Poetry at the Library Series presents An Afternoon of Round Robin Reading and Discussion With Cynthia Bargar and Wendy Drexler
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You are welcome to join award-winning poets Cynthia Bargar and Wendy Drexler for a moving afternoon of round robin reading and discussion. Cynthia and Wendy have workshopped together since 2020 and are familiar with and fond of each other’s work. The themes they share are the layers of mystery their poems explore in their life histories and a love of nature, particularly the beach, in their current collections. They will read a sequence of poems back and forth, then discuss if the audience has comments, and continue with another set or two before ending with two strong longer sequences. “We find this kind of reading generates excitement and interest,” says Wendy.
Cynthia Bargar’s Sleeping in the Dead Girl’s Room (Lily Poetry Review, 2022) — a ghost story, a memoir in poems — grapples with an 18-year-old’s presumed suicide months before the birth of her niece. They share a name: “When they call my name they are calling hers.” Engaging with memories, photographs, documents, and a haunting presence, the author weaves together the unspoken story of her aunt’s death and her own mental health travails and hospitalization. “In masterfully wielding poetic form to reconcile and exorcise the Dead Girl’s story from her own, Bargar shows us how healing happens at the soul level of language. — KPrevallet, author of I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time and Trance Poetics
Sleeping in the Dead Girl’s Room (Lily Poetry Review Books) is Cynthia’s first book. It won the 2023 MASS Center for the Books Poetry Honors Collection. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, both online and in print, and in the book, Our Provincetown: Intimate Portraits by Barbara E. Cohen. Cynthia is Associate Poetry editor at Pangyrus LitMag and lives with her partner, cartoonist Nick Thorkelson, in Provincetown. Learn more about Cynthia’s life of “working with people to build, create, and bring about change” on her website: https://cynthiabargar.com/about/
Wendy Drexler is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of two separate awards for poems in her fourth collection, Notes from the Column of Memory (Terrapin Books, 2022), in which Martha Collins notes “the vividly remembered past and the carefully observed present are on intimate terms, constantly informing each other. So too the poet and the natural world, especially its animals, recalled and encountered with precision and empathy. Remembered parents provide an emotional undercurrent — especially the mother, addressed in a crown of sonnets that offers formal pleasure amidst the abundant visual surprises of these fine poems.
The recipient of a 2022 artist fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Wendy is the author of two earlier collections, most recently Before There Was Before (Iris Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, The Threepenny Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among others. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily and WBUR, and in numerous anthologies. She has been the Poet-in-Residence at New Mission High School in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, since 2018, and is programming co-chair for the New England Poetry Club. Wendy grew up in Denver and now lives in Belmont, Massachusetts with her husband and two formerly feral cats. She was an editor of language arts materials for many years, and has been a poetry editor and cavity-nest monitor for the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Visit her website and blog at https://wendydrexlerpoetry.com/
This program is made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library, a patron-supported non-profit organization.