Join us on Thursday, April 12, at 6 pm
for a POETRY READING with
Airea D. Matthews, author of
Laynie Browne, author of
You Envelop Me
A fresh and rebellious poetic voice, Airea D. Matthews debuts in the acclaimed series that showcases the work of exciting and innovative young American poets. Matthews’s superb collection explores the topic of want and desire with power, insight, and intense emotion. Her poems cross historical boundaries and speak emphatically from a racialized America, where the trajectories of joy and exploitation, striving and thwarting, violence and celebration are constrained by differentials of privilege and contemporary modes of communication. In his foreword, series judge Carl Phillips calls this book “rollicking, destabilizing, at once intellectually sly and piercing and finally poignant.” This is poetry that breaks new literary ground, inspiring readers to think differently about what poems can and should do in a new media society where imaginations are laid bare and there is no thought too provocative to send out into the world.
Airea D. Matthews is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection simulacra (Yale University Press, 2017), selected by Carl Phillips as the winner of the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets. Matthews received an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ program at the University of Michigan, where she is currently the assistant director; she also serves as executive editor of The Offing. A Cave Canem Fellow and a Kresge Literary Arts Fellow, Matthews lives in Detroit.
You Envelop Me, a book length poetic elegy, takes its title from the thirty-second psalm, and explores connections between birth and loss. How does one in mourning converse with those absent, yet ever present? These poems seek to enter that sturdy edifice of emptiness, wherein time is suspended, and one is paradoxically held by the departed. How is a motherless daughter conceived? What befalls those who succumb to waves of grief akin to contractions of birth? You Envelop Me is woven from contemplative practices which permit us to approach the unimaginable. The world with the beloved removed is permanently altered, perhaps most significantly in the way the living learn that indispensible vision occurs beyond the visible world.
Laynie Browne was born and raised in Los Angeles. She earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA from Brown University. She is the author of thirteen collections of poems and three novels. Her honors include a 2014 Pew Fellowship; a National Poetry Series Award for The Scented Fox (2007), selected by Alice Notley; a Contemporary Poetry Series Award for Drawing of a Swan Before Memory (2005); and residencies at The MacDowell Colony. Her poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Chinese, and Catalan. She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College.