Poet, Essayist Maggie Smith Launches Memoir!! In Conversation with acclaimed writer Saeed Jones!

Monday, April 17, 2023 - 7:00pm
Drexel Theatre
2254 East Main Street
Bexley, OH 43209

Join noted poet and essayist Maggie Smith for the launch of her memoir, You Could Make This Place Beautiful, an unflinching look at what it means to live and write our own lives. Smith will be in conversation with acclaimed poet and essayist Saeed Jones.

Registration for this in-person event is on Eventbrite, closing at 6:00 pm on the day of the event. The ticket is $30, which includes the book plus tax.

THE OHIO POETRY ASSOCIATION and THE DREXEL THEATRE are Gramercy’s Community Partners for this program.

“[Smith]...reminds you that you can...survive deep loss, sink into life’s deep beauty, and constantly, constantly make yourself new.” —Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author

The bestselling poet and author of the “powerful” (People) and “luminous” (NewsweekKeep Moving offers a lush and heartrending memoir exploring coming of age in your middle age.

“Life, like a poem, is a series of choices.”

In her memoir You Could Make This Place Beautiful, poet Maggie Smith explores the disintegration of her marriage and her renewed commitment to herself in lyrical vignettes that shine, hard and clear as jewels. The book begins with one woman’s personal heartbreak, but its circles widen into a reckoning with contemporary womanhood, traditional gender roles, and the power dynamics that persist even in many progressive homes. With the spirit of self-inquiry and empathy she’s known for, Smith interweaves snapshots of a life with meditations on secrets, anger, forgiveness, and narrative itself. The power of these pieces is cumulative: page after page, they build into a larger interrogation of family, work, and patriarchy.

You Could Make This Place Beautiful, like the work of Deborah Levy, Rachel Cusk, and Gina Frangello, is an unflinching look at what it means to live and write our own lives. It is a story about a mother’s fierce and constant love for her children, and a woman’s love and regard for herself. Above all, this memoir is an argument for possibility. With a poet’s attention to language and an innovative approach to the genre, Smith reveals how, in the aftermath of loss, we can discover our power and make something new. Something beautiful. 

Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and the national bestsellers Goldenrod and Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Best American Poetry, and more.

Saeed Jones was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Lewisville, Texas. He is the author of the memoir How We Fight for Our Lives and the poetry collection Prelude to Bruise. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times, and GQ, and he has been featured on public radio programs including NPR's Fresh Air, Pop Culture Happy Hour, It's Been A Minute with Sam Sanders, and All Things Considered. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his dog, Caesar, and tweets @TheFerocity.