An Evening Poetry with Stephen Cramer and Neil Shepard

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
191 Bank Street
Burlington, VT 05401

Join us to kick off National Poetry Month with Vermont poets Stephen Cramer and Neil Shepard!

In City Full of Fireworks & Blues Stephen Cramer collects a series of lyric poems that explore both love and loss with a taut musicality that enters the reader's very musculature. Though the book often features the emotional or intellectual skirmishes that are common to all, it is far more of a celebration than a dirge. "Let us learn," one of the poems offers, "the way cries inherit our breath, the way 1,000 facets of song can inhabit the mouth."

Amid the tensions of family and community and the struggles with desire and disappointment out of which art is made, there is all this profusion: an unstoppable spring, the orange flash of a fox, figs and honey in a Greek harbor town, and a pianist conjuring lost love in his figured solos-our ravenous lives teetering on the edge of today's sadness. In his ninth poetry collection, The Book of Failures, Neil Shepard wanders urban and rural landscapes, from American coastlines to foreign shores, the sudden signposts deciphering what's won, what's lost. Though the tone is often elegiac in this prismatic book of human strivings, it is woven with wit and wisdom enough to illuminate the night sky and bring unexpected levity to his many discoveries.

Stephen Cramer’s first book of poems, Shiva’s Drum, was selected for the National Poetry Series and published by University of Illinois Press. His second, Tongue & Groove, was also published by University of Illinois. From the Hip, which follows the history of hip hop in a series of 56 sonnets, and A Little Thyme & A Pinch of Rhyme, a cookbook in haiku and sonnets, came out from Wind Ridge Press in 2014 and 2015. Bone Music, his most recent collection, was selected by Kimiko Hahn for the 2015 Louise Bogan Award and published in 2016 by Trio House Press. His work has appeared in journals such as The American Poetry ReviewAfrican American ReviewThe Yale ReviewHarvard Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. An Assistant Poetry Editor at Green Mountains Review, he teaches writing and literature at the University of Vermont and lives with his wife and daughter in Burlington.

Neil Shepard’s ninth collection, The Book of Failures, came out in January 2024 from Madville Publishing. How It Is: Selected Poems, was published in 2018 by Salmon Poetry (Ireland), and in 2019, he edited Vermont Poets &Their Craft (Green Writers Press, VT). His poems appear online at Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and Poem-a-Day, as well as in several hundred literary magazines. He founded and edited for a quarter century the Green Mountains Review, and he currently edits the online literary magazine Plant-Human Quarterly. These days, he splits his time between Vermont and NYC, where he teaches at Poets House.

DATE:  Tuesday, April 2nd, 7:00pm

LOCATION:  Phoenix Books Burlington, 191 Bank Street, downtown Burlington

TICKETS:  $3.  Your ticket comes with a coupon for $3 off one of the featured author's books.  Coupons expire at closing the evening of the event.  Tickets can be purchased at the registration link below, or at the door. 

BOOKS: Signed copies of City Full of Fireworks and The Book of Failures will be available at the event. Can't make it to the event but still want to purchase a signed, personalized copy? Click HERE. Copies will be available after the event on April 2nd. If you ordered a book for store pick up, we will contact you as soon as it's ready. If you ordered a book with shipping, please allow an additional 7-10 days for delivery.