October “Poetry & Readings Volume 1” Saturday October 8th at 5:00pm

We are so happy to welcome back Marilyn Nelson, Amy Nawrocki and Eric Lehman for the first of two evenings of poetry and readings in October. Please see the details of  “Volume 1” below! Light refreshments will be served.

“Poetry & Readings Volume 1” is on Saturday October 8th at 5:00 p.m. and we will follow with “Poetry & Readings Volume 2” on October 21st at 7:00pm.

meeting-houseIn The Meeting House, Marilyn Nelson has focused not only on the history of the First Congregational Church in Old Lyme, Connecticut, but also on slavery and bigotry in a presumably enlightened part of the Union. Her dismay is leavened by generosity of spirit, the same qualities revealed in her earlier books, about which readers and critics have been enthusiastic. Concerning My Seneca Village (2015), Kirkus Reviews has this praise: “Artfully crafted, an engrossing and important collection of memories and moments from a pivotal time in American history.” And this from Booklist: “An American saga so well suited to Nelson’s poetic touch is a gift meant to be gently unwrapped to be read with an intellectually curious spirit ready for an awakening.” Concerning The Homeplace (1990), Christian Wiman has written, “The sheer range of [Nelson’s] voice is one of the book’s greatest strengths, varying not only from poem to poem, but within individual poems as well.” Suzanne Gardinier’s Parnassus review reads thus: “[Nelson’s poetry] reaches back through generations hemmed in on all sides by slavery and its antecedents; all along the way she finds sweetness, and humor, and more complicated truth than its disguises have revealed.”  And Arthur Sze writes, “Marilyn Nelson’s poetry is remarkable for its sheer range of voice and style, for its historical roots, and for its lyrical narratives that, replete with luminous details, unfold with an emotional force that, ultimately, becomes praise . . . . She is a vital ambassador of poetry.”

About Marilyn Nelson:

nelson-picMarilyn Nelson is the author or translator of eighteen poetry books, including several verse-histories, a biography in poems, a verse memoir, and a novel in verse. Her collection The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems won the 1998 Poets’ Prize; Carver: A Life In Poems won the 2001 Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award; Fortune’s Bones was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. Nelson’s honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Poetry Society’s Frost Medal for distinguished achievement in poetry. Currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets as well as Poet-in-Residence of the Poets Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, she was the Poet Laureate of Connecticut from 2001-2006, and for ten years opened her home to young poets as “Soul Mountain Retreat.”

 

shadows-of-parisEric’s latest books is, “Shadows of Paris”. About the book: “When William Byrnes takes a teaching job at a private school in the Marais, he thinks he’s escaping his sins. He sentences himself to winter afternoons under the vaulted ceilings of Notre Dame and to rice for dinner, while the City of Light goes unnoticed. Then the pretentious Monsieur Cygne gives him a list of French literature and the address of a bookstore, where he finds fellow expat Lucy Navarre, with the gray eyes of a goddess, a cheating husband, and a mysterious past. Can the two exiles find redemption in the shadows of Paris? Or will they miss their chance?”

About Eric Lehman:

Eric is a professor of creative writing at the University of Bridgeport. His fiction, travel stories, essays, and nonfiction have appeared in dozens of online and print journals and magazines. He is the author of several books, including The Insider s Guide to Connecticut and Becoming Tom Thumb: Charles Stratton, P.T. Barnum, and the Dawn of American Celebrity.”

reconnaissance“Reconnaissance” In her latest collection, Amy Nawrocki plays voyeur and thief, surveying canvases and investigating bookshelves, searching for creativity’s origins and exploring the nature of inspiration. The poems in Reconnaissance uncover muses between the frayed pages of Byron and Shelley, in Chagall’s stained glass, at Oscar Wilde’s grave, past the deep bogs of Glencoe, and in the far away snow caps of Mount Fuji. In these insightful and elegant poems, Nawrocki invites us to believe in “the authenticity of first sight.” Open the paint box and learn how to stare.

About Amy Nawrocki:

Amy Nawrocki teaches English and Creative Writing at University of Bridgeport. She earned her B.A. at Sarah Lawrence College, and her M.F.A. from University of Arkansas. Amy is the author of three chapbooks: Potato Eaters (Finishing Line Press, 2008), Nomad’s End (Finishing Line Press, 2010), and Lune de Miel (Finishing Line Press, 2012). She has also authored two poetry collections: Four Blue Eggs (Homebound Publications, 2014), and Reconnaissance (Homebound Publications, 2015).  Dick Allen – former Poet Laureate of CT – referred to Reconnaissance as “a warm, rich, valuable and important collection.  I most highly recommend it for … reading and rereading.”

To register and save a spot click HERE.

 

October “Poetry & Readings Volume 2” Friday October 21st at 7:00pm

Byrd’s Books continues our two-night series with “Poetry & Readings Volume 2” with Gail Carson Levine, Judith Marks-White and Lisa Schwartz on Friday October 21st at 7:00pm.

About Gail Carson Levine’s new book:

transient_coverThe poems in Transient will stay with you. When the world turns to war, you’ll remember “Manufactured Rage,” while “Dreaming Washington Irving” will fast-forward you through the stages of your own life. Called up by such poems as “Reunion” and “Lunch at Monica’s House,” lost friends and family will return and visit. In poems like “L.E.D. R.I.P,” you’ll put the dark in humor up against the funny in tragedy. And if you wonder what ET makes of all of it, you’ll return to “Do They Deduce We Had Lips,” the debut poem in this debut collection by acclaimed children’s book author Gail Carson Levine. Those who look to Levine for the fantastic will find a dog-faced man, Medusa, Pygmalion, a hero of the Iliad, and–Jughead!-seen through a lens more Sexton than Seuss. The emotional range here is both broad and nuanced: humor, nostalgia, grief, shame, anger, regret, fear, and even-occasionally-joy. Throughout, in every-day language gracefully arranged, Levine elevates ordinary ideas and common experience so that all is haloed in light.

About the author: Gail-Carson-Levine-photo-by-David-Levine-200x300

Gail Carson Levine’s poems have appeared in The Louisville Review; The Sugar House Review; Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems; and the second anthology of the Cancer Poetry Project. A poem is forthcoming in New York Quarterly. Levine recently completed her MFA in poetry at NYU. Best known for her books for children, Transient is Levine’s first poetry collection for adults. She, her husband David, and their Airedale Reggie live in an antique farm house in Brewster, NY.

About Judith Mark-White:

judith-color-photoMs. Marks-White has been involved in the design and instruction of creative writing programs in Connecticut, and has taught writing for many years. She was an adjunct Professor of English/Writing at Norwalk Community College for many years where she won Teacher of the Year Award for 2005 “for imparting wisdom with contagious enthusiasm” and where she continues to teach a course in the Art and Marketing of Humor Writing. Judith has two novels published by Random House/Ballantine. She is presently working on her third novel. Her poetry has won awards from Writer’s Digest Magazine.

About Lisa Schwartz:

LisaLisa Schwartz is the former Poetry Editor of The Newtowner Magazine, a local literary arts publication. She was also recently named the Poet Laureate of Newtown, Connecticut. Lisa has been writing poetry since 6th grade where she happened upon Walt Whitman’s poem, “When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” and fell in love with verse. Lisa is a member of Byrd’s Books Writing Workshop.

 

Marilyn Nelson has a new book, “My Seneca Village”

My Seneca VillageWe had the pleasure of hearing Marilyn Nelson as she read from her latest book, “My Seneca Village”. The book takes us back to a place we now call Central Park in New York City. It was once a village.

From the publisher:
“Poetry illustrated in the poet’s own words–with brief prose descriptions of what she sees inside her work–this … collection takes readers back in time and deep into the mind’s eye of Marilyn Nelson … [who] draws upon history, and her … imagination, to revive the long lost community of Seneca Village”
About the author:Marilyn_Nelson
Marilyn Nelson is the author of “Carver: A Life in Poems” and “Fields of Praise”. She has won the Boston Globe Horn Book Award, the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, a Newbery Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. Marilyn lives in Storrs, Connecticut, where she is a professor of English at the University of Connecticut.

Come listen to the poetry of Sydney Eddison on October 4th at 2:00p.m.

We all know Sydney Eddison from Newtown. What you may not know is that she has written a beautiful book of poetry. Join us  to hear her read from her new book, “Where We Walk: poems rooted in the soil of New England”

where3Sydney Eddison has written six other books on gardening. She has been honored by National Garden Clubs Inc. with their Award of Excellence for 2010. For her work as a writer, gardener, and lecturer, she has also received the Connecticut Horticultural Society’s Gustav A. L. Melquist Award in 2002; the New England Wild Flower Society’s Kathryn S. Taylor Award in 2005; and in 2006, The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s Bronze Medal. Her garden has been featured in magazines and on television. A former scene designer and drama teacher, Eddison lectures widely and is a frequent contributor to Fine Gardening magazine and other publications. Sydney Eddison lives with her Jack Russell Terrier, Phoebe, in a yellow farmhouse surrounded by a 2-1/2-acre garden of her own creation in Newtown, Connecticut. Her articles have appeared in such publications as FINE GARDENING and HORTICULTURE, and she is the award-winning author of seven books on gardening, including GARDENING FOR A LIFETIME, A PASSION FOR DAYLILIES, and A PATCHWORK GARDEN. She was Grand Marshall in the Newtown Labor Day Parade in 2014. This is her first book of poetry.

 

Poetry with Marilyn Nelson

We were honored to host former Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut Marilyn Nelson on Saturday June 20th at 4:00p.m. for a poetry reading at the bookstore. Marilyn_Nelson

Faster than lightHer latest book, Faster Than Light is described as conjuring numerous voices and characters across oceans and centuries explores widely disparate experiences through the lens of traditional poetic forms.

Her book for a younger audience, How I Discovered Poetry, The National Book Award, Newbery Honor and multiple Coretta Scott King Honor-winning poet reflects on her childhood in the 1950s and her development as an artist and young woman through 50 illuminating poems that consider such influences as the Civil Rights Movement, the “Red Scare” atomic bomb era and the Feminist Movement. How i discovered

From her bio:

Marilyn Nelson, born in Cleveland, Ohio, is the daughter of a member of the last graduating class of Tuskegee Airmen. Her mother was a teacher. She is the author or translator of over twenty-four books. Marilyn’s latest collection of poems is Faster Than Light(2012), winner of the 2013 Milton Kessler Poetry Award. The Homeplace (1990) was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems (1997) won the 1998 Poets’ Prize and was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award, the PEN Winship Award, and the Lenore Marshall Prize. The Cachoiera Tales and Other Poems (2005) won the L.E. Phillabaum Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Her numerous young adult books include Carver: A Life in Poems (2001), which received the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, was a National Book Award finalist and was designated both a Newbery Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Another of her young adult booksA Wreath For Emmett Till, also won the 2005 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and was designated a 2006 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a 2006 Michael L. Printz Honor Book, and a 2006 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book.

Her honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, an A.C.L.S. Contemplative Practices Fellowship, the Department of the Army’s Commander’s Award for Public Service, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship and a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Nelson is a professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut, was founder/director and host of Soul Mountain Retreat, and held the office of Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut from 2001 to 2006. She is currently Poet-in-Residence of The Poets Corner at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Also, her forthcoming books are Seneca Village (Namelos) and American Ace (Penguin/Dial).

Marilyn was awarded the 2012 Frost Medal, the Poetry Society of America’s most prestigious award, for “distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry.” In January 2013 she was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Her latest collection for young adults is How I Discovered Poetry (Dial, 2014), a memoir in verse with illustrations by Hadley Hooper.

The author was introduced by her friend and Byrd’s Books Connecticut author, Donna Marie Merritt, who will read a poem from her book, Her House and Other Poems. Donna Marie Merritt is the author of four poetry books, including Her House and Other Poems(Stairwell Books, 2013) and What’s Wrong with Ordinary? Poems to Celebrate Life (Avalon Press, 2012). Her work has been included in a number of anthologies, most recently, Garbanzo Literary Journal, vol. 5. Forthcoming poems will be published in National Geographic’s Book of Nature Poetry (Oct. 2015) and, for younger readers, Little, Brown’s One Minute Till Bedtime (Spring 2016).

 

 

Faster Than Light

Faster Than LightFaster Than Light: New and Selected Poems, 1996-2011 by Marilyn Nelson, Connecticut poet and UConn professor

Conjuring numerous voices and characters across oceans and centuries, Faster Than Light explores widely disparate experiences through the lens of traditional poetic forms. This volume contains a selection of Marilyn Nelson’s new and uncollected poems as well as work from each of her lyric histories of eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century African-American individuals and communities, and The Cachoeira Tales, a long riff on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Poems include the stories of historical figures like Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old boy lynched in 1955, and the inhabitants of Seneca Village, an African American community razed in 1857 for the creation of Central Park. Bivouac in a Storm tells the story of a group of young soldiers, later to become known as the Tuskegee Airmen, as they trained near Biloxi, Mississippi, “marching in summer heat / thick as blackstrap molasses, under trees / haunted by whippings.” Later pieces range from the poet’s travels in Africa, Europe, and Polynesia, to poems written in collaboration with Father Jacques de Foiard Brown, a former Benedictine monk who becomes the subject of Nelson’s playful fictional fantasy sequence, Adventure-Monk! Both personal and historical, these poems are grounded in quotidian detail but reach toward spiritual and moral truths.

An Introduction to the Prose Poem

Edited by Brian Clements and Jamey Dunham

An Introduction to the Prose Poem clears a new path for students, instructors, and general readers interested in exploring the “ramshackle and unexpected… thoroughfare” [Campbell McGrath] of a hard-to-define genre. For students and instructors, the anthology provides an implicit history of the genre, a wide array of models and strategies, and a map of the prose poem’s potential via dozens of poets, a useful introductory essay and headnotes, and an innovative structure. For readers, it provides what every poetry fan wants—a ton of great poems by over 100 renowned poets!

Brian Clements is the editor of Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics and the author of several collections of poetry, including Disappointed Psalms (Meritage Press) and And How to End It (Quale Press). He is a Professor of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process at Western Connecticut State University, where he coordinates the MFA in Creative and Professional Writing.

Jamey Dunham is the author of The Bible of Lost Pets (Salt Modern Poets). He is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.

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