Join us for our monthly poetry event featuring three poets and coordinated by Mildred Barya. This month, we welcome Rebecca Baggett, Lisa Dordal, and Barbara Quick.
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Like most of our events, this event is free. If you decide to attend and purchase the authors' books, we ask that you purchase from Malaprop's. When you do this you make it possible for us to continue hosting author events and you keep more dollars in our community. You may also support our work by purchasing a gift card or making a donation of any amount below. Thank you!
Rebecca Baggett is the author of four chapbook collections, two of them prize-winners. The Woman Who Lives Without Money, winner of the Terry J. Cox Poetry Award, is her first full-length collection. Her poetry has appeared in New England Review, Antioch Review, The Southern Review, The Sun Magazine, and elsewhere. A native of North Carolina, she has lived for most of her adult life in Athens, GA, working as an academic advisor at the University of Georgia’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. In retirement, she stewards Little Free Library #110420, gardens, and heaps stacks of to-read books all over the house. She is a fan of indie bookshops, libraries, theatre, farmers markets, word games, and her two-year-old grandson.
This collection is so sensory and so full of lively detail that it’s easy to miss how elegiac it is. There’s great loss here—of childhood innocence and security, of home and family. In the haunting sequence of prose poems that give the book its title, the homeless “woman who lives without money” literally loses (or gives up) everything. But loss is less a subject for grief than a path toward greater understanding. In “Indistinct,” the speaker who “longed for perfect sight” comes at last to embrace the “soft, mysterious, /and imperfectible world.” And although loss and tragedy confront us every day, “Testimony” concludes that “anyone who notices the world/ must want to save it.” Throughout this collection, Rebecca Baggett saves the world over and over again.
Lisa Dordal is the author of Mosaic of the Dark, which was a finalist for the 2019 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, Water Lessons (April 2022), and Next Time You Come Home (September 2023). She is a Pushcart Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, the Robert Watson Poetry Prize, and the Betty Gabehart Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Narrative, The Sun, Image, The New Ohio Review, Best New Poets, Greensboro Review, RHINO, Ninth Letter, and CALYX. For more, visit lisadordal.com.
Beneath the obvious beauty of Lisa Dordal’s poetry lies a subtle ferocity that threatens to undo the reader on every page of Water Lessons. ‘Anyone can become / animal or a flicker of light’ warns the speaker as she embarks on a journey of recovery: of the memories surrounding a mother’s addiction and death; of a father’s dementia, which softens him even as it steals him away; and of the speaker’s own complicity in mid-century suburban oblivion, a complicity that makes both a mother’s and a Black maid’s miseries equally tragic. Dordal demands that we not only see the past, but that we step into its deceptively gentle tide, one that sweeps us back to the people, places, and eras that still haunt us. In these poems, no one is truly safe, no one is truly innocent, and no one is truly gone. Water Lessons teaches us that swimming against the current of remembrance is futile. We can only trust the water to hold us without drowning us, and to return us to some shore, even if where we land is not where we were first submerged.
Poet and novelist Barbara Quick won the 2020 Blue Light Press Poetry Prize for her debut chapbook, The Light On Sifnos. A widely published writer, she is best known as the author of Vivaldi's Virgins (2007: HarperCollins), which has been translated into a dozen languages, made into an audiobook, and is currently in development as a mini-series by award-winning director Agnieszka Holland. Quick’s fourth novel What Disappears will be published by Regal House in May 2022. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines, anthologies, newspapers, journals, and been recorded by Garrison Keillor and featured on The Writer’s Almanac. For more, visit www.BarbaraQuick.com
The haunting power of this collection is not epic, but Sapphic: mysteries rising from a handful of fragments gleaming in the sun. Barbara Quick’s Sifnos is a place of elemental beauty, alive with the Attic past, peopled with the ghosts still living, still wandering with the other shades in the poet’s soul as she navigates her way (with her father’s old compass) through this world, “the future home of all we are and all we dream / in gleaming transit through the dark.”
Mildred Kiconco Barya is a writer and poet. She has written short-stories and essays for various publications, features and travel articles for newspapers. Her first collection of poetry titled: Men Love Chocolates But They Don't Say won the National Award for poetry publication 2002. She is also the author of the poetry collections The Price of Memory and Give Me Room to Move My Feet. Barya is Assistant professor of Creative Writing and World Literature at University of North Carolina-Asheville. Learn more at http://mildredbarya.com/.