Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is a Connecticut-raised poet who currently lives in Berkeley, California. She has worked as a lecturer for Stanford University, where she won both a prestigious Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry and a Jones Lectureship. Her other major prizes include a Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Writers and, for her long poem “Circus Fire, 1944”, a Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review.

“Circus Fire, 1944” is the centerpiece of her first book of poetry, The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart. Published by Persea Books, The Last Time … includes poems that previously appeared in publications such as New England Review, Ninth Letter, Western Humanities Review, and of course The Paris Review.

The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart focuses on the ominous shadows of small-town life in America’s heartlands in the mid-20th Century. The title poem speculates about what Amelia Earhart’s disappearance might have meant to her crew, husband, and to everyday people who simply saw her as a celebrity. Her Conners Prize-winning poem explores the horror and tragedy of the July 6, 1944 fire that killed 168 people, mostly children, under the big tent at a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance in Hartford, Connecticut. Other poems explore the economic, environmental, and social damage done to towns through mining and industrial exploitation.

Calvocoressi’s poetry is dark, vivid, and starkly beautiful, sprinkled throughout with images of coal dust, fire, and birds.If you enjoy horror or dark fantasy poetry, I think you’ll really enjoy her work.

According to Ms. Calvocoressi, her work has been influenced strongly by poets such as Lucie Brock-Broido, Eavan Boland, Marie Howe, and Michael Klein.

Ms. Calvocoressi really ought to have a website, but she doesn’t.

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