Martha Serpas

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Biography

Martha Serpas has published three collections of poetry, Côte BlancheThe Dirty Side of the Storm, and The Diener. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Image, and Southwest Review and has been anthologized in the Library of America’s American Religious Poems and in The Art of the Sonnet. Active in efforts to restore Louisiana’s wetlands, she co-produced Veins in the Gulf, a documentary about coastal erosion. She teaches at the University of Houston and serves as a hospital trauma chaplain.

 

 


Schedule

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Capitol Park Welcome Center, Glass Room
Discussion
Vanishing Coast: Multi-Genre Perspectives

11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Book Signing

1 p.m to 1:45 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 2
Book Talk
Voices from Louisiana: Profiles of Contemporary Writers

2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Book Signing


NameOAuthor

The Diener: Poems

The Diener investigates loss and healing, change and permanence, in a hospital trauma center and the eroding landscape of southern Louisiana. The diener himself, the morgue attendant who assists the dead in the interstice between the living world and the world beyond, is the person with whom Martha Serpas most identifies in this collection. As a part-time hospital chaplain, Serpas possesses keen insight into the despair and resolve of patients and their families and friends.

Yet the themes in The Diener go well beyond grief and loss, as Serpas finds deeper meaning in faith, humanity, and the celebration of life. The diener is preeminent in a cast of characters-a sailor, a clerk, roustabouts, mothers, nurses, and chaplains-that represents the paradoxes of body and soul. Loss is never just absence, and presence is not necessarily wholeness. Attending to the pastoral both as ecological advocacy and spiritual care, The Diener looks to the metaphysical world and the Gulf landscape as vehicles of change and stasis.

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