A Night in the Country: Book Launch for Laura Newbern

Winner of the 2023 Changes Book Prize | Selected by Louise Glück
In-person  |  Wednesday  |  April 3  |  7-9pm  |  Free with RSVP

Please join Changes at Poets House to celebrate the launch of Laura Newbern’s A Night in the Country with readings from Carlie HoffmanMiller ObermanMartha Rhodes, and Laura Newbern.

About the Book:
Laura Newbern’s second collection, A Night in the Country, is a work of burning, restrained urgency that looks at loss, isolation, the passage of time—and what endures despite. Written in a town that was once home to the world’s largest asylum, these poems are studies in the dual nature of that idea: asylum, always both a protection and an exile.

The country of these poems is not, or not only, the idyllic backdrop of a pastoral scene; it is also, more ominously, the kind of country defined by flag, dark borderland, and violent history. In other words: a place of separation. Writing about the works of Bellini, Newbern shifts focus away from the paintings’ subjects and into the scenery, where “country” is what constitutes the subjects’ irreducible distance from every other thing. “The Madonna of the Meadow cannot also be the Madonna not of the Meadow,” Glück writes in her foreword. “No one thing can be everything.”

A Night in the Country is haunted by figures of loneliness who attend to their isolation with a spirit of religiosity, for them a necessary art. This is a quietly astonishing book about the enduring discrepancy between what we hope for and what is possible.

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About the Author:
Laura Newbern is the author of Love and the Eye, selected by Claudia Rankine for Kore Press, and A Night in the Country. Her poems have appeared in The AtlanticThe Threepenny ReviewPoetry, and The Georgia Review, among others. The recipient of a Writer’s Award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, she grew up in Washington, D.C. and currently lives and works in Georgia.