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.
We are delighted to welcome the publisher and three contributors to this intersectional collection of essays, fiction, and poetry featuring black, Latinx, Asian, queer, and trans writers for a panel discussion!
About the book: “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” said Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford when she testified to congress in September 2018 about the men who victimized her. A year earlier, in October 2017, the hashtag #MeToo shone a light on the internalized, normalized sexual harassment and abuse that’d been ubiquitous for women for generations.
Among the first books to emerge from the #MeToo movement, Indelible in the Hippocampus is a truly intersectional collection of essays, fiction, and poetry. These original texts sound the voices of black, Latinx, Asian, queer, and trans writers, to name but a few, and says “me too” 23 times. Whether reflecting on their teenage selves or their modern-day workplaces, each contributor approaches the subject with unforgettable authenticity and strength.
Together these pieces create a portrait of cultural sea-change, offering the reader a deeper understanding of this complex, galvanizing pivot in contemporary consciousness.
Nandi Comer is the author of the American Family: A Syndrome (Finishing Line Press) and Tapping Out (Northwestern University Press, May, 2020). She is a Cave Canem fellow as well as a Callaloo fellow. She is a 2019 Kresge Artist Fellow. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Muzzle, The Offing and Southern Indiana Review.
Emily Jace McLaughlin is a fiction writer and screenwriter. Her short stories have appeared in Catapult, VICE, Cutbank, and Fiction, among other journals. She is a graduate of the Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, where she won Hopwood Awards for her novel, short fiction, essays and play, and where she currently teaches. She formerly wrote for Warner Brothers Television.
Polly Rosenwaike’s story collection, Look How Happy I’m Making You, was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ “Best Short Story Collections of 2019,” and Glamour’s “Best Books of 2019.” She works as a freelance editor in Ann Arbor and is the Fiction Editor for Michigan Quarterly Review.
Amanda Uhle is Executive Director and Publisher of McSweeney’s, known for its award-winning quarterly literary journal, humor website and eclectic book publishing program. She is co-founder, with Dave Eggers, of The International Congress of Youth Voices. For more than 11 years, Uhle was executive director 826michigan, a nonprofit tutoring and writing center for school-aged students in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Ypsilanti. Trained as a journalist, she writes independently and is sometimes host of the author interview radio program and podcast, Living Writers. She remains involved with numerous youth writing organizations in Michigan and around the world, supporting their fundraising and programming as a volunteer consultant. She’s a board member of Choose Yourself, a youth-led organization working to raise fearless girls and young women in the nations of Africa and in the United States
There was a time when the word “job” was a pejorative term. Now, many people around the world think a job—any job—to be a blessing, essential to thrive; even, survive. Frithjof Bermann will give a short reading from his book, recently released in English, New Work, New Culture, in which he skewers what he calls the “Job System” of organizing work, as being outdated and dysfunctional. He proposes an alternative. After his reading, there will be an audience discussion.
Frithjof H. Bergmann is emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.
This event includes books for sale.
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.
Amy Auscherman, Corporate Archivist for Herman Miller, Inc, discusses her new book Herman Miller: A Way of Living, a chronicle of the rich history of the innovative furniture company, from its founding in the early twentieth century to today.
For more than 100 years, Michigan-based Herman Miller has played a central role in the evolution of modern and contemporary design, producing timeless classics while creating a culture that has had a remarkable impact on the development of the design world. Ten chapters and thousands of illustrations in this new book tell the Herman Miller story as never before, documenting its defining moments and key leaders.
Amy Auscherman has managed the company’s extensive design archive since 2014, She also served as an editor for WHY Magazine, curated exhibitions, and contributed to design history scholarship through writing and lecturing. Her work has been featured in Architectural Digest, AIGA’s Eye on Design, AXIS, Curbed, Dwell, Fast Company, PIN-UP, Surface, among many others. Podcast and television appearances include TED’s WorkLife with Adam Grant and Viceland’s Nuts+Bolts with Tyler, The Creator.
The event is in partnership with the Michigan chapter of Docomomo US and will be hosted by Martin Bandyke, morning drive host on ann arbor’s 107one. It includes a signing with books for sale.
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.