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Derrick Austin (free)

  • Paul's Pel'meni 414 W Gilman St Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The former UW fellow's work often centers on a rich blend of unlike topics and themes. Tix/info

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Poet and former Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing fellow Derrick Austin's lyricism evokes a wide range of subjects, from medieval and contemporary art to queerness, blackness, film and pop music. These topics, often thought of as separate from each other and the natural world, are blended together in Austin's latest book, Trouble The Water. Austin helps readers appreciate his universe as a complex whole, even as the poems jump from the swamps of Florida to European art galleries. For Austin, inanimate objects, humans and animals are constantly in a state of becoming. Rivers meet oceans, but when do they cease to be rivers? Where does the body start and end when it is physically connected to another? In many of these poems, there is a tension between the internal and external. In "Okaloosa," for instance, Austin declares the heron one of his favorite animals, because its mating call is silent, and therefore kept within the body that seeks another. By connecting images like these to human relationships and environments in decay, Austin's words evoke the connectedness of all space. Ahead of this reading, make sure to check out Austin's recent visit to the Tone Madison podcast. —Reid Kurkerewicz

Earlier Event: April 21
Houses In Motion