Mark Mayer, Elisa Gabbert, and Carolina Ebeid Reading and Signing
Feb 23, 2019
Join us for a trio of wonderful authors: Mark Mayer, Carolina Ebeid, and Elisa Gabbert:
Mark Mayer’s stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Kenyon Review, Guernica, Colorado Review, and Mid-American Review. Mayer has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Michener-Copernicus Fellow. He spent two years at Cornell College’s Center for the Literary Arts as the Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer-in-Residence. He’s a PhD student at the University of Denver.
AERIALISTS, the Michener-Copernicus winning debut from Mark Mayer, is a fiercely inventive collection of nine stories in which classic circus figures become ordinary misfits seeking grandeur in a lonely world. The circus has always been an assortment of American exaggerations—the bold, the beautiful, the freakish, the huge. In this impressive collection, Mayer reinterprets these myths and locates them in everyday contemporary life, finding reincarnations or inversions of familiar tropes such as the strongman, the elephant keeper, and the clowns.
Under the luminous tent of Mayer’s prose, we meet an unforgettable caravan of deftly drawn characters: A heartsick teenager finds a new mentor in a tough-talking female bodybuilder. A navy recruit grapples with the impending loss of his childhood by building an exact replica of his neighborhood in code. A young boy tries to reunite his parents with the help of a flatulent dog. A wilderness expert seduces his love interest with the promise of showing her an elusive mountain lion. A peach farmer, alone in a former boomtown, conducts a burial for an elephant.
Throughout, Mayer renders his characters’ attempted acts of daring and feats of strength with humor, generosity, and uncommon grace. As Merritt Tierce, author of Love Me Back, observes, “Mark Mayer has built a circus of the normal, has somehow infiltrated the ordinary to reveal the freak inside ... Cynicism and doubt and loss [are] writ so small, then deftly magnified, blown up by tenderness.”
Carolina Ebeid's work appears widely in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, jubilat, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry, and others. She holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers, and has won awards and fellowships from the Stadler Center for Poetry, CantoMundo, The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Academy of American Poets. She was awarded an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry for 2015.
She is a PhD candidate in the University of Denver's creative writing program, where she serves as Associate Editor of the Denver Quarterly. Her first book, You Ask Me To Talk About The Interior, was published by Noemi Press in 2016 as part of their Akrilica series. Poets & Writers Magazine selected You Ask Me To Talk About The Interior as one of the ten best debut collections in 2016. She is currently at work on a book project entitled Hide.
Carolina grew up in West New York, NJ, and now lives in Denver. Her fellow travelers include the poet Jeffrey Pethybridge and their son Patrick; together they edit Visible Binary.
You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior emerges out of the ontological shock and double-bind of there being a world (rather than nothing at all), and inhabiting this world that “depends on violence.” Still, Carolina Ebeid writes, “I have wanted / to make you something // beautiful.” Drawing on influences such as Roland Barthes’s notion of the punctum (the photographic detail that pierces the viewer) to the repertoire of circles and twirls––the veronicas––bullfighters make with the red cape to attract the bull, Ebeid explores a poetics that is at once intricate and intimate. The poems in this book move by way of metaphors and poetic turns that reveal and wound; they cover territories ranging from personal confession and diagnosis to political catastrophes such as war and exile. Witnessing again to the lyric as art of ethical reckoning, each poem in You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior is an ardent fathoming of our most interior selves, each poem in Ebeid’s long-awaited first collection is a momentary “allegory for the soul.”
Elisa Gabbert is a poet and essayist and the author of four collections: The Word Pretty (Black Ocean, 2018), L’Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems (Black Ocean, 2016), The Self Unstable (Black Ocean, 2013), and The French Exit (Birds LLC, 2010). Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the Guardian Long Read, A Public Space, Boston Review, the Paris Review, Guernica, and many other venues.
In The Word Pretty Elisa Gabbert brings together her unique humor and observational intelligence to create a roving and curious series of lyrical essays, which combine elements of criticism, meditation, and personal essay. Here you will find works on crying, dreams, and notebooking alongside critical engagements with aphorism, the art of the paragraph, the difference between poetry and prose, the appeal of translator’s notes, and the male gaze. In the New York Times, John Williams said of The Word Pretty, “A mixture of depth and diversion, it makes you wish that, like a reliable band, Gabbert might publish a similar slender volume every year or two.”