Poetry Night: James Lenfestey
Content is pleased to host James Lenfestey for our March Poetry Night, when he'll read from his latest publication from Milkweed Editions, A Marriage Book. He is also the author of Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain, a Minnesota Book Award finalist, and multiple collections of essays and poems. He is also the editor of multiple anthologies, including Robert Bly in This World (University of Minnesota Press). Lenfestey is a former college English instructor, alternative school administrator, marketing communications consultant, and editorial writer for the Star Tribune, where he won several Page One awards for excellence. As a journalist, he covers education, energy policy, and climate science. He is chair of the Literary Witnesses poetry series, teaches at the Mackinac Island Poetry Festival, and lives in Minneapolis with his wife.
About A Marriage Book:
From James P. Lenfestey, a collection of poems that lends delicacy and gentle humor to durable, long-lasting love.
Writing love poems fifty years into a marriage is no easy task: “If he exaggerates his love, she’ll know . . . And if his desire for her is undiminished, / who would believe?” But in A Marriage Book, Lenfestey meets his own challenge with aplomb. These poems drop readers into the rich, textured world of one couple’s enduring intimacy, from the warmth of a bedroom occupied by two to squabbles over miscommunications and crumbs in the kitchen.
As the marriage (and the Book) transition into parenthood, Lenfestey illuminates the equally stalwart wonder of observing one’s children as they age and develop. Paternal love persists—and is even fed by—watching his children argue, suffer their own mistakes, and roar horrible breath at breakfast. “So much poetry is about storms, / bruised fruit, locusts eating everything,” he writes. “This poem is about a harvest that satisfies.”
A Marriage Book is a collection that essences the magic from the household quotidian, creating a technicolor portrait of a vibrant and dynamic family.
Poetry Nights are presented in collaboration with the Northfield Poet Laureate. The Northfield Poet Laureate program is sponsored by the City of Northfield and funded by the Northfield Public Library and the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC), in partnership with the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission.