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Eagle Pond Authors’ Series: Cheryl Savageau
September 19, 2023 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Cheryl Savageau will read from her poetry collections Dirt Road Home and Mother/Land, which explore facets of New England / Indigenous place and identity. Siobhan Senier writes, in Studies in American Indian Literature, that Savageau’s poetry “comes out of a long line of Abenaki writing traceable all the way back to the precontact birchbark maps called awikhiganak” and “challenges readers to see all of New England as fundamentally Indigenous space.” Savageau will also read selections from her latest book, Out of the Crazywoods, a memoir written in intense vignettes, telling the riveting and insightful story of her late-life diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Brenda Jo Brueggemann, editor of Disability Studies Quarterly, calls it “a compelling work of complex embodiment, complicated relations (with self and other), and careful narrative. It demonstrates how one writes identity and, too, how identity can be (well) written.”
This reading is free and open to the public. Books will be sold at the reading by the Plymouth State University Barnes & Noble Bookstore. The poet will be available to sign them after the reading.
Of Abenaki and French Canadian heritage, Cheryl Savageau is the author of the memoir, Out of the Crazywoods and three books of poetry, Mother/Land, Dirt Road Home, (a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize) and Home Country. She has won Fellowships in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Program, and is a three-time fellow at MacDowell. Former editor of Dawnland Voices 2.0, Savageau currently teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. Her new collection of poems, Arcana Major, is forthcoming in 2023.
Savageau’s poetry retells Abenaki stories, often focusing on the unrecognized lives of women and the working class; her work is enriched by the landscape and ecology of New England. Her knowledge of lakes, ecology, and the importance of storytelling informed her children’s book Muskrat Will Be Swimming (1996), a winner of the Notable Book for Children Award from the Smithsonian and the Skipping Stones Book Award for Exceptional Multicultural and Ecology and Nature Books.
Out of the Crazywoods (memoir) (University of Nebraska Press, 2020)
Mother/Land (poetry) (Salt Publishing, 2006)
Dirt Road Home (Curbstone Press, 1995) (poetry) (available through Northwestern U. Press)