Two important contemporary poets will be reading from their new collections at the store; please join us.
Van Doren’s Promise features a series of short lyric poems, contemplative vignettes of daily life that examine friendship, marriage, and family with a veneer of playfulness. These poems take us into a space where a year is compressed into minutes and a small trickle of memory floods the mind. Van Doren, a visual artist as well as a poet, composes word collages that help us touch the promise underneath the surface and to make sense of the senseless.
The three interrelated sections of poetry in Fair Sun explore the primary importance of connection, both with other human beings and with the natural world. In the first section, poems explore the acquisition of language. There are poems that enact the sudden possibilities of speech, the complexities of translation, the bewilderment of the bilingual speaker, both fluent and tongue-tied. The second section consists of a series of prose poems titled “Andranik.” In these poems, a child is speaking with her grandfather who relates the details of his survival during the Armenian Genocide: his escape, the murder of his father, the suicide of his sister, the death of his best friend, forced marches, enslavement – all punctuated by memories of an earlier boyhood spent chasing ducks, swimming in the river, sleeping on mats under the stars. The final section contains shorter lyric poems that explore the proximity of life and death, the complicity and interdependency of the individual in the collective, and the redemptive possibilities of sympathy.
Sally Van Doren is an American poet and visual artist. She was awarded the 2007 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for her first collection of poems, Sex At Noon Taxes. Her book prior to Promise is Possessive. Susan Barba’s writing has appeared in Poetry, Raritan, The Hudson Review, The Yale Review, Harvard Review, Boston Review, Words Without Borders and elsewhere. She is a senior editor for New York Review Books.