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Meet the Poets

June 17, 2024
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Kelli Lage | Early Cuts

Marilyn J. Baszczynski | daughter, while i’m still here

@Beaverdale Books

The poetry collection, Early Cuts, explores what can cut a human, metaphorically, past the physical, throughout life’s stages. This story explores complex emotions under sections titled, “The Cut,” “The Healing,” “The Infection,” and “The Scar.”

“The Cut” breaks open the floodgates of mental and emotional pain. “The Healing” delves into love and mental health. “The Infection” tours mistakes as well as the nonlinear p
rocess of healing. “The Scar” ponders what humans are left with when our journey on this earth is complete.


Kelli Lage began publishing her work in literary magazines in 2019. Her writing focuses on healing, nature, relationships, and rural life.  She has written two chapbooks Harvest is a Chapel and I’m Glad We Did This, and one full-length book, Early Cuts.   Lage is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated poet, as well as a photographer. She holds her bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education and studied poetry during the summer 2023 session at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Lage is an Assistant Poetry Editor for Bracken Magazine and author of poetry books, Early Cuts and I’m Glad We Did This.  Her poems have been published in Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, The Lumiere Review, Mauldin House, Stanchion Zine, Welter Journal, and more.


The poems in daughter, while i’m still here capture a mother’s desire to convey what over eight decades of experiences and learnings have revealed about the fragility of life, relationships, and happiness, which she shares in poignant moments of recollection during her final weeks in hospice. Each poem reveals fragments of an enduring connection with her daughter, sometimes wound into stories about teeth, snapshots or shoes, but more often in an opening up of her most vulnerable self. There are reasons to cry, laugh, and grieve as she allows her daughter to share and feel her thoughts, hopes, and dreams, even as she tries to push back against the dementia that ultimately robs her of her words.


Marilyn Baszczynski is a retired French teacher, originally from Ontario, Canada, who lives and writes in rural Iowa. She has two chapbooks: Gyuri. A poem of wartime Hungary (2015), and daughter, while i’m still here (Spring 2024); her poems appear in numerous journals and anthologies including Abaton, Aurorean, Backchannels, Conestoga Zen, Gyroscope, Half-Way Down the Stairs, Healing Muse, Last Stanza, Midwest Poetry, Scapegoat, Shot Glass Journal, Star82 Review, Slippery Elm, and others. Marilyn is past-president of Iowa Poetry Association and editor-in-chief of their annual anthology, Lyrical Iowa, since 2017.



Diane Glass will moderate this event.  Diane shares her own stories—through poetry, through memoir, through teaching. She also listens with compassion to the stories of others, helping them see the threads of wisdom, meaning, joy and loss that define a life. Whether she is rejoicing in the natural beauty of a prairie or dancing the rumba, Diane infuses that same energy and imagination into her writing, speaking to universal themes of longing, love and discovery. Her memoir, This Need to Dance: A Life of Rhythm and Resilience, recounts how growing up with spina bifida, addressing breast cancer and losing a stepson prepared her spiritually to guide others through life change and difficulty.

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