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Angela Ball is the author of six books of poetry. Her new collection, Talking Pillow (University of Pittsburgh Press), celebrates love as amazement, sustenance, and the progenitor of scarce-believable loss. The book centers around the sudden death of the author’s long-time partner and travels outward to events in the world at large. Imagining themselves into multiple times, places, and lives, the poems comically explore the possibilities of attachment between people and the absurdity of death’s sudden intrusion. Ball, a “Next Line, Please” regular, took over the column during Lehman’s sabbatical summer in 2015. She is a contributing editor of Next Line, Please: Prompts to Inside Poets and Writers.” Ball lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she directs the Center for Writers, part of the Department of English at the University of Southern Mississippi.
David Lehman is a poet, writer, editor, and teacher, who was born in New York City and lives here. His latest poetry book is “Poems in the Manner Of. . .” (Scribner), each poem in which relates in some significant way to a poet of the past, be it Lady Murasaki, Goethe, Wordsworth, Baudelaire, Neruda, Auden, Plath, or Bukowski. Lehman has written nonfiction books on subjects ranging from detective novels and avant-garde art to classic American popular songs. He is the quizmaster of “Next Line, Please,” the weekly column that made its debut on The American Scholar web site in May 2014. It is still going strong, and a book reflecting the first two and a half years will be published by Cornell University Press in March 2018: “Next Line, Please: Prompts to Inspire Poets and Writers.”