Kimi Grant, K.A. Hays, & Tyler Mills
Poetry & Prose Reading
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
6:30 p.m. Bucknell Hall
Kimi Cunningham Grant studied at Bucknell University, Messiah College, and Oxford University. She is the author of a memoir, Silver Like Dust, and her work has also appeared in RATTLE, Tar River Poetry, Apalachee Review, Whitefish Review, Poet Lore, and Eighteenth-Century Women. She is a 2010 and 2009 winner of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Poetry, a 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship finalist, and a recipient of a 2009 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in creative nonfiction. She currently lives with her husband and son in the woods in Central Pennsylvania.
K. A. Hays is the author of two books of poetry, Dear Apocalypse (Carnegie Mellon 2009) and Early Creatures, Native Gods (Carnegie Mellon 2012). Her poetry has appeared in venues such as Best American Poetry (2009 and 2011), The American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Missouri Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Gray's Sporting Journal, Northern Woodlands, and Poetry Daily, and was recently adapted to film as part of the MotionPoems project. After earning an M.F.A. in fiction at Brown University, Hays served as a Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University and as 2011 Poet-in-Residence at the Frost Place. She currently teaches in the Bucknell English department.
Tyler Mills was born in Chicago and is the author of Tongue Lyre, which won the 2011 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award (Southern Illinois University Press). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Antioch Review, Best New Poets 2007, Georgia Review, Nashville Review, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly Online, and elsewhere; her poems have also been the recipient of awards from the Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, and Third Coast. She has received a work-study scholarship from Bread Loaf and a John Woods Scholarship from the Prague Summer Program. A graduate of Bucknell (BA) and the University of Maryland (MFA, Poetry), Tyler Mills is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Cleaning Out the Lyre
Pour fifteen grains of rice into your hand
and guide the ice-white, jumping chips to the face
of your lyre, then to the cheekbone band,
a silhouette. Then in the f-hole lace-
yes, inside, the lining of willow-wood-clean,
clean rice. The dust's loose. The voice of rain
moves the trees that bow to the silver-green
lake where a horse and cart's loaded with chains
to secure the carp along the river road
and past the shop where Jean Baptiste's artists
plane the willow and sand the maple good
for ribs. Some unbraid white horsehair with mist
they spit, and a bone comb. Then they stretch,
unwrapping bread and cheese over a sketch.
To Mindless Forces
all the stones
along the shore
of Campobello Island,
with sand until
the cutting edge
is frost, I'm telling
all wars and ages
are a day's grind-
to go on grinding.
Smooth and fling
me now with what
you flung before.
This way the prayer
if not heard.
The sea heaves
dumbly on but I
can speak. Sea,
take this shore.
I call your taking
from Silver Like Dust
We were at her house in Florida, standing in the hallway just inside the front door, when my mother first told me that my grandparents had spent three years in a concentration camp. I was eight or nine years old. It was summertime, oppressively hot and humid, and we were there for our annual visit. In the living room, my grandfather was chasing my brother around the couch, and in the kitchen, my grandmother was washing dishes. With furtive glances toward her parents, my mother hissed this information, softly, like a confession. Or maybe it was more like an apology. I didn't ask any questions upon hearing this news, I think because I was afraid. Afraid of the way my mother's dark eyes looked at me solemnly, as though she were entrusting me with some grave secret. Or perhaps I was afraid of the answer, of the weight that the why behind this revelation might bring to my small shoulders. Whatever my reasons, all I knew at the time was that my Obaachan and Ojichan had been imprisoned for being Japanese, and I concluded from this conversation that there was something inherently bad about being Japanese, that there was something to be sorry about.