Tuesday, March 7, 7:00 - 8:00 pm
The Regulator Bookshop (720 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705
In The 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Joseph Bathanti offers poems that delve deep into a life reimagined through a mythologized past. Moving from his childhood to the present, weaving through the Italian immigrant streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to his parochial school, from the ballpark to church and home again, these contemplative poems present a situation unique to the poet but familiar to us all.
Bathanti's readings will be interspersed with the sublime music of Sus Long and Michael Conner. Two working pastors, Long and Conner are often in conversation about faith and grace, love and grief, and the threads that hold all things together. Formed by novels and poems, morning news, late-night theology, and the stories of the people around them, their music has taken them from festival stages to prison chapels as they explore the work of the modern psalmist.
Come join us at The Regulator for a much-needed evening of poetry and music!
Across the strike zone swoops a dove,
maybe an angel. You’re in Pittsburgh,
March; it’s snowing. All week
you’ve seen angels; everyone’s tired,
proclaiming even horrid things angels,
intimating miracles. Johnson’s pitch
obliterates the bird—
a hail of feathers and dander,
as if inside a tiny bomb detonated.
Like a cartoon. Thoroughly unbelievable.
Around you, people are dying.
But you ignore it.
You laugh at the massacred dove.
It’s not funny, but you laugh.
You could cry, rip your hair out, your clothes off,
crash through the seventhfloor window
into the slushy black streets of the city.
It’s funny because it’s not.
—from “Angels” by Joseph Bathanti
Listen to "Born Homesick" by Sus Long and Michael Conner.
Appalachian State University
Joseph Bathanti is former Poet Laureate of North Carolina (2012-14) and recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award for Literature. He is the author of ten books of poetry, including Communion Partners; Anson County; The Feast of All Saints; This Metal, nominated for the National Book Award, and winner of the Oscar Arnold Young Award; Land of Amnesia; Restoring Sacred Art, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for best book of poetry in a given year; Sonnets of the Cross; Concertina, winner of the 2014 Roanoke Chowan Prize; and The 13th Sunday after Pentecost, released by LSU Press in 2016. His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His novel, Coventry, won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of stories, The High Heart, won the 2006 Spokane Prize. They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina’s Visiting Artists, 1971-1995, his book of nonfiction, was published in early 2007. His recent book of personal essays, Half of What I Say Is Meaningless, winner of the Will D. Campbell Award for Creative Nonfiction, is from Mercer University Press. A new novel, The Life of the World to Come, was released from University of South Carolina Press in late 2014. Bathanti is Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and the University’s Watauga Residential College Writer-in-Residence. He served as the 2016 Charles George VA Medical Center Writer-in-Residence in Asheville, NC.
Sus Long & Michael Conner
Singer-songwriter Sus Long met bass and banjo player Michael Conner in 2013 while they were in divinity school and they kept talking because they liked the same books. The two started meeting up to play Ramones covers and bluegrass standards, eventually forming a songwriting partnership that draws on folk and jazz, country and blues, blending the best of two very different musical tastes.
Two working pastors, Long and Conner are often in conversation about faith and grace, love and grief, and the threads that hold all things together. Formed by novels and poems, morning news, late-night theology, and the stories of the people around them, their music has taken them from festival stages to prison chapels as they explore the work of the modern psalmist.
They are also members of the Durham-based rock band, Hardworker, whose debut album is due in June 2017. Their EP, The Awful Rowing, is available on iTunes and Spotify.