Poetry at Literati: Kelly Hoffer with Carlina Duan

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 - 6:30pm

Literati is thrilled to welcome Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Poetry, Kelly Hoffer, in celebration of her new collection Undershore. She'll be joined in conversation by Carlina Duan. 

About the Book: Debut collection Undershore from award winning poet Kelly Hoffer explores grief, loss, and desire.

Undershore examines the speaker's ongoing grief following the loss of her mother to breast cancer against the backdrop of a sustained engagement with the natural world. The manuscript is structured around a series of "visitations"--imagined encounters with the speaker's mother after her death. The title "Undershore" is meant to describe the location of these visitations--littoral, submerged, oneiric--a space that is interior to the self while also at the edge of the self--intimate and peripheral--like the voice. Grief comes in waves, and so the title conveys the tidal nature of the mother's returning, her constant glimmering in and out of daily existence. To mimic this movement, the visitations occur at loosely regular intervals throughout the manuscript, the book turning with each of the mother's returns. In between each poem titled "Visitation" are nestled other poems, some tightly-wound lyrics, some diffuse, floaty things--all fascinated by the botanical world, by the shoreline, by desire, by intimacy and grief, and by the unexpected and inevitable way these concerns bleed into one another. The ephemerality of the flower as it moves through its cycle of bloom and decay (and finally, sometimes, fruit!) compounds and enriches the tidal movement of the poems. Gardens and oceans hide things; both have depths, shades, shallows. It is perhaps their shared habit of containing secrets that appeals in these poems, which also invite the reader into hidden spaces, into an undershore, without fully disclosing its secrets.

Kelly Hoffer is a poet and book artist. Her debut collection of poetry, UNDERSHORE (2023), was selected by Diana Khoi Nguyen as the winner of the Lightscatter Press Prize. Her manuscript "Fire Series" was a finalist for the 2021 National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, TAGVVERK, American Chordata, Denver Quarterly, Mississippi Review, Prelude, and Second Factory among others. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD in Literatures in English from Cornell University. She currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Poetry. Learn more at https://www.kellyrosehoffer.com/.

Carlina Duan is the author of I Wore My Blackest Hair and has previously lived and worked in California, Malaysia, and Tennessee. Her poems have appeared in The RumpusCrab Orchard Review, and Pleiades. She lives in Michigan.

Event address: 
124 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Undershore By Kelly Hoffer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781736483527
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lightscatter Press - May 1st, 2023

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Alien Miss (Wisconsin Poetry Series) By Carlina Duan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780299331344
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Wisconsin Press - March 9th, 2021