National Poetry Month is a time to celebrate the art form that Lawrence Ferlinghetti defined as “a mirror walking down a strange street.” Elk River Books features two wielders of this mirror, Michael Earl Craig and Christopher Brean Murray, on Thursday, Apr. 6, with readings from their respective new books.
Craig, a former Montana poet laureate, is the author of six poetry collections including Woods and Clouds Interchangeable and Talkativeness. He holds degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University, the University of Montana and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, he now lives in Montana’s Shields Valley where he works as a farrier.
Of Craig’s newest book, Iggy Horse, his publisher notes that it “resonates with an inscrutable logic that feels excitedly otherworldly and unsettlingly familiar, whether he be writing about the cadaver that Hans Holbein the Younger used as a model, Montana as the ‘Italy of God,’ or the milking rituals in Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow. Not merely absurdist, Iggy Horse is a book that articulates the sadness and strangeness of American life.”
Murray’s new book, Black Observatory, was chosen by Dana Levin as the winner of the 2021-2022 Jake Adam York Prize. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and is the recipient of the Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Bennington Review, Colorado Review, and other journals. He lives in Houston, Texas.
“In Black Observatory, characters set out on adventures in a world not quite like our own,” notes Kevin Prufer, author of The Fears. “They enter museums of impossible objects, venture down forest paths to strangely abandoned settlements, or wander along the industrial outskirts of eerie cities. … Here, everything is off-kilter and mysterious. Speakers move through unnerving landscapes with a mixture of curiosity, ambivalence, and moments of startling insight. This is a brilliant first book, one I will return to with pleasure.”
Elk River Books is located at 122 S. 2nd St. in downtown Livingston. The free event begins at 7 p.m., and a book signing and reception will follow.