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Laura Newbern's A NIGHT IN THE COUNTRY


Hosted byChanges at Poets House


Please join us at Poets House in NYC to celebrate the launch of Laura Newbern's A NIGHT IN THE COUNTRY, with readings from Carlie Hoffman, Miller Oberman, and Martha Rhodes.


Wednesday, April 3
7:00PM EDT

Poets House
10 River Terrace
New York, NY

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Poetry’s impossible objectives—permanence, the dream of perfection—haunt these poems. Poems about art and the making of art recur, but in the main, A NIGHT IN THE COUNTRY is rooted in a recognizable human reality, less rarefied than art but sharing with art a recognition of limitation. Small occasions, clear sentences. And underneath, measureless fathoms.”
—from the foreword by Louise Glück


Selected by Louise Glück as Winner of the 2023 Changes Book Prize, Laura Newbern’s second collection is a work of burning, restrained urgency that looks at loss, isolation, the passage of time—and what endures despite. Written in a town that was once home to the world’s largest asylum, these poems are studies in the dual nature of that idea: asylum, always both a protection and an exile. 

The “country” of these poems is not, or not only, the idyllic backdrop of a pastoral scene; it is also, more ominously, the kind ofcountry defined by a flag, dark borderland, and violent history. In other words: place of separation. Writing about the works ofBellini, Newbern shifts focus away from the paintings’ subjects and into the scenery where landscape is what constitutes the irreducible distance of the subjects from every other thing. “The Madonna ofthe Meadow cannot also be the Madonna not of the Meadow,” Glück writes in her foreword. “No one thing can be everything.” A Night in the Country is haunted by figures of loneliness who attend to their isolation with a spirit of religiosity, for them a necessary art. This is a quietly astonishing book about the enduring discrepancy between what we hope for and what is possible.


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