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America That Island off the Coast of France & Strike - Rebecca Dunham, Jesse Lee Kercheval - 09/19/2019 - 7:00pm

America That Island off the Coast of France & Strike

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Community Room 301

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

Rebecca Dunham

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

Jesse Lee Kercheval

Jesse Lee Kercheval was born in France and raised in Florida. She is a writer, poet, and visual artist Her memoir Space, about growing up in Florida during the moon race, won an Alex Award from the American Library Association. In 2020, during the pandemic lock down in Uruguay, she began drawing for the first time in her life, posting one drawing a day on social media where they developed a large following. Her graphic narratives now appear regularly in literary magazines and her graphic memoir, French Girl, will be published in September by Fieldmouse Press.

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