Award-winning poet comes back to Norfolk

Poet Lindsay Bernal just before her reading at the Norfolk Library
Poet Lindsay Bernal just before her reading at the Norfolk Library.
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NORFOLK — It was a homecoming of sorts for poet Lindsay Bernal, who read at the Norfolk Library on April 28. Bernal, who is currently the coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Maryland, has family who have lived in Norfolk for many years. “My mother and her entire family grew up in Norfolk,” Bernal said in an interview before the event. “Her brothers still live here and some of my cousins are here as well. I used to live in Rochester, N.Y., but I would come down to visit during the summer when I was young.” Many members of Bernal’s family were present at the event where she read from her first collection of poems “What It Doesn’t Have to Do With,” which was published by the University of Georgia Press last year. The collection was selected as a winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series competition. “A lot of the collection deals with my life at the time and it is mostly written as an elegiac,” Bernal said. “The central part of the book is my sister-in-law’s suicide, which happened in 2007. It took me a long time to write about it.” While much of the book is influenced by family tragedy, she said that some of her poems are influenced by art and museums. “If I had not been a poet I would have been an art historian,” she said. “I like melting life, art and literary history all together.” Bernal added that she is in the early stages of writing her next book. “Some of it will be an exploration about female mystics during the medieval period,” she said. For more information about Bernal’s work visit www.lindsaybernal.com.

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