PSNH Presents: Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose on the Poetry of Girlhood

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Date(s) - June 21, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


“She is herself a cave full of echoes, she is a system of repetitions, she is a closed circuit.”—Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber

In the Western world, with what echoes does a girl grow up? To what systems does she dedicate herself? In what caves does she sing? In what graves does she find herself? Which hungers does she deny herself…and which does she permit?

Join Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose on Tuesday, June 21, AT 7:00 PM EST as she discusses poetry about the perils of girlhood. Among other poems, she will bring to discussion several lyric poems from Imago, Dei (winner of the 2021 Rattle Chapbook Prize), a chapbook about a young girl navigating what it means to be a “good girl” within the context of evangelical fundamentalism. Elizabeth, who also teaches poetry-as-healing for the Breast Cancer Coalition, will talk about writing poetry as an act of agency. How can poets use their words to claim control of their own narratives and, in doing so, find healing? Also, what are the inevitable but necessary risks of writing about childhood trauma? Contact for participation information.

Bio: Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose’s writing appears in The Atlantic, Rattle, Room, Feminist Formations, and McSweeney’s, among many others. She is the author of two chapbooks, Wild Things (Main Street Rag, 2021) and Imago, Dei (winner of the 2021 Rattle Chapbook Poetry Prize). Her poem, “After My Teenager Tries…,” was one of 10 finalists for the 2021 Rattle Poetry Prize. She is also the co-editor of Tuesdays at Six (2019), a collection of poetry and prose by breast cancer survivors that was made possible, in part, through generous funding from Just Poets of Rochester and Foothills Press. Elizabeth’s writing and scholarship focus on literary, mythological, and cultural representations of female identity and gender-based violence. She teaches courses in writing, literature, and gender studies at MCC and SUNY Brockport, and was a recipient of the 2015 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2017 SUNY Traveling Lecturer Award. Co-founder of the four-woman collective Straw Mat Writers, she also facilitates a writing-as-therapy group for breast cancer survivors. Elizabeth lives in Rochester, NY, with her partner, Brian, their daughters Ava and Christina, and four unruly rescue animals.

Twitter @libbyjohnston74

Elizabeth’s chapbooks:

Wild Things

Imago, Dei

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