Monday, September 05, 2005

Another return: Lee Ann Brown & Company

One of the transforming facts in my life over the last few years has been the arrival of the poet Lee Ann Brown, her husband Tony Torn, and their young daughter Miranda, on the Asheville scene. Lee Ann grew up in Charlotte, but went to Brown for university and has been active in the New York poetry scene for more than a decade since. She has her own press, Tender Buttons, and has published experimental women poets like Bernadette Mayer, Lisa Jarnot, and Laynie Browne; she's published, with other houses, two significant collections of her own, Polyverse and The Sleep That Changed Everything. Lee Ann's always liked the mountains, so when she and Tony decided to marry, they chose Hot Springs, just down the river in Madison County, as the location for the ceremony. Now they've bought a house in the Little Pine community, and plan to live there, going forward, as much as they can manage, given commitments of career, etc., otherwise. Lee Ann has brought her enthusiasm and energy to local poetry programs, like those at the Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center (see the link on the right), and has also maintained, thankfully, relationships with friends elsewhere - who sometimes come to visit. Since March, for instance, Lisa Jarnot , Vancouver poet Peter Culley, and Laynie Browne, author of the new Drawing of a Swan Before Memory, have all made their ways across the mountains to Lee Ann's and Tony's - and into Asheville. By the simple act of becoming a local presence, with all her intelligence and energy, Lee Ann has extended the horizons of those here, myself included, who are actively engaged with the work (and play) of poetry.

Lee Ann and Tony have returned to New York for awhile to pursue livelihoods in the city's universities and theaters, so we'll miss them. I'll post more another day, no doubt, about Lee Ann's work, and the work of the poets she's published, but for now I'd just like to say thanks to her for all she's done to open up the land of sky.

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Updated January 11, 2007, to insert a word inadvertently omitted from a phrase.

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