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LISTEN: Kansas City Poet Michelle Boisseau Reads Her 'Best American' Poem

Michelle Boisseau

The 19th-century English novelist George Eliot was reportedly no great beauty. One contemporary called the author of Middlemarch "exceedingly plain, with her aggressive jaw and her evasive blue eyes." Writer Henry James, who was an admirer, characterized her as "magnificently ugly, deliciously hideous."

These descriptions shaped "Ugglig," a poem by Kansas City poet and UMKC professor MichelleBoisseau selected for the 2016 edition of Best American PoetryFormer U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky describes the annual anthology as a "vivid snapshot of what a distinguished poet finds exciting, fresh and memorable." Boisseau traveled to New York City for a reading last week, sponsored by series editor David Lehman and this year's guest editor, Edward Hirsch. 

"Ugglig" was also published in Boisseau's fifth collection of poetry, Among the Gorgons (2016), which won the Tampa Review Prize for poetry. 

Boisseau reads from her work on Thursday, September 29 at 7 p.m. at Pilgrim Chapel, 3801 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Missouri. 

Angela Elam, producer/host of UMKC's literary radio show New Letters on the Air has worked in public radio since 1988, but she got her start as a reader for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany in 1981.
Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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