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Book Club

Lakewood Book Club: The Milk Hours by John James

October 15 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Welcome Center Community Meeting Room
Free | Registration is requested
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Join us for the Lakewood Book Club, where we read and discuss books covering topics related to death, loss, and grief, as well as what it means to live in the presence of death and dying. You are welcome to participate in the complete quarterly series or pick and choose the titles that most interest you.

Registration is recommended. Spaces are limited.

You will need to purchase your own copy of the book (or audio book) to read ahead of the event. We encourage shopping locally and buying your books through our neighbors at Magers & Quinn or other local booksellers, or checking it out from your local library.

Depending on the number of attendees, we will either have a large group discussion or break out into smaller groups. Discussion questions and topics will be provided to spark conversation, but we encourage you to bring your own questions as well!

About This Month’s Book

The Milk Hours by John James

(locally published poetry; reflections on life and death, parent loss as a child, collective grief)

Winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, The Milk Hours is an elegant debut that searches widely to ask what it means to exist in a state of loss. “We lived overlooking the walls overlooking the cemetery.” So begins the title poem of this collection, whose recursive temporality is filled with living, grieving things, punctuated by an unseen world of roots, bodies, and concealed histories. Like a cemetery, too, The Milk Hours sets unlikely neighbors alongside each Hegel and Murakami, Melville and the Persian astronomer al-Sufi, enacting a transhistorical poetics even as it brims with intimacy. These are poems of frequent swerves and transformations, which never stray far from an engagement with science, geography, art, and aesthetics, nor from the dream logic that motivates their incessant investigations. Indeed, while John James begins with the biographical—the haunting loss of a father in childhood, the exhausted hours of early fatherhood—the questions that emerge from his poetic synthesis are both timely and timeless. What is it to be human in an era where nature and culture have fused? To live in a time of political and environmental upheaval, of both personal and public loss? How do we make meaning, and to whom—or what—do we turn, when such boundaries so radically collapse?

About Your Host

Emily Stacken, is a trained End-of-Life / Death Doula, and gained her certification through Going With Grace. Emily leads Communications for the MN Death Collaborative and is a Hospice Volunteer for Sholom Hospice. She also provides grief support and resources for organ donor families at LifeSource. She attended United Theological Seminary and received a Masters of Arts in Leadership. Her capstone project, the Radical Death Series,  prioritized issues of racial equity, collective grief, and what it means to embrace death as inseparable from life.


This event will take place in the Community Meeting Room inside the Lakewood Welcome Center.

Lakewood Heritage Foundation

This event is free for all to attend. In lieu of a ticket cost, we encourage you to donate to the Lakewood Heritage Foundation. Your donation to LHF helps support educational programming, as well as the preservation and restoration of Lakewood’s landscape, art, architecture and public spaces—for the benefit of all. Thank you!

You can donate when you purchase your ticket, or on the Lakewood Heritage Foundation page.


Call the Lakewood events line at 612-540-5165 or email to

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