Join Sixteen Rivers Press poets Erin Rodoni and Gillian Wegener for an evening of reading and discussion.
The first section of Body, in Good Light opens with the words, “Between any two points, there is a love story”: points on a compass, points in time, between lovers and strangers, mother and child. Throughout this debut collection, Erin Rodoni distills experience for its essence, rendered in language that is fierce, tender, penetrating in its precision, and astonishing in its turns of phrase. Whether describing “turncoat cells” of cancer, the half-smile scar of a caesarian, or the alien landscape of childhood seared by wildfire, Rodoni’s poems remind us how tenuous our lives are, how each moment arrives as inescapably painful and miraculous as birth.
Erin Rodoni was born and raised in the small coastal community of Point Reyes, California. Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, Cimarron Review, Drunken Boat, Ninth Letter, and Vinyl Poetry, among others. Her poems have also been included in the Best New Poets anthology, featured on Verse Daily, and honored with an Intro Journals Award from the Association of Writers and Writing programs. Rodoni holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MFA from San Diego State. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two young daughters.
The poems in This Sweet Haphazard are anything but haphazard in their designs or effects, and while sweetness resides here, it’s a sweetness hard-won by looking at life unflinchingly. Gillian Wegener’s gift is to show us that the ever-changing, the temporal, is as close as we’re apt to come to paradise. The second poem in the book, “Chorus,” establishes the multiple tensions that exist between person and place, tensions that come under the scrutiny of a shrewd, wry, endlessly inventive eye. These are poems that no one will forget, radiating as they do with Central Valley heat, with the beauty of the ordinary, and with the love of a woman for the “sweet haphazard of home,” from which everything here so accurately and ingeniously arises.
Gillian Wegener is the author of two previous books of poetry: a chapbook, Lifting One Foot, Lifting the Other (In the Grove Press, 2001), and a full-length collection, The Opposite of Clairvoyance (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2008). Widely published, she has won several awards for her work, including the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize in 2006 and 2007, and the Zócalo Public Square Prize for Poetry of Place in 2015. Wegener, a junior high teacher, lives with her husband and daughter in Modesto, where she coordinates and hosts the monthly Second Tuesday Reading Series. She is a cofounder of the Modesto- Stanislaus Poetry Center and has served as the poet laureate for the city of Modesto.