David Baker appeared at the Midwest Poet Series for a reading last night. The event was held in Mabee Theater, Sedgwick Hall on the campus of Rockhust College in Kansas City.
Baker's works have been published in The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Yorker, New Letters and the Yale Review. While he grew up in Missouri he now resides in Ohio and teaches creative writing at Denison University. He has written six poetry books and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
His reading was well attended and was an enjoyable happening on a cold snowy Kansas City night. Bakers Missouri roots showed strongly in two of his poems, one to his Missouri grandmother and another unique piece that put himself and his family into one of Thomas Hart Benton's paintings. A very creative task to say the least considering the static nature of paintings.
There was an intense piece he wrote that referenced Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf. Then to change the pace a bit, The Truth About Small Towns which was like everyone in this little Ohio village had a voice in the poem.
He read a touching love piece he wrote about hands - which was based on a hand condition that was quite debilitating for his wife over a period of I believe a couple years.
My favorite was written about his "nearly twelve" year old daughter (nearly is important to her) who is ADHD. The poem is titled Hyper and it was so dramatic in it's ability to let you feel the turbulence associated with ADHD.
Not only is David Baker a gifted language artist, his reading style was most pleasing.