Sunday, October 30, 2016

BookFest author: Lilace Mellin Guignard

Lilace Mellin Guignard lives with her husband and two children in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, where she teaches poetry and creative nonfiction writing, women's studies, and rock climbing at Mansfield University. Her work has appeared in the journals Calyx, poemmemoirstory, Louisiana Literature, Paterson Literary Review, Ecotone, and Poetry Magazine. Her chapbook, Young at the Time of Letting Go, was a co- winner of the Evening Street Press Helen Kay Chapbook 2015 contest, and she is writing a creative nonfiction book about women outdoors for Texas A&M Press. She enjoys climbing and biking with her husband, eavesdropping on her children, and shaking things up in adult Sunday school. Her blog, A Tent of One's Own, is on-line. You may have seen Lilace in the last year or so, performing with Hamilton-Gibson community theater -- sometimes alongside her children, but often not. She exudes energy and vulnerability, strength and humor, which allows her to engage well with students, community members, and her intended audience.

" 'Without beauty, death seems so close', writes Lilace Mellin Guignard in her chapbook, Young At the Time of Letting Go. Having let go of both her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer while the poet was in her teens, and her father, who died shortly before the death of his wife, Guignard has witnessed, and given powerful voice to, the gradual diminishment that cancer, not to mention death itself, brings. And yet, these losses continue to re-awaken her poet's passion for beauty, the sheer, utter necessity of it. 'Now twice that age, I'm over the horror of being sixteen/and seeing my mother lose her hair', she begins, in one of her most memorable poems, her language deftly threading its way through the sorrows that could have left her tongue frozen to the cold latch of grief. We follow her words, their urgency and precision, as she navigates her journey through grief, coming at last to the realization that 'What matters is ... sun that seeps past hurt. Only through living can we begin to save another.' " Kathryn Stripling Byer, author of Wildwood Flower and Descent

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