The Joan Hutton Landis Summer Reading Series features acclaimed and accomplished writers and poets who bring to the Sunday evening readings a vivid spectrum of extraordinary voices from locations both distant and near.
Readings takes place at 5:30pm in the main gallery, with doors opening at 5:00pm. Refreshments will follow.
Readings are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.
JUNE 10 - RICHARD HOFFMAN, CHARD deNIORD
About Richard Hoffman: Richard Hoffman is author of the memoirs Half the House and Love & Fury; the poetry collections, Without Paradise; Gold Star Road, winner of the 2006 Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize and the 2008 Sheila Motton Award from the New England Poetry Club; Emblem; and most recently Noon until Night. A fiction writer as well, his Interference & Other Stories was published in 2009. A former Chair of PEN New England, he is Senior Writer in Residence at Emerson College. (from richardhoffman.org)
About Chard deNiord: Chard deNiord was born on December 17, 1952, in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he attended Lynchburg College. The son of a doctor, deNiord anticipated going into the medical profession as well until his college professors introduced him to religious studies, which he chose as his major. DeNiord graduated from Lynchburg College in 1975 and went on to earn his MDiv from Yale Divinity School in 1978. Before pursuing ordination, deNiord got a job working as an inpatient psychiatric aide at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Five years later, he left to pursue poetry, attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received his MFA in 1985.
Returning to New England, deNiord taught at private schools for over a decade while publishing his poems. In 1990, he published his first poetry collection, Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990), while teaching comparative religions and philosophy at the Putney School in Vermont.
In 1998, deNiord began teaching at Providence College, where he was eventually named the tenth recipient of the Joseph R. Accinno Faculty Teaching Award. That same year, he founded the Spirit and Letter Workshop, a ten-day program of workshops and lectures in Patzquaro, Mexico, featuring faculty poets such asThomas Lux, Gerald Stern, Jean Valentine, and Ellen Bryant Voigt, among others.
In 2002, deNiord cofounded the New England College MFA program in poetry, which he directed until 2007.
DeNiord’s other poetry collections are Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015); Speaking in Turn, a collaboration with Tony Sanders (Gnomon Press, 2011); The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011); Night Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005); and Sharp Golden Thorn(Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). DeNiord also authored a book of essays and interviews with renowned poets called Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs: Reflections and Conversations with Twentieth Century American Poets (Marick Press, 2012). The poets featured in the collection include Robert Bly, Lucille Clifton, Donald Hall, Galway Kinnell, and Maxine Kumin, among others.
DeNiord is currently a professor of English at Providence College and the Poet Laureate of Vermont and trustee of the Ruth Stone Trust. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont with his wife, Liz.
JUNE 24 - MICHAEL COLLIER, CHAR GARDNER
About Michael Collier: Michael Collier is the author of seven collections of poetry including An Individual History, a finalist for the Poet’s Prize, and The Ledge, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His most recent collection, My Bishop and Other Poems, is forthcoming, fall 2018. He has published a translation of Euripides’s Medea, a collection of essays, Make Us Wave Back, and with Charles Baxter and Edward Hirsch, co-edited A William Maxwell Portrait. He is the director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Maryland and is a former director of the Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences.
About Char Gardner: Artist, writer, and documentary filmmaker, Char Gardner lives in Rochester, Vermont. Her essays have been published in The Gettysburg Review and Green Mountains Review. She is recipient of the 2018 Neil Shepard Prize for nonfiction and, in 2013, the Carol Houck Smith Award from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
About the reading: Char Gardner will be reading a selection from her recent essay Drawing Lessons and, as she puts it, "The essay is my form. Like the capacious bag I take to the farmers’ market, the essay can hold some of everything. Into the essay bag I put my love of language —poetry. I put in Vermont: moss, rocks, mist. I put in people, and my dog, drawing and painting, memory, struggle, tears, and questions. Plenty of questions. And there is still room in the bag. Answers, should I come upon them, can go in too. But, sometimes, just as at the market, the bag becomes impossible to carry home. And then, as Annie Dillard writes, “The task becomes what to put in, what to leave out.” And, of course, there’s always the next essay. The word itself comes from the French essai, meaning simply attempt."
With two poems forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, she has published in journals including The Florida Review and Poet Lore and in several anthologies, including 2001: A Science Fiction Poetry Anthology; Birchsong: Poetry Centered in Vermont (the second volume to be published in April, 2018); and Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Frost Place. Two poems were included in the recent An Anthology of Vermont Poetry.
Fogelin currently lives in Hanover, NH.
About the reading: Drawing from her debut collection Once it Stops (2015), Florence will interweave her poetry, both new and old, while broaching such topics as love, death, and the seasons. Rarely is a debut collection described as “fearless,” “the real deal,” showing “voracious intelligence” — especially when the poet has reached 80 years. Florence Fogelin’s lyric poetry, informed by a “nomad’s telescope,” focuses on desire and mortality, marriage and place. Like “stone masons chipping at perplexity,” she crafts a journey — from Vermont to Sicily, from tearing down a boathouse to talking with Sappho on a NYC subway — finding “the eternal hope seen in every graveyard” while “doubting the existence of guardrails.” (from deerbrookeditions.com)
About Tracy Winn: Tracy told her first public lie on Ruth Ann’s Camp, a local TV show on WGBH. In truth, she did not, at age 4 or any other time in her life, own a dog named Fanny. Her heroes have always been poets and writers. She went to Wesleyan University to study with Richard Wilbur. For several years afterward, she wrote bad poems, supporting herself as a teacher. Along the way, she acquired a M.Ed. from Lesley University, and taught about a thousand six-year olds to read. She worked toward an M.A. in English Literature at the Bread Loaf School of English where David Huddle’s fiction writing class gave her license to blend imagination and memory. Warren Wilson’s MFA program for writers shaped her skills. Since then SMU Press and Random House have brought her stories into the world with the publication of MRS. SOMEBODY SOMEBODY. Her work has appeared most recently in the Harvard Review, Waxwing Magazine, The Drum, a magazine for the ears, and Fifth Wednesday Journal. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net 2016. She has been a fellow in fiction for the Massachusetts Arts Council, the Millay Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, and the MacDowell Colony, where she was a DeWitt Wallace fellow.
MRS. SOMEBODY SOMEBODY won the Sherwood Anderson Foundation Award and was a finalist for the John Gardner Book Award, the Julia Ward Howe Award and the Massachusetts Book Award. Tracy lives in the Boston area and Granville, VT and is working on a collection of short stories set in a fictional town in the White River Valley.
About the reading: Tracy will be reading from a story called "O Rain!" which takes place during Tropical Storm Irene in a plywood mill something like the one that operated in Hancock, VT. The story builds, along with the storm, from the quiet reflections of an older father trying to avoid a particular memory of loss, into a confrontation with a mysterious intruder hiding in the mill, all while the water rises.
JULY 29 - JENSEN BEACH, BIANCA STONE
About Jensen Beach: Jensen Beach is the author of two collections of short fiction, most recently Swallowed by the Cold, winner of the 2017 Vermont Book Award. His fiction has appeared in A Public Space, The Paris Review, and the New Yorker, among others.
About the reading: The intricate, interlocking stories of Jensen Beach’s extraordinarily poised story collection are set in a Swedish village on the Baltic Sea as well as in Stockholm over the course of two eventful years.
In Swallowed by the Cold, people are besieged and haunted by disasters both personal and national: a fatal cycling accident, a drowned mother, a fire on a ferry, a mysterious arson, the assassination of the Swedish foreign minister, and, decades earlier, the Soviet bombing of Stockholm. In these stories, a drunken, lonely woman is convinced that her new neighbor is the daughter of her dead lover; a one-armed tennis player and a motherless girl reckon with death amid a rainstorm; and happening upon a car crash, a young woman is unaccountably drawn to the victim, even as he slides into a coma and her marriage falls into jeopardy.
Again and again, Beach’s protagonists find themselves unable to express their innermost feelings to those they are closest to, but at the same time they are drawn to confide in strangers. In its confidence and subtle precision, Beach’s prose evokes their reticence but is supple enough to reveal deeper passions and intense longing. Shot through with loss and the regret of missed opportunities, Swallowed by the Cold is a searching and crystalline book by a startlingly talented young writer. (from graywolfpress.org)
About Bianca Stone: Bianca Stone is a writer and visual artist. She was born and raised in Vermont and moved to New York City in 2007 where she received her MFA from NYU. She collaborated with Anne Carson on Antigonick, a book pairing Carson’s translation of Antigone with Stone’s illustration and comics (New Directions, 2012). Stone is the author of the poetry collection Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, (Tin House Books and Octopus Books, 2014), Poetry Comics From the Book of Hours (Pleiades Press, 2016) and The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, 2018). Her poems, poetry comics, and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of magazines including Poetry, jubilat, and Georgia Review. She has returned to Vermont with her husband and collaborator, the poet Ben Pease, and their daughter Odette, where they run the Ruth Stone Foundation, a writing collective and letterpress studio.
About the reading: Bianca Stone's newest collection, The Möbius Strip Club of Grief is a collection of poems that weave in and out of a burlesque purgatory where the living pay—dearly, with both money and conscience—to watch the dead perform scandalous acts otherwise unseen: “$20 for five minutes. I’ll hold your hand in my own,” one ghost says. “I’ll tell you you were good to me.” Like Dante before her, Stone positions herself as the living poet passing through and observing the land of the dead. She imagines a feminist Limbo where women run the show and create a space to navigate the difficulties endured in life. With a nod to her grandmother Ruth Stone’s poem “The Möbius Strip of Grief,” Stone creates a labyrinthine underworld as a way to confront and investigate complicated family relationships in the hopes of breaking the never-ending cycle of grief. (from tinhouse.com)
AUGUST 19 - REBECCA GODWIN, CYNTHIA HUNTINGTON
About Rebecca Godwin: Rebecca Godwin has published two novels, Private Parts (Longstreet Press) and Keeper of the House (St. Martin’s Press). Her short fiction has appeared in Paris Review, The Sun, The Oxford American’s “Best of the South” issue, and elsewhere. Among her honors is a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a MacDowell fellowship, and a South Carolina Fiction Project award. She worked at Bennington College for 23 years, the last 13 of which she spent teaching literature and writing; she also founded and edited plain china, a journal showcasing undergrad writers from around the country. Recently returned to her Southern roots, she lives in Edisto Island, South Carolina, where she is working on a new novel, "Convergence."
About the reading: Godwin will be reading from her newest novel, "Convergence." As she puts it, "I felt impelled to write this book. It was born of a convergence of events: the 2015 Mother Emanuel AME Church massacre in Charleston and my return to South Carolina after 25 years in the Northeast. The event knocked me sideways, making it impossible to remain in the South unless I tried to come to grips with the violence and racism. Moreover, I had been living on a sea island where the descendants of plantation owners and of the Africans they enslaved pass by each other daily, their connections rarely acknowledged. The history is rich, knotty, interwoven: ripe for exploration."
"Convergence" opens with an explosive incident and the question it raises: What happens when two characters—an eight-year-old African-American boy and a 65-year-old white woman—collide on a sea island trail? The novel explores the aftermath of that collision.
About Cynthia Huntington: Cynthia Huntington is the author of several collections of poetry, including Fire Muse: Poems from the Salt House and Heavenly Bodies, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry. Her most recent collection is Terra Nova. She is a professor of English and creative writing at Dartmouth.
About the reading: "Provincetown is a place both mythic and mystical, and Cynthia Huntington is a someone who gets this right. The land’s end, the outermost places here, are never mere geography but the far reaches of history and psyche. Experience, however epic or quotidian, appears heightened in a phosphorescent shimmer from the wilding Atlantic. This cold fire pervades Huntington’s diction and rhythms, which press hard against the limits of what can be put into language. She quails at nothing, she excludes nothing, and in her deft hand, this cape’s furthest outpost becomes a vortex swallowing the world and time. Terra Nova sojourns everywhere and is peopled by multitudes--by fishermen and fishermen’s wives, The Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers, refugees, wanderers, prophets of the old testament, nomads of prehistory and more. It is impossible to catalogue the dimensions of this book, and that is its magic and wonder. This is an astonishing achievement, a magnum opus. Open its covers and you may not surface for days."- Frank X. Gaspar
SEPTEMBER 2 - MARGI ROGAL, WOON-PING CHIN, CAROLIE PARKER
About Margi Rogal: When Margi was ten years old in Branford, Connecticut, as a gift for her mother, she transcribed the words to a song she heard on a recording. She got some of the words wrong, and her mother, knowing the song, laughed at her mistakes. Maybe it was at that moment Margi as writer was born, trying ever since to get the words right, to not allow her readers to laugh, unless, of course, she intended the writing to be funny. After attending college in upstate New York, Margi moved to Iowa for thirty years where she raised a family, worked as a librarian, and attended the Iowa Summer Writing Festival four times. New England lured Margi “home” four years ago, and here, in addition to learning the ways of her and Owen’s hilltop forest, she has attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, been a winner of the Common Good Books Poetry Contest, and published poems in such journals as Earth’s Daughters, Zig Zag, Broad Street, Common Ground Review, and Miramar.
About the reading: Margi will be reading poetry from her completed manuscript, Cafe on Vine, which takes place in an imaginary cafe in Iowa on the banks of the Mississippi where historical figures, artists, writers, and literary characters appear and often interact. It is a collection really about the life of the imagination, with poems that don't only take place just in Iowa, but all over the world, including, occasionally, Vermont.
About Carolie Parker: Carolie Parker is a visual artist and writer with a background in foreign languages and world literature. She was recently a MacDowell Fellow (visual art and poetry) and a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. Her work has come out in Trickhouse, The Denver Quarterly, NOW culture, River Styx Magazine and Poor Claudia. She has exhibited visual work at PØST, The Armory Center for the Arts, BLAM and Edward Cella Art and Architecture (all Los Angeles). Mirage Industry, a book-length collection of her poetry, is just out from What Books Press, an imprint of the Glass Table Collective in Los Angeles. She teaches Humanities and Art History through the LA Community College District.
About the reading: Carolie Parker will be reading from her debut collection Mirage Industry. Her poems are suggested by the social landscape of Los Angeles, a fairly reckless experiment in rearranging the natural world to serve human needs. Whether breathing fire or air, the poems issue from this freewheeling approach to building place, combining random methods of composition with more formal structures. Mirage Industry draws on the
author’s practice in the visual arts, her background in comparative literature and her experiences teaching humanities and art history in central Los Angeles.
About Woon-Ping Chin: Woon-Ping Chin is the author of two books of poetry, In My Mother’s Dream and The Naturalization of Camellia Song. Her memoir, Hakka Soul, was jointly published by the National University of Singapore and the University of Hawaii Presses (2008). Her writing has been anthologized in such collections as the Norton anthology of Language for a New Century, the Harper Collins anthologies of Literature and Asian American Literature, & Writing, The City and You, Playful Phoenix, A Sense of Exile, Monologues by Women of Color, Westerly Looks to Asia and On a Bed of Rice. She has translated Indonesian poetry, Malaysian aboriginal myths and the poetry of Li Bai. She studied performance art and playwriting with Rachel Rosenthal, Maria Irene Fornes, Georges Bigot and Howard Stein. She has performed her solo pieces in Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore and the U.S. Among her published plays are Details Cannot Body Wants, Stroke, Diary of a Madwoman and From San Jose to San Jose. She was Fulbright Professor in Indonesia and China and received fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the National University of Singapore and the Pew Foundation. She lives in Vermont and teaches at Dartmouth College.
Her long poem, "Dadah: A Meditation on Opium," was recently published in the Winter/Spring 2016 issue of CUNY Forum. She gave a premier reading of the poem at BigTown in August 2015.