Ellen Muehlberger (history, classical studies, Middle East studies) and Deborah Dash Moore (Judaic studies, history) discuss Muehlberger’s latest book, followed by Q & A.
Late antiquity saw a proliferation of Christian texts dwelling on the emotions and physical sensations of dying—not as a heroic martyr in a public square or a judge’s court but as an individual, at home in a bed or in a private room. In sermons, letters, and ascetic traditions, late ancient Christians imagined the last minutes of life and the events that followed death in elaborate detail. This book traces how, in late ancient Christianity, death came to be thought of as a moment of reckoning: a physical ordeal whose pain is followed by an immediate judgment of one’s actions by angels and demons and, after that, fitting punishment. This emphasis on the experience of death ushered in a new ethical sensibility among Christians, in which one’s death was to be imagined frequently and anticipated in detail. This was initially meant as a tool for individuals: preachers counted on the fact that becoming aware of a judgment arriving at the end of one’s life tends to sharpen one’s scruples. But, as this book argues, the change in Christian sensibility toward death did not just affect individuals. Death imagined as the moment of reckoning created a fund of images and ideas within late ancient Christian culture about just what constituted a human being and how variances in human morality should be treated. This had significant effects on the Christian adoption of power in late antiquity, especially in the case of power’s heaviest baggage: the capacity to authorize violence against others
ONE PAUSE POETRY SALON is (literally) a greenhouse for poetry and poets, nurturing an appreciation for written art in all languages and encouraging experiments in creative writing.
We meet every Weds in the greenhouse at Argus Farm Stop on Liberty St. The poems we read each time are unified by form (haiku, sonnet, spoken word), poet, time / place (Tang Dynasty, English Romanticism, New York in the 70s) or theme / mood (springtime, poems with cats, protest poems). We discuss the poems and play writing games together, with time for snacks and socializing in between.
Members are encouraged to share their own poems or poems they like – they may or may not relate to the theme of the evening. This is not primarily a workshop – we may hold special workshop nights, but mostly we listen to and talk about poems for the sake of inspiring new writing.
Whether you are a published poet or encountering poetry for the first time, we invite you to join us!
$5 suggested donation for food, drinks and printing costs.
8-10 p.m., Argus Farm Stop greenhouse, 325 W. Liberty. $5 suggested donation. onepausepoetry.org, 707-1284.
We welcome poet and Ford School of Public Policy professor Molly Spencer in support of her collection, If the house, winner of the 2019 Brittingham Prize judged by Carl Philips. A book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public.
Molly Spencer‘s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Copper Nickel, FIELD, The Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and other journals. Her critical writing has appeared at Colorado Review, Kenyon Review Online, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Rumpus. She holds an MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop, and is a Poetry Editor at The Rumpus. Her collection, If the house, won the 2019 Brittingham Prize judged by Carl Phillips, and is forthcoming from the University of Wisconsin Press in October of 2019. A second collection, Relic and the Plum, won the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition judged by Allison Joseph, and will be out in September of 2020. Molly teaches at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
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 Annesha Sengupta and Bryan Byrdlong.
Annesha Sengupta is a writer from Richmond, VA.
Bryan Byrdlong is a Haitian/African-American writer from Chicago, Illinois. He recently graduated from Venderbilt University where he received an undergraduate English/Creative Writing degree. He currently studies and teaches English at the University of Michigan.
John Knott shares his essays, which present a story of getting to know a place intimately and learning to deal with challenges from the human and natural worlds, from developers and county officials to windstorms, a hatch of seventeen-year cicadas, flying squirrels in the attic, and a bullfrog that takes up residence for the winter in the basement floor drain.
About the Author
John R. Knott, Jr., was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on July 9, 1937, the son of John R. Knott and Wilma Henshaw Knott. He graduated from Central High School in 1955 and did his undergraduate work at Yale University, graduating magna cum laude with high honors in English in 1959. In 1959-60 he held a Carnegie Fellowship at Yale, taking one graduate course and teaching undergraduate English. During that year he married Anne Percy Knott of Memphis. He went to Harvard University for his graduate work with a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship (1960-61), earning a Ph.D. in English in 1965 after serving as a Teaching Fellow in General Education and in English. He remained at Harvard as an Instructor in English for two years before joining the Department of English of the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor in 1967. By that time he and his wife Anne had four children: Catherine Henshaw Knott, Ellen Dent Knott, Walker Percy Knott, and Anne Minor Knott.
At Michigan John Knott was promoted to Associate Professor in 1971 and Professor in 1976. He specialized in English Renaissance literature for much of his career, teaching a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Milton, Spenser, Shakespeare, and the Puritan imagination. He twice received recognition for his teaching in the form of LSA Excellence in Education awards. He published numerous articles and chapters and three scholarly books on Renaissance literature: Milton’s Pastoral Vision (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1971); The Sword of the Spirit (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1980), with the help of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities; and Discourses of Martyrdom in English Literature: 1563-1694 (Cambridge University Press, 1993), with the help of a Michigan Humanities Award. In the 1990’s his teaching and research interests gradually shifted to literature and the environment. He published a critical book that grew out of a course he developed in the literature of the American wilderness, Imagining Wild America (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2001) and subsequently Imagining the Forest: Narratives of the Upper Midwest (University of Michigan Press, 2012). He has edited or co-edited several collections dealing with the environment, including The Huron River: Voices from the Watershed (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2000) and Michigan: Our Land, Our Water Our Heritage (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2008, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy.
John Knott’s service at Michigan has included Assoc. Dean (1977-80) and Acting Dean (1980-81) of LSA; Chair of the Department of English (1982-87); Interim Director of the Humanities Institute (1987-88); and Interim Director of the Program in the Environment (2001-2). As chair of English he started the MFA program in creative writing. He served on the planning committee for the Institute for the Humanities and acted as interim director during its startup year. Several years before his retirement from the faculty in 2006 he chaired the planning and implementation committees that established the joint LSA/SNRE Program in the Environment, which replaced the SNRE undergraduate program, and directed the program for its first year and a half.
Writing a story for children is a special art, and these short manuscripts can sometimes take as long to complete as a full-length novel. In this workshop, New York Times bestselling and Caldecott-winning author Philip C. Stead will discuss how to write books that kids love.
This is part of the monthly Emerging Writers Workshops, which offer support, learning, and advice for local authors. Each month, two weeks after the workshop, there is a meet-up where the instructors will read samples of your work and offer advice and assistance in a casual, supportive atmosphere.
Do you have a completed manuscript? Consider submitting it to the library’s imprint Fifth Avenue Press.
Join us for a thought-provoking conversation about the culprits of and solutions for the largest issues facing the world today.
The Erb Institute is proud to host an evening with Anand Giridharadas, author of the National Best Seller, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. This candid conversation will examine the role of business in society, the flaws of philanthropy and the possibility of changing the world from the ground up. We’ll discuss climate change—culprits, challenges and collaboration for progress—social inequality—who’s winning, who’s losing and why—and what needs to change.
Seating will be on a first come first served basis. Book signing in partnership with Literati to immediately follow the event.
Open-mic storytelling competitions. Open to anyone with a five-minute story to share on the night’s theme. Come tell a story, or just enjoy the show!
6:30pm Doors Open | 7:30pm Stories Begin
*Tickets for this event are available one week before the show, at 3pm ET.
*Seating is not guaranteed and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be sure to arrive at least 10 minutes before the show. Admission is not guaranteed for late arrivals. All sales final.
Media Sponsor: Michigan Radio.
GUMPTION: Prepare a five-minute story about go-getting. Moments of courage and the peaks and pratfalls of a daring spirit. Scaling mountains or admitting to mistakes. Nerves of steel or jelly legs. Tell us about your gutsiest gambles and the mettle that forged them. You’ve got moxie, kid!
Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.
Jeff Kass is bringing the poetry and we are supplying the pizza. Teacher/Pizza Guy is a funny and relatable collection for readers, thinkers, educators, and pizza lovers everywhere. Kass will be joined by local high school poets.
About the Book
Teacher/Pizza Guy is a collection of autobiographical poems from the 2016–17 school year in which Jeff Kass worked as a full-time English teacher and a part-time director for a literary arts organization and still had to supplement his income by delivering pizzas a few nights a week. In the collection, Kass is unapologetically political without distracting from the poems themselves but rather adds layers and nuances to the fight for the middle class and for educators as a profession.
The timing of this book is beyond relevant. As a public high school teacher in America, Kass’s situation is not uncommon. In September 2018, Time published an article detailing the ways in which many public school teachers across the country and in a variety of environments work multiple jobs to help make ends meet. Teacher/Pizza Guy chronicles Kass’s experience of teaching, directing, feeding people, and treading the delicate balance of holding himself accountable to his wife and kids, his students, his customers, and his own mental and physical health while working three jobs in contemporary America. The journey of that year was draining, at times daunting, at times satisfying, but always surprising. Many of the ideas for these poems were initially scribbled onto the backs of pizza receipts or scratched out during precious free moments amidst the chaos of the school day. A driving force behind the book is Philip Levine’s poem “What Work Is,” which Kass believes attempts to examine not only the dignity and complexity of what we think physical, tangible work is but also the exhausting, albeit sometimes fulfilling nature of emotional work.
About the Author
Jeff Kass teaches tenth-grade English and creative writing at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the founder of the Literary Arts Program at Ann Arbor’s teen center, The Neutral Zone, where he was program director for twenty years. He is also the author of the award-winning short story collection Knuckleheads, the poetry collection My Beautiful Hook-Nosed Beauty Queen Strut Wave, and the thriller Takedown. He lives in Ann Arbor with the author Karen Smyte and their children, Sam and Julius