Release of Lovelier Than Dirt by Deborah Blakely Averill

Poems by Deborah Blakely AverillYak Press is pleased to announce the release of Lovelier Than Dirt by Deborah Blakely Averill. Published posthumously, Lovelier Than Dirt completes the second quartet in the Native Blossoms Chapbook Series. A portion of the proceeds of all book sales will be donated to the Deborah Blakely Averill Scholarship Fund at California State University, Northridge, where Deborah was a lecturer in the Humanities, and an instructor in the English Department. To order a copy of Deborah’s stellar debut collection, click here.

Deborah Blakely Averill (1964 – 2018) was a gifted poet, teacher, editor, and critic. She earned both her BA in English and MA in Creative Writing from California State University, Northridge. Deborah’s poetry has appeared in NOÖ Journal, The Northridge Review, and Floor Plan. She was co-editor of the online literary magazine Red-Headed Step-Child. She was most proud, however, to have been a wife and mother.

As part of the Native Blossoms Chapbook Series, Deborah‘s chapbook features a constraint poem “that takes the botanical name of a wildflower or other flora native to the poet’s locale as its title.” Deborah had chosen to write about the Toyon bush (Heteromeles arbutifolia), also known as “Christmas Berry,” because it covers the Hollywood hills. In fact, through her research she had discovered that early settlers mistook the native plant for holly, which is actually how the city of Hollywood got its name! The plant is featured prominently on the book’s cover.

We will be honoring Deborah’s memory at a book launch and poetry reading on the campus of California State University, Northridge during April, which is National Poetry Month. Members of the English Department faculty, including Leilani Hall and Dorothy Barresi, along with several guest readers from the Native Blossoms Chapbook Series will read from Deborah’s collection, Lovelier Than Dirt, which will be available for purchase.

If you’d like to join us in a celebration of Deborah Blakely Averill’s life and poetic work, as well as the release of Lovelier Than Dirt, please come out for an evening of her poetry on Thursday, April 25, 2019 from 7:30-9:30 PM in JR319 (the English Department Reading Room) on the campus of CSUN. There will be a reception following the reading, and light refreshments will be served.

Here are the details: