In 2006, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon read from her first book, Black Swan, which had won the Cave Canem Prize. I was enthralled in the moment as she read and wanted more, so I bought the book to lounge in the language when the busy life around me permitted, with a cup of tea by my side on the table and Anthony Hamilton crooning in the background, much like now on this snowy morning.
Lyrae returns to the DWC this evening at 7 p.m. to read from her new collection ] Open Interval [ and perhaps share even newer work. ] Open Interval [ was a finalist for the National Book Award so this Cornell University Assistant Professor has significantly stepped up her game.
The stars in the sky, the flowers before her in the garden, the divorce and the accepting the life ahead as a sole entity rather than a partner all come to play in this collection.
A sparse sense of phrasing is prevalent in Lyrae's work. It is obvious that she trusts the intelligence of her readers. As she references Harriet Tubman, astronomy, Rilke, her interior world, her ancestors, there is plenty of room for the reader to slow down in the poem. Even her relationship with punctuation serves to slow the eye down and allow the mind to rest in each word. And punctuation becomes a new symbology with this poet. There are personal symbols for breath and timing that give these poems a unique profile.
To experience these poems in breath, in sound, join us in the Downtown Writer's Center at the Greater Syracuse YMCA at 340 Montgomery Street, at 7 p.m. This is still another FREE reading sponsored by the DWC with funding from the NYS Council on the Arts. We hope to see you tonight and to introduce you to Lyrae Van-Clief-Stefanon.