February 2018

Thursday, 2/1

The Soluble Hour: Hillary Gravendyk Remembrance & Reading

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event
listen to an audio recording of this event
Hosted by: the Creative Writing Program

The Creative Writing Program presents a gathering that will serve as both a memorial for Hillary Gravendyk and a reading for her posthumously published book of poems, The Soluble Hour, a new Pocket Series edition from Omnidawn. In her poems, Gravendyk speaks with visionary passion about how the beloved and dear ones will soon be without her and laments for their imminent grief. But Gravendyk nevertheless pulls the voice towards testimony of unquestioned love, a recollection of landscapes Californian and interior. Readers of The Soluble Hour will include Julia Bloch, Jason Zuzga, and Cynthia Arrieu-King.

Hillary Gravendyk (1979–2014) was born in Los Angeles, California. She attended Tulane and the University of Washington and went on to get a doctorate in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2008, her chapbook The Naturalist came out from Achiote Press and in 2010, her book Harm was published by Omnidawn. In 2009, she was hired to teach twentieth-century poetry at Pomona College in Claremont, California. After moving to Oakland in 2003 with her husband Benjamin Burrill, Hillary lived out most of her adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area and Claremont.

Friday, 2/2

Saturday, 2/3

Sunday, 2/4

Monday, 2/5

Using Electricity: computer generated books

Nick Montfort, Allison Parish, and Rafael Pérez y Pérez

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

introduced by: Whitney Trettien
RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Using Electricity is a series of computer generated books published by Counterpath Press, meant to reward reading in conventional and unconventional ways. The series title takes a line from the computer generated poem “A House of Dust,” developed by Alison Knowles with James Tenney in 1967. This work, a FORTRAN computer program and a significant early generator of poetic text, combines different lines to produce descriptions of houses. The series is edited by Nick Montfort. The first three books in the series are The Truelist by Nick Montfort, Mexica: 20 Years—20 Stories [Mexica: 20 años—20 historias] by Rafael Pérez y Pérez, and Articulations by Allison Parrish.

Nick Montfort's computer-generated books of poetry include #!, the collaboration 2×6, Autopia, and The Truelist, the first in the new Using Electricity series from Counterpath. Among his more than fifty digital projects are the collaborations The Deletionist, Sea and Spar Between, and Renderings. His digital artwork was shown this summer at Babycastles in New York and in Boston City Hall. He has six books out from the MIT Press, most recently The Future (in the Essential Knowledge series). He is professor of digital media at MIT and lives in New York and Boston.

Allison Parrish is a computer programmer, poet, educator and game designer whose teaching and practice address the unusual phenomena that blossom when language and computers meet. Her recent book Getting Started with Processing.py, co-authored with Casey Reas and Ben Fry, was published by Maker Media in 2016. Everyword: The Book, published by Instar Books in 2015, collects the tweets of @everyword, Parrish's popular long-term automated writing project that tweeted every word in the English language. Parrish has recently given talks on the topic of computer-generated poetry at the Electronic Literature Organization conference, !!Con, Alt-AI, SXSW Interactive and Eyeo. Her art has been exhibited internationally, recently as part of “Electronic Literature: A Matter of Bits” at Rutgers Camden and “Art of Bots” at Somerset House in London. Parrish is a Teacher in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. She holds a master’s degree from ITP and a bachelor of the arts in linguistics from UC Berkeley.

Rafael Pérez y Pérez is a Research Professor at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana at Cuajimalpa, México City. In 2006 he founded the Interdisciplinary Group on Computational Creativity, which aims to gather together a group of researchers and students interested in computational creativity. They have developed programs for plot generation, interior design, visual narratives, creative problem solving, and so on. This group organizes every year the Mexican International Colloquium on Computational Creativity. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the International Conference on Computational Creativity. He is also the chair of the Association for Computational Creativity. Professor Pérez y Pérez is member of the National System of Researchers in México (SNI) and Perfil Deseable PROMEP.

Hub Meeting

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: jalowent@writing.upenn.edu

Join us for a meeting of the Hub, the core of engaged faculty, students, staff, and volunteers who help make things happen at Writers House. Anyone is welcome to become a Hub member by participating in Hub activities and helping out. Members of the Hub plan programs, share ideas, and discuss upcoming projects.

Tuesday, 2/6

Multilingual Poetics: Alexandra Petrova

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

The Multilingual Poetics series, created by Ariel Resnikoff, is part of an ambitious effort to mitigate the gap between poetics and multilingualism in the literary community where scholarliness often focuses too much on being rooted in one language, one persuit, and one culture. The series brings people together in a physical space that allows for productive conversation and thinking on the broad topic that is "multilingualism" in ways that may not have existed before.

Alexandra Petrova was born in St. Petersburg when it still was called Leningrad. She studied Russian language and literature at the University of Tartu (where she attende Yuri Lotman’s seminar on 19th century literature), writing a thesis on the prose of Leonid Dobychin. In 1993 she immigrated to Jerusalem, where she studied art history at Hebrew University. Since 1998 she has lived in Rome. Petrova is the author of three volumes of poetry: Point of Detachment [Liniia otryva] (1994), Permit to Live [Vid na zhitel’stvo], with an introduction by Alexandr Goldshtejn (1999), and Only the Trees [Tolko derevia], with an introduction by Stephanie Sandler (2008). She has also published Dolly’s Shepherds [Pastukhi Dolly] a philosophical operetta in ten acts (2001). In 2016 she published a novel, Appendix. She has written essays on contemporary art and literary criticism, translated from Italian poetry for magazines and the philosopher Paolo Virno’s Grammatica della moltitudine. Per una analisi delle forme di vita contemporanee (2003). Her works have appeared in leading Russian literary journals, such as Znamia, Zerkalo, Zvezda, NLO, as well as in many anthologies and took part in many International festivals of literature. She was short-listed for the Andrei Bely Prize for poetry in 1999 and 2008, and in 2016 she won it in the prose category for Appendix (also short-listed for the NOS Prize and included in the long-list for the Bolshaja kniga, Russkaja Premia and Alexandr Piatigorsky Prizes).

Wednesday, 2/7

Speakeasy Open Mic Night

7:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event
listen to an audio recording of this event

Our student-run open mic night welcomes all kinds of readings, performances, spectacles, and happenings. Bring your poetry, your guitar, your dance troupe, your award-winning essay, or your stand up comedy to share.

Thursday, 2/8

** Rescheduled to February 15 **

Dreaming the Beatles: A Conversation with Rob Sheffield

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

sponsored by: RealArts@Penn

hosted by: Anthony DeCurtis

In his most recent book, Dreaming the Beatles, Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield asks the essential queations: Why are the Beatles bigger and more beloved now than ever? Why do they still matter so much, nearly fifty years after they broke up? As he always does, Sheffield focuses on the emotional connections we make to music -- in this case, the music of the biggest pop culture phenomenon of all time. In his singular voice, he explores what the Beatles mean today to fans who have learned to love them on their own terms, not just for the sake of nostalgia. His book is a celebration of the Beatles — and how they invented the future we’re all living in today.

ROB SHEFFIELD is a columnist and contributing editor for Rolling Stone, where he has been writing about music, TV, and pop culture since 1997. He is the author of two national bestsellers Love Is a Mix Tape: Love and Loss, One Song at a Time and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut. He is also the author of two new books from Dey Street Books: On Bowie and Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.

Friday, 2/9

Saturday, 2/10

Sunday, 2/11

Monday, 2/12

Ben Yagoda: The Art of Fact

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event
hosted by: Dick Polman

Now more than ever, journalists are thinking about the importance of accuracy and credibility of reporting. Join us for a lunch talk with Ben Yagoda, journalist, film critic, and author of a dozen books including The Arts of Fact. Yagoda will discuss the issue of accuracy across all journalistic modes, in a freewheeling conversation moderated by Dick Polman.

BEN YAGODA is the author or coauthor of twelve books, including Will Rogers: A Biography, About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made, Memoir: A History, and The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism. He has worked as the film critic of the Philadelphia Daily News, an editor at Philadelphia Magazine, and since 1992 as a professor of journalism at the University of Delaware. He has contributed to the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, The American Scholar, Smithsonian, and magazines that start with every letter of the alphabet except K, Q, X, and Z. He conducts a blog called Not One-Off Britishisms, and contributes a weekly post to the Chronicle of Higher Education blog about language and writing, Lingua Franca. He lives in Swarthmore PA.

Sensible Nonsense

Lucy F. DeMarco Fund for Youth Literature

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Join us for a celebration of The Sensible Nonsense Project — Arielle Brousse’s ongoing digital round-up of essays about children’s literature — and help honor the humor, pathos, and enduring wisdom of kid’s books! Six speakers will share stories about their own favorite childhood books, what those books taught them, and how those lessons continue to influence their adult lives. Stay on after the readings for a delicious reception inspired by after-school snacks, and to get more information about how you, too, can participate in the project. In the meantime, visit The Sensible Nonsense Project at sensiblenonsense.us

Tuesday, 2/13

The Odyssey: a new translation

A conversation with Professor Emily Wilson

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

Published by Norton in November 2017, Emily Wilson’s line-for-line iambic pentameter version of The Odyssey is the first English translation by a woman. It has been called “a lean, fleet-footed translation that recaptures Homer’s 'nimble gallop' and brings an ancient epic to new life."

Emily Wilson is a Professor in the Department of Classical Studies and Chair of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory. She has a BA from Oxford in Classics, an M. Phil., also from Oxford, in English Literature (1500-1660), and a Ph.D. from Yale in Classics and Comparative Literature. Her first book was Mocked with Death: Tragic overliving from Sophocles to Milton (Johns Hopkins, 2004). Her second book was The Death of Socrates: Hero, Villain, Chatterbox, Saint (Harvard UP 2007). Her third was Seneca: A Life(also published in the US as The Greatest Empire: Penguin/ OUP USA, 2015). She has published verse translations of Seneca's tragedies (Oxford World's Classics), Euripides (The Greek Plays, Modern Library Random House), and The Odyssey (Norton, fall 2017). Other publications include various chapters and articles on the reception of classical literature in English literature, and reviews in the TLS and LRB. She is the classics editor for the revised Norton Anthology of World Literature, and Western Literature.

Wednesday, 2/14

Reading by Paul Auster

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

Paul Auster is a prolific and profoundly influential writer whose work has spanned many genres from novels to screenplays to essays to poems to plays, and more. Known for his experiments with narrative voice, form, and elements of the absurd, Auster's work often is situated in New York City, where he has lived for most of his literary career. He is the bestselling author of Winter Journal, Brooklyn Follies, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy (among many other works). He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, the Prix Médicis étranger for Leviathan, an Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke, and the Premio Napoli. He has also been short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions), the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance), and the Edgar Award (City of Glass), and most recently the 2017 Man Booker Prize for his latest novel 4321. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

RSVP REQUIRED: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu

Thursday, 2/15

Brunch with Paul Auster

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

10:00 AM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

Paul Auster is a prolific and profoundly influential writer whose work has spanned many genres from novels to screenplays to essays to poems to plays, and more. Known for his experiments with narrative voice, form, and elements of the absurd, Auster's work often is situated in New York City, where he has lived for most of his literary career. He is the bestselling author of Winter Journal, Brooklyn Follies, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy (among many other works). He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, the Prix Médicis étranger for Leviathan, an Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke, and the Premio Napoli. He has also been short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions), the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance), and the Edgar Award (City of Glass), and most recently the 2017 Man Booker Prize for his latest novel 4321. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

RSVP REQUIRED: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu

Dreaming the Beatles: A Conversation with Rob Sheffield

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

sponsored by: RealArts@Penn

hosted by: Anthony DeCurtis
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

In his most recent book, Dreaming the Beatles, Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield asks the essential queations: Why are the Beatles bigger and more beloved now than ever? Why do they still matter so much, nearly fifty years after they broke up? As he always does, Sheffield focuses on the emotional connections we make to music -- in this case, the music of the biggest pop culture phenomenon of all time. In his singular voice, he explores what the Beatles mean today to fans who have learned to love them on their own terms, not just for the sake of nostalgia. His book is a celebration of the Beatles — and how they invented the future we’re all living in today.

ROB SHEFFIELD is a columnist and contributing editor for Rolling Stone, where he has been writing about music, TV, and pop culture since 1997. He is the author of two national bestsellers Love Is a Mix Tape: Love and Loss, One Song at a Time and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut. He is also the author of two new books from Dey Street Books: On Bowie and Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.

Friday, 2/16

Saturday, 2/17

Sunday, 2/18

Monday, 2/19

A poetry reading by Sawako Nakayasu

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Sawako Nakayasu is a transnational poet, translator, and occasional performance artist who has lived in Japan, France, China, and the US. Her books include The Ants (Les Figues Press, 2014), Texture Notes (Letter Machine Editions, 2010), and the translation of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium Books, 2015), as well as unconventional translations such as Costume en Face (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015), a handwritten notebook of Tatsumi Hijikata’s dance notations, and Mouth: Eats Color – Sagawa Chika Translations, Anti-translations, & Originals (Rogue Factorial, 2011), a multilingual work of both original and translated poetry. She is co-editor of A Transpacific Poetics (Litmus Press, 2017), a gathering of poetry and poetics engaging transpacific imaginaries. She has also performed on Japanese television as a poetry judge, in a re-enactment of Yvonne Rainer’s Grand Union Dreams (dir. Yelena Gluzman), and in Cornelius Cardew’s Paragraphs 4 & 7 from The Great Learning (dir. Tomomi Adachi).

Tuesday, 2/20

Reporting on Gender Violence In India

A Conversation with Pulitzer Journalist Rhitu Chatterjee

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Co-sposored by the South Asia Center and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

Headlines out of India in recent years have mostly focused on growing numbers of cases of violence against girls and women. But those numbers also reflect a reality we don’t hear about as much – Indian girls and women today feel more empowered to report incidences of violence than a few decades ago. Rhitu Chatterjee has spent several years covering gender issues in India and will speak about how to tell nuanced, deep, and surprising stories about a topic that makes for sensational headlines and predictable narratives.

Rhitu Chatterjee is a reporter and editor on NPR's Science Desk, where she reports the latest news and feature stories on science, health, and the environment. Previously, she covered women's issues in New Delhi. Her reporting went beyond the breaking news headlines about sexual violence to document the underlying social pressures faced by Indian girls and women. Rhitu has won two reporting grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and was awarded a certificate of merit by the Gabriel Awards in 2014.

Wednesday, 2/21

A reading by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Creative Writing Program

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

introduced by: Carmen Machado
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

Lesley Nneka Arimah’s short story collection WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A MAN FALLS FROM THE SKY, received the 2017 Kirkus Prize. Her work has received grants and awards from Commonwealth Writers, AWP, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and others. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. She currently lives in Minneapolis.

Thursday, 2/22

City Planning Poetics 5: The Queer Ordinary

Jen Jack Gieseking & Erica Kaufman

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

co-hosted by: Davy Knittle and Jess Shollenberger
sponsored by: Creative Ventures
watch: a video recording of this event
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Organized and hosted by Davy Knittle, "City Planning Poetics" holds events that invite one or more poets and one or more planners, designers, planning historians or others working in the field of city planning to discuss a particular topic central to their work, to ask each other questions, and to read from their current projects.

erica kaufman is the author of POST CLASSIC (forthcoming from Roof Books), INSTANT CLASSIC (Roof Books, 2013) and censory impulse (Factory School, 2009). she is also the co-editor of NO GENDER: Reflections on the Life and Work of kari edwards (Venn Diagram, 2009), and of Adrienne Rich: Teaching at CUNY, 1968-1974 (Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, 2014). Prose and critical work can be found in: Rain Taxi, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Jacket2, Open Space/SFMOMA Blog, Women's Studies Quarterly, and in The Color of Vowels: New York School Collaborations (ed. Mark Silverberg, Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). Additional critical work is forthcoming in the MLA Guide to Teaching Gertrude Stein (eds. L. Esdale and D. Mix) and Reading Experimental Writing (ed. Georgina Colby). kaufman is the Director of the Institute for Writing & Thinking at Bard College, and teaches in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program and in the undergraduate college.

Jen Jack Gieseking is an urban cultural geographer, feminist and queer theorist, environmental psychologist, and American Studies scholar. He is engaged in research on co-productions of space and identity in digital and material environments. Jack’s work pays special attention to how such productions support or inhibit social, spatial, and economic justice in regards to gender and sexuality. He is working on his second book project, A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queer Women, 1983-2008, which is under contract with NYU Press and expected to be released in print and online open access in 2019. Jack is also conducting research on trans people’s use of Tumblr as a site of cultural production. He is Assistant Professor of Public Humanities in American Studies at Trinity.

Friday, 2/23

Saturday, 2/24

Sunday, 2/25

Monday, 2/26

Lunch with Rebecca Entel

Hosted by Karen Rile

Creative Writing Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

Rebecca Entel holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Cornell College, where she teaches multicultural American literature, Caribbean literature, creative writing, and the literature of social justice. She began writing her first novel, Fingerprints of Previous Owners, while teaching on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. Her short stories have been published in Guernica, Joyland, Madison Review, Cleaver, and elsewhere, and several have been shortlist­ed for awards from Glimmer Train, Southwest Review, and the Manchester Fiction Prize.

LIVE at the Kelly Writers House

7:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

LIVE at the Writers House is a long-standing collaboration of the people of the Kelly Writers House and of WXPN (88.5 FM). Six times annually between September and April, the Writers House airs a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, along with one musical guest -- from our Arts Cafe onto the airwaves at WXPN. "LIVE" is broadcast on WXPN. "LIVE" is made possible through the generous support of BigRoc and is produced by Alli Katz.

Tuesday, 2/27

Food Matters: Lunch with Irina Dumitrescu

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Co-sponsored by: the English Department
rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

Irina Dumitrescu is an essayist and scholar of literature. She has published in the Atlantic, The Yale Review, Southwest Review, Longreads, The Washington Post, Politico Europe, and Petits Propos Culinaires, among others, and been reprinted in Best American Essays 2016 and Best Food Writing 2017. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, and received the McGinnis-Ritchie Award for nonfiction. She is the editor of Rumba Under Fire: The Arts of Survival from West Point to Delhi (Punctum Books, 2016) and the author of The Experience of Education in Anglo-Saxon Literature (Cambridge, 2018). A graduate of the University of Toronto and Yale, she is currently Professor of English Medieval Studies at the University of Bonn.

Wednesday, 2/28

A conversation with Jamelle Bouie and Stephen Metcalf

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by: Al Filreis

Jamelle Bouie is the chief political correspondent for Slate magazine, and a political analyst for CBS News. He covers campaigns, elections, and national affairs. His work has appeared either online or in print at the New Yorker, the Washington Post, The Nation, and other publications.

Stephen Metcalf is a critic-at-large and columnist at Slate magazine. He is also the host of the magazine's weekly cultural podcast the Culture Gabfest.