Avid Poetry Series: Alyse Bensel and Eric Tran

Alyse Bensel and Eric Tran
Event date: 
Thursday, October 7, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Event Location

Avid Bookshop on Zoom

Avid Bookshop presents an Avid Poetry Series event featuring Alyse Bensel and Eric Tran. Hosted by Avid Poetry Series curator Hannah V. Warren, this reading and conversation will take place on Thursday, October 7, 2021, from 7pm - 8pm EST via Zoom.

To attend this event, purchase a ticket (or select a no-cost ticket). You will receive a Zoom link via email one hour before the event begins. Please purchase your tickets early as ticket sales will be cut off at 7pm EST on the day of the event (10/7/21). We have 2 ticketing options:

  • Pay-What-You-Can ticket only (no book)
  • No-cost ticket to get Zoom event access only (no book)



A poetic biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), Rare Wondrous Things investigates the history of this German artist and naturalist who made groundbreaking discoveries in entomology. While Merian led an exceptional life—even traveling to Suriname at fifty-two years old in the pursuit of knowledge—her name has largely remained in obscurity, and her personal life is still shrouded in mystery. These poems recover her legacy by exploring the tensions between science and religion, professional aspirations and motherhood, wifehood and independence, and biographer and subject.

Alyse Bensel is the author of three chapbooks, including Lies to Tell the Body (Seven Kitchens Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, Poetry International, West Branch, and elsewhere. She teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference. Rare Wondrous Things is her first poetry collection.

In The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer, Eric Tran contends with the aftermath of a close friend’s suicide while he simultaneously explores the complexities of being a gay man of color.  At the intersection of queerness, loss, and desire, Tran uses current events, such as the Pulse nightclub tragedy, pop culture references, and comic book allusions to create a unique and textured poetry debut. He employs an unexpected pairing of prayer and fantasy, allowing readers to imagine a world of queer joy and explore how grief can feel otherworldly.

Eric Tran is from the San Francisco Bay Area; currently he lives in Asheville, North Carolina. He received his MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is the author of the Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer (Autumn House Press, 2020) and the chapbooks Revisions (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018) and Affairs with Men in Suits (Backbone Press, 2014).

He is a resident physician in psychiatry at the Mountain Area Health Education Center. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine. His career interests include substance use treatment, community mental health, and LGBTQ mental health.


Hannah V. Warren is a poet, storyteller, and speculative literature scholar. Her poetry collection [re]construction of the necromancer won Sundress Publications' 2019 chapbook contest. Among other journals, Hannah's works have found homes in Fairy Tale ReviewPassages North, and Mid-American Review.

Hannah has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Kansas and is a doctoral student in English at the University of Georgia. Her research interests include non-mimetic literature, apocalypse, and depictions of monstrosity.

Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian Cover Image
ISBN: 9781732743403
Availability: May be on our shelves or available in 5-7 business days
Published: Green Writers Press - July 21st, 2020

The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer (Autumn House Rising Writer Prize) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781938769511
Availability: Unavailable
Published: Autumn House Press - March 25th, 2020

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