Ava Leavell Haymon to read at New Dominion May 5

Coming to New Dominion Bookshop:

Ava Leavell Haymon will present selections from her latest collection

Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread: Poems

Wednesday, May 5 at 5:30 PM

In Ava Leavell Haymon’s third collection of poetry, an unremarkable, harried, contemporary woman named Gretel finds herself at midlife overtaken by the Grimms’ household tale “Hansel and Gretel.” The violence and terror in that story supplant the memory of her own childhood, and the fairy tale retells itself in a sharp succession of surprising poems. The witch, the sugar house, Gretel’s brother, her passive father, his cruel second wife, the sinister forest—all these and more rise like jazz motifs to play themselves in the present. Addressing themes such as hunger, child abuse, betrayal, cannibalism, and murder in a tone by turns disturbing and humorous, Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread is most certainly not a book for children.

In Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread, Ava Leavell Haymon turns inside out the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. Finding the ‘walls of gingerbread … not on plumb,’ she begins ‘before the story began’ to re-imagine and re-contextualize the narrative elements of voice, place, conflict, and resolve. With formal care and invention, Haymon has crafted in this poetic sequence a suspenseful ‘insistent new version’ of magical intensity and power.—Claudia Emerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Ava Leavell Haymon is the author of the poetry collections Kitchen Heat and The Strict Economy of Fire. She teaches poetry writing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and directs a writers’ retreat center in the mountains of New Mexico.

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