Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site and the Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara are pleased to announce the 2018 Carl Sandburg Writer-in-Residence, Carlene Kucharczyk. The writer for 2018 is a poet.
Carlene Kucharczyk first came to the Carl Sandburg Home when she was taking a road trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway and camping in national parks. She loved it and knew she would one day apply to be the writer-in- residence. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry from North Carolina State University in 2015, where she taught creative writing as a graduate student. After the program, she taught expository writing at the Agricultural Institute at NC State.
In 2017, she was awarded the Henry David Thoreau Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. She was also the recipient of a scholarship to The Frost Place Poetry Seminar. Her poetry and prose have been published or are forthcoming in Tupelo Quarterly, Connecticut River Review, Atlanta Review, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Permafrost Magazine, and Strange Horizons. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has placed in the North Carolina State Poetry and Fiction contests. She currently works as a freelance copyeditor, and is originally from Connecticut.
Poetry Selection from Carlene
At the once-beautiful hotel we try to eat breakfast;
there is only an egg still in its shell,
you can have it.
I tell the man the coffee’s gone.
He assures me two minutes
and disappears into the backroom.
You used to work at a hotel:
sixteen, in and out of guests’ rooms, collecting trays,
hello, thank you, have a nice day.
Once, you brought eggs to a man
and when he turned around after signing the bill,
the tie on his bathrobe slipped.
I watch the bar across the room:
only the ghosts of ghosts are drinking this morning,
not a rowdy bunch,
tired from their night-travels in and out of strangers’ rooms,
never touching the furniture,
only the sleeping faces that have forgotten the bodies they belong to.
Damaged sofas line the halls of the seven floors.
No one touches them
except for wandering or waiting children,
who, when left to themselves, are not afraid of things
damaged and worn.
Years from now, at the hotel liquidators,
people will see these couches and say yes, yes,
this is exactly the type of thing you would find in an old hotel.
They will buy more domestic pieces:
a chair with yellow upholstery from the St. Regis,
a small carafe to put flowers or milk in,
a painting for a bedroom.
I tell you I wish we could stay here longer
in this hotel of lost grandeur, this palace of interesting disarray,
and stay here with these pieces of the impersonal past
that have somehow not yet outlasted their small lights.
Twenty minutes later,
the man brings out the coffee.
He smiles and says he almost forgot,
as if once again he’s surprised himself.
Last updated: April 16, 2018