I’m so grateful to Nicole Yurcaba for the kind words about Department of Elegyover at Sage Cigarettes. Here’s a snippet:
“Savoring sadness but never giving in to it completely, the poems in Mary Biddinger’s seventh poetry collection Department of Elegy transport readers into the cracks and crevices of youth’s hot insanity and adulthood’s mundanity. Eager for experience and hungry for life, the poem’s speaker consistently examines the fine line between adolescence and adulthood and how those few years we spend standing on the cusp of adulting truly do shape us for the rest of our lives. That’s not to say the speaker doesn’t allow wiggle room for change—they do, but, if anything, the poems remind readers that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with quietly standing for a moment, breathing, and reminding oneself why those late nights in clubs with fake IDs are worth remembering.”
Thank you so much, Nicole!
Big thanks to Jeannine Hall Gailey, as well, for the kind words in her latest blog post. Jeannine describes Department of Elegy as, “a wonderfully nostalgic/anti-nostalgic, goth, reminiscence on a Gen-X childhood and young adulthood punctuated by midwestern vacant lot landscapes and marvelously bad decisions. I am loving it – it might be my favorite book of hers yet, so if you are on the fence, get it.”
If you would like a review copy of Department of Elegy, Black Lawrence Press would be happy to provide one–check out this page.
Here’s the official book trailer for Department of Elegy, thanks to Upside Down Dog Productions.
Here’s the official Spotify soundtrack for Department of Elegy, too. At first I was going to try to make this all covers, but I would have to leave too many important cuts out, so it’s a mix. If possible, listen in order. Enjoy!
I’m excited to be offering a workshop for Black Lawrence Press on Tuesday, 11/9/21. This event is free, but registration is required. Full information here! I’ll be sharing some approaches for reconnecting with poetry, and with your own work.
In this workshop we will ponder our relationship with poems in general, and with our own poems in particular, discussing strategies for approaching difficult subjects, as well as new ways to direct inspiration. We will also talk about a gentle approach to writerly goal-setting, especially as it relates to growing a series of poems into a collection. Q&A will be an important part of the conversation.
If you’re trying to figure out where to take a current project, wondering about ways to grow something new, curious about trends in publishing (including common problems), or just seeking writerly encouragement and community, this workshop is for you.
Workshop description: Ideal for earlier-career poets beginning to generate a body of work, published authors seeking fresh approaches to creating a new manuscript, and writers anywhere in between, this workshop will offer a combination of practical advice and contemplative pondering of a book’s possibilities. The workshop atmosphere will be positive and affirming, and significant time will be dedicated to answering questions from participants.
The end of the academic year is such a whirlwind, but I’ll be setting down the spreadsheets and reading poems as part of the Wild and Precious Life series on Tuesday, 12/22 at 7:30 pm EST. Full details are here. I’m so excited to share the stage with Luke, Travis, and Mel!
Friends, this update is long overdue. I’m coming to you on the cusp of week eight of the semester, a semester where I am teaching both online and in person + online at the same time. It’s, as they say, a doozy. Little time for writing and sending work out. Dreaming about eventually getting caught up or being able to read a book for fun. Here are a few updates since my last post.
I don’t quite know where to begin with offering my sincere thanks to everyone who helped make my second trip to Florida such a joy. I traveled from Miami to Saint Augustine (with Orlando and Ocala in between) and met so many lovely people. Here’s just a small glimpse at my travels, which were so memorable. Much gratitude to the Florida Literary Arts Coalition, to the Miami Book Fair and Miami Dade College, to Valencia College and the College of Central Florida, and to Flagler College, the last stop on my journey. I am especially thankful to all of the students who listened to my poems and asked me about them. What an absolute joy.