By Salma Rios
Poets seem to be flocking to Iowa City like birds lately, but what better way to kick off the Christmas season than with literature? Poets Alessandra Lynch and Michael Tyrell will come to Prairie Lights, 15 S. Dubuque St., to read from their new works at 7 p.m. Friday.
Lynch will read from her new book, Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment, and Tyrell will read from his new book, Phantom Laundry.
Both have ties to Iowa City and the University of Iowa, being graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Lynch is the Poet-in-Residence at Butler University in Indianapolis and is also the author of the works Sails the Wind Left Behind and It was a terrible cloud at twilight. Her work has appeared in such literary journals as the American Poetry Review, Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, and others.
Tyrell teaches writing at NYU and is a senior language lecturer. He is the author of The Wanted and edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn with Julia Spicher Kasdorf. His work has appeared in Agni, Best American Poetry 2015, New England Review, New Republic, The New York Times, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and Yale Review.
Many things inspire Lynch and Tyrell to write their poetry. For Lynch, it’s a variety of things.
“Some of the inspiration for my poetry is The Ear, Delicate-legged Cranefly, Spoon, Fowler’s Toad, Dragonfly Window, Hedge-seed, Dream-bees, Doorknob Precipice, and more,” Lynch said.
Tyrell’s poetry inspiration takes a different approach: it’s everything he takes in.
“It’s a mix of the high and the low,” he said. “I take inspiration from fiction, poetry, philosophy, religion, documentaries, television, films, true crime, and more.”
Aside from their poetry inspirations, Lynch and Tyrell have poets whose work they deeply admire.
Lynch admires the poetry of one of the literary greats, Emily Dickinson.
“I like her pleats,” Lynch said. “Her brain’s alive and fierce and will not sleep till every angle’s scrutinized. Every dash — an incision. Each syllable — a realm.”
Tyrell admires the poetry of Writers’ Workshop professors and former professors including Jorie Graham, James Galvin, and Marvin Bell.
“I admire their work and teachings, and how each of them have their own distinctive style of poetry,” he said.
“But I really like the poets whose work seems fragmented and sparse but actually contains more than meets the eye. I like those poets whose work seems like you can feel more than is actually there.”