Michener Center Presents Reading by America’s “Pugilistic Poet” August Kleinzahler

member_image_13229290248615022461Acclaimed poet August Kleinzahler will present a reading at a campus event hosted by the Michener Center for Writers on Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. in the Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302.

 

Kleinzahler’s impressive body of work is a hybrid of high and low influences, mixing street-smart language and articulate cultural references with his unique brand of hard-boiled whimsy. His outsider stance has also gained him a reputation as a literary bad-boy, the “pugilistic poet,” duking it out with both pop culturists—somewhat famously, Garrison Keillor, over his folksy “Good Poems” anthology—and academics alike. Kleinzahler’s literary fame has built steadily over four decades.

 

He published a handful of poetry books with independent presses before New York publisher Farrar Straus & Giroux picked up his 1995 “Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow.” They have published his last six books, as well as revived earlier work in new editions.  

 

Kleinzahler won the distinguished Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2004 for “The Strange Hours Travelers Keep,” and his new and selected poems, “Sleeping it Off in Rapid City” (2008), was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award. His prose also regularly appears in the London Review of Books and Slate, among others, and he has published a volume of meditative essays, “Cutty One Rock:  Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained.” His newest book of poems is “The Hotel Oneira,” which the Guardian describes as “dreamlike yet savvy, among the most delightful flowerings of American poetry in our times.”

 

The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the nearby UT San Jacinto Garage.

Lucie Brock-Broido to Speak on Campus Oct. 16

The UT Michener Center for Writers will host a reading by acclaimed poet Lucie Brock-Broido on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm in the Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302, on UT campus.The event is free and open to the public.

Book Cover: Stay, IllusionBrock-Broido’s newest collection, Stay, Illusion, was a finalist in Poetry for the 2013 National Book Award.  Her previous collections include Trouble in Mind, The Master Letters, and A Hunger. Her poetry has appeared in many magazines and literary journals including The Paris Review, Parnassus:  Poetry in Review, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, and The New Yorker. Director of Poetry in the School of Arts of Columbia University in NYC, she is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, NEA support, and the Witter-Bynner Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Secret Life of Magnum Photographs: American Studies Professor Offers an Inside Look at Some of the World’s Most Iconic Images

High above a blur of cars on a congested street in Lower Manhattan, a Chinese man sits atop a tiny fire escape sipping a bowl of noodles.

Surrounded by a concrete jungle of asphalt and high-rise buildings, the man is far from isolation. Yet somehow he appears to be very much alone and out of place.

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This powerful portrayal of modern immigrant life —the cramped living space, the alienation, the absence of color and wide-open spaces – exquisitely captures the parallels between inward struggles and the outside world.

This 1996 photograph from Chien-Chi Chang’s China Town project is one of many iconic photographs in the massive Magnum Photos archive that evoke a sense of wonder and mystery about the world around us. While many of these prints are now valuable art commodities, they were originally intended for reproduction in publications around the world, says Steven Hoelscher, professor of American studies and geography at UT Austin. Continue reading

Poets Nye, Fountain and McGriff on Campus Dec. 5

visiting writersThe UT Michener Center for Writers will host an evening with our visiting poets and alums NAOMI SHIHAB NYECARRIE FOUNTAIN, and MICHAEL MCGRIFF on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm in the Avaya Auditorium, POB 2.302.  San Antonio native Nye is a force of nature in American poetry who has taught for the Michener Center numerous times over the years.  Fountain and McGriff are distinguished alums who are teaching for UT’s Department of English New Writers Project and the MCW, respectively, this fall.

The Peter O’Donnell building, formerly known as the ACES building, is on the southeast corner of 24th and Speedway on UT Campus.  Parking is available in the nearby UT garage at San Jacinto and 24th.

 

Dec. 7: Humanities Texas Holiday Book Fair

Love reading? Need a great present for those bibliophiles on your holiday list? Want to meet some talented Texas authors? Come by the Byrne-Reed House (1410 Rio Grande Street) for Humanities Texas’s fifth annual Holiday Book Fair, which will take place on Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Noteworthy authors participating in this year’s festive event include Bill Minutaglio, Steven Harrigan, Nick Kotz, Joe Nick Patoski, Chase Untermeyer, Jesús F. de la Teja, Jerome Loving, Ricardo C. Ainslie, Sarah Cortez, Nan Cuba, Diana Lopez, Hector Ruiz, Don Tate, and Andrea White. Authors will visit with holiday shoppers and sign copies of their latest books, which Humanities Texas will have available for purchase at a discounted price. Or simply come by for good conversation and delicious homemade baked goods and hot coffee. Free parking will be available in the St. Martin’s Lutheran Church lot on the northwest corner of 15th and Rio Grande Streets. All proceeds from the book fair and bake sale will benefit Austin flood victims.

Visit www.humanitiestexas.org, contact us at 512-440-1991, or find us on Facebook or Twitter for more details about this event.

TILTS to host poet, novelist Gerald Vizenor on Sept. 5

Gerald Vizenor

Gerald Vizenor

The Texas Institute for Literary & Textual Studies (TILTS) welcomes the prolific poet and novelist Gerald Vizenor, a citizen of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota, for a public lecture on Survivance and Totemic Motion in Native American Indian Literature and Art. The lecture will be held in the Prothro Theater at the Harry Ransom Center on Thursday, September 5, at 3:30. A reception will follow in the Tom Lea Room, where the exhibit Native American Literature at the Harry Ransom Center will be on display.

The 2013-2014 edition of TILTS, Reading Race in Literature & Film, brings together scholars, artists, filmmakers, and writers for conversations about the ways that we experience race and ethnicity. As the leading theorist of Native American identity and representation, Vizenor has had a profound influence on indigenous, cultural, and literary studies. He was also a delegate to the White Earth Constitutional Convention and the principal writer of the new Constitution of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. He is a professor emeritus at University California Berkley and currently professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico.

About TILTS

TILTS is an annual, multidisciplinary initiative that showcases dynamic scholarship in literary and textual based studies. TILTS is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Vice-Provost, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Department of English of The University of Texas at Austin. Co-sponsors for this event include: Native American and Indigenous Studies, the Humanities Institute, and the Harry Ransom Center.

Writer Don DeLillo speaks on campus this Thursday

A page from the first draft of Don DeLillo's "Underworld."

A page from the first draft of Don DeLillo's "Underworld."

In conjunction with the Literature and Sport exhibition, Don DeLillo, author of Underworld, Pafko at the Wall, and End Zone, reads from his work on Thursday, July 25, at 7 p.m. in Jessen Auditorium in Homer Rainey Hall at The University of Texas at Austin. DeLillo’s archive resides at the Harry Ransom Center.

DeLillo is the author of 15 novels, including Falling Man, White Noise, and Libra. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize for his complete body of work, and the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other honors. This spring he was named the first recipient of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and doors open at 6:20 p.m. for Ransom Center members and at 6:30 p.m. for the general public.

Stop by the Ransom Center’s visitor desk and sign up for eNews between 5 and 6:30 p.m.* on Thursday, July 25 to receive a copy of Don DeLillo’s novel Underworld. Don DeLillo’s reading follows at 7 p.m at Jessen Auditorium.

Materials from the novel are highlighted in the exhibition Literature and Sport, on view through August 4.

*While supplies last, one book per person.

Closing Soon: Exhibition Showcases Literature About Baseball, Boxing, Football and Other Sports

The exhibition "Literature and Sport" is on view at the Harry Ransom Center through August 4.

The exhibition "Literature and Sport" is on view at the Harry Ransom Center through August 4.

The exhibition Literature and Sport is on view at the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin through August 4.

The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the sudden-death play, the crushing blow, the herculean feat, the insufferable star, the sweat, the triumph, the thrill. Sport holds a sacred place in western culture and literature. Writers as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Norman Mailer, Marianne Moore, Don DeLillo, Joyce Carol Oates, and David Foster Wallace have written about sport. But their works are no mere play-by-play accounts. The competition, spectacle, personal struggle, and exaggerated personalities so characteristic of sport offer writers the perfect backdrop upon which to look deeply into human nature and create literature that transcends sport itself.

This exhibition showcases the literature of sport through fiction, essays, poetry, and plays. Organized by sport, the exhibition highlights some of the finest examples of literary writing about baseball, football, boxing, tennis, cricket, and other sports. From Bernard Malamud’s The Natural to Norman Mailer’s The Fight, great literary works capture the appeal of sport and its ability to transform both the individual and society, all the while demonstrating through lyricism and verbal dexterity how writers elevate language to literature.

The Ransom Center is located at 21st and Guadalupe streets. The Ransom Center Gallerie are open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed on Mondays.

Free docent-led tours are offered Tuesdays at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Megan Barnard, Assistant Director for Acquisitions and Administration, leads a tour of Literature and Sport on Wednesday, July 31, at 7 p.m.

Q&A: Professor and Poet Kurt Heinzelman on Adelaide Writer’s Week

KH-Beggs photoKurt Heinzelman, English professor, founding co-editor of The Poetry Miscellany and advisor and editor-at-large for Bat City Review, has been publishing poetry for 30 years in such journals as Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Massachusetts Review and Southwest Review.

Recently, Heinzelman was invited as a featured author to Adelaide Writers’ Week, an important part of the larger Adelaide Arts Festival held annually in the South Australian capital of Adelaide and considered to be one of the world’s greatest celebrations of the arts.

The prevailing theme for the 2013 Adelaide Writers’ Week was the exploration of secret histories — covering topics as diverse as the ancient world, the British Royal Family, the Balkans, marriage, old age, video games, World Wars, folktales, art world scandals, court rooms, Australia’s convict past, wine making, Chinese food and afternoons on the beach.

Heinzelman answered some questions about poetry, his time at Writers’ Week, and his hopes for further interaction between The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Adelaide.

What poetic works of yours did you read and why did you choose those pieces for this festival?

I read two poems of modest length. The first, called “Visiting the Somme,” was about the battle during WWI and contained a reference to Gallipoli, a battle that still produces great poignancy among Australians. The second, called “Summoning Dolphins,” is an epithalamion, that is, a wedding poem, for my daughter and her Australian husband, and the poem contains many references to Australia.

While in Australia, you also gave a talk at the John M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice. Could you tell us a little bit about the subject of translation and originality on which you spoke?

The précis for the talk was this: Ever since the idea of originality in poetic composition underwent a sea-change in the middle of the 18th century, the way we evaluate translation has borne the burden of that change, with confusing results. Originally, the term “originality” meant exactly the opposite of what it now means. Instead of meaning “the absence of ancestral origins” it meant “having an origin,” being grounded in the authority of the past, in tradition. This radical transformation of originality — this “translation” of the term — is one of the great shifts of aesthetic value in the history of human creativity.

But translations, of course, are always belated; they always come after an original. Of course translations know their origins. As Walter Benjamin bluntly put it, “A translation comes later than the original[s]” and not “at the time of their origin.” What chance does a translation have of attaining value when what is most valorized is originality?

How we assess the value of poetic translations is the subject of this talk. Ironically, the one time we use the word “original” in its original sense is when we are speaking of translations. And yet there is some sense in which translations are original, in both senses. If a translation is by definition belated, each new translation is . . . well, new. Assessments of the value of poetic translations, however, often criticize them for failing to be “original” in one sense because they are either overly or insufficiently “original” in the other sense.

As part of Adelaide Writer’s Week, you hosted an interview with esteemed and prolific Australian poet, publisher and editor John Tranter. What sorts of subjects did you discuss? As a fellow poet, is there anything you found particularly enlightening in the interview?

I was curious why, with the substantial body of work that he already has, he decided to pursue (successfully, as it turns out) a Ph.D. in creative writing! We also talked at length about the way he takes already extant poems by writers from earlier epochs and recasts them into his own “versions.” It’s not translation or adaptation or even imitation but a form of counter-creativity. I read some of the original poems and then he read his versions so that the audience of some 100 people, a tribute to Tranter’s importance and popularity, could hear exactly how he reshapes the originals into his own creations.

What can you tell us about further interaction between the University of Adelaide and The University of Texas at Austin?

This summer one of our graduate students in creative writing will spend a week in Adelaide acting as a mentor to their students who are moving from a bachelor’s program to a doctoral one. We are hoping in the near future for collaborations with the music composition graduate programs in both universities. The journal, Texas Studies in Literature and Language (TSLL), which I edit, will be publishing essays from an international conference that Adelaide will be hosting in 2014 on John Coetzee’s work. Coetzee, a UT Ph.D. and Nobel Laureate and resident of Adelaide, has placed his archive in the Harry Ransom Center, and there may be a chance to do an exhibition sometime in the future, one that might travel to Australia.

What projects are you currently working on? Any subjects or themes you are particularly interested in addressing in future poetry or scholarship?

I have a new book of poems coming out later this year, my fourth, and I’m working on a new one as well. Plus, I’ve become the writing of what may be a critical book on what I’m calling “Kinship Poetics.”

Kurt Heinzelman has authored three poetry collections: “The Halfway Tree” and “Black Butterflies,” both of which were finalists for the Natalie Ornish Poetry Award of the Texas Institute of Letters, and most recently, “The Names They Found There,” which was named one of the best poetry books of the year by Poetry International.

“Arnold Newman: At Work” reveals creative process of portrait photographer

Newman_At_Work_Cover_300dpi“Arnold Newman: At Work” highlights archival materials from the Harry Ransom Center’s Arnold Newman archive to reveal a glimpse into the work of the photographer who created iconographic portraits of some of the most influential innovators, celebrities and cultural figures of the twentieth century. Written by Ransom Center Senior Research Curator of Photography Roy Flukinger, the book was published by University of Texas Press this spring.

A bold modernist with a superb sense of compositional geometry, Newman is known for a crisp, spare style that situates his subjects in their personal surroundings rather than in a photographer’s studio. Marlene Dietrich, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Arthur Miller, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso are only a few of his celebrated sitters.

Rich with materials from Newman’s extensive archive in the Ransom Center, the book offers unprecedented, firsthand insights into the evolution of the photographer’s creativity. Reproduced here are not only many of Newman’s signature images, but also contact sheets, Polaroids, and work prints with his handwritten notes, which allow readers to see the process by which he produced the images.

Pages from his copious notebooks and calendars reveal Newman’s meticulous preparation and exhausting schedule. Adsheets and magazine covers from Holiday, LIFE, NewsweekLookEsquireSeventeenTime, and Sports Illustrated show the range of Newman’s largely unknown editorial work.

Flukinger provides a contextual overview of the archive, and Marianne Fulton’s introduction highlights the essential moments in the development of Newman’s life and work.

The book coincides with the Ransom Center’s current exhibition Arnold Newman: Masterclass, which runs through May 11. Featuring more than 200 of well-known masterworks, the exhibition also includes rarely seen work prints and contact sheets. Arnold Newman: Masterclass is the first major exhibition of the photographer’s work since his death and showcases the entire range of Newman’s photography, featuring many prints for the first time.