Oblong Online: Spencer Reece "The Secret Gospel of Mark: A Poet's Memoir," in conversation with Mark Wunderlich

Event date: 
Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
EST via Crowdcast

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Devotional poet, priest, and National Book Award nominee, Spencer Reece talks with Mark Wunderlich about his new memoir and the great literary touchstones that have inspired his life journey.

Spencer Reece Image by Pete DuvallAll the Beauty Still Left: A Poet's Book of Hours by Spencer Reece

Image of Spencer Reece by Pete Duvall.

The Secret Gospel of Mark is a powerful dynamo of a story that delicately weaves the author's experiences with an appreciation for seven great literary touchstones: Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, James Merrill, Mark Strand, George Herbert, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. In speaking to the beauty these poets' works inspire in him, Reece finds the beauty of his own life's journey, from coming of age as a gay teenager in the 1980s, Yale, alcoholism, and more, eventually leading finally to hard-won success as a poet, reconciliation with his family, and the fulfillment of finding his life's work.

The illuminated medieval manuscripts known as Books of Hours have been used to guide contemplation and prayer for centuries, with their intricate designs and exquisite coloring. Concurrent with the release of his memoir, Reece has revived the tradition with a collection of over 50 vibrant watercolors inspired by his life journeys and his reflections on faith in All the Beauty Still Left: A Poet's Painted Book of Hours in which each painting faces a quote from the person that inspired it.

Spencer Reece's first published book of poetry, The Clerk's Tale, was selected from the slush pile by Louise Glück as the winner of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Bakeless Prize and published by Houghton Mifflin in 2004. The titular poem was adapted into a short film by James Franco in 2010. Reece is also the author of the poetry collection The Road to Emmaus, published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux in 2014, a finalist for the Griffin Prize and longlisted for the National Book Award. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. For several years he lived in Madrid, where he was the national secretary to the Episcopal bishop of Spain. He currently lives in Queens, NY, where he took over a parish when their priest died of Covid-19.

Mark Wunderlich is an award-winning poet and author of God of Nothingness, The Earth Avails, winner of the Rilke Prize; Voluntary Servitude; and The Anchorage, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. He teaches at Bennington College and lives in the Hudson Valley in New York.

All the Beauty Still Left: A Poet's Painted Book of Hours Cover Image
By Spencer Reece (Artist), Spencer Reece (Editor)
ISBN: 9781885983961
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Turtle Point Press - April 13th, 2021

The Road to Emmaus: Poems Cover Image
This item is not currently available to order.
ISBN: 9780374535209
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 31st, 2015

The Clerk's Tale: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780618422548
Availability: Available in our Warehouse: Usually Ships in 3-8 Days
Published: Ecco - April 4th, 2004