Join the Georgia Center for the Book for an evening with Georgia poets James Davis May and Christina Olson to celebrate their recent collections. In May's second poetry collection, Unusually Grand Ideas, he writes candidly about clinical depression and the complications it brings to marriage and fatherhood. Olson's The Anxiety Workbook explores contemporary anxiety, grief in its multitude of forms, and complicated familial dynamics via the lens of science and history while utilizing the language of therapy. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
We are committed to a safe environment. For the safety of our invited speakers, staff, and all attendees, we respectfully request that masks be worn in the venue for the duration of the event. We are currently limiting the capacity of the Auditorium to promote social distancing, so registration is required.
About Unusually Grand Ideas
In his second poetry collection, James Davis May writes candidly about clinical depression and the complications it brings to marriage and fatherhood. Though titled after one of the more poetic side effects of antidepressants, Unusually Grand Ideas ultimately discovers that the most audacious ideas of all are those that lead us back to wonder and love. These discoveries do not come easy. At times, the darkness May describes is overwhelming, as when he compares experiencing a depressive episode to being “an unskilled swimmer who’s gone /out too far and pauses to gauge the distance / he knows is likely to kill him.” Through that distance, though, he still hears “voices he loves wondering where he is.” It’s these voices of family that help May navigate the way toward healing, where he sees “not just beauty… but its excess” and “the happiness [he] should have lost” but didn’t.
About James Davis May
James Davis May is the author of Unusually Grand Ideas, forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press in February 2023. His previous collection, Unquiet Things, was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2016 and named runner-up for the Georgia Author of the Year Award in poetry. His poems have appeared in Five Points, Guernica, The Missouri Review, New England Review, The New Republic, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. He has received scholarships and fellowships from The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Inprint, and the Krakow Poetry Seminar. In 2016, his poem “Ed Smith” won the Poetry Society of America’s Cecil Hemley Award. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Mercer University, where he directs the creative writing program, and a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Poetry.
About The Anxiety Workbook:
The Anxiety Workbook explores contemporary anxiety, grief in its multitude of forms, and complicated familial dynamics via the lens of science and history while utilizing the language of therapy. These poems grapple with the ever-evolving collective and individual trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as seek answers and lessons from the natural world. The termination of a pregnancy, a distant father, the untimely death of a friend, our society’s obsession with Dateline and missing white girls, the estivation of the West African lungfish—The Anxiety Workbook covers these topics and much more in poems ranging from the hypernarrative to the highly lyrical, rich in voice and description.
About Christina Olson
Christina Olson is the author of Terminal Human Velocity and The Last Mastodon, which won the Rattle 2019 Chapbook Contest. Other work appears in the Atlantic, the Missouri Review, the Nation, Scientific American, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Best Creative Nonfiction. She is an associate professor at Georgia Southern University and tweets about coneys and mastodons as @olsonquest. Her website is www.thedrevlow-olsonshow.com.
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