The Writer’s Center welcomes poets Lawrence Couch (The Gift Giver, a collaboration with photographer Kevin Byrne) and Melissa Bell for a reading and discussion of their work. Book signing to follow. Autographed prints from the book will be available for purchase.
Free and open to the public, limited space, registration required below.
Melissa Bell is a former poetry book reviewer for Brad Strahan’s Visions International. Most recently, she was involved in two social justice workshops for a national advocacy conference. Her first poem was a haiku written at eleven, and her work has appeared in Visions, and other local small presses, many of which no longer exist. Cryptych is an earlier collection.
Lawrence Couch has previously published Dada Dog, a chapbook of poems and photographs. He organized two poetry slams and a series of poetry workshops for children living in a low-income community. Based on the poems written by the children, he created a booklet entitled Community Poems. For two consecutive years, he organized and participated in poetry workshops for a national advocacy conference on social justice issues. His work has appeared in Poet Lore and other publications.
Kevin Byrne has journeyed through many places and careers before returning to his hometown of Chicago, having acted in film and on-stage, toured Ireland as the driver for a popular Ska band, explored Monument Valley on horseback, risked his life as a bike messenger in Manhattan and contemplated the larger mysteries of that same life as a Shepherd in Israel. Throughout it all, Kevin has maintained a love of photography.
About The Gift Giver
Through the media of poetry and photography, the authors explore relationships as they relate to the family, self and others, social concerns, and spirituality. The book is offered in the hope that by articulating our memories, both painful and joyful, we can all grow into a healthier sense of self. Art is not reserved for anthologies and art museums but is a way for everyone to learn self-expression and be in touch with their own creative spirit. The genesis of many of these poems is through free writing where thoughts and feelings can arise that may be buried deep in our memories. Bringing these memories forward can create the basis of poetry and other art forms. We all have an immense treasury of memories. If you doubt it, start writing sentences beginning with “I remember…”. You will discover your own wealth of past experiences. While we hope you enjoy this book, we also hope the book will be a stimulus for you to further explore your own creativity.
“Early poems in the book stun me by their quiet power and wisdom. Later poems strike me as stepping stones, sometimes sharp and injurious, leading to the epiphanies encountered in the early title poem ‘Gift Giver,’ in ‘Absence,’ ‘You Are the Emptiness,’ ‘Silence,’ and in ‘The Range of Stars.’ How often we are brought down to earth and to ourselves as the poet and the photographer remind us of hands, fingers, the sense of touch.” –Marlene Lee, author of The Absent Woman and other novels