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Discovering Brigit Pegeen Kelly

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“Joy is more than a pause,” Brigit Pegeen Kelley wrote in her poem “Near the Race Track.”

Kelly read at Poetry Center on April 28, 1986 as a winner of 92Y’s Discovery contest. The poems she shared that night (“Near the Race Track,” “To the Lost Child,” and “The Hill,” among others) were collected in her first book, To the Place of Trumpets, the 1987 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. “To imagine her own hymns after leaving church is the project for all of Kelly’s poetry,” wrote James Merrill.  “Her poems suggest a kind of folk art—their clay washed of narrative grit, serviceably turned and fancifully decorated, fired, then filled at the creative instinct’s oldest well. It is a pleasure to drink from this fine poetry.”