David Watts & Susan Gubernat - An Evening in Conversation (Sausalito)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 7:00pm

Having and Keeping is the work of an accomplished poet collecting and revising for more than a decade. These poems, inspired by the landscape of the Southwest United States and by human interactions that astonish and entertain have initiated this spontaneous poetic response. The poems have been etched out in a distinct poetic voice that has, over the years, become very comfortable and is both probing and graceful. The voice has been influenced by poets such as Jack Gilbert, Jennifer K. Sweeney and Molly Bashaw. Several of the poems have won awards or have been published in respected literary journals.

The journey this book takes ushers the reader through the various and varied pages of a life: interactions between father and son over life choices, the hesitations of love, the teen-age betrayal that remains in the consciousness forever, the death of loved ones, divorce, and finally, a prescription for happiness in the midst of turmoil.

The unintended subtext of the book is a deliberate exploration into the mechanisms and quirkiness of memory in preserving for us the events of our lives. In this analysis, the distinction between having something and being able to keep it is elegantly revealed. Without slipping into academic tones, the book takes on a philosophical turn, laying in its observations not like mathematical deductions but as revelations earned by careful reflection.

The experience thus encountered by a careful reader is that which crosses many lines of thought but always reduces what is observed into a compressed, elegant language that is both lyrical and effortless.

David Watts’ most recent book of poems, Having and Keeping, was runner-up in the 2015 Brick Road Poetry Press contest and published as an Editor’s Choice in 2017. Previously, he’s published six books of poems, four anthologies, two collections of short stories and five novels. He is a classically trained musician, a physician and a retired television and radio host. He has an active practice of medicine at UCSF and teaches poetry at the Fromm Institute. He lives in Mill Valley with his family.

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Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Susan Gubernat's The Zoo at Night reflects with subtle craft on the dark side of love, death, the family romance, carnality, and lofty aspirations. She thinks of her poems as "night thoughts" resembling nocturnes, in which "a bit of light leaks in."

Both experimental and classic, Gubernat's poems combine formal and free verse elements. A (mostly) unrhymed sonnet sequence seeks to recall the world of a pre-digital childhood when physical objects--tactile, mechanical--took on totemic import and magical significance. Other poems echo the Rilkean principle that poetry can be empathetic by looking outward at the "thingness" of the world.

In these works of love and longing, Gubernat enters through the doors of craft and exits with feeling.

Susan Gubernat is a professor of English at California State University, East Bay. She is the author of Flesh, winner of the Marianne Moore Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Analog House. An opera librettist, her major work, Korczak's Orphans, in collaboration with composer Adam Silverman, has been performed in a number of venues. She lives in Oakland, California.

 

Location: 
100 Bay St.
Sausalito, CA 94965
Having and Keeping Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780997955910
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Brick Road Poetry Press, Inc. - May 12th, 2017

The opening lines of -The Body of My Brother, - demonstrate the quality and depth of David Watts' reflective imagination. -First it belonged to my mother / or seemed to, / stuffed into her / like a foot in a sock. / Then it took care of itself / filling out / into home runs, high jumps.


Zoo at Night Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781496202055
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Nebraska Press - September 1st, 2017

Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Susan Gubernat's The Zoo at Night reflects with subtle craft on the dark side of love, death, the family romance, carnality, and lofty aspirations. She thinks of her poems as "night thoughts" resembling nocturnes, in which "a bit of light leaks in."