McWalker Yarns Hosted a Poetry Reading in Millvale

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.

 

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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

6 thoughts on “McWalker Yarns Hosted a Poetry Reading in Millvale

    • Yes, Audrey you would have love this for sure. You always address the importance of mental health issues on your blog. It was a powerful reading.

  1. Hats off to both presenters. I am unfamiliar with Words Without Walls. Thank you, Michael for working in a difficult setting with an underserved population.
    Kudos to Sheryl St. Germain for sharing the difficult journey and meditative use of crocheting to manage the day to day recovery. Very courageous to put this into words.

  2. Crochet is also very meditative and soothing for me. I’m very sorry to learn of Sheryl’s loss – I can’t begin to image. Kudos to Michael for working with a population that definitely needs support!

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