Travelers and teachers to read at Chapter and Verse

Courtesy photo
Josh Coben

Love of travel and teaching characterize the poets featured at Chapter and Verse on March 7 at the Loring-Greenough House. The very special guest will be Jean Monahan, a former resident of JP, who moved here shortly after she returned from teaching English at a university in Xi’An, China, burial site of the famous terracotta soldiers.

While she lived in JP, she worked as a writer in the interactive media department of WGBH. Of her travels, she says her favorite memory is of standing in the shadow of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, watching two foxes frolicking up and down the steps of the pyramid.

Monahan has published three books, the most recent being “The Mauled Illusionist,” which one critic said “embodies the Renga poets’ ideal of the tension between glittering surface and depth.” Monahan now lives in Salem with her daughter.

Josh Coben, who was a featured poet at last summer’s Word on the Street series here in JP, studied and taught English in France for some years before returning to teach in the French Immersion program in the Milton Public Schools. His poetry has been published in several journals and anthologies.

When asked about the sources of his inspiration, Coben said, “For me, writing poetry begins with a sound, a gush or a trickle of formless language from which distinct words gradually emerge. As a reader, my favorite poems speak in cadences understood, though just barely, with an intelligence more musical than rational, and all that cannot be said shimmers in the white space around the words.” He lists Emily Dickinson, Jack Gilbert and Elizabeth Bishop among poets he most admires. Coben lives with his wife and three children in Roslindale.

JP resident Karen D’Amato has been writing and dreaming about poetry for over 25 years, and she says she “seeks to live in the poem in all ways possible.” For Karen, love and poetry are indelibly intertwined, and this synergy has led her to both write about loved ones and teach poetry writing.

At present D’Amato is a senior lecturer in English at Curry College; in the past she has been a “poet in the schools,” a public middle school teacher and a museum educator at the Henry W. Longfellow House. From 1998 to 2001, she coordinated and performed in “Mother Love: An Evening of Writing and Performance Pieces About Motherhood” at the JP Branch Library.

Her poetry has appeared in the Grolier Prize 1998 Anthology and in “When a Lifemate Dies: Stories of Love, Loss, and Healing.”

Chapter and Verse takes place on Wednesday evening, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Loring-Greenough House at 12 South St., just across from the monument in JP Center. The event is free, and refreshments are served. Information: e-mail [email protected] or [email protected], or call 325-8388.

The writer is the director of Chapter and Verse.

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