Ralph Adamo, Ava Leavall Haymon, Gina Ferrara, Andy Young - POETRY READING

Ralph Adamo, Ava Leavall Haymoth, Gina Ferrara, and Andy Young will share their poetry on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 6:00 P.M.

EverRalph Adamo's EVER: Poems 2000-2014 is a collection of poems begun at the turn of the 21st century, composed and revised through the beginning of the year 2013. In this, his 7th collection and his first following Waterblind: New & Selected Poems (2002), Ralph Adamo writes about and through wars, hurricanes, issues as common and profound as work and time, and endurance of every sort. He writes as well as about becoming a father after age 50 and raising two children in a time of transition and conflict. The patterns and forms of these poems vary from tightly controlled couplets through prose poetry and various experimental turns of language. At times painfully lucid, at times opaque, often simultaneously personal and universal, Adamo’s poems seek that most elusive goal: truth as far as language can pursue it, and while truth may remain unfathomable and inexpressible, these poems never waver in their seeking.

 

ELDEST DAUGHTERIn ELDEST DAUGHTER, Louisiana Poet Laureate Ava Leavell Haymon displays her mastery of the craft and engages us with the poetic gifts we have come to expect from her. As in previous collections, she combines the sensory and the spiritual in wild verbal fireworks. Concrete descriptions of a woman's life in the mid-twentieth-century American South mix with wider concerns about family lies and truths, and a culture that supports or forbids clear speech.

In a passage from "The Holy Ghost Attends Vacation Bible School," the physical world of children interplays with the divine:

The least likely place the Holy Ghost ever descended
was in east Mississippi. Red clay hills
and church politics soured on years of inbreeding.

Every deacon drove a pickup. At Bible School,
the kids played red rover and rolled down
the sharp slope behind the Baptist church.

He recognized the dizziness at the bottom
and the fear of having your name called,
but the grass stains, the torn blouses,
and sprained wrists—these were beyond Him.

Haymon's poems encourage us to revel in the natural world and enjoy its delights, as well as to confront the difficult realities that keep us from doing so.

 

Gina Ferrara's CARVILLE: Amid Moss and Resurrection Fern is a collection of poems, with photographs by Elizabeth Garcia, about the only leposaurium located in North America. Opened in 1896, and located on River Road, Carville housed and treated over five thousand patients afflicted with leprosy, now known as Hansen's Disease. These poems delve equally into the geographically specific landscape of Carville and the distinctive stories of patients who lived there. 

 

ALL NIGHT IT IS MORNINGAndy Young’s debut poetry collection, ALL NIGHT IT IS MORNING, cuts across geography, politics, language, and culture. Raised in Appalachia, rooted in New Orleans, and now part of an Egyptian/American family with whom she spent the last two years in Cairo, hers is an American perspective that is refreshingly outward-looking. The poems reflect on living life with a foot in both Arabic and Western cultures but reach beyond the personal to inhabit other realms: from a saucy Cleopatra to a coal miner emerging from a mine collapse, from the ruins of post-Katrina New Orleans to the tumultuous events of the Egyptian revolution. Using the aubade, the traditional form of lovers parting at dawn, to anchor the book, Young examines destruction in the wake of storms, wars and revolution, but also at the ways in which we connect within these disasters. These poems  exhibit what Daniel Tobin calls “astonishing formal variety,” embracing the lyric, narrative, fragmentary, as well as traditional forms such as the sonnet.

The book’s cover, a graffiti mural by Alaa Awad, now destroyed, that led the way to Tahrir Square, is a work both ancient and modern, urban and agrarian, beautiful and horrible. This captures the spirit of the book, steeped in mourning and hope and a belief in the voice of the people.

 

Event date: 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 6:00pm

Event address: 

513 Octavia St
70115-2055 New Orleans
us
Eldest Daughter Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780807153376
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Louisiana State University Press - August 12th, 2013

In Eldest Daughter, Ava Leavell Haymon displays her mastery of the craft and engages us with the poetic gifts we have come to expect from her. As in previous collections, she combines the sensory and the spiritual in wild verbal fireworks.


Gina Ferrara's Carville: Amid Moss and Resurrection Fern is a collection of poems, with photographs by Elizabeth Garcia, about the only leposaurium located in North America. Opened in 1896, and located on River Road, Carville housed and treated over five thousand patients afflicted with leprosy, now known as Hansen's Disease. These poems delve equally into the geographically specific landscape of Carville and the distinctive stories of patients who lived there.


$16.00
SKU: 9781935084556

Ever is a collection of poems begun at the turn of the 21st century, composed and revised through the beginning of the year 2013. In this, his 7th collection and his first following Waterblind: New & Selected Poems (2002),
Ralph Adamo writes about and through wars, hurricanes, issues as common
and profound as work and time, and endurance of every sort. He writes
as well as about becoming a father after age 50 and raising two children
in a time of transition and conflict. The patterns and forms of these
poems vary from tightly controlled couplets through prose poetry and
various experimental turns of language. At times painfully lucid, at
times opaque, often simultaneously personal and universal, Adamo’s poems
seek that most elusive goal: truth as far as language can pursue it,
and while truth may remain unfathomable and inexpressible, these poems
never waver in their seeking.
 
Praise for Ralph Adamo and Ever
An I relays the story in its not-story way. With traces of
story. The sound is uniquely of its city in a nearly, not-named way.
Attuned to its humidfied breezes and the fan blade’s indispensable
turning. Home is the sole locale, the nucleus, ever so. The voice
struggles ‘to end its own noise,’ not to inventory only regrets and
losses, rattled and battered; cycling through the dead, friends and kin,
pictures, ‘the stalactites of memory’ and bars in which years must have
passed, stumbled through, a survivor, “godly,/of one mind, learning too
late whatever/was on offer, outlasting fabulous destinies…” A work, a
worksong, not of an illusory life, but of a life, in a body, a family,
on wheels, rubber-side down, that works, miraculously.—C.D. Wright, author of One With Others, National Book Critics Circle Award winner.
 Ralph Adamo has lived his three-score-plus years in New Orleans.  To say that the poems in Ever
are about that city of the dead, the dying, and the coming-to-be would
be a great disservice.  These are the poems of man who has become his
city.  To be sure, the jazz, the floods, the drunks, and the turbulence
of despair are here, but they exist in the words of one who has absorbed
them into himself. If “the blinked-smile the non-survivor wears /
toward peace” describes one overwhelmed by it all, Adamo, ever looking
forward, brings comfort, like words whispered in the ear of a drowsy
child.—R.S. (Sam) Gwynn, author of No Word of Farewell: Poems 1970-2000.
 Reading Ralph Adamo’s poetry puts you in a courtly brooding world
where the truth comes driving through the gloom like elegance. You
picture him “standing absolutely motionless at a slight angle to the
universe,” as E.M. Forster described Cavafy.—Nancy Lemann, author of Lives of the Saints and Ritz of the Bayou. 
For more than forty years, while “arguing words against / The
constant threat: forgetting,” Ralph Adamo has published poems as
original as any I know. In his seventh collection, Ever, in which
sometimes “a word is as far from a fact / as fever can burn it,” a
speaker whittles “the little lies down to / The nuance of perfect teeth
in a closed mouth.” Another speaker whispers to his young children, “My
children are exhausting” and “’riddle’ means ‘dark language’” in order
to help spirit them to bed. In another poem, retrospection makes a
speaker “sag like an old bookshelf and sigh like the door beyond it.”
And in another, a speaker prays for adolescent boys in their
lostness—“world without hearing, amen.” Such phrasings hint at greater
recognitions to come—for instance, that poetry is “just listening to the
world.” What may be most original and satisfying about the thirteen
years of poems in Ever is that reading and rereading them is to
experience the art and diverse craft of a master, one who would wince at
the accolade and never accept it.—Randy Bates, author of Rings: On the Life and Family of a Southern Fighter. 
In Ever, Ralph Adamo has focused his poetic lens on the
small moments that make life bittersweet and profound. Whether he is
describing the banter of children at play or words uttered on a
deathbed, Adamo puts the reader in the room and hands him a magnifying
glass. The poet is asking us to watch life closely as it swiftly passes.
He gives very specific metaphors of pain, familiar to any New
Orleanian “like stinging caterpillars down from ghostly cocoons en masse
to prey on the bare feet of us all.” The book contains many precisely
chosen words and well-considered passages. But he also offers some less
concrete, more esoteric and slightly sardonic observations “Some things
have always fallen through time and space to land god knows where.”
Adamo writes confidently about the value in dysfunction and
skeptically about pure redemption. “I was going to get older someday. I
was going to blame somebody.” Sometimes the work seems so personal that
it should be reworked in the reader’s mind. In “Visiting the Marker,
After the Flood,” the narrator asks “What did you expect to happen
clawing through the chicken wire at the top of the 20th century.” To
understand this poem about death and life, the reader must step back and
watch the words flow past.
Adamo’s narrator laments the people who have disappeared without
ceremony. He names them in a list broken by undisguised feelings – among
them that he cannot properly remember all the names. But the spirits of
the dead emerge and disappear throughout the book, allowing readers the
experience of tangible and fleeting memories too.
Written in dense beautiful language, Ever is about temporal, conscious and self-conscious experiences. Underlying Ever
is a question of whether we will find the perfect afterlife. This is a
book without any neat, simple answers. Still, Adamo seems to be telling
us that happily ever after, our Ever, is here.—Fatima Shaik, author of Melitte and On Mardi Gras Day.


$16.00
SKU: 9781935084693

Andy Young’s debut poetry collection cuts across geography, politics, language, and culture. Raised in Appalachia, rooted in New Orleans, and now part of an Egyptian/American family with whom she spent the last two years in Cairo, hers is an American perspective that is refreshingly outward-looking. The poems reflect on living life with a foot in both Arabic and Western cultures but reach beyond the personal to inhabit other realms: from a saucy Cleopatra to a coal miner emerging from a mine collapse, from the ruins of post-Katrina New Orleans to the tumultuous events of the Egyptian revolution. Using the aubade, the traditional form of lovers parting at dawn, to anchor the book, Young examines destruction in the wake of storms, wars and revolution, but also at the ways in which we connect within these disasters. These poems  exhibit what Daniel Tobin calls “astonishing formal variety,” embracing the lyric, narrative, fragmentary, as well as traditional forms such as the sonnet.

The book’s cover, a graffiti mural by Alaa Awad, now destroyed, that led the way to Tahrir Square, is a work both ancient and modern, urban and agrarian, beautiful and horrible. This captures the spirit of the book, steeped in mourning and hope and a belief in the voice of the people.

Praise for Andy Young and All Night It Is Morning

Andy Young's amazing poems pledge allegiance to life.  They have witnessed, travelled and gathered so much elemental power and light, they can't stop giving it back.
—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of You and Yours, winner of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award.

In her fearless addition to the poetry of disaster, Young moves from the Katrina and Deep Water Horizon events in Louisiana to the political turmoils in Egypt and back to her roots in the mining towns of West Virginia. I know of no other poet writing today who so unremittingly arrests and details the political as personal. This is the book we have all been waiting for.
—Peter Cooley, author of Night Bus to the Afterlife

These poems by Andy Young open the world and fearlessly cross cultures. From the unspeakable to what must be spoken, from Katrina/post-Katrina where streets "tumbled to sticks/and tricycles hang from a wire," to months of family in the during and aftermath of a raging, hopeful Egypt with its smoke and prison trucks, this American poet tracks tragedy and love, what we owe and are owed and how no one can ever pay. Meanwhile, her two children are born. Meanwhile, there are dates and figs and sandalwood "at the brink of war." It turns out that this life, small, is huge. And however endangered, one species regardless, all of us. These dark and remarkable poems get that. And celebrate that.
—Marianne Boruch, author of Cadaver, Speak and The Book of Hours.

All Night It Is Morning is an arresting collection! Brave ruminations on places that come apart and reassemble.
—Nathalie Handal, editor of The Poetry of Arab Women.

The kind of nonconformist seeing and feeling that Andy Young performs in All Night It Is Morning agitates a reader towards a more humane and communal understanding of our collective journey, far beyond continents and lands to the singular realm of the heart. These poems, "chanting [our] conjured glamour," maintain a music that urges us toward prayer and dance. 
—Major Jackson, author of Holding Company, Hoops, and Leaving Saturn

All Night It Is Morning, Andy Young's exceptional first book of poems, is filled with songs and narratives of witness, local, cross-cultural, trans-national, all deeply and personally marked by current history and a profound sensitivity to other lives. Hers is a poetry of startling receptivity, genuine vision, and astonishing formal variety. From West Virginia to Chile, El Salvador to Beirut, Morocco to Fallujah, Egypt to her adopted home of New Orleans, Andy Young writes poems that evoke wonder, terror, intimacy, and her own experience of otherness living abroad knowing all the while that she, too, carries "the world inside her." She can raise a fist to human exploitation and offer thanks "to the God we know by different names." And she can sing, bravely, compassionately, like that Chilean woman she depicts vividly in the aftershock of catastrophe, out of the ashes.
—Daniel Tobin, author of Belated Heavens and The Net.

Andy Young's powerful debut, All Night It Is Morning, sweeps us from the American South to the Middle East and back, in lyric poetry limned with precision, sympathy, and her wise spacious stance. Young's poems are made from tumult—whether it's the shattered Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or the perilous strife of Cairo's Tahrir Square—yet reach, time and again, for peace: "through my husband's / laptop / selmeya selmeya / peaceful / peaceful / he says." This poet shows us how to distrust, even to dissolve the inaccurate distinctions we too handily make—among the personal and political, among the familial, natural, and aesthetic—to find a more synthetic blending. Such is the poet's most revolutionary achievement: To embrace difference is to find likeness, even perhaps to find hope.
—David Baker, author of Never-Ending Birds, recipient of the 2011 Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize.


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