In her latest volume of poetry, Visiting Days, area poet Gretchen Primack literally goes to jail. A collection of short, imagistically keen dramatic monologues, Visiting Days captures images, stories, voices and fragments of lives on the inside, connecting them in subtly woven themes to the racial, economic, and human realities that feed the booming and largely private prison complex that is barely ever mentioned in public discourse. It is called a work of advocacy as well as of poetry, if only because anything that humanizes prisoners sensitizes us to the larger cultural processes that have brought us here. But Primack plays strictly by the rules of the poet. All is evocation, suggestion, voice and rich of interactions of language under the surface. There is no soapbox on-site.
Primack’s poetry publication credits include the Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, FIELD, Poet Lore, the Massachusetts Review, the Antioch Review, New Orleans Review, Rhino, Tampa Review and many others, and her work has been chosen for several anthologies. Her poem “You Are a Prince,” published in Ploughshares, was featured on PoetryDaily.org. She is also well-known to locals as a gifted bookseller at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock.
Golden Notebook presents a reading with Gretchen Primack of Visiting Days at the Woodstock Community Center on Saturday, April 13. This event is free.