So. Now I’ve followed in the footsteps of the great and troubled creative minds, taking my turn in preparation for my slowly simmering magnum opus. And while I flexed the limits of sanity, my little Books corner has sat silent. Instead, I wrote some very nice poetry and cried during Art Therapy. And though not every gifted literary soul need suffer the pain of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and legally-granted chemical happiness, it does add a certain flair to the persona. As National Poetry Month comes to its close today, hit the town and hear some stanzas from poets with a flair of their own. Sarabande Books will host writers Nikky Finney and Bruce Smith tonight at 21c Museum Hotel at 7:30pm.
Held regularly on the last Monday of the month (excepting November and December), Sarabande Books’ 21c Reading Series presents modern regional and national poetic talent at an affordable price – free. With the added atmosphere or 21c’s modern art vibe and often featuring a local musical guest, the Reading Series is the perfect package of culture on a budget (so, yes, go ahead and have that $7 cocktail). Following the jazzy tunes of Swing ‘39’s Ben Andrews, this month’s poets will light up the microphone with their words.
A professor of Creative Writing at the University of Kentucy, poet Nikky Finney is the author of three award-winning volumes of poetry. Her titles include On Wings Made of Gauze and the winner of a PEN America Open Book Award, Rice; her most recent collection, 2004’s The World Is Round, earned Finney the Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry. Finney is also the author of the short story collection, Heartwood, and contributed her editing skills to The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. Her literary voice has also won her recognition as a recipient of the Kentucky Foundation for Women Artists Fellowship Award.
On the flipside for the evening is fellow poet and professor, Bruce Smith. The author of five collections of poetry, Smith’s most recent volume, The Other Lover, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award. Smith’s poetic works have also been featured in the pages of Best American Poetry (2003 and 2004) and the 2009 Pushcart Prize anthology. He currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Syracuse University.
As we “close the book”, so to speak, on Poetry Month and gear up for our annual festival of fast horseflesh, step out once more for some free poetic stylings. Pick your poison, brush up on your Sylvia Plath and get the best medicine in a sweet concentrated dose.
21c Museum Hotel is located at 700 West Main Street.
Photo: Courtesy of Sarabande Books’ website www.sarabandebooks.org