Open Mike 7:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Featured Reader 7:45 pm – 8:30 pm
630 Clinton Place, Evanston IL
(home of Ralph Hamilton)
—refreshments will be served—
Spencer Reece is a poet and priest; his first collection, The Clerk’s Tale, won the Bakeless Prize in 2003. He has received an NEA grant, a Guggenheim grant, the Witter Bynner Prize from the Library Congress, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Amy Lowell Travelling Scholarship. His poems have been published in The New Yorker, Poetry, The American Scholar, and The New Republic. He served at the Honduran orphanage Our Little Roses, and as the chaplain to the Bishop of Spain for the Reformed Episcopal Church, Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal. Currently he is completing an anthology that contains his personal narrative, Las Chavas [Homegirls]: 12 Love Poems from the Murder Capitol of the World, gathered from his work teaching abandoned and abused orphaned girls in Honduras to accompany a feature length documentary film. Both film and book are scheduled for release in late 2015/early 2016.
Reece’s central figure in his second book, The Road to Emmaus, is a middle-aged man who becomes a priest in the Episcopal Church; these poems follow him to New York City, to Honduras, to a hospital where he works as a chaplain, to a prison, to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. With language of simple, lyrical beauty that gradually accrues weight and momentum, Reece spins compelling dramas out of small moments in his mesmerizing and long-awaited new collection—one that fearlessly confronts love and its loss, despair and its consolation, and faith in all of its various guises.
“For Spencer Reece, humbling is a given. Even though his language in The Road to Emmaus, his first book since his ordination, is often remarkably inventive and sometimes formally elegant, the poems’ tone never betrays awareness of his achievement . . . There’s a quality of devotion in all of these that can make the secular seem sacred. One can truly attend through attention, the writing suggests, and the poems manage to be unwavering—almost unvarying—in the quality of their gaze.” —Jonathan Farmer, Slate
“Reece follows up his acclaimed first book with a gorgeous series of poems in verse and prose about a middle-aged man’s coming to terms with religious faith, going as far as becoming a priest, a hospital chaplain, and a quiet chronicler of everyday suffering. ‘It is correct to love even at the wrong time,’ he writes of a visit to newborns in an ICU. Reece’s style is straightforward, but always graceful, understatedly beautiful. These poems compassionately describe all the stops along this journey, which leads across America and elsewhere, always inviting readers to respond: ‘it was an interview, much of life is an interview.’”
—Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR
COME AND TRY OUT YOUR NEW WORK ON US!
Evanston Public Library
Church & Orrington
1:30-4:30 — ROOM 108 – Small Meeting Room
Michael Meyerhofer‘s third poetry book, Damnatio Memoriae (lit. “damned memory”) won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. His previous books are Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books) and Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award). He’s also the author of five poetry chapbooks and currently serves as the Poetry Editor of Atticus Review. For more information and at least one embarrassing childhood photo, check out troublewithhammers.com.
TOPIC: Revision: Some Alternate Approaches. When we spend a great deal of time crafting individual lines, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and end up tinkering with a few syllables when the hard truth is that the poem might require something more radical. One of several techniques for getting around this is to rewrite a poem backwards, which I’ll illustrate with the poem that inspired it (“Read This Poem From the Bottom Up” by Ruth Porritt), then demonstrate the process. We’ll also discuss the importance of developing a conscious awareness of one’s own rhythm and style, prior to revising.
Bring 17 or more copies (2 page limit) of a poem you want critiqued. Sessions are fee, though $5 – $10 donation appreciated.
This project is partially supported by grants from: Poets & Writers, the Illinois Arts Council
and The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
The surreal – and dare we say, eerie in a lovely way – poem below was written June 7-8, 2014, at the RHINO Poetry table at Printers Row Literary Fest.
It was her birthday and
the rain had ceased for a few minutes.
and then the clapping of thunder
and then the distant rattling of chains
confronted the turgid trailing troglodytes
small droplets on lily pads & misted eyes
swell with each surge, each passing storm
each wave of blue and sad surf
for when it abates you will know you’re alone
and you have to go live your life alone
In a balloon in Paris.
Or a mouse in London.
As people wander listlessly in circles
through the desert of grief.
He held the horizon.
I like the sun when
plays peekaboo with the clouds…
warming my soul and illuminating my path
until everyone tells me to stop:”stop”.
Stop thinking sooooo much. “Be” “Just be” be
Climb sheep live yellow.
As the wind blows through the trees
The yellow leaves rustle & drop.
October on the calendar stops.
Woo! Pig Suie!
The chicken nods knowingly.
The building towers above me.
Silver and reflecting the sky.
The Silver Towers were a block
down from the Everleigh Sisters.
I lost my husband.
I know this should be sad, but
there isa poetry in decay – see ex. 1 of the peach.
Listen: a school of birds presenting
Their song is no ordinary song.
For musicians are a poet’s heart surgeon
Working hard we speedily purge on
pursuing the scent of strawberries and ocean
working my way to the lakefront.
Across the city people are rising like stars on a summer night
with staggering hooves;
Imagine the moon stretched across the the
belly, sprawled across the pavement.
There’s math in listening to stars. The light
of there and theirs of light.
But, as Boethius says, “Music is
math made audible,” so starlight
must mini slices of inner thoughts.
And I shall dance the night away
under the moonlight sky.
She says, flipping the switch and casting
And the shadows wave back, copy
cats and acrobats.
She was alert and solid not like
the sand beneath my feet.
animals make more sense than
humans and angels don’t exist.
until they do – then even stones
learn to be silent.
Kyle Churney • Desert Ghazal
Matthew Reed Corey • Above the Conifers, the Bronze Topknot of a Great Buddha
Katie Hartsock • Cuticles – audio version
Tim Hunt • Still Life with Ash Tray and Beer Can
Marty McConnell • the fidelity of Cincinnati