If you go ...

Who: Gretchen Marquette and Christopher Burawa

What: Poetry reading and reception

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 11

Where: Tower View barn

How much: Free

More info: 651-388-2009 or www.andersoncenter.org

 

 

A Minneapolis poet/writer/teacher and Anderson Center Executive Director Christopher Burawa will share their words at a poetry reading, reception and book signing at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 in the historic Tower View barn.

Although the event is not designed as a Veterans Day observance, Gretchen Marquette said she plans to include some of the poems she wrote about her brother, who had two military deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's a major thread" in her new book, "May Day," she said. Marquette's debut collection was published in May by Graywolf Press and has received high praise.

Publishers Weekly named it one of the best books of summer 2016 and described it is "Lovely, dark, haunted, and haunting."

They specifically cited her "childhood memories of a brother and bracing visions of him on military deployment overseas."

Those memories and her thoughts on love and the nature of human experience are "carefully handled, with such resolve and resignation," the listing noted, adding, "Readers will remember this book."

Writing about her brother was not easy, Marquette said. "I was superstitious at first to write about him being gone," she explained.

It was hard for her to imagine the boy she knew being overseas in a dangerous place, carrying a gun - knowing it was a life-changing experience for him.

She plans to include some of her work about her brother as a tribute to veterans. "It's important to honor the people serving" in the military, she said.

Her poems also address other themes, from the deer at the edge of the forest to lost love and anxiety. The Star Tribune called the collection "Startlingly original. ... Marquette's beautiful and macabre images have the feel of a classic fairy tale."

Marquette grew up in eastern Wisconsin but "slowly moved west" until she arrived in Minnesota in 2004. She earned a bachelor's degree at St. Cloud State then attended graduate school at Hamline University, earning her master of fine arts degree in 2012.

She has since been teaching classes at Hamline and area community colleges and The Loft while writing poetry and serving as a National Poetry Series "first reader."

The Paris Review was the first major publisher to select one of her poems, "Ode to a Man in Dress Clothes," which Harper's asked permission to reprint. That caught the eye of Graywolf Press's Jeff Shotts, who contacted her to see if she had a manuscript he could read.

She had produced about 70 pages of poems, Marquette said, so she developed a manuscript and ended up with a publishing contract.

"I have worked very, very hard for some things in life," she said, but "I got very lucky. ..."

"I love to give readings," Marquette added, "especially since I became a teacher" and overcame her shyness. "It's a pleasure to share my work."

Most of the work she plans to read at Tower View is from "May Day," but she also will share a few of her newer poems.

Burawa will read from "A Fallen Center," a new manuscript of poems that continue themes from his first book, "The Small Mystery of Lapses," published in 2006.

Some of the works explore his Icelandic cultural heritage and the history of Iceland. Other poems explore Buddhist themes. He has been studying and practicing Buddhism for 25 years.

The manuscript is nearing completion, Burawa said, noting that most of the individual works have appeared in various journals.

The evening of poetry is free and open to everyone.