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Poet Laureate Book Launch with Art Collaboration


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Logan City Poet Laureate Star Coulbrooke has released a new poetry collection, Thin Spines of Memory, published by Helicon West Press.  The poems in this volume are centered around Coulbrooke’s formative years on a small family farm near the Bear River in southeast Idaho. Themes that recur in the book are fire, water, and family. Topics range from the perils of rural childhood and the loss of innocence to the idyllic sense of wild nature supposedly tamed to a pastoral setting, tucked into the antics of animals and the progression of seasons.

USU art professor Jane Catlin contributed a work titled Coalesce for the cover. The colors and textures of the piece, created with transfers, paint, and pencil on Mylar, are reminiscent, to Coulbrooke, of the river and landscape in her poems. The images in the artwork—fronds of river grass, amoebic water creatures, shadowy layers of spongy or spiny greenery—seem to wave and scintillate as if in ripples of water. Coulbrooke, a longtime admirer of Catlin’s art, invited her to contribute the piece. “It reflects the mystery, danger, and beauty,” she says, “of the river I’ve loved all my life; it conveys the sense of loss and redemption that I hope the poems contain.” 

Former USU student Maria Williams designed the book. Williams is stationed in New York, working as a designer for Macmillan Publishers. She also tutors online for the USU Writing Center. Coulbrooke is director of the Writing Center.

A book launch for Thin Spines of Memory will be held at the Bluebird Restaurant, third floor, on Sunday, April 30, at 7:00 PM, with a reception, reading and booksigning. The event is BYOB (bring your own drinks) with light refreshments. Free and open to the public. Come celebrate with the poet laureate and support your local arts community.


Step out of the river
into a prickly pear forest
bait cans and spines
old rotted line strung from junipers
ending in sinkers and spinners.

Over the beach fish bones
maggoty carcasses
the bright flash of a lost lure. 

Hope crowds up
shedding its clothes
where girls and boys
jumped into rapids
drifted together
as if drawn by fishing line.

Out of the stickers

our lure shines
hot sand wet skin
nerve endings afire
with invisible prickles
hair-thin spines of memory.