Sweet Briar event provides them with their first reading together.
Posted on October 09, 2023 by Sandra Huffman
Poets Lynn Emanuel and Maggie Anderson have been friends for 43 years. They’ve each published many books and done countless readings. Yet, the first event of the 2023-24 Writers Series event held on Tuesday, September 19, was also the first time these two authors presented a reading together.
Emanuel said, “We have supported and helped each other through all the books and yet this is the first time we are reading together. So, it is a celebration.”
Lynn Emanuel is the author of six books of poetry, most recently “Transcript of the Disappearance, Exact and Diminishing” and “The Nerve of It: Poems New and Selected,” which was awarded the Lenore Marshall Award by The Academy of American Poets.
Her awards include multiple fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The National Poetry Series Award, the Eric Matthieu King Award, also from The Academy of American Poets, and a fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. She has judged for the National Book Awards and has taught at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Warren Wilson Program in Creative Writing, and the Bennington College Low Residency MFA program. Publications such as Poetry, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Review, LA Review of Books, BOMB Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly have published and reviewed her work.
Emanuel read poems that represented disappearance and loss, her childhood in Nevada where the next-door neighbor was a nuclear bomb testing site, her experiences watching noir films, and growing up in hotels, both a residential hotel with her mother and another owned by her grandparents.
As she concluded her remarks, she said she wondered why she placed so much focus on the period during and just after World War II. She said, “I realize it was because of the pandemic. The war was global, and the pandemic was global. Even though there have been terrible wars in between, there was something about the entire world being affected [by the pandemic] that reminded me of this time.”
Maggie Anderson’s most recent collection of poems is “Dear All,” published by Four Way Books in 2017. She is the author of four previous books of poetry, including “Windfall: New and Selected Poems,” “A Space Filled with Moving” and Cold Comfort.
Anderson is also co-editor of several thematic anthologies, including A Gathering of Poets, a collection of poems read at the 20th anniversary commemoration of the shootings at Kent State University in 1970, as well as “Learning by Heart: Contemporary American Poetry about School” and “After the Bell: Contemporary American Prose about School.” Her awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, fellowships from the Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Ohioana Library Award for contributions to the literary arts in Ohio. The founding director of the Wick Poetry Center and of the Wick Poetry Series of the Kent State University Press, Anderson is Professor Emerita of English at Kent State University and now lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Anderson touched on a variety of topics during her presentation, including the state of being represented in her poem “Ontological,” depression which took on a life of its own in her black dog series of poems, and refugees of the war in Bosnia Herzegovina in her poem “The Border.”
She concluded her remarks with her poem “Dear All,” which she said was “my attempt to wander through my life and acknowledge all the dear people who have been in it. I assume you have similar lists.”
Both Emanuel and Anderson mingled with attendees after the readings and discussed what it meant to be at Sweet Briar. “It’s a really beautiful place and sometimes people forget how important that can be to learning,” said Anderson. Emanuel agreed, saying, “It’s been wonderful to be here. The students were just so attentive and tuned in, and that doesn’t always happen. These young women really impressed us both.”
The next 2023-24 Writers Series event is on October 10 when our guest speaker will be author and musician Kristina R. Gaddy. More information is located here: Writers Series. These events are FREE and open to the public. If attending, please check in at the guard gate and let them know you are here for the Writers Series event. SBC also offers campus-wide FREE parking.