Award-winning memorist and poet here Feb. 11

By Amy Huber, Editor –

Award-winning memoirist and poet Mary Karr will give a presentation of her work and

life at 7 p.m. at the Frauenthal Theater on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Her local appearance is sponsored by the Muskegon Writers’ Series, MCC and the

Frauenthal Center.

Karr is the author of three award-winning bestselling memoirs: “The Liars’ Club,”

“Cherry” and “Lit” as well as a host of other books, including “The Art of Memoir,” “Sinners

Welcome,” “Abacus,” “Viper Rum,” “The Devil’s Tour” and her most recent creation, “Now Go

Out There.”

Her books focus on various life subjects, from her volatile relationship with her mother to

her life on the road with a group of surfers.

Discussing everything from drug use, running off with a band of surfers, her alcoholic

years, and the breakup of her marriage, Karr said in her bio, “The normally crisp film of my

memory has, in this period, more blanks than the Nixon tapes.”

As the daughter of alcoholics, it was only a matter of time before she herself became one.

“My mother fell off the wagon at my rehearsal dinner,” said Karr. “Shortly after that, she

got sober and was sober until she died…I was in my early 30’s, and it’s almost like she got sober

right about the time my drinking picked up. I say it’s almost like our genetic code owed the

universe some really wretched alcoholic, and I stepped into the slot as she left it.”

In her book “Lit,” Karr discusses her turning to God at a time when her life was in utter

turmoil. Embracing her newfound relationship was difficult, and she found it hard to explain it

to others.

“Talking about spiritual activity to a secular audience is like doing card tricks on the

radio,” said Karr.

While Catholicism seemed to calm the spiritual aspects of her life, she said that it didn’t

make writing any easier. Twice she threw away her manuscripts for “Lit.” Eventually she was

able to make the words flow.

A Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University, Karr is a Guggenheim Fellow in

poetry. She has won Pushcart Prizes for both her poetry and essays.

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