Live from Prairie Lights | Carolina Hotchandani & Kelly Rose Hoffer

Mar 1, 2024

07:00 PM

Prairie Lights Books

15 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City, IA 52240

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Carolina Hotchandani and Kelly Rose Hoffer will read from their debut poetry collections. Carolina Hotchandani will read from The Book Eaters. “Carolina Hotchandani’s The Book Eaters is that rare debut: one that satisfies the heart and head in equal measures. In these subtle, lyric poems, Hotchandani explores the loss of a father’s language and memory, a loss complicated by Partition, emigration, and the body’s own failures, even by narrative itself, which threatens to revise and reimagine the past, even as the writing of these poems helps revive the speaker’s memories. These poems understand that language and culture offer us a paradox: we may be contained and constrained within the languages we inherit and lose, yet we also become authors of our identities through our love of story, extending our lines of memory and culture so that all the selves we are and have been tangle together. In the end, where does a self truly end and narrative fantasy begin? ‘I don’t know/ how to part the story from the person and keep the person,’ Hotchandani writes, but these are poems that—miraculously—preserve both.” —Paisley Rekdal

Carolina Hotchandani is a Latinx/South Asian poet born in Brazil and raised in various parts of the United States. She holds degrees from Brown, Texas State, and Northwestern universities and has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Community of Writers, Napa Valley Writers' Conference, Rona Jaffe Foundation, and Tin House Writers' Workshop. Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals. She is a Goodrich Assistant Professor of English in Omaha, Nebraska, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

Writers' Workshop alum Kelly Rose Hoffer will read from Undershore, winner of the Lightscatter Press Prize, chosen by judge Diana Khoi Nguyen. “Undershore is incandescent, like an electric light housing a filament which glows when a current passes through it. A filament as tender and tenacious as spider silk weathering the elements. Its lyrical adroitness is immediately felt and heard… After a death comes a ‘disrupted texture,’ but in mapping the body with the natural world, the speaker finds a way to move forward, as clouds are never not moving, as plants continue to grow toward the sun, until the day that they don't. Never will I forget this speaker: ‘try to shape my mouth a poppy /ringed with dew, my neck a greening nape. I come / off inelegant—something borrowed, something / burrowed. unseemly. lustering.’ Yet in these vulnerable admissions of self, and statements of sheer longing, the poet's sightline is unerringly honest, seeking, and true.” —Diana Khoi Nguyen

Kelly Hoffer is a poet and book artist. Her second manuscript, Fire Series, was a finalist for the 2021 National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, TAGVVERK, American Chordata, Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, and Prelude, among others. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD in Literatures in English from Cornell University. She currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Poetry.

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