Don't miss the reading today at Open Books: Kathleen Flenniken, 3:00pm (with party to follow).
from the Open Books website calendar:
"Kathleen Flenniken's just published first collection, Famous ($17.95 Bison Books), received the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, a fitting honor for this wry, poignant, and endearing book. The fame represented here is not so much that of the recognizable name, though some do appear (a moving poem that touches on Mary Todd Lincoln's difficult life is included). Rather it is the fame that translates as a kind of self-knowledge, available to us only as we reach middle age. "Aren't all of us / waiting to be discovered?," Ms. Flenniken writes. Her kind and inventive searching allows for many discoveries -- in her own life and in the lives of many of us "minor characters," revealing pleasures, limitations, sadnesses, desires. She is cognizant that despite our plans, much is out of our control -- "The menu unfolds / like a map and for a moment your trip // feels intentional." Losses (her deceased parents are a sweet presence) cannot be avoided. Nor can failures, like those of parents at a school recital who clap "heroically, like the parents / they've meant to be." Her honesty is tempered with an appreciation of the power of forgiveness, primarily of ourselves. And with a sense of humor -- "Nature abhors a vacuum / but God loves a good vacuuming." These poems both give our problematic lives serious attention and remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. "