Public Event Schedule

Join us for faculty lectures in Canon Lounge in Gladfelter:

Thursday, January 5 – 9:30 AM

ALAN WILLIAMSON: On Poetic Density

If it is true that, as Julia Kristeva says, “our gift of situating ourselves in time for an other could exist nowhere except beyond an abyss,” then it’s worth looking at poems that bypass the imitation of daily speech, that make their narrative occasions slightly mysterious. Instead, such poems concentrate, even overload, many of the traditional resources of poetry—sound, implicit as well as explicit metaphor, the secondary or connotative meanings of words—to convey something more like a state of consciousness. We will look at Hopkins’ “The Windhover,” Hart Crane’s “Lachrymae Christi,” Sylvia Plath’s “The Night Dances,” and, as a contemporary example or counter-example, Brenda Hillman’s “To Spirits of Fire After Harvest.”

Thursday, January 5 -10:45 AM 

PETER ORNER: In Praise of “Inaction”

An (imperfect) exploration of some instances of when and why writers opt for a quiet detonation as opposed to an explosion in a pivotal moment. Some people might call this old-hat anti-climax, but I’m not sure it is anti-anything. The attempt to try something unexpectedly inactive is—sometimes—a far more radical and mysterious narrative choice. Using examples from Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying as a point of departure, I’ll be discussing examples of how certain less-familiar writers such as Gina Berriault, Felisberto Hernandez, Penelope Fitzgerald, Yoko Towada, and John McGahern employ inaction in critical moments. For the very ambitious, I’d point you to Part Two of To the Lighthouse, the first twenty-five pages of As I Lay Dying, as well as “The Light at Birth” by Gina Berriault, “The Flooded House” by Felisberto Hernandez, “Where Europe Begins” by YokoTowada, Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald, and “The Wine Breath” by John McGahern. Handouts will be provided.

Join us at 8:15 p.m. in Canon Lounge in Gladfelter for a reading featuring faculty members:

Jeremy Gavron
Sandra Lim
Antonya Nelson
Daniel Tobin

For more information, including a full schedule of public events, please visit the program website at

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