…I have been able to feel more comfortable with the question, ‘What is the soul of American poetry?’ and what it means for me.”
Based on his experiences in Poland, and the high value that Polish society in general places on poetry as the “salt of language,” as William Butler Yeats puts it, John-Michael emphasizes that “Right now, in the age of the Internet…and these politically tumultuous times that we are living in, it is really important to write poetry that speaks to the soul and to the private life that we share and that connects us to our history; poetry that makes us loyal to the truth, not only of ourselves but to the world around us.”He concludes by saying that “I have felt a heightened sense of awareness that [these themes of] morality, loyalty to truth and history… and valuing the private life over the life of the state have brought me a lot of peace and joy.”
You can read two poems by John-Michael: “The Prodigal’s Return,” and “Vajra of the Octopus,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.
Today we are pleased to feature poet Ephraim Scott Sommers as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this brief interview, Ephraim discusses his life as a poet and as a singer/songwriter, and how each endeavor creatively informs the other.
While Ephraim grew up in a musical household, he said that he “didn’t really think about being in a band until I turned 18,” when he formed the group known as Siko with other musically inclined friends. He admits that he originally “was way far behind in his musicianship”, but that through years of dedication and hard work, he was able to “create something…from nothing” and craft many memorable experiences.
Speaking on the interrelationship of poetry and music, Ephraim states that “he came to lyricism and to poetry writing through music.” He elaborates that “what really drew me to poetry at first was the sound of words,” and that this inspired him to “try to tell stories in a musical way” through his pieces. In light of this, he expresses his interest in the lyric tradition of people like Dante and Virgil, who are “singing you a story” through their poetic work.
You can read another interview with Ephraim, “The Funeral Pyre of Poetry,” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.
Today we are pleased to feature author JR Tappenden as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her Authors Talk, JR discusses the inspiration behind two of her poems, “Regarding Your Wish For Do-Overs,” and “Regarding the Adirondack Trip.” JR says that these pieces are part of a series of poems about grieving, written after the death of her father in April of 2015.
While JR states that she “never set out to do such a cliched thing as being a poet who writes about death,” she notes that her father’s passing left her with many conflicted emotions that she needed to process. She states that the poems began as notes to her sister, with the exception of “Regarding Your Wish For Do-Overs,” which she addresses to herself. By doing so, JR states her desire to “talk herself through” any old exasperation that she had with her father, as well as to reflect her gratitude for not being able to revisit the past, knowing what it would come to mean. Doing so, she says, “would overload me.”
JR Tappenden’s poem, “Regarding Your Wish for Do-Overs,” appears in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.
Today we are pleased to feature poet Jessica Mehta as our Authors Talk series contributor. Mehta talks about her poem “Bars and Planets” and how her writing is connected to her childhood and family history. Mehta mentions in her talk “everything I write stems from my perspective and my lens of growing up in an abusive household, in a household full of substance abuse, as a Native American woman, as someone who has seen these very specific traumas,” which provides a “marker” of her work.
Jessica Mehta’s poem appears in Issue 21 of Superstition Review.