Deborah Bernhardt & Joan Houlihan

Thursday, March 4, 2010, at 7:00 pm, poets Deborah Bernhardt and Joan Houlihan will read work from their books as well as new poems. ($2-5 sliding scale.)

*Please note our new starting time.

Deborah Bernhardt received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA from the University of Arizona, and fellowships and grants from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing (Jay C. and Ruth Halls Fellowship), the Wisconsin Arts Board (Literary Arts Grant), Penn State Altoona (Writer-in-Residence), Writers@Work, Fishtrap, Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Hessen Literary Society, Germany. She received two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, and used the Second Year Poetry Fellowship (2008-2009) to work on her new manuscript. Her first collection, Echolalia, was published by Four Way Books in 2006 as winner of the Intro Prize for Poetry.

Joan Houlihan is author of three books, most recently The Us, from Tupelo Press (2009). The Mending Worm, winner of the New Issues Press Green Rose Award, was published in 2006. In 2003 Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays was published by Del Sol Press. She is staff reviewer for the Contemporary Poetry Review as well as author of a series of essays on contemporary poetry called Boston Comment, archived online at Her work has appeared in many journals and magazines, including Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry, Harvard Review, Gettysburg Review, Poetry International, Fulcrum, Pleiades, Passages North, VOLT, and has been anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press) and in The Book of Irish-American Poetry–Eighteenth Century to Present (University of Notre Dame Press).

Houlihan founded the Concord Poetry Center in 2004 and the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference in 2006. She teaches in Lesley University’s MFA Low-residency Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

LOOKING FOR DELIGHTS by Deborah Bernhardt

It’s hard to remember why

he wrote a poem
for Robert Bly—

Bly, who thinks
nothing is more boring than language poetry.

Poetry spits
at B.F. Skinner.

If some create categorgalia
then I’ll never see Pavoratti sing with the Spice Girls

which Pavoratti did (shaking those vibratos out of his big head
while the Spices shook the plunges of their pantsuits).

Upon a time Art lost Author, The Viewer took over
and you’re on our list.

Still, still the world of narrative and small gestures.
Too many abst-

Too many abst-, abst-,
(we’re on planet Mars) (hi)—because: heard an interviewer say

fragmentations are the only way some women can find their voices.
……………Look, lost my that……………………My female drop-stitching

Some frou-frou. As if
rejection of free white verse is women’s work.

I had a teacher, when he liked to write some poems,
he just liked to write some goddamn poems—

(With permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.)


US NEST FINE by Joan Houlihan

Us nest fine a weather long
between the heat of kin
the least of us in huts built round with stones.
A sky-hole takes the cook-smoke through.

Ice-taught, bit by sun’s low arc,
rock-tall, quiet as a smoke
ours father goes before us
knows what moves and is a fur.

It takes the scare of born
and dawn shook down,
a work of teeth and softening
that marks the least of us, and beast, as one,
makes the broth go sweet
and fat, and under pelt
warms all the count of us
and more who will be born.

(With permission of Tupelo Press. All rights reserved.)