The Michigan Quarterly Review launches their Spring issue featuring poetry, fiction, and essays, from contemporary Iran. Featuring readings in Farsi and English from contributors Shahla Farghadani and Mason Jabbari, Guest Editor Kathryn Babyran, MQR Editor Khaled Mattawa, and MQR Staff Readers. Letterpress prints, specially designed for this issue by Wolverine Press, will also be available.
Literati is thrilled to welcome acclaimed poet and activist Carolyn Forché who will be discussing her new memoir What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance.
About What You Have Heard Is True:
The powerful story of a young poet who becomes an activist through a trial by fire
What You Have Heard is True is a devastating, lyrical, and visionary memoir about a young woman’s brave choice to engage with horror in order to help others. Written by one of the most gifted poets of her generation, this is the story of a woman’s radical act of empathy, and her fateful encounter with an intriguing man who changes the course of her life.
Carolyn Forché is twenty-seven when the mysterious stranger appears on her doorstep. The relative of a friend, he is a charming polymath with a mind as seemingly disordered as it is brilliant. She’s heard rumors from her friend about who he might be: a lone wolf, a communist, a CIA operative, a sharpshooter, a revolutionary, a small coffee farmer, but according to her, no one seemed to know for certain. He has driven from El Salvador to invite Forché to visit and learn about his country. Captivated for reasons she doesn’t fully understand, she accepts and becomes enmeshed in something beyond her comprehension.
Together they meet with high-ranking military officers, impoverished farm workers, and clergy desperately trying to assist the poor and keep the peace. These encounters are a part of his plan to educate her, but also to learn for himself just how close the country is to war. As priests and farm-workers are murdered and protest marches attacked, he is determined to save his country, and Forché is swept up in his work and in the lives of his friends. Pursued by death squads and sheltering in safe houses, the two forge a rich friendship, as she attempts to make sense of what she’s experiencing and establish a moral foothold amidst profound suffering. This is the powerful story of a poet’s experience in a country on the verge of war, and a journey toward social conscience in a perilous time.
Carolyn Forché is an American poet, editor, translator, and activist. Her books of poetry are Blue Hour, The Angel of History, The Country Between Us, and Gathering the Tribes. In 2013, Forché received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship given for distinguished poetic achievement. In 2017, she became one of the first two poets to receive the Windham-Campbell Prize. She is a University Professor at Georgetown University. Forché lives in Maryland with her husband, the photographer Harry Mattison.
Literati is thrilled to welcome poet Sam Ross who will be reading from his debut collection Company. Sam will be joined for a post-reading conversation with author Akil Kumarasamy.
.” . . . Ross pitches nothing less than a stubborn belief in tenderness and in the patience both to look everywhere for it and to trustingly wait for it (‘I would learn rare // and love and want and wait. / I had to start at the beginning.’) This is a debut both tough and tender, the poems of a man who’s been made to look away from the world plenty, and has found a way to look steadily back.” –Carl Phillips, judge of the Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry
The author of Company(Four Way Books 2019), winner of the Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry, selected by Carl Phillips, Sam Ross was born in Indiana and lives in New York City. He received his MFA from Columbia University, where he was a Graduate Teaching Fellow, and has received support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
Akil Kumarasamy is a writer from New Jersey. Her fiction has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, American Short Fiction, Boston Review, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan and has been a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the University of East Anglia. Half Gods is her first book.
Literati is excited to welcome author Leslie Carol Roberts who will be discussing her new memoir Here Is Where I Walk.
About Here Is Where I Walk:
It is in the Presidio of San Francisco, California, that Leslie Carol Roberts walks. The Presidio, America’s only residential national park tucked wholly into an urban setting, is a fading historic forest. Here is where Leslie’s memories of other places, people, and travels emerge. Here is where the author’s home has been for more than a decade, and here is the place she raised her two children as a single mother.
In layered stories of her life and travels, Leslie turns her daily walks into revelations of deeper meaning. From Maryland to Iowa to Tasmania, we follow a fierce and keenly observant walker through places of exquisite beauty and complexity. Her daily walks inspire Leslie to accept the invitation of the beckoning trees where she finds herself colliding with the urban coyote, the peculiar banana slug, and the manzanita. She also notes both ridiculous and poignant aspects of human ecosystems in pursuit of what it means to live a life of creativity and creation from scientist-activists battling to save environments to the tragic realities of ordinary life.
In this finely crafted eco-memoir, each place provides Leslie with exactly the scaffolding needed to survive, with nature serving as the tonic. Here is Where I Walk provides a vivid answer to how we can find our place, not only in nature but within ourselves and the world we walk.
Leslie Carol Roberts is an author, journalist, and essayist. She is also professor and chair of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California.
Literati is so excited to welcome author Susan Choi who will be reading and discussing her new novel Trust Exercise. Susan will be joined for a post-reading conversation with author Lillian Li.
About Trust Exercise:
In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed–or untoyed with–by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.
The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls–until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true–though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place–revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.
As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.
Susan Choi is the author of the novels My Education, A Person of Interest, American Woman, and The Foreign Student. Her work has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award and the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. With David Remnick, she co-edited Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. She’s received NEA and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships. She lives in Brooklyn.
Lillian Li received her BA from Princeton and her MFA from the University of Michigan. She is the recipient of a Hopwood Award in Short Fiction, as well as Glimmer Train‘s New Writer Award. Her work has been featured in Guernica, Granta , and Jezebel. She is from the D.C. metro area and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Number One Chinese Restaurant is her first novel.
The University of Michigan Transplant Center and Wolverines For Life present several authors/contributors of The Missing Piece: A Collection of Kidney Transplant Stories, as they share their experience as kidney donors or recipients.
The Missing Piece is a window into the world of kidney transplant recipients and donors. These powerful, first-hand accounts, written by patients at Michigan Medicine, provide frank glimpses into the highs and the lows experienced by those struggling with a life-altering illness. The contributing authors discuss the coping techniques that worked and those that did not; how they knew when it was time to consider dialysis; and, how they shared their experiences and news with family, friends, and even complete strangers in a quest for a donation from a living donor.
Attendees are encouraged to ask authors questions about their transplant experience, get a copy of their book signed, and join the organ donor registry to help support future transplant recipients.
If you are unable to attend but would still like to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, please visit www.golm.org/go/wfl. This event, a partnership with University of Michigan Transplant Center and Wolverines For Life, includes a book signing and books will be for sale at the event.
This event will be recorded
A special joint meeting of our monthly Literati, Poetry, and Feminist Book Clubs!
Each club will meet in our second-floor events space to discuss August’s picks as usual. As always, you can purchase book club selections for 15% off the retail price.
During the event, each club’s moderator will also talk about their monthly book club to all guests–each club’s mission, selection process, upcoming picks for the fall, and more. Guests from these three book clubs will then have the opportunity to meet & greet over provided refreshments.
This a great opportunity to come to your normal book club while learning about our other book clubs, or–if you’re new to our book clubs–a chance to go through a complete meeting for one of them while learning about (and meeting participants from) all 3!
Feminist Book Club
We strive to foster a fun, thoughtful, and safe environment in which to discuss current issues surrounding feminism and equality.
This month, we’ll discuss The Old Drift, by Namwali Serpente
Poetry Book Club
Next to fostering a greater appreciation for poetry by reading poems aloud and sharing reflections, our other primary goal is to ensure that the book club space is safe, inclusive, and exciting
This month’s pick is A Piece of Good News, by Katie Peterson.
Literati Book Club
This month’s pick is Orange World and Other Stories, by Karen Russell!
Listen to teenage campers, counselors and staff share stories about the impact camp has had on their lives.
North Star Reach is a medically-supported camp on 105-acres in Pinckney, Michigan, serving children with serious health challenges and their families. Since 2016, through activity-packed residential summer camp and weekend spring and fall family camp programs, we have hosted more than 1,500 campers, including children living with sickle cell anemia, congenital heart disorders, and organ transplants. We are a not-for-profit organization dependent upon generous donors to serve all children at no cost to their families. To learn more about North Star Reach, visit www.northstarreach.org.
Literati Bookstore is thrilled to welcome Randall Munroe to Rackham Auditorium in downtown Ann Arbor in support of his latest book, How to: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems. The program will feature a presentation, conversation, and Q&A. A book signing will follow. Detailed instructions for the book signing to come.
Tickets are general admission and include a hardcover copy of How to, to be picked up at the venue the evening of the event. Literati will have additional copies of Randall Munroe’s previous titles available for purchase. Parking in downtown Ann Arbor on Friday evenings can be difficult. Surface spots are sparse, but a detailed map of available (and walkable) parking structures can be found here.
For any task you might want to do, there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It’s full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.
Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you’re a baby boomer or a 90’s kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of the book once you’re done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth’s mantle, or launching it into the Sun.
By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn’t just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and amusing illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.
Randall Munroe is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer, the science question-and-answer blog What If, and the popular webcomic xkcd. A former NASA roboticist, he left the agency in 2006 to draw comics on the internet full-time. He lives in Massachusetts.
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(This description is for the talk at 5:30 pm)
Gala Mukomolova’s full-length poetry book, Without Protection (Coffee House Press 2019), explores her complex identity―Jewish, post-Soviet, refugee, New Yorker, lesbian― through a Russian fable.
Mukomolova is a Moscow-born, Brooklyn-raised poet and essayist. She is the author of the chapbook One Above One Below: Positions and Lamentations (YesYes Books 2018). She received her MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. Her past residencies include Vermont Studio Center, Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists and The Pink Door. Her poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, PEN American, PANK and elsewhere. She writes articles on astrology for NYLON and is cohost of the podcast Big Dyke Energy.
This event is free and open to the public. Onsite book sales will be provided by Literati Bookstore.
The Zell Visiting Writers Series brings outstanding writers to campus each semester. UMMA is pleased to be the site for most of these events. The Series is made possible through a generous gift from U-M alumna Helen Zell (BA ’64, LLDHon ’13). For more information, please visit the Zell Visiting Writers Program webpage: https://lsa.umich.edu/writers
For any questions about the event or to share accommodation needs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org– we are eager to help ensure that this event is inclusive to you. The building, event space, and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Diaper changing tables are available in nearby restrooms. Gender-inclusive restrooms are available on the second floor of the Museum, accessible via the stairs, or in nearby Hatcher Graduate Library (Floors 3, 4, 5, and 6). The Hatcher Library also offers a reflection room (4th Floor South Stacks), and a lactation room (Room 13W, an anteroom to the basement women’s staff restroom, or Room 108B, an anteroom of the first floor women’s restroom). ASL interpreters and CART services are available upon request; please email email@example.com at least two weeks prior to the event.