Sweet Briar College will host a reading by nationally acclaimed poet Traci Brimhall at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26. in Pannell Gallery. The reading is free and open to the public.
Brimhall is the author of “Our Lady of the Ruins” — for which she received the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize — and “Rookery,” winner of the Crab Orchard Series First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Slate, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review and elsewhere. She has also received scholarships and fellowships to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Disquiet International Literary Program. A former Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Brimhall is currently a doctoral candidate and King/Chávez/Parks Fellow at Western Michigan University, where she teaches creative writing.
In her latest collection, Brimhall investigates “the role of women as leaders, healers, mothers, and within communities,” she said. Following a group of women through post-war exile, “Our Lady of the Ruins” depicts “the ways in which they are haunted by God, empire and personal trauma.”
Fellow poet Carolyn Forché describes Brimhall’s latest book as “[p]oetry for the new century: awake to the world, spiritually profound, and radiant with lyric intelligence,” while Publisher’s Weekly categorizes her style as “… part Dylan Thomas, part saint’s legend and part Tolkien.”
Her debut collection received similar praise. In the online journal Blackbird, poet Sandra Beasley writes that Brimhall’s poems “dart deep into the canyons of the soul and emerge on the other side, bruised, but indomitable.”
Sweet Briar is just one stop on a tour that will take Brimhall to numerous public venues and universities across the country. Its environment, however, may remind the poet of her own undergraduate experience at a small liberal arts college in Yonkers, N.Y.
“I had amazing teachers and got to be a part of a wonderful community at Sarah Lawrence College, but what I am most grateful for are the friends I made there,” she said. “They helped me grow as a writer while we were in school together, and they’ve continued to be an amazing support system since we graduated.”