MONICA BARRON and LINDA SEIDEL Reading Scheduled June 10

Join poet Monica Barron and memoirist Linda Seidel on Thursday, June 10, for a reading in the newly opened upstairs venue at Gallery 104 in Kirksville from 5-6:30 pm.

Monica's Prairie Architecture  came out near the beginning of the current pandemic; Linda Seidel's Belinda Chronicles came out during the height of the quarantining.  Both deserve large, packed, loudly applauding crowds--but we still are being cautious.  Come if you're vaccinated or masked; maintain the needed social distance.  And listen whole-heartedly to these two wonderful wordsmiths.

Here's a bit of the Prairie Architecture blurb: 

"Architecture doesn't just apply to buildings. It can apply to the way we shape our environment and the habitats of other creatures," says Monica Barron. "There's also an architecture to our emotional/intellectual makeups." Deeply aware of how humans read their surroundings, and how these readings become the bones of a culture, Barron takes us from pond to prairie, from beauty salon to abandoned gas station, from fireside loving to winter ice. Often meditative, often whimsical, the songs, sonnets, and postcard poems in Prairie Architecture cluster naturally around ideas or images, though Barron rejects the rigidity of sections with titles. "I've focused on sequencing poems that might help reveal the bones of the body of the book," she says.  Thus, we see how environment shapes perspective in "Why We Need Ponds," ("to break the monotony of crops," for example, and "to teach us patience/ when the water we prepared for doesn't come." We see environment shaping perspective again two poems later, in "Kansas makes her think about." In this small and precise poem "banks of wild, cream-colored iris/ mark where a house used to be," and we sense past and present blend in beauty.

And just a few poems later, in a set of seven linked sonnets titled "Meditation from West of the River," we watch the poet remembering how "a heart/could hold heat like sand after a sunset," and again, how "a steady heart can hold heat across/ two states. Mine did. Light and color/ sustained me." This seemingly simple means of sustenance gets immediately complicated as Barron names the colors: "the silver of frost on rotting soybeans" and the red of "a carcass left to the dogs as the sun bled/ the afternoon away." The linked poems here together convey a long and rich love in which closeness and distance play their parts, and in which "whatever it is that connects the heart and mind/ it's at the mercy of memory."


And here's a bit about The Belinda Chronicles: