Please join us for this joint poetry reading with Bay Area poet Susan Kolodny and Illinois-based poet and teacher Paul Lubenkov!
A woman goes on a journey. She moves through time and space. Her attention is acute, always asking of the journey itself, “What border are we crossing?” So it is that Susan Kolodny’s Preserve takes the reader not only to the natural habitats of Africa, but on an interior voyage where the mind “slowed, discovers/its intricate course.” In these poems, awareness has an animating grace: whether observing a birthday, a python, or an elephant who “carries/ a branch bouquet of green,” Kolodny compels the reader to surrender to “the curiosity that is a form of love.” -Elizabeth Robinson
Susan Kolodny’s moving new collection begins with her arrival in Botswana and tells the story of a journey that transforms her understanding of herself and her own culture. She confronts “others” that range from vividly described impalas, warthogs, and elephants, “ears swung wide as saloon doors,” to the German travelers she sees in a new light after sharing dinner with them. She observes everything with poignant clarity and honesty, coming to see her own species as creatures who “can go around/for years not noticing/a thing. Not even/ that they are lonely and afraid.” Kolodny is unsentimental about the challenges that game preserves face trying to save “the wildebeest on the landing strip” from the greed of the modern world, and the book itself becomes a Preserve she creates to save a world whose survival is at risk. -Robert Thomas
Susan Kolodny’s poems appear in New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bellingham Review, and in other journals and several anthologies. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and American Life in Poetry. She has an MFA in poetry from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, a Doctorate in Mental Health from UC Berkeley-UCSF, and she is a graduate of the the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute. Kolodny has lectured and taught widely on creativity and what gets in its way. She is a Member and Faculty at the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis where she developed and chairs an event series called “Poetry and Psychoanalysis.”
As the title of this collection suggests, the poems in Tap Dancing on the Razor's Edge reflect a dynamic tension between exuberant joy and exquisite pain, with a liberal dose of sardonic humor. In the headlong pursuit of love and redemption, the poems in this collection peel back the subliminal layers of comfort surrounding the soul and wander between the darkness and the light with a sense of alacrity often bemused, sometimes ironic, frequently comedic, and too often alarmed at what they find. They are honest and rhythmic and sonorous to the ear. In some ways, they are a throwback to older and kinder sensitivities. More often, they open doors that demand to be opened, and sometimes kicked in. They are a source of revelation, adventure, and ultimately self-discovery. Here is a poet unafraid to grapple with the dark matter in our lives and confront the bright light that often enlivens our journey. Who imbues striking narratives with alternating bursts of vivid imagery, singular rhythms, engaging pathos, and a relentless dose of humor. Here is a poet who loves to sing, and we are fortunate to hear his voice. Enjoy the ride.
"By turns witty, vulgar, angry, and tender -- Paul Lubenkov's poems may be just the accompaniment for our disjointed times."-R. M. Ryan, author of The Lost Roads Adventure Club
Paul Lubenkov has had experience in a wide range of occupations: grinder in an iron foundry, university instructor, benefits analyst, technology sales executive, national account manager, corporate leasing director, and business banking vice president. He currently teaches at Morton College, travels for readings, and strongly believes that having multiple careers allows you to live multiple lives.
As the title of this collection suggests, the poems reflect a dynamic tension between exuberant joy and exquisite pain, with a liberal dose of sardonic humor.