A reading that celebrates the lyric essay! Four contributors to the new anthology A Harp in the Stars will read flash, segmented, and braided essays. Afterwards we’ll take questions from the audience to fuel a wide-ranging discussion of what a lyric essay is and what it can do.
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About the Readers
Randon Billings Noble is an essayist. Her collection Be with Me Always was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2019 and her anthology of lyric essays, A Harp in the Stars, was published by Nebraska in 2021. Currently she is the founding editor of the online literary magazine After the Art and teaches in West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA Program and Goucher’s MFA in Nonfiction Program. You can read more at randonbillingsnoble.com.
Sandra Beasley is the author of Made to Explode; Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize; and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir. She also edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Christen Noel Kauffman is author of the lyric essay chapbook Notes to a Mother God, which was a winner of the Paper Nautilus Debut Chapbook Series. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in A Harp in the Stars: An Anthology of Lyric Essays (University of Nebraska Press), Nimrod International Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Willow Springs, DIAGRAM, Booth, Smokelong Quarterly, Hobart, and The Normal School, among others.
LaTanya McQueen is the author of the novel When the Reckoning Comes (Harper Perennial) and And It Begins Like This (Black Lawrence Press). She has an MFA from Emerson College, a PhD from the University of Missouri, and is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Coe College.
About the Book
What is a lyric essay? An essay that has a lyric style? An essay that plays with form in a way that resembles poetry more than prose? Both of these? Or something else entirely? The works in this anthology show lyric essays rely more on intuition than exposition, use image more than narration, and question more than answer. But despite all this looseness, the lyric essay still has responsibilities—to try to reveal something, to play with ideas, or to show a shift in thinking, however subtle. The whole of a lyric essay adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
In A Harp in the Stars, Randon Billings Noble has collected lyric essays written in four different forms—flash, segmented, braided, and hermit crab—from a range of diverse writers. The collection also includes a section of craft essays—lyric essays about lyric essays. And because lyric essays can be so difficult to pin down, each contributor has supplemented their work with a short meditation on this boundary-breaking form.