BigTown Projects' annual literary arts series takes place on Saturday evenings at 5:30 pm in the main gallery. Free and open to the public. Refreshments will follow.

Saturday, August 3, 2013 Kellam Ayres & Vijay Seshadri
Saturday, August 10, 2013 Woon Ping Chin & John Elder
Saturday, August 24, 2013 Cristen Brooks & David Huddle
Saturday, August 31, 2013 Ann Aspell & Major Jackson

Saturday, August 3, 2013 Kellam Ayres & Vijay Seshadri
Emerging poet Kellam Ayres’s poems have appeared in New England Review, The Collagist, and The Cortland Review, and are forthcoming in District. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she recently received a fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center. She works for the Middlebury College Library and serves on the admissions board for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Vijay Seshadri is the author of four books of poems: Wild Kingdom, The Long Meadow, The Disappearances and 3 Sections, which will be published at the end of August. His poems have been published in Antaeus, The New Yorker, the Paris Review and Best American Poetry. His work has been acknowledged with a number of honors, among them NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships and the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. He lives in Brooklyn and is the Myers Professor of Writing at Sarah Lawrence College.

"Seshadri is a son of Frost by way of Ashbery: both the high-frequency channels of consciousness and the jazz of spoken language are audible in these poems."
-The New Yorker


Saturday, August 10, 2013 Woon Ping Chin & John Elder
Woon-Ping Chin is the author of two books of poetry, In My Mother’s Dream andThe Naturalization of Camellia Song and a memoir, Hakka Soul. 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 areDetails 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.

“In Ms. Chin’s writing, the difference between cultures is precisely mapped in language that scrutinizes the facts of material existence.” - Pew Center for Arts and Heritage

John Elder taught English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf School of English before retiring in 2010. His three most recent books,Reading the Mountains of Home, The Frog Run, and Pilgrimage to Vallombrosa, all combine discussions of literature, descriptions of the Vermont landscape, and memoir. He has recently completed a book called Picking up the Flute which relates and reflects upon his experiences of learning to play traditional Irish music on the wooden flute. John and his wife Rita, a retired special educator, live in the village of Bristol. They are active in local and statewide conservation efforts and also operate a sugarbush in the hills of Starksboro with the families of their two grown sons.

About Pilgrimage to Vallombrosa: “One of the smartest, soundest, deepest books about the relationship between people and nature that I’ve ever read. It will be a classic." - Bill McKibben

"Forcefully written . . . Imagining the Earth is a clear-headed, deeply-felt meditation on nature, poetry, and human community."-Hollins Critic

"Justly recognized as a pioneer work of ecocriticism, Elder's Imagining the Earth unquestionably remains one of the most intellectually venturesome contributions to this fast-growing field."-Lawrence Buell

Saturday, August 24, 2013 Cristen Brooks & David Huddle
Emerging poet Cristen Brooks is a mother, a martial artist, and a poet living in Vermont with her husband and son. She completed a Masters in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College in Spring 2012. A graduate of Middlebury College and a native of rural New England, she has worked as a book editor, a software support technician, and, most recently, as an academic administrator. She has been awarded fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and the Frost Place Poetry Conference.

David Huddle has published twenty books of poetry, stories, and essays. His most recent book Blacksnake at the Family Reunion won the 2013 Pen New England Award for Poetry. His poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Story, and The Best American Short Stories. His short story “The Story of the Door”won a 2000 Pushcart Prize. He is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. In 2009 Huddle retired, Professor Emeritus after thirty-eight years of teaching at the University of Vermont. He was named 2012–13 Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University and teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.

"Huddle takes us into the intimate heart of a family, the desires that we keep from each other and often from ourselves. As one of his characters argues: 'Every now and then somebody gets a glimpse of what it's like to be somebody else.' In Nothing Can Make Me Do This, Huddle gives us not just a glimpse, but that rare revelatory and redeeming experience of seeing and becoming those others, which is why we read and need his novels."--Julia Alvarez

“In Black Snake at the Family Reunion, David Huddle’s subject is the mysterious, ever-giving moment-gone-by... (The poems) reverence the past, but passionately, alert to desire’s rough hold on us. Unabashed at real emotion, utterly present to loss, Huddle recognizes intimacy for the fearsome force it is and tenderness for the ways it disturbs the peace” Lia Purpura

Saturday, August 31, 2013 Ann Aspell & Major Jackson
Ann Aspell, a book designer and editor, is co-founder of Chapiteau Press. Her poems have appeared here and abroad in journals such as Poetry International andHunger Mountain.

Major Jackson is the author of three collections of poetry: Holding Company,Hoops, and Leaving Saturn, which was awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He has published poems and essays in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Poetry, Tin House, and other fine literary periodicals. His poetry has been included in Best American Poetry(2004, 2011) and Best of the Best American Poetry. He is the editor of Library of America's Countee Cullen: Collected Poems. Major Jackson is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers' Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. He has served as a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Major Jackson is a core faculty member at the Bennington Writing Seminars and the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont. He serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.

About Holding Company: "A devastatingly beautiful collection of strange and wonderful poems." -Poetry Daily

"Prophetic scat singer, apocalyptic raconteur, (Jackson) makes poems that swerve impossibly and yet authoritatively from the ordinary to the miraculous and beyond but always keep their cool. Rich in reference and thick with all he has experienced on his own pulses, Major Jackson's poetry gathers, lifts, and loads, but never collapses."-T. R. Hummer