Join us on Monday, May 15 at 7pm PT when Austen Leah Rose celebrates her collection, Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm, with Amanda Gunn, Muriel Leung, & Catherine Pond at 9th Ave!
Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online at the link below
Praise for Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm
“With startling ease and quiet artistry, these poems hone in on the heat signatures of cruelty and belonging, memory and creation, belief and unknowing. Immersed both in Jewish mysticism and in the natural world, Rose experiences God’s voice as ‘singing bruises’ and identifies feelings that ‘bypass the brain.’ About a third of the way in, she confides: ‘I don’t know how to write; I only know how to strip back bark to see if I’m still green on the inside.’ Oh, how she does, and is!”—Ellen Doré Watson, author of pray me stay eager
“A work of deeply sensitive intelligence and lucidity, Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm is an original and beautifully observed book. In this poet’s hands, the precision of life astonishes: Fallen snow is 'lit as if plugged in.' Later, 'fireflies nestled like hot pearls in the grass.' One moment, your attention is caught by the poems’ faithfully calibrated particulars; the next, you find yourself immersed in the strangeness of our most intimate connections and losses. These are searching, clear, wise, and wonderful poems.”—Jenny George, author of The Dream of Reason
“Austen Leah Rose’s Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm is an extraordinary debut by a complex and radiant sensibility. Filled with both disquiet and a dream-like beauty, these poems reflect the urgent reckonings of a poet recasting her place within the mythic constellation of the family. These exquisite poems resonate with the anxieties of intimacy while echoing always the speaker’s search for a larger cultural history. The vagaries of childhood give way to the powerful transcendence of adult love in an arc of meditations that display the elegance and painterly clarity of Mark Strand’s poetry yet embody Austen Leah Rose’s own subtle intricacy and profoundly individual vision. This is a collection to treasure, celebrate and hold close.”—David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour: New and Selected Poems
About Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm
Does history live inside of us? Are we capable of transcending the past or are we destined to repeat it? With understated humor and grace, Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm wrestles with questions of inheritance, spiritual unrest, the integrity of the self, and humanity’s relationship to the natural world. Excavating both personal and historical trauma and the rippling effects of the Holocaust, Austen Leah Rose writes of “the silence that follows after silence.” The poems in this debut collection map a surreal journey from alienation to belonging, as our speaker floats across the night sky over Los Angeles, communes with Shakespeare in a hotel room, attends a dinner party in outer space, and drifts down a river for fourteen years with her sister.
About Austen Leah Rose
Austen Leah Rose is a Los Angeles–based poet. The recipient of the 2018 Walter Sullivan Award from the Sewanee Review, Rose holds an MFA from Columbia University and is completing a PhD in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California, where she was the recipient of the 2020 MaddocksBrown Award for Contemporary Poetry. Her work has appeared in AGNI, the Iowa Review, Narrative, Zyzzyva, and the Southern Review, among other outlets.
About the Readers
Amanda Gunn grew up just at the edge of the woods in southern Connecticut with two older brothers. She is a Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford, as well as a doctoral candidate in English at Harvard where she works on poetry and Black pleasure. Her poems appear in Poetry, Colorado Review, Poetry Northwest, and The Baffler, and her debut collection, Things I Didn’t Do With This Body, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in spring 2023.
Muriel Leung is the author of Imagine Us, The Swarm, forthcoming from Nightboat Books and Bone Confetti, winner of the 2015 Noemi Press Book Award. A Pushcart Prize nominated writer, her writing can be found in The Baffler, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, The Collagist, Fairy Tale Review, and others. She is a recipient of fellowships to Kundiman, VONA/Voices Workshop and the Community of Writers. She is the Poetry Co-Editor of Apogee Journal. She also co-hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour podcast with Rachelle Cruz and MT Vallarta. She is a member of Miresa Collective, a feminist speakers bureau. A Dornsife fellow in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California, she is from Queens, NY.
Catherine Pond is the author of Fieldglass (Southern Illinois University Press 2021), winner of the Crab Orchard First Book Prize and a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Best American Nonrequired Reading, AGNI, Salmagundi, The Adroit Journal, Narrative, and other publications. Pond is a PhD candidate (ABD) in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, where she teaches writing. She holds an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts and a BA from Skidmore College, where she worked many summers as an Assistant Director for the New York State Summer Writers Institute. With Julia Anna Morrison, she is the co-founder and co-editor of Two Peach which has been operating since 2015.
Does history live inside of us? Are we capable of transcending the past or are we destined to repeat it? With understated humor and grace, Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm wrestles with questions of inheritance, spiritual unrest, the integrity of the self, and humanity’s relationship to the natural world.
Told in six parts, Things I Didn't Do with This Body sings in myriad voices and forms--ragged columns rich with syncopated internal rhyme, crisp formal sonnets, and the angular shapes of a stream-of-pill-induced-consciousness.
2022 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARDS FINALIST
Winner of the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize, Imagine Us, The Swarm offers seven powerful texts that form a constellation of voices, forms, and approaches to confront loneliness, silence, and death.
Sexual identity, female friendship, and queer experiences of love
Fraught with obsession, addiction, and unrequited love, Catherine Pond’s Fieldglass immerses us in the speaker’s transition from childhood to adulthood.