“Keeping Even”: a night of poetry

Angela Marcinik

On March 21 at Prescott College, Sheila Sanderson read from her new book of poems, “Keeping Even.”
At the top of a long flight of stairs, in the spacious high-ceilinged room that once was part of a monastery, Sanderson, long-time faculty member in the Arts & Letters Program at the college, prepared for a night of poetry. Straight-backed chairs were lined up for listeners. As people filtered into the performance space, Sanderson greeted them and thanked them for coming. The seats filled up row by row until every seat was occupied, and more people still made their way into the room.

The atmosphere was kind and warm. The crowd eagerly awaited Sanderson’s work.

Kenny Cook, Coordinator of the Arts & Letters Program at Prescott College, introduced Sanderson. He recounted a time when Sanderson read a poem to him that she had been working on and afterwards said, “I just want to write something beautiful.”

After Cook’s introduction, Sanderson took the stage. She read about ten poems, taking time between each to give some background to the characters and places she writes about.

On the back cover of “Keeping Even,” contemporary poet Chris Buckley praises the collection: “Sanderson writes a mature and committed poetry — a poetry that cuts to the bone, a poetry committed to cherishing the elemental wonders surrounding her life … ”

Of her first collection of poetry, Sanderson said, “My book now is more of a collage. There are [poems] I have had laying around, some are 15 years old. It is kind of like a greatest hits of the last 15 years. Now I have a clean slate and now the next book can be one whole piece.”

“Keeping Even” can be purchased on Amazon and at the Prescott College Bookstore.

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