Calendar

Nov
1
Fri
Poetry at Literati: Molly Spencer: If the house @ Literati
Nov 1 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

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 NickelFIELD​, The Georgia ReviewGettysburg ReviewNew England ReviewPloughsharesPrairie Schooner, and other journals. Her critical writing has appeared at Colorado ReviewKenyon Review OnlineTupelo 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.

Webster Reading Series: Annesha Sengupta and Bryan Byrdlong @ UMMA Auditorium
Nov 1 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

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.

 

Nov
3
Sun
Almost Country with John Knott @ Nicola's Books
Nov 3 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

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.

Ann Arbor Poetry: J Sea @ Espresso Royale
Nov 3 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Ann Arbor Poetry hosts an open mic every 1st and 3rd Sunday, with feature poets whenever we can get them.
J Sea is a Canadian poet.
$5 suggested donation. facebook.com/AnnArborPoetry.

 

Nov
5
Tue
Anand Giridharadas: Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World @ Robertson Auditorium, Ross School of Business
Nov 5 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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.

Fiction at Literati: Tim Johnston: The Current @ Literati
Nov 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

We welcome New York Times bestselling author Tim Johnston in support of his new novel The Current. Free and open to the public, book signing to follow. 

About the book: In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their car from the icy Black Root River. One is found downriver, drowned, while the other is found at the scenehalf frozen but alive.

What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens the community’s memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may still live among them.

Determined to find answers, the surviving young woman soon realizes that she’s connected to the earlier unsolved case by more than just a river, and the deeper she plunges into her own investigation, the closer she comes to dangerous truths, and to the violence that simmers just below the surface of her hometown.

Grief, suspicion, the innocent and the guilty—all stir to life in this cold northern town where a young woman can come home, but still not be safe. Brilliantly plotted and unrelentingly propulsive, The Current is a beautifully realized story about the fragility of life, the power of the past, and the need, always, to fight back.

Tim Johnston, a native of Iowa City, is the author of The Current and the New York Times bestseller Descent, as well as a young adult novel, Never So Green, and the story collection Irish Girl, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction.

Nov
6
Wed
Fiction at Literati: Mark Danielewski: Little Blue Kite @ Literati
Nov 6 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

We welcome acclaimed writer Mark Z. Danielewski in support of The Little Blue Kite, as part of our ongoing Fiction at Literati Series. A book signing will follow. Free and open to the public. 

About the book:  We all have fears, but if we can’t face the small ones how will we face the big ones? Kai is afraid to fly a little blue kite. But Kai is also very, very brave, and overcoming this small fear will lead him on a great adventure.

Remember: all great adventures start with one little moment. You know the one. It’s like a gentle breeze whispering in your ear what you already know by heart: not even the sky is the limit . . .

Mark Danielewski is the author of some pretty complicated books. The Little Blue Kite, though, is pretty simple. And, sure, maybe there is more here than just big beautiful skies, but who are we to start babbling about the virtues of letting go, especially in a bio, which is really where we should just say the author lives in California with his wife, daughter, and two cats, Archimedes and Meifumado, all of whom know that the wonderful thing about flying a kite is that in the end you don’t even need a kite.

Frankel Center Speaker Series: Dennis Ross: Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Leaders Shaped Its Destiny @ Rackham (Amphitheater)
Nov 6 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

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.

Pizza and Poetry Night: Jeff Kass: Teacher/Pizza Guy @ Nicola's Books
Nov 6 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

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

Steve Luxenberg: Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation @ AADL Downtown (Multi-purpose Room)
Nov 6 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Plessy v. Ferguson is synonymous with Jim Crow laws and the unjust legal doctrine of “separate but equal.” But few Americans know more than the name of the case and have just a superficial understanding of its origins and outcome. Joins us as award-winning author Steve Luxenberg discusses one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the 19th century and his award-winning new book Separate: The Story of Plessy V. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation.

This sweeping, swiftly paced, and richly detailed book is essential reading for any American looking to understand racism, the long struggle for civil rights, and the deep, often surprising history of our nation’s most devastating divide. On June 7, 1892 Homer Plessy, a light-skinned Creole bought a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railroad, boarding the whites-only first-class car. The train conductor promptly arrested him. The resulting case Plessy v. Ferguson (Ferguson was the state judge that ruled against Plessy and upheld the state’s law) was argued before the Supreme Court in 1896. Drawing from letters, diaries, and archival collections, and weaving biography, history, and legal drama together on a grand scale, Luxenberg recreates the personalities and debates that informed the Court’s decision and shaped race relations for generations

The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation was named a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and was longlisted for the 2019 Cundill History Prize. As a work in progress, it won the 2016 J. Anthony Lukas Award for excellence in nonfiction. Steve Luxenberg is an associate editor at The Washington Postand an award-winning author. During his forty years as an editor and reporter, Steve has overseen reporting that has earned many national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. His first book, the critically-acclaimed Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret, was a 2010 Michigan Notable Book and the 2013-14 Great Michigan Read. Steve lives in Baltimore.

This event will be followed by a book signing with books available for sale.