Poetry Reading: Laynie Browne
for a POETRY READING with
Laynie Browne, author of
You Envelop Me
You Envelop Me, a book length poetic elegy, takes its title from the thirty-second psalm, and explores connections between birth and loss. How does one in mourning converse with those absent, yet ever present? These poems seek to enter that sturdy edifice of emptiness, wherein time is suspended, and one is paradoxically held by the departed. How is a motherless daughter conceived? What befalls those who succumb to waves of grief akin to contractions of birth? You Envelop Me is woven from contemplative practices which permit us to approach the unimaginable. The world with the beloved removed is permanently altered, perhaps most significantly in the way the living learn that indispensible vision occurs beyond the visible world.
"Laynie Browne’s You Envelop Me, written in the tradition of elegy, attempts to come to terms with the continuing presence of absence. The work calls to mind the recent work of Susan Howe (This That) and Cole Swensen (Gravesend) as Browne locates the departed as motion, a wave, birdlike. Mourning in these captivating poems becomes it’s own birth–a birth where death engenders new life, and changes the terms of what it means to be alive inside grief, within a word, in this world." - Claudia Rankine
Laynie Browne was born and raised in Los Angeles. She earned a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA from Brown University. She is the author of thirteen collections of poems and three novels. Her honors include a 2014 Pew Fellowship; a National Poetry Series Award for The Scented Fox (2007), selected by Alice Notley; a Contemporary Poetry Series Award for Drawing of a Swan Before Memory (2005); and residencies at The MacDowell Colony. Her poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Chinese, and Catalan. She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College.
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