BETH COPELAND, Blue Honey
Winner of the 2017 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, this collection documents her parents’ gradual descent into dementia.
TINA BARR, Green Target
These poems are centered in Black Mountain, and incorporate the stories of people who live in Western North Carolina, but also open outward across cultures, in grappling with the question of good and evil.
IRIS TILLMAN HILL, All This Happened Long Ago - It Happens Now
Tillman, founding director of Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, explores her history as an American Jewish child during World War II and that of her relatives in Europe. "If the horrors of that time can be made palatable, it is through Tillman’s elegant poetry". - Mamie
Moderator: Jo Taylor
The poems in Blue Honey document Beth Copeland's father’s Alzheimer’s disease; her mother’s short-term memory loss; and their slow departure from this world. Not all of the poems are sad; some highlight the humor in forgetfulness. Beth hopes the poems will provide comfort to others experiencing the loss of loved ones.
Beth Copeland is the 2017-2018 Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet for he central region of North Carolina. Her third full-length book Blue Honey received the 2017 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. Transcendental Telemarketer was runner-up in the NC Poetry Society's 2013 Oscar Arnold Young Award for best poetry book by a North Carolina writer. Traveling through Glass received the 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award. Her poetry has been published in many literary magazines and anthologies, and her work has been profiled by PBS NewsHour. She lives in a log cabin in rural Scotland County.
"The Blue Honey that flows through Copeland's collection by that name, through her parents' 'flurry of furious wings'—that flows through Japan, her siblings, an Alaskan airport, and The South, where a childhood was held by the ankles 'upside down and slapped'—that flows through a marriage, torn and mended, flows through it all with a fearless and loving spirit, with personality, humor, anger, and craft. Reader, I dare you to walk away from this elegy unmoved."
—Roger Weingarten, author of Ethan Benjamin Boldt (Knopf), Ghost-Wrestling (Godine), and The Four Gentlemen and Their Footmen (Longleaf, 2015)
"Beth Copeland's is a lyrical case study of loss and the ways Blue Honeyin which it reverberates through a family's center ... Copeland is a master storyteller; she weaves each of these narratives seamlessly through the text, and her ear for language—not to mention her eye for the most delicate of details—is a veritable honey trap for the reader."
—Destiny Birdsong, MFA, Ph.D, recipient, Academy of American Poets Prize
"The structure of Blue Honey ... reenacts the circular journey that so many of us must make, from being cared for by our parents to ushering them through the mysterious borderland known as old age. Beth Copeland (writes) with breathtaking honesty ... metaphorically fresh and formally inventive ... Bravo to Copeland for not shying away from poetry's most arduous and important task, which is to write about life in a way that makes us feel less alone."
—Sue Ellen Thompson, editor The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and recipient of the 2010 Maryland Author Award
Poetry. "It was a challenge and pleasure to read these lyric and narrative poems made by a poet who uses her sophistication to consider the lives of those for whom so much has been denied and whose rage now makes targets of us all."--Judge, Patricia Spears Jones.
Iris Tillman grew up in Brooklyn, New York and published poems, many years ago, in The Grecourt Review when she was an undergraduate at Smith College. After working as editor-in-chief at university presses in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, she became the founding director of Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies. In recent years she returned to writing poetry. Her poems have appeared in Tar River Poetry; The Comstock Review; Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal; and Love (Jacar Press); Generations: A Journal of Ideas and Images; drafthorse: a lit journal of work and no work (online); the 2012 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival’s Chapbook; and others.