Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spring Literary Festival

May 9th through May 11th, 2012, Ohio University welcomes Denise Duhamel, Terrance Hayes, Amy Hempel, Richard Rodriguez, and Susan Orlean to the Spring Literary Festival.

Denise Duhamel’s most recent books are Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005), Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005); Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999); and Kinky (Orchises Press, 1997). A bilingual edition of her poems, Afortunada de mí (Lucky Me), translated into Spanish by Dagmar Buchholz and David Gonzalez, came out in 2008 with Bartleby Editores (Madrid.) Her work has been anthologized widely, including several issues of The Best American Poetry. (Bio courtesy of the author).

A recipient of an NEA Fellowship, she is a professor at Florida International
University in Miami. William D. Waltz, in Rain Taxi, writes "As I read her work...I feel like I'm taking a sneak peek at the future: Duhamel hints at a poetry that transcends irony and alienation. There's plenty of both here, but she's busy working them over...pushing so hard that the next step may be beyond what is known."


One of the most compelling voices in American poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of four books of poetry; Lighthead (2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry; Wind in a Box, winner of a Pushcart Prize; Hip Logic, winner of the National Poetry Series, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Muscular Music, winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has been a recipient of many other honors and awards, including two Pushcart selections, four Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. (Bio courtesy of Blue Flower Arts).

His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Fence, The Kenyon Review, Jubilat Harvard Review, and Poetry. His poetry has been featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Lighthead, his most innovative collection, investigates how we construct experience, presenting “the light-headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time.” In Muscular Music, Hayes takes reader through a living library of cultural icons, from Shaft and Fat Albert to John Coltrane and Miles Davis. In Wind in a Box he explores how identity is shaped by race, heritage, and spirituality with the unifying motif being the struggle for freedom within containment. In Hip Logic, Hayes confronts racism, sexism, religion, family structure, and stereotypes with overwhelming imagery.

Hayes is an elegant and adventurous writer with disarming humor, grace, tenderness, and brilliant turns of phrase, very much interested in what it means to be an artist and a black man. He writes, "There are recurring explorations of identity and culture in my work and rather than deny my thematic obsessions, I work to change the forms in which I voice them. I aspire to a poetic style that resists style. In my newest work I continue to be guided by my interests in people: in the ways community enriches the nuances of individuality; the ways individuality enriches the nuances of community."

A Professor of Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University, Hayes lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and children.


Amy Hempel (more information to follow).


Richard Rodriguez, one of America’s most important essayists and a master of the “personal essay,” writes about the intersection of his personal life with some of the great vexing issues of America. (Bio courtesy of Jodi Solomon Speakers Bureau).

Rodriguez, the son of Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in Sacramento, California. He was an undergraduate at Stanford University. He went on to spend two years in a religious studies program at Columbia. He then studied English Renaissance literature at the Warburg Institute in London and was a doctoral candidate at the University of California in Berkeley.

In 1982, he published an intellectual autobiography, “Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez.” Widely celebrated and criticized, this book is today read in many American high schools and colleges. A memoir of a “scholarship boy”, “Hunger” remains controversial for its skepticism regarding bilingual education and affirmative action.

In 1992, Rodriguez published “Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father,” a "philosophical travel book," concerned with the moral landscape separating "Protestant America" and "Catholic Mexico." “Days of Obligation” was a runner-up for a Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction in 1993.

In 2002, Rodriguez published “Brown: The Last Discovery of America.” In a series of essays concerned with topics as varied as the cleaning of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, cubism, and Broadway musicals, Rodriguez undermines America’s black and white notion of race and proposes the color brown for understanding the future (and past) of the Americas.

Rodriguez is currently working on two new books, one that deals with the 'Desert Religions' (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) and their role in the 21st century, and the other about beauty.

As a journalist, Richard Rodriguez worked for over two decades for the Pacific News Service in San Francisco; he has also been a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine and the Sunday "Opinion" section of the Los Angeles Times. He currently works for New American Media in San Francisco.

Many Americans probably recognize him from his television appearances on PBS. For more than ten years he has appeared as an essayist on “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer”. His televised essays on American life were honored in 1997 with a George Peabody Award.

In 1993, Richard Rodriguez was given the Frankel Medal (now renamed “The National Humanities Medal”), the highest honor the federal government gives to recognize work done in the humanities.


As one of the most creative literary journalists of today, Susan Orlean is the author of the best-selling book, The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Oscar-winning movie, Adaptation. (bio courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

Her latest work, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and The Legend tells the story of Rin Tin Tin's journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. From the moment in 1918 when Corporal Lee Duncan discovers Rin Tin Tin on a World War I battlefield, he recognizes something in the pup that he needs to share with the world. Rin Tin Tin's improbable introduction to Hollywood leads to the dog's first blockbuster film and over time, the many radio programs, movies, and television shows that follow. The canine hero's legacy is cemented by Duncan and a small group of others who devote their lives to keeping him and his descendants alive.

At its heart, Rin Tin Tin is a poignant exploration of the enduring bond between humans and animals. But it is also a richly textured history of 20th century entertainment and entrepreneurship and the changing role of dogs in the American family and society. Almost ten years in the making, Orlean's first original book since The Orchid Thief is a tour de force of history, human interest, and masterful storytelling - something she shares with audiences in her multimedia presentations on the subject.

Orlean became a staff writer for The New Yorker in 1992. Orlean has written dozens of "Talk of the Town," "Profiles” and "Reporter at Large" articles, as well as a series of American popular culture columns, called "Popular Chronicles." The "Chronicles" thus far have included subjects such as an article on taxidermy, umbrella inventors, designer Bill Blass, Harlem high school basketball star Felipe Lopez, the friends and neighbors of Tonya Harding, and D.J. Red Alert, a hip-hop radio star in New York.

Prior to joining The New Yorker, Orlean was a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and also at Vogue, where she wrote about numerous figures in both the music and fashion industries. She has also contributed to Esquire, Smithsonian, New York Times Magazine, and many other publications.

Orlean has written several books, including, My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who’s Been Everywhere, The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Ordinary People, Red Sox and Blue Fish, Saturday Night, Lazy Little Loafers, and The Orchid Thief, a narrative about orchid poachers in Florida.

Orlean teaches creative writing at NYU and has been a writer-in-residence at several universities. She received her B.A. with honors from the University of Michigan and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She lives in upstate New York and Los Angeles with her husband and son.

1 comment:

Jayme said...

Whoa! This is absolutely awesome!