Peter O'Leary - "Earth Is Best" - Mark Booth

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Peter O'Leary

Peter O'Leary discusses Earth Is Best. He will be accompanied by improvised music provided by Mark Booth. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: In a time of ecological crisis, Peter O’Leary finds in mushrooms “an elaborate pattern,” a circulation of energy, a strange Kingdom with the power to alter consciousness. From the opening line “Earth is best,” each proposition takes root in the terroir of soils, in the woods and meadows of the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest. On each foray, we find hidden systems bearing fruit, “crowning from the duff of white pines / and birch trees,” extending upward from “loam’s rich undying gloom.” Equally, these poems bloom from a rich mulch of linguistic inheritance, a compost of ancient texts and esoteric knowledge, searching out old words of exquisite exactitude and resonance. As readers, our attention quickens as we join the hunt, discovering elemental pleasures on every page, sometimes with the prickling onset of psychedelic consciousness. And like fungi, these poems work to break down false oppositions, returning us to a reciprocity between death and life, panic and joy, anxiety and euphoria, tocsin and cure.

About the author: Peter O’Leary was born in 1968 in Detroit, where he was educated by the Lasallian Christian brothers. He studied literature and religion at the University of Chicago. In the 1990s, he was mentored by Ronald Johnson, becoming his literary executor upon the poet’s death in 1998. In addition to Detroit and Chicago, he has lived in Portland, Oregon, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Vienna, and Budapest. He is the author of five previous books of poetry, numerous chapbooks, as well as two books of literary criticism. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois, and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the University of Chicago. With John Tipton, he edits Verge Books.

About the accompanying artist: Mark Booth is a multi-disciplinary artist working primarily in the intersecting fields of sound and text, performance and visual display. His work makes use of ambient sound and drone, recitation and repetition, recombination and setting. He teaches in the Writing and Sound departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637