Join us for an afternoon with poet Brian Teare, who will read from his recently reissued book, The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven. A conversation with doctors and writers Irène Mathieu and Ben Martin will follow. This in-person event will be free and open to the public. We recommend arriving early for the best seating.
About the Book: A timely reissue, The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven confronts the limits of poetic language and American medical care in a book-length meditation on chronic illness, economic precarity, healing, and the work of abstract artist Agnes Martin.
The typographical experiments of The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven make visible the hidden experience of chronic pain and illness. During uninsured and ineffectual medicalization, Teare turns to the work of writer and abstract artist Agnes Martin, which offers both counsel and consolation when diagnosis fails. Harnessing the power of the grid intrinsic in the typeset page, the resulting poems balance language and silence in visual fields that give shape to somatic knowledge. Rejecting bad care and false promises of cure, this book reimagines what healing looks like.
About the Author: Brian Teare is the author of six critically acclaimed books, most recently Companion Grasses, The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven, and Doomstead Days, winner of the Four Quartets Prize. His honors include the Brittingham Prize and Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards, as well as Guggenheim, NEA, Pew Foundation, and MacDowell Colony fellowships. After over a decade of teaching and writing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and eight years in Philadelphia, he’s now an associate professor at the University of Virginia and lives in Charlottesville, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books.
About the Moderators: Dr. Irène P. Mathieu is a pediatrician and writer. She is the author of Grand Marronage (Switchback Books, 2019), orogeny (Trembling Pillow Press, 2017), and the galaxy of origins (dancing girl press, 2014). Her forthcoming collection, milk tongue, will be published by Deep Vellum Press in 2023. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Narrative, Boston Review, VQR, Callaloo, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. The recipient of fellowships from Fulbright, Callaloo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Irène works as an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia.
Ben Martin is an academic hospitalist and assistant director of Programs in Health Humanities at the Center for Health Humanities and Ethics at UVA School of Medicine. His research interests focus on the intersection of fiction and clinical medicine. He studied English and American literature at Middlebury College and was awarded the Donald E. Axinn Prize for his creative thesis. His writing has most recently appeared on Literary Hub.