Poets, Novelists Speak at Fall Russell House Series on Prose and Poetry

Olivia DrakeSeptember 16, 20137min

This fall, join novelists, poets, editors, writers and a physician for the Russell House Series on Prose and Poetry. The series is presented by Writing at Wesleyan and sponsored by the Center for the Arts.

All events are free and open to the public.

The series kicked off Sept. 11 with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa. Komunyakaa is author of 20 books of poetry. He received a bronze star for his service as a journalist in the Vietnam War and is a professor and senior distinguished poet in the graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University.

Salvatore Scibona
Salvatore Scibona

Salvatore Scibona and Tonya Foster will speak at 8 p.m. Sept. 25 in Russell House. Scibona’s novel, The End, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Young Lion’s Fiction Award from the New York Public Library. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and was among The New Yorker’s list of “20 Under 40” writers to watch. He has received a Whiting Writers’ Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he is a visiting writer in the English Department. Foster’s first collection of poetry, A Swarm of Bees in High Court, is out this fall from Belladonna/Futurepoem Books. She is co-editor of Third Mind: Creative Writing Through Visual Art. The recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship and a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, she is an associate at the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College and is currently a visiting writer in Wesleyan’s English Department.

Ben Lerner will speak at 8 p.m. Oct. 9 in Russell House. Lerner is the author of three books of poetry: The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), Angle of Yaw (2006), and Mean Free Path (2010). His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, won The Believer Book Award and was widely regarded as one of the best books of 2011. His second novel is forthcoming from Faber/FSG. Recent prose can be found in Art in America, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Paris Review. He is a 2013-14 Guggenheim Fellow.

Ta-Nehisi Coates will deliver Wesleyan’s 2013 Julien Jacobsen Lecture at 8 p.m. Oct. 10. Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic and the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. Coates lives in New York with his wife and son. His work for The Atlantic received the 2012 Sydney Hillman Prize for journalism about social justice and issues of public policy. His essay “Fear of a Black President” won the National Magazine Award.

Dr. Joe Fins '82
Joe Fins ’82

Dr. Joe Fins ’82 will speak at 11 a.m. Nov. 2 in Usdan 108 as part of Homecoming/Family Weekend. Fins will describe how conversations with patients’ families, as well as the process of writing, have contributed to research and raised broader ethical questions such as what society owes patients at the edge of consciousness. His new book, Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics & The Struggle for Consciousness, is forthcoming in 2014. Dr. Fins is a professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College and a Governor of the American College of Physicians.

Robert Gluck will speak at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 in Russell House. Gluck is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction, including two novels, Margery Kemp and Jack the Modernist, and a collection of stories, Denny Smith. He co-edited the anthology Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative. Gluck has served as co-director of Small Press Traffic and director of the Poetry Center at San Francisco State. In 2014, Semiotext(e) will publish his collection, The Greatness of Kathy Acker, and Other Essays.

Fred Moten will speak at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 in Russell House. Moten works at the intersection of performance, poetry, and critical theory. His books of poetry include Hughson’s Tavern, B. Jenkins, and The Feel Trio. He is also the author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition and The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (with Stefano Harney). He lives in Los Angeles, Calif. and teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

Additional support for this series is provided by: Writing at Wesleyan, the English Department, the Annie Sonnenblick Fund, the Joan Jakobson Fund, the Jacob Julien Fund, the Millett Writing Fellow Fund, the Center for the Arts and the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.

The series organizers include Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing; Anne Greene, director of Writing Programs; Amy Bloom, the Kim-Frank Family University Writer-in-Residence; Lisa Cohen, assistant professor of English; and Deb Olin Unferth, associate professor of English.