ERIE, Pa. — The sonnets in Henrietta Goodman’s “All That Held Us” can be enjoyed on their own. It’s when the poems are read together, however, that they really shine.
“The sonnets are formally exquisite,” said George Looney, distinguished professor of English and creative writing at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, “but their formal intricacy does not get in the way of the sense of lived lives in the poems. Indeed, the narrative structured by these strung-together sonnets has that urgent feel of actual truth we discover in myth.”
Goodman will read from the collection on Thursday, Oct. 4, when she visits Behrend as part of the college’s Creative Writers Reading Series. Her 6 p.m. reading and the reception preceding it are free and open to the public. Both events will be held in the Larry and Kathryn Smith Chapel.
The winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, “All That Held Us” is a collection of linked sonnets that detail how a young woman wrestles with the expectations of her repressive upbringing and Southern culture. It is the third poetry collection by Goodman, who has also published “Hungry Moon” and “Take What You Want.”
Goodman’s poems and essays have recently appeared in New England Review, Southern Humanities Review, Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, 32 Poems and other journals. She received her master of fine arst in poetry from the University of Montana and a doctorate in English from Texas Tech University, and she currently teaches at both institutions.
The Creative Writers Reading Series is produced by Penn State Behrend’s B.F.A. in Creative Writing degree program with support from the Clarence A. and Eugenie Baumann Smith Fund. For additional information, call 814-898-6108 or visit https://behrend.psu.edu/readings.