Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

Archive for March, 2012

Primavera Gala reading

Posted by bgsuenglish on March 31, 2012


[L-R] Lawrence Coates, College of Arts & Sciences Dean Simon Morgan-Russell, and Bill Albertini share a joke after Lawrence read excerpts from his new novel The Garden of the World, Friday March 30 on campus, as part of the Primavera Gala sponsored by the BGSU Medici Circle. Photo by Jolie Sheffer.

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One Pause Poetry Celebrates National Poetry Month: A Triple Header Reading with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jennifer Chang, and Khaled Mattawa

Posted by bgsuenglish on March 27, 2012

One Pause Poetry Series welcomes nationally acclaimed poets Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jennifer Chang, and Khaled Mattawa to their new reading location: METAL, at 220 Felch Street in downtown Ann Arbor.

All three poets are known for their highly lyric and accessible work. Khaled Mattawa’s prizes and fellowships include a Guggenheim and an Academy of American Poets Prize, and Jennifer Chang and Aimee Nezhukumatathil have both been named “Poets to Watch, Under Forty” by former Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Nezhukumatathil is the recipient of an NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. Chang co-chairs Kundiman, an organization dedicated to the creation, cultivation, and promotion of Asian-American poetry.

The 7 p.m. reading on April 6 will be followed by a recorded public conversation on Saturday morning, April 7, at 10:30am. The poets will discuss their poetic process, inspirations, and why poetry matters.

April 6, 7-9 p.m.: Reading with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jennifer Chang, and Khaled Mattawa. Reception and book-signing to follow.

April 7, 10:30 a.m.-noon: Conversations with Poets: Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jennifer Chang, and Khaled Mattawa. One Pause Director Sarah Messer will interview the poets, and. the interview will be recorded and archived as a part of the One Pause Archive Project.

All readings and conversations are FREE and open to the public. Location: METAL, 220 Felch Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

One Pause Poetry is part of the nonprofit arts organization Copper Colored Mountain Arts, which serves Southeastern Michigan. The One Pause poetry series is named after the 15th-century poet Ikkyu Sojun. In 15th century Japan, one was not considered human if they did not read, write, and know poetry, so ingrained was poetry in the culture. It’s something One Pause aspires to here and now. One Pause presents a series of FREE public readings each year, an annual fall conference, lectures, and workshops.

One Pause Poetry and its programs are sponsored by the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

CONTACT: Sarah Messer, One Pause Poetry

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Fiction writer Shannon Cain reads at Prout

Posted by bgsuenglish on March 15, 2012

Fiction writer Shannon Cain will be reading selections from her work as part of the Creative Writing program’s ongoing Thursday night reading series at Prout Chapel. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Thursday March 15 and is free and open to the public.

Cain’s debut short story collection, The Necessity of Certain Behaviors, is the recipient of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published in 2011 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her stories have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, the O. Henry Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. They have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, The Colorado Review, the New England Review, American Short Fiction, Mid-American Review and Southwords: New Writing from Ireland. Shannon earned her MFA in 2005 from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. In 2008, she served on the National Endowment for the Arts’ funding panel on literary magazines and small presses. She is also the co-editor, with Lisa Bowden, of Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq (Kore Press, 2008) and co-adapter of Coming In Hot, the stage adaptation of the book.

Cain lives in downtown Tucson with her teenage daughter. Her current creative project is Tucson, the Novel: An Experiment in Literature and Civil Discourse.

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Dancing With Freud

Posted by bgsuenglish on March 15, 2012

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Lawrence Coates’ new novel explores wine-making, crime . . .

Posted by bgsuenglish on March 13, 2012

Associate Professor of Creative Writing Lawrence Coates‘ third novel was published February 28 by University of Nevada Press. Lawrence graciously agreed to tell us a little about the creative process that went into the writing of the novel:

The Garden of the World is the tale of a pioneering winemaking family headed by Paul Tourneau, a fiercely ambitious vintner determined to make the finest wine in California.  His plans are disrupted by a phylloxera epidemic at the beginning of the twentieth century, the trials of national Prohibition, and the bitter alienation of his older son.

I came upon the anecdote that inspired The Garden of the World while doing research for my first novel, The Blossom Festival.  The year was 1928, and Prohibition was in effect, and vineyards were going bankrupt or barely hanging on by selling sacramental wine or grapes for the home winemaking market.  Then, a robbery was reported at the vineyard of Paul Masson, in the hills above Saratoga, the town where my mother grew up.  The initial report stated that $400,000 worth of wine was stolen, a fabulous sum in the twenties.  The robbery was never solved, and some conjectured that Paul Masson had arranged to have himself robbed, in order to move some product out of his cellars.

The story gave me a good excuse to spend time learning about grape growing and winemaking in California, which have long been interests of mine.  I spent time in the Napa Valley Wine Library in St. Helena, and the Sonoma County Wine Library in Healdsburg, reading old books about viticulture by Eunice Frona Wait, Agoston Haraszthy, Edward J. Wickson, and others.  I read oral histories about winemaking in the California History Center at De Anza College.  And I talked with Dave Muret, then with Mirassou Winery, about the history of winemaking in the Santa Clara Valley.

The novel I ended up writing is only loosely based on the story of Paul Masson, though it does end with a vineyard being robbed.  Still, while reading about Masson, Haraszthy, Niebaum, and other early winemakers in California, I began to see them as representative figures of the West.  They were pioneers, founders, the kind of men who could build something large and leave damage in their wake.  There’s a certain ruthlessness in their ambition – it’s not completely admirable, but it’s not to be completely condemned either – and the damage they cause has consequences that they might not have foreseen when they began.

Congratulations to Lawrence! His novel can be purchased from the usual fine booksellers!

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