writing

presents

THE RUSSELL HOUSE SERIES
Prose and Poetry

and the Music Series
sponsored by the Center for the Arts

 

Support for this series is provided by: Writing at Wesleyan, the English Department, the Annie Sonnenblick Fund, the Joan Jakobson Fund, the Jacob Julien Fund, the Millett Writing Fellow Fund, the Center for the Arts, and the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.

2014/2015 Series organizers: Lisa Cohen, Associate Professor of English, Elizabeth Willis, Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, Amy Bloom, Kim-Frank Family University Writer-in-Residence, and Anne Greene, Director of Writing Programs.

All events are free and open to the public.

*******************

Fall 2014

Amy Bloom

Wednesday, September 17th
8 p.m.
Russell House

Amy Bloom is Wesleyan's Distinguished Writer in Residence and the author of the acclaimed novel, Away, and a new novel, Lucky Us, published by Random House in July 2014. Also well known for her three collections of short stories, she has been nominated for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work has appeared in Best American Short StoriesPrize Stories: The O.Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and the Atlantic Monthly, among other publications, and has received a National Magazine Award. Amy will also appear on Saturday, September 27th for a Family Weekend Event.


Ailish Hopper

Wednesday, October 1st
8 p.m.
Russell House

Ailish Hopper is the author of the poetry collection Dark-Sky Society, selected by David St. John, and the chapbook, Bird in the Head, selected by Jean Valentine and published by the Center for Book Arts. Her poems have also appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Tidal Basin Review, among other journals. She teaches at Goucher College.


Sheila Heti

Wednesday, October 29th
8 p.m.
Russell House

Sheila Heti is the author of five books, including How Should a Person Be?, named a best book of the year by The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Salon; The Middle Stories; Ticknor; and The Chairs Are Where the People Go, written with Misha Glouberman, one of The New Yorker’s best books of 2011. She was Interviews Editor at The Believer for a number of years and has also written for The New York Times, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, n+1, McSweeney’s, Harper's, and The Paris Review. Her newest book is the co-edited collection Women in Clothes.


2014 Joan Jakobson Visiting Writer
Ariel Levy

Wednesday, November 5th
8 p.m.
Russell House

Ariel Levy '96 is a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. Her profile subjects have included Cindy McCain, the Olympic boxer Claressa Shields, the longtime Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and Nora Ephron. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, Vogue, and The New York Times and has been anthologized in The Best American Essays 2008 and the Best American Travel Writing 2011. She recently received a National Magazine Award for her essay, “Thanksgiving in Mongolia". Levy teaches at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 


Paul Harding

Wednesday, November 12th
8 p.m.
Russell House

Paul Harding is the author of two novels, Enon and Tinkers, which was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the PEN American Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers. Harding was a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Grinnell College. 


Thomas Sayers Ellis and Hirsh Sawhney

Wednesday, December 3rd
8 p.m.
Russell House

Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of the collections Skin, Inc. and The Maverick Room, which won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award, as well as the chapbook The Genuine Negro Hero. His poems and photographs have also appeared in Callaloo, Grand Street, The Baffler, Jubilat, Tin House, Poetry, and The Nation, among numerous other journals and anthologies. A co-founder of The Dark Room Collective and a recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, he is currently working on The Go-Go Book: People in the Pocket in Washington, D.C. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Wesleyan this semester.

Hirsh Sawhney is the editor of Delhi Noir, a critically-acclaimed anthology of original fiction published by Akashic Books and HarperIndia. He is a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian, and his writing has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Financial Times, The Indian Express, and numerous anthologies and journals. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Wesleyan.


Spring 2014

Alan Gilbert and Porochista Khakpour

Wednesday, February 5
8 p.m.
Russell House

Alan Gilbert is the author of two books of poetry, The Treatment of Monuments (SplitLevel Texts, 2013) and Late in the Antenna Fields (Futurepoem, 2012), as well as a collection of essays, articles, and reviews entitled Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight (Wesleyan University Press, 2006). He is a Visiting Writer in the English Department at Wesleyan.

 

Porochista Khakpour is the author of the novel, Sons and Other Flammable Objects, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her new novel, The Last Illusion, will be published this spring. Her essays have appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Beast, the Village Voice, Slate, and Salon, and she is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. This semester she is a Visiting Writer in the English Department at Wesleyan.



Deborah Baker

Wednesday, February 12
8 p.m.
Russell House

Deborah Baker is the author of the acclaimed, unconventional biographical studies The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism, a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award, and A Blue Hand: The Beats in India, as well as of In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding, a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Biography, and Making a Farm: The Life of Robert Bly. She is a recipient of a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, and her essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere.


Myung Mi Kim

Wednesday, March 26
8 p.m.
Russell House

Myung Mi Kim's books of poetry include Penury (Omnidawn, 2009), Commons (University of California, 2002), DURA (Sun & Moon, 1998), The Bounty (Chax, 1996), and Under Flag (Kelsey Street, 1991), winner of The Multicultural Publisher’s Exchange Award of Merit. She is a Professor of English in the Poetics Program at the University at Buffalo. Kim is the subject of the book Building Is a Process / Light Is an Element: essays and excursions for Myung Mi Kim.


2014 Joan Jakobson Visiting Writer
William Finnegan

Wednesday, April 2
8 p.m.
Russell House

William Finnegan has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1987. He has written recently about poverty, organized crime, immigration, counterterrorism, and international trade and has also contributed articles on surfing, the Olympics, and punk-rock music. He has twice received the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, and in 2010 his report from Mexico, “Silver or Lead,” won the Overseas Press Club’s award for best reporting in any medium on Latin America.  He is the author of four books, including Crossing the Line, and Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder CountryHis new book, a surfing memoir, is forthcoming in 2014.


2014 Annie Sonnenblick Evening
Charles Baxter

Wednesday, April 9
8 p.m.
Russell House

Charles Baxter is the author of five novels and five books of short stories, most recently Gryphon: New and Selected Stories. He has also written two books of literary essays, Burning Down the House and The Art of Subtext, published by Graywolf. His recent pieces appear in 2013 Best American Short Stories and 2013 Best American Essays. He was the editor for the Library of America edition of Sherwood Anderson's stories. He teaches at the University of Minnesota. 

 


2014 English Department Millett Writing Fellow
Mary Gaitskill

Wednesday, April 23
8 p.m.
Russell House

Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novel Veronica, a finalist for the 2005 National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her other books include the novel Two Girls, Fat and Thin and the story collections Bad Behavior, Because They Wanted To, and Don’t Cry. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Best American Short Stories. She is both a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library.  Her story “Secretary” was the basis for the feature film of the same name, which received the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.


Winners of Student Writing Prizes

Wednesday, May 7
8 p.m.
Russell House


Fall 2013


Yusef Komunyakaa

Wednesday, September 11
8 p.m.
Russell House

Yusef Komunyakaa is a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and the author of twenty books of poetry. He received a bronze star for his service as a journalist in the Vietnam War and is a professor and senior distinguished poet in the graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University. Testimony: A Tribute to Charlie Parker (Wesleyan) and Love in the Time of War (Robin Price, Printer & Pubisher) are releasing in fall 2013.


Salvatore Scibona and Tonya Foster

Wednesday, September 25
8 p.m.
Russell House

Salvatore Scibona's novel, The End, was a finalist for the National Book Award and wond the Young Lion's Fiction Award from the New York Public Library. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, The New Yorker, and was among The New Yorker's list of "20 Under 40" writers to watch. He has received a Whiting Writers' Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is a Visiting Writer in the English Department.

Tonya Foster's first collection of poetry, A Swarm of Bees in High Court, is out this fall from Belladonna/Futurepoem Books. She is co-editor of Third Mind: Creative Writing Through Visual Art. The recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship and a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, she is an associate at the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College and is currently a Visiting Writer in Wesleyan's English Department.


Ben Lerner

Wednesday, October 9
8 p.m.
Russell House

Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry: The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), Angle of Yaw (2006), and Mean Free Path (2010). His first novel, Leaving the Atocha Station, won The Believer Book Award and was widely regarded as one of the best books of 2011. His second novel is forthcoming from Faber/FSG. Recent prose can be found in Art in America, The New Yorker, Harper's, and The Paris Review. He is a 2013-14 Guggenheim Fellow.


2013 Jacob Julien Visiting Writer
Ta-Nehisi Coates

Thursday, October 10
8 p.m.
Russell House

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic and the author of the memior The Beautiful Struggle. Coates lives in New York with his wife and son. His work for The Atlantic received the 2012 Sydney Hillman Prize for journalism about social justice and issues of public policy. His essay "Fear of a Black President" won the National Magazine Award.


Celebration of Wesleyan Writing, Homecoming/Parents' Weekend

RIGHTS COME TO MIND: WRITING ABOUT BRAIN RESEARCH AND PATIENTS' LIVES: A CONVERSATION WITH JOSEPH J. FINS, MD ('82)

Saturday, November 2
1:30 p.m.
USDAN 108

In his forthcoming book, Rights Come to Mind, Dr. Joseph J. Fins discusses groundbreaking research on brain injury and the minimally conscious state, ethical questions that emerge, and patients' struggles at the edge of consciousness.

Join us for an important discussion of medical writing, shaping a story, and the role of conversations between doctors, patients, and their families.

Dr. Fins is professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College and past Governor of the American College of Physicians. He was appointed by President Clinton to The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medical Policy and currently serves on The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law. A trustee emeritus of Wesleyan, he is recipient of a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Moderator:

Anne Greene

Adjunct Professor of English, Director of Writing Programs

 


Robert Gluck

Wednesday, November 13
8 p.m.
Russell House

Robert Gluck is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction, including two novels, Margery Kemp and Jack the Modernist, and a collection of stories, Denny Smith. He co-edited the anthology Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative. Gluck has served as co-director of Small Press Traffic and director of the Poetry Center at San Francisco State. In 2014, Semiotext(e) will publish his collection, The Greatness of Kathy Acker, and Other Essays.


Fred Moten

Wednesday, November 20
8 p.m.
Russell House

Fred Moten often works at the intersection of performance, poetry, and critical theory. His books of poetry include Hughson's Tavern, B. Jenkins, and The Feel Trio. He is also the author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition and The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (with Stefano Harney). He lives in Los Angeles and teaches at the University of California, Riverside.


Spring 2013


Adina Hoffman

Wednesday, February 6
8 P.M.
Russell House

Adina Hoffman (Wesleyan ‘89) writes often of the Middle East, approaching it from unusual angles. She is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood and the acclaimed biography My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century. She is the co-author, with Peter Cole, of Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (the American Library Association’s outstanding Jewish Book of 2011). A 2011 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, she is currently a visiting writer in Wesleyan’s English Department.


Siddhartha Deb

Wednesday, February 20
8 P.M.
Russell House

Siddhartha Deb is the author of the novels The Point of Return (a New York Times Notable Book) and An Outline of the Republic. His nonfiction book The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India won the PEN Open award. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, The Guardian, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, The Nation, n+1, London Review of Books, and The Times Literary Supplement. He has received grants from the Society of Authors and the Nation Institute and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies.


Louis Menand

2013 Annie Sonnenblick Lecture

Wednesday, February 27
8 P.M.
Russell House

Louis Menand has maintained distinguished careers in academia and journalism. A staff writer at The New Yorker since 2001, he is well known for his articles about literature, the arts, intellectual history, language, and American culture. He is the author and editor of several books including The Metaphysical Club, awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for History and the Francis Parkman Prize. He teaches at Harvard University, where he is Bass Professor of English and American Language and Literature.


A. J. Verdelle and Nikky Finney

2013 Joan Jakobson Visiting Writers

Wednesday, March 6
8 P.M.
Russell House

A.J. Verdelle’s debut novel, The Good Negress, won numerous prizes—including awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Bunting Institute at Harvard University—and was a "finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize,  the PEN/Faulkner Award, and  the IMPAC/Dublin International Award. Verdelle also has received a Whiting Writers’Award. Her essays on subjects ranging from slavery to art to motherhood have been published widely. She teaches in the MFA program at Lesley College.

Nikky Finney’s most recent book of poetry, Head Off & Split, received the 2011 National Book Award. Her other books of poetry include The World Is Round and Rice. She is also the author of Heartwood, a story collection, and the editor of The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. She has received a PEN America Open Book Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award for Poetry, and numerous other prizes. She is Provost’s Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Kentucky.


Tom Perrotta

Wednesday, March 27
8 P.M.
Russell House

Tom Perrotta’s most recent novels are The Leftovers and The Abstinence Teacher. His novels Election and Little Children were both made into acclaimed movies, and Perrotta received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay of Little Children, which he wrote with director Todd Field. He is currently adapting The Leftovers into an HBO series along with Damon Lindelof, the co-creator of Lost. Perrotta has taught writing at Yale University and Harvard University and has published essays and reviews in Rolling Stone, GQ, and The New York Times. He also edited the 2012 edition of The Best American Short Stories.


Colum McCann

Rescheduled: 2012 Annie Sonnenblick Evening

Wednesday, April 3
8 P.M.
Russell House

Colum McCann’s most recent book, Let The Great World Spin,was described by Esquire as the first major post-9/11 novel. The book received awards in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the 2009 National Book Award in the United States, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2011 IMPAC/Dublin International Award. McCann’s other novels include Zoli, Dancer, and This Side of Brightness. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other publications, and he writes often for newspapers and periodicals in the United States and Europe.


Heidi Lynn Staples

Tuesday, April 9
8 P.M.
Russell House

Heidi Lynn Staples is the author of four collections, including Take Care Fake Bear Torque Cake: A Memoir (Caketrain 2012) and the forthcoming Noise Event (Ahsahta 2013). Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Ploughshares, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and elsewhere. Winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize, she is also the co-founder and co-editor of Poets for Living Waters, an international poetry response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.


Lydia Davis

2013 Millett Writing Fellow

Wednesday, April 17
8 P.M.
Russell House

Lydia Davis is the author of, most recently, The Collected Stories, a new translation of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, and a chapbook entitled The Cows. She is currently putting together a new volume of stories, translating the very short stories of the Dutch writer A. L. Snijders, and adapting an 1898 English children’s classic for contemporary readers. She has received many awards, among them a 1997 fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and a 2003 MacArthur Fellowship.


Fall 2012

Alison Bechdel

2012 Jacob Julien Visiting Writer

Wednesday, September 19
8 P.M.
Russell House

Alison Bechdeloriginally best known for the long-running comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For, won critical acclaim for her graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family TragicomicFun Home was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by The New York TimesThe Times of London, Publishers Weekly, Time, and New York MagazineIt was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and also won the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work. Her most recent book, released in May 2012,  is a graphic novel called Are You My Mother? 


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Michelle Herman

Thursday, September 27
4:15 PM
Allbritton 311

The MFA in Creative Writing: Where, When, What, Why, How

A discussion with Michelle Herman

Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing, Ohio State University and Author of Dog, a novel, and The Middle of Everything, a collection of linked personal essays.


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Tom Perrotta

Wednesday, October 3
8 P.M.
Memorial Chapel

Tom Perrotta's most recent novels are The Leftovers and The Abstinence Teacher. His novels Election and Little Children were both made into acclaimed movies, and Perrotta received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay of Little Children, which he wrote with director Todd Field. He is currently adapting The Leftovers into an HBO series along with Damon Lindelof, the co-creator of Lost. Perrotta has taught writing at Yale and Harvard, and published essays and reviews in Rolling Stone, GQ, and The New York Times. He also edited the 2012 edition of Best American Short Stories. 


Lisa Jarnot

Wednesday, October 10
8 P.M.
Russell House

Lisa Jarnot's books of poetry include Night Scenes (2008), Black Dog Songs (2003), Ring of Fire (2001), and Some Other Kind of Mission (1996). Her acclaimed biography of the San Francisco poet Robert Duncan was published by the University of California Press this year, and her Selected Poems is forthcoming from City Lights Books in 2013. She teaches poetry and works as a freelance gardener in Queens, New York.


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A Conversation with Peg Tyre: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve

Homecoming/Family Weekend: Celebration of Wesleyan Writing

Saturday, October 20
1:30 P.M.
Memorial Chapel

Peg Tyre is the author of the New York Times best-seller, The Trouble with Boys. She was awarded the Spencer Research Fellowship at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, where she began work on her recent book, The Good School. Her writing about education has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, iVillage, and elsewhere. This event is sponsored by Wesleyan's Koeppel Journalism program.


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Douglas Kearney

Wednesday, October 24
8 P.M.
Russell House

Poet/performer/librettist Douglas Kearney's The Black Automaton (2009), was selected for the National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award. Kearney is also the author of Fear, Some (2006) and a new chapbook, SkinMag (2012). He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Coat Hanger Award, and fellowships at Idyllwild and Cave Canem. He teaches at CalArts and Antioch University.


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Bernard Cooper

Wednesday, November 7
8 P.M.
Russell House

Bernard Cooper’s many honors include the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author of three memoirs- The Bill from My Father, Truth Serum, and Maps to Anywhere- as well as a novel, A Year of Rhymes, and a collection of stories, Guess Again. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and five volumes of The Best American Essays. In addition, his work has been read on public radio’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. Amy Tan describes Cooper as “a master of the language of memory and truth,” and Michael Cunningham calls him “one of the most compelling, ambitious writers at work today.”  He was for six years the art critic for Los Angeles Magazine and is currently at work on a book about his devotion to avant-garde art.


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Celebrating Garnet Poems

Tuesday, November 13
7:30 P.M.
Russell House

Co-sponsored with Wesleyan University Press. 

 

A reading featuring poets whose work appears in Garnet Poems: An Anthology of Connecticut Poetry Since 1776, including Dennis Barone, Dick Allen, Sophie Cabot Black, Marilyn Nelson, and Lewis Turco.

 

 


Ben Ratliff: Writing About Music

Wednesday, November 14
4:15 P.M.
Daltry 003

Co-Sponsored with Center for the Arts

Ben Ratliff has been a jazz and pop critic for The New York Times since 1996. He has written three books: The Jazz Ear: Conversations Over Music (2008); Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (2007, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award); and Jazz: A Critic’s Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings (2002). His visit is part of the University's series, Music and Public Life.


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Padre Spencer Reece

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
8 PM
Russell House

Padre Spencer Reece has a BA from Wesleyan University, MTS from Harvard and a MDiv from Berkeley Divinity School, Yale. His first book of poems, The Clerk’s Tale, won the Bakeless Prize, selected by Louise Gluck, in 2003. James Franco made a short film from the title poem. His second book of poems The Road to Emmaus will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2013.
Reece has received an NEA grant, a Guggenheim grant, the Wytter Bynner Prize from the Library Congress, the Whiting Writers Award and the Amy Lowell Traveling Grant. He will be working in Honduras in 2012-13 with support from a Fulbright grant. His poems have been published in The New Yorker, Poetry, The American Scholar and The New Republic.
 
He is currently the chaplain to the Bishop of Spain for the Reformed Episcopal Church, Iglesia Espanol Reformada Episcopal. 


Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House 

Peter Standaart: Legends of the Flute 
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 | RUSSELL HOUSE | 3 P.M.
As the oldest wind instrument, the flute has inspired many composers to write unaccompanied works based on the rich legends of the instrument as represented in mythology, literature, ritualistic ceremonies and as the voice of birds. Wesleyan Private Lessons Teacher Peter Standaart will take the audience on a journey through some of these traditional and magical uses of the solo flute.
 
Neely Bruce & Constance Gee: New & Recent Music for Viola and Piano 
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7 | RUSSELL HOUSE | 3 P.M.
Neely Bruce, pianist and Wesleyan Professor of Music, and violist Constance Gee (Assistant Professor of Viola at the University of South Carolina) will perform Mozart's Sonata in F Major arranged by Henry Brant, Mr. Bruce's Grand Duo, David Jaffe's Cluck, Old Hen Variations for Solo Viola, and Paul Hindemith's first Viola Sonata. 
 
Dead Cat Bounce: Chance Episodes 
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4 | RUSSELL HOUSE | 3 P.M.
Founded 15 years ago by Matt Steckler '97, the jazz group Dead Cat Bounce invokes Charles Mingus and the World Saxophone Quartet, featuring four saxophonists--Mr. Steckler, Jared Sims, Charlie Kohlhase, and Terry Goss--plus bassist Dave Ambrosio and drummer Bill Carbone (Ph.D. candidate). The band will perform Mr. Steckler's compositions from their fourth album Chance Episodes (2011), which was praised in Downbeat and Jazz Times magazines. 


Spring 2012

Edwidge Danticat

The 2012 Millett Writing Fellow
Wednesday, February 8 
8 P.M.
Memorial Chapel 
Co-sponsored with the English Department, the African American Studies Program, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Office of Diversity, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and Academic Affairs. 

 

Edwidge Danticat is the author of Breath, Eyes, Memory, Krik? Krak! (a National Book Award finalist), The Farming of Bones (an American Book Award winner), and the novel-in-stories, The Dew Breaker. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Create Dangerously, her most recent book, is a collection of essays. She is a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the Langston Hughes medal.


Daniyal Mueenuddin

The 2012 Jacob Julien Visiting Writer
Wednesday, February 15 
8 P.M.
Russell House

 

Daniyal Mueenuddin’s first story collection, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, was 2010 winner of The Story Prize and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and other periodicals and in Best American Short Stories 2008 (selected by Salman Rushdie) and PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2010. A graduate of Yale Law School, he practiced law in New York for a number of years. He now lives on a farm in Pakistan’s southern Punjab.


Robert Sullivan

Wednesday, February 22 
8 P.M.
Russell House 

 

Robert Sullivan is the author of Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants, The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures on the Edge of a City, How Not To Get Rich, and The Thoreau You Don’t Know. His history of the American Revolution in New York, My American Revolution, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He has written for many periodicals, including The New Yorker and Vogue, where he is a contributing editor.


Cancelled (as of February 29): Colum McCann

The 2012 Annie Sonnenblick Lecturer
Wednesday, February 29 
8 P.M.
Memorial Chapel

 

Colum McCann’s most recent book, Let the Great World Spin, was described by Esquire as the first major post-9/11 novel, and received the 2009 National Book Award, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2011 IMPAC International Prize. “Leave it to an Irishman,” said Dave Eggers, ”to write one of the greatest-ever novels about New York.”  McCann’s six other books include Zoli, Dancer, and This Side of Brightness. He teaches in the creative writing program at Hunter College.


Amitav Ghosh

The 2012 Joan Jakobson Visiting Writer
Tuesday, April 3 
8 P.M.
Memorial Chapel

 

The interplay of history and fiction marks Amitav Ghosh’s work, and reflects his early life in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. His well-known books include In an Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Glass Palace, and Sea of Poppies. His new novel, River of Smoke, is a narrative of the nineteenth-century heroin trade in India to Canton and is an international best-seller. He recently received an honorary doctorate from the Sorbonne.


Sam Lipsyte

Wednesday, April 18 
8 P.M.
Russell House 

 

A 2008 Guggenheim Fellow, Sam Lipsyte is the author of the story collection Venus Drive and three novels: The Ask, a New York Times Notable book for 2010, The Subject Steve and Home Land, a New York Times Notable Book and winner of the first annual Believer Book Award. Lipsyte's fiction has appeared in The New YorkerHarper'sThe Paris Review, The QuarterlyTin HouseNOON, and Best American Short Stories, among other places. He lives in New York and teaches at Columbia University's School of the Arts.


CAConrad

Wednesday, April 25
8 P.M.
Russell House

 

CAConrad is the recipient of THE GIL OTT BOOK AWARD for The Book of Frank (Chax Press, 2009).  He is also the author of A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics(Wave Books, 2012),  Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull Press, 2009), (Soma)tic Midge (Faux Press, 2008), and Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006).


 


Student Prize Winners

Wednesday, May 9
8 P.M.
Russell House

Winners of Wesleyan's 2012 Writing Prizes: Student winners of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction awards will read from their work.


 

Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Karas String Quartet: Afternoon with Chamber Music
Sunday, February 5
3 P.M.
Russell House  

The Karas String Quartet--violinist Cyrus Stevens, pianist Ruriko Kagiyama, violist Michael Wheeler, and guest cellist Julie Ribchinsky-- will perform the world premiere of the Wesleyan Concertante by William Zinn, as well as Mozart's Piano Quartet in G minor and other works.

Taylor Ho Bynum and Tomas Fujiwara
Sunday, March 4
3 P.M.
Russell House

Composers Taylor Ho Bynum '98 MA '05 (cornet) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums) have been regular collaborators for nearly two decades, documenting their duo on the recordings True Events (2007) and Stepwise (2010). Both are veterans of the groups of Wesleyan Professor of Music Anthony Braxton. Bynum has also performed with Myra Melford's Happy Whistlings, the Tyshawn Sorey Quartet, and Cecil Taylor; Fujiwara has performed with Ravi Coltrane, Amir ElSaffar, and Mary Halvorson '02, among others.  


Fall 2011

Charles Bernstein

Wednesday, September 14
8 P.M.
Russell House

Charles Bernstein is the author of All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2010), Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays & Inventions (Chicago 2011), Blind Witness: Three American Operas (Factory School 2008), Girly Man (Chicago 2006), and My Way: Speeches and Poems (Chicago 1999). He is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he co-directs PennSound.


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Sara Marcus

Wednesday, October 12
8 P.M.
Russell House

Sara Marcus, a writer and musician, is the author of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, a critically acclaimed account of that feminist and musical movement. She has also written for Bookforum, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Slate, Salon, and Heeb magazine, where she was politics editor for five years. She lives in Brooklyn.


Co-sponsored with Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

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Joy Harjo with Larry Mitchell

Friday, October 14
8 P.M.
Crowell Concert Hall

A member of the Mvskoke Nation, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, tenor saxophonist Joy Harjo combines storytelling, poetry, and indigenous song in her musical duo with Grammy Award-winning producer/guitarist Larry Mitchell. Harjo's works blend traditional rhythms and singing with jazz, rock, blues, hip hop, and her award-winning heartfelt poems, which have been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. Sponsored by the Center for the Arts, the English Department, the Office of Diversity and Institutional Partnership's Making Excellence Inclusive Initiative, Wesleyan University Press, and Writing at Wesleyan.


For more information visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa/events.html

An Evening of Poetry

Wednesday, October 19
8 P.M.
Russell House

Featuring Richard Deming and the 2011-2012 Wesleyan Student Poets

Richard Deming is a poet and theorist who works on the philosophy of literature. He is the author of Let's Not Call It Consequence (Shearsman Books), winner of the 2009 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His poems have appeared in Sulfur, Field, Indiana Review, The Nation, and Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present. Susan Howe has written that Deming "restlessly calculates the split between promised and actual experience. The poems in his impressive new collection balance at an edge of danger syntax can only shadow."


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Amos Oz

Thursday, November 3
8 P.M.
Memorial Chapel

Internationally acclaimed, award-winning Israeli writer, novelist, and journalist Amoz Oz has published numerous prestigious works of fiction and nonfiction since his first story collection, Where the Jackals Howl, was published in 1965. A full professor at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, he has devoted much of his life to writing, teaching, and actively campaigning for the Israeli Peace Movement. Among his publications are My Michael, Black Box, Don’t Call It Night, The Same Sea, A Tale of Love and Darkness, and most recently, Scenes from Village Life. Professor Oz has received many accolades for his work over the years, including the Prix Femina (1998), the German Friedenspreis (1992), the Israel Prize for Literature (1998), the Goethe Prize (2005), the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters (2007), the Primo Levi Prize (2008), and the Heinrich Heine Prize (2008).


Sponsored by the Rosenberg Family Fund for Jewish Student Life, Jewish and Israel Studies, Writing at Wesleyan, Annie Sonnenblick Fund, Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture Fund, Wesleyan Jewish Community, and College of Letters.

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Tracie Morris

Wednesday, November 16
8 P.M.
Russell House

Tracie Morris is an interdisciplinary poet who has worked extensively as a sound artist, writer and multimedia performer. Her installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. She holds an MFA in poetry from Hunter College and a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University.  Her newest poetry collection, TDJ: To Do w/ John, will be released in November 2011 by Zasterle Press.


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Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Elite Syncopation: From Joplin to Jelly Roll
Sunday, September 18
3 P.M.
The Russell House

The quintet Elite Syncopation interprets ragtime and early jazz and features double bassist Roy Wiseman, violinist Perry Elliot, cellist Ettie Luckey, pianist Gary Chapman, and Liz Baker Smith on flute, clarinet, and saxophone.  The group recreates the sounds of an early 20th-century American dance music ensemble, including rare works by composers such as Theodore Northrup and Charles L. Johnson.

Noah Baerman Trio Plays the Music of Kenny Barron
Sunday, October 16
3 P.M.
The Russell House

Pianist Noah Baerman's trio with bassist Henry Lugo and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza presents a musical tribute to Kenny Barron, Mr. Baerman's mentor, a National Endowment for the Arts "Jazz Master," who performed at the CFA in July 2011. The group will interpret Mr. Barron's compositions as well as standards by Victor Lewis, Billy Strayhorn, and Richard Rodgers, frequently played by Mr. Barron.

The Jolly Beggars
Sunday, November 13
3 P.M.
The Russell House

The Connecticut-based six-piece band The Jolly Beggars sing traditional stories from Irish folklore with tight vocal harmonies and play arrangements of Celtic reels and jigs on guitars, mandolins, tin whistles, banjo, double bass, bodhran, spoons, and more.


2010/2011 Spring Series

James Kaplan

The Writing Programs' 2011 Joan Jakobson Visiting Writer
Wednesday, February 9
8 P.M.
Russell House

James Kaplan has been writing about people and ideas in business and popular culture, and also writing fiction, for over three decades.  His essays and reviews, as well as more than a hundred major profiles of figures, ranging from Madonna to Helen Gurly Brown, Calvin Klein to John Updike, Miles Davis to Meryl Streep, and Arthur Miller to Larry David, have appeared in many magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Esquire.  In November 2010, Doubleday published Frank: The Voice, the first volume of Kaplan's biography of Frank Sinatra.


Click here for photos of this event.

Click here for The Wesleyan Connection article.

Sarah Ruhl

Thursday, February 10
8 P.M.
Memorial Chapel

Award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, hailed as one of the brightest new talents in theater by The New York Times, participates in a conversation about her recent work. With a humorous and provocative voice, Ruhl was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 for The Clean House, and in 2010 for the Glickman Prize-winning In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play. Other works include: Dead Man s Cell Phone (2007), winner of the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play, and Passion Play: A Cycle (2005), winner of the Kennedy Center Fourth Forum Freedom Award. In 2006, Ruhl was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship Genius Grant. Her plays have been performed all over the world at such venues as the Lincoln Center Theater (New York), the Actors' Centre (London), the Yale Repertory Theater and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, among many others.

Co-sponsored by the English Department, the Little Fund and Wesleyan Writing Programs.


 

Michael Cunningham

The Writing Programs' 2011 Annie Sonnenblick Lecturer
Wednesday, February 16
8 P.M.
Memorial Chapel

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner award and Pulitzer Prize), and Specimen Days. His latest novel is By Nightfall.

*Cunningham will also work with students in master classes on the mornings of February 17 and 18. Details to be announced. We hope many students will participate.


Amy Bloom

Wednesday, March 2
8 P.M.
Russell House

Amy Bloom is the author of two novels and two collections of short stories, and she has been a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and the Atlantic, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award. Her new collection of short stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, was published in 2010. She has taught at Yale University for the last decade. She is currently Wesleyan University's Kim-Frank Family Writer-In-Residence.


Wayne Koestenbaum

Wednesday, March 23
8 P.M.
Russell House

Wayne Koestenbaum is recognized as an important American poet, as one of the founders of queer studies, and as a wide-ranging cultural critic who crosses boundaries of literature, art, music, and popular culture. His book The Queen′s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire, published in 1993, had a significant impact on the emerging fields of gender and sexuality studies, as have his groundbreaking essays in influential anthologies.


Jane Eisner

Wesleyan's 2010-2011 Koeppel Fellow in Journalism
Thursday, March 24
12 P.M.
Shapiro 311

Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, is editor of the Forward, the influential Jewish national weekly newspaper. Under her leadership, the Forward has won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online. Eisner previously held executive editorial and news positions at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years, including stints as editorial page editor, syndicated columnist, City Hall bureau chief and foreign correspondent. In 2006, she joined the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where she served as vice president for national programs. Eisner has been a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania′s Robert A. Fox Leadership Program as well as an adjunct professor in the school′s political science department. In 2009, she was selected to be one of 20 fellows in the Punch Sulzberger Executive News Media Leadership Program at the Columbia School of Journalism. Her book, Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in our Democracy, was published by Beacon Press.


Linda Schlossberg

Thursday, March 31
4:30 P.M.
Downey House, 113

Linda Schlossberg received her PhD in English literature from Harvard University, where she is the Assistant Director of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program. In her debut novel, Life in Miniature, published by Kensington in December 2010, Schlossberg emerges as a powerful new literary voice with this wholly original coming-of-age story. Life in Miniature reveals the compelling drama that unfolds as the delicate bond between mother and daughter begins to fray.


Dinaw Mengestu

The Writing Programs' 2011 Jacob Julien Visiting Writer
Thursday, April 7
8 P.M.
Russell House

Dinaw Mengestu's debut novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, earned him comparisons to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, and garnered ecstatic critical acclaim for its haunting depiction of the immigrant experience in America. He was selected as a winner of the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" Award, the 2008 Lannan Literary Fellowship, The Guardian First Book Award in the U.K., and France's Prix du Premier Roman Etranger. His second novel, How to Read the Air, was published this fall and has earned him further critical praise. In June 2010, Mengestu was given a highly coveted spot on The New Yorker's "20 under 40" Writers to Watch list.


Yusef Komunyakaa

The English Department 2011 Millett Writing Fellow
Wednesday, April 13
8 P.M.
Memorial Chapel

Yusef Komunyakaa's numerous books of poems include Talking Dirty to the Gods, Thieves of Paradise, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Magic City, Dien Cai Dau, which won The Dark Room Poetry Prize, and I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head, winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Award. In 1999, he was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Yusef Komunyakaa is the Senior Distinguished Poet in the Graduate Writing Program at NYU.


Student Prize Winners

Wednesday, May 4
8 P.M.
Russell House

Winners of Wesleyan's 2011 Writing Prizes: student winners of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction awards will read from their work.

Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Sunday, January 30, Russell House 3 P.M.
Going Forth: Turn of the Century Quartet featuring Fred Simmons

Featuring Fred Simmons, piano; Jay Hoggard, vibraphone; Paul Brown, bass and percussion. Original contemporary jazz compositions by Fred Simmons and other composers such as John Coltrane and Antonio Carlos Jobim will be performed. 

Sunday, February 20, Russell House 3 P.M.
Mixed Erato: Music for Piano and the American Drum set
A program of 19th-century pianoforte repertoire with 20th-century percussion performed by Qi Liu, piano and Pheeroan Aklaff, drum set. Original compositions and improvisations will be featured.


Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Sunday, January 30, Russell House 3 P.M.
Going Forth: Turn of the Century Quartet featuring Fred Simmons

Featuring Fred Simmons, piano; Jay Hoggard, vibraphone; Paul Brown, bass and percussion. Original contemporary jazz compositions by Fred Simmons and other composers such as John Coltrane and Antonio Carlos Jobim will be performed. 

Sunday, February 20, Russell House 3 P.M.
Mixed Erato: Music for Piano and the American Drum set
A program of 19th-century pianoforte repertoire with 20th-century percussion performed by Qi Liu, piano and Pheeroan Aklaff, drum set. Original compositions and improvisations will be featured.


Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Sunday, January 30, Russell House 3 P.M.
Going Forth: Turn of the Century Quartet featuring Fred Simmons

Featuring Fred Simmons, piano; Jay Hoggard, vibraphone; Paul Brown, bass and percussion. Original contemporary jazz compositions by Fred Simmons and other composers such as John Coltrane and Antonio Carlos Jobim will be performed. 

Sunday, February 20, Russell House 3 P.M.
Mixed Erato: Music for Piano and the American Drum set
A program of 19th-century pianoforte repertoire with 20th-century percussion performed by Qi Liu, piano and Pheeroan Aklaff, drum set. Original compositions and improvisations will be featured.


Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Sunday, January 30, Russell House 3 P.M.
Going Forth: Turn of the Century Quartet featuring Fred Simmons

Featuring Fred Simmons, piano; Jay Hoggard, vibraphone; Paul Brown, bass and percussion. Original contemporary jazz compositions by Fred Simmons and other composers such as John Coltrane and Antonio Carlos Jobim will be performed. 

Sunday, February 20, Russell House 3 P.M.
Mixed Erato: Music for Piano and the American Drum set
A program of 19th-century pianoforte repertoire with 20th-century percussion performed by Qi Liu, piano and Pheeroan Aklaff, drum set. Original compositions and improvisations will be featured.


Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Sunday, January 30, Russell House 3 P.M.
Going Forth: Turn of the Century Quartet featuring Fred Simmons

Featuring Fred Simmons, piano; Jay Hoggard, vibraphone; Paul Brown, bass and percussion. Original contemporary jazz compositions by Fred Simmons and other composers such as John Coltrane and Antonio Carlos Jobim will be performed. 

Sunday, February 20, Russell House 3 P.M.
Mixed Erato: Music for Piano and the American Drum set
A program of 19th-century pianoforte repertoire with 20th-century percussion performed by Qi Liu, piano and Pheeroan Aklaff, drum set. Original compositions and improvisations will be featured.


Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Sunday, January 30, Russell House 3 P.M.
Going Forth: Turn of the Century Quartet featuring Fred Simmons

Featuring Fred Simmons, piano; Jay Hoggard, vibraphone; Paul Brown, bass and percussion. Original contemporary jazz compositions by Fred Simmons and other composers such as John Coltrane and Antonio Carlos Jobim will be performed. 

Sunday, February 20, Russell House 3 P.M.
Mixed Erato: Music for Piano and the American Drum set
A program of 19th-century pianoforte repertoire with 20th-century percussion performed by Qi Liu, piano and Pheeroan Aklaff, drum set. Original compositions and improvisations will be featured.


Center for the Arts presents: Music at the Russell House

Sunday, January 30, Russell House 3 P.M.
Going Forth: Turn of the Century Quartet featuring Fred Simmons

Featuring Fred Simmons, piano; Jay Hoggard, vibraphone; Paul Brown, bass and percussion. Original contemporary jazz compositions by Fred Simmons and other composers such as John Coltrane and Antonio Carlos Jobim will be performed. 

Sunday, February 20, Russell House 3 P.M.
Mixed Erato: Music for Piano and the American Drum set
A program of 19th-century pianoforte repertoire with 20th-century percussion performed by Qi Liu, piano and Pheeroan Aklaff, drum set. Original compositions and improvisations will be featured.