Columbus: Mary Cappello on "Life Breaks In"
Please join us on Thursday, February 23rd at 7pm for a reading and discussion with Mary Cappello, author of the new book Life Breaks in: A Mood Almanack. Joining her will be writers Elaine Sexton, Kristin Prevallet, and Dawn Raffel.
Some books start at point A, take you by the hand, and carefully walk you to point B, and on and on.
This is not one of those books. This book is about mood, and how it works in and with us as complicated, imperfectly self-knowing beings existing in a world that impinges and infringes on us, but also regularly suffuses us with beauty and joy and wonder. You don t write that book as a linear progression you write it as a living, breathing, richly associative, and, crucially, active, investigation. Or at least you do if you re as smart and inventive as Mary Cappello.
What is a mood? How do we think about and understand and describe moods and their endless shadings? What do they do to and for us, and how can we actively generate or alter them? These are all questions Cappello takes up as she explores mood in all its manifestations: we travel with her from the childhood tables of arts and crafts to mood rooms and reading rooms, forgotten natural history museums and 3-D View-Master fairytale tableaux; from the shifting palette of clouds and weather to the music that defines us and the voices that carry us. The result is a book as brilliantly unclassifiable as mood itself, blue and green and bright and beautiful, funny and sympathetic, as powerfully investigative as it is richly contemplative.
I'm one of those people who mistrusts a really good mood, Cappello writes early on. If that made you nod in recognition, well, maybe you re one of Mary Cappello's people; you owe it to yourself to crack Life Breaks In and see for sure.
A frequent contributor to the worlds of literary nonfiction and experimental prose, Mary Cappello is the author of five books of literary nonfiction, including Awkward: A Detour (a Los Angeles Times bestseller); Swallow, based on the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection in Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum; and, most recently, Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Salon.com, The Huffington Post, on NPR, in guest author blogs for Powells Books, and on six separate occasions as Notable Essay of the Year in Best American Essays. A Guggenheim and Berlin Prize Fellow, a recipient of The Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination, and the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize, Cappello is a former Fulbright Lecturer at the Gorky Literary Institute (Moscow), and currently Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Rhode Island. Visit her at her website: www.marycappello.com
Elaine Sexton's third collection of poetry, Prospect/Refuge, was published by Sheep Meadow Press in late 2015. Her poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in Art in America, American Poetry Review, Poetry, O! the Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere on line and in print, including Poetry Daily. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and teaches text and image poetry workshops privately, and at various arts organizations and colleges including the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and New York University. elainesexton.org
Dawn Raffel’s most recent book is an illustrated memoir, The Secret Life of Objects, which was a Wall Street Journal bestseller. She is also the author of a novel, Carrying the Body, and two story collections— Further Adventures in the Restless Universe and In the Year of Long Division. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, BOMB, Conjunctions, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, The Quarterly, NOON, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies—most recently The Best Small Fictions 2015 (selected by Robert Olen Butler) and The Best Small Fictions 2016 (selected by Stuart Dybek). Her next book, a cultural history, is under contract at Blue Rider/Penguin.
Kristin Prevallet is a poet, essayist, and teacher with a private hypnosis practice in Westchester, NY. Recently, her poems and essays have appeared in The Boston Review, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and featured in Rachel Zucker's Commonplace podcast. She is the author of five books of poetry including the fragmented memoir, I, Afterlife: Essay In Mourning Time; she is also the author of two non-fiction books about language and the unconscious mind: Trance Poetics: Your Writing Mind, and Visualize Comfort: Self-healing and the Unconscious Mind. She teaches for Bard College's Prison Initiative and leads private self-healing and trance writing retreats. follow her blog: www.trancepoetics.com