West Virginia natives Carrie Conners & Jacob Strautmann will be our guests for our eighteenth program in the Wheeling Poetry Series, July 27, 2021.
Carrie Conners is a poet and a scholar of poetry. Originally from West Virginia, she lives in Queens, NY and is a Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College-CUNY. Her first poetry collection, Luscious Struggle (BrickHouse Books, 2019), was selected as a 2020 Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Her second collection, Species of Least Concern (Main Street Rag, Winter 2021-22), was a finalist of the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award and will be published in the winter of 2021-22. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Bodega, Kestrel, Split Rock Review, RHINO, and The Monarch Review, among other publications. She is also the author of the forthcoming book, Laugh Lines: Humor, Genre, and Political Critique in Late 20th Century American Poetry (University Press of Mississippi, 2022).
Jacob Strautmann’s debut book of poems The Land of the Dead Is Open for Business is available from Four Way Books. Awarded a 2018 Massachusetts Poetry Fellowship by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Jacob’s poems have appeared in Agni Magazine, Forklift, Ohio, Salamander Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Appalachian Journal, Southern Humanities Review, Appalachian Heritage, and Quiddity.
The Wheeling Poetry Series is organized and hosted by West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman. https://marcharshman.com
This program will hosted in the Library auditorium and will also be broadcast live on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the OCPL website's LWB Livestream page. Virtual viewers: log into your Facebook or YouTube account during the program to leave questions for our presenters in the comments box. They will answer them during the live broadcast.
Tuesday | July 27, 2020 at noon
LWB LIVESTREAM: The Wheeling Poetry Series with Carrie Conners & Jacob Strautmann
''Conners takes us into the private world of 'real' people with 'real' stories, and does so with deep compassion. . .through skillfully rendered details, we see and hear the voices of steelworkers, prisoners, the ambulance driver, the pharmacist—and the tough voices of working class West Virginia.''
—Jan Beatty, author of Jackknife: New and Selected Poems
''The poems are at turns funny and sad, profound and playful. . . . There are . . . poems whose strength relies . . . on a close observation of the everyday as seen through the dual lens of heartache and blue-collar struggle. I must admire, as well, her understated humor in a poem like Sex Ed and the strikingly macabre whimsy of a poem like Ambulance Driver. It is an astonishing first collection holding both power and promise.''
—Marc Harshman, Poet Laureate of West Virginia
The Land of the Dead Is Open for Business is an extended elegy for Jacob Strautmann’s home state of West Virginia and its generations of inhabitants sold out by the false promise of the American Dream. Throughout the book, voices rise up from the page to describe a landscape eroded and plundered by runaway capitalism—its mountain tops leveled by the extractive industries, its waters polluted by runoff from mines—and the fallout from that waste. Those who remain are consigned to life in a ravaged land denuded of nature where birds die and “Sheep/birth limp two-headed things and some / that speak like men if they speak at all.”
“The poems in this fascinating debut collection are woven together with a surprising syntax that grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go.”
—Marc Harshman, Poet Laureate of West Virginia
“These poems are ringing elegies for lost American time and space. . . The poet wanders open-hearted through this charred and littered landscape, the one moving thing, still casting seeds, upturning hope, unearthing beauty.”
—Glyn Maxwell, British poet, playwright, novelist, librettist, and lecturer.
Launched in September 2015, the "Wheeling Poetry Series features readings by some of the finest poets from our Appalachian region and beyond. The series came about as a result of an ongoing conversation with West Virginia Poet Laureate, Marc Harshman, who felt that there was a need for a dependable venue in which to present major American poets reading and talking about their work here in West Virginia and more specifically here in Wheeling.
Harshman had long lamented the loss of the James Wright Festival which had been held for many years in Wright's
home town of Martins Ferry, Ohio. "That annual event was a towering success," Harshman explained, "lauded by poets across the U.S., and I see no reason why such a success cannot be replicated here in Wheeling. And some will remember that frequently some of the programming for the Wright festival was, in fact, held at various locations
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"Lunch With Books" is the library’s flagship program for adult patrons. These lunchtime programs feature authors, poets, musicians, historians, and more every Tuesday at noon. Bring lunch (to your computer), feed your brain!
This program will be available to watch live on Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the OCPL website's LWB Livestream page. Log into your Facebook or YouTube account during the program to leave questions for our presenters in the comments box. They will answer them during the live broadcast.