Stephen Cushman is a professor of American Literature and poetry at UVa. His published poetry includes Riffraff, Heart Island and Cussing Lesson.
Stephen Cushman’s Riffraff embodies the spirit of its title, a Middle English word for “every particle” or “things of small value.” In this striking collection, scraps of the overlooked, and distasteful—a prostitute passed in the street, the speaker’s own forgotten dreams, toothless dogs rolling in deer offal—become occasions to meditate on the rich experiences from which we too often turn away.
The poems reflect on the possibilities of language, the natural world, politics, history, eros, aging, family, and spiritual devotion. Without pretension, Cushman values “adepts who can dwell in the kiosk of a kiss.” Skillfully, he transmutes his own curiosity and surprise into moments of shared instruction. “Keep low,” he whispers. “Stay put. / Learn from the leaves.”
Riffraff culls what we have discarded, saves from abandonment the notions we have taken for granted, and, indeed, venerates every particle.
Lynn Martin & the Sons of Orpheus
Lynn Martin is a Nelson County-based poet and performer. Her poetry,
on its own, is a powerful, gut stirring experience made no less
gripping by Lynn’s extraordinary control and sense of performance.
Fed by the haunting musical support of the Sons of Orpheus, her
work will leave you breathless.
The second portion of this event will be an open stage for writers to share their work.
Please contact us if you are interested in reading. Rapunzelscoffee@verizon.net.