Gillian Cummings and Adam Fagin Reading Announcement

~from Ciara Baird and Caitlyn BucknerBackstrom

Intern Ciara Baird was lucky enough to be in an advanced poetry workshop that Adam Fagin visited the day of his reading. She had this to share about that experience:

Adam Fagin came to my Advanced Poetry Workshop and discussed with us how he came to write his book. Something that he wanted to do with Furthest Ecology, was to demonstrate how language and art have the power to both reveal and conceal at the same time. When asked how he decided to write docu poetry, he said that he wrote what he felt called to and emphasized the importance of writing about what speaks to you. He described his writing process as waking up early in the morning, before the sun rises. He drinks tea with two bags, writes as long as he can, editing while he goes.

Both interns Ciara Baird and Caitlyn BucknerBackstrom went to the reading that evening.

Ciara had this to say: Gillian Cummings was introduced by Kristin Macintyre. Cummings read from her book titled The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter. She described the first section of poetry as related to desire, where she explored girlhood, music, silence and Shakespeare’s character, Ophelia. Cummings mentioned that the poems were mostly about her experience with depression and she wrote them when she was not sure she wanted to go on living.

She also read poems she described as trying to be hopeful after she came out of a coma. Much of the imagery she used in this section was related to nature. One of the poems that resonated with me described her experience of making eye-contact with a whale while whale watching in Cape Cod, which provided her with a sense of hope when she had previously felt hopeless. One of my favorite lines from her reading was, “You have been many people, but none of them is you.”

Adam Fagin was introduced by Katherine Indermaur; he began his reading by reciting a poem from memory (which he had never done before). Fagin’s book Furthest Ecology revolves around Abbott Thayer, a painter who also wrote about the use of countershading in nature as a form of camouflage. Fagin interweaves Thayer’s biography within his own poetry, using language pertaining to nature.

Gillian Cummings reads
Gillian Cummings reads
Adam Fagin reads
Adam Fagin reads

Caitlyn said: When Kristen Macintire introduced Gillian Cummings, she said Cummings’s work is “image after beautiful image.” Cummings then read from her book The Owl was a Bakers Daughter which follows her life and mental health for the past few decades. Some of the lines that stuck out to me in her work as she read were:

“When waves crash you know the sea is breathing”
“Is a heart more a heart when she is feeling”
“Perhaps this poem saved me”
“Of black for the blue it breaths”

Katherine Indermaur introduced Adam Fagin by describing his work as a “fascinating look at looking.” Fagin then read from his book Furthest Ecology which follows the life and work of Abbott Thayer who is considered the father of camouflage. Some of the lines in his work that stuck out to me are:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident but they are merely exposed”
“Attention residing in a nexus of occurrence”
“A painter is the world”
“Wide as apparition, dense as spruce”

Join us for our next reading: Hear some of our MFA students read next Thursday, April 4 at 7:30 pm.

MFA Reading Slide