We welcome former TIME correspondent, founder of the Knight-Wallace Fellowships and Livingston Awards at the University of Michigan, Charles R. Eisendrath, in support of his collection Downstream from Here: A Big Life in a Small Place. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book:
“Why not learn how to learn by doing? Why not go backwards and forwards at the same time, intro-prospecting what’s gone into our gene pool by letting it come out as the future unfolded? Each of us is a family album that few of us take the time to reference. The trick is learning how to read the pages while making new ones at the same time. The turning part happens by itself — you just need to pay attention.”
Charles R. Eisendrath, in this series of essays spanning four decades, explores the things that grow lives of their own when left undisturbed at a second home — things like an “ancestor room,” a storm-struck forest, a player piano and a childhood fear of wild dogs. These essays are about the loves of a place inhabited temporarily, but which shape a person permanently.
These essays range from Anatolia to Argentina, from FDR’s secret wartime fishing trip to a plane crash in Costa Rica. The margin notes of academic articles lead to a grill admired by James Beard and a Saudi prince. Tenure at the University of Michigan inspires a cherry orchard and bulldozers invite ghosts. Serious, hilarious, inquisitive, spontaneous, Eisendrath introduces us to the people and places, the life, death and afterlife that goes on nonstop, all around us, all by itself.
RC Creative Writing alumna Carmen Bugan is a poet and author of the critically acclaimed memoir Burying the Typewriter. She visits in support of her collection of new and selected poems, Lilies from America. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the collection: This selection of Carmen Bugan’s poems offers readers an experience with all the surprise and continuity of a long, complex novel. Childhood, youth, the move from a traditional rural world, dominated by lovingly described grandparents, to exile, urban life, parents aging, children growing – all the private normalities which are so often the material of poetry are here. But, from the striking opening, where the poet’s parents work secretly on a typewriter, buried and dug up after the children are in bed, on Samizdat protests against the government of Romania, normality collides with history. A reality of state surveillance, abuse and incarceration fills the poems with urgency, even as memories are revisited and sometimes revised.
Carmen Bugan’s books include the memoir Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police (Picador), which has received international critical praise, the Bread Loaf Conference Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist in the George Orwell Prize for Political Writing, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her collections of poems are Releasing the Porcelain Birds and The House of Straw (both with Shearsman Books), and Crossing the Carpathians(Carcanet Press). She is also the author of a critical study on Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile. Her work has been translated into several languages and she is a regular reviewer for Harvard Review Online. Bugan was awarded a large grant from the Arts Council of England, was a Creative Arts Fellow in Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford University, was a Hawthornden Fellow, the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, and is a George Orwell Prize Fellow. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford University. She now lives in the USA with her husband and children.
Join us for the February edition of the East Side Reading Series!
Hosted on the 2nd Floor of The Commons: https://thecommonsdetroit.com/
The Line Up:
Marlin M. Jenkins
ANNA CLARK is a writer in Detroit. The author of two books, and the editor of a third, her nonfiction has been published in The Boston Review, Midwestern Gothic, Guernica, the New York Times, Belt, and elsewhere. She is the guest editor of a forthcoming special issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review, titled “Not One Without,” and she is a contributing editor at Waxwing Literary Journal. Anna has been a Fulbright fellow in creative writing in Nairobi, Kenya; a writer-in-residence in Detroit schools; and a longtime leader of writing and improv theater workshops in prisons. She co-curates the Motor Signal Reading Series. Anna graduated from the University of Michigan and Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers.http://annaclark.net/
CHERYL CRABB is a fiction writer and journalist. Her debut novel, The Other Side of Sanctuary, was published by Adelaide Books of New York in January of 2020. She is a recent graduate of the MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and has a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her work has appeared in various publications, including the Hartford Courant and in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution where she reported as a staff writer. Cheryl has volunteered with 826michigan, a non-profit organization that inspires school-aged students throughout Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit to write and skillfully and confidently. She and her family live in Northville and frequently visit the Sleeping Bear Dunes along Lake Michigan where the book is set in the fictional town of Sanctuary. http://www.cherylcrabb.com/
MARLIN M. JENKINS was born and raised in Detroit and is the author of the chapbook Capable Monsters (Bull City Press). His poetry has been given homes by Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Iowa Review, Waxwing, TriQuarterly, New Poetry from the Midwest, and the forthcoming Arab Love Poems anthology. He has worked as a teaching artist with young writers at Inside Out Literary Arts in Detroit and the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor. He earned his MFA in poetry at the University of Michigan, where he then taught writing and literature and was nominated for the Ben Prize for outstanding teaching of writing. He currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
CAROLINE MAUN is an associate professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She teaches creative writing and American literature and is the Chair. Her poetry publications include the volumes The Sleeping (Marick Press, 2006), What Remains (Main Street Rag, 2013), and three chapbooks, Cures and Poisons and Greatest Hits, both published by Puddinghouse Press, and Accident, published by Alice Greene & Co. Her poetry has appeared in The Bear River Review, The MacGuffin, Third Wednesday, Peninsula Poets, and Eleven Eleven, among other places. http://www.carolinemaun.com/
DANIELLA TOOSIE-WATSON is a poet, visual artist and educator from New York. She has received fellowships and awards from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, the InsideOut Detroit Literary Arts Project, The Watering Hole, and the University of Michigan Hopwood Program. Her poetry has appeared in Callaloo, Virginia Quarterly Review and SLICE Magazine and is forthcoming in the anthology The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT. Daniella holds a BA in English from the College of Saint Rose and received her MFA from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program.
Calling all gatherers, collectors and storytellers! Nicola’s Books is lucky to have two picture book author-illustrators stopping by to share their beautiful picture books. Deb Pilutti, with Old Rock (is not boring) and Deborah Marcero, with In a Jar.
About Old Rock (is not boring)
Quirky charm infuses this tale of Old Rock’s life story, which is much more exciting than you’d expect.
Old Rock has been sitting in the same spot in the pine forest for as long as anyone can remember. Spotted Beetle, Tall Pine, and Hummingbird think just sitting there must be boring, but they are in for a wonderful surprise.
Fabulous tales of adventurous travel, exotic scenery, entertaining neighbors, and more from Old Rock’s life prove it has been anything but boring.
Great storytellers come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and Old Rock’s stories are sure to inspire questions that lead to wonderful conversations about the past and the natural world.
About In a Jar
Here’s a marvelous picture book, charmingly written and beautifully illustrated, about the power of memory and the magic of friendship.
Llewellyn, a little rabbit, is a collector. He gathers things in jars–ordinary things like buttercups, feathers, and heart-shaped stones. Then he meets another rabbit, Evelyn, and together they begin to collect extraordinary things–like rainbows, the sound of the ocean, and the wind just before snow falls. And, best of all, when they hold the jars and peer inside, they remember all the wonderful things they’ve seen and done. But one day, Evelyn has sad news: Her family is moving away. How can the two friends continue their magical collection–and their special friendship–from afar?
About the Authors
Deb Pilutti is children’s book author and illustrator. Previous books include Idea Jar (illustrator), Bear and Squirrel are Friends…Yes, Really! and Ten Rules of Being a Superhero.
Deborah Marcero received her BFA in drawing and photography from the University of Michigan, and her MFA in poetry from the School of Art Institute in Chicago. She was a Lead Literacy teacher in Chicago Public Schools, and in her spare time, she loves climbing trees, hiking, swimming, and capturing changes in light with her camera.
We welcome filmmaker, writer and University of Michigan alumna Faith Pennick in support of her 33 1/3rd series entry, D’Angelo’s Voodoo. The event is free and open to the public, a book signing will follow.
About the book: Voodoo, D’Angelo’s much-anticipated 2000 release, set the standard for the musical cycle ordained as “neo-soul,” a label the singer and songwriter would reject more than a decade later. The album is a product of heightened emotions and fused sensibilities; an amalgam of soul, rock, jazz, gospel, hip-hop, and Afrobeats. D’Angelo put to music his own pleasures and insecurities as a man-child in the promised land. It was both a tribute to his musical heroes: Prince, Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, J Dilla…and a deconstruction of rhythm and blues itself.
Despite nearly universal acclaim, the sonic expansiveness of Voodoo proved too nebulous for airplay on many radio stations, seeping outside the accepted lines of commercial R&B music. Voodoo was Black, it was definitely magic, and it was nearly overshadowed by a four-minute music video featuring D’Angelo’s sweat-glistened six-pack abs. “The Video” created an accentuated moment when the shaman lost control of the spell he cast.
Faith Pennick is a Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based filmmaker and writer. Her most recent film is Weightless, a documentary short about plus-sized female scuba divers. Her other films include the documentary Silent Choices and narrative short film Running on Eggshells. Pennick is also a contributing writer to pop culture website The Learned Fangirl.