Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The Big Texas Author Talk featuring Cyrus Cassells

April 24 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CDT


A Free Monthly Online Lecture Series from WritingWorkshops.com & Gemini Ink

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024 via Zoom @ 7PM CST
Up Next: Poet Cyrus Cassells and his collection, Is There Room for Another Horse on Your Horse Ranch?


Cyrus Cassells has perfected a poetics of merciful vitality and tenderness, celebrating eros — in his daring and prolific representation of lust, yes, but more broadly in his understanding of the erotic as an affirmation and preservation of life — through time and space. Beginning his latest collection with the piece “You Be the Dancer,” he bids us return to sacred sites of nostalgia, insisting on it “whether we’re feeling frisky, / Empty-handed, / Or still beguiled by inchoate dreams–.” Is There Room for Another Horse on Your Horse Ranch? is the apotheosis of Cassells’s work to elevate the mundane and the bodily to the exalted, his vigorous lyrics a routine ecstasy. Though our senses lay us bare to suffering, they also create the possibilities for pleasure and connection, the basis of — and rewards for — humanity. “My Only Bible,” Cassells pledges, “is this blood-red joy / Of breathing beside you,” “The gospel of bougainvillea / At your boyhood gate” which perfumes “the soul’s endless, luxuriant / Coming and becoming…” Gorgeous and wry in its portrayal of transformational romance and queer selfhood, Cassells’s ninth book of poetry reads as an anthology of love letters to people and places across the world. Cassells revises an old premise: is it better to have loved than lost, or is that love, once bestowed, is never lost? A champion of the flight real intimacy requires of us, Cassells addresses a beloved, “You’ve just died in my arms / But suddenly it seems we’re eternal,” the joie de vivre and bravery of his perseverance made immortal through the poem’s titular declaration — “I Believe Icarus Was not Failing as He Fell.” If in these pages you see the crash, the poet seems to say, remember the flying, too, “the giddy Argonauts we were.”


Cyrus Cassells was the 2021 Poet Laureate of Texas. Among his honors: a 2023 Civitella-Ranieri Foundation fellowship; a 2022 Academy of American Poets Laureate fellowship to administer his statewide Juneteenth poetry project; a 2019 Guggenheim fellowship; the National Poetry Series; a Lambda Literary Award; two NEA grants; a Pushcart Prize; and the William Carlos Williams Award. His 2018 volume, The Gospel according to Wild Indigo, was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award, the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award, and the Balcones Poetry Prize. Still Life with Children: Selected Poems of Francesc Parcerisas, translated from the Catalan, was awarded the Texas Institute of Letters’ Soeurette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translated Book of 2018 and 2019. To The Cypress Again and Again: Tribute to Salvador Espriu, combining translations, poetry, and memoir in homage to Catalan Spain’s most revered 20th century writer, was published in 2023. Cassells was nominated for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism for his film and television reviews in The Washington Spectator. He teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University, where he received a 2021 Presidential Award for Scholarly/Creative Activities and was named a 2023 University Distinguished Professor.


D E Zuccone is the author of a volume of poetry, Vanishes, with 3ATaos Press. He is currently completing No Provenance//Art-o-mata, a manuscript of semi-ekphrastic poems surrounding works of art that don’t precisely exist. He has been a poetry reader in Houston, Taos, Los Angeles, and a frequent, grateful guest of Archway Gallery. He has published poetry in Ekphrastic Review, Borderlands, Water Stone, International Review of Poetry, Southern Indiana Review, Schuylkill Review, Hurricane Review, Big River, Apalachee Review, Deep Water Literary Review, & Garden Box. His poetry and fiction have been in anthologies from Round Top, Taos Artists, Words & Art, Equinox, Mutabilis Press, and Big Poetry Review. He is an MFA graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts and currently has an interview podcast, Amicus Briefs for Public Poetry. Visit dezuccone.com.

Visit the Big Texas Author Talk page.


April 24
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CDT
Event Category:


Alexandra van de Kamp