event details

Jun 2017
7:00 pm
Literati Bookstore
124 E Washington
Ann Arbor, MI

Poetry Reading: Anna Lena Philips Bell & Monica Rico

Literati is pleased to welcome Anna Lena Phillips Bell and Monica Rico in support of their recent collections.


In her debut collection, Anna Lena Phillips Bell explores the foothills of the Eastern U.S., and the old-time Appalachian tunes and Piedmont blues she was raised to love. With formal dexterity—in ballads and sonnets, Sapphics and amphibrachs—the poems in Ornament traverse the permeable boundary between the body and the natural world.

“Ornament is a kind of tribute album. The poet, who is also a banjo player, pays tribute in many poems to the old-time music of the Carolinas, and like the music, her poems are marked by bursts of lyric beauty, deft storytelling, and haunting set pieces.”—Geoffrey Brock, author of Voices Bright Flags and judge

"Bell's formal virtuosity and luscious wordplay have the lightest of touches. The poems feel as if a winged being brushed by, leaving her readers subtly changed. Whether she's writing about slugs mating or wasps returning to a nest destroyed, she is in sync with the wild world, yet burnished by love."—Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst

"Brilliantly melding influences from Blues and Appalachian music to Dickinson and Frost, the adept, bold poems of Ornament offer praise and homage to the beleaguered, beautiful environments of the American southeast and of a poet's soul. This is the kind of carefully built and deeply understood poetry that engages experience in a transformation so thorough it becomes kinetic, changing our felt sense of how the world moves."—Annie Finch, 1990 winner of the Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award


The Twisted Mouth of the Tulip is Monica Rico's debut chapbook. Praise for the book:

"How fine it is to have Monica Rico’s poems in the world. They are fierce, smart, fleshy and transcendent, animal and incarnate. Somewhere in Ms. Rico’s cloud of witnesses, Jim Harrison, hungry and hirsute, sits to the comida –a feast of gamy feeds, green shoots, buckets of wine and usquebaugh — tamales and cajeta, dulce de leche fresh from the word horde."—Tom Lynch

"Monica Rico celebrates food and birds and the work her people do in Saginaw, Michigan. She celebrates the lives of Mexican Americans and then celebrates the influence of Jim Harrison. But there is also a beautiful and redemptive anger in her poems. “I am a simple little bird,” she writes, “brown and white like a sparrow/common enough that no one/will notice the nails/I’ve stomped into my shoes.” Watch out, reader! Monica Rico has walked into town! Her poems will tell you necessary things you didn’t know you needed."—Keith Taylor

Poetry Reading: Anna Lena Philips Bell & Monica Rico