Join David Baker, one of contemporary poetry’s most gifted lyric poets, to celebrate the publication of Whale Fall, his thirteenth collection of poetry. David will be in conversation with noted poet Maggie Smith.
Registration for this in-person event is on Eventbrite, closing at 5:00 pm on the day of the event. The purchase of Whale Fall when registering waives the $5 admission fee. Proof of full vaccination is required to attend; wearing masks is encouraged.
THE OHIO POETRY ASSOCIATION is Gramercy’s Community Partner for this program.
A masterful and moving new volume from a “peerless poet of the natural world” (New York Times Book Review).
Acclaimed as an essential voice of the American Midwest, David Baker expands both his environment and his form in his thirteenth collection. Whale Fall is about time, measured in the wingbeats of a hummingbird or the epochs of geological change, and about place, whether a backyard in Ohio or the slopes of a melting glacier.
In the exquisite, musical title poem, a deft hybrid of eco-poetic alarm and intimate narrative, Baker transports us to the deep sea as a single gray whale carcass falls, decays, and is reinhabited by a cosmos of teeming lives. Among the strands of ocean health, microplastics, and related calamities of human disregard, the poet weaves in a personal story of chronic illness. The result is a stirring, confident work, astonishing in its emotional acuity and lyric range.
Each poem in Whale Fall is an echolocation, emitting its music to situate itself among others in the vastness of the world. Amidst climate change and catastrophe, as amidst a blooming viburnum or a viral disease, these poems send their songs across empty spaces of a line, a page, or a continent, to see who is out there, moving in the depths of being.
David Baker is an educator, editor, literary critic, and one of contemporary poetry's most gifted lyric poets. He is the author of nineteen books, including thirteen collections of poetry, and his work appears in the country’s finest journals. After serving as Poetry Editor of The Kenyon Review for more than twenty-five years, he currently curates the annual “Nature’s Nature” feature for the magazine. His many honors include fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mellon Foundation, the Society of Midland Authors, and the Guggenheim Foundation. The recipient of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, Baker teaches at Denison University and lives in Granville, Ohio.
Maggie Smith is the author of the national bestsellers Goldenrod and Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, as well as Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, and Lamp of the Body. Smith’s poems and essays are widely published and anthologized, appearing in Best American Poetry, the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and elsewhere. In 2016 her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Public Radio International called it “the official poem of 2016.”