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The Big Texas Read featuring Barbara Ras

April 20, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CDT



UP NEXT: April 20th, 2022 via Zoom @ 7PM CST

We’re reading and discussing Barbara Ras’s novel The Blues of Heaven (Pittsburgh Press, 2021).

This session will be moderated by Jenny Browne.

In The Blues of Heaven, Barbara Ras delivers her characteristic subjects with new daring that both rattles and beguiles. Here are poems of grief over her brother’s death; doors to an idiosyncratic working-class childhood among Polish immigrants; laments for nature and politics out of kilter. Ras portrays the climate crisis, guns out of control, the reckless injustice and ignorance of the United States government. At the same time, her poems nimbly focus on particulars—these facts, these consequences—bringing the wreckage of unfathomable harm home with immediacy and integrity. Though her subjects may be dire, Ras also weaves her wise humor throughout, moving deftly from sardonic to whimsical to create an expansive, ardent, and memorable book.



Barbara Ras is the author of the poetry collections Bite Every Sorrow (winner of the Walt Whitman Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award), One Hidden Stuff, and The Last Skin. She has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. Her poems have appeared in the New YorkerTin House, Granta, and Orion, as well as in other magazines and anthologies. Ras has taught in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and at workshops nationally and internationally. She lives in San Antonio and is the founding director emerita of Trinity University Press.


Jenny Browne’s most recent book is Fellow Travelers: New and Selected Poems, from TCU Press. A former James Michener Fellow at the University of Texas, she has received the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and two Literature Fellowships from the Texas Writers League. Her poems and essays have appeared widely, most recently in American Poetry Review, Bennington Review, Copper Nickel, Oxford American and The Nation. She lives in downtown San Antonio and teaches at Trinity University. She served concurrent terms as the 2016-2018 City of San Antonio Poet Laureate, and the 2017-2018 State of Texas Poet Laureate. In 2020 she was the Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in Creative Writing at Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.


April 20, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CDT
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Alexandra van de Kamp