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Elise Paschen + Tess Taylor
September 20, 2017 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Elise Paschen and Tess Taylor read from their latest poetry collections.
Praise for Elise Paschen
“The Nightlife is not only a beautiful and inventive collection, it’s an important contribution to this period in American poetry. Paschen’s voice shows us how―given all the choices in form, voice, subject, and vision―a poet might make the art her own through the force of her personal brilliance, and a generous and idiosyncratic sensibility. In this work it is as if ‘. . . she unhinged every / window . . .’ These are poems you return to not only for the music and the detail―equally powerful through her wide-angle lens as under her magnifying glass―but to puzzle out how she managed it. So much craft in work that reads so freely, seems to have issued forth so effortlessly, but also from some supernatural source, poems that read as if the poet were ‘. . . trying to put back / the wild fury she had released.’ This is poetry that reminds us of all the power and possibilities of poetry itself.”―Laura Kasischke, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Space, in Chains
Praise for Tess Taylor
“(This) lapidary, moving book . . . shows that across thousands of years, these smallest acts―to grow, harvest, mourn―still remain central to lyric utterance. Is such a pastoral sensibility possible in the mediated world of 21st century American life? Taylor’s answer is not only yes, but to focus on the thousands of workers both here and abroad who live a life based on laboring with the earth. These subtle poems, like those that explore her lineage to the Jefferson family in her first book, are not without harder-to-confront agonies. As she draws the world… proximate to touch, the intuited sense of apocalypse―whether ecological disaster, or global political chaos―draws closer . . . (as well.)”―LitHub’s “30 Poets You Should be Reading”
About The Nightlife
In Elise Paschen’s prize-winning poetry collection, Infidelities, Richard Wilbur wrote that the poems “. . . draw upon a dream life which can deeply tincture the waking world.” In her third poetry book, The Nightlife, Paschen once again taps into dream states, creating a narrative which balances between the lived and the imagined life. Probing the tension between “The Elevated” and the “Falls,” she explores troubled love and relationships, the danger of accident and emotional volatility. At the heart of the book is a dream triptych which retells the same encounter from different perspectives, the drama between the narrative described and the sexual tension created there.
The Nightlife demonstrates Paschen’s versatility and formal mastery as she experiments with forms such as the pantoum, the villanelle and the tritina, as well as concrete poems and poems in free verse. Throughout this poetry collection, she interweaves lyric and narrative threads, creating a contrapuntal story-line. The book begins with a dive into deep water and ends with an opening into sky.
About Work and Days
In 2010, Tess Taylor was awarded the Amy Clampitt Fellowship. Her prize: A rent-free year in a cottage in the Berkshires, where she could finish a first book. But Taylor—outside the city for the first time in nearly a decade, and trying to conceive her first child—found herself alone. To break up her days, she began to intern on a small farm, planting leeks, turning compost, and weeding kale. In this calendric cycle of 28 poems, Taylor describes the work of this year, considering what attending to vegetables on a small field might achieve now. Against a backdrop of drone strikes, “methamphetamine and global economic crisis,” these poems embark on a rich exploration of season, self, food, and place. Threading through the farm poets—Hesiod, Virgil, and John Clare—Taylor revisits the project of small scale farming at the troubled beginning of the 21st century. In poems full of bounty, loss and the mysteries of the body, Taylor offers a rich, severe, memorable meditation about what it means to try to connect our bodies and our time on earth.