MFA Residency Public Lecture and Reading Schedule – Sunday, January 7

Public Lectures: Sunday, January 7
In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter

Sunday, January 7                                      DANA LEVIN:  Object Lessons (part 1)
9:30 AM                                                                                              

There are two primary foci for this lecture: 1) T.S. Eliot’s idea of the Objective Correlative. 2) Objectification: both in terms of power dynamics and in terms of the made thing. Issues addressed will include: Show, Don’t Tell; intimacy; displacement; the male gaze; desire and seeing; infinity mirrors. We’ll look at these literary works: Eliot’s “Hamlet and His Problems” (criticism); a little brief on Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying (novel); Hass, “A Story about the Body” (prose poem); Carter, “The Bloody Chamber” (story). Philosophers Gaston Bachelard and Martin Buber will offer some lenses through which to see.

Sunday, January 7                                      MARISA SILVER:  The Noticing Eye
10:45 AM

It’s a commonplace that two people looking at the same thing—a painting, a crime in progress, a vase on a table—will notice very different things. We could say that the way in which we notice, and the differences that arise when two people see and interpret an event differently, are at the root of conflict and therefore of drama. This lecture will discuss the implications of noticing—the way in which character and conflict can be shaped by it, and the way a writer engages a reader by directing him or her to notice certain images and details. We will also explore how the act of noticing is an essential tool a writer must bring to the world around him or her to find out what feels important and meaningful to write about. Among the works we’ll discuss will be Meneseteung by Alice Munro, Errand by Raymond Carver, The Dead by James Joyce, That Night Alice McDermott, as well as music by Steve Reich and films by James Benning.

Public Readings: Sunday, January 7
In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter

Jeremy Gavron
Daisy Fried
Megan Staffel
Alan Williamson

MFA Residency Public Lecture and Reading Schedule – Saturday, January 6

Public Lectures: Saturday, January 6
In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter

Saturday, January 6                         NINA McCONIGLEY:  New Territories: Migration
9:30 AM                                                         and Exile                                 

The poet Amit Majmudar says this, “You’ve come of age in the age of migrations./ The board tilts, and the bodies roll west./ Fanaticism’s come back into fashion,/ come back with a vengeance./ In this new country, there’s no gravitas,/ no grace…” This lecture will be about the literature (focusing on fiction with some other genres thrown in) of migration and exile. From the Book of Exodus to Ovid’s Poetry of Exile, writers have long examined what it means to leave one’s country, to migrate to the unknown. We’ll look at how these migrations shape characters into new territories and internal spaces. What does migration and exile mean to us as writers? Any journey that has a geographical and social repositioning asks our characters to reconsider themselves, to examine not only the self, but the other.

We’ll likely look at Moshid Hamin (Exit West), Tayeb Salih (Season of Migration to the North), Agha Shahid Ali (The Country Without a Post Office), W. G. Sebald (Austerlitz), Leslie Marmon Silko (Ceremony), Solmaz Sharif (Look), Vladimir Nabokov (Speak, Memory), and Kiran Desai (The Inheritance of Loss).

Saturday, January 6                         MARIANNE BORUCH: Orienteering and Trial
10:45 AM                                                      Balloons                   

This lecture is a pinball machine, a set of shelves, a seed bed, a hoarded basement’s languid mess. Which is to say, it is a five-part invention (Audio, Embarrassment, Spellcheck, Wild Blue Yonder, Shirt) taking on a number of subjects: the beloved particulars of image, rhyme and other kinship sounds, metaphor, lineation, on to various sorts of transformation yet to be named exactly. And anecdotes about hairstyles, airplanes, 8th grade, dark-eyed Juncos, public swimming pools, etc. Plus why we write at all. Eventual reference will be made to the work and continuing presence of Joseph Conrad, Emily Dickinson, Larry Levis, John Clare, Laura Jensen, Jorge Luis Borges, and others. The aim also is to introduce a rather addictive form of literary architecture —I call it the “wee essay”—which is a DIY lyric device of attention crossed by bewilderment that with any luck carries a faint rhetorical aftersound, just enough to bother you and perhaps show what can be managed with fewer words than might be good for you.

Handouts will be provided. No experience necessary but curiosity would be grand.

Public Readings: Saturday, January 6
In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter, 8:15 p.m.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Robert Boswell
Connie Voisine
Antonya Nelson

MFA Residency Public Lecture and Reading Schedule – Friday, January 5

Public Lectures: Friday, January 5
In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter

Friday, January 5                                        ALAN WILLIAMSON: Center and Circumference:
9:30 AM                                                         The Modernist Long Poem

Though now an all-but-extinct genre, the Modernist long poem was one of the high points of literary ambition in the Twentieth Century.  It was omnivorous, attempting, by methods akin to collage in modern painting, to include the poet’s entire circumambient world.  And the fluidity or elusiveness of the central point of view, amid multiple narrators, could suggest a larger mode of selfhood, constituted by the totality of one’s relations.  We will be looking at the opening sections of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage,” Hart Crane’s The Bridge, and William Carlos Williams’s Paterson.

Friday, January 5                                        MICHAEL PARKER: The Big I.F. : Imitative Fallacy                 
10:45 AM                                                      and Structural Integrity

Most, if not all, of what we write about–love, grief, familial bonds, cultural and political forces, “madness,” the imagination, consciousness itself tends toward chaos, ambiguity and irresolution. It is our charge to represent, via narrative rhythm, that chaos while employing technical means to frame and find order in it.  The imitative fallacy occurs when we merely mimic the chaos without employing formal order, leaving the reader more confused than satisfied.   This lecture will discuss why the imitative fallacy is something we should always risk in our attempt to capture the rhythm of experience, but never commit. We will focus on ways in which it is (narrowly but powerfully) avoided (and sometimes not) in works including Wright Morris’ The Works of Love, Danielle Dutton’s Sprawl, and Brian Eno’s glorious deconstruction of Pachelbel’s Canon, with passing mention of Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Pauline Kael’s review of same, and the novels of Herta Müller.

Public Readings: Friday, January 5
In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter, 8:15 p.m.

C.J. Hribal
Marianne Boruch
Nina McConigle
Maurice Manning