Phoenix Books is honored to host an evening of poetry with Nancy Richardson and Sue Burton.
Both Nancy Richardson and Sue Burton were raised in Ohio steel towns during the period of the deconstruction of the steel industry and the crumbling of that once prosperous region. For both poets that experience resulted in the development of a social conscience and an expansion of that conscience into poetry that touches injustice in America.
Burton's poetry in Little Steel centers on a steel strike in Massillon, Ohio in 1937 that resulted in shooting deaths. In her new book Going Home, Richardson describes the Kent State shootings in 1970. But these poets go on to create other stories and poems of injustice in America. In Box, Burton combines history and newspaper articles into a narrative of a world without protections for women’s health and reproductive rights. In Going Home Richardson describes her efforts to support the least protected disabled children in her work as a teacher, her campaign work in Youngstown, Ohio, and her experience in the halls of power in Washington, DC.
These vivid poetic narratives have received accolades from poetry reviewers. Richardson’s book, An EveryDay Thing, was named one of the Best 100 Indie Books of 2018 by Kirkus. The Kirkus review stated that Richardson’s book is “a dazzling work by a deeply intuitive writer.” Burton’s book, Box, was the winner of the Two Sylvias Prize, was a finalist for the 2019 Vermont Book Award, and received a Silver Award from the Foreword Indies Awards. Box has been described as a “brilliant, imperative, masterful collection.” Little Steel has been described as a “great gift to the reader and a noble tribute to its subjects. “
Both poets will read from their poetry books and spend some time discussing what led them both to the poetry of witness.
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