The biographical note in Mark Kraushaar’s new Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize-winning poetry collection, The Uncertainty Principle, explains that he’s worked as a cabbie, welder, and nurse. In keeping with those working-class bona fides, the D.C. native’s poems tend to evoke down-to-earth life in down-to-earth language. “Fit Club Family Plan” opens with the line, “If that fat bastard downs another Mountain Dew/he’s floating home.” “South Bend Graphic Forms, Inc” depicts a man who falls afoul of co-workers fixated on “wedding jabber, shoe talk, and hissing.” But “down-to-earth” isn’t the same as “simple,” and Kraushaar’s poems have a way of shifting from the hardscrabble to the existential. “Flight 868 to Seattle” opens with a street crazy and concludes with the concern that all of us are “a rivet’s width/wide of oblivion.”
Kraushaar and James Fenton discuss Kraushaar’s work at 7:30 p.m. at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. $15. (202) 544-4600.