Elk River Books will host a reading by Michael Earl Craig from Talkativeness, the Livingston poet’s latest collection, on Thursday, May 29 at 7 p.m.
Talkativeness is Craig’s fifth book, and in a 2011 interview with Bookslut he explains that each collection goes in a new direction from his previous work. “I like to think of a book of poems as a terrain that the reader will be navigating, and I want that terrain to be varied. As a driver, you don’t want to have to be in four-wheel drive all day long, busting through mud holes, and yet you don’t want to be out on the freeway all day long either, with the cruse control on, maybe listening to Barbara Streisand. I want the terrain to change, and to offer the reader various footholds, places to breathe.”
The Poetry Foundation writes, “Craig’s poems question the assumptions and habits of daily life, using humor and frequent glimpses of a torqued pastoral landscape.” In a Coldfront review, James Tate says he enjoys Craig’s poems because “anything can happen and probably will, and it will affect me in small or large ways that I couldn’t have imagined. The precision of their imagery keeps me reeling with delight.”
Craig’s other books including Thin Kimono; Yes, Master; Can You Relax in My House; and the chapbook Jombang Jet. He’s had poems appear in a variety of anthologies, including the forthcoming Best American Poetry 2014. He is certified as a journeyman farrier and shoes horses for a living.
Craig will be joined by his friend, Idaho poet Adrian Kien, author of The Caress is a Letter of Instruction, described by one reviewer as “Norman Bates meets Baudelaire meets Baudrillard in a match to the death—never more beautifully embalmed.” Kien collaborated with artist Kelly Packer in Look Up, and authored An Anatomy Lesson (translations of French poet Christian Prigent) and Who is There. When not teaching or writing, he enjoys exploring the Idaho backcountry, looking for deer and cow bones for his wife to paint.
The reading is free and open to the public, and will take place at 7 p.m. in Elk River Books’ new store, 120 N. Main St. (formerly Chatham Fine Art), and will be followed by a signing and reception.