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.” 7:30 p.m. at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre. $15. (Mark Athitakis)
There’s a strong chance that Chad Harbach‘s The Art of Fielding is perched prominently in every cool bookshop’s window right now: The novel by the cofounder of lit mag n+1 was almost universally embraced by book critics. Lauded as an engaging debut, Harbach’s book depicts a college baseball player whose eroding skill as a shortshop is an allegory for something much larger—-and amazingly, the author manages to avoid those tired sports-as-life tropes. The author discusses and signs his book at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose. Free.
Many small galleries are closed today, but the big ones are open and awaiting FotoWeek DC foot traffic: Check out Brian Skerry’s images of underwater life at National Geographic, Hank Willis Thomas’ “Strange Fruit” and Gordon Parks’ stirring photographs at Corcoran, a handful of promising exhibits at Corcoran’s (free) Gallery 31, and “Contrasts” at Artisphere’s Mezz Gallery. More information on the FotoWeek website.