Atlanta poet Amy Pence will debut her new poetry collection “Your Posthumous Dress: Remnants of the Alexander McQueen Collection 1992-20xx” on Nov. 16 in a benefit for Shatterproof, a national organization pioneering new treatment strategies for addiction.
The event will be held, appropriately, at contemporary art gallery Poem 88, from 7 to 9 p.m. and will include a fashion show of McQueen-inspired fashion. Reading alongside Pence will be local poets Lisa Allender, Rupert Fike, Marissa McNamara and Julie E. Bloemeke. Poem 88 is at 1123 Zonolite Road. Tickets are available at this link.
Atlanta INtown talked with Pence about what inspired her poetry and the fashion show benefit.
How does Alexander McQueen inspire you?
McQueen fascinated me as I was going through a divorce, a move, and then into the 2016 season and the devastating election – I poured over a folio of his designs and watched many of his runway shows on YouTube. His genius was to use a Gothic sensibility in his shows and artifacts and to outrageously comment on society’s assumptions about beauty, gender, the stability of the planet’s ecosystem, and materialism. And, he created gorgeous works of art. His designs became what Richard Hugo calls the “triggering town” for me to jump into my true subject. Poetry, for me, can be very visceral, and like McQueen’s designs, poetry – like all art – can be a revolt. Yet even when difficult, poetry – one hopes – shows us the way to healing.
What will the reading be like?
Sixteen readers will read the poems wearing McQueen-inspired fashions. Hats, made by the wondrous haberdashers Bitsy Pitts & Karen Holcomb Mason, will be worn by the readers, local poets, writers and artists. We will auction the hats to benefit Shatterproof. The Duchess of Grant Park will read the finale and title poem, and has been so gracious to help support the book and the benefit.
Tell us about the organization you will be benefiting.
From his biography, I learned that McQueen struggled with addiction to opioids and his suicide was particularly haunting. Opioid addiction is a theme in the poems in my book, and l want these poems to begin the healing. The show will benefit Shatterproof, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation addiction causes families. My goal is to raise $500. Ticket prices are just $5, and the audience will receive a chapbook with the poems we’ll be reading, but we are open to donations as well on the fundraising page.