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Acclaimed Poet Katy Didden Reads from Her New Collection Ore Choir: The Lava on Iceland

Saturday, February 11 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


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“And what does it mean to be human in the face of such ancient forces, especially as climate change unsettles the earth that anchors us? By the light of the “sphere’s credo,” can we, too, be remade?”

Hill Center is delighted to welcome back poet Katy Didden, reading from her powerful and exquisite new collection, Ore Choir: The Lava on Iceland. Part miracle, part oracle, in these poems lava speaks “with the focus of a burning glass,” lighting lyric core samples through geo-historical and cultural texts about Iceland. Shifting the ground so “nouns are never still,” the lava reveals how language itself is a record of collisions: poem as matter, sound as forge, form as friction. And what does it mean to be human in the face of such ancient forces, especially as climate change unsettles the earth that anchors us? By the light of the “sphere’s credo,” can we, too, be remade?

Award-winning poet Cynthia Hogue, author of In June the Labyrinth, has high praise for Ore Choir, writing that “In Katy Didden’s oracular hybrid chorale, Ore Choir, the primordial Lava of Iceland is a geomorphic artist ‘paint[ing] vales’ by ‘eras[ing] the ground,’ proclaiming that ‘Iceland is the only art.’ The ground that lava covers makes it new—aesthetic, abstract, modern—blurring the lines between visual and poetic. As the Lava asks the Fire Priest, ‘Can you see/ this way of making/ as a language?’ To create Ore, Didden chose source texts drawn from the rich archives on historic volcanoes in Iceland, imagining ‘ink flowing’ over the texts as lava flows over land. Paired with Kevin Tseng’s brilliant visuals, Didden’s poems become ‘core samples’—transhuman palimpsests, eerily and resonantly vatic—and the collection as a whole volcanic.”

East City Bookshop will have books available for sale and signing – purchase your advance copy here.

Katy Didden is the author of  The Glacier’s Wake (Pleiades Press, 2013). Her poems, essays, and reviews appear in journals such as Public BooksPoetry Northwest, Ecotone, Diagram, The Kenyon Review, Image, 32 Poems, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Sewanee Review, and Poetry, and her work has been featured on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily.  She has received fellowships and residencies from The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the Hambidge Center, the MacDowell Colony, and the Listhús Residency in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland. She was also a 2013-2014 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. Collaborating with members of the Banff Research in Culture’s Beyond Anthropocene Residency, she co-created Almanac for the Beyond (Tropic Editions, 2019). Katy is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Ball State University.

For in-person attendance, we require all attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 


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Saturday, February 11
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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