The Beloved Bard Of Kent At Lakewood Public Library
In “Clouds Pile Up in the North,” Maj Ragain describes “the enduring life of poetry, how it can link what is here with the past, how scratchings on a page can come alive, how that voice extends far beyond our brief time.” Ragain’s voice will undoubtedly extend beyond his time; it will also be heard in Lakewood on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. when this acclaimed poet visits the Lakewood Public Library.
Author of seven chapbooks of poetry and five book-length collections, Ragain will grace the stage of the Main Library Auditorium to discuss his latest book, “Clouds Pile Up in the North: New & Selected Poems,” published in 2017. Ragain, who was born in a small farm town, earned a BA at Eastern Illinois University, an MA at the University of Illinois and a PhD from Kent State University, where he has taught since 1969. For over thirty years, he has hosted open poetry readings in Kent.
Reading his work, what stands out is his deep connection with the world and compassion for others. Admiration and affection come through clearly when people talk about Ragain, who has been both teacher and mentor for so many. In addition to his position at Kent State University, Ragain also gathers together a weekly writing group for veterans to guide them in expressing themselves, using the healing power of putting words on paper to conquer the demons that often haunt military veterans.
“Clouds Pile Up in the North” contains traditional style poetry and also prose poems, small stories that reveal Ragain’s deep insight and intense concentration on the world around him. Ragain delves into memoir, social commentary and the connection among things living and dead. In “Strip Mining Memory,” he tells a story from his childhood in southern Illinois about heating their small cottage. The coal that Ragain gathers from beside the railroad tracks and his father loads into the cast iron stove is “blind, buried sunlight.” Ragain describes the deep-earth origins of the coal and the fear that his father would have to enter the mine to make a living. The three-page story reveals both the poverty of Ragain’s early surroundings and the richness of his imagination.
Join us at the Main Library on April 12, 2018 to meet this extraordinary poet and hear him read from his new book. “Clouds Pile Up in the North” will be available for sale and signing at the event.