Thursday, February 16: Poetry. Grace "Betsy" Bonner will read from her first book of poems Round Lake. Openers Kevin Canty and David Gates will melt ice with their sweet blues covers and old-time music. 7pm.
“After great pain,” Emily Dickinson wrote, “a formal feeling comes—.” The speaker of the poems in Round Lake knows the feeling and the form: she has lost her entire family, and must recover her own voice after the silence of grief. Parts of this book are set in Greece, connecting personal tragedy with images of stark, beautiful ruins. The short, truncated lines fuse the landscape with the speaker’s breath: “Words scale / and fall in a / similar way, / like hands letting // one field lie / fallow to favor / another.” These poems carry simultaneously the weight of myth and of the all-too-real word.
"Lamentation and praise are the two presiding emotions of this vibrantly elegiac book. I find the balance between them original and enticing, as new growth continually emerges from the black earth's crevices." - Henri Cole
"Conner's voice is crystalline with song even where loss has shattered the windows and hidden the sun. The possibility of love still streams through these poems-- such is the power of their tenderness and ferocity. Love by way of witness, dream, memory, by making music out of ache. Lakes and roads and childhoods can (must) be escaped and escaped to. Every image is gorgeously precise and everyone is alive in this collection: a book of how to live with ghosts, how to endure and accept life's refracting, reflective beauty when we are inconsolable." - Brenda Shaughnessy
Grace "Betsy" Bonner holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College. Round Lake is her first book of poetry, published in September 2016 by Four Way Books. She is a MacDowell fellow, and the former Director of the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center. She has taught literature and creative writing at the Pierrepont School in Westport, CT and in Paros, Greece. Her poems have appeared in The Brooklyn Quarterly, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Parnassus, Poetry Daily, The Southampton Review and in other publications. She has written a memoir, Ghost Tracks, which Amy Hempel described as "stunning". She is a mentor in PEN’s Prison Writing Program.