Writers Abraham Smith, Christy Crutchfield and Nathan Parker will read from their work at the next installment of the Blue House's Visiting Writers Series on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Visiting Writers Series Smith Crutchfield Parker

Writers Abraham Smith, Christy Crutchfield and Nathan Parker will read from their work at the next installment of the Blue House's Visiting Writers Series, which will be beld at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Blue House.

Writers Series to Host Readings by Crutchfield, Parker, Smith

The Blue House at Elms College will present a poetry reading by writers Abraham Smith, Nathan Parker and Christy Crutchfield at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27. A reception will precede the event at 7 p.m.

“This should be a pretty amazing event, with three unique and emerging voices,” said Dan Chelotti, assistant professor of English at Elms College.

Christy Crutchfield is a local fiction writer; she is the author of the novel How to Catch a Coyote. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Mississippi Review, Salt Hill Journal, Juked and others. She is a contributor to the Small Press Book Review and a native of Atlanta. She writes and teaches in Western Massachusetts. “I often write about family, especially the uglier parts of family relationships,” Crutchfield said. “I'm interested in the internal, how we travel through the outside world with a hidden narrative going on inside our heads.”

Readings are special events for students and book lovers of all types, she noted. “When you hear the work read by the writer, you get a sense of how she wants it to be read. In a sense, you hear the voice it was written in,” she said. “Reading is often a private activity, but when you go to a reading, you get to share the experience with an entire audience.”

Nathan Parker’s recent poems appear or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review, Quarterly West, Octopus, Swink, and elsewhere. He lives with his wife, Christie, and 1-­year­-old son, Noah, in Alabama, where he teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Alabama. In his work, he explores themes of connection between people and connection with the divine.

“In my opinion, agony is distance from God/distance from other people; joy is intimacy with God/intimacy with other people,” Parker said. “I search for both kinds of intimacy and more often than not find neither. But I do pretty often find seeds, leaven, dreams, jars of oil, fishes with the temple tax in their mouths, pearls, poems. Items that point to the faint possibility of everlasting intimacy with God and everlasting intimacy with people. The poems I like best -- and the ones I try to write -- are poems that point.”

Abraham Smith hails from Ladysmith, Wisc., a neck of the woods to which he returns every summer to chop wood and make hay. At this event, he plans to perform poems from his latest book, Ashagalomancy (out Nov. 1, 2015). “[These poems] are creation myths for my totemic animals -- mostly birds and beasts I grew up around in Northern Wisconsin,” he said. “In these poems, I dream a history for each. What's the story behind the red splotch on the wing of a redwing blackbird? Must be a heavenly garden tomato whispering somewhere back there in the family leaf on the family tree.”

Action Books has published three other books by Smith: Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer (2014), Hank (2010) and Whim Man Mammon (2007). With Shelly Taylor, he edited Hick Poetics (Lost Roads Press, 2015), an anthology of contemporary rural American poetry. He has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass., and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He teaches at the University of Alabama.

Chelotti first saw Smith read at the Associated Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference last year in Minneapolis. “I was so blown away by his unique and authentic reading style that I asked him to come read at Elms almost as soon as he left the stage,” Chelotti said.

The Blue House is Elms College’s new writing center. It is located at 147 Grape St. in Chicopee, on the edge of the college campus. This event is free and open to the public; parking is available at the Blue House or on campus.