Poets extraordinaire David Baker and Ann Townsend will read from their most recent and highly lauded work in a program that celebrates National Poetry Month. Baker’s eagerly-awaited Swift: New and Selected Poems includes poems from eight collections including fifteen new poems that reveal Baker’s continued growth in form and voice. Poems in Townsend’s incandescent new collection, Dear Delinquent are simultaneously raw and elegant, direct and oblique, hurtful and consoling.
Acclaimed for his combination of "visionary scope" (Gettysburg Review) and "emotional intensity" (Georgia Review), David Baker is one of contemporary poetry's most gifted lyric poets. Swift includes poems from his masterful latest, Scavenger Loop (2015); the prize-winning, intimate travelogues of Never-Ending Birds (2009); and the complications of history and home in Changeable Thunder (2001). The fifteen new poems that open the volume investigate the death of parents, the loss of homeland, and a widening natural history, not only of his beloved Midwest but of the tropical flora and fauna of a Caribbean island. Together, these poems showcase the evolution of Baker's distinct eco-poetic conscience, his mastery of forms both erotic and elegiac, and his keen eye for the shifting landscapes of passion, heartbreak, and renewal. With equal curiosity and candor, Baker explores the many worlds we all inhabit—from our most intimate relationships to the wider social worlds of neighborhoods, villages, and our complex national identity, to the environmental community we all share. With his dazzling formal restlessness and lifelong devotion to landscapes both natural and human on full display, David Baker demonstrates why he has been called "the most expansive and moving poet to come out of the American Midwest since James Wright" (Marilyn Hacker). David Baker is the author of twelve books of poetry as well as six books of prose. Among his awards are prizes and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Society of America, Mellon Foundation, and the Society of Midland Authors. Baker holds the Thomas B. Fordham Chair at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he lives, and is Poetry Editor of The Kenyon Review.
Through poems that masterfully recall the styles of Sylvia Plath or Philip Larkin, Ann Townsend’s Dear Delinquent convinces us that, even if its most destructive forms, love is the driving force behind all behavior. The author of Dime Store Erotics and The Coronary Garden, Townsend is the editor (with David Baker) of a collection of essays, Radiant Lyre: on Lyric Poetry, and is currently at work on a collection of essays on poetry, translation, and the natural world. Her poetry and essays have appeared in such magazines as Poetry, The Paris Review, The Nation, The Kenyon Review, and many others. The recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, she has also received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Bernheim Arboretum, and the Lannan Foundation. She is the co-founder of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. In 2016 she, along with co-founders Cate Marvin and Erin Belieu, accepted the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, given in recognition of their work for the larger literary community. A Professor of English and Creative Writing and Director of the Writing Program at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, Ann Townsend hybridizes modern daylilies at Bittersweet Farm.