Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm Location: Piper Writer’s House, 450 E. Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281 Cost: Free
The ASU Book Group’s March 2019 reading selection is “Counting Coup” by Kelli Donley. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon to 1 p.m. in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus. Authors are always present. A no-host luncheon follows at the University Club. Attendees at each meeting will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate! Drawing to be held in April.
Synopsis: Happily consumed with her academic career, Professor Avery Wainwright never planned on becoming sole guardian of her octogenarian Aunt Birdie. Forced to move Birdie — and her failing memory — into her tiny apartment, Avery’s precariously balanced life loses its footing. Unearthed in the chaos is a stack of sixty-year-old letters. Written in 1951, the letters tell of a year Avery’s grandmother, Alma Jean, spent teaching in the Indian school system, in the high desert town of Winslow, Arizona. The letters are addressed to Birdie, who was teaching at the Phoenix Indian School. The ghostly yet familiar voices in the letters tell of a dark time in her grandmother’s life, a time no one has ever spoken of. Torn between caring for the old woman who cannot remember and her very different memories of a grandmother no longer alive to explain, Avery searches for answers. But the scandal and loss she finds, the revelations about abuses, atrocities and cover-ups at the Indian schools, threaten far more than she’s bargained for.
Kelli Donley is a native Arizonan who works in public health. “Counting Coup” was inspired by Donley’s colleagues’ stories about childhoods spent at the Phoenix Indian School. One of the characters is an ASU professor.
The remaining ASU Book Group meeting and selection for 2018—19 is:
Today we are pleased to feature Xanthe Miller as our Authors Talk series contributor. While being interviewed by Stephanie Welch, Xanthe touches on many aspects of her work including the social issues they speak to and her own personal relationship to art. We get an inside look at her artistic process and intent in creating pieces of art that will “endure long after we’re gone.”
Xanthe uses recycled materials to construct her work, which started when she began to see the objects as “pieces of little, tiny cities” and decided to build those cities herself. She is particularly concerned with migrant life and is “drawn to issues of environmental justice” because of her own experience and background in the American Southwest, which led her to use a lot of Southwestern artistic motifs in her work. In attempting to portray the various ideas and themes she wishes to address with her art, she notes that they typically “start with a color, or sometimes two colors, and the relationship they could have with each other.” The process seems to start so simply and, yet it becomes something so much more complex and powerful.
Xanthe comments that “art always felt unapproachable” to her, but she began creating her pieces as a way to “interact more deeply” with the desert environment that surrounded her. Her story and experience truly speak to the natural inclination of the artistic mind and to how art is more than what it seems, often commenting on the current social and political climate of our culture.
Monday nights we’ll feature an MFA student from NAU’s English Department and a professional, established regional writer. Whether poets, novelists, journalists, or playwrights, we host a high quality reading designed to present the best of each genre.
Today we are happy to announce the news of past contributor Tania Katan! Tania’s instruction manual for inserting creativity into your work and personal life, titled “Creative Trespassing,” was just published in February by Penguin Random House. Creator of the viral campaign #ItWasNeverADress is no stranger to integrating feminism, power and creative strength into everyday life. The book is full of her own incredible stories and encourages all readers to make their own opportunities and fun.
More information about Tania’s book can be found here, her non-fiction short story from Issue 4 can be found here, along with her interview from the same issue.
We are happy to announce the news of past contributor Nicole
Sealey! Nicole has been selected as one of the five creatives chosen to be a
Mackall Gwinn Hodder Fellow (2019-2020) at the Lewis Center for the Arts at
Princeton University. An award-winning poet, Nicole has had poems published or
recognized by The New York Times, The Paris Review, NPR, etc. While a fellow at
the Lewis Center, Nicole has committed to tackling the erasure of the Ferguson
report by the United States Department of Justice and will also engage with the
Princeton and literary communities through lectures, readings and other events.
Our interview with Nicole from Issue 21 can be found here, and more information about her two poetry collections and awards can be found here.
Date: THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2019 Time: 7:00PM Location: University of Arizona: Poetry Center, 1508 E Helen St, Tucson, AZ 85719
We are proud to present Patrick Rosal and Evie Schockley, who will read from their work commissioned for the Poetry Center’s Art for Justice grant. After the reading, there will be a short Q&A and a book signing.
The University of Arizona Poetry Center’s Art for Justice grant funds a three-year project that will commission new work from leading writers in conversation with the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States, with the goal of creating new awareness and empathy through presentation and publication. In particular, through the work of leading poets, the project will seek to confront racial inequities within the criminal justice system to promote social justice and change. Learn more about the project.
About the Authors: Patrick Rosal is a writer, musician, and interdisciplinary artist. He is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Brooklyn Antediluvian, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize. A featured performer across four continents and at hundreds of venues throughout the U.S., he has received residencies from Civitella Ranieri and the Lannan Foundation, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Fulbright Program. He is a Visiting Associate Profesor at Princeton University and Associate Professor at Rutgers University-Camden.
Evie Shockley is the author of semiautomatic (2017), winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the LA Times Book Prize. She has published four other collections of poetry—including the new black (2011), which won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award—and a critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011). Her other honors include the 2015 Stephen Henderson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry and the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize. She is spending 2018-2019 as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Shockley is Professor of English at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
Date: Thursday, March 21, 2019 Time: 6:30 p.m Location: Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281 Cost: Free
One of the tragic consequences of being confined to a single body is that we will never know what other people experience when they meet us for the first time. We can’t know how someone will register the slight change in the atmosphere that our presence causes when we enter a room. We will never know what another person feels while keeping us company. Memoirists choose to make themselves, someone they can never objectively grasp or fully represent on the page, the primary subject of most of their writing. But there are ways to cultivate a kind of out-of-body-relationship to the self that does get on the page. Voice is the messenger we send to greet the reader. We can craft voice the way one might craft a social media presence. Voice can conjure an entire world in a few phrases, images or references. The question is how do we want to be represented on the page?
Join Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gregory Pardlo for his talk, “The Messenger is the Message: Voicecraft and the Personal Essay” on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at the Tempe Center for the Arts (700 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281) at 6:30 p.m.
While encouraged, RSVPs are purely for the purposes of monitoring attendance, gauging interest, and communicating information about parking, directions, and other aspects of the event. You do not have to register or RSVP to attend this event. This event is open to the public and free.
For more information and to RSVP, visit the Eventbrite page here.
About the Author:
Gregory Pardlo’s collection Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and currently teaches in the graduate writing program at Rutgers-Camden University. Air Traffic, a memoir in essays, was released by Knopf in April.
About the Book:
The long-awaited extraordinary memoir and a blistering meditation on fatherhood, class, education, race, addiction, and ambition from beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gregory Pardlo.
Gregory Sr. is a charismatic air traffic controller at Newark International Airport, leading labor organizer and a father to two sons, bookish Greg Jr. and musical-talent Robbie. But, when “Big Greg” loses his job after the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Strike of 1981, he becomes a disillusioned presence in the household and a disconcerting model for young Greg’s ambitions. As Big Greg succumbs to addiction and exhausts the family’s money on ostentatious whims, Greg Jr. rebels. He hustles off to boot camp at Parris Island, falls in love with a woman he follows to Denmark, drops in and out of college, and takes a job as a bar manager-cum-barfly at the family’s jazz club.
Rich and lyrical, Air Traffic follows Gregory Pardlo as he learns to be a poet, father, and teacher, as he enters recovery and hosts an intervention for his brother on national television. Throughout, Pardlo grapples with the irresistible yet ruinous legacy of masculinity he inherited from his father. This is his deeply-felt ode to Greg Sr., to fatherhood, and to the frustrating-yet-redemptive ties of family, as well as a scrupulous, searing examination of how manhood is shaped in contemporary American life. (Knopf)