Michael Heller (The Door With The Hinges Off), Rick Mullin (Soutine, Coelacanth, and Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle), Daniel Shapiro (The Red Handkerchief and Other Poems), and Anne Whitehouse (The Refrain) will be reading at the Bryant Park Word For Word series in New York City’s Bryant Park. May 12, 7pm , 2015.
“If any readers of poetry doubt that eros and ethos are opposites that can only exist in each other’s mutual embrace, then Michael Heller’s This Constellation is a Name will come as genuine revelation. Seldom has the erotic gift of intimate portrayal coincided so fully with the ethical gift of objective attention. Heller knows that poetry has its stake in the world and the world’s construction; he also knows that inquiry cannot forsake the human scale. These poems are written “in our human need,” and that marks their deep sympathy, their real generosity. Such need drives through the body its fervent longing; such need forces through the mind that increment of attention that seeks the world’s very fact. These poems could only be written by a poet who heeds that most ancient command: to exist. Michael Heller is such a poet. He can see into the myriad complexities of that human condition to seek through the poem itself “just the real, and a wild nesting /of hope in the real.” —Dan Beachy-Quick, Poet, writer and critic
Rick Mullin captures Darwin’s gift for minute and thorough observation, his almost childlike delight in the sheer inexhaustible plenty that nature provides to every sense, his ongoing comparison between the strange and the familiar (the chaotically foreign with the orderly English), and his conflicting reactions to alien cultures and to the well-intentioned efforts to “civilize” them. For me, the most notable aspect of this book is the way it is told, through a series of narrative sonnets whose language is as crisp and objective as the prose journal from which it draws data, but blessed by the speed, scope and passion of epic poetry. -Rhina Espaillat
“The passionate images and staunch heart of these poems plunge us deep into the life of the body––and the mystery within and beyond it. The poet knows that whatever we encounter––a face in the bathroom mirror, a dead lover’s shirt, even a wig, unexpectedly reimagined––can liberate the true self beneath our fears and disguises. Unsparing yet generous, The Red Handkerchief leaves me surprised by hope.”
—Joan Larkin, author of Blue Hanuman
“These poems portray exactly what they intend to portray, true feelings and a quest to understand our physical and spiritual existence. Whitehouse’s personal narratives and meditations…are never elevated beyond the believable, yet they achieve a unique effect in their persistent attempt to discover and reveal the subtlety of experience. Her subjects are drawn from nature, from stories and observations of people, and from her own meditations… Whitehouse doesn’t judge, and she never gives too much, but she always gives us something that sticks.” – Ron Gaskill, Jerseyworks