On July 15th, we were happy to welcome Nicole Cooley and Ellen Rachlin to Miller’s Cabin. Someone had moved the picnic tables out of last week’s formation, so we decided to try something new and set up the reading with the audience facing the creek. The night was perfect and the view spectacular. Thank Fate (and the previous picnickers) for that suggestion.
Nicole Cooley grew up in New Orleans and her book of poetry about Hurricane Katrina, Breach, is forthcoming from LSU Press. She began the evening reading poems from the new book about her family, St. Bernard Parish, and the city's response to the hurricane.
(Her first book of poetry, Resurrection, won the 1995 Walt Whitman Award and was published by LSU Press in 1996. Her second book of poetry, The Afflicted Girls, about the Salem witch trials of 1692, came out with LSU Press in April 2004 and was chosen as one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal.) It seemed especially fitting for her to read the Katrina poems outdoors, by the bubbling creek, which, as Karren Alenier pointed out, has flooded in the past. The audience felt honored to have such a picturesque and powerful preview.
Next, Ellen Rachlin read. She is the author of Until Crazy Catches Me (Antrim House Books, 2008), and two chapbooks, Waiting for Here (Finishing Line Press, 2004) and the forthcoming Captive to Residue (Flarestack Publishing, 2009). Ellen’s poems remind me of Anglo-Saxon riddles, with answers like smoke, wind, an egg, time. In her stanzas, for instance, water may have a lair and lemons may be sweet. Wonderful to hear her selections out loud – delicate, puzzling, intriguing.
Our last Miller Cabin reading of the year is coming up next week, July 22, 2008: Sauci Churchill and Therese Halscheid will feature. Please join us at 7:30 in Picnic Area #6 for the grand finale!
Special thanks to Michael Hauptschein for the many times he has brought his unicorn banners to the park to help make the backyard of the Miller Cabin festive!