Bates College asistant professor of English Myronn Hardy poses for a portrait in his office. Courtesy photo Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Myronn Hardy, an assistant professor of English at Bates College, will read from his newly published book of poems, “Aurora Americana,” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at Gomes Chapel on the campus of Bates College in Lewiston. Books will be for sale at the event.

“Aurora Americana” is being published by Princeton University Press on Oct. 10 as part of the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets. This is the second book of Hardy’s poetry to be published by Princeton. The first, “Radioactive Starlings,” came out in 2017. His other works include “Approaching the Center,” “The Headless Saints,” “Catastrophic Bliss” and “Kingdom.”

The themes Hardy explores in “Aurora Americana” are exile and return; he returned to the United States in 2018 after nearly a decade living in Morocco, and found North America both recognizable and unrecognizable. Hardy works in varied forms, including the sonnet, the triolet, and the ghazal, which has its origins in seventh-century Arabic poetry.

The poems in this collection are all set around the same time of day. According to Hardy’s publisher, “With poems set at or near dawn, “Aurora Americana” explores an ominous yet hopeful new morning in America, one in which potential cataclysm exists alongside possibility and change.”

Hardy recently told the literary journal The Rumpus he’s never centered temporality this way. “This is very new for me. Also, of course, there is the metaphor of “dawn” that I hope the poems interrogate. What does it mean to be on the cusp of something? Are we on the verge of evolution or devolution?” Speaking of his process, Hardy described the inception of his poetry as an image or images. “I see something I can’t shake. The image remains in my mind. I dream about it. I wait for that particular image to morph, a subtle change in color or a repositioning. When that happens, I know I’m in the process and nearing the page. I then wait for the music: the sound of a leaf sliding on asphalt, a river flowing over jagged rocks, etc. This is usually the sound I’m trying to emulate in the poem. When this is clear, the language arrives in a line, sentence, stanza. The poem is in motion. I wake up before the sun emerges and write as its light covers the page.”

Hardy’s poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, the Portland Press Herald and the Michigan Quarterly Review, among others. He has received several awards, including the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award.

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