Lauren Clark’s poems have appeared in FIELD, Ninth Letter, the Offing, and many other journals. They earned an MFA from the University of Michigan, where they won four of five categories of the university’s prestigious Hopwood Awards. They have been the recipient of scholarships from the New York State Summer Writers Institute and the Sewanee Writers Conference. They work as program and development coordinator at Poets House in New York City and collaborate with Etc. Gallery in Chicago.
The poems in Lauren Clark’s debut book, Music for a Wedding, move fluidly and unforgettably between the rituals of monogamy, death, loneliness, and the body in search of what might last forever. In the abandonment of those who die and those who leave, Clark’s speakers are orphic in their use of song as a mode of enduring the hours. Like sybils, Clark’s poems make the entrails of what’s left behind luminous, even if what is presented is darkness, “that low velvet we make / within ourselves”. Their poetry is at once free of the formalities associated with lyric poetry and full of its own novel shapes that only Clark could devise. Their poetry queers our understanding of poetics and what a book of poems can be by dwelling in intimate corners of the self that may seem otherwise insensate without their taking us in to witness such depths. In Clark’s hands, the whole of the world–in poetry and on the ground–is preternatural, requiring of us dedication and devotion. But not to the usual rituals of mourning and prayer. Rather, “darkness is to remind [us] what [we] could not see before”, that in the absence of being with others, the only true devotion left is grief.