We welcome poet John James in support of his widely acclaimed debut collection The Milk Hours. The event is free and open to the public, a book signing will follow.
“‘Home is a question, ‘ writes John James in The Milk Hours, a remarkable debut in which sorrow leads to an astonishing intimacy with the world. The speaker is pensive but inquisitive, bewildered by the loss of a father and renewed by love and parenthood. Art, science, and travel, like mortality, become tethers to the elegant and chaotic truths of our world. The Milk Hours is a moving and urgently crafted testament to resilience and to beauty.” –Eduardo C. Corral
“The titular poem in John James’s debut collection refers not only to the luminous hour of infant nurture, although that is its occasion, but to the violent loss of his father, an event distant enough that ‘snowmelt smoothes the stone cuts of his name.’ James’s searing attention is upon the fleeting, the untethered, upon fecundity and decay, the cosmic and the molecular. These are also the poems of a young father’s daily life in the wane of empire, who wishes ‘to remember things purely, to see them / As they are, ‘ and who recognizes in what he sees our peril. ‘The end, ‘ he writes, ‘we’re moving toward it.’ James is, then, a poet of our precarious moment, and The Milk Hours is his gift to us.” –Carolyn Forché
John James is the author of Chthonic, winner of the 2014 CutBank Chapbook Award. His poems appear in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Best American Poetry 2017, and elsewhere. Also a digital collagist, his visual art is forthcoming in the Adroit Journal, Quarterly West, and LIT. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he is pursuing a PhD in English at the University of California, Berkeley.
One MFA student of fiction and one of poetry, each introduced by a peer, will read their work. The Mark Webster Reading Series presents emerging writers in a warm and relaxed setting. We encourage you to bring your friends – a Webster reading makes for an enjoyable and enlightening Friday evening.
This week’s reading features Sarah Duffett and Michael M. Weinstein.
Sarah Duffett is a writer from New England and the cohost of the Webster Reading Series. She currently lives in Ann Arbor.
Michael M. Weinstein is a poet, teacher, translator, and cohost of the Webster Reading Series. Originally from New York, he now lives in Ann Arbor.
We welcome award-winning author Clare Beams in support of her novel The Illness Lesson. Following a reading, the author will be in conversation with author Julie Buntin. The event is free and open to the public and a book signing will follow.
About the book:
“Brilliant, suspenseful…A masterpiece.”–Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls
“A brainy page-turner that’s gorgeous and frightening in equal measure.”–Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
A searing novel which probes the world’s approach to women’s bodies and women’s minds, and the time-honored tradition of doubting both.
At their newly founded school, Samuel Hood and his daughter Caroline promise a groundbreaking education for young women. But Caroline has grave misgivings. After all, her own unconventional education has left her unmarriageable and isolated, unsuited to the narrow roles afforded women in 19th century New England.
When a mysterious flock of red birds descends on the town, Caroline alone seems to find them unsettling. But it’s not long before the assembled students begin to manifest bizarre symptoms: Rashes, seizures, headaches, verbal tics, night wanderings. One by one, they sicken. Fearing ruin for the school, Samuel overrules Caroline’s pleas to inform the girls’ parents and turns instead to a noted physician, a man whose sinister ministrations–based on a shocking historic treatment–horrify Caroline. As the men around her continue to dictate, disastrously, all terms of the girls’ experience, Caroline’s body too begins to betray her. To save herself and her young charges, she will have to defy every rule that has governed her life, her mind, her body, and her world.
Clare Beams is the author of the story collection We Show What We Have Learned, which won the Bard Prize and was a Kirkus Best Debut of 2016, as well as a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award. With her husband and two daughters, she lives in Pittsburgh, where she teaches creative writing, most recently at Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
Whether you’re a page poet, slammer, performance artist or refuse a label, we want to hear your new stuff on our open mic. We look forward to sharing great poetry (and great coffee) with you and invite you to join this free open mic and monthly reading series!
Sign up! 7:00 p.m.
7:15 p.m. – Open mic
8:00 p.m. – Featured Reader
We welcome Susan J. Douglas back to the store in support her new book In Our Prime: How Older Women Are Reinventing the Road Ahead. The event is free and open to the public, a book signing will follow.
About the book:
Susan Douglas knows that you are not alone. She declares it is time now for the largest female generation over fifty to reinvent what it means to be an older woman and to challenge the outdated stereotypes–think doddering or shrewish–that Hollywood and TV have assigned them. She zones in on how the anti-aging cosmetics industry targets older and younger women alike with their products, and how Big Pharma ads equate getting older with disease and decline. Douglas exposes the ageism that mature women face at work and why conservatives’ decades-long attacks on Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare disproportionately affect women.
Susan J. Douglas is Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Communication and Media at the University of Michigan. The author most recently of In Our Prime as well as the groundbreaking works Where the Girls Are, The Rise of Enlightened Sexism, and The Mommy Myth, she lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Kathleen Graber’s poetry collection, The River Twice (Princeton University Press, 2019), is an elegiac meditation on impermanence and change. She presents a fluid world in which so much―including space and time, the subterranean realm of dreams, and language itself―seems protean. Graber is also the author of two previous books of poetry, Correspondence and The Eternal City, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She is an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.
This event is free and open to the public. Onsite book sales will be provided by Literati Bookstore.
UMMA is pleased to be the site for the Zell Visiting Writers Series, which brings outstanding writers each semester. The Series is made possible through a generous gift from U-M alumna Helen Zell (AB ’64, LLDHon ’13). For more information, please visit the Zell Visiting Writers Series webpage.
Literati is pleased to welcome Tommye Blount as part of our ongoing Poetry at Literati series. The event is free and open to the public, a book signing will follow.
In his debut collection Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Tommye Blount orchestrates a chorus of distinct, unforgettable voices that speak to the experience of the black, queer body as a site of desire and violence. A black man’s late-night encounter with a police officer–the titular “man in blue”–becomes an extended meditation on a dangerous erotic fantasy. The late Luther Vandross, resurrected here in a suite of poems, addresses the contradiction between his public persona and a life spent largely in the closet: “It’s a calling, this hunger / to sing for a love I’m too ashamed to want for myself.” In “Aaron McKinney Cleans His Magnum,” the convicted killer imagines the barrel of the gun he used to bludgeon Matthew Shephard as an “infant’s small mouth” as well as the “sad calculator” that was “built to subtract from and divide a town.” In these and other poems, Blount viscerally captures the experience of the “other” and locates us squarely within these personae.
A Cave Canem alumnus, Tommye Blount is the author of What Are We Not For (Bull City Press, 2016). A graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers, he has been the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from Kresge Arts in Detroit and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Born and raised in Detroit, Blount now lives in the nearby suburb of Novi, Michigan.
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.