An Evening of Poetry with Joseph Campana & David Baker

Start: 
Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 6:30pm
Location: 
2421 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005

The Book of LIFE by Joseph Campana

“These poems are a marvel the way life itself is a marvel.” —Natasha Trethewey

Taking inspiration from the iconic pages of Life magazine, The Book of Life immerses its reader in an ecstatic, ekphrastic experience of how life becomes history and how history comes back to life.

The Book of LIFE finds inspiration in the pages of LIFE Magazine, from its origin in the Great Depression to its demise amid the Apollo missions, with many milestones between: the Korean War and Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War and immolation of Thich Quang Duc, and the Kennedy and King assassinations. LIFE’s compendium of the American century stretches from its initial cover, Margaret Bourke-White’s photo of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana, to its final, year-in-review issue covering the lunar mission, with an image of the Earth that awakened a planetary consciousness.

Using the lens of poet, arts critic, and scholar of Renaissance literature, Joseph Campana locates an individual life in the churning wake of these great events; he is a poet who persists in the hope of reawakening the past, while simultaneously finding and providing a guide for this journey called life.


Swift by David Baker

A sweeping achievement from a poet whose "rhythms are as alive to the roll and tang of syllables on the tongue as they are to the circulation of blood and sap" -Rosanna Warren (Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize citation)


David Baker, acclaimed for his combination of “visionary scope” (Gettysburg Review) and “emotional intensity” (Georgia Review), is one of contemporary poetry’s most gifted lyric poets. In Swift, he gathers poems from eight collections, including his masterful latest, Scavenger Loop (2015); the prize-winning, intimate travelogues of Never-Ending Birds (2009); and the complications of history and home in Changeable Thunder (2001). Opening the volume are fifteen new poems that continue Baker’s growth in form and voice as he investigates the death of parents, the loss of homeland, and a widening natural history, not only of his beloved Midwest but of the tropical flora and fauna of a Caribbean island.

Together, these poems showcase the evolution of Baker’s distinct eco-poetic conscience, his mastery of forms both erotic and elegiac, and his keen eye for the shifting landscapes of passion, heartbreak, and renewal. With equal curiosity and candor, Baker explores the many worlds we all inhabit—from our most intimate relationships to the wider social worlds of neighborhoods, villages, and our complex national identity, to the environmental community we all share.

With his dazzling formal restlessness and lifelong devotion to landscapes both natural and human on full display, David Baker demonstrates why he has been called “the most expansive and moving poet to come out of the American Midwest since James Wright” (Marilyn Hacker).


Joseph Campana is a poet, arts critic, and scholar of Renaissance literature. He is the author of three collections of poetry, The Book of Faces (Graywolf, 2005), Natural Selections (Iowa, 2012), which received the Iowa Poetry Prize, and The Book of Life (Tupelo, 2019). His poetry appears in Slate, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Conjunctions, GuernicaMichigan Quarterly Review, and Colorado Review, while individual poems have won prizes from Prairie Schooner and the Southwest Review. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He reviews the arts, books, media and culture regularly for The Houston ChronicleCultureMapThe Kenyon Review, and other venues and is the author of dozens of scholarly essays on Renaissance literature and culture as well as a study of poetics The Pain of Reformation: Spenser, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Masculinity (Fordham, 2012). He teaches at Rice University where he is Alan Dugald McKillop Professor of English.

David Baker is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize winner Never-Ending Birds, and six books of prose. Among his awards are prizes and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Mellon Foundation, and Society of Midland Authors. He holds the Thomas B. Fordham Chair at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he lives, and is poetry editor of the Kenyon Review.

 

 

The Book of Life Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781946482204
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tupelo Press - March 2019

Swift: New and Selected Poems Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780393652765
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 2nd, 2019