Place: Columbia Museum of Art
South Carolina poets Ray McManus and Ed Madden will both launch their second collections of poetry with a reception, reading and signing at the Columbia Museum of Art on Thursday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m.
McManus won the 2010 Marick Press Poetry Prize for Red Dirt Jesus, a book of “dirt, dust, spit, and bone” . . . and “sharp-edged humor.” He won the 2006 SC Poetry Book Prize for his first collection, Driving Through the Country Before You Are Born. McManus is an assistant professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter campus.
Red Dirt Jesus is a triptych of harsh landscapes where a man reflects on what he has gained, what he is offering, and what he must lose. Of the book, poet Alicia Ostriker said, “It is crisp, laconic, parodic, mysterious. It blesses the diesel and the mud-flap sinner. Maybe it is Tom Sawyer's dark sexy side.” Ostriker was judge for the 2010 Marick Press Poetry Prize.
Madden, who won the 2007 SC Poetry Book Prize for his first collection, Signals, is publishing a second collection, Prodigal: Variations, a “brave and astonishing collection of parables sung by exiles.” Associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina, Madden is also the recipient of a 2010 artist fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission.
The poems in Madden’s Prodigal: Variations explore relations between men—fathers, sons, brothers, lovers—as well as questions of home and exile, memory and longing, and the promises and compromises of any return. In poems that are at once both mythic and deeply personal, Madden asks how we define home, what stories impel us, what rituals and relationships sustain us in a world shaped by loss.
Music provided by SC bluegrass group Total Denial. Cash bar and reception at 6:30, reading at 7:00, to be followed by a book signing.