Hello Siena Saints!
I hope you all had a great long weekend, I know I did! As we move further into the month of October, the Siena College Liberal Arts Department is excited to be announcing several upcoming events that will be available to students, one of which I was able to attend tonight. The Greyfriar Living Literature Series is hosted by the English Department each year and has been honored with the visits of several wonderfully talented authors, including poet Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer. Stephanie read several of her published poems to a group of students and faculty tonight in the Maloney Great Room and greeted her audience with the utmost kindness and gratitude.
Stephanie grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and holds a BA and BFA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Her work has been featured in various scholarly journals, including the Chicago Review, Colorado Review, and Best New Poets 2015 and her first full length book poems, Cleavemark was just recently published this year. Cleavemark essentially is a lament to Ellis Schlaifer’s grandmother, who was struck and killed by a drunk semi truck driver when Ellis Schlaifer was only eleven years old. Her poems depict various details of her grandparents’ house and how the family tries to put the pieces of the house back together again.
Ellis Schlaifer read several poems to the audience, but one of the major aspects of her work that I noticed were the descriptions of the random household objects that she remembers from her grandparents’ house as a child, such as dishes, doors, the attic, and the roof. These objects may seem quite ordinary and mostly insignificant to the average person, but Ellis Schlaifer describes them in a way that’s very raw and emotional. Each image is reflected back to her grandmother and her grandmother’s death, giving the reader/listener a sense that the tragedy still remains with Ellis Schlaifer to this day.
To learn more about Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer, check out her blog at https://criticalbonnet.com.
Did you go to the reading? Let me know in the comments!