#ArtLitPhx: Indigenous Binaries with Eric Gansworth

Eric Gansworth

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is proud to present Eric Gansworth in his talk, “Indigenous Binaries: Cultural Survival in Contrast.” The event, which will feature a talk, a Q&A, and a signing, will take place on Thursday, November 9 from 7pm to 9pm at the Heard Museum (2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004). The talk is presented as part of the Distinguished Visiting Writer Series. It is open to the public and free.

Gansworth’s work spans across novels, poetry, and memoir and includes If I Ever Get Out of Here, Extra Indians (American Book Award), Mending Skins (PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award), and the forthcoming Give Me Some Truth. Gansworth is also an accomplished visual artist, with current exhibitions at Canisius College and the Iroquois Indian Museum.

More information on the talk (and an RSVP) can be found at the Virginia G. Piper Center website, but here is a bit more information about Gansworth’s topic:

Drawing from the tradition of Haudenosaunee belts, which use sequences of purple and white wampum beads to narrate histories, ceremonies, governance, and treaties, Native American writer and visual artist Eric Gansworth (enrolled Onondaga) will discuss the ways his work uses high contrast imagery and storytelling to engage with cultural binaries and explore the complexities of the contemporary indigenous experience. What is the relationship between the painted image and the written word? What are the tensions between Native traditions and popular culture? How do we reconcile America’s past with the present? What does it mean to be a meaningful participant in 21st century indigenous life?

You can also find more information on the event’s Facebook page.

#ArtLitPhx: Legacies – A Conversation with Rita Dove, Sandra Cisneros, and Joy Harjo


The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is excited to announce “LEGACIES: A Conversation with Sandra Cisneros, Rita Dove, and Joy Harjo (Hosted by Natalie Diaz).” The event will take place Saturday, December 2 from 1:30pm to 3:00pm in the Great Hall, Beus Center for Law and Society, Rm. 141, Arizona State University, Downtown Phoenix (111 E Taylor St, Phoenix, AZ 85004).

Although the event itself is December 2, make sure to put this on your radar now! This is a ticketed event, and tickets will become available on Saturday, November 4, at 12pm with a limited waitlist. All tickets are free, and there will be no walk-ins for the event. You can see more details about ticketing on the Eventbrite page, and you can see more details on the event as a whole on the Piper website or the Facebook event page.

This event will be December 2, the day after the trio’s event at the Phoenix Art Museum, which is already sold out. So if you can’t make it to the Phoenix Art Museum event on Friday, December 1, the “Legacies” event is the perfect opportunity to see Joy Harjo, Rita Dove, and Sandra Cisneros in action – just make sure to get your tickets on November 4!

The Piper Center teases, “Three legends come together for the first time to discuss their paths through the American literary landscape.”

Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist whose work explores the lives of the working-class. She has received many awards, including (most recently) Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the National Medal of the Arts, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016. The House on Mango Street has sold over five million copies, been translated into over twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation.

Rita Dove is a former U.S. poet laureate, and she received her MFA in 1977 from the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop, where she and her classmates Sandra Cisneros and Joy Harjo were the only non-white students at the time. From 1981 to 1989 she taught creative writing at Arizona State University – the final two years as the first and only African-American full professor in ASU’s English Department. Thomas and Beulah, a book she wrote while teaching at ASU, received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. She was also the sole editor of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011). Her most recent book, Collected Poems 1974-2004, received the 2017 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. Among her many other honors are the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama, the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton (making her the only poet with both national medals), and 25 honorary degrees.

Joy Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning CDs of music, and won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009.

Legacies is presented by archiTEXTS and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing with support from the Labriola National American Indian Data Center and the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

#ArtLitPhx: Layli Long Soldier and Timothy Yu at the Phoenix Art Museum

Layli Long Soldier and Timothy YuThe University of Arizona Poetry Center is proud to present poets Layli Long Soldier and Timothy Yu at the Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004) on Friday, November 3 at 7pm. Both poets will read from their works, and then there will be a short Q&A and a book signing.

The local opener is Bojan Louis, who is a member of the Navajo Nation. His first collection of poems, Currents, published in 2017 from BkMk Press. He is also the author of a nonfiction chapbook, Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona, released by Guillotine Series in 2012. Louis is currently Poetry Editor at RED INK: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, and Humanities.

Layli Long Soldier is Oglala Lakota; her family is from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and northwestern Idaho. Her first chapbook of poetry, Chromosomory, released in 2009 from Q Ave Press. She received a BFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and she is a two-time recipient of the Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship. She is also a recipient of the 2009 Naropa University Poetry Scholarship. She has served as editor-in-chief for “Native Language Network” and other publications for the Indigenous Language Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Timothy Yu’s debut poetry collection, 100 Chinese Silences (2016), was the Editor’s Selection in the NOS Book Contest from Les Figues Press. He is also the author of three chapbooks: 15 Chinese Silences (Tinfish); Journey to the West (Barrow Street), winner of the Vincent Chin Memorial Chapbook Prize from Kundiman; and, with Kristy Odelius, Kiss the Stranger (Corollary). He is also the author of Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Literature since 1965 (Stanford) and the editor of Nests and Strangers: On Asian American Women Poets (Kelsey Street).

For this event, the Poetry Center is proud to partner with the Phoenix Art Museum with support from the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing as a lead sponsor, as well as additional support from the ASU Creative Writing Program, the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, the Literary & Prologue Society, and Superstition Review.

For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.

#ArtLitPhx: Amelia Gray at the Piper Writers House

Amelia Gray

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is proud to present Amelia Gray at the Piper Writers House. The event, which will include a light reception, a reading, an informal Q&A, and a signing, will take place on Friday, October 13 from 7pm to 9pm at the Piper Writers House (450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281). The event is open to the public and free.

Amelia Gray is the author of five books: Isadora, Gutshot, THREATS, Museum of the Weird, and AM/PM. She is the winner of the NYPL Young Lion, of FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

You can find more information about the event and an RSVP at the Virginia G. Piper Center website, but here are a few more details:

Using the scaffolding of Isadora Duncan’s life and the stuff of her spirit, Amelia Gray’s breakout novel delivers an incredibly imaginative portrait of the artist, resulting in “a stunning meditation on art and grief by one of America’s most exciting young authors” (NPR). In 1913, Isadora Duncan was known as much for her stunning dance performances as for her eccentric and salacious personal life—her lovers included poets, directors, and the heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. But when her two children drowned in Paris, she found herself taking on a role she had never dreamed of. As dynamic, enthralling, and powerful as the visionary artist it captures, Amelia Gray’s Isadora is a relentless and living portrayal of a woman who shattered convention, even in the darkest days of her life.

You can also find more information on the event’s Facebook page.

#ArtLitPhx: The Comedy of Coping with Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is proud to present Kim Stanley Robinson in his talk, “The Comedy of Coping, Alarm and Resolve in Climate Fiction.” The event, which will feature a talk, a Q&A, and a signing, will take place on Wednesday, September 20 from 7pm to 9pm at the Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004). The event is open to the public and free.

The talk is presented by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at ASU, a partnership between ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination and The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. More information on the talk (and an RSVP) can be found at the Virginia G. Piper Center website, but here is a bit more information about Robinson’s topic:

In his talk, Robinson will explore the story and science in his latest novel, New York 2140, to argue against gloomy, apocalyptic thinking and in favor of technological ingenuity and dynamic social change. While the effects of climate change are undeniable, the future doesn’t have to be an unavoidable catastrophe. Ultimately, Robinson argues, this kind of dystopian, pessimistic approach muddles the political, social, and economic causes of climate change and prevents us from taking more meaningful actions to address the issues before it’s too late. What kinds of stories should we be telling ourselves in the face of impending calamity? How do we balance the desire to be both inspired and disturbed? How can literature act as a constructive response to existential risk?

You can also find more information on the event’s Facebook page.

#ArtLitPhx: Meet 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen

Co-presented by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, Changing Hands Bookstore brings author of The Sympathizer 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen to Phoenix. Nguyen will talk about his new short story collection The Refugees at Changing Hands Bookstore’s Phoenix location (300 W. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013)  on Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at 7 p.m.

The Refugees is a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. It is a collection of  stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.

There will be a book signing following the talk. This is a free event. Please RSVP on the Facebook Event page.

For more details please visit Changing Hands Bookstore’s webpage.

#ArtLitPhx: Piper Writers Studio April 2017 Courses

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University is proud to offer five creative writing classes through the Piper Writers Studio. Classes are taught by acclaimed and award-winning writers from the community, and cover topics such as first-draft novel writing, novel revisions, persona poetry, and creative non-fiction.

The faculty and courses for the April 2017 sessions of the Piper Writers Studio are:

  • The Story Behind the Poem with Jim Sallis on Wednesdays April 5th – 26th, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
  • Another Voice: Creating Memorable Poetic Personas with Lois Roma-Deeley on Saturday April 22nd, 2017 from 9 am to 1 pm.
  • The Facts of Life… and Death: Writing Crime Accurately with Deborah Ledford on Saturdays April 8th – 29th, 2017 from 12 pm to 2 pm.
  • Having a Blast: The Art of Comedy and Writing with Rebecca Byrkit on Wednesdays April 5th – 26th, 2017 from 6:30pm – 8:30 pm.
  • Your Podcast is a Story: Finding and Telling Strong Narratives with Tracey Wahl and Daniel Zwerdling on Saturday March 25th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.

Classes are open to individuals of all backgrounds, skill levels, and experiences, and are designed to fit around the schedules of working adults (taking place weekday evenings or weekends). Most classes are held at the Piper Writers House, the historic President’s Cottage on the ASU Tempe Campus. 
Class sizes are small in order to ensure an intimate, individualized educational experience, so be sure to register early to secure your seat. Students can register on the Piper Center’s website.

Classes start at $75 (with discounts for individuals who are members of the Piper Circle of Friends). Classes can also qualify for professional development credit with the Arizona Department of Education.

Sessions are held every October, January, and April. Topics and instructors vary from semester to semester, so check out The Piper Center’s website  for news about the courses and for FAQ’s.