4/15 – You Could Make This Place Beautiful Book Reading and Signing Maggie Smith

Join us in welcoming poet, Maggie Smith for the launch of her new memoir You Could Make This Place Beautiful. Maggie will read from her new book and be in conversation with Jeannine Ouellette. Doors open at 2:30 with the program starting at 3:00.

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Join us in welcoming poet, Maggie Smith for the launch of her new memoir _You Could Make This Place Beautiful._ Maggie will read and be in-conversation with Jeannine Ouellette.  Doors open at 2:30 with the program starting at 3:00.

In her memoir You Could Make This Place Beautiful, poet Maggie Smith explores the disintegration of her marriage and her renewed commitment to herself in lyrical vignettes that shine, hard and clear as jewels. The book begins with one woman’s personal, particular heartbreak, but its circles widen into a reckoning with contemporary womanhood, traditional gender roles, and the power dynamics that persist even in many progressive homes. With the spirit of self-inquiry and empathy she’s known for, Smith interweaves snapshots of a life with meditations on secrets, anger, forgiveness, and narrative itself. The power of these pieces is cumulative: page after page, they build into a larger interrogation of family, work, and patriarchy.

You Could Make This Place Beautiful, like the work of Deborah Levy, Rachel Cusk, and Gina Frangello, is an unflinching look at what it means to live and write our own lives. It is a story about a mother’s fierce and constant love for her children, and a woman’s love and regard for herself. Above all, this memoir is an argument for possibility. With a poet’s attention to language and an innovative approach to the genre, Smith reveals how, in the aftermath of loss, we can discover our power and make something new. Something beautiful.

Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of You Could Make This Place BeautifulGood BonesThe Well Speaks of Its Own PoisonLamp of the Body, and the national bestsellers Goldenrod and Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in The New York TimesThe New YorkerThe Paris Review, The Best American Poetry, and more. You can follow her on social media @MaggieSmithPoet.

Ouellette’s memoir, The Part That Burns, was a 2021 Kirkus Best 100 Indie Book and a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award in Women’s Literature, with starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. Her work appears widely in literary journals including Los Angeles Review of Books, Narrative, Masters Review, North American Review, and more. She teaches writing at the University of Minnesota and through the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, Catapult, and Elephant Rock, a creative writing program she founded in 2012. She is working on her first novel.

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