Open Books, Wallingford’s poetry-only bookstore, has a literature-packed weekend ahead as it celebrates one year under the ownership of Billie Swift. Meanwhile, on Friday evening, two award-winning poets will read from their nationally acclaimed debut books.
Friday’s event features Carolina Ebeid, author of You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior (Noemi Press), and Charif Shanahan, winner of the 2015 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award for his debut, Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing (SIU Press). The reading begins at 7 p.m. and is free to attend.
Poet Julie Carr has called Ebeid’s book “mesmerizingly beautiful,” adding that “autism, illness, and lead lend their traces to these poems that pulse, like all blues, with ‘world-sorrow,’ while rising from the root of that sorrow which is love. The voice of mother, of lover, and of friend spills from every page, charged with fierce and protective passion, a passion that is contagious because it is song. ” Nationally acclaimed poet Shane McCrae calls this collection “as wise as any poems I know.”
Ebeid will also host a poetry workshop on list-making at Open Books at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17. Visit Open Books’ website to learn more about this and other events and workshops.
Publisher’s Weekly has called Shanahan’s book a “painfully raw debut,” concluding that his is “a vital and profound new voice” in poetry. The book travels across distinct geographies in its investigations of identity and intimacy. “We need Shanahan’s voice in this time of reckoning with ourselves as a complex nation,” concludes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa.
Return to Open Books on Saturday as the store celebrates one year under the ownership of Billie Swift. All the staff members and volunteers who have, over the last year, helped to relaunch the store’s event series and reimagine the space as a welcoming community for everything from poetry comics and erasure exhibits to workshops and craft talks will be on hand. The store will hand out cake and poems, as well as offer a few in-store specials.