What I’m Up To:
I came late to poetry. Though I was always a hungry reader, the poetry I was exposed to in school was old and, it seemed to me then, boring. I didn’t get it. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school for creative writing, when I was suddenly surrounded by young writers talking seriously about craft and constantly swapping their favorite poems, that I began to really read it. I’ve come to love poetry’s mix of playfulness and precision. It’s still the genre I have to work hardest at, but it’s now as essential to my reading life as prose.
So this year, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I’m particularly excited to be partnering with the Talbot County Free Library and The Shore Poetry journal to present a special eco-poetry event. We’re bringing together fifteen fantastic poets—all previous contributors to The Shore Poetry—on Earth Day to share work that engages with the theme of place and our human impact on it.
Even if you don’t think you’re a “poetry person” (maybe especially if you don’t think you’re a poetry person), I hope you’ll join us for this fun, casual event. Come as you are, stay for one poem or the whole show, and check out some of the most exciting contemporary poetry being created in our region.
What Else I’m Reading:
What Lies in the Woods, Kate Alice Marshall. Murder mysteries are my guilty pleasure, though I try to avoid the more lurid “dead girl” narratives and to look for writers who pay as much attention to language as they do plot and character. Kate Alice Marshall checks all my boxes.
When We Were Sisters, Fatimah Ashgar. What happens to ordinary orphans, the ones without superpowers? the protagonist asks. This lyric novel describes life in the margins for three Muslim-American siblings. I’ll be at the TEDI bookclub discussion coming up on April 13, and hope to see some of you there!
Above Ground: Poems, Clint Smith. The author of the required reading How the Word Is Passed—2021’s nonfiction exploration of the ways African American history is preserved and erased—has a new book of poems that grapple with hope, disappointment, and endurance.
Breaking Form podcast, James Allen Hall & Aaron Smith. Described to me by Dr. Hall as a “dirty, gay poetry podcast,” this clever, raunchy, and hilarious show is all I want to listen to recently. The hosts make a point to say that they’re “not for everybody,” but I’d recommend them to anyone who wants to see what poetry looks like out of the classroom, in the hot and messy real world.
Kent County Poetry Festival:
1:00 Saturday, April 1: Local Celebrity Poets with James Allen Hall @ The Raimond Center
7:00 Saturday, April 1: Patricia Spears Jones in conversation with Maureen Corrigan @ Norman James Theater, Washington College
2:00-5:00 Sunday, April 2: Open-Mic Poetry @ Robert Ortiz Studio
A full weekend of free poetry events in Chestertown. (I’m trying to get up the nerve to read at the open mic.)
Film: The Quiet Girl @ Cinema Art Theater, Lewes
6:00 Wednesday, April 5
$9.00 RBFS Members, $11.50 General, $5.00 Student
This gorgeous adaptation of Claire Keegan’s novella Foster got an Oscar nom for Best International Feature. It’s been hard to find on the Shore, but the Rehoboth Beach Film Society is screening it this month.
Lecture: “Friends ‘til the End: Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell” @ TCFL, Easton
6:00 Thursday, April 13
Local poet and Pulitzer-prize nominee Sue Ellen Thompson will discuss the very close friendship between two of the 20th century's greatest poets.
Exhibition Opening: In Praise of Shadows & LaToya Hobbs: Woodcuts @ Academy Art Museum, Easton
10:00-4:00 Saturday, April 22
Two excellent-looking new shows are opening at AAM this month: In Praise of Shadows presents works on paper by big-name artists like Dox Thrash and Louise Nevelson, and LaToya Hobbs: Woodcuts features large-scale woodcuts by the Baltimore-based artist, who will offer a lecture on her process and influences at the opening.