National Poetry Month Feature: Traveling West in Poems with Joy Sullivan, in Conversation with Maggie Smith!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 - 7:00pm
Gramercy Books
2424 East Main Street
Bexley, OH 43209

Join lauded poet, Joy Sullivan, for her vivid and inspiring Instructions for Traveling West, a poetry collection about what’s possible when we heed our instincts and honor our intuition, allowing ourselves to strike out for new territories of love, pleasure, and peace. Sullivan will be in conversation with fellow poet Maggie Smith for this special National Poetry Month program.

Registration is on Eventbrite. The purchase of Instructions for Traveling West waives the $5 registration fee.

OHIO POETRY ASSOCIATION and WEXNER CENTER FOR THE ARTS are Gramercy’s Community Partners for this program.

First, you must realize you’re homesick for all the lives you’re not living. Then, you must commit to the road and the rising loneliness. To the sincere thrill of coming apart. 

So begins Joy Sullivan’s Instructions for Traveling West—a lush debut collection that examines what happens when we leave home and leap into the deep unknown. Mid-pandemic, Sullivan left the man she planned to marry, sold her house, quit her corporate job, and drove west. This dazzling collection tells that story as it illuminates the questions haunting us all: What possible futures lie on the horizon? What happens when we heed the call of furious reinvention? A book for anyone flinging themselves into fresh starts, Instructions for Traveling West grapples with loss, loneliness and belonging. These poems teach us that naming our desire is profound alchemy. Each of us holds the power to set our own course forward. 

Expansive and heart-opening—exquisite in their specificity, galvanizing in their scope—the poems in Instructions for Traveling West speak to the longing that lives within us all. They remind us that “joy is not a trick.” 

Joy Sullivan received an MA in poetry from Miami University and has served as the poet-in-residence for the Wexner Center for the Arts. She has guest-lectured in classrooms from Stanford University to Florida International University and is the founder of Sustenance, a community designed to help writers revitalize and nourish their craft. Read her thoughts on the creative life in her Substack newsletter, Necessary Salt.

Maggie Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Goldenrod, Keep Moving, Good Bones, and more. My Thoughts Have Wings, her debut picture book, will be released in February. She currently serves as poet/writer-in-residence at the Wex working with high school students in an arts and writing program. She lives with her children in Columbus, OH.