The Necessity of Poetry: A Reading & Conversation with Chaun Ballard & Tara Ballard

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This event is taking place at the Lynn Public Library Friday, July 13, 3pm to 4:30pm

Chaun and Tara Ballard come to read in Lynn after their young lifetimes of teaching and travel throughout the Middle East and Africa, and their educations at the University of Hawaii and Alaska, because their teacher in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, at the University of Alaska, was Lynn’s own Linda McCarriston. As a poet and professor she mentored Tara and Chaun at the University of Alaska and, though now retired, she is proud to see that BOTH of these graduates have begun their careers with winning distinguished prizes and publication of their first books.

Their poems are powerful, relevant, intelligent, heartfelt, and political. These poets are citizens of the world in a way that few of us will ever be. One need not be a “fan of poetry” to appreciate, in their work, the claim they make for their art, that it is a necessity of our lives, an art of the grassroot intellectual, the outsider, the visionary.

Lynn’s rich artistic and political history, as well as its character as a first generation city, make it a perfect gateway to welcome each of these two as Emerson did Whitman, “I greet you at the beginning of  your great career.”

Chaun Ballard’s chapbook, Flight, recently won the 2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, chosen by Major Jackson, and will be published this July by Tupelo Press. Chaun’s poetry has been published by AnomalyColumbia Poetry ReviewFrontierPittsburgh Poetry ReviewRattle, and other national and international literary magazines, and he holds an MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. For the past eight years, Chaun has taught English language and literature in secondary and post-secondary institutions in the Middle East and West Africa, though he returns stateside every summer. He is available for readings, workshops, and consultations. Chaun will be presenting his work in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 7, and alongside the US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith, in Farmington, Connecticut, on July 9. For more information, visit www.chaunballard.com

Tara Ballard’s debut collection, House of the Night Watch, won the 2016 Many Voices Project prize in poetry and will be published this fall by New Rivers Press (Minnesota State University–Moorhead). Tara’s poetry has been published, or recently accepted, by Bellingham ReviewPoetry NorthwestThe Southampton ReviewSalamander, and other national and international literary magazines, and she holds an MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. For the past eight years, Tara has taught English language and literature in secondary and post-secondary institutions in the Middle East and West Africa, though she returns to home to Alaska each summer. She is available for readings, workshops, and consultations. For more information, visit www.tarajballard.com


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