Thursday evening in Millvale, Amy McCall, owner of McWalker Yarns hosted poets Sheryl St. Germain and her former MFA student at Chatham U, Michael Bennett.
The yarn store was a wonderful backdrop for Sheryl St. Germain’s reading. Surrounded by skeins and skeins of colorful yarn, Sheryl read her powerful essay (from Stitching Resistance: Women, Creativity and Fiber Arts edited by Marjorie Agosin). She told of the role crochet has played in her life since childhood, but focusing on how crocheting with yarn helped her cope while parenting a son who was in trouble with alcohol, drugs and the law. She also read poems about her son’s dying of a heroin overdose from her book The Small Door of Your Death. Her words touched the audience as she described the helplessness and grief, her numbness, as she centered herself every evening after a long day- crocheting an afghan for her son. The repetition of hook into yarn loops as a meditation, an ease from depression and the stress of hopelessness. A healing.
Pittsburgh native Michael Bennett read his poetry first and opened for Ms. St. Germain. Michael has worked for three years with Words Without Walls program, teaching incarcerated Juvenile offenders, teenagers being tried as adults.
Cellist David Bennett and McWalker Yarns supporter introduces the poet and provided delicious desserts by Millvale Baker Jean-Marc Chatelier
New Orleans native Sheryl St. Germain has published six poetry books, two collections of essays, and co-edited two anthologies. The Small Door of Your Death, a collection of poems about the death of her son from a heroin overdose, appeared in 2018 with Autumn House Press. A forthcoming book, Fifty Miles, is a collection of essays about healing that include a couple of essays about working with yarn. Sheryl directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University where she also teaches poetry and creative nonfiction, and is co-founder of the Words Without Walls Program . She was named Louisiana Writer of the year in 2018. Sheryl is an avid and accomplished crocheter, and a much less accomplished knitter. See: www.sheryl-stgermain.com/ for more information.
Desserts created by Jean-Marc Chatellier French Bakery