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Laura Donnelly Artist Statement:
Midwest Gothic explores the lives of my mother and grandmothers in the rural Midwest, as well as my own reckoning with place, family, and religion. The poems emerge from family stories and snapshots of memory – my mother canning tomatoes, my great-grandmother weaving rag rugs.
At the heart of Midwest Gothic is the image of the garden, both the literal acres at my childhood home and grandparents’ farms, and the archetypal gardens of religion, myth, and literature. My influences include H.D., Louise Glück, Frances Hodgson Burnett, the Grimm Brothers, and my mother’s perennial gardens.
Writing Midwest Gothic, I wanted to honor the strong women in my past, while asking, more broadly, what we keep and what we leave behind of the places that make us.
Laura Donnelly is the author of Watershed, which won the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize, and Midwest Gothic, which was selected by Maggie Smith for the Snyder Prize at Ashland Poetry Press. Originally from Michigan, Laura attended Hope College and received her MFA from Purdue University and PhD from Western Michigan University. She and her husband Ben moved to Oswego in 2013 when she joined the creative writing faculty at SUNY Oswego. She is an amateur gardener, a board member at Sterling Nature Center, and a devotee of the Great British Baking Show.— From Midwest Gothic Book Launch
Poetry. Winner of the 2019 Richard Snyder Memorial Publication Prize. The poems in MIDWEST GOTHIC make the daily deliciously strange--'the daily / which isn't still at all but a whirring / gone deep.' They make us work our way inside them, but once I entered this book, I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay in 'the copper-tipped town;' I wanted to stay with the delphinium, 'a choir of indigo, ' and 'cornfields made surreal / in the dark.' These difficult times have tested my faith in many things, including language, and MIDWEST GOTHIC arrived just in time to remind me what poems can do.--Maggie Smith.