VOICES Poet Recites Work Full of ‘Lushness and Danger’

On Thursday, Nov. 19, the VOICES series hosted its last reading until next semester. The reading was given by poet Laurie Clements Lambeth, who read a selection of poems from her new collection of poetry “Veil and Burn.”

The reading began with a brief introduction by English Professor Karen Anderson, who also happens to be a good friend of the poet. Anderson praised Lambeth’s work, claiming that there is a “lushness and danger” to it.

She also said that Lambeth poems are “deeply and idiosyncratically connected like a network of nerves to poetry of the past.”
Following the introduction, Lambeth began her reading with a poem she had written during her stay at the artist’s house.
Her poem spoke of autumn and the changing of the leaves, since according to her, she “had never experienced Fall before in this way.”

She followed that poem with one about a chicken who lays green eggs. There was a definite focus on color in the poem, which uses a chicken laying eggs to speak of waiting to have children.

When Lambeth began reading from “Veil and Burn”, the focus of her poems shifted. Her poems began to become extremely personal and spoke of her and others’ battles with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

One of Lambeth’s poems spoke of a disease she had that caused bald spots to appear under her hair.

Another spoke of her and her husband during the night of their wedding; another of the death of a dear friend. All of her poems were very personal.

Sophomore Adrienne Gordon said of the reading, “It was interesting listening to her read her own poetry. Hearing it from her own point of view makes it more personal.”

While most of Lambeth’s work focused with her own battle with MS there where a few poems that looked outside of that topic.

In one poem entitled The Space Between, Lambeth spoke about an interaction between her and a dying friend through a shared love of horses.

There was also a poem that was about her parents’ house in California. She even shared a little humorous backstory with the audience  about the famous neighbors of the area. “You know who used to live there,” she said, “Michael Jackson. You’d go down the street and you’d see the big gate, the entrance to the ranch.”

Lambeth ended her reading with a poem entitled “Fairy Liquid.” She explained that the title came from England, where it is the name of a type of dish washing liquid. “With a name like that you have to put it in a poem,” said Lambeth.
The next VOICES series lecture will be held on Thursday, Jan. 28.

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