On Saturday evening March 24th at Avol’s at 7pm we host three wonderful poets: Nathan Hoks and Catherine Theis from Chicago (Nathan formerly of Madison), and our own Madison-situated Michelle Niemann. Please do come out to enjoy their poems, and join us for a drink afterwards. Bios and Sample Poems below:
NATHAN HOKS’ first book of poems, Reveilles, won Salt Publishing’s Crashaw Prize and was published in 2010. He is also the author of a chapbook, Birds Mistaken For Wind, and the translator of Vicenete Huidobro’s Arctic Poems from Toad Press. With Nicole Flores, he co-edits Convulsive Editions, a micro-press that publishes chapbooks and broadsides. He lives in Chicago.
MICHELLE NIEMANN is a PhD candidate in the English department at UW-Madison. She’s from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and she likes lucky bird sightings. Her poems have appeared in RHINO and After Hours, and her recent projects include SEGMENTARITY (poems), Seven Levels of Sleep (a.k.a. the ground sky diaries, prose), and a series of letters she’s writing to pieces of furniture, plants, and odd decorative items at Edenfred, a writer’s residency in Madison.
CATHERINE THEIS is a poet and playwright living in Chicago. She is the recipient of the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award in Poetry, a Buckham Scholarship Award, and a Rubin Writer Award. Catherine spent her childhood summers in Sicily, where she swam in blue coves and ate gelato before dinner. She once composed a sonnet to the sun and moon with ink from an octopus. She has published poems and short plays in various journals, including Action Yes, Columbia Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, LIT, and Volt. She is the recipient of an Individual Artists Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. Winner of the Crashaw Prize, Theis’s first book is called The Fraud of Good Sleep, (Salt Modern Poets, 2011).
sd red to silver
sd silver to gold
Just the fat cat & sleek weasel who got Rose—
that and childbed.
gone for food.
That was the line drawn thru thick weather:
the open settle, set out for the country,
long trek nowhere down the backhoed lane
furrow-weary curve of the fence
some new day whose forecast reaches & fails
Selections from Remedies
An emperor brews the tea himself.
The tea cup chipped from an earlier expedition.
Adultery forms an orange.
The habitat is a tree branch propped up by a wet moccasin.
At the spigot, the tea cup is filled.
The gold leaves and trash remembered as fidelity.
Take this note, which is the last one, and buy a penny’s worth of tea,
a penny’s worth of sugar, and a penny’s worth of water.
Send no invitations but clean your house.
When the glass gets lighter, the platter gets heavier.
Fidelity, the sea we share in peaceful times.
How to make a virgin of your lover:
give him fennel flowers instead.
For gray hair: eat two bowls of fire-hot chili,
standing up, and then have intercourse.
Do not sit down.
When dining with the emperor, make no mention
of the solitary life.
Shadow of the Interior
My friend Michael always carries
His chair from house to house.
He calls this chair his heart, his warm
Beeping heart that he cannot shake
From his hands no matter how hard
He shakes them. Imagine, he says
To me in a letter he never sent, imagine
Having to look at your inner life
Always in your hands, always pointing
The direction from place to place
Until you cannot stand it. One day
You are in a desert where there is
Simply no context for your feelings.
A rhythm rattles your head.
Light sneaks quickly into your eyes
And you cannot tell yourself from sky.
You need a place to lie down, a place
To bore into. You will be happy to
Have your chair. You will clutch its
Thin legs and think about the moon.
A little bit of rock and mud under your
Feet reminds you there was a lake here once.
Lucky you, you see everything inside out.