If renovations go as planned, Elk River Books will host the first event in its new home at 122 S. 2nd St., at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31, with bird-themed poetry readings by Robert DeMott, author of Up Late Reading “Birds of America” and Marc Beaudin, author of Life List: Poems.
Up Late Reading “Birds of America” is a collection of prose poems inspired in part by Audubon’s classic book. According to the publisher, these “hybrid ‘proems’ attempt to combine the amplitude and spaciousness of prose with the compression and focus of poetry. In traveling into the darkly intertwined spaces of personal geography, memory, emotion and loss, as well as into wild nature, each piece surrounds its lyrical moment in a context of details, imaginings, and resonances to express its dramatic occasion.”
Pulitzer Prize-winner Ted Kooser, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, writes, “This is reader’s poetry, inviting, heartfelt, generous and moving.”
DeMott is the author of The Weather in Athens: Poems, Angling Days: a Fly Fisher’s Journals and numerous books and articles on John Steinbeck including Steinbeck’s Typewriter, an award-winning collection of critical essays. Additionally, he has provided introductions for several Penguin Classics editions of Steinbeck’s novels, and is also the editor of Conversations with Jim Harrison.
Life List, a 2020 Montana Book Award honor winner, is a kind of field guide to the birds in poetry, including over 70 poems that each feature a bird from Beaudin’s own life list (currently at nearly 400 species). It also contains over 20 monotypes created by Livingston artist Storrs Bishop and an introduction by Southern Book Prize-winning author J. Drew Lanham.
“The poems are exquisite and full of life like the birds themselves,” writes Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion: Essays of Undoing. “In each poem we find clarity and compassion as we stand on the razor-edge of uncertainty.”
Beaudin, a co-owner of Elk River Books, is also the author of the hitchhiking memoir Vagabond Song: Neo-Haibun from the Peregrine Journals, and several other books and plays. His work has appeared in numerous journals, and has been widely anthologized in publications dedicated to environmental and social justice.
As Elk River Books returns to in-person events, the owners strongly encourage audience members to get vaccinated. Those unable to do so are asked to wear a mask and maintain social distancing protocols. Masks and hand sanitizer will be made available. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (406) 333-2330.