Poet Bob Clifford is an RC creative writing alum (’79) and is former associate director and coordinator of academic programs, where he designed and implemented an academic program for over 600 student-athletes and monitored compliance of Big Ten and NCAA regulations. He is currently the associate athletic director at Oregon State University. Clifford will be at Nicola’s Books for the release of his latest collection of poetry, Gasping for Air.
RC Creative Writing alum and professor Laura Kasischke is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, 2012. Kasischke has published nine novels, three of which have been made into feature films—The Life Before Her Eyes, Suspicious River, White Bird in a Blizzard—and nine books of poetry, most recently The Infinitesimals. She has also published the short story collection If a Stranger Approaches You. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as several Pushcart Prizes and numerous poetry awards and her writing has appeared in Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Harper’s and The New Republic. Laura Kasischke is Allan Seager Collegiate Professor of English Language & Literature at the University of Michigan.
Nicholas Petrie received his MFA in fiction from the University of Washington, won a Hopwood Award for short fiction while an undergraduate at U-M, and his story “At the Laundromat” won the 2006 Short Story Contest in the The Seattle Review, a national literary journal. A husband and father, he runs a home-inspection business in Milwaukee. The Drifter is his first novel.
RC Creative Writing alumna Carrie Smith and three-time Hopwood winner discusses her debut crime novel, Silent City, a police procedural whose lead character, an NYPD detective, is cancer survivor returning to work.
Created by Midwestern Gothic in partnership with the Residential College, Voices of the Middle West is a festival celebrating writers from all walks of life as well as independent presses and journals that consider the Midwestern United States their home. The Festival will take place on March 12th, starting at 10am, at East Quad. The festival includes panels and a book fair, and is free to the public. Ross Gay is the keynote speaker.
The goal of the festival is to bring together students and faculty of the university, as well as writers and presses from all over the Midwest, in order to provide a perspective of this region and to showcase the magnificent work being produced here, the stories that need to be told…the voices that need to be heard. Truly, this is a celebration of the Midwest voice, and it is the festival’s aim to create an ideal environment for any and all to come and take an active part, to discover and discuss how rich our literary tradition is.
More information at http://midwestgothic.com/voices/
RC Creative Writing alumna Carrie Smith joins our book club to talk about and sign her new novel Forgotten City. Everyone is welcome.
A startlingly beautiful debut, Half Gods brings together the exiled, the disappeared, the seekers. Following the fractured origins and destines of two brothers named after demigods from the ancient epic the Mahabharata, we meet a family struggling with the reverberations of the past in their lives. These ten interlinked stories redraw the map of our world in surprising ways: following an act of violence, a baby girl is renamed after a Hindu goddess but raised as a Muslim; a lonely butcher from Angola finds solace in a family of refugees in New Jersey; a gentle entomologist, in Sri Lanka, discovers unexpected reserves of courage while searching for his missing son.
By turns heartbreaking and fiercely inventive, Half Gods reveals with sharp clarity the ways that parents, children, and friends act as unknowing mirrors to each other, revealing in their all-too human weaknesses, hopes, and sorrows a connection to the divine.
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.
About Little Wonder:
Kat Gardiner’s debut collection of microfiction, Little Wonder, springs from the year she spent in Anacortes, Washington. Young and idealistic, she and her husband moved to town to open a café and music venue in the hopes of finding a home there.
The experiment lasted exactly one year.
In interconnected fragments, Little Wonder reads like a series of love notes to a former self. Characters navigate frustration, loss, heartbreak, but they also come into new versions of themselves. Little Wonder sheds light on the idea that joy and pain are often two sides of the same coin — and that being alive in this world can necessitate embracing both.
“I can see the sun sinking down over Anacortes at the end of every page. Little Wonder has the ache of Raymond Carver, the honesty, the vulnerability. It’s so melancholic and honest and beautiful.” — Kyle Field (Little Wings)
Born in Oklahoma, raised in the Pacific Northwest, and based in Detroit, Kat Gardiner carries a restlessness through her writing that’s been honed by a lifelong search for roots. Her debut collection of short fiction, Little Wonder, springs from the year Gardiner spent in Anacortes, Washington, during her early twenties. Young and idealistic, she opened a coffee shop and music venue with her husband in the hopes of finding a home in the city’s artistic community. The experiment lasted exactly one year. Gardiner closed the coffee shop and moved away from Anacortes, ending a stressful and dreamlike chapter in her life.
Gardiner studied creative writing at Bennington College in Vermont, and later took workshops with Tom Spanbauer, the creator of the technique known as Dangerous Writing, in Portland, Oregon. In developing her craft, she found herself drawn to microfiction, citing Lydia Davis as a touchstone. “There’s something powerful in succinct details,” Gardiner says. Writing in short, interconnected fragments enabled her to revisit the year spent in Anacortes with a new sense of perspective. Little Wonder reads like a series of love notes to a former self, or a collection of Polaroids made golden with age. Gardiner’s characters navigate frustration, loss, and heartbreak, but they also come into new versions of themselves, a transformation they may not recognize in the moment. Through poignant vignettes furnished generously with detail, Gardiner looks into what it means to enter the world and realize that the world is not nearly as amenable to change as an optimistic young person might think. “It’s been liberating to make art out of both the painful and the joyous parts of that experience,” she says. With Little Wonder, she’s shed light on the idea that joy and pain are often two sides of the same coin — and that being alive in this world can necessitate embracing both.
Literati is excited to welcome author kim d. hunter who will be sharing his new story collection, The Official Report on Human Activity.
About The Official Report on Human Activity:
The Official Report on Human Activity by kim d. hunter, which is neither official nor a report, is a collection of long stories that are linked by reoccurring characters and their personal struggles in societies rife with bigotry, in which media technology and capitalism have run amok. These stories approach the holy trinity of gender, race, and class at a slant. They are concerned with the process and role of writing intertwined with the roles of music and sound.
The four stories range from the utterly surreal-a factory worker seeking recognition for his writing gives birth to a small black elephant with a mysterious message on its hide-to the utterly real-a nerdy black teen’s summer away from home takes a turn when he encounters half-white twins on the run from the police. Prominently known as a Detroit poet, hunter creates illusions and magic while pulling back the curtain to reveal humanity-the good, bad, and absurd. Readers will find their minds expanded and their conversations flowing after finishing The Official Report on Human Activity.
The Official Report on Human Activity is sure to appeal to readers of literary fiction, particularly those interested in postmodernism and social justice.
kim d. hunter has published two collections of poetry: borne on slow knives and edge of the time zone. His poetry appears in Rainbow Darkness, What I Say, Black Renaissance Noire, 6X6 #35, and elsewhere. He received a 2012 Kresge Artist Fellowship in the Literary Arts and he works in Detroit providing media support to social justice groups.
This year’s Rasa Festival reading features poets Samiah Haque, Ashwini Bhasi, Zilka Joseph, and Inam Kang.
Samiah Haque speaks in fluid tones, with an acute clarity of voice. Her hobbies include jaywalking, whistling in the company of passers-by, and skipping to the lou. Recently, she has taken to advising young soldiers on the subject of hygiene and proper table manners. She lives in a swollen field outside of Madrid.
Ashwini Bhasi lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and writes poems to make sense of the mind-body connection of trauma and chronic pain, life in India, and the duality of her experiences as a data analyst and poet. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Room Magazine, Rogue Agent, Bear River Review, Yellow Chair Review, The Feminist Wire, and Driftwood Press among others. Her poem about the 2016 presidential election was nominated for a Pushcart prize.
Zilka Joseph teaches creative writing and is an independent editor and manuscript coach. Her chapbooks, Lands I Live In and What Dread, were nominated for a PEN America and a Pushcart award, respectively. She was awarded a Zell Fellowship, a Hopwood Prize, and the Elsie Choy Lee Scholarship (Center for the Education of Women) from the University of Michigan.
Inam Kang is a Pakistani-born Muslim poet, student, curator and researcher currently living in Cleveland, OH as an MS candidate in Medical Physiology at Case Western Reserve University. He is also a former Ann Arbor Poetry & Slam finalist. Currently, he is a co-curator for the POC-centered reading and dialogue series FRUIT in Ann Arbor, MI. His work can be found or is forthcoming in Freezeray Poetry and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others.