Last Thursday at New Haven's Institute Library, I heard Claire Zoghb read her poetry.
Hers is not a poetry that slaps or shocks. It is as unpretentious and human as an embrace, as welcoming as a smile, yet it's not a sappy sentimental sort either. For this reading, Ms. Zoghb read from her first full-length collection, Small House Breathing, which took the 2008 Quercus Review annual book competition. These poems sit on the threshold - where one culture knocks on the door of another in a friendly way, and is welcomed.
Her gentle, quiet-but-knowing style of delivery complemented the words - the poems and the person being of one whole cloth, the one the essential expression of the other.
She has a new chapbook, Dispatches from Everest, to be released by Pudding House Press on a schedule to be determined. Her work has appeared often: Yankee, Connecticut Review, Connecticut River Review, Caduceus, and CALYX, and in Through A Child’s Eyes: Poems and Stories About War and Eating Her Wedding Dress: A Collection of Clothing Poems, (the last two are anthologies).
She's won a lot of awards: she won the 2008 Dogwood annual poetry competition, was awarded two Artist Fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, and there were two Pushcart nominations.
If you have a chance to get to one of her readings, drive a bit, walk, ride the bus. Arrive, sit back, enjoy.
Ms. Zoghb lives in New Haven where The Institute Library can be found at 847 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT. There is a poetry reading there each third Thursday. The Institute Library is a membership library and it is seeking members. For $25 a year you can borrow whatever you like and keep it as long as you need to. You can even mail it back. Though membership involves a fee - the monthly poetry reading is free.
-- Mar Walker