“On Your Birthday,” one of the poems in Karen Poppy’s new collection, “Diving at the Lip of the Water,” was written while Poppy was in her early 20s and reflecting on a 25-year-old college friend’s suicide. The rest were written after a lengthy pause that the poet calls a “creative silence.”
Poppy, a poet, author, librettist, equestrian and attorney, will read from her new full-length poetry collection for the Charlottesville Reading Series at 7 p.m. June 16 at New Dominion Bookshop. Also featured will be author D.L. Williams, who will share “Alora Factor: Invasion of the Realm Jumpers,” the first book in a five-part series.
“I’m going to share my new full-length collection of poetry. It took my whole life for it to come together,” Poppy said. “I went through a creative silence for about 17 years. That lengthy pause did create a longer time in which I hoped to gain insight.”
“I do hope that my work can connect people to their own feelings and help them move past their own feelings of grief,” Poppy said.
Poetry can play an important role in today’s tense post-pandemic climate, she said.
“Aside from helping us access our feelings of loss and grief, poetry can connect us to our joy of living,” Poppy said.
“Diving at the Lip of the Water” is Poppy’s first full-length collection. Her chapbooks include “Crack Open/Emergency,” “Our Own Beautiful Brutality” and “Every Possible Thing.”
One poem Poppy likely will share at the local event, “Happiness,” was penned after the book was published. “I wrote it about a week ago,” she said.
In addition to crafting poetry, Poppy is licensed as an attorney in California and Texas. In her worker’s compensation law work for The Hartford, Poppy finds a kinship with poet Wallace Stevens, who also worked as an attorney for the insurance firm.
“I care about what happens to people and their lives,” she said. “It seems dull on the surface, but it definitely is not.”
Poppy said she looks forward to participating in the Charlottesville Reading Series event with Williams, adding that she sees in their work similarities of “being genuine” and “connecting with and unleashing our superpowers.”
She’ll attend without Kitty, however. Kitty, her dog, “saved my life literally seven times in the seven years I’ve had her,” Poppy said, including alerting her to a serious lung infection and protecting her during a couple of muggings and a close call in which Poppy almost was hit by a car.
“Without Kitty, there would be no book,” Poppy said.
The event is free. Learn more at readingseries.org.