Thursday’s book launch for Megan Grumbling new collection of poetry will be a multi-disciplinary affair.

Megan Grumbling’s latest poetry collection began as an experimental opera, so it’s appropriate that the launch event for “Persephone in the Late Anthropocene” will be an experimental Zoom party with a cast of artists, actors, filmmakers and musicians.

“This project has been an experiment over the course of its years and an interdisciplinary experience rich in collaborations,” said Grumbling, a writer, teacher and editor, including of the Press Herald’s weekly Deep Water poetry feature. “If we had been able to gather, the plan was to bring actors in and create an immersive book-launch experience. We are not going to be able to use actors in the same way, but we are hoping it will be a stimulating and fun experience for everybody and a chance to see what we can do on Zoom and a way to still create together.”

Megan Grumbling is an editor, writer and teacher. Photo by Christopher Byron

Festivities begin at 7 p.m. Thursday through Space. The theatrical Zoom launch is co-hosted by Space and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and supported by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission. It will include live readings by Grumbling, performances by a digital Greek chorus, actors performing the poems on film and recordings of music by the late composer Dennis Nye, and involve director Tess Van Horn, actors Catherine Buxton, Nolan Ellsworth and Deborah Paley; filmmakers David Camlin and Amy Grumbling; musical director Aaron Pettengill, and musicians Volkhard Lindner, Benjamin Meiklejohn, Leigh-Ashley Milne and Sam Schuth.

With “Persephone in the Late Anthropocene,” Grumbling updates ancient myths for the age of climate change, with voices that warn about decadence, extremes and ecological ruin. Along those themes, Grumbling started writing prose poems in the foothills of western Maine during a summer residency at Hewn Oaks in 2013. She set the poems to music in collaboration with Nye, performing a 6-minute piece with actors and musicians at the Belfast Poetry Festival in 2014. It evolved into an opera, with Grumbling finishing the libretto at the Hawthornden Castle Fellowship in the forest of Scotland outside Edinburgh and staging a two-week run at Space in 2016 with a large team of collaborators.

Now the poems are collected in book form, as she originally envisioned, published by Acre Books. With writing being such a solitary endeavor, Grumbling said she was grateful, and lucky, to be able to infuse her work with the talents of others.

To participate in Thursday’s launch, register in advance at

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