Lynne Viti and Heather Corbally Bryant

A Poetry Reading by Heather Corbally Bryant and Lynne Viti

Apr 6, 5–6 PM
Newhouse Center Lounge
Free and open to the public

The Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities and Wellesley College Writing Program are thrilled to welcome our own Heather Corbally Bryant and Lynne Viti to the lounge for a reading, conversation, and celebration of their recently-published poetry collections. 

Heather Corbally Bryant, The Coffin Makers (2023)
Senior Lecturer, Writing Program

When I started my poetic practice by writing a poem a day, I had no idea where that undertaking would lead me—eleven books of poetry in the last decade. This habit has given me a new way of apprehending the world, both the inner and outer, through words. When we first heard word about a mysterious virus circulating, I began jotting down how the landscape—both personal and political—was changing all around us. As the pandemic deepened, I realized I wanted to record the experience of living through this "unprecedented event." The Coffin Makers provides a glimpse into daily life while COVID-19 surged all around us. 

Lynne Viti, The Walk to Cefalù (2022)
Faculty Emerita, Writing Program

During lockdown and the first year of COVID, I had plenty of time to ruminate—about my youth, about the recent deaths of friends and beloved family members, and about the fleeting nature of my own existence—all pretty daunting topics. These themes found their way into my poetry. I saw a common thread running through all the poems that were stacking up on my desk—probing old stories or accounts to get at the understory. I found myself toggling between poems about loss and grief on the one hand, and poems of solace on the other. The result was The Walk to Cefalù. Though full of poems that could be characterized as sad or melancholy, there are also poems of celebration—as in the title poem that concludes the book. 

The collection's theme is challenge, loss, change and acceptance, from reflections on the periods of the poet's young adulthood to maturity and middle age; the recent illnesses and deaths of friends and family; nature—and particularly the flora, fauna and weather patterns of Cape Cod as both balm and at times, a fiercely destructive force; poems of isolation and coping during the first COVID years. The final section describes an arduous 15-mile group hike in Sicily, a daylong journey by foot through the mountains from Isnello to the town of Cefalù on the north coast, culminating in a blissful immersion in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. 


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Generously supported by:

Wellesley College Writing Program