We’re pleased to welcome the beloved author of The Undertaking in support of his latest, The Depositions: New and Selected Essays on Being and Ceasing to Be. The author will be in conversation with poet Keith Taylor. Signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book:
For nearly four decades, poet, essayist, and small-town funeral director Thomas Lynch has probed relations between the literary and mortuary arts. His life’s work with the dead and the bereaved has informed four previous collections of nonfiction, each exploring identity and humanity with Lynch’s signature blend of memoir, meditation, gallows humor, and poetic precision.
The Depositions provides an essential selection from these masterful collections—essays on fatherhood, Irish heritage, funeral rites, and the perils of bodiless obsequies—as well as new essays in which the space between Lynch’s hyphenated identities—as an Irish American, undertaker-poet—is narrowed by the deaths of poets, the funerals of friends, the loss of neighbors, intimate estrangements, and the slow demise of a beloved dog.
As Alan Ball writes in a penetrating foreword, Lynch’s work allows us “to see both the absurdity and the beauty of death, sometimes simultaneously.” With this landmark collection, he continues to illuminate not only how we die, but also how we live.
Thomas Lynch has authored five collections of poetry, one of stories, and four books of essays. His first, The Undertaking, won the Heartland Prize for Non-Fiction and the American Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, Harper’s Magazine, and the New York Times, among other publications. He works as a funeral director in Milford, Michigan, and teaches at the Bear River Writer’s Conference.
Independent journalist and co-founder of Press On visits the store in support of The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book: “Wallace asks the right questions and makes a powerful case for a reexamination of what journalism is and how it can best serve the public. American journalists will readily admit, I think, that our industry has let down the broader community in recent years. Wallace posits a new solution for how we might avoid the mistakes of the past and move forward in a productive way. The View from Somewhere is both a fascinating dissection of our political body and a passionate plea for reform. It’s also a darn good read.”–Celeste Headlee, author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter
Lewis Raven Wallace is an independent journalist, a co-founder of Press On, a southern movement journalism collective, and the host of The View from Somewhere podcast. He previously worked in public radio and is a longtime activist engaged in prison abolition, racial justice, and queer and trans liberation. He is a white transgender person from the Midwest and is now based in North Carolina.
Shane McCrae’s book of poems, The Gilded Auction Block (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), puts the news in poems and fits the news into history and futurity. His poems speak of both the ridiculousness and the unnerving familiarity of today. Dan Chiasson, writing for the New Yorker, praises McCrae’s “beautifully up-to-date, old-fashioned work, where the dignity of English meters meets, as in a mosh pit, the vitality―and often the brutality―of American speech.”
McCrae is also the author of Sometimes I Never Suffered (to be published in spring, 2020, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux); In the Language of My Captor, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the William Carlos Williams Award, and won the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Poetry; The Animal Too Big to Kill, winner of the 2014 Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award; Forgiveness Forgiveness; Blood; and Mule. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the 2017 Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.
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
Grand Rapids-based author A. R. Moxon visits the store as part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati series in support of his debut novel, The Revisionaries.
“It’s a good thing The Revisionaries is so funny. It will prevent whatever civilization that finds it thousands of years from now forming a creepy new religion around it.” — Patton Oswalt
“Mind-bending. A headlong adventure yarn set in a vividly-imagined cityscape, The Revisionaries is also a fiendish narrative, as well as a parable at scale about freedom and responsibility.” — Martin Seay, author of The Mirror Thief
A. R. Moxon is a writer who runs the popular twitter handle @JuliusGoat. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is his first novel.
We’re delighted to welcome our friend Chris McCormick back to the store as part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati series, and in support of his new novel The Gimmicks. Signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book: Set in the waning years of the Cold War, a stunning debut novel about a trio of young Armenians that moves from the Soviet Union, across Europe, to Southern California, and at its center, one of the most tragic cataclysms in twentieth-century history–the Armenian Genocide–whose traumatic reverberations will have unexpected consequences on all three lives.
“The Gimmicks is a gorgeous epic that astounds with its scope and beauty. With empathy and humor, McCormick unravels the ties between brotherhood and betrayal, love and abandonment, and the fictions we create to live with the pain of the past. This novel will blow you away.”–Brit Bennett, New York Times bestselling author of The Mothers
“Chris McCormick is a novelist of uncommon vision, empathy, and purpose. The Gimmicks crosses continents and decades to tell a remarkable story of historical trauma, friendship, and the moral combat of professional wrestling. Though haunted by ghosts, The Gimmicks is brilliantly, boisterously alive.”–Anthony Marra, author of NBCC John Leonard Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Chris McCormick is the author of a collection of stories, Desert Boys, winner of the 2017 Stonewall Book Award. Born in 1987 and raised on the California side of the Mojave Desert, he is a graduate of the University of Michigan MFA program and now lives and teaches in Minnesota.
Iowa Writers’ Workshop alum Kiley Reid visits as part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati series, in support of her debut novel Such a Fun Age. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book: A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
“This is not a world of easy answers but one in which intentions don’t match actions and expectations don’t match consequences, where it is possible to mean something partly good and do something mostly bad. The result is both unsparing and compassionate, impossible to read without wincing in recognition–and questioning yourself. Such a Fun Age is nothing short of brilliant, and Kiley Reid is the writer we need now.” –Chloe Benjamin, author of The Immortalists
Kiley Reid earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship and taught undergraduate creative writing workshops with a focus on race and class. Her short stories have been featured in Ploughshares, December, New South, and Lumina. Reid lives in Philadelphia.
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.
Author Kate Wisel visits as part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati series and in support of her collection of linked stories Driving in Cars with Homeless Men. Book signing to follow. Free and open to the public.
About the book: Driving in Cars with Homeless Men is a love letter to women moving through violence. These linked stories are set in the streets and the bars, the old homes, the tiny apartments, and the landscape of a working-class Boston. With riotous energy and rage, the women portrayed run towards the future in the hopes of untangling themselves from failure to succeed and fail again.
Kate Wisel is a native of Boston. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in publications that include Gulf Coast, New Ohio Review, Tin House online, Redivider as winner of the Beacon Street prize, and on the Boston subway as winner of the “Poetry on the T” contest. Kate Wisel lives in Chicago.
We’re pleased to welcome Alexander Weinstein back to the store as part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati series, in support of his new story collection Universal Love. Free and open to the public. Book signing to follow.
About the book: A hypnotic collection of speculative fiction about compassion, love, and human resilience in the technological hyper-age, from Alexander Weinstein, author of Children of the New World.
Universal Love welcomes readers to a near-future world where our everyday technologies have fundamentally altered the possibilities and limits of how we love one another. In these gripping stories, a young boy tries to understand what keeps his father tethered to the drowned city they call home. A daughter gets to know her dead mother’s hologram better than she ever knew her living mother. And, at a time when unpleasant memories can be erased, a man undergoes electronic surgery to have his depression, and his past, forever removed.
Alexander Weinstein is the author of the critically acclaimed Children of the New World and the director of the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Among his many publications, his fiction was awarded the Lamar York Prize and the Gail Crump Prize, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and has been collected in the anthology 2013 New Stories from the Midwest. He is a professor of creative writing at Siena Heights University and a lecturer at the University of Michigan.