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Literati is pleased to welcome Christopher Bakken, David Blair, and Cody Walker to kick off our celebration of National Poetry Month.
Christopher Bakken is department chair and Frederick F. Seeley Professor of English at Allegheny College. He is the author of the poetry collections After Greece and Goat Funeral. He is also co-translator of The Lions’ Gate: Selected Poems of Titos Patrikios, and the author of Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table. Of Eternity & Oranges, Adam Zagajewski says: “This is a beautiful collection of poems: half-cryptic, half-open; half based on ancient myths, half on actual life. There’s almost always Greece as the backdrop, olives and the sea but also a human drama. Christopher Bakken proves that what’s ancient is also modern and vice versa. We live between times; only poetry can make it palpable.”
David Blair is the author of two previous poetry collections. He teaches at the New England Institute of Art. Another book, Arsonville, is forthcoming. Of his most recent work, Friends with Dogs, Tom Sleigh says: “What gives weight and density to David Blair’s remarkable poems is their almost Hardyish sense of regret and loss. So many of his poems are little dramas of what wasn’t said when it should have been said, or of the way celebratory instincts get undermined by the pressures of day-to-day life. I admire the quick shifts in voicing, the way a whole social world becomes revealed in some small characteristic gesture, and how alert Blair is to other people. Very few poets ever achieve this kind of fellow feeling and write about it with such tact and intelligent sympathy.”
Cody Walker is the author of Shuffle and Breakdown and the co-editor of Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest. His poems have appeared in The Yale Review, Parnassus, Slate, Poetry Northwest, The Hecht Prize Anthology, and the 2007 and 2015 editions of The Best American Poetry; his essays have appeared online in The New Yorker and The Kenyon Review. He lives with his family in Ann Arbor, where he teaches English at the University of Michigan. Of his latest, Mary Jo Salter says: “In Cody Walker’s The Self-Styled No-Child, the poet-father sings to his new baby (read ‘Cradle Song’ or ‘Small Suite’ for perfect little servings of delight), but his childlike playfulness has an internal source, too. The light verses in Walker’s new collection often have dark edges to them (see ‘The Garden’ or ‘We Hated Our Lives’), and his social and political satires are unflinching. Still, this word-wizard with a genius for rhyme reminds us of how irrepressibly joy remains.”