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Chelsea Rathburn

  • Old City Hall 510 Greene Street Key West, FL 33040 (map)
Chelsea Rathburn a.jpg

Chelsea Rathburn is a native of Miami and currently lives in the North Georgia mountains with her husband, the poet James Davis May, and their daughter. She is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Young Harris College, where she directs the creative writing program.

In her third and most recent collection, Still Life With Mother and Knife, Rathburn seeks to voice matters once deemed unspeakable, from collisions between children and predators to the realities of postpartum depression. This book considers the female body, “mute and posable,” as object of both art and violence. Once an artist’s model, now a mother, Rathburn knows “how hard / it is to be held in the eyes of another.” Intimate and fearless, her poems move in interlocking sections between the pleasures and dangers of childhood, between masterpieces of art and magazine centerfolds, and―in a gripping sequence in dialogue with Delacroix’s paintings and sketches of Medea―between the twinned ferocities of maternal love and rage. With singular vision and potent poetic form, Rathburn crafts a complex portrait of girlhood and motherhood from which it is impossible to look away.

In addition her first full-length collection, The Shifting Line, won the 2005 Richard Wilbur Award and was published by the University of Evansville Press. Her second collection, A Raft of Grief, was published by Autumn House Press in the spring of 2013.

Chelsea’s poems have appeared in PoetryThe Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic, The Southern Review, New England Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review and Ploughshares, among other journals and anthologies. She was recently named runner-up for the Missouri Review’s Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize, and her poems were showcased in The Missouri Review’s Summer 2018 issue. In 2009, she received a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Admission is free and seating begins at 5:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis with the program starting promptly at 6:00 p.m.

Earlier Event: March 4
David Garrard Lowe
Later Event: March 18
David Lawrence Jr.