OBLONG ONLINE: An Evening of Poetry with Mark Wunderlich and Tessa Kale

An evening of inspired poetry readings to give us solace and help us through the pandemic, with poets Mark Wunderlich and Tessa Kale who will read from their new collections.

Mark Wunderlich’s God of Nothingness is a book for those who have seen death up close or even quietly wished for it. In these poems, honed to a devastating edge, Mark Wunderlich asks: How is it we go on as those around us die? And why go on at all? This collection is a brilliant testament to the human ability to make something tough-minded and resilient out of despair and the inevitability of death drawing near.

Mark Wunderlich is the author of The Earth Avails, winner of the Rilke Prize; Voluntary Servitude; and The Anchorage, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. He teaches at Bennington College and lives in the Hudson Valley in New York.

“Mark Wunderlich’s poems are alarmingly wise, lyrically charged, and built out of an almost otherworldly clarity. . . . Wunderlich makes an argument not for beauty but for a clear-eyed resilience. God of Nothingness is a book that is as devastating as it is life-affirming, a weapon that both wounds and saves.”―Ada Limón

Winner of the Red Mountain Discovery Award for 2020, Tessa Kale’s Crow’s Cup deftly ranges from Hudson River scenes past and present to Neolithic Europe, from nineteenth-century Hamburg brothels to 1970s performance art, and from inside a beehive to the farthest celestial reaches, in poems that capture the wonder and fragility of worlds without and within, and the sheer “joy of flying sideways.” Roosting crows trace “a memory of abundance.” Stars speak and then fall silent. A coyote will not be reduced to a prop. Saints are tested, composers come unstrung, and trees transform into totems. The interplay of art and nature, of culture and climate, lies at the heart of this award-winning collection.

Tessa Kale is the author of the prize-winning chapbook The Hudson Line and has had poems published in The Yale Review, The Western Humanities Review, Prelude, and many other publications. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, she works as an editor on The Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry. She lives in Poughkeepsie

Crow’s Cup is a treasure chest of nature walks, artworks, romance, and piano recitals. Her engaging topics range to more serious issues of climate change. And of course, there are the crows who populate the book like a Greek chorus–in the background but ever present. This collection debuts a writer with a compelling voice that will transform all who listen.”–Denise Low


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