Monday, December 1st — 7:00 pm
POETS! Emily Wolahan
followed by an open mic
Emily Wolahan explores the interstitial space between words and between people. She notes, “The electrical charge of an encounter—with another or with oneself—creeps into and charges my work. I like to explore the action of thinking and the action of looking.”
An open mic follows.
Jerry Ferraz, m.c.
BY EMILY WOLAHAN
(forthcoming from National Poetry Review Press, 2014)
Hinge is a book fixated on contingency and what it might mean to live in it. These meditative lyrics are radically, at times painfully aware that anything could happen, that “The only guarantee is the world / in transition.” This awareness walks hand in hand with Wolahan’s almost preternatural sensitivity to cause and effect, the syntax of the physical and the interplay of the parts that make up any given whole. More than any younger poet I can think of, Wolahan is attuned to the engineering of the world she walks through as well as to the musical possibilities it suggests; she notices when “The dunes of Dhaharan shift one centimeter” and comes to the ocean “To watch it differ.” Moreover, she is a student not merely of the world’s design per se, but also of the ways it affects our own composite structures, the shaping hand it has on her self and others’: “Recall the marigold,” she writes, “a ﬂower that breaks / into a thousand pieces / leaving us to pine for its solid gathering.” Hinge is a startlingly mature, refined debut. If it is also a cerebral one (hardly a criticism), it is no less intimate or personable for that—in fact, reading the book, you feel made privy to the inner workings of an exemplary mind, one not so committed to scrutiny and analysis that it can’t also find in, among, or through its obsessions at least one key to happiness, even to love: “When I look at you I desire / to be known. / And, in this, / reuniﬁed.”
—Timothy Donnelly, author of The Cloud Corporation
"It is in doubt and not in faith that the salvation of the world is to be found. Faith is a delusion and a snare: a pitfall, a prison. It intimidates the intellect. With fear of eternal damnation religion crushes intellectual activity; with hero worship it destroys individuality; with hopes for the beyond it prevents the growth of ideals for the present. It makes of us a race of intellectual cowards; it changes but little if any our daily conduct toward each other. But doubt sets us free."
-- Job Harriman, 1902
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