Local Authors: David Blair, Vanessa Linsey, & Joan Wheelis

Join us for our monthly panel featuring local authors, featuring David Blair's essay collection Walk Around, Vanessa Linsey's debut Metta Mom, and Joan Wheelis' memoir, The Known, the Secret, the Forgotten.


"Reading David Blair’s book of essays is like taking a walk with a smart, well-read friend—and before you know it, you’ve learned an enormous amount about a wide range of topics: Ella Fitzgerald, Robert Lowell, and Tomaž Šalamun, with references to Welcome Back, Kotter, and Cosmo Topper along the way. In prose that is frank and intimate, Blair brings his world to life, in a way that is at once both literary and street-wise—the description of the worst poetry reading of all time is worth the price of admission alone—always keeping the reader in the presence of flesh and blood."—John Skoyles

David Blair grew up in Pittsburgh. He is the author of three books of poetry, Ascension Days, which was chosen by Thomas Lux for the Del Sol Poetry Prize, Arsonville, and Friends with Dogs. His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Ploughshares, Slate Magazine, and many other places as well, including the anthologies, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Devouring the Green, and Zoland Poetry. He has taught at the New England Institute of Art, Bentley University, the online graduate program in creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and in the M.FA. Writing Program at the University of New Hampshire.. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with his wife and daughter, and he has a degree in philosophy from Fordham University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  In 2019, MadHat Press will be publishing his fourth book of poetry, Barbarian Seasons, and his first collection of essays, Walk Around: Essays about Poetry and Place.


In her debut, Metta Mom, Vanessa Linsey takes us on an uproarious journey of spirituality, humor, and humility. 

Metta Mom brims with stories unheard outside our most intimate moments like teenage slumber parties, deathbed confessionals, and appointments with a gastroenterologist. Each humbling tale brings lifetimes of powerful lessons gleaned from healing and miracle-making. 

Metta Mom provides sanity-seeking parents with heroic, yet tangible steps to creating the harmonious family life they thought possible only in their dreams. 

Vanessa Linsey has a degree in broadcast journalism, is a former meditation teacher and wellness center owner, and is a certified mindful mother of four who can be found at home in Winchester telling Alexa to play songs by Bonnie Rait and crushing her children at Mario Cart. 


Crafted from slivers of reminiscence and reflection, Joan Wheelis’s beautifully written memoir The Known, the Secret, the Forgotten explores the intricacies of attachment and the perils of love and inevitable loss.

We glimpse the author’s childhood in San Francisco and her relationship with her distinguished psychoanalyst parents through a series of jewel-like vignettes. She explores her past through her questions about life and the lessons her parents taught her about the existence of God, how to cut a napoleon and build a fire, and the hazards of self-deception.

Into this tapestry of memory Wheelis, also a psychoanalyst, weaves profound reflections from adulthood. Wrestling with the loss of her parents, the author faces the questions of what matters and what remains of their lives. She reckons with their histories and legacies, tracing the heritage of love and conflict through the generations. As she revisits the rooms and landscapes of her past, her prose takes on the poetic logic of memory itself.

Joan Wheelis, MD, is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She attended Harvard College, Boston University School of Medicine, and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. A psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst, she lives and practices in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Event date: 
Monday, May 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140
Walk Around Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781941196847
Availability: Available at Warehouse
Published: Madhat, Inc. - March 25th, 2019

Metta Mom: A Mindful Guide to Managing Your Mood & Your Brood Cover Image
$14.44
ISBN: 9780578479286
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: R. R. Bowker - April 22nd, 2019

The Known, the Secret, the Forgotten: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781324002581
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 23rd, 2019

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