Join acclaimed poet, Kathy Fagan, at Gramercy Books as she launches Bad Hobby, a perceptive collection focused on memory, class, and might-have-beens. She will be in conversation with noted poet, educator, editor, and literary critic David Baker.
Registration is on Eventbrite, closing at 6:00 pm on the day of the event. The purchase of Bad Hobby waives the $5 admission fee.
OHIO POETRY ASSOCIATION and OHIO STATE’S CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM are Gramercy’s Community Partners for this program.
In a working-class family that considers sensitivity a "fatal diagnosis," how does a child grow up to be a poet? What happens when a body "meant to bend & breed" opts not to, then finds itself performing the labor of care regardless? Why do we think our "common griefs" so singular? Bad Hobby is a hard-earned meditation on questions like these--a dreamscape speckled with swans, ghosts, and weather updates. Fagan writes with a kind of practical empathy, lamenting pain and brutality while knowing, also, their inevitability. A dementing father, a squirrel limp in the talons of a hawk, a "child who won't ever get born" with age, Fagan posits, the impact of ordeals like these changes. Loss becomes instructive. Solitude becomes a shared experience. "You think your one life precious--"
And Bad Hobby thinks--hard. About lineage, about caregiving. About time. It paces "inside its head, gazing skyward for a noun or phrase to / shatter the glass of our locked cars & save us." And it does want to save us, or at least lift us, even in the face of immense bleakness, or loneliness, or the body changing, failing. "Don't worry, baby," Fagan tells us, the sparrow at her window. "We're okay."
Kathy Fagan is the author of five other poetry collections, her most recent being Sycamore, a finalist for the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Slate, FIELD, Narrative, The New Republic, The Nation, and Poetry, among other literary magazines, and is widely anthologized. Fagan was named Ohio Poet of the Year for 2017 and is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Frost Place, Ohioana, Greater Columbus Arts Council, and the Ohio Arts Council. She is the Director of Creative Writing and the MFA Program at The Ohio State University and Professor of English, as well as Poetry Editor of OSU Press and Advisor to The Journal.
David Baker is an educator, editor, literary critic, and one of contemporary poetry's most gifted lyric poets. He has authored twelve books of poetry as well as six books of prose. 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.