‘A brave, dark singing’ rings through alumna’s poetry
April 11, 2019 LA GRANDE, Ore. –The Carl and Ellston Ars Poetica Series welcomes local author Theresa Hamman, who will read from her chapbook “All Those Lilting Tongues” at 2 p.m. on April 20 at Le Bebe Cakes Bakery. The event is free and open all.
An EOU alumna, Hamman has pulled her inspiration from personal experience, the surrounding landscapes, and other noted poets. Hamman said she explores the techniques employed by other writers and observes how they depict experience, objects and events.
“I look at the way they use language and syntax and meter and sound to enhance their poetry,” she said. “I draw from their expertise and attempt to emulate them, while also being true to myself and my own techniques.”
Jennifer Boyden, author of “The Chief of Rally Tree” praised Hamman’s work.
“In these precise and hungry poems, we are given haunted and important anatomies,” she said. “Anatomies of bodies that break and lust and die, of interior spaces carved by memory and its revisions, and of what is rendered by the power of witnessing without looking away. Even when the beer hits the wall, the tree bursts into flame, and the ghost insists you are not among the dead. This collection is rich with details of the real, while moving into the vast spaces of the yet-becoming. A brave, dark singing.”
Hamman arrived in La Grande and enrolled at EOU in fall 2011 as a non-traditional student. She said she was concerned about the stress of earning a degree, but with support and encouragement from faculty in the English/Writing and MFA Creative Writing programs, she achieved her goals and received an advanced degree in poetry. She is currently working toward an additional degree in literature from Mercy College in New York.
Hamman has practiced other forms of writing, but called lyric poetry her first love and her specialty.
“It does not require a plot, or characters, or a backstory,” she said. “It just begins and flows and ends without exposition or explanation. I don’t have to elaborate a point or juggle a plot device. All I need to do is create a word object, something that attracts attention…and keeps that attention, something that takes the ordinary and makes it unique — like rain, or bees, or a neon sign, or a bird, or a child’s snowman.”
Le Bebe Cakes is located at 1103 Washington Avenue in La Grande. Copies of “All These Lilting Tongues” will be available for sale and signing at the reading.