I believe we all aspire to greatness. Being the imaginative and, yes, self-absorbed creatures that we are, most of us play host to at least one vision of ourselves achieving a level of notoriety that sets us apart from the inevitable drudgery required by most modern circles of living. My deepest personal desires for some degree of social magnitude involve the intense and highly cathartic writing of some Great American Novel that will reveal a distinct layer of obvious but otherwise uncomfortable truth averted and mistreated by the banal attitudes of our gluttonous, neon culture. It will be banned by several institutions of learning and thoroughly despised by noted PhDs of conservative persuasions; it will offend the delicate constitutions of the general public. Thus, everyone will read it. And I will be left with just the right amount of royalties needed to pursue blacksmithing and sheep farming without losing credibility as a professional “eccentric”.
Livin’ the dream.
But greatness is heralded in many forms, and often the most remarkable persons undergo significant trial before their true mettle is revealed. Come and celebrate one such personage this week at Carmichael’s; join local Louisville poets Sonja De Vries, Carla Wallace, Aletha Fields and several others in a reading of Marilyn Buck’s posthumously-released poetry collection, Inside/Out.
A committed political activist and American Marxist, Marilyn Buck was imprisoned for her radical activities for over thirty years. Released from incarceration just weeks before succumbing to uterine cancer in 2010, Buck used her time in confinement to cultivate writing skills of fierce intelligence, compassion and prolific poetic voice. Buck’s work was featured in the likes of Sojourners Magazine and Monthly Review as she expounded on issues such political prisoners, solitary confinement and women in prison; her poetry was likewise published in other noted literary journals, anthologies and on audio CD. Her words from behind bars would eventually earn her a PEN American Center prize for poetry in 2001. The newly-released collection, Inside/Out, is a testament to both Buck’s writing and her legacy as an activist.
Inside/Out is available at both Carmichael’s Bookstore locations for $13.95; stop by the Frankfurt Avenue store this upcoming Thursday, June 21st at 7pm and give greatness its due.
Carmichael’s Bookstore has two area locations: 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Bardstown Road. For more information, visit the event page  or call the Frankfurt Avenue store at (502) 896-6950.
Image: Courtesy of Carmichael’s Bookstore website www.carmichaelsbookstore.com