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Monsters Of Poetry: Erika Meitner, Paul Tran, Nate Marshall, and Matthew Guenette at Genna’s Lounge

March 4 @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Headshots of the four authors described in the event, arranged against an orange background.

At what cost are we alive? Erika Meitner, Paul Tran, Nate Marshall, and Matthew Guenette grapple with this question in their poetry. As they take the Monsters of Poetry stage, expect to hear their testaments of survival, grit, and endurance through the lyric. 


Three of the four are faculty of the English Department at UW-Madison. Meitner joined last fall as a professor and the director of the MFA program. In her latest book Useful Junk, published by BOA Editions in April 2022, she writes about desire and the body—the liminal and the physical—through documentary poetry. She writes a liturgy for the masses: “we who collect regular explanations of benefits / we who worry about food security.”

Tran is an Assistant Professor of English and Asian American Studies. Their debut poetry collection All The Flowers Kneeling, published by Penguin Random House in February 2022, explores American imperialism and intergenerational trauma. In “Orchard Of Knowing,” Tran writes, “All of them point at me / as the kill to complete your mission.” Through history and the lyric, they unflinchingly challenge how we see liberation and control.

In his 2020 book Finna, Nate Marshall, also an English professor at UW, writes about survival: “imagine this, a man / made donut, chest open, / hollow, everything poured / out, available, nowhere.” Amidst his painful reckoning with his lineage and the ruptures violence has caused, Marshall imagines a future of hope.

Matthew Guenette teaches English at Madison College. In his book Doom Scroll, which will be released this year from the University of Akron Press, he talks about the anxiety of living today. He describes the lockdown, the political state of our world, and “a field of dandelions to break me in half” all within the same stanza. This existential plea encapsulates the experience of living through the pandemic and its aftermath.

All of these poets do not leave us with clean-cut answers as we go through the questions of life. But as we read their work and listen to their poems, we know that we are not alone in the fight to remain here. The lyric testifies to this.

Hannah Keziah Agustin


March 4
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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Genna’s Lounge
105 West Main Street
Madison, WI United States
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