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Author’s Corner

We treat the recent works of local authors from independent publishers like national bestsellers by spotlighting them across all our programming and through community collaborations.

Our Spotlighted

May Author

Amanda Shaw

Author of It Will Have Been So Beautiful

Amanda's Bio

Amanda set out into the world with a vague idea of what was ahead. At each juncture, the desire to write returned. After two decades of teaching, she got her Master’s degree in Poetry from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson. Amanda is the book review editor for Lily Poetry Review, a member of the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, and a frequent contributor to Warren Wilson’s DC alumni community. Her debut poetry collection, It Will Have Been So Beautiful, will be published in March by Lily Poetry Review Books.

Synopsis

With urgency and compassion, humor and wonder, Amanda Shaw’s debut poetry collection, “It Will Have Been So Beautiful” examines the many dimensions of what it means to call anything “home,” including the earth as we know it. In a manner reminiscent of Eugène Atget, who wrote “will disappear” on his photographs of turn-of-the-century Paris, Shaw captures the unique melancholy of living in a time of unknowable change. At times playful and ironic, the poems celebrate language’s sonic capacities, probing art’s potential to move us from mourning to joy.

Excerpt

Far from New Hampshire 

 

As children we must have often walked 

along the low stone walls

on the way to Mrs. Foote’s orchard, and yes, 

 

I see my brother

seared by light in a field of weeds 

contemplating a perfect buttercup 

 

and in my hand a milkweed pod,

seed-floss tinged with green and clinging— 

 

my brother who though a gentle boy 

terrorized the kitten we got as consolation 

after the divorce 

 

picking her up again and again 

until she hid for days

and I was furious. 

 

He kept saying he was trying not to 

but couldn’t help it

and I knew it, 

 

he had a little too much love in him

and the count of who he had to give it to 

was down; but see 

 

I’d suffered the same 

diminution

and just because he was smaller 

 

I had to learn to let the kitten go 

so he could learn to move on.

 

 

Blurbs

“It Will Have Been So Beautiful, Amanda Shaw’s wonderful debut, is as interested in language itself as what language can make. Energetic, deploying a rich vernacular and music, her collection sings, even, or perhaps especially, in the midst of the most challenge or difficulty. “This shouldn’t be beautiful,” she writes, but to the contrary, it is.” 

– Nathan McClain, author of Previously Owned

 

“It takes a special talent to write “big” poems—sprawling, associative, dotted with historic and cultural reference—that are simultaneously intimate, vulnerable, and funny. Amanda Shaw walks that tightrope, understanding “The world created / to comprehend itself / is weedy.” Yet It Will Have Been So Beautiful is also an embodiment of our shared desire to know and be known, and filled with stubborn joys.”

–  Sandra Beasley, author of Made to Explode: Poems

 

 

Our Spotlighted

April Author

Rumi Ryan

Author of thoughts + pieces

Rumi's Bio

Rumi thinks. ryan speaks. so you’re engaging with two personalities. i surrender to both of them to express + heal. i’m not new to writing, just new to expressing thoughts out loud + in view. rumi is short for ruminating, “to think deeply about something”.

I write with words + symbols. it matters to me how words look + feel. sound is important too. as a kid, reading always made me drift off so i write to engage your mind; open, stimulate the imagination + sit in that space with you.

Synopsis

This book is a collection of ideas, art, emotions, and truth. I wrote it for myself, and I wrote it for you. It is meant to be seen, heard, felt, and even understood through connection, fostering healing together in shared introspection. Broken down into chunks and pieces, filled with words and symbols, it invites conversation, revelation, and exploration of dreams and alternate realities. Rumi thinks, Ryan speaks, so you’re engaging with two personalities as you read. Remember to breathe, as I hope you see things in thoughts and pieces.

Excerpt

Where is the machine? Where’s the machine that constructs dreams amidst systems failing, amidst the songs of ailing people witnessing injustice? It’s elusive, three miles away from Whole Foods, hidden in the act of using coupons, in the discounted living tearing at the seams of society. Where’s the machine that builds dreams over the bodies left in the streets, amidst yellow lines marking homicide scenes, where cases are dropped like shells from police-issued pistols, under the protocol for skin, overlooked by a conveniently blinded government and policy makers sheltered from the reality of sanctioned murder? Where’s the machine that builds dreams through identities lost on ships, beaten down to microscopic pieces with whips, entangled in chains that keep us scrolling and comfortable, posting and posing for cameras, hosting parties instead of tending to gardens, feasting on screens while producing broken humans? Where’s the machine that builds dreams amid doubt, alongside the struggle of “figuring it out,” within minds conscious, aware, and streaming, grappling with truth and scheming an algorithm to erase and replace outdated mechanisms with something greater, a machine that cultivates dreams out of everything, composting prejudice and distraction with self-love and interactions, with new people, new places, new scenes, by all means necessary? It’s imperative to code swiftly, temper glass, and close ads, to watch reels real fast, digitally feeding on real trash, with side effects loading, coasting, covering ears, strengthening gears with limited exposure, learning to think in dreams, confronting the seemingly impossible with faith, questions, and the courage to fuel investigation, becoming a sophisticated machine of imagination, the brilliance beneath unseen pain, an innovation of hope, becoming the machine that builds dreams. 

Blurbs

I instantly formed a connection with this book. After reading it through, I developed this habit of picking it up everyday only to be led to the perfect piece to read. It’s cathartic. It never misses in giving me exactly what I need. I read a lot, so I am not easily impressed, but Rumi’s thoughts + pieces is one of the finest reads I’ve experienced in a long time. – Dr. Kenny Jones, Published Author

Rumi’s mind is so creative. It’s seen all throughout the book, and for me I needed that level of engagement. I couldn’t put it down. I love the cover, the layout, and the codes included that take you on visual journeys. I’ve never experienced a book like this. – Louis Roberts, Published Author

This book has opened my eyes to so much in my life. Rumi shares in such a way that you feel a connection with her words. Every piece resonates. I see so much of myself in how she expresses. It’s bold, insightful. It’s different. Her approach to writing is unique. Feels like she leaves space for you to think and feel with her. – Kathryn Scurry, Mental Health

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