Maggie Smith Elissa Altman You Could Make This Place Beautiful

Publicity illustration from Barrett Bookstore website

Barrett Bookstore, in partnership with Main Street Books Davidson, is sponsoring an online talk with award-winning poet Maggie Smith in conversation with James Beard Award-winning author Elissa Altman.

The talk, which is free takes place starting at 7 p.m., April 26. You can register here.

The live, hour-long event takes place in at Our Town Cinemas in Davison, North Carolina, where Main Street Books Davidson is located.

About ‘You Could Make This Place Beautiful’

In her debut memoir, You Could Make This Place Beautiful, poet Maggie Smith explores in lyrical vignettes the end of her marriage and the beginning of a surprising new life.

A story that starts with Smith’s personal, particular heartbreak quickly grows into a reckoning with contemporary womanhood, family, work, and patriarchy. With the spirit of reflection and empathy she’s known for, and a razor-sharp wit, Smith interweaves snapshots of a life with meditations on secrets, anger, forgiveness, and narrative itself.

You Could Make This Place Beautiful, like the work of Cheryl Strayed, Tara Westover, and Elizabeth Gilbert, is an unflinching look at what it means to live and write our own lives. It’s a story about a mother’s fierce and constant love for her children, and a woman’s love and regard for herself.

Above all, this memoir is an argument for possibility. With a poet’s attention to language and an innovative approach to the genre, Smith reveals how, in the aftermath of loss, we can discover our power and make something new. Something beautiful.

About Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and the national bestsellers Goldenrod and Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change.

A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

She has been widely published, appearing in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Nation, The Best American Poetry, and more. You can follow her on social media @MaggieSmithPoet.

About Elissa Altman

Elissa Altman is the James Beard Award-winning author of the memoirs Motherland, Treyf, Poor Man’s Feast, and her upcoming memoir about living a creative life, On Permission.

A finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Connecticut Book Award, and Maine Literary Award for memoir, Altman’s work has appeared in Orion, On Being, O: The Oprah Magazine, LitHub, the Wall Street Journal, Dame, Lion’s Roar, The Guardian, and the Washington Post, where her column, Feeding My Mother, ran for a year.

Altman writes and speaks widely on the intersection of sustenance, the metabolizing of grief, and the creative spirit, and has appeared live on the TEDx stage and at the Public Theater in New York. She teaches the craft of memoir at the Fine Arts Work Center, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, College of William and Mary, and internationally. She lives in Connecticut with her family.

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