Virtual Craft Happy Hour with poet Megan Alpert

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TWC presents a FREE VIDEO CHAT about the craft of poetry!

We’re joined by poet Megan Alpert (The Animal at Your Side) to talk about her new book, the art of the poem, and more. Megan will be in conversation with Emily Holland, poet and Managing Editor of Poet Lore.

RSVP below, and you’ll receive an email on or before November 20 with instructions for joining the chat via our video conferencing platform, Zoom. FREE and open to the public, all times Eastern.

We encourage you to order a copy of the book directly from the publisher, a signed copy directly from Megan, or from your local independent bookseller.


Megan AlpertMegan Alpert is the author of The Animal at Your Side (Airlie Press 2020), the winner of the Airlie Prize. She grew up in the suburbs of New York City and has since lived in St. Paul, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC, and Quito, Ecuador. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Muzzle, Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, Glass: Poets Resist and many others. She is the recipient of an Orlando Poetry Prize from A Room of Her Own Foundation and residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Studios at MASS MoCA, and the Marquette Chamber Residency. As a journalist, she has reported for The Guardian, Smithsonian, and The Atlantic, and has received fellowships from Foreign Policy and the International Women’s Media Foundation. She has worked as a sandwich maker, bookseller, child caregiver, ESL teacher, journalist, technical writer, and editor. meganalpert.com

About the Book

The narrators in The Animal at Your Side scavenge for clues, trying to stitch together a life in the midst of unrootedness. Finding bones, talismans, and half-heard voices that portal back to both personal and collective history, the speakers are haunted by diaspora, family estrangement, intergenerational trauma, and resilience. What are the costs of being far away from a homeplace? What are the costs of returning? And when the costs are too high on both sides, how do you choose? Grieving the loss of family of origin, and longing to return, the narrators forge new shapes, grounded in a connection to the natural world, ultimately making a home in their own unsettled natures. These poems play with form and structure, ranging from tightly-wound lyrics to detailed reportage. Alpert uses white space and invents forms as needed, creating sunken stanzas and a poem shaped like a rib cage. By turns gritty, frank, and devotional, The Animal at Your Side finds things to be treasured in weirdness, queerness, the ecstatic, and the erotic. It is a book for anyone who has ever been lost, who has waited for what seemed like too long “for the voices/to filter back”.

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