Paul Petrie (1928-2012) was born in Detroit, Michigan in an area which, at that time, was on the outskirts of the city. After receiving a BA (1950) and MA (1951) from Wayne University, he spent two years in the Army during the Korean War, the latter part in Alaska supposedly working in intelligence.
Jerry Williams’ entire family, on both sides, originated from Harlan, Kentucky, a coal town in the southeastern part of the Bluegrass State, a place of great importance to labor historians and country singers. His ancestry consists mostly of alcoholics and pill addicts, xenophobes, agoraphobes, preachers, toothless Felliniesque pinheads, veterans of foreign wars with unidentifiable diseases, attempted murderers, moonshiners and bootleggers, racists, golfers, magicians, disability royalty, suicides, freemasons, one cop killer, and a legion of mourners. Before he arrived on the scene, his mother and father and his two sisters moved north to Dayton, Ohio, birthplace of African-American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Guided by Voices, and sibling aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright. Over the years, he has been an infant; a child; an adolescent; an adult; a gym rat; an undergraduate at Vermont College, where he received a B.A. in English; singer in a band named after a Sam Shepard play; landscaper; typist; bartender; delivery driver (auto parts); cashier; telephone solicitor; dishwasher; librarian’s assistant; Los Angeleno; San Franciscan; Princetonian; Tucsonan (he did an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona); as well as a reluctant Stillwaterian, where he earned a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University.
Registration is now open for the 8th Annual Ocean State Summer Writing Conference!
This year, we are thrilled to welcome our keynote speakers: graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel, poet Charles Bernstein, and novelist Percival Everett. Returning from last year to teach master classes are dramatist Ayad Akhtar and novelist Amity Gaige. Poet and critic Stephen Burt will lead an advanced workshop.
In addition to Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction workshops, we celebrate the addition of Memoir and Young Adult Literature, and, back by popular demand, Screenwriting.
The main conference features a panel of comics artists, discussion with editors, and a special presentation by artist Susan Bee, among many more events.
Don’t miss the opportunity to have a consultation with one of two editors from Penguin.
For more information visit the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference website here!
David Lazar, essayist, editor and educator, read from his new collection of essays, Occasional Desireas part of this semester’s Read/Write Series at the University of Rhode Island. Lazar read “On the Art of Survival: North by Northwest,” a personal, existential meditation on the intersections of Hitchcock, Flannery O’Connor and Franz Kafka. He followed with “Calling for His Past,” reminiscing on the public telephone as a source of “serendipity.”
Lazar, sardonic and perceptive, read passages like the following: “Freud says there are never only two people in bed, and just so, there were rarely only two people on public telephones in New York.” He followed the reading with Q&A, discussing the influence of Montaigne, the historical stock of the essay as genre and his own goals as an essayist.
“In his concentrically self-aware, amused, and ironic voice, David Lazar explores the trappings of memory, the trapdoors of memory, the way we gild or codify, select, soften, and self-delude ourselves based on our understanding of the past. His own process of selection and reflection reminds us of how far this literary form can take us, bound only by the limits of desire and imagination.”
David Lazar created the undergraduate and Ph.D. programs in Nonfiction Writing at Ohio University, and directed the creation of the undergraduate and M.F.A. programs in Nonfiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago. He is the founding editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika, now in its thirteenth year. A major theorist, teacher, practitioner, and historian of the essay, David Lazar is the author of two collections of essays, Occasional Desire (just out from the University of Nebraska Press), and The Body of Brooklyn (U/Iowa), as well as Powder Town, a collection of prose poems (Pecan Grove); Michael Powell: Interviews; and, Conversations with M.F.K. Fisher (both from U/Mississippi Press). Editor of and contributor to the landmark collection, Truth in Nonfiction, Lazar is also the editor, most recently of Essaying the Essay (Welcome Table Press), and, the forthcoming, After Montaigne (University of Georgia Press).
We’ve got an upcoming READ/WRITE event on October 30! Featured poets are Timothy Liu and Cole Swensen, both contributing authors to our journal. The event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 5-7pm, The Hoffmann Room (Swan Hall 154) in the University of Rhode Island. The event is free and open to the public.
Cole Swensen is the author of 14 books of poetry; her work has won the Iowa Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Book Award, and the National Poetry Series, and has been a finalist twice for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and once for the National Book Award. Co-editor of the 2009 Norton anthology American Hybrid, she is also the founding editor of La Presse Books, which publishes contemporary French poetry in translation. A translator herself, she has published 15 translations of contemporary French poetry and prose with presses such as Burning Deck, Green Integer, and Counterpath and been awarded the PEN USA Award in Literary Translation. A 2007 Guggenheim fellow, she has also received support from the French Direction du Livre, the Association Beaumarchais, and Creative Capital. She teaches in the Literary Arts Department at Brown University.
Timothy Liu (Liu Ti Mo) was born in 1965 in San Jose, California, to parents from the Chinese mainland. He studied at Brigham Young University, the University of Houston, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is the author of Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse (2009); Polytheogamy (2009); For Dust Thou Art (2005); Of Thee I Sing (2004), selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2004 Book-of-the-Year; Hard Evidence (2001); Say Goodnight (1998); Burnt Offerings (1995); and Vox Angelica (1992), which won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. He has also edited Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, (Talisman House, 2000). Translated into ten languages, Liu’s poems have been included in many anthologies and have appeared in such magazines and journals as Bomb, Grand Street, Kenyon Review, The Nation, New American Writing, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry and Virginia Quarterly Review.