Join us for an evening with two acclaimed poets, Matt Donovan (The Dug Up Gun Museum) and Nathan McClain (Previously Owned)!
Traveling the nation, Matt Donovan examines the paradox of a country plagued by gun violence yet consumed with protecting the right to bear arms. The Dug-Up Gun Museum confronts our country's obsession with guns to explore America's deep-seated political divisions and issues linked to violence, race, power, and privilege. Taking its title from an actual museum located in Wyoming, this collection of poems interrogates our country's history of gun violence, asking questions about our fetishization of weapons, how mass shootings and the killing of unarmed civilians by police have become normalized, and the multitudinous ways in which firearms are ingrained in our country's culture. Much like the poet himself, Donovan's poems are dynamic and constantly in motion as he explores the ways in which capitalism and its relentless stream of content have led to a collective desensitization in the face of violence. In turns harrowing, elegiac, and ironic, set in locations ranging from Cody to Chicago, from Las Vegas to Sandy Hook, The Dug-Up Gun Museum probes America's failures, bizarre infatuations, and innumerable tragedies linked to guns.
Matt Donovan is the author of two previous collections of poetry - Rapture & the Big Bam (Tupelo Press 2017) and Vellum (Mariner 2007) as well as a book of lyric essays, A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape: Meditations on Ruin and Redemption (Trinity University Press 2016). Donovan's work has been published in numerous literary journals, including AGNI, American Poetry Review, The Believer, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Seneca Review, Threepenny Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Donovan is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a Rome Prize in Literature, a Pushcart Prize, the Levis Reading Prize, and an NEA Fellowship in Literature. In 2017, he received a Creative Capital Grant for Inheritance, a collaborative multimedia chamber opera based on the life of Sarah Winchester. Donovan serves as Director of the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College.
In his daring sophomore collection, Nathan McClain interrogates his speaker's American heritage, history, and responsibility. Investigating myth, popular culture, governance, and more, Previously Owned connects a villanelle cataloging Sisyphus's circular workflow to a Die Hard persona poem critiquing police brutality and joins complex pastorals to the stunning sequence entitled "They said I was an alternate," which recounts the author's experience serving on jury duty. Though McClain's muscular lyric explores a wide range of topics, the intensity of his attention and the profundity of his care remain constant-the final page describes a young girl in a diner, ringing the bell at the host stand, "just to hear it sing, the same / song, the only song // it knows." Insofar as this collection scrutinizes one's own culpability and responsibility in this country, interested in the natural world and beauty, as well as what beauty distracts us from, it does so in the hopes of reimagining inheritance, of leaving our children a different song.
Nathan McClain was born and raised in the lower desert of Southern California. He is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), a recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place, Sewanee Writers' Conference, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and a graduate of the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson. A Cave Canem fellow, his poems and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Green Mountains Review, Guesthouse, The Common, and The Critical Flame, among others. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and African American Literary Arts at Hampshire College and serves as poetry editor of the Massachusetts Review.
Traveling the nation, Matt Donovan examines the paradox of a country plagued by gun violence yet consumed with protecting the right to bear arms.Matt Donovan's The Dug-Up Gun Museum confronts our country's obsession with guns to explore America's deep-seated political divisions and issues linked to violence, race, power, and privilege.
In his daring sophomore collection, Nathan McClain interrogates his speaker's American heritage, history, and responsibility.