Talking Sense: Image, Sound, & Text in Literature

Saturday, April 3, 2021 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Douglas Kearney, Kristen Radtke, Valeria Luiselli, Will Boast, Ilya Kaminsky, Jennifer Scappettone and Edgar Garcia.

A conversation with Douglas Kearney, Kristen Radtke, Valeria Luiselli, Will Boast, Ilya Kaminsky, Jennifer Scappettone and Edgar Garcia.

Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Program in Creative Writing

Virtual event


About Douglas Kearney: Douglas Kearney is a poet, performer, and librettist who has published seven books that bridge thematic concerns such as politics, African-American culture, masks, the Trickster figure, and contemporary music. His most recent collection, Sho, aims to hit crooked licks with straight-seeming sticks. Kearney is also the author of Buck Studies, which was awarded the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, and the silver medal for the California Book Award in Poetry. Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and, was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection; and Patter examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood. He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, was named a Notable New American Poet by the Poetry Society of America, and has been awarded fellowships from Cave Canem and The Rauschenberg Foundation. His work has appeared in Poetry, Iowa Review, Boston Review, and Indiana Review, and anthologies, including Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, Best American Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Poets in America. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family a little west of Minneapolis, MN and teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.

About Kristen Radtke: Kristen Radtke is the author of the genre-smashing graphic memoir, Imagine Wanting Only This (Pantheon, 2017), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Nylon Most Anticipated Book. The Chicago Tribune raved, "Imagine Wanting Only This [is] one of the most haunting graphic memoirs I've ever read. . . . There is a proud tradition of graphic memoirists—of those dually equipped to wield word and image—to tell the true and deeply considered story of a life. Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, Riad Sattouf, David Small, Marjane Satrapi, Art Spiegelman and others have done it searingly well. And now to that list add Radtke, who proves herself an equal among equals with this debut book. . . ." Her next book, Seek You:  Essays on American Loneliness, received  a 2019 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant. It will be published by Pantheon in 2021. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, The Guardian, GQ, Vogue, Oxford American, and many other places.

About Ilya Kaminsky: Ilya Kaminsky is the author of the  widely acclaimed Deaf Republic (Graywolf, 2019), a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry, which Kevin Young, writing in The New Yorker, called a work of “profound imagination.” Poems from Deaf Republic were awarded Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize and the Pushcart Prize.  He is also the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004), and Musica Humana (Chapiteau Press, 2002). Kaminsky has won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and The Foreword Magazine’s Best Poetry Book of the Year award. Recently, he was on the short-list for the Neusdadt International Literature Prize. His poems have been translated into numerous languages and his books have been published in many countries including Turkey, Holland, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize. His poems have been compared to work by Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, and Marina Tsvetaeva.

About Valeria Luiselli: Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions and Lost Children Archive. She is the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship and the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, an American Book Award,  and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the Booker Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a Writer in Residence at Bard College and lives in New York City.

About Will Boast: Will Boast was born in England and grew up in Ireland and Wisconsin. He's the author of a story collection, Power Ballads (2011 Iowa Short Fiction Award), and a best-selling memoir, Epilogue (W.W. Norton/Liveright, Granta Books). His fiction, essays, and reporting have appeared online and in print in The New Republic, Granta, Virginia Quarterly Review, Glimmer Train, The American Scholar, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. He’s been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a Charles Pick Fellow at the University of East Anglia, and a Literature Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. His debut novel, Daphne, was published by Norton/Liveright and Granta Books in Feb. 2018. He teaches at the University of Chicago and the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center in Rome.

About Jennifer Scappettone: Jennifer Scappettone works at the confluence of the literary, scholarly, visual, and performing arts. She is the author of Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice (Columbia University Press, 2014), a study of the seemingly outmoded city of lagoons as a crucible for experiments across literature, politics, urbanism, and the visual arts, which the Modernist Studies Association’s Book Prize committee described as “a scholarly quarry of a city fabled in the literary history and cultural memory of Europe.” Her translations and scholarly glosses of the polyglot poet and refugee from Fascist Italy Amelia Rosselli were collected in Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli, and won the Academy of American Poets’s biennial Raiziss/De Palchi Book Prize. Her poetry collections include From Dame Quickly (Litmus Press, 2009) and the cross-media documentary poem The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes & Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump (Atelos Press, 2016). She founded, and now curates, PennSound Italiana, a new sector of the audiovisual archive based at the University of Pennsylvania devoted to experimental Italian poetry. She has developed interactive and site-specific poetry both solo and in collaboration with other artists at locations ranging from the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts (2018) to the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2019, 2017) and the tract of Trajan’s aqueduct under Rome’s Janiculum Hill (2011); SMOKEPENNY LYRICHORD HEAVENBRED: 2 Acts (The Elephants, 2018) contains a libretto composed for mixed-reality performance with artist/technologists Judd Morrissey and Abraham Avnisan. She has been a fellow at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation and the Center for Italian Modern Art, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, the iLAND foundation, the Getty Research Institute, the Huntington Library, the Stanford Center for the Humanities, the New York Department of Sanitation, and the American Academy in Rome, among other honors. She is Associate Professor of English, Creative Writing and Romance Languages and Literatures, and Faculty Affiliate of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.


About the moderator: Edgar Garcia is a poet and scholar of the hemispheric cultures of the Americas, primarily during the 20th century. Winner of the 2018 Fence Modern Poets Series award, his collection of poems and anthropological essays on hemispheric migrations—Skins of Columbus: A Dream Ethnography (which also received an award from the Illinois Arts Council)—was published by Fence Books in 2019. His book of scholarship on the contemporary life of the seemingly antiquated sign-systems of the Americas—Signs of the Americas: A Poetics of Pictographs, Hieroglyphs, and Khipu—was published by the University of Chicago Press in November 2019 (a selection of this work received honors from the Modern Language Association in 2020). He also co-edited an anthology on the transnational contexts of American literature, American Literature in the World: An Anthology from Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler (Columbia University Press, 2016). Currently, he is working on two books: one is a rethinking of risk and migration in humanistic frameworks (as opposed to statistical ones); the other is a collection of essays on the K’iche Mayan story of creation the Popol Vuh. Garcia is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago.

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