America That Island off the Coast of France & Strike
This joint reading brings together poets and professors from UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee to celebrate their most recent publications.
About America That Island off the Coast of France : A speaks to the impossibility of emigration, of ever being the citizen of only one country. Born in France, raised in Florida, Kercheval now divides her time between the U.S. and Uruguay. The poems hurtle across literary and linguistic borders toward a lyricism that slows down experience to create a new form of elegiac memoir. Against the backdrops of Paris, Montevideo, and Florida, the poems explore citizenship and homelessness, motherhood and self, family and freedom, turning over and over again the very meaning of the word home, as the poems, like the poet, make the fraught journey back and forth between America and France. As Kercheval wonders in her poem "The Red Balloon," "is leaving / ever painless? Is returning?"
About Strike: “The poems of Rebecca Dunham’s Strike invoke the terse, noiseless monstrousness of the toxic-domestic, the ‘once-us,’ in which ‘to fall numb is not to fall/out of pain.’ This collection is Plathian in its riven depiction of anger, which both ‘presses/down and in,’ where denial ‘is beaten to silver foil, to silver leaf,’ and in which ‘[o]ver the butcher/paper’s sheets’ her ‘red story sprawls.’ In poems whose edges are honed on a whetstone of impeccable craft, and which delve into history, archetype, and ekphrasis, Dunham exposes the face that ‘ripples beneath her mask’ and builds a ravishing myth of the unveiled lyric interior.” —Diane Seuss
Rebecca Dunham is the author of Cold Pastoraland three previous collections of poems, including Glass Armonica, winner of the 2013 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry, and The Miniature Room, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Kenyon Review, AGNI, and others. Her work has been supported through numerous fellowships, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, and the Ruth Halls Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Dunham holds an MFA in Poetry from George Mason University and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri. She is currently Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Jesse Lee Kercheval is a poet, writer, and translator, specializing in Uruguayan poetry. Her poetry collections include America that island off the coast of France and Dog Angel, Her translations include Love Poems by Idea Vilariño and The Invisible Bridge: Selected Poems of Circe Maia. A bilingual Spanish-English edition of her selected poems, La crisis es el cuerpo, translated by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, was published in Argentina by Editorial Bajo la luna and is forthcoming in Mexico. She is also the author of the memoir Space, which won an Alex Award from the American Library Association, and the short story collection Underground Women. She is the Zona Gale Professor Emerita of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the coeditor of the Wisconsin Poetry Series at the University of Wisconsin Press.